Meet the Director: Robin Hood

Kurt-Wobken---CrisCassell.jpgNOTES FROM THE DIRECTOR Who doesn’t know the timeless tale of Robin Hood as legend has it, the nobleman turned hero to the underclass and underdog, the man who “robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.“ He was the ethical criminal and thief “feared by the bad, loved by the good.”

We admire Robin Hood for his boldness in “redistributing the wealth.” We envy his defiance and rebellious outlaw freedom. He was a trickster who defeated his opponents not only with his skill in archery and swordplay, but also with his mocking wit, a symbol of justice and equity in the face of greed and tyranny.

No story of a hero is complete without a proper villain, the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, who serves the evil Prince John. Or a romantic love interest in the person of Maid Marian, who when used as a decoy to bait and capture Robin Hood, falls in love with him at first sight, as he does with her. They truly meet their match in each other.

Add to this swashbuckling tale the raucous humor with which playwright Greg Banks infuses his version of Robin Hood, the loveable characters that populate Robin’s world, and plenty of excitement and audience involvement, and you have the perfect light entertainment for a summer’s evening at the Barn.

The concept for this production was inspired by Ron Krempetz’ delightful set design, with which he creates the 2D world of storybooks. This idea carried over into costumes and props, and sound design as well, reflecting the way that children manifest the world of their imagination by endowing whatever objects they have on hand. The story spills forth from the trunks downstage as from the wagons of the traveling players of old, across the stage and down into the house, and you see the transformation of character and place before your very eyes.

With our talented design team, able production crew, and energetic and inventive company of young actors who play multiple roles in this production, it has been a joyful experience bringing this classic tale to the stage. We hope you and yours have as much fun entering into the world of Robin Hood as we have!

Cris Cassell (Director) has worked as a theatre artist for over 25 years as an actor, di-
rector, and acting coach. She has directed shows for S.F. Fringe Festival, Bay Area One-
Act (BOA) Festival, C.A.F.E. at the Next Stage, San Francisco Theatre Festival, Thrillped-
dlers, Marin Fringe Festival at Dominican University, and Ross Valley Players RAW. This is her 15th production with RVP, prior to which she directed Arms and the Man, Enchanted April, The Night of the Iguana, Doubt, Top Girls, and A View From the Bridge, to name a few. Cris coordinates RVP’s Senior Play Reading Program at Villa Marin. She served as president of the board of RVP from 2012 to 2015, and stepped down from the board this June after six years of service. Cris is in her 18th year as an instructor of acting, speech, and theatre history at Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

ROBIN  HOOD opens July 15 and runs through August 14, 2016. Tickets are available HERE.

Meet the Cast: Robin Hood

Ariana-Mahallati---headshot3.jpgAriana Mahallati (Marian/Much) makes her Ross Valley Players debut, and she couldn’t be more excited! Her first onstage experience was roller skating in James Dunn’s The Comedy of Errors (Apprentice) at the College of Marin, and she has been trying (unsuccessfully) to convince directors to let her roller-skate in another play since. Recent credits include King Lear (Goneril), Dead Accounts (Jenny), and Misalliance (Hypatia Tarleton) at the College of Marin, where she has been a student for two years and where she first discovered her love of all things theatre.


Nicholas-Schwager---IMG_1118.jpgNicholas Schwager (Robin Hood) debuts in his first show at the Ross Valley Players and he is thrilled. Nicholas started theatre when he was at Redwood High School, where he played such roles as the young soldier Simon Chachava in Caucasian Chalk Circle, as well as the self-absorbed and overly-ambitious new reporter Wally Winston in the Marx Brothers’ classic musical Animal Crackers. Nicholas went on to the College of Marin, where he played playboy pilot Joey Percival, in Misalliance. Nicholas also played Oswald in King Lear. A young filmmaker and screen-writer, Nicholas creates his own content for personal projects, such as his short web-series Biz-Guys, a stylized documentary which follows the life of an aloof teenager trying to be successful in his foolhardy business ventures. Watch Biz-Guys on YouTube HERE.

ROBIN HOOD opens July 15 and runs through August 14, 2016. Tickets are available HERE.


Meet the Cast: Robin Hood

Cory-Anderson---Cory-Anderson-Headshot-2.jpgCory Anderson (Little John/Soldier) grew up performing throughout the Bay Area before earning degrees in Drama and Music from Kenyon College. She made her professional debut in Ross Valley Players’ Once Upon a Mattress and is thrilled to return to the Barn. She has performed extensively for both American and international audiences with Walt Disney World and Royal Caribbean Productions. Favorite roles include Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Margrethe in Copenhagen and Snowflake in Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (TV). In addition to work as an actor, she has appeared with Parthenon Ballet Company (Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella and Maid in The Nutcracker),toured and recorded with the Kenyon College Chamber Singers, and recently wrote her first cookbook.

Pablo-Hamlin---Pablo-Hamlin's-headshot.jpgPablo Hamlin (Prince John/Will/Friar) is delighted to be making his debut with the Ross Valley Players. Pablo recently finished a tour of Aladdin with East Bay Children’s Theatre, a theatre company that travels to numerous underprivileged schools who have never experienced theatre before. Not so long ago he also participated in the Green House Festival at Z Space. Other credits include The Wedding Singer, The Learned Ladies, Translations, and Measure for Measure, all performed at San Francisco State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance. When he’s not acting onstage, Pablo house manages and manages the administrative offices at Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley. At the same time, he is currently employed as a box office associate at Brava for Women in the Arts in San Francisco.

