Manatee Performing Arts Center home of The Manatee Players, National Award-Winning Theatrical Group

Mission Statement

Our Mission: "To represent, enrich and stimulate people through the art of live theatre by providing entertainment, education and an artistic outlet. The Manatee Players and its performance venue serve as a significant cultural, educational and economic resource for the Florida Gulf Coast region."


Our Staff (scroll down for Bios)

Janene Witham Janene M. Witham
(Executive Director)

Janene Witham joined the company in July of 2005 and as Executive Director, brings her team building attitude and vision to the helm of The Manatee Players, Inc. Her experience spans multiple sectors- arts, marketing, education, corporate, entrepreneurship, non-profit and community. With a belief in the importance of grassroots/collaborative partnership, Janene is focused on broadening the support of the Manatee Performing Arts Center. She is a graduate of the 2005 class of Leadership Manatee and the 2003 class of Manatee County Citizens Academy. Active in our community, she is the member of the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton taking the office of President-Elect in October 2014, ABWA (American Business Women's Association), AFP (American Fundraising Professionals), a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and a past chair Manatee County's 14th Street CRA advisory board. Ms. Witham holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Winchester Center. She is a proud mother of two wonderful children, Brett and Hannah, and would like to express her appreciation to her fiancé Tim for his inspirational support.
-Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director has the over all financial, strategic and operational responsibility for The Manatee Players, Inc. staff programs, expansion, execution of its mission and venue, the Manatee Performing Arts Center.

Rick Kerby Rick Kerby
(Producing Artistic Director)

Rick Kerby has been seen on the stages in over thirty countries and in all fifty states of the US. He appeared on Broadway and in the National Touring Company of A Match Made in Heaven and portrayed the leading role of famous George M Cohan in the National touring company of Yankee Doodle Dandy. International touring credits include 'Daniel' and Dance Captain in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, lead Aggie soloist and Dance Captain in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and 'Will Parker' and Dance Captain in Oklahoma!. He spent years working onboard numerous cruise lines as a singer/dancer including Royal Viking, Holland America, Royal Cruise Line, Sitmar, Commodore, American Hawaii, Saga and Norwegian Cruise Lines. He spent time in Las Vegas dancing on the stages of the Aladdin Hotel and at Bally's Casino.
Prior to his move to Bradenton, Rick was the Entertainment Director for the USO of Metropolitan New York and the organizer of the Miss USO Contest. His USO troupe was featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and on The Miss America Pageant. The same USO troupe performed as part of the USO Celebrity Tours in the Middle East, Europe and the Baltic. Other directorial credits include numerous shows at the Surflight Theatre in New Jersey, Theatre By the Sea in Rhode Island, The Arundel Playhouse in Maine, Wolford Hause Dinner Theater in Virginia, New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire, Stage Door Canteen Theatre at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Westbank and Duplex Theaters in New York City and on many cruise ships. He has served on the faculties of Wagner College on Staten Island and The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in New York City. Rick is the newly Current President of the Florida Theatre Conference, Past President of the Florida Association of Community Theaters and is serving on the Executive Committee of the American Association of Community Theatres.
-As the Producing Artistic Director of Manatee Players, Rick is responsible for the creative direction of the Manatee Players. He has received several Handy and Sarasota Magazine awards including "Master Director" in 2013, is a three time winner at the South Eastern Theater Conference as Outstanding Director and two time winner as Best Director at the American Association of Community Theatre's AACTFest.

Patrick Bedell Patrick Bedell
(Facilities Manager)

Patrick has been doing theatrical lighting since 2003. He is a graduate of the Booker High school Visual Performing Arts program, and more recently the SCF engineering technologies program. Currently Patrick is the facilities manager at the new Manatee Performing Arts Center and resident designer in the Bradenton Kiwanis Theater. Some of Patrick's past works includes MAN OF LAMANCHA, BEEHIVE, STEPPING OUT and GREATER TUNA. "Thank you to my friends and family for all of the support over the years, don't be afraid to follow your dream!"
-The Facilities Manager is responsible for maintaining the facility and grounds. Patrick performs and supervises tasks related to HVAC, electrical, plumbing, safety, custodial and event coordination.

Bill Booth William Booth
(Technical Director)

Bill has been the Technical Director for the Manatee Players since 2006. He spent over 15 yrs in Manatee County as a teacher. He had been volunteering, then working as the master electrician and sound designer at the theater for over 11 yrs before he received his promotion to Technical Director. He has also been the Lighting Designer at the Manatee Players for such shows as 1940's Radio Hour, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Always... Patsy Cline. He has also served as the master electrician and Lighting Designer for Les Miserables: School Edition, Swing, Oklahoma and Cats at the Lemon Bay Performing Arts Center. Bill has won numerous technical awards over the past four years at the State, Regional and National levels. He designed lighting for The Wedding Singer at Lemon Bay. The show went on to be one of nine shows from around the world showcased at the International Thespian Festival. Recently he was honored to be part of Mothmen Dance and participated in America's Got Talent at Radio City Music Hall. He sends his love to his wife Toni, for her undying support and constant help with everything backstage. He also sends special thanks to Tom Sell and Tom Sparks for their incredible help and dedication.
-The Technical Director (TD) has the daily responsibility for the technical operations of the performing arts center. Bill also supervises and assists with all in-house set and stage construction.

