Show Program



Major Education Sponsor

Education Sponsors

Education Co-Sponsors

Education Community Sponsors

*Administered through the Ventura County Community Foundation
**In Memory of Mary Avriette Cohen

Rubicon Theatre Company Presents


Musical Director:
Billy Thompson

Set Designer:
Eliot Ohlemeyer

Lighting Designer and

Board Operator:
Adam Dunn

Costume Designer:
Abra Flores

Sound Designer and Mixer:
Nichole Baffone

Technical Director and

Head Carpenter:
Naomi Miyahara


Company Manager:
Katherine Blankstein

Prop Master and Assistant Scenic Designer:
Harrison Newton

Production Stage Manager:
Peter Vandehei

Assistant Stage Manager:
Sophia Campbell

Assistant Choreographer:
Molly Sturgeon

Sound Assistant:
Cole Campbell

​Directed and Choreographed by
Cheryl Baxter and George Ratliff


Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig. Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, Music by Jeanine Tesori. Originally produced on Broadway by DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions. Original Production directed by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford.
“I’m a Believer” by Neil Diamond

A Note from Program Director Kirby Ward

When a group of actors and artists gather to create a piece of theatre, something magical happens. No-one quite understands how the magic works, but it’s real. It may start with a simple idea or it can be inspired by a big dream. No matter the genesis, at some point theatre magic takes over and those dreams and ideas become a living,  breathing possibility.  

This year, the magic began when I walked onto the campus of Villanova Preparatory. It was a little over a month ago and we didn’t know where our summer company of young actors would be learning their craft, let alone whether we’d be able to present their efforts in person, as full productions. Thanks to some remarkable generosity on the part of Nancy Ventura and the staff at Villanova Preparatory, just in the nick of time, this beautiful school became our summer home. We will always be deeply grateful to the staff at Villanova for opening their arms to us when we needed it most.

Next, we had to find a brave design and technical team willing to jump in on the shortest creative timeline imaginable. Our search was successful, and tonight you’ll see why our profound gratitude extends to them for their imagination, artistry, and hard work.  

We all came together with one thing in mind:  to create the wondrous thing that is live theatre, with live actors, a live audience, and all the electricity that comes when the two meet.

Here’s to believing in theatre magic. Without it we’d never Dare to Dream!

Kirby Ward


The Cast

(in alphabetical order)

Vivian Accola.jpg

Vivian Sky Accola
Baby Bear / Ensemble

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Isabel Andrade

Teen Fiona / Storyteller /
Wicked Witch

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Nevaeh Aspuria
Dragon / Storyteller

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Pearl Bova
Papa Ogre / Papa Bear / Dulocian /  Pied Piper

Ellah Daniels.jpg

Ellah Daniel


Fiona Dekkers.jpg

Fiona Dekkers
Pig / Ensemble

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Hope Dekkers

Young Fiona / Pig / Ensemble

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Olivia Dekkers
Ugly Duckling / Dulocian / Knight

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Gracie Feeney
Captain of the Guards / Bishop

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Zen Guelcher
Pig / Ensemble

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Adam Hibberd


Channing McClure.jpg

Channing McClure
Mama Bear / Storyteller / Dulocian

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Buttercup Myers
Guard / Ensemble

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Lilly Naranjo
Guard / Ensemble

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Zoey Pence

Pinocchio / Dulocian

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Louisa Ramos

Big Bad Wolf / Dulocian

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Healey Ramot
Gingerbread Man  / Knight

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Steven Romero
Peter Pan / Young Shrek / Dwarf / Knight

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Tessa Shinden

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Jonah Tillery
Farquaad / Papa Ogre

Production Team Bios

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CHERYL BAXTER (Director and Choreographer)

Cheryl has been working for over 40 years in theatre, commercials, film and television. She has worked on over 20 films including “Xanadu,” “Tap,” “Grease 2,” “Pennies from Heaven,” “500 Days of Summer,” “This Is It” with Michael Jackson and “The Muppet Movie.” Television credits include “Glee,” “Lucifer,” “The Academy,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Veep,” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Cheryl has performed in the Los Angeles and First National companies of Cats and 42nd Street and was in the Broadway telecast of “Sophisticated Ladies.”

