Directors

CCT DIRECTORS

Michael Armendariz Michael has been an active member of CCT since 1998, both on stage and behind the scenes, serving on the Board, co-directing plays and fundraisers. He has appeared in numerous CCT productions over the years and has performed in a rabbit suit, worn high heels and gone the “full monty” onstage. ALL … for the love of theater.  In our 2008-2009 season, he co-directed Love Bytes and Sordid Lives with CCT’s founder, David Richards; Michael also directed Razzle Dazzle ’Em, our 25th anniversary cabaret, in March 2010 and The Things We Do for Love in March 2012. Michael directed the rock musical Rent in February 2014, and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress in May 2015.

Debby Babb directed The Odd Couple, Cheatin’, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Boys Next Door, Dearly Departed, and The Lone Star Love Potion for CCT. She is the owner of the store “mi tierra” in Christiansted — a haven for her actors to get that extra bit of coaching during one of her productions. Her husband Taylor and daughters, Tavia, Annaly and Malerie all have a long history of working in theater.

Annaly Babb-Guerra was born and raised on St. Croix and first became involved with CCT in 1987, when she was part of the original Calico Cat Company. Annaly has taught and directed plays and musicals at Country Day School and served as President of CCT’s Board of Directors. She directed CCT’s popular production of Chicago, the musical by John Kander & Fred Ebb, in 2008.

Michael Baker Michael has been an active member of CCT since 1998, both on stage and behind the scenes, serving on the Board, co-directing plays and fundraisers. He has appeared in numerous CCT productions over the years and has performed in a rabbit suit, worn high heels and gone the “full monty” onstage. ALL … for the love of theater.  In our 2008-2009 season, he co-directed Love Bytes and Sordid Lives with CCT’s founder, David Richards; Michael also directed Razzle Dazzle ’Em, our 25th anniversary cabaret, in March 2010 and The Things We Do for Love in March 2012. Michael directed the rock musical Rent in February 2014, and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress in May 2015.

Eileen Bishop Des Jardins Born, raised and educated on St. Croix, Eileen has worked on CCT productions for more than 28 years – onstage and behind the scenes. She has served on the CCT Board of Directors for over 20 years, and is currently CCT’s Managing Producer. Eileen has directed several plays for CCT, including Grace & Glorie, Liberated, Parallel Lives, Pump Boys And Dinettes, and Steel Magnolias, and has co-directed the musicals Evita and Smokey Joe’s Café with Lorraine Durand, Sarah & Addie, a collection of short West Indian comedies by Anton C. Teytaud, with Oceana James, The Oldest Profession with Deborah Phillips, and La Gringa with Xiomara Sanchez. For CCT’s 30th season Eileen will again team with Xiomara on Dictation, by LaRita Shelby.

Sylvia Brady was born in Harlem, New York and has called St Croix home for over 15 years. Often recognized from her role as Ruth Younger in CCT’s A Raisin in the Sun, she has a background in stage, film and print and is now interested in working on the other side of the stage. Sylvia is co-founder and of Ten Thousand Helpers of St Croix, a transition home for the mentally ill and homeless, and founder and president of Sister’s Keepers, an outreach ministry. The designer of the “Island Angel” dolls and an accomplished jewelry designer and teacher, known in the territory as “the Bead Lady,” Sylvia also gives classes in bead work and basic silver smithing. A past-president of the CCT Board of Directors, Sylvia made her directorial debut with The Dixie Swim Club, produced by CCT in 2011.

Charles Braslow (1948-2015). Charlie, a retired physician and life-long theater-lover, acted in several CCT productions after moving to St. Croix in 2000, including ‘ART’, Sordid Lives, Sundays at Eleven, Proof, Cabaret and Moonlight and Magnolias. Charlie also directed several shows at CCT, including Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, Bedroom Farce, Deathtrap, Blithe Spirit, I Take This Man, CCT’s FUNdraiser Crazy Love! A Therapeutic Revue, Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind, and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel. Charlie’s program bio listed his loves as Bob, cats, music, opera, science fiction, Italy and cooking.

Marsha Clements Munchez, originally from Queens, New York, performed in quite a few CCT productions while residing in St. Croix from 1996 to 2006, including Company, God’s Favorite, Proposals, Steel Magnolias, and The Odd Couple (Female Version). She also served on the CCT Board of Directors, and directed several plays: A Raisin in the Sun, Dictation, Real Women Have Curves and On Golden Pond.

