LaVeta's Theater
Francisco Center for the Performing Arts
127 W. Francisco St.
La Veta, Colorado 81055
Phone: 719.695.0687
Email: FCPA
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Coral Anderson moved to Huerfano County with her husband Dick in 1985 and recently opened her new business in LaVeta, Corner Cottage Skin Care. While Coral is well-known about town from her numerous community contributions, in “real life” she is a critical care nurse at Swedish Medical Center in the Denver area and occasionally a nurse at Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center. In her spare time (?!?), she enjoys her volunteer work as President and a member of the FCPA Board of Directors. Her theatre credits are too lengthy to list in their entirety but include director duties in Death By Dessert, Happy Hollandaise and the FCPA’s 2012 holiday production Not On This Night plus many roles in interactive dinner theatre comedy (e.g., “Meri Tannenbaum” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder,Carmela Conflenti” in Whack Whack and “Kris Kolumbo” in 2013’s Paradise Is Murder) and stage productions, including her unforgettable portrayals of “Claire Finley” in Happy Hollandaise, “Patsy” in Oprah Made Me Do It and campaign manager “Marsha Goodhop” in 2012’s Town Meeting. Never one to rest on her laurels, Coral tackled improvisational comedy in the 2013 production of The Edge of Therapy as the narcissistic, chain-smoking socialite “Lavinia” and kept the crowd in stitches as the ditzy French maid “Fifi” in the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone and as “Paige Turner” in The Treasure of Shiver River.
A seasoned veteran of the stage, Peggy Arnold-Hoobler applied her superb musical skills, along with her directing talents, to the FCPA’s 2013 smash summer hit Respect: A Musical Journey of Women and to the June 2014 sell-out musical Always…Patsy Cline. As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, Peggy also directed the 2013 melodrama/olio The Shame of Tombstone and the 2014 melodrama/olio The Treasure of Shiver River, having previously applied her directing skills to the 2011 olio and melodrama A Golden Fleecing and the 2012 holiday production of The Gift of the Magi. Her musical theatre credits include the leads in Little Mary Sunshine, Man of La Mancha, Carnival, Brigadoon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and, of course, most memorably, “Mother Superior, Mary Regina” in 2009’s Nunsense, “The Narrator” and member of the singing ensemble in 2013’s Respect and, utterly unforgettably, “Louise Seger” in Always…Patsy Cline. Retired from thirty-three years in education, Peggy now spends her time volunteering and staying active in numerous clubs and organizations including the FCPA’s board of directors, where she currently serves as its Vice President.
William Beverly is a well-known advocate for school children in Huerfano County. A Virginia native with a Ph.D. in Social Work, Dr. Beverly is a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed school social worker and a reporter for the Huerfano World Journal. His theatre credits stretch back 40 years and include extra roles in four major motion pictures (GI Jane, The Jackal, A Woman Named Jackie, and Ms. Rose White). He’s worked on movie sets and performed on stage in a variety of roles and will no doubt be remembered locally for his entertaining portrayals of “Mandrake Mothdust” in the melodrama Here Come the Cows. . .Or Never Say Moo in the Mesa, “Philip” in Happy Hollandaise, master chef “Farron Heit” in the 2012 melodrama Someone Save My Baby, Ruth! and, most recently, as the hilariously over-the-top political candidate “Chad Cash” in Town Meeting. William has also appeared in recent dinner theatre productions as the soon-to-be-deceased “Yule Tyde” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder at The Timbers in Cuchara and the again-unfortunate “Don Carlo Conflenti” in Whack Whack at Sammie’s in LaVeta.
Shane Clouse first became involved in the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts shortly after he and wife Sher moved to LaVeta in 1996 (before the FCPA even existed in its present form), and has been on the theatre’s Board of Directors for 14 years. Not long after becoming President in 2004, virtually the entire board left town (we’re fairly sure the two events are not related!), leaving Shane and Sher to find a way to keep the theatre going alone. They managed to do it. While local audiences will recognize Shane from his many acting roles in FCPA productions over the years – he once played 15 different roles in the FCPA’s production of The Water Engine (!?!) – many locals also admire his mastery of the theatre’s sound and light board where, most recently, he worked his magic coordinating sound, lights and a slide show during Respect: A Musical Journey of Women. A natural comedian, Shane finds dramatic roles, such as his performance as “Dan” in Memory Garden, to be the most challenging. To exercise his comedic skills, Shane recently entertained the 2012 melodrama crowd as the villain “Sidney Swindle” in Someone Save My Baby, Ruth!, played “Wing Tip” in the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone, voiced “The Announcer” in Town Meeting and rocked the audience as pirate “Orin Gold” in The Treasure of Shiver River. He has also appeared in dinner theatre events as the hilarious “Rev. Cran Barrie” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder and as the ‘pharmaceutically challenged’ “Tony Conflenti” in Whack Whack. 
