Board of Directors

Crane River Theater Company

Board of Directors


Ann Bauer ~ President

A native Kansan, Ann has taught music for more than forty years throughout the Midwest.  During her career, she directed choirs and musicals in Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, South Dakota and Nebraska.  She is in demand as an accomplished accompanist, choral clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator in the Midwest.  She finished her career teaching and directing the music program at Kearney High School in Nebraska.  She has traveled extensively throughout the world with her choirs.    Her experience includes 50 years playing the organ and accompanying ensembles and soloists in countless churches.  At the present time, she is the organist at Kearney First United Methodist Church.  Ann holds degrees from Ft. Hays State University, Arizona State University and Kearney State College.  Ann has also sung professionally with the Richard Dales Chorale.  She is a member of American Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, National Teachers Organization, FUMC Worship Committee and the campaign chair for the Kearney Concert Association.  Ann is currently enjoying time with her 16 grandchildren and 5 children.  In her spare time, she works for Tour Resource Consultants, is a substitute teacher, volunteer worker, and avid gardener and supporter of her husband, David, in his many endeavors.


Mary Henning ~ Vice President

Mary graduated from Kearney State College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney, with a Bachelor of Arts in Education.  She taught second grade in Lincoln and Kearney, and has been a professional storyteller for the past 14 years.  She currently serves on the Humanities Nebraska Council, Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation Board, Museum of Nebraska Art Board, Kearney Area Storytelling Festival Board, University of Nebraska Foundation Grants Committee and a member of Women Investing in Nebraska.  In previous years she has served as President of PEO, Kearney Area Women’s Club, Kearney Literacy Council, Serendipity and a member of the Minden Opera House Board.  Mary is the proud mother of two children and six wonderful grandchildren with her husband Tom.


Brian Botsford ~ Treasurer

Brian is a 1995 graduate of Kearney High School and a 2000 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education.  After eleven years as the vocal music instructor and assistant instrumental music instructor at Bishop Neumann High School, he is now the 6-12 vocal music instructor at Lexington Public Schools.  Brian has been an active performer in the Lincoln and Omaha area, participating in groups such as the Omaha Symphonic Chorus, Lincoln Community Concert Band, Lincoln Civic Orchestra, First Presbyterian Church of Wahoo as well as solo music performances.  Currently he is pursuing a Master of Music degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Brian has served as the Musical Director for the last three summers for Crane River Theater.


Trish Kenagy  ~ Secretary

Trish joins the Crane River Theater Board with experience in preschool, elementary, college and public education programs.  Retired from her work as a Professional Development Coordinator at Educational Service Unit 10, she previously taught in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she also held various administrative positions.  Her prior teaching experience includes preschool, special education and elementary classrooms in Lincoln, Nebraska and Woodland Park, Colorado.  Trish received her B.A. in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her M.S. in Counseling from Kearney State College.  Most recently, she was on the Board of Directors of R.E.S.P.E.C.T., an Omaha-based educational theater troupe, and conducted educational training on social issues and bullying prevention across the state of Nebraska.  She is actively involved with Kiwanis, the Kearney Area Children’s Museum, Royal Family Kids Camp and Friends of Pumpkin Patch Child Care Center.  Born and raised in Lincoln, NE, Trish, her husband, Bill and family moved to Kearney in 1983 after previously living in Holdrege, NE and Woodland Park, CO.


Roxanne Bascom

Roxanne graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work.  She worked as a school social worker in Wichita, Kansas before marrying and moving to Kansas City, Mo.  She and her husband moved to Kearney in 1983 where she worked at Kearney State Bank.  After the birth of her 2 older children, she became a homemaker and community volunteer.  She currently serves on the board of the Kearney Area Community Foundation, the Kearney Woman’s Club and is a member of P.E.O.  Having played the piano for 50 years, she enjoys being the accompanist for her church choir, praise team and men’s quartet. In previous years she has served in offices for P.E.O., Buffalo County Medical Alliance, Good Samaritan Hospital Service League, P.T.O., the Kearney Area Children’s Museum and other volunteer activities. 


Dayna DeFilippas

Dayna is a passionate educator, innovative choreographer and dance professional.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, having earned her Master of Fine Arts Dance degree in choreography (2013).  While in Arizona, Dayna worked closely with students, teaching ballet, tap, jazz, modern, improvisation, and musical theater as well as dance appreciation, history and composition.  Before pursuing graduate studies, Dayna completed both her Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance degree and Bachelor of Business Administration degree at The University of Iowa (2003).  She currently serves as the director of the dance minor program at The University of Nebraska at Kearney.


Yvonne Deyle

Yvonne has been with Barney Insurance, Inc. in Kearney, Nebraska for the past 48 years and is now the Account Executive and supervisor.  During this time she was the first woman president of Professional Insurance Agents of Nebraska.  She has served on various boards including PIA, Kearney Woman’s Club, Insurance Women of Mid-Nebraska, Buffalo County Board Envoys Chairman, Cancer Society and Central Nebraska Auto Club.  She has been a volunteer with many organizations including the Kearney Community Theater and is a twenty year member of Rotary Club.