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George got his start in 1976 with Godspell, followed by West Side Story, George M. and 1776. He has appeared in Grease on Broadway and on tour, and Sophisticated Ladies in Los Angeles and on tour. George also appeared with Cathy Rigby on tour in Peter Pan. TV credits include “General Hospital,” “Mike and Molly,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” Films include “The Majestic,” “Geppetto,” and “Mrs. Harris.” He has designed over 50 shows for Universal Studios Hollywood, Japan and Singapore.

BILLY THOMPSON (Musical Director) 

Billy has served as a composer, arranger, musical director, orchestrator, accompanist, and performer for stage productions across the country. His first original full-length collaboration, Invasion! The Musical garnered the 2007 LA Weekly Theatre Award for Best Original Score and Best Musical Direction. He has held faculty positions in music and theatre at USC, SDSU, AMDA-LA, and The Strasberg Institute. He holds a BM in Composition from USC, an MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.


Eliot is a scenic designer in the Los Angeles area. His professional background in entertainment and design has enabled him to excel both on and off the stage. In addition to his design credits, Eliot has served as a production manager at Bovard Auditorium overseeing high profile events on the USC campus. Eliot holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design from the University of Southern California where he attended on an Army ROTC Scholarship.


NICHOLE BAFFONE (Sound Designer/Engineer)

Nichole is a graduate from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in Technical Theatre with an emphasis in Sound Design. Some of her favorite past projects include Safe Harbor, ModelLand: A Tyra Banks Experience, Lysistrata, and a podcast play of Macbeth. She would like to thank her mom for her constant support, her boyfriend John for always being ready to talk shop, and her mentor Becca Kessin for her guidance. 

ADAM DUNN (Lighting Designer and Board Operator)

Adam trained at Ventura College and grew up as a local of Ojai. He especially enjoys working with color and finds working with young people incredibly rewarding. In 2019 he proudly became a technician at Disneyland Resort but was recently made redundant due to the pandemic. He hopes to return in the very near future. Some of his favorite productions have taken place at the Ojai Youth Entertainer Studio. When he is not designing lighting for theatre he works at the Ojai Valley Inn leading technical setup for events, weddings, and conferences. 

ABRA FLORES (Costume Designer)

As a Costume Designer and educator, Abra Flores has been telling stories with her designs for the past 35 years. As a working Designer, with experiences in multiple venues and production situations (theater, film, dance and opera), Abra brings a strong knowledge of and appreciation for Costume Design to her work and her teaching. Abra has initiated, developed and integrated active programs in costume design and makeup at Ventura College, Moorpark College and CSU, Channel Islands (currently, the CSUCI program is on hiatus).  It is very apparent she loves her craft, and takes great pride in creating excellent work, striving to instill in her students a pride in their craftsmanship and a love of theatre. Abra has also created an international program, where groups of students tour various cities in Europe, seeing plays and touring theaters. She received a B.A. in Theatre from Portland State University and a MFA in Costume Design from California Institute of the Arts. Abra is delighted to be collaborating with Rubicon again, where her previous shows include last year’s production of Never Not Once, A Christmas Carol, A Rubicon Family Christmas, Murder in the First, The Rainmaker, The Boys Next Door and Children of a Lesser God.

NAOMI MIYAHARA (Technical Director and Head Carpenter) 

Naomi Miyahara is a technical director from Southern California. She joined the theater world in 2013 and is a third-year MFA student at the California Institute of the Arts. With a love for collaboration, she finds the new skills that come with each production extremely rewarding. When not working, she enjoys spending time outdoors and finding joy in everyday life.

SERYOZHA LA PORTE (Director of  Video Production) 

Seryozha “Sasha” La Porte is an actor, improviser, and musician from Ventura, California. He studied and performed at Rubicon Theatre, and later attended the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts Professional Acting Program, in Solvang. He is currently studying neuropsychology, whilst also living the actor's life.



