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2018 Cast Bios


Cast Biographies

Stefanie Austin (Cassie Cooper) is excited to make her Barn debut and perform in her first-ever full-length stage production! Stefanie first started acting a few years ago after graduating from Penn State; her acting credits include Valerie inCafé Murder, Tina Fitzhugh (the bride) in Wedding From Hell, and Margie in the Last Christmas of Doctor Disco, all murder mystery dinner shows produced by SCCT. Off-stage, Stefanie works as an R&D Engineer at Penn State, teaches statistics, plays soccer, and enjoys time with her husband and 2-year-old daughter. Stefanie wishes to thank her husband Peter for his unwavering support during those long days and nights of rehearsal, as well as the cast and crew of Rumors! for a fun and memorable experience at the Barn!

Courtney Witmer (Chris Gorman)has lived in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Saudi Arabia, New Jersey, and California. Although she doesn’t have a true “home town,” she considers State College to be the home town of her heart. Coming to Penn State after spending three years living in Saudi Arabia, she graduated with degrees in Psychology and Anthropology in 2007 before proceeding on to teach high school Biology, Physical Science, Environmental Science, and Genetics in Philadelphia via Teach for America (TFA). She received an M.S.Ed. from The University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Museum Professions at Seton Hall University before realizing she should settle down and get a “real” job. Post-TFA, she worked as a Museum Educator at the Historical Society of Princeton, and as an Office Manager and Marketer for startups Parse and Xamarin, Facebook, and Microsoft while living in the San Francisco. She and her husband, Jeff, moved back East in 2016 and spent eight months in Philadelphia before buying a house in State College in 2017. They now live in the Borough with their French bulldog, Raven, and Courtney offers Marketing Consulting through her company, Blink Digital Marketing. Courtney fell in love with theater in 6th grade, and pursued it passionately through high school in both the US and Saudi Arabia. She made her return to the stage this year in SCCT’s Cafe Murder, and is thrilled to have been given this opportunity to work with Nittany Theatre at the Barn. You can see her again next month at the Barn as Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. She’d like to thank her husband, her parents, Tami and Mohammed Fatemi, and her younger siblings Mandy, Alex, and Kayla, for putting up with years of her theatrics, both on and off stage. She’s also grateful for her extended family, Brian and Jinny Witmer, as well as every last Duff, for their love and support during her transition back to small town living.

Rob Arnold (Ken Gorman) is excited to return to the Barn stage in his 3rd season with Nittany Theater and this amazing Neil Simon comedy! Later this season, he will be appearing as Davenport in Ray Cooney’s Funny Money. This is Rob’s second round of Rumors, he appeared as Officer Welch in a production a few years ago! He has previously performed in Nittany Theater’s productions of Man of La Mancha as Paco, and The Addams Family as an Addams Ancestor. He was most recently seen as the Maitre’d in Café Murder at Toftrees resort with SCCT. Past roles include: Underling in The Drowsy Chaperone, Lord Savage in Jekyll & Hyde, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, Patsy in Monty Python’s Spamalot, Little Charles in August: Osage County, Horton the Elephant in Seussical: The Musical, Jack/Stephanie in Leading Ladies, Juror #7 in Twelve Angry Men, James Wilson in 1776, and a starring role as Albin/Zaza in La Cage aux Folles. Originally from Pittsburgh, Rob attended Penn State pursuing a degree in English Education, with a minor in Theater. When not on stage, he can be found managing the VWR Stockroom in the Chemistry Building at Penn State. Rob would like to thank his husband Michael for his continued love and support.

Tim Balliett (Lenny) marks Rumorsas his first production at the Nittany Theatre at the Barn and marks his return to the stage after a 17 year absence.  A native of Erie, PA, Tim has performed in over 30 different productions in 10 different theatres across northwestern PA, including Shenandoah (Jacob), Two by Two (Japheth), Safe Sex (Manny, Mead), A Few Good Men (Pvt. Downey), Aladdin (Jafar), Camelot (Ensemble lead), and The Rothschilds (Ensemble) at The Erie Playhouse (rated one of the ten best community theatres in the U.S.).  Other favorite performances include West Side Story (Riff), Fiddler on the Roof (Tevye), Brigadoon (Jeff Douglas), Oklahoma (Ali Hakim), The Pirates of Penzance (Sargent), Peter Pan (Nana/Smee), Da (Young Charlie), and A Winter’s Tale (Cleomenes).  Tim was an actor for three years with The Company, a traveling theater troupe specializing in performances for schools and children, and he directed a high school musical theater program for two years.  Tim currently works at Penn State’s as its University Ethic s Officer.