Becky Evens Becky Evans
(Resident Costume Designer/Costume Shop Foreman)

Becky studied Costume Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated with a B.F.A. in 2011. Prior to joining the Manatee Players, Becky spent a year at the Venice Theatre as the Assistant Costume Shop Manager, and has designed such productions as Boeing Boeing, The Elephant Man, Frankenstein, and How to Eat Like a Child. She is thrilled to join the Manatee Players as the new Resident Costume Designer, and to bring her bright, creative spirit to the production team.
-Our Resident Costume Designer is responsible for the designing and creation of all Manatee Players' main stage productions, as well as over sees the costume shop and its volunteers.

Mary Johnson Mary Johnson

Mary joined with The Manatee Players Inc. in May 2011. Her office was initially located in the construction trailer during the final 2 years of completion of the Manatee Performing Arts Center. "What a thrill it was to move my office into the new building in May 2013. Mary has 21 years' experience directing and managing the financial operations of four not for profit organizations, The Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Women's Resource Center of Sarasota County, Suncoast Communities Blood Bank and The Manatee Players Inc. Mary received her AA degree from SUNY at Cobleskill, NY and her BA from Towson University, Baltimore MD. She moved to Sarasota in November 1999 from Baltimore, MD. "I am proud to be working with this group of professional staff and volunteers. It is truly amazing what is accomplished on a daily basis!" -The Comptroller is responsible for preparing financial statements, maintaining cash controls, managing the payroll and personnel administration, audit preparation and maintaining accounts payable.

Karen Lalosh Karen Lalosh
(Patron Services Assistant)

Since moving to Florida over 11 years ago, Karen has called Manatee Players her home away from home. Karen attended the University of Massachusetts as a Graphic Design major. Although she loves performing on stage, she decided to take a leave to be at home with her two children and husband. Now she has the privilege of being a staff member of the new Manatee Performing Arts Center!
-The Patron Services Assistant provides patrons with a positive ticket buying experience. Tasks include performing a variety of administrative, public relations and clerical functions to assist in the day-to-day management and operation of the ticket office.

Denny Miller Denny Miller

Denny is thrilled to have been on the staff of the Manatee Players since 2000! He has appeared in over 60 shows with the Manatee Players since 1982. Prior to joining the staff, he was on the Board of Directors for 17 years. Denny has a BFA in Theatre from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. In 2006, he represented Manatee County in the Bright House Network's Senior Idol competition in Clearwater. Denny is a Disney addict and enjoys his annual guest appearance with Diane Partington's Studio of Classical Ballet's production of THE NUTCRACKER as 'Herr Drosselmeyer.'
-The Marketing Assistant works hand in hand with the Director of Marketing. He is personally responsible for the creation and publication of show playbills and other graphic designs.

Kristin Ribble Kristin Ribble
(Production Manager)

Kristin started her current position as the Production Manager for Manatee Players in 2009! She has been involved, either on stage or back stage, in over 70 productions at Manatee Players since the age of 12. Last season, she stage managed our productions of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, HAIRSPRAY, and SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Some of her favorite stage management experiences here include CRAZY FOR YOU, GYPSY, WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, DAMN YANKEES, OKLAHOMA, SWEENEY TODD, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, BIG RIVER, FOLLIES, ELEPHANT MAN, PIPPIN, and BROADWAY MEMORIES. Kristin graduated with a BS in psychology with honors from University of Florida and worked for several years as a social worker and case manager serving at-risk youth in Manatee County. Although Kristin has been involved with many other theatre companies, she considers Manatee Players to be her second home and is proud to be a part of the staff of such a wonderful company!
-The Production Manager is responsible for coordinating the rehearsal schedules, technical needs and budget of all in-house produced productions. The Production Manager acts as the liaison among the production team and between the production team, including Guest Directors, and the Producing Artistic Director.

Travis Rogers Travis Rogers
(Patron Services Manager)

Travis has been on the staff of the Manatee Players since 2003. You may recognize him from past performances at the Manatee Players during the last several years. Originally from New York, he studied voice and theatre and performed with the New York State Choir. Several of his other credentials include acting in several commercials, performing with The All-Eastern Choir and with the Iowa Touring Theatre Company. After relocating to Florida in the early 90's, Travis' first show at the Manatee Players was in 1996.
-The Director of Patron Services is responsible for overseeing your positive ticket buying experience for all productions and events at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, maintaining the database and financial controls of the ticketing system and coordinating group sales.

