2021 Company

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Bill Koch - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Bill is honored to be directing the Players for their 73rd 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 forty years. He is very excited and honored to be keeping this theatre alive, historic, and entertaining.

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Christina Koch - COMPANY MANAGER / ACTOR
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, and teaching children’s drama classes in Laurin, Virginia City, and Ennis!

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Errol Koch – STAGE MANAGER / TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / ACTOR
Errol Koch is elated to be returning to the Opera House for the seventh season after braving yet another Montana winter. A graduate of the University of Montana, in the off season Errol runs The Heath, a non-profit performing arts center in Helena. His recent directing credits include Yellow Roses on the Hill, a story of Jeannette Rankin, Jesus Christ Superstar with the Myrna Loy Center, and a new Halloween theatre piece called Mister Malicious. Now he puts on his actor cap and is ready to bust a move for you to bust a gut here with the Virginia City Players.

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Lindsey Nussbaum – MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Lindsey grew up in Great Falls, MT, attending GFHS where he played trombone in the symphonic, pep, and jazz bands. His first experience with musical theater was in the pit orchestra for the 1995 GFHS production of The Sound Of Music. He later graduated from MSU-Bozeman with degrees in Music and Electrical Engineering and worked as an electrical engineer in the Puget Sound region for a number of years before returning to Great Falls to focus more on music. His main instruments are piano and accordion. He feels lucky to be able to play on the Cremona photoplayer here at the Opera House, one of the few in existence. In Great Falls, he has been a piano accompanist and occasional music director for a number of musical theater productions at the University of Providence as well as with Cantus (the UP Choir), professional/student vocal recitals, a Summer Showcase revue, an Act Normal Theatre dinner show, and a Mister Sisters drag show. He has also been a member of the GF Symphonic Choir, the Electric City Cabaret, the GF Community Jazz Band, and the local rock band Joel Corda and The No Account. On occasion you may see him on stage. He’s taken on small acting roles in South Pacific, White Christmas, and Legally Blonde, just to name a few.

Laura Zell Long - COSTUME DESIGNER

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, Margaret in Robin Hood, and Lucia in Zorro! 

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Hugh Butterfield - ACTOR

Hugh is excited to be returning to the Players after a 4 year hiatus. Since 2017 he has been consistently performing in Colorado at Midtown Arts Center, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, and Boulder Dinner Theater, among others. Credits include: Ragtime, Newsies, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, and Holiday Inn. Hugh also enjoys performing in other ways, primarily by playing DnD, and as a Gaming Content Creator @fb.gg/Daltamos. He received his BFA in Acting from the University of Montana, and would like to dedicate his work this season to the memory of Greg Johnson; a powerful, verbose instructor and mentor who died from Covid this year. Stay safe, and thank you for supporting live theater!

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Cody Root - ACTOR

This will be the third season Cody has spent with the Virginia City Players and he is excited to be back performing on this stage. Cody is an Army Brat who grew up in different places throughout the U.S. managing to find his way to Montana. He graduated from the University of Montana with his BFA in Acting with a certification in Entertainment Management. He began doing theatre his senior year of high school right after his final football season ended and has had a love of performing ever since. Some of his favorite roles he has done are Alan Deluca in A Chorus Line, Ethan in The Full Monty, The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. On top of stage work he enjoys working in film having done multiple short films. During these trying times, he is thrilled to be back on stage telling stories for an audience!

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Ryan Hurley - ACTOR

Ryan Hurley is so thrilled to be spending his summer with the Illustrious Virginia City Players. Born and raised in small town Ohio he currently makes a life for himself in the Big Sky Country. After last year not working out in his, or anyone’s favor, this will be his first official year with the players. He is so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get back to the stage. He majored in Theatre Studies at Wright State University, and has committed most of his time, passion, and experience honing his skills with the theatre groups in his communities. He has played the part of director and actor multiple times with some of his favorite roles being The Baker (Into the Woods), Rev. John Hale (The Crucible), Will Scarlet (Robin Hood), and The Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince (Into the Woods...again). He leads his life with the love and discipline he has learned from his dedication to the arts. Most of all he would like to thank his family and friends for all of their constant love, support, and guidance. He wants to thank everyone for their patronage, and hopes you embrace the simple authentic joys of some good old fashioned live theatre while appreciating the beautiful backdrop of this classic American town.

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Danielle Blanchard - ACTOR 

Dani is thrilled to join the Virginia City Players alongside her friend Barbie “Sassy” Mercado.

PCPA credits: A Little Night Music, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Charleys Aunt, Picnic; Arizona Theatre Company: Asst. Director, The Importance of Being Earnest; Actress: Albatross; Concord Pavilion: Jesus Christ Superstar starring Ted Nealy; TGAM 27 years of Melodrama & Vaudeville Revues: The Matchmaker, The Imaginary  Invalid, A Christmas Carol; SRT: Mame, Cabaret, Hay Fever, Lettice & Lovage, Lost in Yonkers, I Remember Mama, Singin’ in the Rain, You Can’t take it With You, The Miracle Worker; Aspen Theatre in the Park: Crimes of the Heart; Western Stage: Life with Father, A Winters Tale. Film/TV credits: BET Awards, J.C. Penny, Novo Nordisk, Baby Bullet, Hey Dude, Young Guns II, Young Riders, Frankenstein, Barbara Mandrell Christmas Special. Life Highlights: Missions service in Africa, hiking the Camino de Santiago, Drama Director at New Life, Director, The Promise Musical, College Professor 30 years, Oblate 22 Years with the Monks of the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California. Education: MA, University of Arizona; BFA, Boston Conservatory of Music. Dani is grateful to artistic directors Bill and Christina Koch for hiring her, and to her dear friend Barbie “Sassy Sasskwatch” Mercado for recommending me to them, so we can entertain our wonderful audiences together. She dedicates the Summer Season to her family and friends, old and new! Thanking the good Lord for all life’s blessings. Enjoy the ride!

Sydney Stephan - ACTOR

Sydney is so pumped to be joining the Virginia City Players this summer! She just graduated with her BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Utah, and will be relocating to NYC in October to continue her professional career. Previous roles include Bebe (A Chorus Line), Narrator (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), and Brenda Strong (Catch Me if You Can). In her spare time, she is a host of the popular podcast: Bold & Balanced. It is available on all podcast streaming platforms! Sydney is so thankful for the endless support she receives from her family & friends. ILY!

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Hannah Rose Kramer - ACTOR

Hannah Rose Kramer is thrilled to be making her Virginia City Players debut this summer! Originally a Central Florida Native, Hannah Rose is earning her Musical Theatre BFA at Valdosta State University. She extends all her love and gratefulness to her Mom, Dad, Family, Friends, Professors, and Cat back east. She hopes you enjoy the show and stay safe this summer!

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Mark Sheme - ACTOR

Mark Sheme is an upcoming senior at Valdosta State University studying musical theatre. He is super excited to spend another wonderful season with the Virginia City Players after playing Rumpelstiltskin in last year’s production.  He hopes you enjoy the show as much as he does!

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Anna Evans - BOX OFFICE MANAGER/ACTOR

Anna is excited to be joining the Virginia City Players for the first time this summer! She is from Idaho Falls and is currently studying at Brigham Young University- Idaho and is planning on graduating in a couple of years with BFA in Theatre and Dance. She’s been in shows like Newsies, Little Mermaid, and Singin’ in the Rain just to name a few! She wishes everyone stays safe this summer and enjoys the shows! 

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John & Micki Benedict - PRODUCERS
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 90s and have been producing the shows again since 2012, and they've loved every minute. They are very excited to be a part of this illustrious company once again!