Board of Directors
Crane River Theater Company
Board of Directors
Steve Barth ~ President
Steve Barth was born and raised in Kearney. 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 has resided for the last 7 years acting, producing and directing. During the summers, he returns to Kearney to produce and direct the productions for Crane River Theater.
Ann Bauer ~ Vice President
A native Kansan, Ann recently retired from teaching. During her career of 40 years, 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 concluded 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 49 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 14 grandchildren and 5 children. In her spare time, she works for Tour Resource Consultants, is a substitute teacher, volunteer worker, an avid gardener and supporter of her husband, David, in his many endeavors.
Brian Botsford ~ Treasurer
Brian Botsford 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.
Stephen Lewis ~ Secretary
Steve received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University-Sacramento with a double major in Theatre (Acting/Directing & Design/Lighting/Tech -1972). 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 in 1984. 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. Born in Kearney he has lived in California, Hawaii, Missouri, Texas and 4 years in Japan, but upon reaching 51 he chose to return to and retire early in his hometown of Kearney.
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. She is pleased to serve on the Crane River Theater Board.
Yvonne has been with Barney Insurance, Inc. in Kearney, Nebraska for the past 47 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 Kearney Community Theater and is a 20 year member of Rotary Club.
Janice is a tenured Associate Professor of Theatre at UNK where she teaches performance and playwriting courses in addition to serving as a director for the mainstage season. Janice has been invited to serve as a guest director/teacher for summerstock theatres in Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, and most recently, the Black Hills Playhouse in South Dakota. Her collection of original monologues, Blue Food, as well as eight 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. She really enjoys bringing the creative healing arts to those residing in retirement communities, as well as to incarcerated adolescents and adults. Complementing her teaching and directing duties at UNK, Janice is currently studying to become a registered Drama Therapist with the intention of bridging her theatrical skills and talents with the creative healing arts.
Spencer Hansen is currently in his seventh 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.
A Kearney native, Bob Heiden graduated from Kearney High School in 2002. With a passion for the Fine Arts, Bob 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 as the Drama Assistant for three years. Following college, Bob has designed and painted sets for many local organizations including Kearney High School Theatre and Choral departments, Zion Lutheran Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Kearney School of Dance and Gymnastics, Kearney Elementary Music departments, Kearney Children’s Museum, and Kearney Community Theatre. When he’s not painting, Bob channels his creativity as the Art Director for Buckle Inc. where he designs and manages the creative team for the online marketing channels.
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 Nebraska Humanities Council, Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation Board, Kearney Area Storytelling Festival Board, University of Nebraska Foundation Grants Committee, and now Crane River Theater’s Board of Directors. Mary is also a Hospice volunteer. 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.
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.
Joe is a 2004 graduate of Kearney High School and a 2009 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney where he received his Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Musical Theater. As an actor, he has performed in countless productions with memorable roles including Curly in Oklahoma, Jesus in Godspell and Vershinin in Chekov’s Three Sisters. Most notably, he portrayed Whitney Galliard in the new musical Hunger, presented by the Theater Building Chicago’s New Musical Festival. Joe has volunteered on many occasions with First Lutheran Church in Kearney to help coordinate staged productions of the Passion story during the Lenten season. With a love for sports and kids, he is often found mentoring kids, as well as serving as a youth soccer coach for Kearney Park and Recreation. Joe and his wife, Amy, moved to Chicago in 2011 where he has pursed a career in Acting. Much of his time was dedicated to auditioning for shows and singing in the contemporary worship band at Chicago Luther Memorial Church. He also worked as a volunteer for the Walk Out of Darkness campaign, a fundraiser and awareness outreach for suicide prevention. It wasn’t long that Joe’s passion for music and theater led him to education. He is now pursuing a Theater Education Degree at the University of Nebraska at Kearney with hopes of exciting and encouraging kids in the arts.
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 Century 21 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.
Clayton Moyer, director of choirs at Kearney High School, is currently in his eleventh year of teaching choral music. At Kearney High School, 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 clinician and judge for music festivals around the state. He also serves as the music director for the KHS musical theater program. Direction credits include Little Women, All Shook Up, The Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Clayton has served as director of musical activities as the First Church of the Nazarene in Kearney and First Congregational Church in Ogallala, NE. He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association, Nebraska Choral Director’s Association, National Association for Music Education and current board member for the Kearney Concert Association.
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 and her husband Todd own and operate Kearney Floral Co. She has her degree in music education from UNK, and has been performing professionally as a vocalist in the jazz group Thalken, Tesdall & Thalken, for the past 20+ years. Involvement in area arts organizations include 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 season judge for UNK theatre productions.
Dr. Zikmund 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, Dr. Zikmund was a member of and served as 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 currently is an AmeriCorps member working with volunteers at Rowe Sanctuary. In 2007 she was co-chair of the Nebraska Humanities Council Chautauqua held in Kearney. Dr. Zikmund is a member of the Crane River Theater Board, Golden K Kiwanis, Delta Kappa Gamma, the Kearney Women’s Club, and the Kearney Chamber of Commerce Senior Coalition. She serves as chair of the Kearney Area Storytelling Festival Committee and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program Advisory Committee.