THE SECRET GARDEN Cast + Creatives



(Director/Producing Artistic Director) is the sixth Artistic Director and the first Producing Artistic Director in Virginia Stage Company’s 40 year history. At the Wells Tom has directed Pride and Prejudice and The Santaland Diaries, and can’t wait to tackle Matilda at the end of this season. Previously as Artistic Director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre (CFRT), Tom produced over 35 plays and directed the World Premiere of Downrange: Voices from the Homefront, a play based on interviews with military spouses from Fort Bragg. Tom is an Associate Artist at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill where he directed An Enemy of the People, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and The Little Prince. He also directed The Little Prince at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As the founder of FreightTrain Shakespeare in Los Angeles, he earned a Dramalogue Award for his direction of Pericles. Other Los Angeles credits range from King Lear to The Devil With Boobs. A member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Tom is a graduate of Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) with a B.A. in Theatre and Economics, and the University of California, San Diego MFA directing program, where he was the assistant director on the original production of The Who’s Tommy. Tom and his wife Wallis are the proud parents of Mireille Julia and Annika Christine.


(Music Director) is thrilled to join VSC for the first time! Previous favorite projects have included: Avenue Q at Cape Fear Regional Theatre (Fayetteville, NC), Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Parallel 45 Theatre (Traverse City, Michigan), Once at Theatre Raleigh (Raleigh, NC), and Godspell at The Legacy Theatre (Atlanta, GA). Graduate of the  Cleveland Institute of Music.


(Choreographer) is thrilled to be returning VSC after performing in The Wiz and choreographing Pride & Prejudice and Fun Home.  Choreographic credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Return To The Forbidden Planet, Shrek Jr, A Year With Frog and Toad, The Little Mermaid, and Wizard of Oz.  Performance credits include: National Tours: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, CATS 30th Anniversary (Victoria). Regional Theatre: Spamalot, Mary Poppins (Dance Captain/Assistant Choreographer), Legally Blonde (Serena, Associate Choreographer), S’Wonderful (Leslie), CATS (Sillabub), How To Succeed..,The Producers, and Ballet Memphis Company. Thank you to Tom for this incredible opportunity. Thank you Dusty and Caleb for allowing me to play my favorite role, mom. 


(Costume Designer) is Virginia Stage Company’s Resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager, as well as the Costume Instructor at the GSA’s Theatre Department. She is celebrating her 16th season with Virginia Stage. Regional credits include: A Christmas Story at The Arkansas Rep, The Hound of the Baskervilles at The Hangar Theatre, Always Patsy Cline at PCPA Theatrefest, Tom Jones, In the Book of, and Under Six at Florida Studio Theatre. VSC productions to name a few: Peter and the Starcatcher, All my Sons, Grounded, The Tempest, The Great Gatsby, The Comfort Team, The Fantasticks, Death of a Salesman, Red, Radio Golf, A Raisin in the Sun, Around the World in 80 days, Wit, Crowns, Billy Bishop Goes to War, Hank Williams List Highway, The Elephant Man, Of Mice and Men, A Christmas Carol, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. Jeni Schaefer holds a Master of Arts in Communication/Theatre in Costume Design from Wichita State University.  


(Stage Manager) is happy to return to Virginia Stage Company as Stage Manager for The Secret Garden.  Between 2000 and 2007, she was Stage Manager for a number of VSC productions:  A Christmas Carol (three times), Brighton Beach Memoirs, Rough Crossing, Vaudeville, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder, Greetings!, Yellowman, Treasure Island, Rounding Third, Intimate Apparel, Contact, The Elephant Man, and King Lear: The Storm at Home.  Karen was the Resident PSM at Boston Lyric Opera from 2009-2013.  Other opera credits include the Spoleto USA Festival and Los Angeles Opera; and many regional opera companies, including Virginia Opera, the Castleton Festival, and the Todi Music Festival in our state of Virginia.   Equity credits include The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC (both outdoors and in!), Commonwealth Theatre Company, and Florida Rep.  She is the Assistant Director of Virginia Arts Festival John Duffy Institute for New Opera.


(Managing Director) Virginia Stage’s 40th Anniversary Season marks David’s second full season as Managing Director. Prior to landing in Norfolk, David served as Managing Director at Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, TN. He has also held leadership positions at Westport Country Playhouse, American Dance Festival, Triad Stage, Yale Repertory Theater, the Dwight/Edgewood Project, and the Guthrie Theater. David received an MFA degree in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama and a BA degree in Drama from UNC-Greensboro in his native North Carolina. During his tenure at the Clarence Brown Theatre, David was appointed to the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People and the College of Arts & Sciences’ Diversity Committee. Additionally, David served on the McClung Museum Academic Programs Advisory Board and the Great Schools Partnership Advisory Council. David has been a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, and United Way of Greater Knoxville. He has served on the union negotiating team and annual meeting planning committees for the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). David was a 2016 Knoxville Business Journal 40 Under Forty Honoree and has recently guest lectured at Virginia Wesleyan University and Christopher Newport University.