Janice Fronczak

Janice is a tenured Professor of Theatre at the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she teaches performance and playwriting courses in addition to serving as a director for the mainstage season.  She has been invited to serve as a guest director and teacher for summer stock theatres in Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas and South Dakota.  Complimenting her role as a director and educator, Janice is an accomplished playwright.  Her collection of original monologues, Blue Food, as well as nine of her short plays, have been published by Heuer Publishing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Her full-length play, Corn Man, successfully premiered at UNK and won her several awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, including a meritorious award for playwriting.  Janice is a nationally Registered Drama Therapist (RDT).  She really enjoys bringing the creative healing arts to those residing in retirement communities, as well as to incarcerated adolescents and adults.


Spencer Hansen

Spencer is currently in his eighth year teaching Band at Lexington High School.  Along with his High School duties, Spencer also teaches instrumental music at Lexington Middle School.  He conducts the Marching Band, Concert Band, Pep Band and Jazz Band.  Spencer is a graduate from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education as well as a second degree in Music Business.   As a professional musician, Spencer was a member of the band Tenth Hour Calling, which toured throughout the Midwest full time for over two years and enjoyed several radio cuts on popular Midwest radio stations.  Currently he is a member of several jazz ensembles as well as a popular rock band “The Innocence” with an average of over 100 performances each year.  Spencer is a member of the Nebraska School Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National Conference and the Nebraska Music Educators Association and has served as guest clinician for several honor bands throughout Nebraska.  In 2012 Spencer was a recipient of the “Jack R. Snider Young Band Director Award” given at the annual NSBA convention in Lincoln NE.  A native of Kearney Nebraska, Spencer now resides in Lexington Nebraska with his wife Abby.


Bob Heiden

A Kearney native, Bob graduated from Kearney High School in 2002.  With a passion for the Fine Arts, he started out performing in musicals at the high school and community theatre level where he discovered his niche: designing, building and painting scenery.  He earned a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Technical Theater from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  During that time, he had the opportunity to work at Kearney High School as the Drama Assistant for three years.  Following college, Bob designed and painted sets for many local organizations including the Kearney High School Theatre and Choral departments, Zion Lutheran Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Kearney Community Theatre.  He has served in multiple design capacities with Crane River Theater during the last four seasons.  When he’s not painting, Bob channels his creativity as an Art Director for Buckle Inc. where he manages the graphic design team for online marketing.


Stephen Lewis

Steve received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University-Sacramento (CSUS) with a double major in Theatre (Acting/Directing & Design/Lighting/Tech).  He worked on a Masters in scenic design at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln but switched and graduated with an MBA from UN-L.  At the College of Business Administration he was a teaching assistant and awarded two fellowships.  He spent 14 years as a broadcast professional and 14 years in not-for-profit management, education and development including, responsibility for a seven state area for American Red Cross.  Steve is currently the President of the Kearney Concert Association and Treasurer of the Zion Lutheran School Foundation.  Steve has over 110 theater production program credits, including helping with the designs of the theater renovations at CSUS and Fair Oaks Playhouse in Sacramento and in 1975 and 76 he was set/light designer and stage manager for the Miss Nebraska Pageant where he took the pageant from the nation’s worst produced show to the top ten and then top five shows in the nation.  Born in Kearney he has lived in California, Hawaii, Missouri, Texas and 4 years in Japan, but upon reaching 51 he chose to retire early and return to his hometown of Kearney and become a professional volunteer.


Gay Longfellow

Gay received her Bachelors Degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in Home Economics.  A long time Kearney resident, she worked as real estate agent for twenty eight years. She has always had a love of clothes, sewing and art which morphed into costume design and construction.  She has designed costumes for more than forty productions at Kearney Community Theatre.  She has also volunteered her time for countless productions at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Omaha Community Playhouse, and touring productions at the Viero Event Center.  Most recently she designed the costumes for Godspell and Little Shop of Horrors produced by Crane River Theater.  Since retiring, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing bridge, reading, cooking and traveling.


Tom Lundell

Tom was born and raised in Holdrege, Nebraska where he graduated high school.  He studied Architecture at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  In 1989, he moved to Kearney and started working in the family business, M.T.G., Inc.,  as an individual store manager.  From 1989 to the present, the business has added restaurants and hotels across the state of Nebraska.  Tom currently serves as the President and CEO of M.T.G., Inc.  He and his wife Vonda have four children.  Over the years, he has been an active volunteer with the Kearney Evangelical Free Church, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, Sertoma Service Organization, Merryman Performing Arts Center and Crane River Theater.  He has served in leadership roles with the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts organizations, as well as many other organizations over the years.  His hobbies include photography, woodworking, reading and broadcasting.  Tom’s love for the arts and need to be artistically creative has long been a part of his life.


Clayton Moyer

Clayton is currently the director of choirs at Kearney High School where he directs six choral ensembles, including the Kearney High School Chorale, Varsity Women’s Chorus, Concert Choir, Girls’ Glee and two competitive show choirs: KHS Pops Choir and the Sapphire and Gold Singers.  Clayton has had the opportunity to travel abroad with many choirs, including a recent trip to Spain where they performed in Toledo, Madrid, and Barcelona.  He is frequently asked to serve as a clinician and judge for music festivals around the state.  He also serves as the music director for the KHS musical theater program and Crane River Theater’s outdoor summer productions.  He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association, Nebraska Choral Director’s Association, National Association for Music Education and president elect of the Kearney Concert Association.


