The Board of Directors govern the business of
The Villages Musical Theatre, Inc.
The 2020 Board of Directors are :
Ed Slivken, Dave Newell, Mary Lou Merkner
Linda Berthiaume, Judy Pluta, Bill Krone,
Bill Krone is the retired Principal of Williamsville North High School, a large suburban high school of approximately 1500 outside of Buffalo, New York. Bill takes pride that North was, and still is, well regarded not only for its strong academic and athletic programs, but as well for its outstanding music and musical theatre programs. As Principal, Bill was directly involved in the production of 13 musicals including West Side Story, 42nd Street, and Peter Pan, flying rig and all.
At Williamsville North, he began a program of dance instruction taught by a professional choreographer as part of physical education class to teach tap, jazz and ballet to interested students for preparation for performance in the school’s musicals. This unique and popular program still exists today, ten years after his retirement.
Since coming to the Villages, Bill has appeared in fifteen Broadway book musicals, including eight performances for the Villages Musical Theatre Company. Those included appearing as Charlie Davenport in “Annie Get Your Gun”, Billy Flynn in “Chicago”, Jigger Cragin in “Carousel”, and Lank Hawkins in "Crazy For You".
Roles with other Villages performing companies have included Julian Marsh in “42nd Street” , Cliff in "Cabaret" and Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”. He has also performed with Smash Productions, Dance Fusion and Broadway Bound Players.
Bill served as membership chairman for four years and also maintains the VMT webpage
Bill and his wife Martie are the parents of four children, including triplets and an older daughter and have lived in the Villages since 2006.
Treasurer and Membership
Ed Slivken, a retired CPA, came to the Villages initially on a part-time basis in 2009 and became a full-time resident in 2011. He began his professional career in public accounting, where he was a partner in one of the largest regional CPA firms in the U.S. He left public accounting in 1980 and moved into the private sector where he served as controller, CFO, and/or VP Finance for several airlines, a large full-service truck leasing company, and a multi-location heavy truck dealership group. Although his performing experience had ended 50 years ago in high school, throughout his life he continued to enjoy the theater and all types of music. As a CPA he helped start-up and organize a successful dinner theater, still going strong forty years later. After becoming a full-time resident in The Villages, he rekindled his active interest in the performing arts. He has been, and continues to be, involved with a number of groups including The Villages Musical Theater, Inc., The Villages Theatre Company, The Villages Pop Chorus and others. Besides appearing on stage in several productions, he has hauled equipment, worked backstage, ran sound and lights, and served as Stage Manager. He is excited for the opportunity to add his background and experience to the Board.
Bruce was an attorney in his former life in the Cleveland, Ohio area before coming to The Villages to live.
He has been very involved in various musical organizations and productions here. He is an active performer with both "Music in Motion" and "Dance Fusion" dance groups.
He has produced several seasonal revues for the Fourth of July and
"Yule Sing" for the holiday season.
Bruce has appeared on the Savannah stage as Lazar Wolff in "Fiddler on the Roof" and also had roles in "Crazy for You", "Promises, Promises", "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "South Pacific"
One of his most favorite activities is performing swing dancing at various venues with his favorite partner, his wife, Lynne.
Mary Lou Merkner
Mary Lou is a native of Indiana where she was a graduate of Music from Ball State University in Indiana and then received a Masters of Performance and Music Education from Northwestern University in Evanston, Il.
Mary Lou has a vast experience in teaching Vocal Music in Indiana schools at all grade levels and Music Appreciation at Purdue University Calumet. She has served as the Special Events Choral Director for the Crown Point, Ind. Sesquicentennial; and as Musical Director for the Trinity Lutheran Church Choral Program.
Mary Lou was Co-Founder/Director of the NW Indiana Children’s Choir; Founding Director/Performer of a Mixed Voice performance ensemble “The Entertainers”; and Co-Founding Director of “Playmaker’s Community Theater.
Many Private Voice Students in Indiana and Gainesville, Fl have benefited from her guidance. Notable among former students: Bill Gaither (Composer and Performer with the 'Bill Gaither Trio' of Contemporary Christian Music); Mark Jacoby (starred as the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera” in Chicago and Michael Crawford replacement on Broadway; and as Ravenal in “Showboat”; among other major roles on Broadway in New York, Chicago, and Toronto, Canada); Judith A. Leslie (Executive director of the NW Indiana Symphony and Director of the International Rotary Club Chorus).
As Co-Founder and Director of the Crown Point, Indiana “Playmakers Community Theatre”, she directed, produced and/or performed in productions that included “Music Man”; “1776”; “My Fair Lady”; “Godspell”; “Oklahoma”; “The Fantastics”; “Annie Get Your Gun”; “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”; “Kiss Me Kate: “Mame”; “Fiddler on the Roof”; and a 10 year anniversary production again of “1776
As a soloist, she has performed in professional productions of “La Boheme”; “Hansel & Gretel”; “Fiddler on the Roof”; and “Hello Dolly”. She has appeared as soloist with the NW Indiana Symphony, and as soloist in many churches throughout NW Indiana and in Gainesville and Ocala, Florida.
She was a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus under Margaret Hillis. She was a soloist and member of the NW Indiana Symphony Chorus; The Al Fissinger Chorale; The Willis Bodine Chorale of Gainesville; and a member of the Sweet Adeline Gainesville “Harmony Show Chorus”.
Since moving to The Villages in 2013, she has renewed her interest in Musical Theatre as Asst. Dir. to Bill Davis for “Brigadoon” and Gershwin’s “Crazy for You”; and Asst. to Sandie Hawthorne on “The Music Man” and Vocal Coach for “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.
She also enjoys singing with the Hope Lutheran Chorus and the “Hope Four” quartet; “Bach with a Beat” Chorus; the “Pops Chorus”; and the “Village Voices”.