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December 2020

Yes, the days of attaching PDFs to emails are over! We hope you enjoy our brand-new online newsletter format, bringing you all the Penfield Players news in a new interactive way.


A Message from the Board President

When I agreed to join the board of the Penfield Players in 2019 as the President-Elect, I certainly had no idea that we would be facing a pandemic by the time I took over from Karen Craft as President. As are most performing arts organizations, we are trying to figure out what lies ahead. For now, we are hoping to present our 2020 main stage productions in 2021. This means we hope to be performing “Art of Murder” in late April/early May and “The Haunting of Hill House” in the fall. But this all depends, of course, on the reopening of theatre companies by the Governor. This is occurring on a region-by-region basis, and our region has not yet reopened theatrical companies for in-person, indoor performances. Still, we are keeping our fingers crossed that our COVID situation improves sufficiently to safely reopen live theatre by the spring. We will keep everyone posted.

Meanwhile, we are doing what we can to improve the infrastructure for the Penfield Players, both organizationally and performance-wise. For example, we are researching and discussing improvements to our set design and construction processes and techniques, and we are revising some of our organizational documents (producer’s manual) and processes (storage and retrieval of Penfield Players participant data). In addition, we are working to become a more inclusive theatrical company that is welcoming to performers of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, and abilities. We have welcomed two new board members, Elizabeth Saunders (Secretary) and Ron Dufort (Historian).  Elizabeth Gill moved from Historian to Vice-president and President-Elect. Vikki McElroy is moving from our Logistics Directors' team to be our Digital Media Director. Their biographies appear elsewhere in the newsletter.


Although we are in a period of performance hiatus, we are not idle. We appreciate your continued support of the Penfield Players so that, when we return to performing, we will be better than ever.

I hope everyone has a happy - and above all, safe - holiday season. 

Richard Kendrick
President, Penfield Players Board

We are pleased to announce that Elizabeth Gill has accepted a new role with the Penfield Players, that of Vice President/President Elect. Liz has been a Penfield Players for many years, having been introduced to the Players at an early age by her dad. She grew up helping out behind the scenes as a teenager.  She also had a few stage appearances after college. She has most recently been Historian on the board and she is an avid photographer.  Many of the production shots you see on our Web site and Facebook page were taken by Liz. She has assisted our productions in many other capacities, too, from set-building to lighting and sound design. She currently works as an administrative assistant at The Gleason Works.


Elizabeth Gill is Our Vice President/President Elect

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Elizabeth Saunders is Our New Secretary

We are very happy that Elizabeth Saunders joined the board as our new Secretary, replacing the incomparable Ted Winskus. Elizabeth first joined the Penfield Players as Kandall in the 2019 Fringe production of Impossible Marriage. She played Peaches in the fall production of Rex's Exes that same year. She has been privileged to study under Gary Dewitt Marshall and Reuben Tapp, and to land a role in James Baldwin's Blues for Mr. Charlie in February 2020. Elizabeth lives in Fairport with her teenage sons and currently works as an elder-caregiver and for Heritage Christian Services in community habilitation.



Introducing Our New Historian

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Ron Dufort is an engineer, actor, producer, trombonist, and occasional baker. Originally from the Champlain Valley in northern New York, he moved to Rochester to attend RIT. After earning his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering he stayed in the area, finding employment at Xerox and community amongst the music, theater, and film folks in Western New York. His performance roots extend back to high school where he played trombone for several school and area ensembles like the Adirondack Youth Orchestra. A side gig to play trombone for a pit orchestra opened the door for him into the world of the theater; it inspired him to pursue and win roles in subsequent productions put on by his school’s small but passionate drama club.

The vibrant arts environment he found at college then expanded his performing opportunities to larger stage productions and also to film. Today, in addition to several Rochester-area community theater organizations (Penfield Players, WallByrd Theatre Co, Screen Plays, Geneva Theatre Guild, and others), Ron acts in many collegiate student films, local independent films (look for the recently released short film “Fool”), local commercials, and in the occasional big-budget film (a fuzzy distant Ron is visible in the background of the upcoming “A Quiet Place 2”)!  Ron’s brass quintet, “The Polished Brass,” founded in the 90s, has been on a hiatus in recent months, and opportunities for live chamber music performances have been significantly curtailed by the pandemic, so he’s exploring opportunities online to perform. He has found a few acting outlets on newly forming virtual stages, which blend live performance and film using amazing camera and broadcast technologies. The show goes on!

Ron has been part of the Penfield Players family for years – acting in several productions and in the audience for very many more. He is excited and honored to be joining the board.

Vikki McElroy Moves from Logistics to Digital Media

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Vikki McElroy, who has been serving on the board as an invaluable member of the logistics team, has agreed to become our Digital Media Director. Vikki has a great deal of experience with the Penfield Players, starting in 1992, and serving on the board from 1993-1995. She took a break from the Players when she moved out of town, but rejoined us when she moved back to Rochester, and she has been serving on the board for a second time starting in 2017. She enjoys working behind the scenes, most recently as co-producer of Peril on the High Seas (with Liz Gill). She also enjoys running lights and sound for many of our shows, including A Comedy of Tenors, Sneakypete Underhand's Devious Dealings, and Over the River and Through the Woods. We welcome Vikki to her new role. 

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