The Merchant of Mumbai
Meet Our Production Team
Jerian Franco - Producer, Writer, Art Director
Jeri is currently the Artistic Director and Executive Producer at The BiTSY Stage where all performances are free, but she has been involved in the arts all her life. Her grandmother was a playwright (A Worm in Horseradish), and both of her parents were very involved in The Westchester Children’s Players, a troupe that brought theater to under-privileged children all over the five boroughs of New York. Throughout her childhood and young adulthood, Jeri performed in several productions, but her background led to an evolving interest in theater and the theater arts.
When the opportunity to own and operate a small community theater in Denver presented itself, it was a perfect fit. The impact of free theatre on the local community is something she has experienced first-hand and she truly believes that, if we allow ourselves to be inspired, “Art Will Save The World.”
Samantha McDermott - Writer, Director
Samantha has been involved in theater her entire life. She began directing in Manhattan at the Theater Studio Inc. In 2010 she began adapting and directing Shakespeare’s plays at The Betsy Stage. Her Betsy shows include: Flaming of the Shrew, Juliet & Romeo: The Panopticon, The Travesty of Lear, Beth, Hamlet, and Othello. In 2016 she began a new venture at The BiTSY with fresh inspiration drawn from international folk and fairly tales. BiTSY shows that she has adapted/directed include: The Stonemason’s Wish, Sadko’s Song, The Silent Princess, Anansi: The Itsy BiTSY Spider Stories (collaborative), Jotunheim: A Legend of Thor and His Hammer (adaption only), Aloha: Postcards from Polynesia, and the original story The Necromancer’s Stone.
Patti Murtha - General Manager, Writer
Patti is a native Jersey Girl who fell in love with Colorado many years ago. She has a varied background in acting, stage management, and arts administration with over 20 years in educational theater as a teaching artist, actor, director, and playwright. The BiTSY brings all that is near and dear to her artist heart together in one fabulous little folktale-loving package.
Rekha Ohal - Musical Director
Rekha first picked up a piano at the tender age of five, and never looked back. She started gigging in the Washington D.C. area until she relocated to Denver, where she’s graced the stages at many of the finest venues and events in Colorado including the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, the Taste of Colorado, and Dazzle Jazz. She is a highly sought after pianist and vocalist in the metro area and is delighted to be a part of the staff at The BiTSY.
Christopher Wells- Production Stage Manager
Chris has been working with Lucky 20 Productions since The Betsy Stage. He performed onstage in multiple Betsy productions including portraying Othello in Othello: A Khorus Line. Chris has been helping out as the Production Stage Manager of The BiTSY since its second show, The Stone Coat Woman. Besides running the shows and boards at The BiTSY, Chris also helps out with tech for Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling (Pro Wrestling, ELEVATED) in Golden, Colorado. Chris loves being a part of The BiTSY family, and hopes you enjoy his work!
Kaitlyn Althoff - Movement Coach
Kaitlyn’s movement was last seen here at The BiTSY in The Necromancer’s Stone, and she is delighted to be back! Also a performer, Kaitlyn’s worked with numerous companies including Evergreen Players, Arts in the Open, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Town Hall Arts Center, and The PACE Center. Kaitlyn practices yoga to spread kindness, appreciates her family’s undying love and support, and thanks you, the audience, for supporting live theater. Love to you, my tag team partner for life!
Zach Brown- Lighting Designer
Zach is honored and grateful to have served as lighting designer since The BiTSY's first production. He would like to thank the creative and production staff for their efforts of collaboration on such a fine and rare company. He hopes to continue to work with The BiTSY for as long as possible, not least because each show is a singular learning experience. He is a freelance stagehand and designer, local to Denver.