October - November 2023
Center Players is thrilled to introduce our stellar cast for our season opener -- Steel Magnolias! Robert Harling's endearing play takes place in a beauty salon in Louisiana where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done. What begins as a comedy eventually turns tragic, and the sudden realization of the characters' mortality and underlying strength through friendship makes the play truly touching and memorable.
MEET THE CAST
Andrea Bell Wolf – Truvy Jones
Andrea was plucked from Professional Children's School to play Ermengarde in the first National Tour of Hello Dolly starring Carol Channing and alternated as Minnie Fay and Ermengarde in a total of five productions of the legendary musical production (where President Johnson came to her dressing room to kiss her hand!} including Broadway and a requested audition for the movie. She played Josie Cohan in the regional tour of George M! Mammy Yolum in Lil Abner at Goodspeed Opera House, Frenchy in Grease in Philadelphia with Andrea McArdle directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Susan Stroman. Grease at Sacramento Music Theater with Linda Purl and Desi Arnez Jr. Imaginary Invalid at Walnut Street theater with E.G Marshall, Ruby Dee and Tammy Grimes. Warm up girl for the Ed Sullivan show and appearing as lead singer on the show with Your Fathers Mustache Band. In 2018 her Stevie Nicks Cabaret show had an over capacity audience at the Cutting Room NYC. Her work in the revue, Bottoms Up! took her from Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas to Australia for an extended run and was the basis for her autobiographical Adventures in Vegas taken from her actual diary and performed at the ATM off Broadway theater in 2022 in which she got nominated for a Broadway World and MAC award. Last year Andrea received the Perry Award for outstanding actress in an original play A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx at Centers Players. Andrea is married to Robert and has two children and two grandchildren who are the joy of her life! She is thrilled to have the opportunity to play Truvy in Steel Magnolias. email@example.com. www.andreabellwolff.com
Christa Collier – Annelle
Growing up in Dallas, Texas, Christa learned to love theater and music throughout school productions, regional theater performances and Dallas' Shakespeare in the Park. Some of her favorite roles growing up included Funny Girl (Fanny Brice), Into the Woods (Baker's Wife), and Taming of the Shrew (Katherine). Between high school and college, Christa had the opportunity to study theater at Cambridge University (Jesus College), as well as the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Christa earned a degree in theater (along with her Linguistics and English degrees) from Dartmouth College where she helped finalize Pulitzer Prize winner Wendy Wasserstein's last play, Third, and originated the role of Emily in its first performed reading. From there, Christa went to work in NYC for New York Theater Workshop (originators of Rent), Disney's Theater of the Stars, and various off-Broadway shows. Christa earned her Master of Fine Arts at Case Western Reserve University's scholarship program, where she performed in several seasons at Lort B Theater Cleveland Playhouse, in shows such as Venus in Fur (Vanda), Twelfth Night (Olivia), In Arabia We'd All Be Kings (Chickie), as well as Oberlin's Summer Festival, where she starred in Light up the Sky (Irene). Her favorite performances to date include Proof (Catherine), Urinetown (Hope), and Baby Girl (Ashley), which she helped debut at NYC Fringe. After a 9-year absence from theater, Christa feels incredibly fortunate and excited to return to the stage in Freehold Center Players' Steel Magnolias with this amazing cast and production crew.
Jenn Hyman Zimmerman – Clairee Belcher
Jennifer is very excited to be making her Center Players debut in such an iconic comedy play. Local credits include various performances with Misfits Theatre Company of Manalapan and Monmouth County Parks. NYC credits include Liz in "Checking In" (June Havoc Theatre), "People Like Us" (Danny's Skylight), "Jenn and Friends" (Don't Tell Mama), and Hillary in "The Jungle Fun Room" (Friday Night Footlights). Jenn also enjoys traveling to one of her favorite places, Boothbay Harbor Maine, to perform in multiple cabarets. Movie roles include: "Checking In" (Amazon Prime) and various short films. Jenn graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in acting and directing. She would like to give special thanks to her husband, son, dogs, and cat for holding down the fort while she continues her love of performing.
Julia Angeliadis- Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie
Julia is a Monmouth County native who has been acting for 5+ years. She studies at the Count Basie Center for the Arts and Atlantic Theater Company, focusing on the Meisner Technique in commercial and film. Julia has appeared in multiple PSA & indie films, showcases, and made her theatre debut playing Molly Ralston in The Mousetrap at First Avenue Playhouse Dessert Theatre. Besides acting, Julia is also an artist, dance instructor, and avid beach goer!
Samantha Ambler - M’Lynn Eatenton
Samantha is thrilled to make her Center Players debut in her bucket list role of M’Lynn a dozen years after playing Shelby at First Ave Playhouse. Other favorite community theater roles include Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Annette in God of Carnage, Fairy Mae in The Curious Savage, Marnie in Wrong Window, Libby in The Maiden’s Prayer, Claire in Proof and Alice in Closer. She is a 4-time Perry Award nominee, winning once for Best Production of an original play for Angels in Boston, for which she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress. She has numerous film and television credits including Law & Order, Howard Stern’s Private Parts, A Miracle on 34th St, and fX’s The Pet Dept. Off Broadway credits include Men are Dogs, Sex Relationships and Sometimes Love and more.
Thank you to everyone at Center Players for believing in this show and its cast. Big thanks to Sharon and Mark for taking a chance on casting a full time Mom with zero free time.
Thanks to family and friends for their continued support.