Pulling double duty as director and actor in the FCPA’s 2012 melodrama Someone Save My Baby, Ruth, Sher Clouse has been involved with the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts for 13 years and sat on its Board of Directors for over a decade. Originally from Ulysses, Kansas, Sher moved to LaVeta in 1996 with husband Shane, raising four daughters and, today, fourteen grandchildren! A home health care worker in “real life,” Sher is well-known to LaVeta audiences from her many roles in FCPA productions, most recently her dramatic turn as “Angela” in Memory Garden and as the devious “Donna Blitzen” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder, the FCPA’s 2011 holiday dinner theatre event at The Timbers in Cuchara. Sher has also applied her directing talents to the popular Odd Couple: The Female Version and a number of melodramas, while demonstrating her acting chops in countless plays, including her memorable (and personal favorite) portrayal of “Granny” in Foiled By An Innocent Maid and “Felina” in Galactic Amazons.
Rae Drury is one of the newer faces at the FCPA but no stranger to speaking in front of large groups. Rae spent 30 years speaking to and training Trainers for the State of California. After moving to LaVeta permanently in 2011, she lost no time becoming involved with the FCPA with the encouragement of daughter Laurie Erwin and cousin Peggy Arnold-Hoobler. She currently serves on the FCPA board of directors and lends a willing and enthusiastic helping hand whenever needed, welcoming guests and serving refreshments during performances and cleaning the theatre after the show, to name but a few of her many contributions. Rae played roles in both the 2011 and 2013 melodrama olios before making her official stage debut as the supremely neurotic (but soon-to-be-deceased) ”Margo Chastain” in Paradise Is Murder, the 2013 FCPA dinner theatre event at The Timbers, quickly followed by her hilarious turn as pirate “Burlap Bonnie” in the 2014 melodrama The Treasure of Shiver River. In her spare time, Rae exhibits and sells her copper enamel paintings produced in her home studio, as well as other art medium. She also enjoys world-wide travel, fly-fishing, community service, clubs, books and her family.
Stage veteran Ernie Endrizzi has been entertaining crowds for over 30 years with his music (piano and vibes), stand-up comedy and the occasional turn acting on stage. We’re not sure which part of his educational background in philosophy, theology, sociology and clinical psychology best equipped him for playing the villain in a melodrama (the oily “Rod Enreel” in 2014’s The Treasure of Shiver River), but it did prepare him for working as a school psychologist for South Central BOCES for a number of years and, later, for the Boulder Valley School District, focusing on bilingual assessments with Hispanic special needs children. In his free time, he has played jazz piano at local coffee shops, played piano and vibes for the La Veta jazz quartet “Wahatoya,” did some stand-up comedy, was an avid drag racer at Bandimere Raceway west of Denver and played roles in Boeing-Boeing and two melodramas, The Fairest Flower of the South and The Ballad of Chicara Creek. In 2009 Ernie decided to “replant,” not retire, to La Veta and now focuses on the performing arts and his passion for jazz, playing the vibes and piano. It should be noted that Ernie is half Mexican and half Italian, but he’ll tell you that he gave up being Mexican seven years ago and is now only Italian. He’s pleased to be back on stage with old and new friends.
Laurie Erwin hales from a local family whose roots run deep in Cuchara and LaVeta. The mother of four boys, Laurie is a well-known LaVeta volunteer who enjoys organizing and participating in community service projects while also serving on the FCPA Board of Directors and functioning as its Theatre Manager. By day, Laurie is the LaVeta Town Clerk but many will also recognize her from her previous duties as a Trustee on the LaVeta Town Board. Laurie’s acting credits include “The Nurse” in Harvey, “Roxy” in Double Trouble at Twin Peaks, “Inspector Abernathy” in Happy Hollandaise, the lovely “Miss Twink” in A Golden Fleecing, the perky “Hollie Barrie” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder, the pill-popping mob wife “Sofia Conflenti” in Whack Whack, the utterly hilarious “Peachy Jamm” in The Shame of Tombstone and TV reality show contestant “Star” in Paradise Is Murder. Most recently, Laurie tickled the audience as “Lotta Luck” in the 2014 melodrama The Treasure of Shiver River. Laurie co-directed the FCPA’s 2012 holiday production of The Gift of the Magi and, with husband Mark, has directed LaVeta Live, LaVeta’s own hilarious version of Saturday Night Live.
