Nicole Zausmer – Costume Shop Manager

Nicole_Zausmer_Head_ShotWelcome back to Nicole Zausmer, Costomer Shot Manager and Costume Designer from Longmont, Colorado! Returning to BSP for a fifth season, read on to see what keeps bringing Nichole back to Bigfork.

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
I’m the costume shop manager and designed the costumes for Man of La Mancha

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my fifth summer in Bigfork, Montana. I’ve been the costume shop manager for the past two summers and have designed eight shows here total. I ended up here through an interview at a conference. My [then boyfriend, now husband, Nicholas Graves] and I got jobs at the BSP together. I keep coming back for the people. It’s a wonderful group of individuals really committed to story-telling and each other. That’s not something you find everywhere.

Nicole_Zausmer_Photo_2Please share your personal history with theatre.
I’ve been in theatre my whole life, whether on stage or backstage. I’m extremely fortunate that I’ve always known this was my future. I never changed my major or doubted my path. I designed my first show in high school. My passion has taken me from Michigan to Indiana, London, New York, New Jersey, Montana, Oklahoma, Colorado, and soon Illinois. I couldn’t be luckier.

Nicole_Zausmer_Photo_3What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
In the first seven weeks there isn’t much off time. We keep a really tight schedule. My favorite place to be is our little back porch. Wayfarer’s Park is also beautiful and the river rocks shouldn’t be missed.

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
My husband and I are driving to Michigan to be reunited with our puppy before I head to graduate school at the University of Illinois.

Anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re curious about anything else, feel free to check out my website. www.NicoleZausmer.com

 

Zach Murphy – Master Carpenter

Zach_Muphy_Head_ShotSay hello once more to Zach Murphy, Master Carpenter, from Clinton, Mississippi! Back at the BSP for a 3rd season, see what keeps bringing Zach back by reading more below.

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
Master Carpenter

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my third season at Bigfork Summer Playhouse. I love returning each year because even though we are working constantly this is the most enjoyable place to work. You can’t beat the scenery when you walk out the door every morning.

Please share your personal history with theatre.
Zach_Murphy_Photo_2
I started performing when I was in High school. From there I moved to a community theatre in my home town and decided to pursue a degree in performance. After two years of being in the acting program I decided to switch over to stage management. As I was graduating, I realized that I didn’t enjoy stage managing. Since I had worked in the scene shop for three years already, I chose to pursue carpentry work. That is when I worked on my first film, “As I Lay Dying.” The next summer I started my first season at BSP.

What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
In my down time in Bigfork I enjoy going to Glacier Park or the river rocks and just enjoying nature. It is absolutely beautiful here and that is something I intend to soak up any time I am here.

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
After this season ends I will be starting graduate school at Florida State University pursuing my MFA in Technical Production.

Nicholas Graves – Scenic Designer

Nicholas_Graves_Photo_1Welcome back, Nicholas Graves! Originally from Granbury, Texas, Nicholas now hails from Longmont, Colorado where he lives with his wife, Nicole Zaumser (also a BSP company member). Learn more about Nicholas below!

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
I am the Scenic Designer for Annie and a scenic Carpenter/Welder

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
Nicholas_Graves_Photo_2This is my fifth season with the playhouse. I keep coming back because of the Thomsons. This is one of the most inviting and company driven companies I have had the privilege to work for and with. They foster an environment where personal growth and quality are paramount to the process and final product.

Please share your personal history with theatre.
I started in theatre when I was very young. I began attending theatre about as soon as I could sit still. I started out, as most do, as a young performer and then was bitten by the technical bug and decoded to make that my path. I have always had a passion for teaching and working with young artists so the ability to continue to design professionally while also teaching has been a blessing. I have this opportunity in my current position as a faculty member with the University of Northern Colorado.

Nicholas_Graves_Photo_3What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
My wife and I, as well as many friends, love to go to Burger Town and then eat at Wayfarers park by gorgeous Flathead Lake.

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
After BSP, I will be returning to Colorado as an Assistant Professor of Theatre with the University of Northern Colorado.

Jeffrey Salerno – Sound Engineer

Jeffrey_Salerno_HeadshotHello again to Jeffrey Salerno, Sound Engineer from Orlando, Florida! Back for a third season at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Jeffrey shares a bit about himself as he answers a few questions below. Read on to get to know him!