Chester Delacruz (1934-2015). Chester performed in CCT’s productions of Bedroom Farce and Big River, and appeared in over 150 plays and musicals in Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Germany. Chester was also a talented musician and artist. He designed sets for several CCT productions including Big River, Liberated and Bedroom Farce, and painted stunning scenic backdrops for Big River, The Pajama Game and The Spitfire Grill. In March 2006 he was director, set designer and scenic painter for Anna in the Tropics, a Pulitzer-winning play by Nilo Cruz.

Ruby Des Jardins, a second-generation Crucian, started her CCT career as a street urchin in A Christmas Carol at CCT’s theater on Strand Street, Ruby was a founding member of the Calico Cat Company, CCT’s children’s theater group. She painted flats, designed lights, tended bar, and trod the boards of CCT until she left for college in 1998. Since then, Ruby has directed the New England premiere of Jesus Hopped the A Train, helmed a gender-bending version of The House of Yes, appeared in a short opera about the first dog in space, won the Irene Ryan Acting Award at the Kennedy Center, and sung at Lincoln Center. Currently a resident of Chicago, she spends her time riding bikes, babysitting, cooking vegan feasts, throwing themed dance parties, working for non-profit groups, and singing with a choir. Ruby directed CCT’s popular production of Cabaret, the Tony Award-winning music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, in 2011.

Lionel Downer is a 13-year resident of St. Croix. Lionel is involved in several local non-profit organizations and previously served on CCT’s Board of Directors as VP of Operations. He is an insurance agent with Marshall & Sterling, and has been a member of Rotary Harborside for 12 years. Lionel has performed in many productions at CCT, such as A Raisin in the Sun, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Big River, Chicago, The Odd Couple, and Sundays at Eleven. He directed Fences, an award-winning play by August Wilson, for CCT in 2010.

Lorraine Durand has acted in many productions over the years at CCT and Island Center, including Camelot, Chorus Line, Evita, Sweet Charity, Oklahoma, Grace & Glorie and Blithe Spirit, and is a veteran performer in cabaret fundraisers. She directed Jesus Christ Superstar for CCT in 2006, and most recently co-directed Once Upon a Mattress with Devin Hennessy and Evita with Eileen Bishop Des Jardins.

Melody Harris is originally from Norfolk, VA. Melody lived in Washington, D.C. for several years, where she performed and directed touring children’s theater productions, including shows at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institute. She studied directing at Howard University and spent five years as a language arts/drama teacher, working with incarcerated youth and with children receiving residential therapeutic treatment. While on St. Croix, Melody taught at Central High School and worked for the Office of Special Education, providing special education services for St. Croix Middle Schools. She has performed in Once Upon a Mattress, Parallel Lives, and Grace & Glorie at CCT, and directed the 2008 production of Bee-Luther-Hatchee, an award-winning play by Thomas Gibbons.

Devin Hennessy has been behind or in front of the camera and curtain for over 20 years. These days, he is working on/in television back in Los Angeles. During his years on island, he was involved in numerous productions and events with CCT, including playing Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. He also appeared on local radio and television, served on the CCT Board of Directors, and co-directed the musical Once Upon a Mattress in 2007. Keep up with Devin on his website: www.devinhennessy.com.

Rebekah Hughston made her directing debut for CCT as co-director of the February 2012 production of The Color Purple. She freelances as a General Manager/Producer for Off-Off Broadway and non-profit theaters in the New York area. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Rebekah attended Community College of Philadelphia, majoring in their Acting Program for Theatre Arts, and furthered her education at Brooklyn College’s Theatre Production program for Technical Theatre/Arts Administration. She has a passion for theater of all genres and styles, and has worked on productions such as Twelfth Night, The Threepenny Opera, Pippin, Bus Stop, What Shall We Call Our Children, Nannyland, The Light Inside, The Crucible, The Dybbuk, The Blood Wedding, Mrs. California, Tender Trap and Risky Revolutionary.

Oceana James, a former director and instructor for the Calico Cat Company students at CCT, “Miss James” teaches eighth grade English at Arthur Richards Jr. High School. Oceana has appeared in several CCT plays, including Steel Magnolias, The Full Monty, Liberated and Bee-Luther-Hatchee. Oceana’s directorial debut at CCT was the 2011 production of Sarah & Addie, which she co-directed with Eileen Bishop Des Jardins. She also co-directed The Color Purple with Rebekah Hughston in 2012.