(NBG President & CEO) brings a background in horticulture, historic properties and education to his role as President & CEO of Norfolk Botanical Garden. Mr. Desplaines has a BS in Horticulture from the University of Rhode Island and an MEd in Historic Preservation from Plymouth State University. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Norfolk and serves on their Board of Directors. He is an avid skier, traveler, enjoys sailing and CrossFit.




(Ben Weatherstaff/Major Shelley) is proud to work with VSC on the main stage and in the various touring shows, classes and, education workshops. Patrons may remember Ryan from previous VSC productions: Vinnie in The Odd Couple, Bob Cratchit or Old Joe in A Christmas Carol, Mortimer in The Fantasticks, or as his famous relative Sam Clemens in his one-man show Meet Mark Twain. Originally from Wyoming, Ryan began his career in a travelling Wild West show. He has worked at theaters around the country, including several seasons locally with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and Tidewater Stage Company. He holds a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University and an MFA in Acting from Regent University. He also teaches at ODU. (Many thanks and a huge heap of love to his wonderful wife.) 



(Mary Lennox) is excited to be a part of her second appearance at VSC. Previous credits include: VSC’s Fun Home (swing), TNCC’s The Sound of Music (Gretyl), Williamsburg Players Annie (Molly),  SLT Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof, and Children of Eden. She also enjoys performing with her sisters throughout Hampton Roads, Boston, and Nashville. Brooke is grateful for this opportunity and to be a part of such an amazing cast. 



(Martha/Mrs. Shelley)is super stoked about the chance to play Martha in Secret Garden after just finishing the run of playing Alison in Fun Home at VSC. Eclectic resume as follows: Glinda in Wicked on Broadway. National tours of Wicked, South Pacific, The Full Monty, and Cats. Regional favorites...Una in Blackbird, Miss Casewell in The Mousetrap both at the Fulton. Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday, Ellen in Miss Saigon, Jovie in Elf, Nellie in South Pacific, Mrs. Cheveley in An Ideal Husband, plus a few more at Walnut Street Theatre. Jenny in The Christians at Gulfshore Playhouse. Sally Bowles in the Sam Mendes version of Cabaret at The Engeman. Also, if you blinked at the wrong time you may have missed her in the movie How To Be Single. Thanks again to Tom and everyone in this wonderful company for taking such care for arts and humans.



(Lily) is thrilled be making her Virginia Stage Company debut! National Tour: Christine Daaé (Alternate) in The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary National Tour. Off-Broadway: Desperate Measures at The York Theatre Company and New World Stages. Regional: Goodspeed Opera House, SpeakEasy Stage Company. NYMF: Addison DeVoe in Generation Me. Television: Random Acts of Flyness (HBO). Training: BFA in Musical Theater from The Boston Conservatory. Thanks to DGRW, Chad Eric Murnane and Binder Casting, and my insanely supportive family, especially Mom, Dad and Booey. For Gram and Boldy. @celiahottenstein



(Dr. Neville Craven/Major Holmes) is a member of the Artistic Team at Generic Theater down under Chrysler Hall where he has directed and appeared in several productions. He is excited to be working with Virginia Stage Company again after previously appearing as Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher. He can next be seen as the Bank Chairman in the Virginia Musical Theater production of Mary Poppins at Sandler Center in March. He would like to thank Edilen for postponing their Disney Valentine getaway so he could sing in the Garden.



(The Fakir) makes his Virginia Stage Company debut. Recent credits include: Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? (TheDramaLeague); Man of La Mancha (Engeman); The Humans (TheatreSquared); The Boy Who Danced on Air (Abingdon). Select workshops: Mr. Holland’s Opus; Monsoon Wedding; Mommie Dearest; Heading East; Salaam Medina; Heartland. Many thanks to VSC and the Wolf team. Much love to the family, Sonny and Bennett. @devenkolluri



(Dickon/Lieutenant Wright) is thrilled to be adding another “dream show” to the roster after having just done Virginia Stage Company’s Fun Home (Roy). Previous credits include: Footloose (Ren) at Arrow Rock Lyceum, We Will Rock You (Pop) for RCCL, Prometheus Bound (Ensemble) and The Donkey Show (Peaseblossom) at American Repertory Theater, Mamma Mia (Eddie), Legally Blonde (Ensemble) and Singin’ in the Rain (Rod) at Merry Go Round Playhouse. He’s a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and proud Actors’ Equity member.



