Cast biographies

Greg Suss — Jack Point

Christina Kampler — Elsie Maynard
Christina Kampler earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from New York University and Master of Music in Opera from Binghamton University. She graduated from the Resident-Artist-in-Training Program with Tri-Cities Opera Company, and has performed in operas and musical theater locally as well. Favorite roles include Queen of the Night in “Die Zauberflöte,” Mabel in “The Pirates of Penzance,” Miss Honey in “Matilda,” Heidi in “[title of show],” and Mayzie LaBird in “Seussical The Musical.”

Kampler is excited to return to Troupers Light Opera, where she was last seen as Tessa in “The Gondoliers” back in 2010! She is currently the General Music and Chorus teacher at Old Greenwich School, and is currently a Director at Greenwich A Cappella.

David Schancupp — Sgt Meryll

David celebrates his forty-first year with Troupers, and his thirtieth leading role, in the same opera in which he made his Troupers’ debut in 1982. Since his Troupers debut as Wilfred Shadbolt in The Yeomen of the Guard, he has appeared with us in virtually all the leading G&S
bass-baritone roles: most recently in 2018 as “Il Ducato” in our Italian Renaissance version of The Mikado, John Wellington Wells and Sir Marmaduke in The Sorcerer, Sir Despard and Sir Roderic in Ruddigore, The Duke of Plaza-Toro and Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers, Dick
Deadeye and Sir Joseph in H.M.S. Pinafore, the Judge and the Usher in Trial by Jury, Private Willis in Iolanthe, and Sergeant Meryll in The Yeomen of the Guard, Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, King Gama in Princess Ida and his favorite G & S role, the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe. He has also performed many of the same roles with the Connecticut Gilbert &. Sullivan Society (Middletown) where he recently appeared as Dick Deadeye, and Simsbury Light Opera Company, where he also appeared as Pooh-Bah in The Mikado, the
French Ambassador in Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing, Sir Marmaduke The Sorcerer and Private Willis in Iolanthe. David has appeared as the Sacristan in Tosca and Benoit and Alcindoro in La Boheme with the Greater New Britain Opera Company, and as the Commendatore in Don
Giovanni and the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly and directed Act I of Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Hillhouse Opera Company (New Haven). Among his musical comedy credits are principal roles Oklahoma, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Kismet, How to Succeed in Business, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Threepenny Opera, Guys & Dolls, and his favorite role, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. David is a past president and Life Member of
Troupers. In his non-theatrical life, David is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

 

Ria Ipa — Phobe

Ria Ipa is a tri-state based, full-time musician. She has studied classical voice for 11 years, and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in classical voice from the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Neil Rosenshein. She is also a proud alumni of Matthew Surapine’s voice studio. Ria can be heard any Saturday or Sunday singing and practicing the organ at Saint Maurice church where she just accepted the position of Choral Director. Recent projects include recording with multi Emmy and Grammy award-winning music producer Brian Keane for Arti Dixson’s humanitarian foundation “HOPE” (Help Our People Eat). This past December she was seen as Susannah Cibber in Joyful Noise at the Power House Theatre in New Canaan. Opera credits include Second Woman (Dido and Aneas), Susanna(Le Nozze Di Figaro) and most recently Zweite Knabe(Die Zauberflote). In the summer of 2021 she Music Directed the Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s Junior and Drama-Rama productions of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Assistant-Music Directed a new musical Stoopkid Stories LIVE! Previous musical theatre credits include: Burning of Norwalk (Sarah Gaylord) Background Singer(Honky-Tonk Angels), Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz), Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls), and Ursula (The Little Mermaid).