20150407_152319Izaak Heath (Sheriff)is a student at College of Marin majoring in theatre. He hopes to make a career out of acting and move on to film. He has done many plays in the area including the recent King Lear and Gossamer at College of Marin and Pirates of Penzance at Ross Valley Players. He lives in Marin with his brothers.

ROBIN  HOOD opens July 15 and runs through August 14, 2016. Tickets are available HERE.

Meet the Director: Mary Ann Rodgers

Mary Ann Rodgers (Director) is a Bay Area based theatre artist and teacher. She began directing at Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival with a staged reading of Rebecca J. Ennals’ Sonnets for W.H. She also directed Our Town which opened two days after the tragedy of 9/11 – a production which served as a place of healing for the local community, and a joyful production of As You Like It along the Napa River. Her Ross Valley Players directing credits include Jane Austen’s Persuasion by Jennifer Le Blanc, David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole, and A.R. Gurney’s The Cocktail Hour for which she won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Directing. Coming up for Mary Ann are a staged reading at RVP of her play, (The Miracle of) Concepción and a revisiting of Jane Austen’s Persuasion by Jennifer Le Blanc for Livermore Shakespeare Festival. As an actor, she was last seen in Shoebox Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 142 Throckmorton as bumbling director Peter Quince, which she believes was very good casting. Her RVP acting credits include Impressionism, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Pack of Lies (BATCC Award). Favorite acting roles have always been given to her by Shakespeare – Beatrice, Emilia, Mistress Ford, and Titania. She teaches theater at The Bay School of San Francisco and loves sharing her experience of theater with the funny, creative, eager, and generous up-and-comers. As always, Mary Ann thanks her lucky stars for support given to her by her husband, actor-designer Malcolm Rodgers.

Meet the Cast: William H. Bryant, Jr. & Eugene DeChristopher


William H. Bryant Jr. (Juan Julian) is extremely excited and grateful to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing cast, crew and director here at Ross Valley Players. Coming from an athletic background, having played collegiate football, he decided to make the transition of acting and modeling upon graduating from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. William has performed in TV shows, films and several stage plays such as Mulatto by Langston Hughes at the Black Repertory Theatre, Picasso at The Lapin Agile by Steve Martin, and most recently The Petrified Forest by Robert Sherwood at Beverly Hills Playhouse/The Firescape Theatre.


Eugene DeChristopher (Eliades) is delighted to be working once more with the wonderfully talented director, Mary Ann Rodgers. He last appeared on stage as Gangster #2 in Kiss Me, Kate at Contra Costa Civic Theatre. He is a former member of the Marin Actors Workshop led by Terry McGovern. Eugene is the newly appointed master carpenter at Ross Valley Players, and he constructed the set for Anna in the Tropics. Past sets include The Night of the Iguana, Journey’s End at RVP; A Streetcar Named Desire, Meet Me in St. Louis at CCCT; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe, Petrified Forrest for the Marin Actors Workshop. A big hug to my wife of 25 years, Nan Ayers.

Anna in the Tropics runs May 27 – June 19, 2016. More information at

Meet the Cast: Regina Morones & Rio Martinez


Regina Morones (Conchita) is thrilled to make her Ross Valley Players debut with such a talented cast and crew. She is a Bay Area based actor, singer, teaching artist, and a
proud member of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Resident Artist Company. She was recently seen touring Bay Area schools
as Top Hat in Dis/Connected and Callie/Sabrina in Outspoken with the New Conservatory Theatre Center’s YouthAware program. Other credits include Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost (Douglas Morrison Theatre), Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet (SF Shakespeare Festival), Laila in Silo Tree (Iowa New Play Festival), and Mary Ellen Pleasant in More Than Petticoats (Tabard Theatre). Regina has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Clark Atlanta University, an M.F.A in Acting f
rom the University of Iowa, and is an EMC member of Actor’s Equity.


Rio Martinez (Palomo) is a local Bay Area actor from Hayward, CA and is delighted to make his Barn Theater debut in the role of Paloma. You may have seen Mr. Martinez singing and dancing last year at the Oakland Woodminster in their production of Aida or at the Douglas Morrisson Theater where he played the cavalier lover Berowne in a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. When he is not acting, he divides his time with family and as a Sergeant in the California National Guard. Mr. Martinez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Azusa Pacific University.

Anna in the Tropics runs May 27 – June 19, 2016. More information at

Meet the Cast: Hallie Frazer & Neiry Rojo


Hallie Frazer (Ofelia) played Beatrice Carbone in the 2009 RVP production of A View From The Bridge and re-turns as Ofelia. Favorite roles have included Lady Capulet in the West Edge Opera adaption of Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet, Maria Josefa in The House of Bernarda Alba with the Oklahoma Indian Theatre and Dance Company, Pancha in the Teatro de la Esperanza National Tour of Josefina Lopez’s Real Women Have Curves, Longoria in Teatro de la Esperanza’s production of Dancing With the Missing by Roy Conboy, Mrs. Manningham in Gaslight, Martha in The Children’s Hour with the Milpitas North Bay Players, and Jean in The Savages at the Irish Arts Center, NY.


Neiry Rojo (Marela) was last seen in Quantum Dragon Theatre’s Theatre Bay Area Recommended inaugural production of Civil. Prior to that, she was in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s Emma and Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest as Trinculo. Ms. Rojo was a part of Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s inaugural season playing Audrey in As You Like It, the Host of the Garter Inn in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Queen Elizabeth I in The Beard of Avon. She earned her MA in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz.

Anna in the Tropics runs May 27 – June 19, 2016. More information at