Dance-Along Nutcracker 2015 — Cast and Creators

Cast and Creators

Donna Sachet as Miss Ratsky & the Witch
Donna’s adventure in San Francisco started twenty years ago and the City has applauded her fun-loving spirit, quick wit and musical talent ever since. Donna was selected Miss Gay SF in 1993 and reigned as the thirtieth elected Empress of SF in 1995-96. As a live singer and tireless fundraiser, Donna has received numerous awards dating back to the 1990s. Some of the prestigious awards Donnas has received include the2009 Academy of Friends Kile Ozier Founder’s Award, 2007 Heritage of Pride Award from the LGBT Pride Committee, 2005 Bob Cramer Humanitarian Award, 2004 Sainthood from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, 2002 designation as the Leather Empress by the Leather Community, 2000 Alice B. Toklas Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club Community Service Award and many more. Donna has received accolades from four SF mayors, the City Board of Supervisors and State Legislature and has served as a national spokes model for Smirnoff Twist Vodka and among her numerous local and national television appearances, has co-anchored the live television coverage of the June SF Pride Parade for 7 years.

Donna Sachet has the distinction of being the first recorded drag personality to address the Commonwealth Club of California and the first to sing the National Anthem for a major league sports team at AT&T Park for the SF Giants. She is most proud of her annual “Songs of the Season” musical variety show benefiting the AIDS Emergency Fund for the past 18 years.

Donna Sachet currently writes a biweekly column for the Bay Area Reporter, writes quarterly press releases about the LGBT Community for the SF Convention & Visitors Bureau, and stars in Sunday’s A Drag every Sunday at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square.

Joe Wicht as (aka Trauma Flintstone) as the Lion
Joe/Trauma is a prominent figure in the local cabaret scene – He’s been a drag queen and stage actor for many moons. Joe currently runs Bijou (an eclectic variety show, now in its eighth year). With Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, Joe co-produces the “Cabaret Showcase Showdown” and produced “Pardon My Southern Accent,” a centennial concert celebrating Johnny Mercer’s words and music.

Joe Wicht returns for his eighth appearance in the Dance-Along Nutcracker®. In previous years, he’s been Uncle Drosselmeyer (2014) Frosty’s Hawaiian Adventure, Captain Drosselmeyer (2013) Nutcrackers of the Caribbean, the Nutty Cavalry Nutcracker (2009) Blazing Nutcrackers! Scrooge/Drosselmeyer (2008) Bah Humbug, the Rat King (2007) Rati-ified, Mother Goose (2006) CLARA-fied, Patty Andrews (2003) Around the World and a Jewish mother (1999) Nuts! He’s married to armchair entomologist Bill ‘the Bug Guy’ and together they look after a menagerie of 19 critters (mostly invertebrates).

Flynn De Marco as the Scarecrow, Director, & Co-creator
Flynn De Marco has been performing since his star turn in the Cromwell Valley Elementary School production of The Fat Cat. Since then he has performed in many productions in SF with The Sick and Twisted Players, Theater Rhino , Artfull Circle Theater and others. In 2000, he moved to New Orleans to found the Running With Scissors theater company. While with “Scissors,” he won a Big Easy Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as a dual Best Director Award for Bad Seed and Sordid Lives with his theater partner Richard Read. Returning to San Francisco after Hurricane Katrina, he adapted and directed a stage version of the horror classic, Bride of Frankenstein alongside his husband, Richard Board. Soon after, he was welcomed into the Thrillpeddlers fold with roles in Pearls Over Shanghai, Shocktoberfest: Kiss of Blood and Vice Palace which he associate directed. Honored to be a part of this functionally dysfunctional family, he also serves as Thrillpeddlers’ company manager and wig master.

Heidi Beeler. Co-creator / Script
The Nutcracker of Oz! marks Heidi’s eighth year writing the script for the Dance-Along Nutcracker. Her other shows have included Nutcrackers of the Caribbean, Blazing Nutcrackers, Clara’s Magical Mystery Tour and Bah Humbug! A member of the band since 1991, Heidi plays in the trumpet section, frequently appearing in over-sized head gear despite the advice of her chiropractor. She also performs with Dixieland Dykes +3, The Fog Horns brass quintet and is a former member of City Swing. She is a freelance writer from the East Bay, and her column, Brass Tacks, is published periodically in the SF Bay Times.

Zelda Koznofski as Clara
Zelda Koznofski returns to the 2015 Dance-Along Nutcracker® as Clara. Zelda appeared in the 2014 Dance-Along Nutcracker® – Frosty’s Hawaiian Holiday. Zelda is an SF Bay Area musician and artist. She has acted in original plays and movies produced by Santa Cruz troupe PLether Productions as well as SF troupe Thrillpeddlers, in adaptations of 20’s era Grand Guignol horror/comedy theater and tributes to psychedelic gender-bending Theater of the Ridiculous from 70’s era Cockettes’ musicals. She starred in the independent film, Humans Being. Zelda sings jazz standards and original rock music with numerous collaborators throughout the Bay Area.

