A Christmas Story Cast
Ann Baden (Mrs. Shields)
This is Ann's eighteenth play with the Miracle Players. Some of the plays she has appeared in include Annie, Music Man; The King and I; Murder's in the Heir; Wonderland; Damn Yankees; The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens; Secret Garden; Fiddler on the Roof; Our Town and Man of La Mancha. She is a lector at St. Gabriel's and decided that if she could read in front of a church full of people, she could recite lines in a theater full of people.
Paul Ballard (Father)
Paul is thrilled to return to the St. Gabriel Miracle Players’ stage with this wonderful cast. Paul thanks Heidi Toll for casting him in this very fun role. Paul has played a variety of comic and dramatic roles in various Maryland venues over the years. He has also played many roles in past productions with the Miracle Players, including Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha, Lun Tha in The King and I, Professor Bhaer in Little Women: The Musical, and Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady. Paul has been especially active in theater over the past year, playing the roles of King Melchior in the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Mysterious Man in Into the Woods, Norman in the comedy ISO (“In Search Of”), and the Friar, Balthasar, and Verges in the production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Paul wishes to thank his wonderful wife, Jan Danek, for her enduring love and support of all his theatrical endeavors.
Elinor Bower (Esther)
Elinor Bower is a fourth grader this year. Past favorite shows have included Peter Pan (Nibs), Annie (Kate), and The One and Only Shrek (Wicked Witch). She is excited to make her debut with St. Gabriel Miracle Players in her first large role in a straight play. She would like to thank Ms. Heidi for being so kind and helpful, and the other cast members for making it so fun.
Ava Cantwell (Desperado/School mate)
Ava is eight years old and in the third grade. This is Ava’s second theater production with the Miracle Players. She recently played Molly in the Miracle Players' spring production of Annie. In addition to performing on stage, Ava is a Brownie in the Girls Scouts program and plays several sports. Ava wishes to thank her family, friends and all the Miracle Players for their never-ending support.
Kacy Conley (Producer)
Kacy has been with the Miracle Players for 30 years. Highlights have included various roles producing, directing and acting - directing Oliver!, Kismet, Nuncrackers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cinderella, Murder’s in the Heir, and Rented Christmas. Kacy also performed as Mrs. Julia Gibbs in Our Town, Frumah-Sara in Fiddler on the Roof, Alice in The Secret Garden, Mother in Cheaper by the Dozen, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Sister Helen in Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up, Mom Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, the Sorceress of the North in Wizard of Oz, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Mrs. Pearce in My Fair Lady, and Lady Thiang in The King and I. She thanks her husband Dan for all his support. She is especially thankful to the wonderful production team, cast and crew led by Heidi Toll.
Therese DeMarco (Schwartz)
Therese is excited to be in her third theatrical role with Miracle Players! For the second time, she shall play the role of a boy, Schwartz, with all its gusto. Schwartz is a trouble maker which is a type of friend Therese usually avoids, so she is enjoying going outside of herself. She adores the cast and considers them her second family. This play has been a blast for her and she hopes to continue with the Miracle Players
Terri DePaola (Mother)
Happy to be back for another Miracle Players Production. I have been involved with this group either on the stage, or behind the scenes for about 20 years now. It’s always a group effort and takes the talents of all the participants to make it happen. By day I’m a realtor with Coldwell Banker, mother of two children and three fur babies. In my spare time I enjoy gardening, walking, scrapbooking, travel and THE BEACH! My stage children have all been a real blessing to work with. This is a great show to get you in the holiday spirit. Hope you enjoy it!
Ben Fregau (Randy)
Ben Fregeau is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. Although Ben performs short plays at church each month, this is his first theater production. He is very excited and thankful for this experience with the Miracle Players. In addition to acting, Ben is also involved in rock climbing, baseball, and Boy Scouts. Ben would like to give a big thank you to his family, friends, and all the Miracle Players for their support!
Lily Haney (Desparado/School mate)
Lillian is a 5th grade student at Thomas Johnson Elementary and enjoys creating visual art, biking, and theater. She has performed as an agitated customer in The Aliens are Coming! with the TJEMS drama club. She has acted in the Musical Artists Theater productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors at Riverside Stage and will be playing the part of Martha in A Christmas Carol. She is very excited to be acting for the first time with the St. Gabriel Miracle Players.
Natalie Haney (Flick)
Natalie is a 7th grade student at Thomas Johnson Elementary and enjoys reading, writing, the theater and singing. This is her second play for St. Gabriel Miracle Players, she was Tessie in the production of Annie. She has performed as Officer O'Malley in Comic Book Artist, Daisy in Alice@Wonderland and Commander Coburn in The Aliens are Coming! with the TJEMS drama club. She has acted in the Musical Artists Theater productions of A Christmas Carol and Amahl and the Night Visitors at Riverside Stage currently playing Christmas Past & Fan.
Molly Laska (Miss Shields)
Molly is from Cleveland, OH. She is a graduate of Miami University having earned both a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre and a Bachelors of Science in Business and moved here recently to work for Textron Systems in their Cost Accounting Department. Molly began acting at the age of 8, teaching performance at 17, and was a top stage manager in her department up until she graduated this past May. Some of her career highlights include Auntie Em in the Wizard of Oz and originating the part of a Stage Producer in The Latest Show, an improv based project, as well as stage managing and working on educational outreach for Gathering Blue and doing the voiceover for a web based project to encourage women to participate in male dominated sports, a passion project for her given her past in ice hockey and rugby. She is excited to return to the stage and make her Baltimore debut with such a talented and dedicated cast.
