FRANCINE THOMAS REYNOLDS (Artistic Director) has been the artistic director at New Stage since 2006 and has worked as a theatre artist for 30 years. She recently directed Shakespeare in Love, Silent Sky and Beauty and the Beast, Best of Enemies, Our Town, Red, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and A Time To Kill. Recent portrayals include Dr. Katherine Brandt in 33 Variations, Polly in Other Desert Cities, Lucille in Dividing the Estate, and Edna Earle in Eudora Welty’s The Ponder Heart. She has directed a variety of shows including All The Way, The Whipping Man, The Grapes of Wrath, Hairspray, Mahalia: A Gospel Musical, The Great Gatsby, Lombardi, Boeing, Boeing; A Christmas Carol, Gee’s Bend, A Raisin in the Sun, Annie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Soldier’s Play, and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Reynolds is serving her third term on the Board of Directors for the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for American theatre and is on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Theatre Association. She was a session leader for the 2018 & 2017 TCG National Conventions and panelist for the 2016 TCG National Conference Theatre Nation and the 2016 Mississippi Community College Creative Writing Association Contest. Other associations include Leadership Mississippi Class of 2014; 2017 & 2014 National Endowment for the Arts grants panel, Mississippi Arts Commission grants panel, Poetry Outloud adjudicator, Southeastern Theatre Conference adjudicator, Mississippi High School Drama Festival adjudicator, South Atlantic Modern Language Association national conference presenter, and Mississippi’s English Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition judge. Reynolds worked as a locations casting director in film and television for several years. Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Reynolds enjoys living in Jackson with her husband, Chuck.
DAWN BUCK (Managing Director) has worked on staff at New Stage for more than 30 years. She began her career at New Stage in the fall of 1981 as a box office assistant. Since that time, she has worked as box office manager, audience services director, house manager, bookkeeper, business manager and marketing director. Buck’s other professional artistic credits include the USA International Ballet Competition, the Thalia Mara Arts International Foundation – World Performance Series presenting a series of performing artists including American Ballet Theatre, Aquila Theatre of London, Joshua Bell, Alvin Ailey, Cirque Eloize, Wynton Marsalis, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. She attended Belhaven University and is an alumnus of Leadership Jackson and a graduate of Dale Carnegie. Buck also completed a residency on theatre management at the Eugene O’Neill Center through a grant from the Foundation for the Extension and Development of Professional American Theatre (FEDAPT). Prior to serving on the staff of the USA International Ballet Competition, she worked with America Reads – Mississippi overseeing and training 270 AmeriCorps members who provided one-on-one tutoring in reading for students in primary K through the3rd grade across the state. In 1990, she served as vice president of administration and finance for Imageworks – Films for Business. She helped produce commercials, documentaries and training videos for that organization. Buck resides in the Heatherwood neighborhood in Jackson with her husband David, who retired in 2009 after a 26 year military career with the U. S. Air Force and the Mississippi Air National Guard. He has recently initiated beekeeping as a new hobby.
BILL MCCARTY III (General Manager) is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and has extensive background in wholesale and retail sales and real estate property management with the Jitney Jungle stores. McCarty has volunteered with New Stage for more than 40 years in all areas including production, running crews, lighting and sound design and New Stage fundraising events. He is involved in the day-to-day management, maintenance and production for the theatre and serves on the Board of Directors. His favorite design credits are Greater Tuna 1986 production, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Gin Game, and A Christmas Carol 1984 production.
MELISSA TILLMAN (Marketing Director) is a graduate of Belhaven University where she received a B.A. in technical theatre. She served as the audience services director at New Stage, has worked as a box office associate at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada and assisted with many box office activities at Belhaven University. Tillman has stage managed many shows in several parts of the country, including Las Vegas and Tennessee. Her stage managing credits include Oklahoma!, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz, Taming of the Shrew, and Love’s Labours Lost. Her most recent work includes Noye’s Fludd and La Boheme with the Mississippi Opera. She is a member of Metro Jackson Attractions Association and recently served as the treasurer for the organization. This is Tillman’s twelfth season with New Stage. She currently resides in Madison with her husband, Kyle; son, River; and their dog, Charlie Brown.
GINNY HOLLADAY JESSEE (Marketing Associate) is an arts administration professional with a background in theatre and collaborative arts. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from Belhaven University, completed the acting intensive at the Stella Adler Summer Conservatory in New York City and received her MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. Ginny has worked with Taproot Theatre, On the Boards and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, finding her passion lies with the internal operations of arts organization and the pursuit of healthy, sustainable non-profit culture. She consults with emerging non-profits on sustainability practices, strategic planning, and work culture practices. Ginny has lived in Lithuania, Germany, Seattle and now calls Jackson home.
