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 M. Witham
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.
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. Rick is now the Producing Artistic Director of Manatee Players were he has been 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.
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. He has won numerous technical awards over the past 4 yrs 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 Americas 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.
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.'
This is Kristin's fourth year as the Production Manager for Manatee Players! Kristin 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!
Mary E. Johnson
Mary joined with The Manatee Players Inc. in May 2011. 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 @ 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!"
Travis M. Rogers
Box Office 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.
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.
Box Office Assistant
Marie Van Duzee
Assistant Technical Manager
Costume Shop Manager
Chairman Dr. Anthony Pizzo
Vice-Chair Arline Spino
Secretary Susan Romine
Treasurer Jeff Evans
David Schrott, Fay Murphy, J. Clifford Curley, Jack Hawkins, Jason Lipton, John Hargreaves, Linda Diem, Patricia Pickelsimer, Patricia Whitesel, Randy Hanson, Ron Allen, Ron Lennon, Steve Bayard, Dr. Steve Tinsworth, Thomas Moseley
Honorary Board Members
Patrick B. Daugherty, Parliamentarian
Mrs. Bill (Allene) Koehn . Mary E. Parker
Jim Reynolds . Cora May Stone . Natalie R. Gundrum . L. Hal West
Capital Campaign Chair Emeritus
Capital Campaign General Chair
Mark P. Barnebey, Esq.