Mayah Lohrmann (Helen)
Mayah is so excited to be returning to the stage with St. Gabriel’s Miracle Players! She loved playing the lead role in the Miracle Player’s spring production of Annie, Lucinda in Into the Woods, Jr. at STAR Camp, and the other roles at school, church, and local theaters. When she's not on stage she's creating art, discovering nature, reading fiction, baking, carving pumpkins, hanging out with family and friends, or watching TV when her parents lets her get away with it. Mayah would like to thank her witty, talented father who has impeccable comic timing for taking her to rehearsals. She sends much love to her beautiful mother, the rest of her family as well as the Vyas family.
Nate Lohrmann (Tree lot Attendant, Cowboy, delivery man)
Nate is ecstatic about making his second stage debut with the St. Gabriel Miracle Players! He is extra thrilled that his second stage debut involves sharing the stage with his wonderful daughter (Mayah)! Nate’s prior stage debut was the role of Wacky/Fred McCracken/Servant in the Miracle Player’s spring production of Annie. In his limited free time, Nate enjoys playing drums, salsa dancing and engaging in both vibrant and relaxing activities with his lovely and talented wife and daughter.
Tommy Peisinger (Farkas)
Tommy is very excited to be in his first show with the Miracle Players! He has played the part of Fritz for the past 3 years of Nutcrackers for White Marsh Ballet Academy and is a member of his school choir. Tommy has really had a lot of fun getting into the role of Farkus because he loves the “You gonna cry”? Scene! When not performing Tommy performs in a karate hit club, plays soccer, and enjoys his pet lizard Lido and snake Constantina.
Finn Smith (Ralphie)
Finn is excited to be back on stage with the St. Gabriel Miracle Players. He is in the 7th grade at St. Agnes School and loves music, drama, and all kinds of sports. He is an avid reader and is a wonderful son and brother to his 5 siblings. He has performed in The King and I, The Music Man, Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, and Amal and The Night Visitors. He is very much enjoying his experience with the Miracle Players
Heidi Toll (Director)
As soon as I saw A Christmas Story, the Musical, at the Hippodrome two years ago, I thought “this show is perfect for St Gabriel – a nostalgic family show”. I remember the movie being filmed in Cleveland while I lived there, and the Leg Lamp is world- famous. The first time I saw one in a house window at Christmastime, I almost drove off the road. I remember Higbees’ Dept store, and the antique cars the movie crew parked downtown. The script mentions the radio show of Little Orphan Annie, which was the show we did in May. We hope this show takes you back in time too. Heidi has directed many musicals and plays for St. Gabriel in the last 15 years. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from her native Ohio and cantors at three Catholic churches. Recent & favorite roles: Anna in The King & I, Eulalie McKechnie Shinn in Music Man (3 times!), Stepmother in Into the Woods, Emma Goldman in Ragtime, Joanne in Company and Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo. Heidi works for the MD Dept of Education.
Gene Valendo (Narrator/Adult Ralphie)
Gene is pleased to be making his Miracle Players debut in A Christmas Story. Gene has appeared onstage in 17 shows at 2nd Star Productions, where his favorite roles include Major Quimby in Bloody Murder, Dr. Hubert Bonney (WATCH Award nominee for Outstanding Featured Actor in a play) in It Runs in the Family, Henry Perkins in Funny Money, Horace Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly! (which won the 2014 Ruby Griffith Award for All-around Production Excellence), and Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men. On the production side, Gene produced 2nd Star’s 2017 production of Mary Poppins (WATCH Nomination for Outstanding Musical), and he and two stalwart compatriots won the 2017 WATCH Award for Outstanding Special Effects for that production. Gene is a retired U.S. Navy cryptologic officer, and now works in private practice as a psychologist.
Taunton Welsh (Radio Voice)
Taunton has portrayed a senior citizen in many plays since his debut as Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat in 1998. Over the years he has cooked, supervised the kitchen, directed, produced and/or acted in so many Miracle Player productions it's hard to know which to spotlight. His favorite is always the role he's playing currently. Other St. Gabriel activities are Catechist, Cantor, and member of the Spanish and English choirs.
Sharon Zelefsky (Assistant Director)
Sharon has performed in theatre and television throughout Virginia and Maryland, including Norfolk and Virginia Beach Little Theatres, Cockpit in Court, Vagabond Players, Bowie Community Theatre, Reisterstown Theatre Project, Liberty Showcase Theatre, St. Gabriel’s Miracle Players and Charm City Players. Her credits include principal roles in Mame; Suddenly Last Summer; Rumors; Dearly Beloved; Inspecting Carol; Kitchen Witches; The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens; Daddy’s Dyin….Who’s Got the Will?; Mary Poppins; as the outrageous Heather Van Pree in Nana’s Naughty Knickers and most recently appeared in Miracle Players’ production of Annie. Sharon would like to thank Heidi for the opportunity to work with such an organized, enthusiastic Director and this lovely cast for their dedicated work. As always, she wishes to thank her devoted husband, Harvey, for his continued support.