Cast biographies

Greg Suss — Jack Point

Greg is pleased to be back onstage with the Troupers.  Previous roles include the Colonel – Patience and Thespis – Thespis.  He is also a member of the Troupe’s Board of Directors.  At Curtain Call, Greg appeared as Val – Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Barnadine – Measure for Measure, Roger Sherman – 1776. Roles with St. Catherine’s Players include Grandpa Joe – Willy Wonka, Oliver Warbucks – Annie, Miss Trunchbull – Matilda, Papa Ogre – Shrek, Grimsby – Little Mermaid, Mayor – Seussical, Mr. Darling – Peter Pan, Juluis Goldschmidt – Barnum, Max Detweiller – Sound of Music.  Curtain Call.  Greg is particularly proud that Yeoman marks the G&S debut of his amazing daughter, Katie.

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.

Tyler Panek —Leonard Meryll
Tyler is a resident of Oxford who studied music and voice at UCONN. Some of his recent productions include Children of Eden (Father), Annie (Oliver Warbucks), and White Christmas (Bob Walace) In addition to performing on stage, Mr. Panek has performed with ACDA National and International Honor Choirs in Chicago and London for the Pre-Olympic Ceremonies and has toured Europe with some of UCONN’s select ensembles. Tyler would like to thank his friends and family who show never-ending support for all his endeavors.

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

Yeomen is Jim’s favorite show. He first sang in it with the Oberlin G&S Players on Cape Cod (now called College Light Opera) while in grad school, and sang in it again with the Madison, WI Savoyards with his wife and 5 month old son in the audience. More recently, he was honored to sing the role of the Lieutenant with Troupers in 2008. This is his fourth Yeomen, where he is happy to sing Second Yeoman.

He recently played the Bishop in Jekyll and Hyde, the Musical at the Wilton Playshop and has also played 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 has been with Troupers for 22 years.

 Mathew Young — Headsman

Mathew Young

Mat most recently played George Frederick Handel in Joyful Noise at TPNC which was also directed by Nancy Meyer. Last year Mat was in the World Premiere of The Lobby by Don Creedon at  Curtain Call Theatre in Stamford. Other projects; Wisdom of EveMurder on the Orient Express. Cactus Flower, Beau Jest, A Midsummer Night’s Queen, Much Ado About Nothing, The Pillowman, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead  Frost/Nixon, ArcadiaThe Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Dancing at Lughnasa

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

Many years ago while living overseas, Melinda fell in love with Gilbert and Sullivan. After an approximately four decade hiatus she is delighted to once again be able to be a part of one of their productions.

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. 

Miki Nakahata

Last year, Miki sang in The Pirates of Penzance with Troupers and is thrilled to perform for a second time with its incredibly talented cast. She started her performing career with Japanese Classical dance as a child and after performing for over 20 years, she received a certificate as a senior instructor. After she moved to America, she has sung soprano with Hanamizuki, the Japanese Women’s chorus in Westchester, for 15 years. Later, she performed with The Nippon Club women’s choir in NYC and Harrison Presbyterian Church. She has joined the New Rochelle Opera and sang in Tosca and Showboat. She recently started to challenge herself with a new performing art, Tate, where she performs to create a realistic and dynamic sword fighting scene at TATE Hatoryu NY. She believes it is never too late to face new challenges and is enjoying this new journey!  

Marisa Schafer

Marisa is delighted to return to the stage in her second production with Troupers Light Opera, having previously performed with the company in “Pirates of Penzance” in 2022 (ensemble/Kate understudy).  Marisa has also performed with the Fairfield County Chorale under the direction of David Rosenmeyer, the a capella choir of Rodeph Sholom under the direction of Jason Greene, and other small ensembles throughout Connecticut and New York.  When she is not pattering about in rehearsal, you can find her in the role of partner at Schafer Law in Norwalk, or as mother to her two young children.  Love and thanks to Tim, her husband, her champion and her greatest fan.

Rachel Lese

Rachel Lese is thrilled to be a part of the chorus in this wonderful production! Her most recent roles include Candy Man in Willy Wonka, Ensemble in She Loves Me, Juliet in Measure for Measure, and the Ensemble in Annie. Thank you to everyone for coming, and she hopes you enjoy!


Laura Ann Heckmann (soprano) is excited to be performing with Troupers Light Opera.  She is a two time vocal winner of the Minuetto Music Festival.  She has performed for Seymour Barab at Theater for the New City as Kate in his production, The Blind Date.  Past roles include: The Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Mercury in Thespis, Lady Ella in Patience, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberfloete, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, and Lieschen in Bach’s Coffee Cantata.


Katie Suss

Katie Suss studied voice and piano at Concordia Conservatory throughout her elementary, high school and college years.  In addition to school productions, every year, since grade 8, Katie has performed leading roles with her mother and father in the annual St. Catherine’s Players musicals, a favorite family activity. A summa cum laude graduate of Concordia College, she is currently an administrator at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, CT, contemplating next steps in what will be, we’re sure, an outstanding career.  With 30 productions under her belt, Yeomen marks Katie’s Gilbert and Sullivan debut.

