Katie Jennings plays Cathy Hiatt in ACT’s production of The Last Five Years. Katie really loves ACT and has most recently performed as Justine Case in A Killer Party, Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5: The Musical, and Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Being a part of this show has been such a special experience and welcome escape during tumultuous times, and a true dream to work with Taylor, Shawn, Jim, Susan, Jessie, and TJ; very big thank you for being the most fun cast and crew to work with. Katie is also very grateful to her husband for being supportive and hot as he¢k. Thank you, viewers, for tuning in and continuing to support the arts when so many theaters are deeply struggling; your patronage is appreciated. Enjoy the show!
Shawn Steiner stars as Jamie Wellerstein in ACT’s performance of The Last Five Years. He is excited to return to the stage where his theater experience first began, performing in the ensemble for ACT’s showing of White Christmas. Recently he has been seen in Sideshow as Terry Connor (TAG), the Pastor in Pray the Gay Away (TAG), and preforming with his lovely wife Victoria in A Night Out with ACT. When not on stage, Shawn works as a sheet metal roofer. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and his wife’s cat Pinot. You can usually find him hanging out with friends and enjoying some good food and drinks during his free time. Lastly he wishes everyone a safe and fun time as they enjoy the show.
While this show is Taylor’s first time directing, she has spent a beautiful 17 years performing and entertaining audiences on the ACT stage. Taylor spent a very little amount of time thinking things through when she jumped on the chance to present The Last Five Years for ACT’s virtual stage, but she knew that this show was the perfect piece for a virtual world and it turns out she was kind of right. The Last Five Years has been Taylor’s favorite for, ironically or not, the last five years. Watching it come to life before her eyes with the best Cathy and Jamie she could ask for has been surreal, beautiful, and life-changing.
I have to drop out of the third person for this next bit, because I truly could not have done any of this process without my beloved production team and mentors, all of whom I could gush about for hours if given the chance – Jessica Guzik, Jim Reeder, Susan Bustza, Tj Fantini, and Willow McLaughlin – thank you for believing in me, laughing with me (and at me,) and giving me the opportunity to do this show. To Katie and Shawn who have trusted every step in the process with a smile on their face, laughed at my terrible jokes, and put up with my constant, “Does that make sense?” – Thank you for being my perfect pair and for the hours of laughter and joy you brought me in this wild world. A gratuitous thanks to my incredible and supportive husband, Noah, without whom I would have given up long ago – thank you for always having my back, calming my panic attacks, and forgiving so many late nights. And, finally, to the ACT Board, patrons, fellow actors and directors, supporters, and lovers everywhere, thank you for being you. Theatre is such a gift, and sharing it with you is an absolute dream.
Jessica’s ACT credits include playing the narrator in “Every Brilliant Thing”, the frisky Janet Van de Graaff in “The Drowsy Chaperone”, assistant directing “Young Frankenstein” and lighting design for “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from University of La Verne and a Masters in Teaching from Western Washington University. Jessica has served as the treasurer on the ACT board of directors since January 2020, and guards that treasurer with the flair of a belligerent pirate. Seriously, she will bring down the hammer if you try to come for the treasure. She also enjoys teaching for Class ACT and directing the program’s summer musicals (usually with the deeply rad Katie Jennings) including “Mary Poppins, Jr.”, “The Lion King, Jr.”, and “Peter Pan, Jr”. When she was teaching middle school, Jessica directed “Aladdin, Jr. (Dual Language Edition), “Mulan, Jr.”, and others. (Thank you MTI for making versions of shows that are under 2 hours.)
She would like to thank this talented cast and crew for working hard to make this show awesome. Thank you to Taylor for having this dream and making it come true. It has been so much fun to be a part of this team. Also, mega thanks to the greatest, Sam Guzik, for being the greatest. And thank you, audience, for sharing this experience!
Jim Reeder is a scenery, lighting, and audio production designer, production manager, technical director, and theatre artist based in Anacortes Washington. He is a 2003 graduate of Lafayette College who has been working freelance in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years. Jim got his start as an audio technician in 1999 working with artists such as David Crowder, Virginia Coalition, Pat McGee and many others.
In college, Jim found a renewed love for the stage and design while working on the award winning collegiate production of Louis “Studs” Terkel’s all American show Working. In the years to follow, Jim went on to design, light, manage, or produce over 60 theatre, dance, and musical productions culminating in his design of the 2006 Live recording and video of Seether’s hit acoustic album One Cold Night. Jim then went on to teach technical theatre and production management at East Brunswick High School in New Jersey before joining the United States Air Force and eventually landing in Anacortes, Washington.
Currently Jim owns and manages his own recording studio / production company Spare Records LLC. Those who have worked with Jim in the past often describe him as a “belligerent hammer” of a technical director but his mood always improves with food… Taco Bell is a favorite! But, in his off time you can find him playing in many local bands as the frisky bass player for Old Town Tonic and the Tighty Whities. Remember… “if all the world’s a stage, I want better lighting.”
Light Design/ Video Editing
At ACT, Susan has worked on: Number The Stars, My Fair Lady, Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors, and more before that. Susan is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University school of film and television. Her previous experience goes back to working at Hammer Films, Artisan Entertainment and Lionsgate Entertainment in Los Angeles.
Thank you to Taylor Bannister for choosing such a moving and emotional story to bring to our Anacortes audience. Thank you to Shawn and Katie for your patience and fabulous attitudes. Thanks to Jess for being a fabulous wing woman! Thank you to Jim for your insight, collaboration and beautiful mix. And thank you to my understanding and compassionate husband for giving me time to work on such a touching project.