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meet the team

William Skaggs

CEO

William Skaggs is excited to have moved with his family to Sarasota in 2020 to join The Players.  A two-time graduate of Western Kentucky University (WKU)

with a BA in Music and an MBA, William embraces a broad view of the value of the arts to a community via entertainment, education, and economic impacts. Prior to The Players, Mr. Skaggs career has included work as Chief Development Officer for Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC), concurrent appointments as Director of Annual Giving and Director of Alumni Resources at WKU, and as a Financial Advisor.

Scott Keys

Interim Artistic Director

SCOTT KEYS holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was awarded the Oscar Hammerstein Fellowship for Distinguished Writing as well as recognition by the Edward Kleban and Jonathan Larson Foundations. Scott holds a degree in Secondary Education from Eckerd College and certification as a teacher of The Meisner Technique under the renown Larry Silverberg. He retired a year ago after 22 years in public education as a theatre teacher, director, and Chairman of the renowned Booker Visual & Performing Arts High school Theatre dept. In 2008-2009 he was named Teacher of the Year at Booker. Recently he was nominated by Broadway World as Arts Educator of the Decade in Sarasota. He is on the Board of the Florida Theatre Conference and served as the Chairman of the High School One Act Festival in 2020. He has directed over 150 plays and musicals in professional, civic and educational theatres throughout the country, and locally has directed for FST, Sarasota Players, Manatee Players and Venice Theatre including award winning productions of Kiss of The Spider Woman, Into The Woods and Assassins. In 2005 he was awarded Best Director at The South Eastern Theatre Conference for BHS production of Seussical. Other awards and recognition include Passionella (FTC Best Production 2014), and original devised works such as The Anatomy of Steampunk, Alchemy: Tales of Transformation and the 2020 virtual work The Bone Orchard. With colleague and composer Johnnie Mnich he has written book and lyrics for Sleepy Hollow, and the political allegory, The Kingdom of Solitaire. He has served as an adjudicator for the Florida Theatre Conference, Thespians, Theatre Odyssey as well as many area theatre competitions. He was the Artistic Director of Weathervane Playhouse in Newark Ohio for 8 seasons. Also a published composer, playwright and lyricist, Scott served as an Artistic Associate at Playwright’s Horizons in New York and has had his work produced professionally nationally and internationally, including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, L.A., Seattle, Madrid, and Dayton, OH, his home town which includes the musicals VANISHING POINT, HEREAFTER, WILD BLUE, and MACABARET. He is proud to have devoted so much time to arts education and nurturing young talent, many who have gone on to successful careers in all aspects of the entertainment industry. Currently he is part of the theatre faculty at Venice Theatre, where he is also creating a world premiere musical revue, UP ON THE ROOF-The Songs of Carole King and James Taylor with collaborator Michelle Kazanofsky. Most recently his directing credits for The Player’s include FALSETTOS and SOME ENCHANTED EVENING and will soon be seen in their upcoming show SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM . He is enjoying his new freelance artistic life and continued devotion to his partner of 38 years, David Covach

Jill Franxman

Director of Operations

Jill Franxman, a long-time Sarasota visitor who recently became a full-time resident, joins The Players after an illustrious 24-year career with Procter & Gamble as a Senior Director in Finance & Accounting. Following her time at P&G, Jill earned an MA in Arts Administration from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and an MBA with a marketing concentration from the same school’s Lindner College of Business. She served as the National Program Manager for two groundbreaking programs of The Educational Theatre Association followed by service as a marketing professional in secondary education.

Amanda Heisey

Marketing Director

Amanda Heisey has been performing since she was a child. She has a Bachelors of Journalism from The University of Missouri and after working for various news 

outlets finally returned to her passion for the arts. Amanda was the Communications Manager for The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County before coming to work at The Players, starting with the theatre as a volunteer actor. As Marketing Director for The Players Centre and acting teacher for The Players Studio, Amanda relishes supporting what she considers her home theatre. Favorite stage credits include: Green in SHOUT! The Mod Musical, Maggie in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Anna in Burn This, Linda in Blood Brothers, Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show, Olive in Bullets Over Broadway, Gillian in Bell, Book and Candle and Demeter in Cats.