Mark Erwin is a born and bred LaVeta Native (the real thing!) having lived here for most of his life. Married for 20 years to Laurie, Mark is an experienced mechanic who volunteers his time to announce at LaVeta sporting events, referee basketball games, and coach baseball, basketball and football. Mark’s theatre credits date back to his high school years where he first caught the acting bug playing a nurse in the school play. Local theatre-goers may recall his spirited performance as the beer-drinking mechanic in Dearly Departed, his hilarious turn as “Larry the Cat Burglar” in Happy Hollandaise, his valiant “Stanley Stoutheart” in A Golden Fleecing, his antics as former FBI agent “Noel Bell” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder and, most recently, his goofy “Sidekick” in The Shame of Tombstone and TV reality show contestant and ‘visionary’ “Reed” in Paradise Is Murder. Not only does Mark’s theatre experience include acting and backstage work, he co-directed (with wife Laurie) LaVeta Live.
Connie Grimm is certainly no stranger to LaVeta theatre audiences, having been a very active participant in the Fort Francisco theatre group, the FCPA’s predecessor, between 1995 and 2001. We most certainly welcomed her return to LaVeta last year and her willingness to get involved, once again, in our little theatre! Originally from Richardson, Texas, Connie is now retired from a career as a special education/deaf education consultant, but devoted the majority of her spare time then, and now, to theatre activities as an actor, director and playwright. She also formed and managed two theatre production companies: Moonstrings Stage Productions, in Rye, Colorado, and LakeFront Theatre Productions outside of Dallas, Texas. During her years in LaVeta, Connie served as President of the Fort Francisco theatre in 1997 and participated in a variety of acting, directing and playwright roles in LaVeta productions. Local theatre audiences will no doubt remember Connie’s work as a playwright and actor in Mind Over Matter, Murder In The Family and Haunted Swamp, along with her participation as a member of the improv comedy troupe “Comedy Crew” performing at Cuchara Mountain Resort and her work as a director in a variety of other productions. More recently, Connie appeared as “Rita” in Prisoner of 2nd Avenue with the Clark Fork Players in Thompson Falls, Montana, as “Mama” in Christmas Melodrama with the Paradise Players in Paradise, Montana, performed with the Rye Melodrama Troupe and appeared in Visit To A Small Planet. With grandson Chance Christie (above), Connie recently co-directed the improvisational comedy The Edge of Therapy, while also appearing as "Dr. Belle Skinner" in that show.
Haley Hake, like her mother Jill, is a multi-talented musician and actress and has appeared on stage in musical, comedy and dramatic productions. A recent graduate of LaVeta High School, Haley is an accomplished violinist in the Pueblo Symphony. While many locals have heard Haley’s beautiful violin playing in various venues, LaVeta theatre aficionados will also remember her whacky “Crazy Clara” in the 2011 melodrama A Golden Fleecing and many enjoyed her whimsical violin playing at the start of Town Meeting and her turn as “Eleanor the Makeup Girl” in the same show. Most recently, Haley starred as “Jacqueline,” the lovely French country girl who truly understands the meaning of ‘peace’ in Not On This Night and charmed the audience as “Little Victoria” in The Shame of Tombstone.

Kansas native Jill Hake is no doubt recognizable to LaVeta theatre-goers as the lovely “Sarah Sweetflower” in the 2011 melodrama A Golden Fleecing, the memorable “Sister Mary Leo” in Nunsense, the über-smart political intern “Sharon Wilson” in Town Meeting, the newlywed “Della” in The Gift of the Magi, as heroine “Amanda Goodsort” in the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone and, most recently (again the heroine), as “Heidi Claire Sanders” in The Treasure of Shiver River. When she isn’t working her “day job” as the lab manager at Chaé Organics, this busy, multi-talented single mother of three (Haley, Jackson and Rory Jane) is also familiar to many as the cantor at Christ the King Catholic Church. A former elementary school teacher, Jill has also been a dance instructor in LaVeta and at the Prairie Academy of Performing Arts in Tipton, Kansas. In her spare time, Jill loves to dance, draw, read, hike, and travel.