Marian Shulman — Dame Carruthers

Marian joined Troupers in 2009 and has been busy on and offstage ever since. She played Ida in Die Fledermaus, Vittoria in The Gondoliers, both Buttercup and Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, and Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance.. In addition, she served as Stage Director for Thespis, Patience, and The Magic Knight as well as Stage Manager for Il Mikado and our 20014 production of The Pirates of Penzance. Marian has performed in opera, oratorio, and in operatic workshops in San Francisco, Aspen, and New York City.  A G&S veteran, she has performed with Gilbert and Sullivan companies in California, New Jersey, Texas, and Connecticut, having appeared with those companies in principal roles in The Mikado, The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance, Ruddigore, Iolanthe, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Sorcerer, and The Yeomen of the Guard. This is her twelfth year as a member of the Troupers Board of Directors and tenth as Vice-President.  Marian lives in Stamford with her husband Arthur, and thanks him for his patience and encouragement during the rehearsal and performance period.

 

Mark Callahan — Wilfred Shadbolt

With Yeoman, Mark is celebrating his 22nd G&S production, and 5th collaboration with Troupers. He also appears regularly with the Simsbury Light Opera Company and with the Connecticut Gilbert & Sullivan Society. His last principal role was Timidon in CGSS’sThespisin 2019, a character which he claims is his opposite. Mark would like to use this opportunity to put to rest a rumor started by Jim Cooper that Mark performs obscure theatrical pieces to wild animals in his back yard, insisting that they’re not done in his back yard

 

Rhianna Ring- Howell — Kate

was practically born on the stage, with both her parents being opera singers. She has performed in numerous concerts and shows throughout her childhood. Favorite roles include Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), Henrietta Hanford (The Burning of Norwalk), the 1st Spirit (The Magic Flute), and the title role in Puss in Boots. She was a featured soloist in Carmen and various benefit concerts with Delaware Valley Opera, as well as in Eugene Onegin with New York Opera Theatre. Rhianna also sings with St. Paul’s on the Green as one of the Choral Scholars. She is a recent graduate of NorthStar Academy and is currently pursuing further education in fiction writing and business with The Author Conservatory. In her spare time, she plays piano and practices Taekwondo. Rhianna is thrilled to be making her Troupers debut as Kate, and to perform alongside her father, James Ring-Howell, once again. 

 

Alan Briones — Lieutenant Cholmondeley
Alan Briones returns to Troupers Light Opera to perform the role of Sir Richard Cholmondely, Lieutenant of the Tower. Previously with Troupers, Alan has performed the role of Pish-Tush in The Mikado and in his previous life as a tenor, the role of Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S Pinafore and the title role in Victor Herbert’s The Magic Knight. Though currently based in the NY Metro area, Alan has sung around the country, most recently with Opera Camerata of Washington (DC), as well as with West Bay Opera, West Edge Opera, and Livermore Opera in California.  Alan started his operatic career at the age of 11 as the Third Spirit in The Magic Flute with New York City Opera. He later earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree from the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College.  Over the last few seasons Alan’s roles included the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Belcore in L´Elisir d´Amore, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival in Sicily; Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi with the Brookln College Opera Theater, and most recently Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perle with the Taconic Opera affiliated New York Opera Conservatory.

 

James Ring-Howell – Colonel Fairfax

James Ring-Howell, tenor, a native of numerous military bases across the world, is a graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, and Mannes College of Music in NYC.  He studied both Music and Electrical Engineering.  James has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Europe.  Singing across a diverse repertoire, James has performed roles ranging from Don Curzio in Marriage of Figaro and Mr. Splinters in The Tenderland to the Duke in Rigoletto and Tamino in the Magic Flute.  He can also be seen the background of a number of movies and television episodes from the mid-nineties.  He is happy to be sharing the stage with his daughter Rhianna in his Troupers debut.

Rob Strom — First Yeoman

Rob has acted and sung in community theatre, musicals, and opera since 1973, with the Ridgefield Chorale since 1996, and with Troupers since 2004. He has served as volunteer music director and piano accompanist for elementary school musicals in Ridgefield, Connecticut. His roles with Troupers include: Featherstonhaugh in The Red Mill, Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus, Major Murgatroyd in Patience, Fredrick in The Magic Knight, Lawyer in The Sorcerer, Mars in Thespis,and chorus in numerous Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Other roles include King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mendel in Fiddler on the Roof, Munchkin Mayor in The Wizard of Oz, Teddy in Arsenic and Old Lace, Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, and chorus in CarmenTosca, and Aida. Outside of his performing, Rob is a retired computer scientist and math-science tutor, part-time genealogy hobbyist, and part-time babysitter/teacher for his 5-year-old grandson.