Morgan Gerhart

Director of Advancement

Morgan Gerhart joined The Players Centre for Performing Arts, as their first development professional with the organization and leading their Center Stage Capital Campaign 

to build a new performing arts facility. She has 10 years in Nonprofit Fundraising and over 20 years as a volunteer in various non-profits in FL, CT, NJ and Scotland. Prior to finding her heart in fundraising, Gerhart spent 25+ years in Hospitality and Tourism working with companies such as Sheraton, Marriott, Ramada and local, independent resorts and restaurants. She is one of the first American graduates of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and was accepted there because she was the first female bagpiper in an all male band in her hometown of Ramsey, NJ. Gerhart held prior positions with Girls Inc. of Sarasota County as Director of Advancement, Goodwill Manasota as Director of Development, and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce as Membership Services Director.

Brian Finnerty

Production manager

Brian Finnerty started at TPC/S as an instructor and social media coordinator. Now he’s glad to be the new production coordinator! Brian F. Finnerty has directed, choreographed, and performed in many successful productions throughout Sarasota County. He’s also an instructor here for PK Next Gen, The Players Follies, and Players Tap Co. After being a competition dancer through the age of 17,  he shifted his love toward musical theatre where he attended Booker High’s VPA program and Point Park University’s Conservatory for Performing Arts. Directorial and/or choreography credits include; YANK! A WWII Love Story, Silence: The Musical, Reefer Madness, SHOUT! The Mod Musical, All Shook Up, Hello, Dolly!,the area premier of Head Over Heels, SHREK the Musical, and most recently, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The SpongeBob Musical with Dingbat Theatre Project. Brian has been seen onstage at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Arundel Barn Playhouse, and with Plump Sisters Productions. Along with working at The Players Centre & Studio, he also works for Dingbat Theatre Project, where he acts as the Associate Artistic Director and Social Media Manager. 

Brenna Griffith

Box Office manager

Georgina Wilmott

Costume Shop Manager

Georgina Willmott has been in the US since 1981 when she arrived with a suitcase, $300 and her sewing machine. Although educated

as an English Literature teacher in Oxford, England she pursued a career in Human Resources Management for 18 years, before returning to her childhood passion of making costumes. She has been designing and sewing for theatre for the past 13 years and has worked at the Players since 2015. She has occasionally been known to tread the boards also in productions of the Island Players, the Island Chapel Players and was last seen as Ms.TV and Grandma Josephina in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She joined the Players team as Costume Manager in September 2018, where she loves how costumes bring the actors’ characters alive!

Paul mathias

AV Engineer

Paul Mathias, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, joins the community theatre after a diverse background in retail operations, audio-visual production and theatre production. Mathias has worked as an audio-visual engineer for the past seven years with various organizations locally and across the state. Notably, his experience with the renowned Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will help ensure The Players continues to bring the professionalism and accessibility it’s become known for.

Matt Neier

Associate Technical Director

Matt Neier is a graduate of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI with a BFA in Acting/Directing with a minor in Communication Studies. 

He moved to Sarasota in 2014 and has worked as a stage manager, electrician, carpenter and teacher since then. Matt has worked on over 100 productions since 2010 in many different capacities some recent credits include; Lighting Design: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Wiz (Manatee School for the Arts) and Zap! Bang! Pow! An Improvised Super Hero Adventure (Florida Studio Theatre) Stage Management: The CardShark w/Jason Michaels, Come Fly With Me: The Sammy Cahn Songbook, and Over the River and Through the Woods (ASM) (Florida Studio Theatre) Directing credits include: PretendersGod of Carnage, The Fullness of Life, Spotlight and The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year.