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
Sound Designer / Engineer- I’m responsible for creating sound effects to serve the shows, designing any special audio effects, maintenance of all audio equipment and running the microphones and sound during shows.

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my third season. I keep coming back because Bigfork is home. Every time I come back I learn more and more and grow as a technician and an artist in an environment that is fun and safe to explore.

Jeffrey_Salerno_Photo_2Please share your personal history with theatre.
When I was in third grade, my “friend” told me that he wouldn’t speak to me ever again if I did not audition for the school play, Midsummer Night’s Dream. Peer pressure dictated that I listen to him. I was cast as Snug the Joiner and fell in love with the stage. I continued performing in school, community theaters and eventually professional theatre in Central Florida.

When it came time for me to go to college, I decided to pursue a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre at Catawba College. Once I arrived I was required to do technical theatre work for my degree. I was thrown into doing a sound design for my college’s spring musical. From that point on, my performances dwindled and my designing and backstage work increased. I became “the sound guy” at my college by my Junior year, when my sound design for As I Lay Dying was nominated for an award with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and several other regional awards.

During my senior year I went to UPTAS where Bigfork interviewed me and later offered me a job. Since graduation I have travelled the country freelancing. Currently I live in Orlando Florida working with local theaters including The Orlando Repertory Theatre and The Wekiva River Players.

Jeffrey_Salerno_Photo_3What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
I can’t wait to to head up to Glacier National Park and Jewel Basin to do some hiking. For now I take walks down the Swan River Trail. I love any excuse to be outside in this beautiful part of the country. Even if it’s just sitting out on the porch writing.

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
I’ll be returning to Orlando to continue working as a freelance Sound Designer/Engineer and director.

What else would you like to add to your feature that has not been asked?
For samples of my work or a way to contact me, please visit my website: www.jeffreysalerno.com. In addition to theatre, I’m currently working on several writing projects including a poetry collection and a series of short stories.

Becki Zarinsky – Stage Manager

Becki_Zarinsky_Head_ShotWelcome back to Becki Zaritsky, Stage Manager from Philadelphia, PA! This is Becki’s second season with the Bigfork Summer Playhouse and we’re thrilled to have her back. Get to know Becki below!

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
I am the Stage Manager for Man of La Mancha and Annie, and I’m the Assistant Stage Manager for The Addams Family and Footloose. I also work in the scene shop on properties.

Becki_Zarinsky_Photo_2How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my second season with BSP. I interviewed with Don Thomson  at UPTAs, a theatre conference in Memphis, in February 2014, and the rest is history! There is no company or community like Bigfork. BSP allows me to challenge myself and grow as a theatre artist in a community that is so supportive and appreciative of the arts.

Please share your personal history with theatre.
I started acting when I was in 3rd grade, and primarily did that through college. Halfway through my college career I starting doing stage management, and since graduating from Temple University in 2013 I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to work in the arts. I spent the year after graduating in Philly as a freelance theatre artist, and this past year I was a Stage Management Apprentice at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida.

Becki_Zarinsky_Photo_3What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
To be outdoors! Last summer I made many trips to Glacier National Park, Jewel Basin, and spent a few sunny days at Wayfarers and on Flathead lake. As much time as I can spend outdoors, I will!

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
Stay tuned! Nothing has been finalized as of yet, but I’ve got a few prospects lined up.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I’ve got a huge sweet tooth. Before the show you can often find me in the lobby with a chocolate chip cookie.

Jacob Major – Actor

Jacob_Major_HeadshotSay hello to Jacob Major, Actor from Houston Texas! Spending his first season at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse, we’re excited to have Jacob with us in Montana! Learn more about him below.

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
Ren — Footloose
Ancestor — Addams Family
Muleteer — Man of La Mancha
Ensemble — Annie

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my first season! I auditioned for BSP at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, which was held in Chattanooga, TN this year. I couldn’t resist the chance to perform in four shows as well as live in a part of the country I’ve never been to before.

Please share your personal history with theatre.
I got started in local Houston youth theatre around the age of 10 and seriously started to study dance, voice, and acting at the age of 14. I just completed my freshman year at Elon University in North Carolina where I’m pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre.

Jacob_Major_Photo_2What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
I love to eat. I will eat almost anything and I always look forward to grocery trips and chances to try a new restaurant. I also make frequent trips to the Montana Athletic Club and I’m looking forward to some hikes in Glacier National Park and time out on Flathead Lake.