Noah Haydon as the Tinman
Noah Haydon is excited about his second appearance in the Dance-Along Nutcracker® . Noah played Fritz in the 2014 production of Frosty’s Hawaiian Holiday and this year Noah will play the beloved Tinman in The Nutcracker of Oz. Noah recently won a Theater Bay Area Award for his choreography for Pearls over Shanghai. He has also been in commercials for MTV, Long’s Drug Store and Jamba Juice. Noah’s provided voiceover work for Microsoft, Bagel Bites and Banana Republic. Noah’s favorite shows and roles include Cabaret (The Emcee), Pearls over Shanghai (Petrushka) Hot Greeks (Pandora), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Snoopy), Ragtime (Harry Houdini), Gypsy (Tulsa) A Chorus Line (Mark), Pippin (Lewis), Shocktoberfest 14 (Salome, Chorine #1) and Tinsel Tarts in Hot Coma (Sally Snack).

Ruby Vixen as Glinda & Ozma
The Nutcracker of Oz is Ruby’s second appearance in the Dance-Along Nutcracker®. She first appeared in The Nutcracker of the Caribbean (2013) and this year she will appear in The Nutcracker of Oz as Glinda and Ozma. Beyond the Caribbean and the Land of Oz, Ruby can be found singing with the processed American country band “Velvetta” and guilty pleasure bubble gum band “The Whoa Nellies.” She is also one half of the countrylesque sensation known as “The Juggs” (it’s a family name!), and occasionally sings with Flynn DeMarco as the duo known as “Foxy Grandpa.” Ruby is also a regular performer at Red Hots Burlesque. When she’s not on stage, she can be found sewing, cooking and hanging out with her cats.

Leigh Crow as the Wizard, Uncle Drosselmeyer, Mr. Stahlbaum & the Doorman
Joining the Dance-Along Nutcracker again this year, Leigh will perform as several characters to include the Wizard, Uncle Drosselmeyer, Mrs. Stahlbaum and the Emerald City Doorman. Playing multiple roles is not foreign territory, for Leigh is internationally known as the King of Drag and has been performing drag since 1989 to include Kings, Elvis Herselvis, aka Artist Formerly known as Elvis Herselvis, as well as numerous other pseudonyms. Leigh starred in the Thrillpeddlers’ “Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical” as Signorina Davina, a role originated by Divine in the 1970s. Leigh has hosted many SF Drag King Contests, sings with “The Whoa Nellies” and has appeared with the Mighty Slim Pickens. Leigh starred
as Clara McCoy in the 2009 -Along Nutcracker® – Blazing Nutcrackers! and was a lead actor in the 2010 -Along Nutcracker® – At Sea!

Pete Nowlen, Artistic Director/Conductor
Pete Nowlen takes the podium as the 11th conductor of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. Mr. Nowlen has a broad range of conducting experience. He has been a member of the UC Davis faculty since 1988 and its Director of Concert Bands since 2002 and has taught at CSU Sacramento since 1990. He is also Artistic Director of Sacramento’s VITA Academy; Camerata Chamber Choir of California and the Rancho Cordova Civic Light Orchestra. Pete is the Artistic Advisor of Nevada County’s Music in the Mountains and he has been the guest conductor of the Sacramento Symphony, Auburn, Camellia and Viridian Symphony Orchestras among others. Pete was a member of the French horn section of the Sacramento Symphony for 10 years, and has performed frequently with the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet Orchestras and the other major orchestras of northern California. He served for several years at the co-principal horn of the International Orchestra of Italy. He has been a prize winner and finalist in International solo competitions and has appeared as a soloist with numerous California and Italian orchestras.

San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band
Named the “Official Band of the City of San Francisco” in honor of its 25th anniversary in 2003, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (SFLGFB) is the first openly gay music organization ever, inspiring the formation of lesbian and gay bands, choruses and performing troupes around the world. Founded in 1978 by Jon Sims at the height of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade, the Band debuted marching behind Supervisor Harvey Milk’s convertible in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. The Band is in its 38th year of making music to build understanding between gay and non-gay communities.

The SFLGFB serves the Bay Area from Santa Clara to Contra Costa and Marin counties with 15-20 annual performances in support of civic and community services, low-income seniors, schools, safe places for LGBT youth, health services, and human rights organizations. Thanks largely to the support of individual donors and community partners, since 1993 SFLGFB has presented Community Concert Series featuring major wind band repertoire.

Named the “Most Absolutely Fabulous Contingent of the 2006 San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade” and awarded for “Absolutely Fabulous Music Contingent in 2009,” the Band performs for hundreds of thousands of people at parades throughout the year, including San Francisco’s Chinese New Year’s Parade, the Corte Madera 4th of July Parade and at pride parades throughout the region, including Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Marin, Reno, Los Angeles and Fresno.

Some of the Band’s credits include performances at the 2015 Panama-Pacific Centennial Celebration, Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Seeing Gertrude Stein Exhibit, the filming of the Oscar-winning Gus Van Sant film Milk, the unveiling of the Harvey Milk Statue at City Hall, the Hayward Gay Prom, the Union Square Grand Reopening, the 9/11 memorial ceremony, the Jewish Community Center, Clarendon Elementary School’s Gay Awareness Day, the 5th anniversary of the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Cultural Center and the Lucas Films company picnic at Skywalker Ranch. Band members have performed in the Inaugural Parade of President Barrack Obama and at both Presidential Inaugurals of Bill Clinton. The band has also performed at Gay Games in Chicago as part of the Lesbian & Gay Bands Association’s (LGBA) massed bands.

As a Bay Area holiday tradition, 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s Dance-Along Nutcracker®.