This performance is dedicated (as always) to Lochlan- my real-life Jackson Latcherie Jr. “Moon of my life. My sun and stars”
Rachel Hamilton -Ouiser Boudreaux
Rachel is no stranger to Center Players where she has enjoyed acting, teaching, and directing over the past five years. You may recognize her from Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasions, Lend Me a Tenor, or California Suite. Rachel has also played various roles throughout other community theaters in NJ. Some of her favorites include M'Lynn Eatenton in Steel Magnolias, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Reggie Fluty in The Laramie Project, Maggie Mundy in Dancing at Lughnasa, and Florence Unger in The Odd Couple. Her favorite role, however, will always be Mom to Abigail. 🙂 Rachel has also spent many years behind the scenes as a director, writer, technical director, and educator. She is also co-founder of Lighthouse Productions where she is currently working with her father to turn one of their original musicals, The Search for Christmas, into a graphic novel. Rachel would like to thank Sharon and Mark for the opportunity to play the iconic spitfire, Ouiser. She is honored to share the stage with such talented, strong women and is thankful to the CP Board for providing a space to play. Special thanks to Rachel's family and friends for their love and support, her theater peeps for always being up for a good character chat, and her husband, Bruce, for running lines with her with patience, love, and precision. 😉 Rachel is blessed to have many steel magnolias in her life, including her mother, sisters, daughter, and stepdaughter. She would like to dedicate her performance to those steel magnolias as well as her former director, the late Bill Zielinski, who believed in laughter through tears.
Sharon Coyle - Director
Sharon performed since the age of 5 in professional and in community productions. As a performer, she was nominated for NJ Perrys for the lead roles in Gypsy & Little Me. After performing in the original cast of Merrily We Sing and Dance: A VanZandt/Milmore production, she was signed with Shirley Grant Management and was booked to go on a New England tour of Camelot. Life had other plans for her as she became severely ill with Crohn’s/ulcerative colitis which put a halt on her theatrical endeavors. After major surgery, the doctors (similar to Shelby) advised against having children. Like Shelby, she didn’t listen to them and had one challenging birth with her first child, and with her second (oddly enough, on June 21 like Jackson Jr) Sharon had an emergency C-section from a very serious complication called placental abruption. Sharon’s passion for theater took hold once again in 2019, she was cast as Joanne in Company and during the pandemic was chosen by Theatre 68’s New York/LA based company to read Nora in A Doll’s House 2 with Director Ronnie Marmo. Sharon, along with co-director Mark, just won a Perry Award for the 2023 Best Production of a Play - Driving Miss Daisy at First Avenue Playhouse. Recently she directed another Coyle/Papa production of Color & Light: A Sondheim Musical Revue. She wants to thank her incredible mentors/directors from her past for their insight, exploration on helping to explore characters and to be quite frankly their non bs work ethic and respecting the art of creating art: Gary Cohen, Mark Hopkins, Peter Loewy, Ronnie Marmo, Billy Van Zandt, John Mentor, the late Michael Boyd and to acting teachers at HB Studios and Jared Kelner. To the greats: Constantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler….and to her codirector Mark without your support, insight, and valuable input all this could never have been accomplished.
Mark Papa – Director
My earliest and eternal influence in the world of acting came from a passionate High School teacher, Mr. Ed. Roberts, who taught a rather unique program titled 'Film as an Art Form'. I've not watched a stage presentation or movie in the past forty years without thinking of the things I learned in Mr. Roberts’ class.
I began acting on stage in 2022 and have appeared in community theater productions of Clue, Rainbow Holiday, Things My Mother Taught Me, and Twelve Incompetent Jurors. In 2023 I appeared with my daughter Vanessa in The Ultimatum Queer Love on Netflix.
I have co-directed Driving Miss Daisy which received six Perry nominations and Color and Light a Sondheim musical review. As a director, my philosophy is that the audience member should feel engaged with the production the moment they walk into the theater and remain engaged long after they have left the theater.
When not "playing" or working I volunteer in the Foster Care system as a Guardian Ad Litem and as a grief counselor for children at IMAGINE in Mountainside NJ.
Roberta Fallon - Producer
Roberta is very pleased to be producing her 19th show for Center Players. She enjoys working as a producer, as it allows her the opportunity to work with many different directors, and to take part in the development of a show from first audition to opening night. She has appeared on Center Playhouse stage as Helen the Maid in A Doll's House, Mrs. Rodgers in And Then There Were None, and Irma Kronkite in Picnic. She most recently played multiple roles in “Classic Radio Road Shows” production of It’s a Wonderful life”. Roberta has served on the Business Board of the theater as secretary for many years. She has just been nominated for two 2023 NJ Perry Awards-Best Production and Best Properties. In addition, at most performances she can be found serving refreshments and mingling with the patrons, telling them all about the wonderful events happening at the theater. She is Vice-President and co-owner, with her husband Sheldon, of The Leigh Insurance Agency in Freehold. She is pleased to be working with Sharon and Mark, two extremely talented directors as well as this awesome cast. She thanks her husband Sheldon for encouraging her to join him at Center Players and being her biggest supporter.
Anne Kaufman – Stage Manager
Anne stepped on stage at two years old and never really left it. From there, she went on to study dancing, singing, and acting well into college. Always eager to steer a production, Anne began directing and choreographing shows in college and stage managing shortly thereafter with the American Repertory Ballet.
By day, Anne teaches middle school theater and directs spring musicals, where she has delighted in fostering young theater artists for over twenty years. In the evenings when she’s not home with her family, she can be found stage managing, most recently with Capital Productions for Annie, Company, and Hello, Dolly!
Anne is delighted to be working with Center Players for the first time, and to be reunited with Sharon Coyle once again. She sends much love to Dan and her boys (I’ll be home again soon!), and gratitude forever to the woman who was her biggest fan and is now her guardian angel: Mom.