Mel Shoemaker

Mel Shoemaker retired in May of 2012 after teaching for 44 years.  He taught English, speech and drama for 26 years at North Loup Scotia High School and was the theatre director at Kearney High the last 18 years.  He directed more than 150 high school and community theatre productions during his career.  He holds both an undergraduate and graduate degree from Kearney State College (University of Nebraska at Kearney).  Mel judges numerous speech and play competitions during the year and was the site host for the NSAA State Play Production Contest for 17 years.  He served as president of the Nebraska Thespians, the Nebraska Association of Community Theatres, and the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association.  His wife Arlene is a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital.  They have three children and three grandchildren.


Lois Thalken

Lois and her husband Todd own and operate Kearney Floral Company in Kearney.  She has a degree in music education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and has been performing professionally as a vocalist in the jazz group Thalken, Tesdall & Thalken, for more than twenty years.  She has been involved in countless area arts organizations including the Kearney Area Arts Council (executive director, board member), Nebraska Arts Council (artist’s review panels), and Kearney Community Theatre (numerous productions as a performer and/or musical director).  Some of her other past volunteer efforts include Kearney Public Library Foundation, Kearney Public Schools Foundation, Kearney Community Concert Association, Frank House, Museum of Nebraska Art, and a season judge for UNK theatre productions.


Jeff Warren

Jeff grew up in Overton, Nebraska and graduated from Overton High School.  Jeff has always had a passion for music and the arts.  Growing up in a musical family, Jeff and his sisters accompanied by his mom, entertained all over central Nebraska in his younger years.  Jeff participated in high school instrumental and vocal music, and was selected as a participant of many elite choirs.  He is a past member of “The Company”, a select ensemble that performed and entertained throughout central Nebraska and Kansas.  He is also a member of the Platte River Singers, First United Methodist Church Choir and has performed in several musicals at Kearney Community Theatre.  Jeff is an active volunteer with his church and the community.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Noon Rotary Organization.  He and his wife Betty are the owners of Coldwell Banker Town and Country Realty of Kearney and Central Nebraska.


Annabell Zikmund

Annabell is a professor emerita from the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she taught private voice lessons and music education classes, and directed the UNK show choir, the Nebraskats.  Under her direction, the Nebraskats performed statewide, in Colorado, Washington D.C., Arizona, and California, and in 10 foreign countries.  In addition to several university-wide committees at UNK, Annabell was a member and past president of the Faculty Senate.  After her retirement in 2002 she was volunteer coordinator at the Great Platte River Road Archway for four years, and was an AmeriCorps member working with volunteers at Rowe Sanctuary for one year.  In 2007 she was co-chair of the Nebraska Humanities Council Chautauqua held in Kearney.  Annabell is an active member of Golden K Kiwanis, Kearney Women’s Club, Kearney Chamber of Commerce Senior Coalition and the Kearney Area Storytelling Festival Advisory Board. 


Steve Barth ~ Artistic Director (Ex-Officio)

Steve was born and raised in Kearney, Nebraska.  He discovered his passion for music and theater performing on stages across the community, until he eventually took his love for arts to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he received his BA and MFA in Acting and Directing.  During that time, Steve had the opportunity to perform with many theaters throughout the Midwest, including the Nebraska Repertory Theater, Minnesota Repertory Theater and Illinois Music Theater.  He served as artistic director of Theatrix for three years overseeing many productions in multiple capacities: producer, director and designer.  He taught many classes at the University (Acting, Directing, Arts Today) and served on numerous administrational committees (Academic Distinction and Awards, Curriculum, Grading Appeals and Season Selection).  Steve eventually set his sights on New York City, where he resided for eight years acting, producing and directing.  He also served as a General Manager and Wine Director for multiple restaurants during his time in New York.  During the summers, he returns to Kearney to produce and direct productions for Crane River Theater.


Kami Graves ~ Managing Director (Ex-Officio)

 Kami was born and raised in Kearney, singing, dancing and acting through school.  She graduated from KHS and holds a BFA in Musical Theater with a minor in dance from UNK.  Upon graduating, Kami spent a season with the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater in Grand Lake, Colorado before moving to New York City where she has lived for the past 10 years.  She was able to explore many interests while in NYC including working as Volunteer Coordinator and Music Librarian at WNYC public radio and studied to obtain a Sommelier license while working in top restaurants throughout the city.  She sang in several cabaret settings with  the Grammy nominated Jason Buell and can be found on the cast album of “Who am I?  A Tribute to Petula Clark.”  She has been singing and playing violin in the cosmopolitan folk band Kathy Zimmer and the Sugar Bowls for the past 5 years.  Kami has served Crane River Theater in many capacities:  performer, choreographer, and director.  She most recently co-directed Seussical and
choreographed Grease as well as appeared in the Let it Snow production.


Crane River Theater

April 2015

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