They’re Playing Our Song

They’re Playing Our Songbook
by Neil Simon
music by Marvin Hamlisch
lyrics by Carol Bayer Sager
Directed by Rick Shaffer

January 15 – February 20, 2010

A romantic comedy musical about an established composer and an aspiring young lyricist. Written with the usual Neil Simon wit and graced with the musical genius of Hamlisch and Bayer Sager, this production will send you out the door with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.”… full of blithe good humor
… absolutely beguiling …” – N.Y. Post


Barron Henzel (Vernon Gersch) co-produced The It Girl at Coronado Playhouse and assistant directed Dames at Sea (Lamplighters). Stage credits include The Busy World is Hushed, Torch Song Trilogy, Handsome Men (Diversionary); 1776, H2$, Scarlet Pimpernel, Jekyll & Hyde (Starlight); Trolls, Miss Mcinerney’s Acquaintances (6th @ Penn); Much Ado About Nothing, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Angels Among Us (Coronado Playhouse); the feature film Married Men’s Club with Jill Drexler, and various local and national commercials. A San Diego Performing Arts League Star Award recipient, Barron is also an art director and owner of Henzel

Jennie Gray Connard (Sonia Walsk) is thrilled to be making her SRT debut in They’re Playing Our Song. Jennie has appeared locally at the Welk Resorts Theatre, Starlight Theatre and Coronado Playhouse. Past favorite roles include Rachel in Inherit the Wind and Dainty June in Gypsy. She is a proud alumna of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Jennie would like to thank the cast, crew, producers, and especially director Rick Shaffer, for this wonderful experience. Lastly, Jennie would like to express her continuing gratitude for her very loving and supportive family.

Jonathan Dotson (Voice of Vernon ensemble) is excited to return to SRT after a long break from acting. Jonathan was recently seen in PowPAC’s reading of Cakewalk, and otherwise has not been seen on stage since his role as a mighty forest ranger in SRT’s 2006 production of Little Mary Sunshine. When not on stage, Jonathan is either doing school work or spending time with family. He’d like to thank everybody in this awesome cast and crew for the wonderful experience!

Stephanie “Boo” Hester (Voice of Sonia ensemble) moved from Orange County in 2008 to study in the Theatre Arts program at SDSU, where she will graduate with a B.A. in Performance in 2011. This is Stephanie’s third production in San Diego, her first two being the San Diego premiere of Zanna Don’t! (Karla) at the Roosevelt Theatre, and the west coast premiere of The It Girl (Molly) at Coronado Playhouse. Favorite onstage credits from Orange County include Cabaret (Helga) at Camino Real Playhouse, Reefer Madness! The Musical (Placard Girl) at Saddleback College, and Play On! (Louise) at Irvine Valley College.

Dante Macatantan (Voice of Vernon ensemble), making his SRT debut, was last seen as a sailor in Lyric Opera’s Anything Goes and also played one in Coronado Playhouse’s The It Girl. He also appeared in Such ‘N’ Such Productions’ Annie Get Your Gun, CCT’s Hello, Dolly! and San Diego City College productions of Gypsy (Yonkers), Ain’t Misbehavin’ and 42nd Street (Andy). Dante has studied theatre at SDSU and San Diego City College and plans to obtain a BFA in Theater.

Sven Salumaa (Voice of Vernon ensemble) was last seen at SRT as Leo Schneider in Neil Simon’s Chapter Two. Locally, he has performed at Diversionary Theatre (Yank!, The Daddy Machine), ion theatre (US Drag), PowPAC (Fuddy Meers), OnStage Playhouse (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Coronado Playhouse (Ten Little Indians), and with InnerMission Productions (The Glory of Living). Thanks to the fantastic cast and crew!!!

Stephanie “Sully” Sullivan (Voice of Sonia ensemble) last appeared at SRT as Mabel in Little Mary Sunshine (2006). A graduate of Scripps Ranch High School, she has appeared as Emily in Our Town, a favorite among numerous other roles. She is currently a student at UCSD majoring in International Studies, with double emphases in Sociology and Italian.

Anya C. Tuerk (Voice of Sonia ensemble) is from Denver but is delighted to currently call San Diego home. She has recently been seen as Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie at City College and in HAIR at Birch North Park Theatre. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Music. Favorite roles include Sheila in A Chorus Line and Lily’s Lady in CU Opera’s world premiere of Sara McKinnon. She has enjoyed working with SRT and would like to thank all involved for their hard work on this production.

