Meet the Board of Directors
Fran Smith, President
In 1947, I participated in my first role in a theater production. I entered stage right during the eighth grade graduation play at Lincoln Junior High School in Livingston, Montana. I only spoke three lines, but the audience laughed and applauded. A very pleasant feeling surged through me. I have no other memory of the play or who else was in it, I just knew I liked it and wanted to be in more plays. I managed to do just that each year until 1953 when I played Cecily in the Importance of Being Ernest at Modesto Community College.
A proud mother of four, I’ve worked as a kindergarten teacher, and worked many roles with vith various nonprofit disability organizations. I also spent nine nine years as an independent consultant facilitating meetings for small, medium and large organizations. Though life and employment took me many places, I always returned to my soul-home in Pt. Richmond.
In 1998, I was invited to join the Masquers Board of Directors where I learned how the contributions of a lively little theater enhanced the quality of life in our community. In 2017, I was asked to be the president of the Board. I have years of experience conducting meetings, talking to people, and a strong will. A church friend tells me I am the one who can get things done. I feel honored to be president of the Masquers Board of Directors. Along with Masquers members, we are a powerful team that is committed to bringing live theater to this part of the greater Bay Area.
Cheryl Vaughn, Vice President
Kathe Kiehn, Secretary
Three years of piano lessons and a love of music led Kathe to sing in and play for her high school A Cappella Choir, move on to playing piano and organ for several local churches, and to become a founding member of the Point Richmond Madrigal Singers in the 1970s. Involvement with Masquers began in 1991 as part of the chorus in Wildcat and continued in several Song Book productions. Now retired from a career in Intellectual Property Licensing, she serves on her church council, as Treasurer for the Point Richmond History Association, and as a member of the Masquers Playhouse Board of Directors.
George Adams, Treasurer
Four years at Cal left George with a B.A. in Economics and a passion for theater. His first job found him developing software to track production costs with The Lamplighters. Commercial software development for regional utilities was an easy next step in a career which left him evenings to pursue his love of theatre as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (Pinole Community Players) and as James Tyrone, Jr. in A Moon for the Misbegotten (Masquers Playhouse) performing in over 50 productions. He has served on the board of directors for the Oakland Methodist Foundation and Masquers Playhouse, which he calls home.
Linda Bradshaw, Board Member
Linda Bradshaw is a retired Admin from AT&T. She became interested in Masquers Playhouse thirty-some years ago while helping her son with set construction. Since then she has enjoyed being on the Masquers Board of Directors and was their Secretary for 25 years. She has also continued to work behind the scenes as costumer, stage manager, production manager, and set builder. Linda is also on the board of another nonprofit, Healing Heart Animal Sanctuary.
Ellen Pechman, Board Member
Ellen’s passion for Masquers is grounded in her belief that the arts are the lifeblood of communities, a lesson she learned in over 40 years as teacher, educational researcher, and change leader. She has taught in elementary and secondary public schools and been adjunct faculty at several universities. Her professional education practice involved designing and conducting high-visibility in-school and after-school programs in rapidly changing community contexts. Committed to working within her community, Ellen immerses herself in wide-ranging and sustainable social justice initiatives. Since moving to Richmond in 2014, she has become a part-time teacher in Richmond’s Library-based literacy program, LEAP, and an active volunteer in numerous non-profit organizations, including the Rosie the Riveter Home Front National Park and the Richmond Museum of History. In addition to being an arts and theater junky, she gains energy cooking, gardening, yoga, and travel. She is honored to serve the Masquers Board at this pivotal moment when communities are rediscovering and reinvesting in arts and theater partnerships.
Josephine Orozco, Board Member
Josephine has a Bachelors of Art from UC Berkeley in landscape architecture, and practiced as a regional planner for East Bay Regional Park District for 14 years. She retired and partnered with her husband to run El Sol Restaurant and Catering and has been doing so for 15 years. She is dedicated to community service in both the Rodeo and Pt. Richmond communities. She serves on the board of directors for the Bay Front Chamber of Commerce, Point Richmond Business Association, and Masquers Playhouse. She has a passion for youth sports and arts and theater. She has coached youth softball for 25 years. She encourages art and theatre in all forms as avenues of self expression and education. She has been honored by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors as Woman of the Year and also, separately, by Congressman Thompson as Woman of the Year. She believes that contributing her time and talent as a coach, mentor, volunteer in the community comes full circle when it comes to being a local family owned business.
Meet the Theater Administrative Staff
Carl Smith, Managing Director
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Carl has called the Bay Area home for the last 17 years. He is the first in his family to go to college, having graduated from National University (Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies: Teacher Preparation) and Concordia University (Master of Arts, Education: Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in ESOL). He has worked in special education, after-school programs, and non-profit management as well as two years of teaching English in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Carl is passionate about live theater and currently serves as the managing director for the Masquers Playhouse in Richmond. He is frequently seen on and stage throughout the Bay Area. He has also directed and produced many youth productions. His is humbled and honored to be leading Masquers at this very important time!
Nancy Benson, Financial Manager
Nancy has been backstage and on stage in Bay Area community theater since high school. She loves Live Theater! She has been a Masquers member for 20 years and has been Financial Manager and on the Board since 2012. She has sung with Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra for 20 years, and she was Treasurer and on the Board for 4 years. She also has worked backstage for Lamplighters Music Theater for 20 years. When she is not in a theater, she works as an Accountant and Financial Analyst for a manufacturing company.
Judy Zimola, Publicity Manager
The only thing Judy Zimola likes better than a road trip is working in the theater. She was hooked at the impressionable age of 15 when she got her first laugh as Aunt Abby in her high school production of Arsenic and Old Lace. From then on it’s been all about plays, onstage or behind the scenes. Judy has worked in playhouses from Half Moon Bay (Brooke/Vicki in Noises Off) to Walnut Creek (Nine ensemble) and a bunch in between, but Masquers is by far her favorite theater. She is a communications director in the nonprofit world, which makes her very happy. When not writing for work or theater, she writes about the environment, music, and the occasional road trip gone kerflooey for small but arty publications.
Rob Bradshaw, Scenic Coordinator
Rob has been with the Masquers since 1985 when he was unceremoniously dragged by his lapels across a table at the Hotel Mac by the Great Pat Nelson. He apprenticed under John Hull, learning as fast as he could, and now is doing nicely as a Set Designer. He then picked up Lighting Design as a second love. Rob has been part of the Theater Administrative Staff of the Masquers for what seems like decades (and actually is). He has been involved with various other theaters but has long considered the Masquers Playhouse is true theater home and family. He is very excited to get back into our revamped theater as soon as possible!
Jo Lusk, Costume Room Manager
Jo Lusk has been volunteering for as long as she can remember. When she found the Masquers thirty-some years ago, she knew she’d found an organization where she could put her college education to good use – major in music, minors in art and theatre. She’s costumed over 40 shows, played in the pit for nearly that many (sometimes doing both jobs for the same show), and has even been allowed to act on occasion. She’s been the costume room manager for the Masquers for over 20 years. And still, her hand keeps going up in the air followed by “I’ll do it.” Will she ever learn?
Heinz Lankford, Theater & Warehouse Manager
By chance one of his passengers on the AC Transit 51 line in Alameda, asked him to audition for the next production at Altarena Playhouse in Alameda. That led to his introduction to Community Theater. He was requested to fill a role at the Masquers Playhouse in 1980 and has remained with that group in several capacities. Presently he is also involved with the Point Richmond History Association and volunteers at the East Brother Lighthouse.