Jeanne Johnston. Jeanne first directed at CCT in 2005 (When Men are Scarce).  She also directed for colored girls . . ., Dr. Cook’s Garden, A Christmas Carol, and Hate Mail for From Page to Stage.  She is also an actress, and has been seen on St. Croix in Steel Magnolias, Murder at the Howard Johnson’sBlithe Spiritand Woman in Mind, all for CCT, as well as in Bad Dates for From Page to Stage. Jeanne directed Moonlight and Magnolias, a comedy by Ron Hutchinson, in March 2012.

Scott Johnston Scott was raised and educated in New Zealand. He became involved in theater while at school, beginning with props and set construction, progressing to sound/lighting tech, culminating in co-writing a play and in production management. Scott lived and worked in Australia and the States before relocating permanently to St. Croix in 2008. He has assisted with set construction and A/V tech for several shows at CCT, and has a preference toward dramas. He directed Proof, a Tony Award-winning play by David Auburn, for CCT in 2010.

Marty Merrick. In 1983, after 27 years in the U.S. Navy and 45 years of music and theater all over the country, Marty retired to St Croix. Within a week he had auditioned for and been cast in a David Richards-directed show at the old Airport Inn. He was part of a small group that created Caribbean Community Theatre in 1985, and for the first ten years he was Vice President of Operations. Marty has also worked with almost every theatrical venue on the island as well as Pistarckle Theater on St Thomas, serving in every position from gofer to producer/director. Marty has been involved in more than 100 shows — and has the T-shirts to prove it! He directed CCT’s productions of No Sex Please, We’re British in 2003 and What the Butler Saw in 2004, as well as The Fantasticks at the Sidney Lee Theater in 2001.

Deborah Phillips. Deborah’s first directorial stint at CCT was co-directing The Oldest Profession with Eileen Des Jardins in May 2012, but she has many years of previous theatrical experience, as a dancer, choreographer and director.  Deborah studied modern dance in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1978 to 1994, and has performed with The Sonoma State University Dance Ensemble, The Ann Woodhead Dance Company, The Christopher Beck Dance Theater, and Mary Reid’s Smaller Than Life Dance Company. She was Studio Manager for Centerspace Dance Foundation and production manager for several notable performance series, including the highly acclaimed Men Dancing. She taught dance classes in the public school system with The Performing Arts Workshop. Deborah is a certified yoga instructor, currently holding classes at SandCastle on the Beach. She taught at Good Hope School for many years, directing almost 50 students in the school’s spring 2012 musical production, Hairspray.  She manages the James C. Savage Performing Arts Center, and co-directed the 2015 spring semester of the Calico Cat Company, CCT’s after-school children’s theater program, with Jan Hart.

 

Xiomara Sanchez.    Xio was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and raised on St. Croix from the age of two.  As a student she worked backstage doing set design for Country Day School performances and participated in summer theater programs at Bennington College during her high school yea rs. Her professional employment as a counselor, mental health provider and community outreach specialist, both off and on St. Croix, spans over 12 years.  Xio became involved with CCT as a member of the stage crew for The Oldest Profession.She then continued her work for CCT as a member of the CCT Board and as Stage Manager for the plays I Take This Man, Five Tellers Dancing in the Rain, and Romantic Fools. Xio co-directed La Gringa with Eileen Des Jardins and she and Eileen will reprise their partnership with LaRita Shelby’s Dictation for CCT’s 30th season.

David Richards (1936 – 2009) was a founding member of CCT and the resident artistic director for close to 20 years, as well as the founding artistic director for the Stowe Theater Guild in Stowe, Vermont. Educated at Trinity College, he worked with such entertainers as David Carradine, Richard Chamberlain, Janis Joplin, Gail Nelson and Pia Zadora. He taught a Master Class for the Juilliard School and judged auditions at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. CCT cast and crew members who worked with David over the years will remember such directorial gems as: “Don’t just do something — stand there!” His contributions over his many years at CCT are too numerous to list here, but he was at the helm for many popular CCT productions such as the Nunsense trilogy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Big River, Forever Plaid, Li’l Abner, Guys & Dolls, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In his final season at CCT, David co-directed two productions with Michael Armendariz: Love Bytes, a musical revue, and the Del Shores comedy Sordid Lives.

Starla Richter returned home to St. Croix in 2005 and began working in the lab at Cruzan Rum. She was a member of CCT’s Calico Cat Company in the late 1980s and was involved in theater at Country Day School in the ’90s. She has performed in Once Upon a Mattress and Parallel Lives at CCT, was Stage Manager for Deathtrap and Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Assistant Director and Stage Manager for Parallel Lives. She also directed the John Patrick comedy, Anybody Out There?, in 2007. Starla is a former CCT Board member and technical director.

