Voices of Arrow Rock, Spirit of the Missouri Frontier is a theatrical production bringing to life voices of early Arrow Rock citizens whose experiences help us understand what people’s lives were like during the early to mid-19th century on the Missouri frontier. These voices transcend time and geography and help give a platform for underrepresented voices of the past. The citizens include George Fenwick and Margaret Medley Fenwick, Burton and Nancy Lawless, Nelson and Dinah Robinson, and Adeline and Frank Switzler.

Friends of Arrow Rock as the sponsoring organization partnered with the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre to develop and present the project. This presentation took place at the historic  Christian Church on Main Street in Arrow Rock on Saturday, August 7, 2021, as part of the Missouri Bicentennial.

A video record of this remarkable production can now be viewed on the Friends of Arrow Rock YouTube channel, https://youtu.be/6TevXoLSaQ8


Mary Barile


Mary Barile is a writer and historian, and the author of fourteen books about antiques, history, and the paranormal. A native New Yorker, she is also an award-winning playwright, with readings and productions from The Kennedy Center to just-off-Broadway. Mary is dedicated to bringing the past to life. She has a PhD in theatre history from the University of Missouri-Columbia and teaches playwriting, public speaking, and theatre history at the college level.


Michelle Tyrene Johnson

As a fourth-generation Kansas City native, Michelle Tyrene Johnson has been a newspaper reporter, an employment attorney, a diversity and inclusion speaker, a columnist and is an award-winning playwright. She is an author of three books about diversity and one book about her grandmother. As a 2019 Pulitzer Center grantee, Michelle traveled to Dakar, Senegal, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Memphis, Tennessee to cover how cities around the world have honored the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Michelle received her degree in journalism from the University of Kansas, her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and is pursuing her MFA in Playwriting at Spalding University.


Brady Kateman

Brady Kateman is a seventh-generation Missourian with deep roots in Arrow Rock. A recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (creative writing), he interned with the Missouri Review his senior year reviewing and editing publishable works. Voices of Arrow Rock is his first commissioned play. He enjoys writing in the Noir and historical fiction genres, is an avid video gamer, and since childhood has enjoyed horseback riding.


Scott Miesse

A native of Ohio, Scott Miesse is a New York City-based playwright and actor who is in love with Arrow Rock. His play Abnormal made its Off-Broadway debut in January 2020. As an actor, he has appeared in the national tours of FoodPlay and Mariposa and the Saint. He has performed in immersive theatre productions and collaborated on new musical works. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kent State University.


Ricky D. Wilson

Originally from Paola, Kansas, Ricky D. Wilson currently resides in Roseville, California. Following service in the United States Navy, he spent more than three decades as a Safety Officer and Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He attended Florida A&M University and played trumpet in their famous Marching 100 Band. In his retirement, he has become a genealogist inspired by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s PBS program, “Finding Your Roots.” In 2015, he presented his mother with a Cato family history book for her 90th birthday and in 2020, published an updated version titled, Wilson Family History: Our Roots Run Deep. Voices of Arrow Rock is his first commissioned play. Rick’s paternal ancestors, Dinah and Nelson Robinson, were active citizens in Arrow Rock after the Civil War. He and his wife Virginia have two adult children, Ashley and Kevin and two grandchildren, Adelaide and Desmond Raman.


Chioma Anyanwu (Dinah Robinson and Adeline Switzler) is positively giddy about returning to Arrow Rock to commemorate the Missouri Bicentennial! A Columbia, MO native, she performed with the Arrow Rock Lyceum for the first time at age 16 in their production of Jesus Christ Superstar; the experience inspired her to study theatre and storytelling. She has had the privilege of working with the Unicorn Theatre, Theatre for Young America, Musical Theatre Heritage, The KC Rep, Starlight Theatre, Melting Pot KC, Coterie Theatre, The Living Room Theatre, and Egads Theatre Co. She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts (Stephens College, Columbia, MO), and an MFA in Acting and Directing (UMKC, Kansas City, MO). She is based in Kansas City, MO.