Katie Pennington-Rimmer(Cookie Cusack) is thrilled to be a part of the 4th season at Nittany Theatre at the Barn and this talented cast of Rumors. Katie has been involved with Nittany Theatre from the beginning first playing Audrey in The Royal Gilberts, Matilda the Mayor in All Shook Up, Richard Henry Lee in 1776, Vivian in Church Basement Ladies, Ensemble in Addams Family, Man of La Manchaand Swearin off Women. Other productions in State College include Mrs. Crachet in The Christmas Caroland Anne of Green Gableswith Class  Act Productions. Katie also has performed in The Sound of Music, Oliverand Annie. Recently she played the role of Jane in The Womenwith Tempest Production. Long ago in 1982 Katie was “Miss Michigan” and participated in The Miss America Pageant (she now claims ti be “Miss-elanious”). Katie is a gospel singer and has recorded 6 albums toured around the world. She lived, worked, had a music career and raised her family in South Africa for 30 years. Katie has resides now in State College with her husband Tom and their Coton de Tulears. She works as a memory care specialist at Juniper Wellspring Memory Care. Katie also has her own home music studio where she teaches voice, guitar and piano lessons. Katie’s greatest loves are her family and her three children Bjorn, Grace & Kymberly. Enjoy our season…laugh and let theatre inspire you!

Eric Ziegler (Ernie Cusack)is thrilled to be back performing at Nittany Theatre atThe Barn, and is proud to be playing the part of Ernie Cusack – along with the talented cast and crew of Neil Simon’s Rumors.Eric was last seen playing Israel Hands in last summer’s production of Treasure Islandat the Barn.  Before that, he has acted in numerous roles – most recently in SCCT’s The Drowsy Chaperone(Feltzig), as Sir Davers Carew in Jekyll & Hyde, Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol (multiple roles), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof(Gooper), Annie Get Your Gun(Buffalo Bill), Anything Goes(The Captain), MontyPython’s Spamalot(Sir Bedivere), The Crucible(John Willard) and To Kill a Mockingbird(Sheriff Heck Tate).  Eric also has performed in 1776, Cheaperby the Dozen, You Can’t Take it with You, A Christmas Carol, Arsenic & Old Lace, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat– among others. Eric wants to thank his loved ones for their seemingly never ending sacrifice of time and convenience in support of his love of Theater. He also hopes you all revel in this classic, silly, charming farce. Lastly, Eric would like to thank you for supporting our local community theatre by attending this – and other – shows at The Barn. Enjoy the show!

Rod Egan (Officer Welch) Dashing is not a word you would use to describe Rod.Dynamic, exciting, extroverted, impulsive, loquacious – not those words either.Nondescript would come to mind.Rod has had modest roles in a dozen plus shows at the Barn,first with SCCT, then Nittany Theatre at the Barn.Mostly he just plays old guys, but in one show (and only one – All Shook Up, 2016)he was an old guy “who got his gal”.Last season he appeared at the Barn in Church Basement Ladies and Man of La Mancha.Rod has been retired for a couple years now. He and wife Beth live in the suburbsof Boalsburg, with aged cat and two high energy border collies.Their daughters have gone on to more exciting places.

Hilary Appelman(Claire) is delighted to make her Nittany Theatre and Barn debut in this hilarious play, and is grateful to David and Laura Saxe and Mike Knarr for giving her the opportunity to be part of this fabulous cast. She wishes Neil Simon could write all of her sarcastic rejoinders. She most recently performed in Tempest Productions’ The Women, and previously appeared in a number of SCCT productions, including Blithe SpiritAnnie Get Your GunBye Bye BirdieThe Music Man and several dinner theater murder mysteries. In real life, Hilary works at Penn State Outreach and Online Education with an awesome group of colleagues. Hilary has gotten through the past two very tough years with support and love from her amazing friends and from the best kids EVER, Auden (#auden2040) and Eli Yurman (check out his YouTube channel). I love you E and A. Also kisses to Ringo, who is always happy to see her.

Eric Lindquist (Glenn Cooper)

Kat Koch (Officer Pudney)