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2019 Cast

Samantha Bagdon

Samantha Bagdon (Alice/Molly) is so excited to be returning to Skagway and The Days of ‘98 Show with Soapy Smith for her second season! 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, and I Love You Because. National tour: A Christmas Carol. Find out more about Samantha at

T.J. Besler, Company Manager

Thomas J. Besler (Company Manager/Soapy Smith) is thrilled to be returning to Skagway as Company Manager/Soapy Smith for The Days of 98 Show with Soapy Smith.  As a professional actor for nearly 20 years he has had the opportunity to perform all over the country.  Some favorite roles include Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, Elliot Garfield in The Goodbye Girl, Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls, and, of course, Soapy Smith in The Days of 98 Show with Soapy Smith.  He considers himself beyond blessed to be able to consistently work in the arts alongside his beautiful and incomparable wife, Elsa Scott Besler.  Her love and support means more than he can ever express. Thank you to everyone else who has also helped along the way, and to you, the audience, without whom, none of this is possible.  Enjoy the show!

Elsa Scott Besler, House Manager

Elsa Scott Besler (House Manager/Belle) is happy to return to Skagway for her third season at The Days of ‘98 Show with Soapy Smith! She is originally from Missouri, but has had the opportunity to perform at theatres all over the United States. She’d like to thank her family, as well as her wildly talented husband, all of whom are unfailingly supportive, no matter how far from home she may wander. Enjoy the show!

Thomas Craig Buckley, Music Director

Known for his versatility in Opera and Musical Theatre, Thomas Craig Buckley (Music Director/Pianist) is a sought-after musical director and performer.  His career has taken him across the United States (including Hawaii) and Europe.  Notable credits include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Godspell, Legally Blonde, In the Heights a residency at The Great American Melodrama and recently the conductor/music supervisor for CATS with Royal Caribbean International.  He was also the music director for Heathers the Musical: High School Edition partnering with Samuel French Licensing and Stagedoor Manor.  A Countertenor, he has sung works by Bach, Mozart and Handel and made his European debut as a soloist with Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices.

Haley Chaney

This is Haley Chaney’s (Belle/Molly) first season with The Days of ’98 Show with Soapy Smith, and she couldn’t be more thrilled to spend the summer in a beautiful place with these beautiful people. She recently graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Drama with honors in Musical Theater, and a Literary Journalism minor. New York Credits: Excuse Me song cycle premier and new musical Brad Knows Nothing. Regional: Hairspray (Amber). University: Rock of Ages (Waitress #1), Sweeney Todd (Johanna), and American Idiot (Featured Ensemble). Haley is also a songwriter, fitness junkie, and vocal coach. Much love and thanks to her family, friends, and teachers who all inspire her to live positively. Follow more of her adventures @chaleyhaney on Instagram. 

Katherine Cherok

Katherine Cherok (Belle/Alice) is thrilled to be joining the company of The Days of ‘98 Show with Soapy Smith for her first summer in Alaska! She is currently a rising senior at The Hartt School and is working towards a BFA in Music Theatre. Katherine’s credits include: Marty Maraschino (Grease), Wanda Woodward (Cry-Baby), and Hope Harcourt (Anything Goes). She would like to thank her family and friends for their endless love and support!

Josh Karam

Josh Karam (Soapy Smith) is thrilled to step back in history and join The Days of '98 Show with Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska! Josh just graduated from The Hartt School with a BFA in Music Theatre. Credits include: Sir Robin (Spamalot), Narrator (Rocky Horror Show) and Duke Orsino (Twelfth Night). Much love to to his family and friends in New England. Find out more at Enjoy the show!

Andrew Nadon, Associate Manager

Andrew Nadon (Assosicate Manager/Pre-Show/Lights) is an actor/magician from Salt Lake City, Utah and now happily lives year-round in Skagway. His favorite roles include Amos Hart in “Chicago” and Giuseppe Zangara in Assassins with Dark Horse Company Theatre and Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Tim in Noises Off at The Egyptian Theatre Company.  He has performed his magic with various corporations from Utah to Idaho and was selected to be the magician for the 2014 season of Utah Children’s Theatre. He also performs for the Southeast Alaska State Fair. During the winter he works as a substitute teacher at Skagway School. Go Panthers! He holds a B.A. in musical theatre from Weber State University.

Anna Russell

Anna Russell (Alice/Molly) is so excited to be returning to Skagway for her second season! Originally from California, Anna is now a New York based actor who has worked regionally from coast to coast. Credits include: Mother/Ms. Dickens (Alexander’s Terrible...Very Bad Day), Curious George (Curious George: The Golden Meatball), Maggie (Passing Through), Junie B. Jones (Junie B. Jones), Tracy Turnblad (Hairspray), Creator/Director (The Hartt Women’s Project). BFA Music Theater/Gender Studies Minor: The Hartt School. Much love and thanks to her mother, without whom none of this would have been possible. Enjoy!

Aaron Thompson

Aaron Thompson (Assistant MD/Pianist) is a recent graduate of the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College who finds third person bios cold and unapproachable. During my time at Gettysburg I studied voice (Jeffrey Fahnestock) and piano (Dr. Jocelyn Swigger), minoring in German and Peace and Justice Studies. I participated in ensembles like the Gettysburg College Choir, Balinese Gamelan, chamber groups, and the college’s Co-Ed a Capella group, Four Scores. In addition to an avid career as a singer and actor, I played in the pit for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and served as musical director and accompanist for Gypsy. I look forward to continuing this trajectory through my work as Assistant Music Director and Pianist for The Days of ’98 with Soapy Smith!

Production Team

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Jonathan Baldwin, Artistic Director

Jonathan is excited for his thirteenth season with The Days of ’98 Show with Soapy Smith. Mr. Baldwin holds a Master’s Degree in Music from Miami University and a Bachelor Degree from the Hartt School of Music. Jonathan has performed in every major city in the U.S. and on several National Tours including Man of La Mancha and Titanic The Musical. Mr. Baldwin is currently the Music Director at the Skagway School. When Jonathan is not hanging around the theatre, you might catch him angling for a trout up at Lower Dewey Lake or walking around town with his daughter Lily. A Special thanks to the people of Skagway, The Fraternal Order of Eagles #25, 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 The Hartt School, 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

Susannah Corrington, General Director

Susannah Corrington (Director) spent practically every day of her childhood begging her mom to let her come and see The Days of '98 Show with Soapy Smith (over and over again). Two years ago, she was lucky enough to get to perform in the show, and now she's absolutely delighted to get to direct its 96th season! She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago and is living and acting in Los Angeles with her husband Jarek. She also performs as a resident artist with Domino One Productions. Find out more at

Susie Thiel, Choreographer

Susie Thiel (Choreographer) is the Director of Dance and an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Kentucky. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Western Michigan University and her Master of Fine Arts in choreography from the University of Michigan. Her work in musical theatre and concert dance has been presented at the University of Kentucky, Green Space Studio (NYC), the Seagle Music Colony (NY), The Cincinnati Fringe Festival (OH), Anne Bogart’s Barn (NY), the Detroit Dance City Festival (MI), Inner Mongolia Arts College (China), the Hainan Normal University (China) Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts and (AK). Susie received the University of Kentucky’s 2016 Provost’s Outstanding Teaching Award. She had the opportunity to perform in The Days of ’98 Show with Soapy Smith in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and choreographed the show last season. She is so happy to be back for this season, and to be in beautiful Skagway! Visit her at


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