(Rose Lennox) is thrilled to make her Virginia Stage Company debut. Past roles include The King and I (Anna) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Gwendolen) with Good Company Players in Fresno, CA; and It’s A Wonderful Life (Mary Bailey) with E&e Productions in Kingsburg, CA. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, wife to a naval aviator, and mom to the world’s best three year-old.



(Colin Craven) is excited to be playing Colin Craven in The Secret Garden. He has also appeared as Michael Hobbs in Elf: The Musical and Jeremy Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Broadcast credits include: The Destination Dino commercial for the Jacksonville Zoo and the YouTube channel PorTREYals. Thanks to his parents and Mama Cathy for all their support.



(Ayah) was previously seen at VSC in Our Town.  Favorite productions include Downrange: Voices From the Homefront, Henry V, Around the World in 80 Days, Macbeth, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Trojan Women, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Blood Wedding, The Serpent, and The Astonished Heart. B.F.A. from NYU and The Atlantic Theatre Company. Love and thanks to Tom, Miri, and Annika for all the love, patience and support.



(Mrs. Medlock) is new to the Hampton Roads area and happy to be making her debut at VSC with The Secret Garden. Originally from Chapin, SC, she just moved to Norfolk with her husband, sound designer Christopher Barnes, who is currently stationed at JEB Little Creek to teach music production at the Army School of Music. In the light of day, she works in the administrative offices of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Favorite previous theatre work includes Return to the Forbidden Planet at Cape Fear Regional Theatre, The Electric Baby (Rozie) at Burning Coal Theatre, and getting to try on the pants of some of Shakespeare’s classic men like Jaques, Mercutio, and Boyet with Sweet Tea Shakespeare Co. She holds a B.M. in Music Education from The University of South Carolina and a Musical Theatre Performance degree from AMDA NYC. Thanks and love, as always, to her family.



(Captain Albert Lennox) is an Assistant Professor of Theater at CNU, specializing in Musical Theatre singing. He received his MFA in Voice Pedagogy for Musical Theatre from Penn State University, where he trained with Mary Saunders-Barton. Ruffer also holds an MM in Voice Performance from The Boston Conservatory of Music and a BME in Music Education from Winthrop University where primary vocal teachers include Jerry Helton Rebecca Folsom. As a music director/vocal coach/accompanist, Ruffer has worked with Penn State NuMusicals, The Boston Conservatory Vocal/Choral Intensive, Penn State S.T.A.T.E., The Boston Conservatory of Music, Penn State Centre Stage, Matthews Playhouse, Central Piedmont Community College, Theatre Charlotte and The Edge Theatre Company. Performance highlights include Into the Woods, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Falsettos, Cinderella, Fiddler On the Roof, Oklahoma!, Lil’ Abner, Anything Goes, Once Upon a Mattress, Die Zauberflöte, La Bohemé, Transformations, The Rape of Lucretia, Carmen, Our Town, and The Cunning Little Vixen. Ruffer has also performed as a soloist with the Toledo Symphony, Troy Symphony, and at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Most recently, Ruffer wrote, directed and performed a solo cabaret that explored the trope of “heroes and villains” as portrayed in traditional American Musical Theatre. Portraying well-known characters ranging from princes and princesses to evil dentists and sassy sea witches, the material showcased Ruffer’s work with vocal cross-training and defied the norms of voice type, gender and musical limitations.



 (Archibald Craven) just finished playing Bruce in Virginia Stage’s Fun Home, which marked his return to Norfolk  after a long hiatus – he played Lucky in Dames at Sea (in 1998!) Craig’s Broadway and National Touring credits include Kinky Boots (George), Guys and Dolls, Young Frankenstein, Spamalot, A Christmas Carol, Cats, Steel Pier, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Gypsy. Favorite regional roles include Father in Ragtime and Cornelius in Hello Dolly at Westchester Broadway, Jerome in Merrily at Huntington, Phil in White Christmas at Syracuse Stage, Michael in I Do I Do at Surflight, Eddie in several Funny Girls, and Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast at Pioneer Theatre. On-camera work includes roles in Ocean’s 8, House of Cards, Boardwalk Empire, Blue Bloods, Alpha House, and The Knick. He recently narrated the audio book Alienated, a short story collection available on, Amazon, and iTunes. Craig is a proud graduate of Carnegie-Mellon. This performance is dedicated to my amazing family who every day teach me more and more about love.




Keyboard JOANNA LI 

Contractor/Trumpet  Roy MUTH


Percussion  DAVID WALKER



Casting Director Binder Casting, Chad Eric Murnane, CSA


Wardrobe Kyle Jacobs

Light Board Operator Thomas Price 


Mayor Kenny Alexander and the City of Norfolk for making the Theatre Festival a reality.  Virginia Arts Festival, Kelly Welsh, David Powers,  Jessica Hintz

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

‡ Member of American Federation of Musicians, Local 125

† Member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent labor union.