2021/2022 Season

August 11-15: The Heartbreak Henry, dir. David Sheffield

Take a 19-year-old Ole Miss student and sign him up as night manager of the aging Henry Hotel in Oxford and you have the comedy The Heartbreak Henry, which will be presented at the Gertrude C. Ford Theatre August 11-15. The Heartbreak Henry, written and directed by David Sheffield, the former head copy-writer for Saturday Night Live, features many of the cranky, contentious and confused patrons who frequented the run-down hotel during his tenure. The production is presented by Theatre Oxford with co-sponsorship through the University of Mississippi School of Journalism & New Media. Tickets are now on sale through the Ford Center box office at https://olemissboxoffice.com/ordering-tickets/

Note: This show is not suitable for children under 13 years of age.

According to Sheffield, “I went to Ole Miss for an education, but the real education took place at the Henry Hotel. I saw things at the Henry I never saw at home.” 

2-minute film clip of Sheffield talking about The Heartbreak Henry: https://vimeo.com/547692332

Cast/Crew Bios:

Naomi Levin, assistant director, graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Parkside with a BA in Fine Arts, Literature and Communications. She has worked as stage manager & running lights and sound for A Time to Kill at the Panola Playhouse, and was nominated for an Allie for best sound. She has performed for Theatre Oxford’s 10-Minute Play Festival, as well as stage manager on Brighton Beach Memoirs and director of On Golden Pond. Most recently she wrote, produced and directed a movie short entitled Campus Police, her most proud accomplishment to date. When not busy in theatre, Naomi enjoys quilting, motorcycle riding and traveling.

Ayla Gafni, stage manager, is honored to be a part of this exciting production. She has been involved with Theatre Oxford for two years, and is currently the vice president. Before moving to Oxford, Ayla worked with SCCT in State College, Pennsylvania, where she stage managed The Music Man, Bye Bye Birdie and The Heidi Chronicles. Ayla is also an actor; you may have seen her earlier this year playing Natalie in A Young Ghost in the Ten-Minute Play Festival.

Kathleen Wickham, producer, is a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism & New Media. She has taught at the Sorbonne and served as chair of the Americas at the University of Rennes, Brittany, France. She has published four books and co- produced six documentaries, including Thinking of Home: Falkner House & Rowan Oak, all of which were shown on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. With Larry Wells, she co-chaired the fundraising for The Heartbreak Henry and chaired the publicity/marketing committees.

JAIME ADAMS appears as Noreen, a waitress at Leslie’s Drug store with a side gig. Jaime’s stage highlights include Theatre Oxford’s Steel Magnolias & Brighton Beach Memoirs. She can be seen digitally in Driven, Forced Move, Two Headed Woman and the Amazon series Stagrassle Paranormal. Jamie has also enjoyed commercial work, casting, directing and serving as Mistress of Ceremonies for Oxfilm’s RHPS. She is honored to work with the writer of such influential moments as James Brown’s Celebrity Hot Tub. She would like to thank her mother for her honored influence as well, and dedicates her performance to the Veterans of the Vietnam War; especially her father, James Self and his friends at the Oxford, MS, State Veterans Home.

GINNIE BROWN plays Mary Lynn Skinner, a Chi Omega pledge at Alabama, and a “cheap girlfriend.” Ginnie is a 2020 graduate from the University of Mississippi, receiving a BA in Theatre Arts and a minor in Business. She was last seen at Theatre Oxford as Sarah Bernhardt in The Complete History of Theatre. Her credits at the UM include Meg March in Little Women and Lilith/Lily in She Kills Monsters. She is currently employed as the Account and Retail Manager of B-Unlimited Oxford. She would like to thank her friends & family & co-workers for their continued support!

BUD FANTON plays Police Chief Ed Brewer and a local businessman. Bud is the former president of Theatre Oxford. He moved to Oxford in 2016 after working for 50 years as a songwriter, corporate film producer/director and set decoration leadman. This is his first acting performance since he was cast as Captain Hook at 14.

DANNY FLAGGERT plays Jamie Leigh Pippen, the Henry hotel manager. Danny is a freelance actor who is moving to Atlanta in September to pursue acting full time. A couple of other credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing. Having the opportunity to serve this story is a great honor for me. As Jamie embarks upon his journey to balance a strong will with overbearing empathy, I hope to develop strong enough balancing skills to do justice by him. I want to thank my family, my friends as well as David Sheffield, Naomi Leven and the entire cast for their time and passion for this art we call acting. I hope you enjoy the show.

ADAM GRIFFITH appears as Police Officer Oglethrope and as a cowboy hat wearing hustler. Adam was a Theatre BFA major at the University of Mississippi before switching directions and diving headfirst into the restaurant industry. He is now the chef for the UM Chapter of Delta Gamma sorority. He still enjoys participating in community theatre when time permits and has appeared in the Oxford Shakespeare Festival’s production of Cymbeline, as well as several Theatre Oxford productions. He played the role of Armadillo Slim in Paydayus Ex Machina for the Ten-Minute Plays and the role of William Shakespeare in last year’s socially- distanced production of The Complete History of Theatre, Abridged.