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

Ben is a lifelong fan of Gilbert & Sullivan, but a newcomer both to Troupers and to the stage. During the day he’s a mechanical engineer, and brought those skills to Pirates backstage last year. Ben wants to thank Elizabeth Russo of the Wilton Music Studio for the vocal training, and hopes this is the first of many shows onstage with Troupers. 

John Hoover

John, a native of Colorado, rejoined Troupers in 2014 after a hiatus of thirteen years. Prior to that he performed in thirteen productions, primarily as a chorister, but has since played Timidon in Thespis, played the Herald in The Magic Knight as well as in the chorus of several other shows. He serves as our Technical Director and is a member of Troupers’ Board of Directors. A teacher at Fairfield Country Day School, he directs and produces an annual one-act play there. He also works with the school’s annual musical production by designing and building sets, and managing the student technical and stage crews. John was also involved in the technical production of Fairfield Follies for several years.

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

The Yeomen of the Guard is Sam’s first show with Troupers Light Opera. He has been acting and singing from the age of 11, and his favorite roles have included Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, and Albert Peterson in Bye-Bye Birdie. This fall, he plans to begin studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan. He would like to thank Cheryl Kemeny of Crystal Theatre for the voice lessons, and looks forward to future onstage opportunities with Troupers.

Paul Chernysh

Paul Chernysh is pleased to be performing in the Chorus of Yeomen with Troupers. Paul is a student of Joe Santaniello at Santaniello Vocal Studios and takes classes in voice, acting, music theory, and dance at Rising Stars Performing Arts in Norwalk. Most recently, Paul has played Billy Flynn in Brien McMahon High School’s production of Chicago. He would like to thank his friends and family for always supporting him and hopes you enjoy the show!

Kenneth Skjeveland  

Ken is honored to be a part of this amazing cast and crew!  Ken has enjoyed performing in many recent theatrical productions of Mamma Mia, The Secret Garden, Ragtime (LRT), Hairspray, Working, and Avenue Q.  Ken also currently performs with his band, The Uninvited. Come check us out! 



Nancy Meyer – Stage Director

Nancy is thrilled to work with Troupers Light Opera for the first time—and with Zach Kampler once again!

Many moons ago, Nancy was the artistic director of Greenwich High School’s Theatre Art Department, directing and choreographing over 20 musicals and plays and coaching students for national and state-level competitions. A soloist with the Second Congregational Church choir in Greenwich, Nancy starred in multiple community theatre productions, including Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney) and Camelot (Guenevere) for St. Catherine’s Players.

With husband Paul’s transfer to Atlanta, she became lead teaching artist for the Alliance Theatre (think: Lincoln Center of the South). Nancy earned a Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist designation, successfully training teachers across America to integrate the arts into curriculum. She wrote and directed productions for professional, community, and school theatres. She was education director for Young Audiences of Atlanta as well as for Laughing Matters, Atlanta’s Premiere Improvisational Comedy Troupe.

With their move to Maryland, Nancy sang with the Washington Chorus, directed and taught youth theatre for the award-winning Imagination Stage, and performed with Now This!, DC’s Improvisational Musical Comedy Troupe.

Since returning to CT, she has directed Joyful Noise (Town Players of New Canaan), [title of show], I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Wilton Playshop), and Hound of the Baskervilles (The Lipstick Project). Recent performances include Jack’s Mother in Into the Woods and Mother Superior in Sister Act (Curtain Call Theatre), and Alexa in It’s Hell Out There and Vera in She Kills Dragons (Croton Arts Academy).

Nancy has over 25 years’ experience performing in and coaching professional and educational improvisational comedy troupes. Her new book, Teaching Improv Skills: Stories, Games, and Tips to Develop Skills for Improvisational Comedy Troupes, is now available on Amazon. Nancy provides copy editing and proofreading services through her company, NancyProofed.


Zachary Kampler (Music Director, Conductor)

serves as Music Director of the St. Catherine’s Players, the Sound Beach Community Band, and the Kolot Sinai Chorus. He has conducted for The Connecticut Little Symphony (To Kill a Mockingbird Suite, Appalachian Spring) and Nickel City Opera (The Barber Of Seville, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, Il Tabarro), in addition to holding the position of Assistant Conductor with the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic, Tri-Cities Opera, and Sarasota Opera. Recent engagements include work with The Town Players of New Canaan (Joyful Noise), ACT of CT (Jesus Christ Superstar), and The Downtown Bridgeport Cabaret (Rent, 9-5 spring of 2023).  Kampler began composing in 2001, when he conducted the premiere of his first symphonic work, The Final Say. More recently, he has composed musicals.  He and his writing partner were commissioned by the Boys & Girls Club to create a new musical: K.C.@Bat.  Their work premiered at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre and is currently published and available for licensing through YouthPLAYS, alongside the team’s young artists’ version of The Pirates of Penzance. A graduate of the Juilliard Pre-College Program, Kampler holds a B.A. in Music from New York University and an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting with a concentration in Opera from SUNY Binghamton.