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
After the season ends, I’ll be heading back to North Carolina to begin my sophomore year of college!

Colleen Campbell – Actress

Colleen_Campbell_Head_ShotA Big Sky welcome goes out to Colleen Campbell, Actress from Spring Hill, Florida! See how Colleen ended up in Bigfork for the summer and get to know a bit about her below…

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?

Cast Member — Smokey Joe’s Cafe
Alice — The Addam’s Family
Ethel McCormack — Footloose
Prisoner — Man of La Mancha
Mrs. Pugh / Ensemble — Annie

How did you find yourself at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
I auditioned at SETC and got a callback! I had heard from a very dear friend of mine that BSP “was AWESOME!” She had friends who attended BSP in past years and said they loved it.

Please share your personal history with theatre.
I was put in dance at age 5 because I walked turned in and tripped over my own feet. The doctor recommended that I take dance. He specifically said ballet would be good for me. While being in the world of dance I was introduced to theatre. I went to NYC to compete in a national dance competition around age 10 and saw my first Broadway show, 42nd Street. I knew at that moment that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

Colleen_Campbell_Photo_3When I was 12, a Broadway veteran decided to move to Florida. John Vincent Leggio (of Cats, My Fair Lady, Showboat , etc.) was opening a performing arts studio and it was on the front page of the paper and the talk of the town. Not only was he teaching, but he had an incredible faculty to back him up – from ballet and other dance teachers, to voice and acting teachers. It was a match made in heaven for everyone – including me!

It was here that I was inspired to really do this for the rest of my life. I trained there for around 7 years and after I graduated I went on to pursue a BFA in Musical Theatre from New World School of the Arts. After graduating I taught music at Notre Dame Interparochial School and dance at John Leggio’s for about 7 months. After this I began my professional career.

Colleen_Campbell_Photo_2What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
I like to work out and I like to be surrounded by nature. I like to take dance classes, choreograph for fun, eat healthy, sing, read, spend time with family and talk on the phone. (In no specific order.)

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
After the season ends I will fly home for a week or two and then I plan on flying to NYC for some auditions.

What else would you like to add?
I am so grateful and happy to be here and I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer!

Christopher Furrer – Actor

Chris_Furrer_Head_Shot_2Extend a warm welcome back to Chris Furrer, Actor, from Pittsburgh, PA! Returning for a second season at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Chris is excited to be back in Bigfork and we’re thrilled to have him! Get to know Chris by reading more about him below…

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
Daddy Warbucks — Annie
Mal Beineke — The Addams Family
Anselmo — Man of La Mancha
Principle Harry Clark/Ensemble — Footloose  
Cast Member – Hits of the 50’s, 60′s, and 70’s (post season show)

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my second summer at Bigfork. Last summer, I played Dave Bukatinski in The Full Monty and was featured in Tarzan, West Side Story, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. I chose to return to Bigfork because of the amazing experience I had last summer and I can’t wait to make a summer’s worth of new memories.

Chris_Furrer_Photo_2Please share your personal history with theatre.
I auditioned for my first show when I was 16. I instantly fell in love with performance. I then continued to audition for my high school’s shows and also our local community theater. Performance was a liberating escape for me and the support that I had from my family and friends contributed. After three years of performing, I decided that I wanted to continue to study performance and decide to audition to be a musical theater major.

Once accepted into college, I performed and worked backstage for many shows and attended auditions and conferences like SETC, where I was hired by Bigfork Summer Playhouse. Some of my favorite past roles include The Baker in Into the Woods, Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Hines in The Pajama Game, Rod in Avenue Q, Thenardier in Les Miserables, and Police Sergeant in Pirates of Penzance.

Chris_Furrer_Head_ShotWhat is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
So far, I’ve had a lot of fun going to Burger Town or Dairy Queen with the rest of the company! I’ve also visited the river rocks a few times –a very peaceful and beautiful spot. I’m looking forward to being able to swim in the lake and go white water rafting again. I am also very excited about revisiting Glacier National Park.

What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
I am a recent graduate, earning my BA in Music Theater. In the fall, I plan to move to Chicago to pursue a career as a performer.