GEOFF KNIGHT appears as Wallis Ethridge, an outsider who comes to Oxford in the 1960s. Unlike the character he portrays, Knight is no stranger to the local arts scene. He has previously performed in Theater Oxford’s production of Brighton Beach Memoirs and has made screen appearances in the short films The Artifact and Campus Police. He also lent his voice as the narrator in the documentary film Dear Hubert Creekmore. Knight first came to Oxford in 1997, as a student at the University of Mississippi, and stayed long enough to earn his Doctorate in Education. It was in Oxford that he met his amazingly talented wife, Mary, and they had a lovely wedding on campus. They currently reside in Oxford with their son, Jackson, their dog, Savannah, and their cat, Charlie.

JULIANNA MIKELL plays two characters: Valerie, a University of Mississippi student, and hopeful songwriter Lisa Jeffcoat, a Candy Striper at Baptist Charity Hospital. She is excited to return to stage after a longer than anticipated three-year “itty bitty” break. Previously Julianna performed as Hannigan in Annie Jr., Hope in Almost, Maine, and in Theatre Oxford’s Ten-Minute play festival.

DOUGLAS ROBERTS plays Alvin, a quirky housepainter. A long time Oxford area resident, Doug’s experience includes roles in over 20 feature films and several television series. He currently works in the Art Department. This is his first time back on stage in 35 years.

PAULA E-T STACK appears as Patsy, a waitress with a side gig. Paula has been a proud member of Theatre Oxford since her Mashed Potatoes and Davey debut in 2015. Appearances include: On Golden Pond, Doubt, several of Theatre Oxford 10-minute play festivals, andcommunityfilms#fifteenandChecked In. “Thanks to my husband John and son Nate for putting up with everything “Patsy” and a special thank you to David Sheffield for trusting me to be part of this interesting story.”(Naomi you were right).

Julie Fanton, production manager, moved home to Oxford with her husband Bud after retiring from a 40-year career as a set decorator. She decorated over 600 episodes of network series television as well as many theatrical and television movies. Julie won an Emmy award in 1997 for her work on Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s Cinderella which also won the ADG Guild award that year. She was nominated for another Emmy in 2003 for Sabrina the Teenage Witch and for an ADG award for My Name is Earl in 2008. She loves working with Theatre Oxford!

Felipe E. Macias, set designer, currently serves as Technical Director for the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of Mississippi. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Eastern New Mexico University where he was Designer/Technical Director, was named Outstanding Advisor and honored with the Spirit of Eastern award for outstanding achievement as a faculty member. While in New Mexico he served on the board of the New Mexico Alliance for Arts in Education, the Region VI selection committee for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and was, for 10 years, the vice chair for the design wing of the Southwest Theatre and Film Association. Macias has designed over 150 productions including the world premiere and European tour of the opera Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

Jackie Daniels, costume designer, graduated with an MFA in directing from the University of Mississippi in 1980. She has worked in educational and community theatre since that time: directing, designing and building sets, designing and sewing costumes and teaching theatre at the high school and college level. She is elated to be a part of this amazing production and to work with Theatre Oxford.

DAVID O. BELL appears as Leon, a pool hustler. David last appeared in St. Peter’s Cemetery as a dead person. He is grateful to be cast as a live one and one much younger than he is. He wishes to thank Rob Jolly for the use of his fancy boots and promises (sort of) to return them.

LAVITA BROOKS, BFA, SAG-AFTRA, appears as Cassie, the housemaid at The Henry Hotel who sees all. LaVita is a Memphis native located in Los Angeles, CA. She has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a Performance Concentration from The University of Memphis Department of Theatre and Dance. LaVita, an alum of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, says film is her passion. There are several independent films, major productions, commercials, voice overs and print jobs to her credit. A very special thanks to Naomi Levin. Thanks so much for making art with me all the time. David Sheffield…. You rock! I appreciate you trusting me to bring our beloved Cassie to life. It’s honor to work with you. This performance is dedicated to the memory of her grandmother, Plumie Brooks.

MACK DRYDEN, plays Nubbie, a housepainter, in The Heartbreak Henry. Born and raised in Moss Point, MS, Mack earned a B.A. in Journalism (and a black belt in tae kwon do) at the University of Mississippi and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi. Before becoming an entertainer, he was an award-winning reporter for the South Mississippi Sun in Biloxi and a freelance writer and cartoonist in Key West. For more than 30 years, he was the southern half of the comedy team Mack & Jamie, who appeared on The Tonight Show several times, co-starred in the Dino DeLaurentis movie Million Dollar Movie, and co-hosted 125 episodes of the syndicated TV sketch show Comedy Break with Mack & Jamie.

JOSHUA HEYLIN, plays Bryce Culpepper, a University of Mississippi music student, in The Heartbreak Henry. An Atlanta-based actor, Joshua had his debut on the stage at NEMCC. It was there that he met Christopher Schager, who introduced him to the theatrical world, for which he has been thankful ever since. Joshua moved on to receive his bachelor’s in theatre at UM. It was during this time that he met his friend and mentor, Matthew King, who inspired him to press onward. Joshua now studies at Nick Conti’s Professional Actor’s Studio and would like to thank his cat, Isom, for being his scene partner at home and giving “pawsitive feedback.”