Following 19 months wandering the country in an RV, Kent Hay and his wife Kathy moved to the LaVeta area in November 2005. Prior to their RV sojourn, Kent had a veterinary practice on the north side of Chicago and currently works a regular schedule at Rio Cucharas Veterinary Clinic. Kent and Kathy are happily involved in LaVeta United Methodist Church while attending as many LaVeta volleyball and basketball games as they can. They both enjoy hiking and backpacking and Kent, an inveterate bicycle enthusiast, was a spinning instructor at Two Peaks Fitness Center and has ridden the Stonewall Century Ride three times. No stranger to LaVeta theatre, local audiences may remember Kent’s appearances in Honey, Yes Dear, his turn as “Pop Sicle” in The Great Ice Cream Scheme, as “Tumbleweed” in A Golden Fleecing, as “Detective Paulie Polizia” in Whack Whack at Sammie’s in LaVeta and, most recently, as “Ole Timer” in The Shame of Tombstone.
Jim Hoobler began his theatrical career years ago as a “Carrot Top” in Mr. Brown's garden in Peter Rabbit. As he recalls, he was in kindergarten at the time. He was probably the original "Carrot Top" but failed to make it on Broadway. Fast forward over 60 years and you found him in his second stage performance, the FCPA’s 2014 melodrama, The Treasure of Shiver River, stuttering his way through his lines and making a fool of himself as “Rusty Nail” ~ something that he does exceptionally well. In real life, his first career was that of a Kansas County Extension Agent. For the past 40 years, he’s been a Farm Humorist/Banquet speaker and, for over 22 years, husband to La Veta's own Ms. Peggy Arnold-Hoobler. Oh, by the way, just like “Rusty Nail,” he is also a real live Auctioneer! He wants to thank his director/wife for not yelling at him too much for not learning his lines in Shiver River!
Atlanta native Bruce S. Johnson spent nearly every summer of his life in Cuchara until moving here permanently four years ago. A soccer coach and 30-year veteran of both elementary and middle school education (mostly teaching science), Bruce made his Cuchara stage debut in December 2013 as "Monroe" in Paradise Is Murder, the FCPA’s dinner theatre event at The Timbers, and his LaVeta stage debut as hero “Marshall Marshall Law” in The Treasure of Shiver River. According to Bruce, his foray into acting will probably send his three adult children back in Georgia into either shock or paroxysms of merriment! (All three kids love spending time in Cuchara and should consider a visit while they recover from the shock.) Bruce enjoys hiking, birding, photography and all manner of sports in his spare time.
Robert W. Johnson earned his theatre degree from Adams State College and taught speech, theatre, journalism, and art at La Veta Public Schools for 25 years. Thirty-seven years ago Robert directed The Silver Whistle, the first play ever produced at the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts. He was a founding member of the Spoon River Players where he served as an actor, director, and set designer over a 20-year period. His major acting roles included “McMurphy” in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the male lead in Plaza Suite, “Andy Hobart” in the Star Spangled Girl and the “Innkeeper/Governor” in Man of La Mancha. Local audiences will no doubt recognize Robert from his performances in the 2011 melodrama A Golden Fleecing and the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone where he played the villain “Judge Mortimer Harshly.” In addition to his many acting credits, Robert has been the director or technical director in over 50 productions in schools and community theatres. He currently resides with his wife Debbie in Rye, Colorado, where he operates his own business as a home inspector and energy auditor.
Mitzi Keairns, a true LaVeta native and one of its most recognized residents, graduated from LaVeta High School and from the University of Northern Colorado then departed Colorado for points east. Having lived in Rhode Island and New Jersey for a number of years, Mitzi and her husband Don returned to LaVeta in 1999 to help her dad run Charlie’s, later assuming full ownership and operation of the historic LaVeta store until selling it in the spring of 2012. Don and Mitzi are the parents of two daughters and two sons and grandparents to one adorable grandchild. In her spare time, what little there’s been of it in recent years, Mitzi has been a tireless participant in various local organizations including Rotary Club, Hermosa Club, PEO, Friends of the Francisco Fort and the Chamber of Commerce, to mention a few. As if that’s not enough to keep her busy, Mitzi is also a member of the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts’ board of directors while enjoying (in her free –?!? – time) reading, cooking, writing, traveling and various outdoor activities. Whew! LaVeta theatre aficionados will recognize Mitzi as the ditzy waitress “Frankie” in Death by Dessert, as TV moderator “Jane Lemur” in Town Meeting (a role that clearly demonstrated that Mitzi belongs in the spotlight!) and, most recently, as “The Woman” in The Shame of Tombstone. With the 2012 sale of Charlie’s, Mitzi is looking forward to more time outdoors and an increased role in the theatre.