Lisa-Marie Castro – Costume Designer

Lisa-Marie_Castro_Head_ShotWelcome aboard to Lisa-Marie Castro, Costume Designer, from Anchorage, Alaska and Germany! Lisa is with the Playhouse for the first time this season and is loving her experience. Get to know Lisa-Marie as she responds to our interview questions below…

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
Costume Designer — Footloose
Cutter & Stitcher — The Addams Family, Man of La Mancha, and Annie

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my first season here at Bigfork! Interestingly enough, I was researching other internship opportunities when my costume professor let me know of Bigfork’s designer internship opening. So, I contacted Nicole Zausmer, the shop manager here, and Don Thomson, and I don’t regret it one bit! This is a great growing experience, especially since Alaska can have limited opportunities available.

Lisa-Marie_Castro_Photo_2Please share your personal history with theatre.
I was actually very dramatic when I was younger. I acted out everything I watched (I specifically remember watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and pretending I was Jack Skelington and climbing/walking on the couch.) I also remember doing a “Peter Rabbit Cottontail” play in kindergarten and I still remember my lines from that. (“We picked blackberries, sugar and cream, yum yum.”) After that, I did not do any theatre until my senior year of high school.

Since I was raised in a military family, I moved around the world and the schools I went to did not have theatre programs. After my senior year, I got the bug and chose to do theatre. I started with acting and loved it and have been in a few shows, such as “M. Butterfly,” and I hope to do more acting in the future. But I also enjoy costuming and design. It’s like playing dress-up, but for other people! And it’s really cool when you pick something out for someone and they just can’t hide their excitement! It’s infectious and there are a lot of great company members this year that I can feed energy off from!

What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
I am a binge-watcher of Netflix, but I do like walking around town sometimes or going swimming. There are a couple of restaurants here with really good food, too. I’m hoping to do more things when I have more time, like go to Glacier National Park. Apparently, it’s a must-see! Also, I really enjoy being around my fellow costumers. We all get along very well and they make this experience all the better!

Lisa-Marie_Castro_Photo_3What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
My fiance’, Kevin (who is a technician here at Bigfork this season), and I will roadtrip all the way back to Anchorage and make a couple of stops that we could not make before. I’ll be going back to the University of Alaska Anchorage this fall to finish a couple of credits and finally get my undergrad degree! I’ll be telling a lot of people back home about this place! I’m happy to spend most of my summer around several driven theatre lovers!

Anything else you’d like to add?
For those interested in a roadtrip to Alaska from the lower 48, a hint: Buy “The Milepost.” It is the most useful book and completely more useful than just using a GPS. It even lists what campgrounds or hotels are nearby all along the Alaskan Highway. I also don’t mind giving tips about things to do in Alaska!

Andy Burns – Actor

Andy_Burns_Head_ShotA big Montana welcome to Andy Burns, Actor, from Nicholasville, Kentucky! Andy is spending his first season with the Bigfork Summer Playhouse and we’re thrilled he is with us. Get to know Andy in his blog feature below…

What role(s) do you play at the BSP this season?
Willard — Footloose
Harold Ickes — Annie
Ancestor — Addams Family
Duke/Dr. Carrasco — Man of LaMancha

How long have you been at Bigfork Summer Playhouse?
This is my first season with the Playhouse. I auditioned at SETC and felt a great vibe from the minute I walked into their hotel room for the callback (I mean… they gave me free candy!) But deciding to spend the summer in Montana wasn’t easy. This is the furthest I’ve ever been away from home, and my first time on this side of the country.

Andy_Burns_Photo_2When making my decision, I asked a lot of people for advice. Every single person who’d ever heard of Bigfork had nothing but wonderful things to say about it. They all swore up and down that it would be one of the most exciting and worthwhile adventures of my life. They were right.

Please share your personal history with theatre.
My theatrical career began as a singing handbell in a church musical at the age of three. I fell in love with Lexington Children’s Theatre in the fifth grade. I did theatre all through high school, but it was at LCT that I fell in love with the art storytelling. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today had it not been for the wonderful folks there.

What is your favorite thing to do in your “off” time while staying in Bigfork?
I cannot wait to jump into the beautiful lake! I’ve never seen water so clear. It’s quite different from the Kentucky River, I’ll say that…

Andy_Burns_Photo_3What are your plans after the BFSP season ends?
I’ll be going back to Northern Kentucky University for my junior year. I’ll also pick back up with my job as the music director at Hopeful Lutheran Church.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m a musician who fell in love with musical theatre. I love to perform, but I have a great deal of passion for music direction, and I hope that becomes my primary job.