Darryl Reuben Hall (Director, Nelson Robinson, and Frank Switzler), Founder /Executive Director of Stage Aurora Theatrical Company, Inc., is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.S. Architecture). He is an alumnus of Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center Fellow, member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Theatre Communications Group, and Times Square Church Choir and Singers. BROADWAY/OFF: Godspell (Ken Davenport’s People of Godspell); Linda Eder: The Holiday Concert at The Palace, Porgy and Bess/NYCO (PBS Live from Lincoln Center Telecast), Cinderella with Eartha Kitt (Broadway National Tour), Black Stars of the Great White Way (Carnegie Hall), Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, Three Mo’ Tenors (PBS Great Performances and original cast recording). REGIONAL THEATRE: Jim in Big River (Lyceum Theatre, Arrow Rock), Shout Sister Shout (Seattle Rep), The Color Purple (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), The Wiz in The Wiz (Alhambra Dinner Theatre), Clayton Toller in The Civil War (Ford’s Theatre- Helen Hayes Award Nomination); John in Miss Saigon  (Actor’s Playhouse); Paul in Kiss Me, Kate  (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Judy Award Winner), Music Theatre of Wichita); No Moe in 5 Guys Named Moe (Geva Theatre Center and Studio Arena), Man/Preacher in Crowns  (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Stage Aurora), Flick in Violet (Best Actor- Carbonell Award Nomination) and Victor in Smokey Joe’s Café (Actor’s Playhouse), Gabey in On The Town (White-Willis Theatre), The Mikado (North Shore Music Theatre and Huntington Theater), High Spirits (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (Crossroads Theatre- Tony Award Winner/ Best Regional Theatre), Harry the Horse in Guys and Dolls (Alhambra Dinner Theatre), Ain’t Misbehavin (Riverside Theatre at Vero Beach); No Moe in Five Guys Named Moe (Riverside Theatre); The Wiz (American Stage). Darryl has graced the stage alongside such notables as the late Aretha Franklin, Walt Disney World Entertainment with Tommy Tune, Rita Moreno, and John Davidson, and in theatre with Phylicia Rashad, Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, and Eartha Kitt. FILM AND TELEVISION Godfather of Harlem, Finding Julia, among others. PLAYWRIGHT: Dinner with Booker T. (National Black Theatre Festival), Drawn from the Water, Harlem of the South, Darryl Reuben Hall’s Frat House (Winner of 2 FESTIVAL FAVORITE Awards); Reality Check, and The Dinner (16th Midtown International Theatre Festival). His is based in New York City.



Manon Halliburton (Nancy Lawless and Margaret Medley Fenwick) has worked in regional theatre for over 20 years and has traveled to many theatres in that time – Utah Shakespeare Festival, Indiana repertory Theatre, Chester Theatre Company MA., Cincinnati Playhouse, Greenwich Street Theatre NY., Riverside Theatre NY., HBO Theatre NY., Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatre, Unicorn Theatre and Kansas City Actors Theatre. She has been on Law and Order and The Sopranos and is currently featured in independent horror film, I Am Lisa.  She is thrilled to be a part of Voices of Arrow Rock and currently resides in Kansas City with her husband, sound designer and composer Jon Robertson and their furry family



Charlie Spillers (Burton Lawless and George Fenwick) is very excited to be returning to Missouri to celebrate its bicentennial, a state that gave him his formal acting training. He was most recently seen in The Drama League’s The Lover in New York City, and he recently graduated with his MFA in Acting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Select regional credits include KC Rep’s A Christmas Carol (Topper), as well as KCAT’s Skylight (Edward Sergeant), King Lear (Edgar), and A Moon for the Misbegotten (Mike Hogan). Other credits include All My Sons (Chris Keller) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Billy Bibbit). He is based in New York City. www.CharlieSpillers.com.


Pippa Letsky (Music Director and Fiddler) born in England but grew up in Montreal and Vancouver, Canada, and in Canberra, Australia. Her family went “home” to England when she was ten years old, but she was already an Aussie at heart, in love with the old convict songs from Botany Bay and the same Scotch Irish fiddle tunes as the songs and tunes at the root of Appalachian old-time and American bluegrass music. She started learning piano at age 7, guitar at age 12, mandolin at age 35, and fiddle at age 45. Now she’s been writing original fiddle tunes for 10 years, and her latest Compendium A-Z (3rd edition, 2021) is a collection of 150 tunes, some simple and some complicated. She loves to play in Arrow Rock once a month, on the porch of the Missouri Folk Art Shop and Gallery in the Miller-Bradford House. And she thoroughly enjoys the historic scenes and invincible charm of such a unique and antique town. She is thrilled to share her original compositions in this production.