Bethany La Loge is the proverbial “Girl Friday” while carrying on her most important work as mom to daughter Alexis. Bethany and Alex moved to LaVeta in August 2011, arriving from Bethany’s home town of Colorado Springs where she worked as a property manager. Bethany’s history on stage goes way back to the third grade when she first appeared as a singer in a musical theatre version of The Nutcracker. Having studied ballet for twelve years, Bethany became an accomplished ballerina, was a member of a professional ballet troupe and appeared in a number of ballets while also choreographing various dance routines. Bethany’s turn as “Ada Sourball” in the 2012 melodrama Someone Save My Baby, Ruth! was her first appearance in LaVeta theatre but she quickly followed up with her utterly hilarious, show-stopping portrayal of wacky multiple personality "Veronica/Ronnie/Debbie" in The Edge of Therapy, her over-the-top performance of socially uptight “Flora Courtland” in the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone and, most recently, as “Dr. Ophelia Payne” in The Treasure of Shiver River.
Making her FCPA debut in Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, Bree Lessar has been singing in various musical groups since she was a teen. While earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies at Adams State, along with a minor in music and a secondary teaching endorsement, Bree sang in the school’s concert choir for two years and was a member of both the chamber choir and the select jazz group, the Studio Singers, for four years. Bree moved to LaVeta in 1999 to be the club administrator at Grandote Peaks Golf Club, a position she held until shortly after marrying Chad Lessar in 2003. She began her career in education in the fall of 2004, teaching junior high social studies and language arts and coaching volleyball. Not long after the arrival of her first child Race in the spring of 2005 and Thea a year later, Bree began working on her master’s degree online through UCCS, completing her Principal Licensure Program in 2009 followed by her master’s degree in August 2012. She became the LaVeta secondary school principal in 2009 and in 2011 the school Superintendent.
A true LaVeta native, Elizabeth Mason started her musical career in church and has been singing since the age of five. Already a seasoned vocalist by her mid-teens, Beth spent two summers traveling the United States with The Young Continentals, a Christian music group, while acting as the student music director under Peggy Arnold-Hoobler’s supervision at LVHS. Beth won the Colorado Country Music Association Female Vocalist award in 2004 and 2005, recorded her first CD, then took a brief break to spend time with her three children. Just four months before the arrival of her fourth child in 2009, Beth returned to the stage to play (and sing) the role of “Sister Amnesia” in the FCPA production of Nunsense and recently wowed the crowd with her turn in the ensemble of Respect: A Musical Journey of Women. Beth thanks Peggy Arnold-Hoobler for all the support and encouragement Peggy has given her over the years!
Raised in a musical southern Colorado family, Trudy Price grew up singing around the piano and staging musical reviews during holidays and family reunions. She gave her first solo vocal performance at the World Day of Prayer when she was just an 8-year-old tyke and won the first of several vocal competitions the following year. Temporarily leaving music behind to attend college on an athletic scholarship, Trudy later toured with a country band until the arrival of her twins, Dalton and Dakota. Trudy met and married local coach/teacher Don Price after moving to Huerfano County in 1996 where she worked in the La Veta school system for several years before moving to The Salon on La Veta’s Main Street. Today, she is in her fourth year as a licensed office rep for the State Farm agency in Walsenburg.  Never straying far from her musical roots, Trudy has performed in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and throughout Colorado. Trudy’s vocal talents are well-known locally — she has performed at the LaVeta Inn, The Dog Bar and Echo Canyon Guest Ranch and has entertained diners at The Timbers Restaurant in Cuchara. Her performance in the 2013 FCPA production of Respect: A Musical Journey of Women was Trudy’s first experience with musical theatre. Based on that show alone, it was clear that Trudy had found yet another musical niche, but her stunning performance as "Patsy Cline" in the FCPA's 2014 production of Always...Patsy Cline elevated her to musical theatre STAR status!