  • Scenic Artist: Audrey Martel

  • Props Assistant: Laura Allen

  • Videography Assistants: Benét Bouchard, Grace Muller

  • Costume Assistants: Claire Cleary, Malia Mooney, Vanessa Navarro, Hillary Rushing, Megg Sicotte-Kelly

  • Scenic Painting: Riley Stork, Arkiran Khaila

  • Production Photography: Loren Haar

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Head of Summer Education Programs, Kirby Ward

Kirby Ward has served as Director of Rubicon’s summer youth programs since 2018. Born and raised a California boy, he’s the second son of San Diego theatre parents Don & Bonnie Ward and has been referred to as the “quintessential song & dance man.” In high school, he decided his path was the “family business.” Teen directing efforts led to student productions at the University of Southern California under the guidance of John Blankenchip. Demonstrating particular skill with musical staging, Kirby caught the attention of Debbie Reynolds who he worked with for many years, appearing with her onstage in her act and staging specialty material for her and Donald O’Connor. He’s entertained queens, presidents, first ladies and dignitaries with his work as a multi-faceted entertainment artist on nearly every continent on the globe. As an actor, Kirby is an Olivier Award nominee. As a director he has been honored with Critics’ Circle Awards in San Diego and Boston and his Rubicon productions of Big River, Return to the Forbidden Planet and She Loves Me were Critic’s Pick in the LA Times.

Producing Artistic Director:
Karyl Lynn Burns

Associate Artistic Director:
Stephanie Coltrin-Beyries

Director of Outreach:
Beverly Ward

Head of Finance:
Ellen White

Summer Company Manager:
Katherine Blankstein

House Manager:
Christopher Brown

Summer Box Office Manager:
Anna Demaria

Mance Creative



Head of Financial Affairs:
Nancy Ventura

Fine Arts Department Head:
Sloan Hoffman

Theatre Technical Manager:
Ron Romano

Sylvia Arriaga


This year Rubicon Theatre company comes to Ojai as we gained an incredibly generous and supportive sponsor this summer in Villanova Preparatory.

Villanova Prep was founded in 1924 and offers a college preparatory curriculum for grades 9-12. Sitting on more than 130 acres, the beautifully green campus contains two dormitories, a chapel, and trails. The school offers both day and resident programs and is the only co-ed Augustinian boarding school in the United States. Their current student enrollment is around 290 students - including some participating in our productions this summer.




Special thanks...

To the generous hosts who are sharing their homes with our Summer Artists!
Randy Encinas and Doug Halter
Barbara and Tony Hirsch
Amanda McBroom and George Ball
Matty Park

Kay and Jerry Rich
Judy Russo
Becky and Steve Snyder

Additional thanks:

Bob Beuth
Cole Campbell
Rotary East
Harvard-Westlake School
Arkiran Khaila
Chad Newton
Jesse Newton
Waylon Newton
Ventura Rental
Chris Rowland
Riley Stork
Nancy Ventura

2021 Rubicon Education Donors
Dr. Jeanne P. Adams
Amanda McBroom and George Ball
Penelope Barnds
Dr. Norma Beck
Dale and William Belcher
Laura and Peter Berson
Gary Best
Mary and Bob Braitman
The Brickey Family
Bonnie Hellman and Buzz Brown
Donna Burger
Bonnie and Don Carlton
Chris Wells Construction
Hon. Mary Ann Cohen
Carol and Robert Cole
Freddie Contarino
Barbra Conway
Michelle and Matthew Demaria
Joan and Robert Egbert
Lynda and Fred Evans
Evelyn & Howard Boroughs Education Fund
Jodi and David Farrell
Ruthann and Jerry Feingold
Rebecca Fox
Nancy and Richard Francis
Lori and Greg Frank
The Harry and Judy Friedman Family Foundation
Judi and Manny Garcia
Clarissa and Bill Garlington
Deborah and Dr. Tom Golden
Jessica and Dr. Harvey Harris
Kathrine Heinzman
Charles Hendryx
Barbara and Larry Hilburn
Genny and Tom Hinkle
Kathie Hira
Martha Jaffe
Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation
Luners Production Services
Christine and Paul Magie
Lily Mallare
Stuart K. McDaniel
Barbara Meister
Loretta and Mike Merewether  
Marilyn Miravete-Smith
Judith R. Nelson
Madeline O'Rourke
Oaktree Property Management
Susan Van Abel and Eric Oltmann
Carey and Derek Poultney
Sandra Rush
Smith-Hobson Foundation
Joe Spano
Judie and Mel Swope
The Sence Foundation
Allen D. Vail
Villanova Preparatory School
Jean and Walt Wood
Writer Family Foundation
Stephanie and Kurt Zierhut