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2018 Cast

Samantha Bagdon

Samantha Bagdon (Alice/Molly) is so excited to be spending the summer performing in ALASKA! Now based in NYC, Samantha grew up in New Hampshire where she received a B.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Plymouth State University. Regional credits include: Hairspray, Shrek the Musical, Into the Woods, I Love You Because. National tour: A Christmas Carol. Thanks to the Days of '98 Show team for giving me the opportunity to take this adventure, and to all the friends and family who encouraged me to do it!

Rachel Barkalow

Rachel Barkalow (Belle/Molly) is delighted to join The Days of ’98 company for her first Alaskan summer! Credits include Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth Benning), Hamlet (Gertrude), Lily Dale (Corella Davenport), and Big Fish (Jenny Hill). BFA Theatre Performance: University of Evansville. Love to my family for their unwavering support and endless encouragement.

T.J. Bessler

T.J. Besler (Soapy Smith) is excited to be joining Gold Rush Productions this summer. A native Iowan, T.J. has performed all over the country from NYC to LA. Thank you to his family and friends, and for all their loved and support. And thank you to you, without whom, this wouldn’t be possible. Enjoy the show!

Kaitlyn Casanova

Kaitlyn Casanova (Belle/Company Manager) was last seen on the Days of ‘98 stage in 2012 and could not be more excited to be returning to Skagway! She first explored the town in 2007, when she was a singer on the Majestic America Cruise Line. Since then, she has enjoyed performing musical theatre both nationally and internationally.

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Bill McCarthy

Bill McCarthy (Soapy Smith/House Manager) is relieved to be returning to Alaska for a third time. After enjoying The Days of ‘98 Show during the 2014 and 2017 seasons, he knew it was only a matter of time before AK called his name again. A Harrisburg, PA native, actor, and blue collar worker, Bill’s previous credits include Caleb Deleon (The Whipping Man), Dan Woodruff (Talk Radio), Officer Barrel (Urinetown), Lank Hawkins (Crazy for you), Harlequin (Company of Wayward Saints), and Ensign Pulver (Mr. Roberts). Bill is excited to be employed by Gold Rush productions again. All he wants is for the audience to remember the importance of cohesion between History and Art. Enjoy your stay in Skagway, Cheechako!

Elsa Scott

Elsa Scott (Belle/Alice) is thrilled to return to Gold Rush Productions for a second season! Originally from the Midwest, Elsa has performed all over the country - from NYC to Texas to Alaska - with various regional theatre companies. Extra thanks to her family for their continued support! Find out more at

Production Team

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Jonathan Baldwin, Artistic Director

Jonathan is excited to portray “Alaska's most notorious outlaw”, Soapy Smith, for his twelfth season. Mr. Baldwin holds a Master's Degree in Music from Miami University and a Bachelor's degree from The Hartt School Music. Jonathan has performed in every major city in U.S and on several National Tours including Man of La Mancha and Titanic The Musical. Mr. Baldwin has taught at The Cincinnati School for Creative & Performing Arts, Miami University and is currently the Music Director at the Skagway School. When Jonathan is not playing Jeff Smith, he replaces his Winchester repeating rifle with a fly rod. You might catch him angling for a trout up at Lower Dewey Lake. A Special thanks to the people of Skagway, The Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the talented cast and crew of The Days of ’98 Show for helping keep history alive. 

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Jonathan Hays, General Director

Jonathan Hays has made his career as an opera singer, concert artist, recitalist, and, more recently, a teacher and lecturer at Dickinson College and Susquehanna University. When he isn't on the road performing or at college teaching his minions how to sing, he can most frequently be found brewing beer, drinking beer, reading science fiction, reciting Robert Service poetry, holding forth on various topics of little interest to anyone, and playing The Days of ’98 Show piano (badly). We'd fire him, but it turns out the hornswoggler has swindled his way into ownership of half of the company. If you want to know more about him for some reason, visit

Susie Thiel, Choreographer

Susie Thiel is the Director of the Dance Program and Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Kentucky. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Michigan University and her Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Michigan. Susie performed and choreographed the Day’ of ’98 Show for three seasons and is excited to be back as choreographer. Find out more about Susie at


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