Bill is honored to be directing the Players for their 69th season, in the Old Stone Barn Theater, otherwise known as the Opera House. He worked as the Company Manager of the Players from 1985-1987 and as the Artistic Director of both the Opera House and the Brewery Follies from 1988-1992. A graduate of Montana State University (GO BOBCATS!), he created The Firehouse 5 Playhouse in Livingston, MT which he owned and operated for ten years. He has taught both College courses and High School Speech & Drama. He has also worked with theater companies from Seattle to Missoula to Bozeman to Billings to Fort Collins, Colorado, for the past thirty years. He is very excited and honored to be keeping this theatre alive, historic and entertaining.
Company Manager / Actress
Christina loves being the Company Manager and an Actress for the Illustrious Virginia City Players. She holds an AA in Classical Vocal Performance and a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has worked as a performer, Music Director, Lighting Designer, Scenic Designer and Stage Manager in various theatres around Denver. Her favorite roles include Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel & Dimed, Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress, Amjulitte in Frankenstein, Lili Fontaine in The Phantom of the Opera, and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Christina is thrilled and honored to be running the VC Players with her Artistic Director and husband, Bill Koch. When not on stage, she can be found playing the role of Madame Librarian at the Madison County Library in Virginia City!
John and Micki Benedict
John and Micki, of Benedict Builders, both moved to Madison County from the Midwest in 1974. John landed in Virginia City and Micki landed in the Ruby Valley, where they raised their children. Now both full-time residents of Virginia City they would never consider leaving because Virginia City truly is, “the last best place.” They were involved with the Virginia City Players in the past and loved every minute. They are very excited to be a part of this illustrious company once again!
Costume Designer / Actress
Now a full-time resident of Virginia City, Laura spent most of her life in Colorado where she owned and operated a sign company for twenty years with her husband Walter. Throughout her life she produced countless articles of clothing for everyday use, as well as, a wide variety of costumes. Laura is thrilled to be spending another summer as the Costume Designer for her daughter and son-in-law, Christina and Bill Koch. In addition to dressing the Players in gorgeous costumes, she has also performed as Marm Crockett in Davy Crockett, Widow Daus in Frankenstein, Molly Loveless in On the Gold Trail with Deadwood Dick, Madame Lorenzo in The Phantom of the Opera, Queen Beatrice in Sleeping Beauty, and Margaret in Robin Hood!
Musical Director / Actor
Robert Harsch has been an actor, technician, composer, musician, and sound designer in various locales, including Black Hills Playhouse, MCT Community Theater, Montana Repertory Theater, Blue Slipper Theater, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Favorite roles include Man In Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone (MCT, Jan. 2016) and the title role in VCP’s The Phantom Of The Opera (Aug. 2015). In the off-season he plays piano at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Missoula and this past autumn was Musical Director for Peter & The Starcatcher at his alma mater, University of Montana. He is a member of Musicians of Western Montana, Local No. 498-642 of The American Federation of Musicians.
ACTOR / ASSISTANT DIRECTOR / CHOREOGRAPHER
This season will mark Brandon's 5th summer as a member of the company. Beginning in 2012, his love for the Opera House quickly began to grow. He trained in voice, dance, acting and choreography at Central Washington University, and is honored to take on the role of assistant director this year. Thanks go out to all of his family and friends for their never-ending encouragement toward his pursuits, and to Gretchen, for being his rock. He raises a glass to the Players over the years, and to the remarkable artists of 2019.
John W. Cantrell
BOX OFFICE MANAGER / ACTOR
Butler Ben is back at the Virginia City Opera House. He has spent the last 30 years wandering around the United States on stage and behind stage making the Magic of Theatre happen. John spent his formative years at Rocky Mountain College in the theatre department. His early career saw him at Virginia City Opera House, The Firehouse 5 Playhouse, and the Billings Studio Theater. Moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania John took the opportunity to work with Prime Stage Theater for Young People as a Costumer. John settled down in South Bend, Indiana in 2006 to work at the Morris Performing Arts Center as an Assistant Box Office Manager.
Some of his favorite roles have been Bottom in A midsummer Night’s Dream, Flint in Something’s Afoot and Larry from Angry Housewives.
John is so excited to be returning to the Opera House where it all started. Much love to Jeff, Trixie, and Pudge. Daddy will be home soon.