SHARON MILES (Education Director) received her theatre training from the University of Southern Mississippi. As an actor, writer, director, and all around supporter of the arts, she is extremely excited to join the New Stage team as education director. Miles has been working as a professional actress for almost twenty years and has worked as a contracted guest artist in the New Stage Theatre Education Department since 2011. Most recently, she served as the music director for the First Stages Camp production of Lion King Kids. As a true education and arts advocate, Miles has been the director of a non-profit organization that focused on improving academics and incorporating arts in a public school in Hattiesburg for nearly 10 years. As the director of Neighbors at Hawkins, she worked closely with classroom teachers and administrators to coordinate in-school and afterschool tutoring as well as an afterschool arts program. Miles truly believes that helping a child discover one thing that they are good at can build their self-esteem and that confidence can spill over into every aspect of their lives. Discovering theatre at a young age was a game changer in her life and she wants to offer that same experience to students throughout the state of Mississippi. Some of her favorite theatrical roles at New Stage include: Stage Manager is Our Town, Gwen in A Time to Kill, Fannie Lou Hamer in All the Way, Miss Nelson in Miss Nelson is Missing, Cassandra in Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike, and Alex the Lion in Madagascar the Musical.
ALISA PRICE (Box Office Manager) has a B.A. in theatre arts from High Point University, and is a former intern of New Stage Theatre. As an intern she performed in Death of a Salesman, Charlotte’s Web, and A Christmas Carol. She also toured with her intern cast in a montage of Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare, and Chekov one-act plays, and has been in productions for several theatre companies in Virginia, including Swift Creek Mill Theatre, Theatre IV, and Richmond Theatre Company for Children, where she later became the marketing & sales director. She most recently worked in higher education, and for the State of Mississippi. She is a member of the Jackson Revival Center, and an active part of their theatre ministry. New Stage Theatre will always hold a special place in Price’s heart because it is where she first met her husband, Hillery. They now have three beautiful children, Darryn, Gabriel, and Elijah, aka “The Three Fusskateers.”
BETTY WONG (Box Office Assistant/Education Assistant) begins her thirteenth season at New Stage. She enjoys traveling to schools throughout the state with the Professional Apprentices Company to provide live theatre experiences for students of all ages. When not on the road, you can find Betty in the Box Office. She has also served for many years as a volunteer in other areas of the theatre. Her 30 plus years professional work experiences in education and her passion for live theatre has contributed to the growth and expansion of New Stage’s Educational Department. She has served as a consultant to school districts throughout the state of Mississippi. Wong has a B.S. degree in Educational Psychology from Mississippi State University, and an M.Ed. from Delta State University.
BARBARA MARTIN (Box Office/Business Office Assistant) is in her 22nd season at New Stage. First joining the staff in 1997, she has served as box office assistant for 20 years and as box office manager for the two years before and during the Intermission Season. She also assists with development, reviews and maintains theatre insurance coverages, and performs other business office functions.
CARLA MARSH (House Manager) received her B.A. in criminal justice with an emphasis in juvenile justice from Jackson State University. She is pleased to be returning to New Stage for her fourteenth season. Marsh is employed full time with the Hinds County Sheriff’s office.
ELISE MCDONALD (Stage Manager) has lived several places in Mississippi but calls Jackson home. She is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi with a B.A. in Theatre. She began stage management while at Southern and was able to work on shows such as Light Up the Sky, A Lesson From Aloes, Fallen Angels, The Good Doctor, Big Love, Little Shop of Horrors, and Electra. She worked as a Production Assistant in Stage Management at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and was backstage for several shows including Les Miserable, The Foreigner, The Elephant Man and The Who’s Tommy. Elise begins her eighth season at New Stage. Some of her favorite past productions include: Dracula, The Foreigner, The Great Gatsby, Hairspray, The Grapes of Wrath, The Whipping Man, All The Way, Peter Pan, One Man Two Guvnors, Crimes of the Heart, The Robber Bridegroom, Steel Magnolias, The Million Dollar Quartet, And Then There Were None and Shakespeare in Love. She is excited to be working with New Stage and would like to thank her family and friends for their unending support!
RICHARD LAWRENCE (Technical Director) serves as the vice president of Fondren Theatre Workshop and has appeared in A Christmas Memory at New Stage, FTW’s The Rocky Horror Show, Buck Nekkid for Jesus, directed FTW’s Every Christmas Story Ever Told, and most recently appeared as Trekkie Monster in Avenue Q. He was also the director of the widely successful productions of Cabaret and Company, which were joint productions of FTW and Actor’s Playhouse of Pearl, with support from New Stage. Lawrence has been seen in New Stage productions of The Trip to Bountiful and UnFramed’s The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, How I Learned to Drive, The Weir, Circle Mirror Transformation, and Dublin Carol. Lawrence has won two “Best Set” awards at Mississippi Theatre Association conferences.
LESLEY RAYBON (Resident Costume Designer) joined New Stage in 2004 as an acting intern and since then has worked both onstage and off. She has found her place as the resident costume designer and has enjoyed designing shows, and working with guest designers and costume shop assistants. Some of her favorite shows include: The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, Goodnight Moon, and A Wrinkle in Time. When not at New Stage, she is a barista at Starbucks, a puppeteer with Puppet Arts Theatre, wife to her wonderful husband Lawrence, and mother to her daughter EV.
2018-2019 Apprentices TBD