Jim Cooper — Second Yeoman

Jim recently played the Bishop in Jekyll and Hyde, the Musical at the Wilton Playshop and sang in the Featured Ensemble in Carousel with the Norwalk Symphony. He has been with Troupers for 22 years, and has played the Lieutenant in Yeomen of the Guard, Samuel in Pirates of Penzance, the Notary in The Sorcerer. He played the Old Actor in The Fantasticks last year in Newtown and earlier in Brookfield. He also played Lesgate in Dial M for Murder for the Pound Ridge players. He was the music director for Thespis, Patience, and The Magic Knight, and Chorus Master for Iolanthe and Il Mikado. He serves as Treasurer, co-Technical Director, and Web Master for Troupers, and recently published his twenty-first book.

Chorus Members

Leah Kessler-Shaw
Yeoman of the Guard  is Lea’s third show with Troupers Light Opera. She has appeared with Troupers in Pirates of Penzance and Ruddigore, in the Simsbury Light Opera Company’s productions of The SorcererIolanthe, and The Gondoliers, where she performed the role of Inez, and in the Connecticut Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s The Mikado. She has sung with the Westchester Oratorio Society, the Dartmouth Choral Society (Nova Scotia), where she played the role of Mary in Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell, and L’Union Chorale de La Tour-de-Peilz (Switzerland), where the rehearsals were confusingly all in French. Besides singing, Lea enjoys hiking, wildlife photography, and knitting.

Melinda Bauers

Vicki Cooper
Vicki has been working behind the scenes for Troupers for years, helping set construction and assisting in getting out mailings. Most recently, she sang in the chorus of Verdi’s Requiem with the Norwalk Symphony. She is proud to be on stage with Troupers for this year’s show!

Maribeth Johnson
Maribeth is pleased to be making her fifth appearance with her Troupers friends in the ensemble and honored to be working with such a wonderful, amazingly talented cast. Besides participating in Il Mikado, Ruddigore, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and the Pirates of Penzance with Troupers, Maribeth has performed in musical theater and community choirs since high school, most recently with the Coastal Mix barbershop chorus’ holiday programs. Some of her favorite roles are Edith Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Martina Marquez in The Miracle of Fatima, and in the ensemble of Hair. As part of Stratford’s Sister Cities Chorus, in 2016 Maribeth was fortunate to perform in Shakespeare’s church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England and plans to visit Stratford, Ontario this August. 

Angelique Joseph

Miki Nakahata

Marisa Schafer

Tammy Strom

Emory Strom

Bobbie Willmore

Bill Abbott

Bill has sung bass in the men’s chorus of Troupers Light Opera since 1997. From 1982 to 1984 he performed with the Stanford Savoyards, the Gilbert & Sullivan performing company at Stanford University, and he has sung in choirs and choruses in California, Connecticut, and England. He is in his third term as President of Troupers, having served in 2001-2003 and 2015-2017, and has also served on its Board of Directors. A 1974 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, with a doctorate in British history from Oxford University, Bill is an Associate Professor of History at Fairfield University.

 

Ben Dussault

John Hoover

Bill Kenyon

Bill appeared in 2021 Stamford Shakespeare-on-the-Green Romeo and Juliet, as Friar John, who is tasked to take the letter to Romeo in Mantua — but doesn’t, so Romeo, Juliet and County Paris all die. He appeared in the chorus of Troupers’ 2019 performance of Ruddigore and 2021 Pirates of Penzance. He played Lennox in Macbeth at the Brookfield Theater, and Dr. Spivey in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in Ridgefield; and appeared with the Sherman players in Jack and the Beanstalk, The Taming of the Shrew, Life With Father, Dark of the Moon, Arsenic and Old Lace, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Sam Harris