Box Office Assistant / Actress
Gretchen is delighted for her first season with the Players! After spending the summer of 2017 in Virginia City, she fell in love with the old time charm of the place and the unique theater company. Gretchen is grateful for the opportunity to explore costume design and theatre arts. As a graduate of the University of Montana Western’s English program, she has a great appreciation for storytelling and creative expression. A special thanks is extended to Bill and Christina for this opportunity as well as to Brandon for his love and support. Of course, thanks to Mom and Dad too.
Actor / Tech Director / Assistant Director
Errol Koch is a graduate of the University of Montana. By day, Errol is the Curator of Art and Live Performance at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena, Montana, as well as, the Artistic Director and founder of the Heartscope Ensemble. Recent production credits include directing Jesus Christ Superstar, Robin Hood-ish an original puppet show, and Spring Awakening. Acting Credits include Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher, Doug in Gruesome Playground Injuries, and King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar. While Errol fervently orbits around the Montana theatre scene, he is beside himself to finally land back with the Players and his wonderful family, once again, after a 6-year sabbatical.
Karen contracted the theater bug in 2nd grade, acting in the Missoula Children Theater’s first year of production, portraying the “2nd Ghost from the Left” in Rip Van Winkle. Through the years, she has performed in countless musicals under Bill Koch’s direction at the Firehouse 4 Theater in Livingston, including, I Do, I Do, South Pacific, Big River, Oklahoma, Nunsense and her most memorable part as Mama Rose in Gypsy. She also performed many times at the Blue Slipper in Livingston. In fact, she met her husband of 29 years, Ray, during the production of Theater Mania: A Night of Reviews at the Blue Slipper…and guess who was their best man…yep, Bill Koch! Karen has sung for several years with a traveling group of ladies, aptly named “Broad Harmony” and has also played a large role in costuming hundreds of actors for numerous shows. Karen is ecstatic to be a part of the Virginia City Players once again! Sit back, relax & enjoy the show!
Tyler studies Theatre Performance at Brigham Young University - Idaho during the off-season, set to graduate next year with his Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree. Tyler is on his second season with the Illustrious Virginia City Players, and you may recognize him as Prince Charming in Cinderella or Dr. Jekyll in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from last season, 2018. Tyler has also played Tommy Dijilas in The Music Man for the Rexburg Community Theatre, Dale in Please Wait to Be Seated, and an ensemble Policeman in The Pirates of Penzance at Brigham Young University - Idaho. Tyler also has performed in the university's sketch comedy group, The Humor Code, since 2017. Tyler is beyond thrilled to be back in Virginia City, ready to make some more memories.
As a returning Opera House Player, Jessica loves the theatre atmosphere. She hopes to someday reach her goals of becoming a successful actress and spreading the joy of the acting world, whilst also encouraging others to do what you love as a living. She has done many shows, such as, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Curious Savage, MINDSWAP, Music Man, etc.
Cody is returning for his second season as a Virginia City Player. He is an army brat and has lived all over the US. He graduated from the Unviersity of Montana with his BFA in Practice and Performance and Certificate in Entertainment Management. Some of his favorite shows he had done previously include The Full Monty and A Chorus Line. He also likes long walks on the beach, and craft beer!
This is Eleisha’s first season with the Virginia City Players and she couldn’t be more excited! Having recently graduated from Brigham Young University - Idaho with a Bachelors in Theatre Studies and an emphasis in performance, she is excited for her first opportunity to act professionally. She thoroughly enjoyed every production she was fortunate enough to be in throughout her time at BYU-I, which include: On The Verge, Twelfth Night, House of Desires, and a student production of Ghosts. Eleisha has several favorite parts of acting, some of which are the rehearsal process and the discoveries you can make while performing, as well as, the wonderful people you meet and the lives you can touch. Her love for performing was instilled in her from a young age when she and her siblings would film movies and perform skits for their parents. She is excited for this new opportunity and experience to learn and grow, and greatly looks forward to seeing what the future holds.
Harrison Wade Proulx
Harrison Proulx is from Reno, Nevada. He is about to graduate with a BA in theatre studies. This is his first year with the Virginia City players. He enjoys acting and performing stand-up comedy. When not performing he enjoys making pizza and then eating that pizza.