REBECCA MOORE JERNIGAN plays in Miss Meetha, a long-time resident of The Henry. Rebecca has served Theatre Oxford in virtually every capacity from Board Chair to workshop gopher. Her most recent roles were Ethel in On Golden Pond and Betty in The Foreigner. She performed in the Oxford/University Shakespeare Festival most notably as First Witch in Macbeth and the nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Film roles include Ode to Billy Joe, The Client and locally Texas Heart and Glorious Mail. She was a recipient of the Holka for her role in Tube at the Oxford Film fest in 2013. Rebecca is known throughout the region as a storyteller. Currently she is facilitating First Friday Poetry each month at Cambridge Methodist Church and she will be once more telling ghost stories at the Pumpkin Patch in the fall.

MARK LEONARD returns to the front of the stage in the role of Louis Hightower, the owner of the dilapidated Henry Hotel. Leonard has directed and produced 37 productions from California to New Jersey and was the executive producer for Lost Armadillo Productions in Austin, TX, for 10 years. His plays and musicals have won The Roger L. Stevens Playwriting Award from The President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He was the dramatic director for the PBS television special, John Henry Faulk: The Man Who Beat the Blacklist. He has a BFA in English from Trinity University in San Antonio and an MFA in theater from the University of Mississippi.

GABRIELLE QUINTANA appears as Letty Ethridge, the much- younger wife of Wallis Etheridge in The Heartbreak Henry. Originally from Marietta, GA, Quintana is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi with a BFA in Acting for Stage and Screen. During her time at UM, she performed in Chicago, Eurydice, The Wolves and Pop-Up Shakespeare. Quintana has also appeared in Ghostlight Repertory’s production of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Gabrielle (aka Gabby) is extremely grateful to David Sheffield and Naomi Levin for this fantastic opportunity. She would also like to thank her parents, three older brothers, and her dog, Valeska, for putting up with her wild imagination and constant singing!

JONTÉ WILLIAMS appears as a soldier head off to war. Jonte is a 2021 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Jonté is a native of Columbus, MS, where he began acting at a young age. He had hopes of having a basketball career but made the ultimate decision to pursue a degree in filmmaking.

December (various dates): Peppermint Bear: The Taming of the Shoe, by Michael Sinder, dir. Jaime Adams

Theatre Oxford is very excited to announce the holiday presentation of Peppermint Bear – Taming of the Shoe, written by Michael Sinder.
Dastardly Percy, an out of work Director/Choreographer, arrives in the guise of a shoe salesman for elf shoes.  His real plan is to become rich and famous through the use of elf, Gert, and a magic magnet that forces her to dance!  Will Gert be able to break the spell?  Will the Peppermint Bear be able to save Christmas?  Find out when Theatre Oxford presents this family friendly, audience participation, travelling holiday show.  Join us as we share holiday fun with young and old and an introduction into the interactive world of theatre!

February 3-5: The 2022 Ten-Minute Play Festival

Theatre Oxford’s annual 10-Minute Play Festival draws new works from all over the world. The grand prize is $1,000 plus production in arts-loving Oxford Mississippi, a town beloved for its literary history. This season, we’ll produce a handful of the contest winners and runners-up, as well as a couple gems from local authors. The Festival will take place in February at the Powerhouse, Oxford’s arts hub.

April 28-30: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespearea, dir. Naomi Levin

Lysander loves Hermia, and Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius; Demetrius used to love Helena but now loves Hermia. Meanwhile  complications arise in the forest of faeries where Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of Fairies, are locked in a dispute. To get his way, Oberon instructs his servant Puck to bring him magic love drops, which Oberon will sprinkle on the Queen’s eyelids as she sleeps, whereupon Titania will fall in love with the first creature she sees upon awakening! In the midst of this chaos, a group of craftsmen are rehearsing for a production of “Pyramus and Thisbe,” to be played for the Duke at his wedding to the Queen of the Amazon, which he won in battle!

Confused? You won’t be, when Theatre Oxford presents an intimate evening, with the prince of playwrights, William Shakespeare, in one of his most cherished comedies.

2022/2023 Season

Fall 2022 – An Evening with Tennessee Williams

Selections from one of the South’s most iconic playwrights. Further details TBA

Winter 2022 – Peppermint Bear: Santa and the Toy Elves

Elves are lured into Mr. Weatherby’s “amusemachine” turning them into robotic elves.  His plan is to do the same to Santa and take over Christmas! Further details TBA

February 2023 – The 2023 Ten-Minute Play Festival

Theatre Oxford’s annual 10-Minute Play Festival draws new works from all over the world. The grand prize is $1,000 plus production in arts-loving Oxford Mississippi, a town beloved for its literary history. This season, we’ll produce a handful of the contest winners and runners-up, as well as a couple gems from local authors. The Festival will take place in February at the Powerhouse, Oxford’s arts hub.