Production Staff

Rick Shaffer (Director, Music Director, Sound Designer) Classically trained in piano, composition, orchestration, and musical theater, Rick has studied at both Carnegie-Mellon University and Purdue University, where he received his MFA and served as faculty musical director-in-residence from 1977-1981. Before relocating to San Diego, Rick worked in NYC as an arranger/composer, actor/singer/dancer, director/choreographer, studio musician, accompanist, and music director. Rick’s San Diego credits have included dozens of musical and dramatic productions, including his most recent stage appearance in Diversionary’s acclaimed production of Scrooge In Rouge, and as music director for Coronado Playhouse’s 2009 production of The It Girl.

Chad Oakley (Producer) last served SRT as stage manager/assistant director for Chapter Two. He previously stage managed Play it Again, Sam and was lighting designer for As Bees in Honey Drown. Recent work at other theaters includes lighting and set design for InnerMission’s production of The Glory of Living, and lighting design for A Taffetas Christmas at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. Chad is also the Technical Director for PowPAC in Poway.

Ruth Carlson (Asst. Dir./Stage Manager) is very excited to be doing another SRT musical after making her San Diego theater debut in the same capacity for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change two seasons ago. Other SRT credits include The Dining Room and I’m Not Rappaport. Even though Ruth received BAs in Broadcast Journalism and Communication Studies, NOT theater, she has been passionately involved on- and off-stage for many years. Favorite on-stage roles include Masha in The Seagull, Daughter in Quilters, and Riverbend in Baghdad Burning. She thanks SRT for again inviting her to work here, and her friends and family for always supporting her passion.

Alisa Williams (Choreographer) Alisa has been working in theater for eighteen years as an actress and choreographer around San Diego at Scripps Ranch, Starlight, Onstage, PowPac, Compass Theater and is a resident artist and instructor with Such N’ Such Productions. She has enjoyed working with this talented cast and team – thank you to Rickie and Chad for another fun show! Much love to her husband and their beautiful daughter for supporting her time away at the theater.

Chris Barnes (Stage Crew) is very excited for his first show at Scripps Ranch Theatre. He is delighted to be working with a fun group of people, and looks forward to being a part of future productions.

Lisa Burgess (Costume Designer) also designed costumes for SRT’s recent production of I’m Not Rappaport, and served as sound and light technician for OnStage Playhouse’s 2005 production of Birthday Suite, for which she received their 2005-2006 Season Best Technician Award. Other theater costume design, prosthetics and wig work includes A Tuna Christmas, Killer Joe, A Bad Night in A Restroom Off Sunset Blvd., Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Boston Marriage at Compass Theatre, and projects for many other theater companies in San Diego, including the role of Gretel in the San Diego Opera Company’s 1979 production of Hansel and Gretel. Lisa teaches 9th grade rhetoric at Granger Junior High as her “day job.”

Jennifer Collins (Tech. Operator) This is Jennifer’s second time behind the scenes with SRT, having served as co-producer and crew member for I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Back on the east coast she spent time on the stage in numerous shows, including Jekyll and Hyde, Oliver, and Children of Eden. She also is happy to be working again with Rick, Ruth, John, Tim, and the SRT team.

Tim Dahill (Asst. Stage Mgr.) is happy to be working with Rick and Ruth again after working with them on I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change two years ago. This is his second production with SRT as an A.S.M. and he is grateful to have been invited back. He looks forward to working with Rick and Ruth again in the future.

John DeVinney (Sound Board Operator) is proud to be part of the SRT family again. Past SRT technical credits: I’m Not Rappaport, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and The Dining Room. John also has numerous other technical and sound design credits in many San Diego venues. John is pleased to be working with Rick, Ruth, Jen and Tim once again in an SRT musical.

Tim Wallace (Set Design/Construction) has painted scenery for the San Diego Opera for over 19 years. He has designed scenery for Backyard Productions and Scripps Ranch Theatre (most recently Holiday Memories), and is currently the resident designer for New Village Arts in Carlsbad.

Production Photos


Production photos by Paul Savage


“As an audience member to this play, your belief will definitely be suspended with superb acting and great music and lyrics… this production of a vastly entertaining romantic-comedy has the guns to be a sure-fire hit. A must-see, audience members who are looking for an entertaining and fun-loving comedy will not be disappointed. Don’t miss it.”
– My Nguyen,

“She may be over 30 years old, but with a creative team of Neil Simon (book), Marvin Hamlisch (Music), and Carol Bayer Sager (lyrics), They’re Playing Our Song was destined to be a smash hit with multiple Tony nominations in 1978. In 2010 Scripps Ranch Theatre
tasked one of the few directors that could make it all work . . . Rick Shaffer.”
– Hitch, San Diego Theatre Scene