About the Ensemble

Robert Ruffin, Playwright, Producer & Richard Watkins

Robert Ruffin, Playwright, Producer, Richard WatkinsRobert Ruffin, a theatre professional for over 25 years, is a Founding Member and former Artistic Director of The Metropolitan Playhouse of New York.  Also in New York City, he co-created and produced Theater Without Borders (a joint American/Lithuanian performing arts project) and produced The Gathering (Off-Broadway starring Theodore Bikel; National Tour and Broadway starring Hal Linden).  In 2001, Robert co-founded Virginia Premiere Theatre and in 2009, American PlayWorks where he served as Producing Artistic Director.  As a dramaturge/consultant and producer, Robert has guided the successful development of dozens of new plays.  Robert has written over two dozen plays that have been produced on the New York stage and across the country for hundreds of thousands of viewers.  As an actor, Robert has performed numerous roles in New York and regional theaters, television and film. He has taught and directed at many professional and university theatres and received honors for his work from the Kennedy Center.  Robert has performed in a Royal Command Performance for the English Monarchy, is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild of America.

Cyndi Janzen, Costume Designer & Mary Watkins

Actress Cyndi Janzen Cyndi Janzen has enjoyed 20 years as a professional Theatre Artist and has worked both in the United States and Canada. Recent Projects include Directing for this year’s Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Costuming productions of As You Like It, and Aladdin as well as ongoing work making 18th Century and 19th Century costumes.  Cyndi also runs her own museum theatre company called History First Hand.

 

 Mary Wadkins, Director

Mary Wadkins, DirectorMary Wadkins is a professional actress, clown and dancer. She has performed extensively on stage in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco where she earned two nominations for outstanding performances s of the year.  For over thiteen years, she performed The Belle of Amherst across the country and in Europe and was featured in the Virginia Commission for the Arts Tour Directory.  In New York, she has performed clown on stage with the all-female troupe “Those in the Nose.”  Mary studied ballet and pointe for many years at New York’s world-renowned dance studio “Steps”, where her dance instructor, Kathryn Sullivan, choreographed two performance pieces specifically for her.  Mary was also a producer of The Gathering that ran on Broadway and starred Hal Linden.

Mary was a co-founder and Producing Director of Virginia Premiere Theatre where she co-produced 15 world premiere productions.   She performed in some of these world premieres, including Pen Pals, The Waiting Room, A Woman of Independent Means, The K of D and The Gift of the Magi.

Mary is a member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artist.

She is a licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor and is a member of Zumba Instructors Network (ZIN).  She teaches Zumba Fitness at the NNK Family YMCA in Kilmarnock and Riverside Wellness and Fitness Center in Gloucester.

Matthew Allar, Set & Lighting Designer

Matthew Allar, Set & Lighting DesignerA native of Pennsylvania, Matthew Allar is a scenographer based in Williamsburg, Virginia. An Assistant Professor of Theatrical Design, Matthew is the resident Scenic Designer for The College of William Mary and creator of the Around The Edges play reading series.  Recent work includes production design for the L’elisir d’amore and Le Pescatrici for the Zempleni Music Festival, Tokaji, Hungary.  As a lighting designer, credits include the recent NYC productions of Baby With The Bathwater, Dancing at Lughnasa, You Never Can Tell and Studio 42’s annual The  Starving Artist’s Ball.  Additional credits include design work, both here and abroad, for several television networks including MTV, VH1, TV Land, Nick at Nite, Nickelodeon, and Noggin.  A former Associate Director of Design for the New York Television Festival, and co-founder of both M.A.D. Inc., and Cabana Creations LLC, Matthew’s education includes Muhlenberg College, The University of London, and New York University. Matthew has taught at Cornell College, Elizabethtown College, and Nazareth College and is a Member of the Education and Scenic Design Commissions of USITT and United Scenic Artists #829. Online Portfolio: www.MatthewAllar.com

Allison Antonelli, Production Stage Manager

Allison AntonelliA SUNY New Paltz graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts, Design & Technology; with a focus in Stage Management. She has stage managed wonderful shows such as King Lear, The Pirates of Penzance and recently RLR’s production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Besides Stage Managing, Allison has also taken on the roles of set designer and builder, lighting designer and programmer, and property master. Her wide experience brought her to VA, where she was the Supervisor of Props and Paint at Busch Gardens. There, she had the pleasure of being a part of the inaugural teams for Christmastown, Illuminights, and Celtic Fyre. Allison is beyond thrilled to be back at her Stage Managing post and couldn’t be more proud to be working on Kiss My Little Girls with such talented folks.

Jeff Toalson, Editor

Jeff Toalson and his dog.Missouri native Jeff Toalson earned a BS in business management from Missouri State University. After the successful 2006 release of No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion, Jeff began work on the wartime letters of Richard and Mary Watkins. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife, Jan.

View complete bio on Jeff Toalson

Additional Support

With special thanks to; The Cook Foundation, Jenny Crittenden, Ron Reid, Jim Robinson and Elizabeth Wiley.