Christine Thomas Christine celebrated her 13th year on island in September 2014. She lives on the North Shore with her husband, Garry Anthony, and their wonderful Crucian dogs. She has appeared in over a dozen shows, including most recently Sordid Lives, as Dr. Eve, Chicago, as Matron “Mama” Morton, The Dixie Swim Club, as Jeri, and The Oldest Profession, as Edna. Christine has previously directed Little Shop of Horrors, The Miss Firecracker Contest, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Pageant Play, Crimes of the Heart, Five Tellers Dancing in the Rain and Intimate Apparel, co-directed and performed in the comedy Sylvia in November 2013, and directed the widely acclaimed musical Dreamgirls in February 2015.

 

 

Glen Wells. Glen has been on St. Croix for 32 years and has been in 32 shows, beginning with South Pacific in 1984 at the now defunct Airport Inn and most recently in the 2014 production of Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.  He has served on the CCT Board of Directors and was Vice President of Operations for two years.  Glen directed Wild, Wild Women for CCT in 1992, and after a long hiatus he came back for the March-April 2015 production of Hell to Pay.  Glen and his wife Carole can be found at the seniors’ night (dress rehearsals) for each CCT show. They consider themselves and their beasties Cruzans by longevity.

Tom Ziegler directed ‘ART’ by Yasmina Reza, and Sundays at Eleven, a world premiere of his own new work, for CCT in 2009. His play Father Frances was the 2008 selection of Washington and Lee University’s Flournoy Playwright Festival. The author’s other recent projects include the farce Servantissimo, a rollicking adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters. Servantissimo was performed at UVI (St. Thomas) in 2007. His play, Grace & Glorie, starring Estelle Parsons and Lucie Arnaz, opened at the Laura Pels Theatre off-Broadway in 1996. Ziegler co-authored the screenplay for the Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation of Grace & Glorie, staring Gena Rowlands and Diane Lane. Mrs. Kemble’s Tempest, staring Jane Ridley as Fanny Kemble, played to five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, and was a resounding favorite with CCT’s audience at a special one-night performance in April 2011. Tom and his wife Shirley moved to St. Croix in December 2007, just in time to design the set for CCT’s production of his play, Grace & Glorie in April 2008.

CCT MUSIC DIRECTORS

Patrick Baron. After studying music at Marlboro College, Patrick traveled with the Widespread Depression Swing Band for almost ten years. During that time, he had the opportunity to accompany Joe Williams, Russell Procope, Paul Desmond, and other legends. Their band shared the bill with the Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Patrick played in big bands under the direction of Slide Hampton, Walter Bishop, Jr., and Muhal Richard Abrams. He continues to play, teach, and tune pianos in the USVI, BVI and NYC. Patrick was music director for CCT’s February 2015 production of Dreamgirls, a post he has also filled for Ain’t Misbehavin’, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Cabaret, The Color Purple, Smokey Joe’s Café, RENT, and Dreamgirls. He also accompanied the performers in the May 2012 production of The Oldest Profession.

Kathleen Dodge-DeHaven. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a Master of Piano Performance-Accompanying, Kathleen has played, taught and conducted in Japan, Germany, Austria and the USA. She and her husband Steve lived in St. Croix from 2001-2003 and were active in the music community, particularly with CCT (Sweet Charity, Big River). Kathleen returned to St. Croix as guest music director at CCT for Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago, Evita and Little Shop of Horrors. In the U.S., she is the music director for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Opera Theater and vocal coach to a talented few. In Europe, she is the pianist for the DoDDS all-Europe High School Honors Chorus in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Charles Lindberg has played for Broadway productions of West Side Story, Sugar Babies, 42nd Street and Barnum, worked with Jerry Herman on La Cage Aux Folles, coached Albert Finney, Ann Reinking and Aileen Quinn in the movie Annie, and directed numerous cabaret shows. Charlie has also arranged over 50 books for intermediate and advanced piano. He performed in the CCT orchestra for Jesus Christ Superstar, was music director for our 2007 production of Once Upon a Mattress, and has served as accompanist for many of CCT’s musical cabaret-style fundraisers, most recently The Things We Do for Love in March 2012.

David Richards (1936 – 2009)
See David’s bio under “Directors”.

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