Susan Romine Susan Romine
(Development Officer)

Susan has been a patron of The Manatee Players for over 20 years. She was a board member and officer for 8 years. Her degree is in Business and Economics from St. Mary's College, with most classes taken at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. She has served as an officer on the boards of the Asolo Angels, Powel Crosley Foundation, Sarasota Ballet Association and Theatre Odyssey. Following a 35 year career with the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court, Susan is excited to start a new "stage" of her life at the theater. Susan and her husband, Terry, respect and support the artists who appear in our venues.
-The Development Officer is responsible for space rentals and our volunteers. If you want to join our family and drive a tram, usher or work the concessions, give Susan a call at 749-1111.

Tom Sell Tom Sell
(Audio Engineer)

After spending nearly 20 years maintaining country clubs, Tom found his second home here at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. He relocated from central Wisconsin in January of 2004, in order to escape the harsh winter climate. Tom began with the Manatee Players in April of 2004 working part time in the scene shop in the evenings. As of July 2012 he became our full time Assistant Technical Director. Favorite builds include Noises Off, Ragtime and Evita. Tom lives in Palmetto with his dogs Trevor and Cheech.
-The Audio Engineer is responsible for the successful implementation of all audio related elements for events at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. Duties include: sound management, vendor coordination, equipment and sound crew supervision.

Michele Slaughter Michele Slaughter
(Director of Marketing)

Michele is excited to join the Manatee Performing Arts Center team and looks forward to working in the performing arts environment. For 12 years she was the Marketing & Creative Services Manager for the Bradenton Herald and just recently the Communications Director for the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. She has a deep love and passion for singing and has performed in many settings since she was 12 years old. Her love for theater began in high school under the guidance of her favorite teacher who taught drama! Michele is active in her church and community. She and her husband, Hudson, lead a college-age class in their church and enjoy working with that age group. She is extremely proud of her two sons, Jared, an Army veteran who recently returned from Afghanistan and Colton, her youngest, who recently joined The Carolina Opry as a full-time vocalist and musician.
-The Director of Marketing is responsible for developing and implementing marketing, public relations and advertising strategies to achieve The Manatee Players, Inc.'s branding goals.

Marie VanDuzee Marie VanDuzee
(Patron Services Assistant Manager)

Marie has been involved with the Manatee Players since 2003. She started working in the ticket office in 2008. She is also a member of the Manatee Players Theatre Guild. Previously, she was a front-of-house volunteer, dresser and House Manager before joining the staff. Her first love is working with special needs teens and adults. She has been involved with Kaleidoscope since 2007. Not being an actor, you will only see her perform on stage for a Kaleidoscope production. Marie lives in Bradenton with her husband Steve. She has two daughters and six grandchildren!
-The Patron Services Assistant provides patrons with a positive ticket buying experience. Tasks include performing a variety of administrative, public relations and clerical functions to assist in the day-to-day management and operation of the ticket office.

Georgina Willmott Georgina Willmott
(Assistant to Resident Costume Designer)

Georgina started working in our costume shop in 2006! She has costumed STEPPING OUT, GREASE, FOREVER PLAID, PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES, JERRY'S GIRLS, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, JOSEPH... DREAMCOAT, THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, NUNSENSE, DAMN YANKEES, RING OF FIRE, BEEHIVE and SHOUT, as well as CINDERELLA, RAGTIME, PIPPIN, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, JR., SEUSSICAL, GREASE, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL I & II, PETER PAN JR. and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND for our summer camps. "I own and operate 'Nina's Notions', an alterations and 'unique creations' company in honor of my mother, who taught me to sew!"
-The Assistant to the Resident Costume Designer works closely with the Resident Costume Designer on all in-house shows and is Costume Designer for the Manatee Players' shows in the Bradenton Kiwanis Theater.


Chairman Arline Spino

Vice-Chair Pat Whitesel

Secretary David Schrott

Treasurer Jeff Evans


Board Members

Ron Allen, Steve Bayard, Linda Diem, Randy Hanson, John Hargreaves, Jack Hawkins, Eileen Hoffner, Ron Lennon, Jason Lipton, Tom Moseley, Patricia Pickelsimer, Dr. Anthony Pizzo, Jr., Nina Richardson, Dr. Steve Tinsworth


Honorary Board Members

Patrick Daugherty, Jon Frick, Natalie Gundrum, Mrs. Bill (Allene) Koehn, Mary E. Parker, Jim Reynolds, L. Hal West

Legal Counsel

Mark P. Barnebey, Esq. 



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2014-15 Season
Executive Producers
Manatee Memorial Hospital

Sara & Steve

Thomas Sparks

Johnson Photo Imaging

Media Sponsors
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Bradenton Herald

Community Links
Bay News 9

Artist Guild of Manatee County

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Village Magazine of the Arts