Di Sortore has been active in music and theater for a really, really, really long time. More recent theater offerings include the role of “Yente” in Fiddler on the Roof, stage managing productions of Greater Tuna and playing keyboards for The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. Prior to her current job, Di was Director of Worship and Music for a large Presbyterian church in Castle Rock where she organized over 70 musicians and worship support groups for multiple weekly services and all special services. The Treasure of Shiver River was Di’s second appearance on the LaVeta stage. Her first was in the December 2013 Christmas production of Ho, Ho, Ho, Radio. Di is honored and humbled to be a member of the talented Spanish Peaks Players in La Veta.

Ohio native Mickey Villella and his wife Sandie arrived in LaVeta in 2005 by way of Grand Junction, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. When he’s not practicing his thespian skills, you can find him on the golf course or fishing. Mickey’s natural stage presence is due in part to his B.A. in Speech (Mass Communication, Radio and TV) and his youthful radio experience as a disc jockey and live show host. Theatre regulars may recognize Mickey as “Nino” from Death by Dessert, “Burt Alvord” in Double Trouble, “George Finley” in Happy Hollandaise, the slightly tipsy lawyer “Dek d’Halz” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder, the shady mob attorney “Michael Calabria” in Whack Whack (a dinner theatre production at Sammie’s that Mickey both authored and directed) and his starring role as the pompous reality TV show host “Sebastian Crowe” in Paradise Is Murder, the FCPA’s 2013 dinner theatre event at The Timbers in Cuchara. Most recently, audiences enjoyed his performance as “Colonel Ticonderoga Sanders” in the 2014 melodrama The Treasure of Shiver River. No one, however, could possibly forget Mickey’s memorable turn as “Senator Harry Hare,” the wackiest political candidate ever to hit the LaVeta stage in the election year production of Town Meeting.

Ellen Wyland White is yet another local resident who can legitimately claim LaVeta Native status. A talented fabric artist who works for well-known local quilters Ricky Tims and Justin Shults, Ellen is perhaps best known for her American tribal belly-dancing artistry, an activity she’s been enjoying for over three years. Her local acting credits include Death by Dessert, a murder mystery, the melodrama How Much Is the Doggy In the Window, “Mrs. Abbott” in Happy Hollandaise and, most recently, the murderously ambitious “Eve Holiday” in Paradise Is Murder at The Timbers. Ellen and Jason White are the proud parents of two adorable tykes, Alexander and Emma. When she’s not exercising her artistic talents at the Tims Studio or chasing after her children, Ellen enjoys live music and, of course, art and theatre.          
Mary Ray White is well-known to LaVeta theatre audiences from her turn as “Tootsie” in The Fifth Gospel, as a wacky waitress in the 2010 production of Death by Dessert, the formidable “Vilma” in Happy Hollandaise, “Big Bad Granny” in the 2011 melodrama A Golden Fleecing, campaign manager “Rhonda Reimer” in Town Meeting and, most recently, as the Haaaaaaarvard-educated “Lone Wolf” in The Shame of Tombstone and the suspicious TV reality show executive producer “Shelby Stone” in Paradise Is Murder. In addition, local dinner theatre guests will recognize Mary as the murderous “Laurel Reath” in 2011’s Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder at The Timbers in Cuchara. A retired lawyer and former English professor, Mary directed stage productions during her teaching career but her first experience in front of the lights arrived when she was persuaded to join the Spanish Peaks Players. She moved to the LaVeta area eight years ago with her husband Sandy (another semi-retired lawyer) and settled on School Creek Road south of town.
Maria Wyland was born and raised on Long Island, New York, but nearly qualifies as a LaVeta “native” after 25 years in town. Local theatre audiences may remember her starring role as the recently deceased (but hard to forget) “Maria Rosetti” in Death by Dessert, “Louise the Cat Burglar” in Happy Hollandaise, the hapless “Monica” in the spring 2011 production of Oprah Made Me Do It, the cash-strapped bistro owner "Maria Mangiate" in the dinner theatre show Whack Whack . . . Or Say Goodbye, Mob Style! at Sammie's in LaVeta and, playing perfectly to type, the Long Island party girl “Peyton” in Paradise Is Murder, the FCPA’s 2013 dinner theatre event at The Timbers in Cuchara. A former title examiner (with the erstwhile Stewart Title) by day, Maria gives back to the community in her spare time, whether it’s leading a girl scout troop, teaching Sunday school, or fighting fires as a former member of the volunteer LaVeta Fire Department. In recent years she has been an enthusiastic participant in the FCPA, lending her time and considerable talent to the theatre’s productions and serving as its Secretary on the FCPA Board of Directors.           
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