Thursday's Children
an original musical
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The Cast

Cast for the Premiere Production of Thursday's Children:

Donald Proctor/Charles Decker: John Donovan
Miss West/Britney Decker: Megan McQueeney
Dan Porter/Brendan Curran: Daniel Haymes
David Porter (1965)/Dean Porter: Brian Osborn
Emily Ross (1965)/Danielle Porter: Natlie Schmit
Chaz Decker/Bryant Decker: Jeff Duis
Marshall Porter/David Porter (1990): Bryan Healy
Grace Porter/Emily Porter (1990): Preshia Paulding


Act One: 1965


Marshall Porter: Early forties, a mid-level insurance exec with a strong military orientation: he served in the Navy and the Army in WWII, expects his sons to serve also. His world is very right/wrong, black/white.

Grace Porter: Close in age to Marshall. They were high school sweethearts in Lincoln, NE. She’s a storybook housewife (it’s 1965); deferential to her husband but protective of her sons.

Donald Proctor: Early 40's, tough. He’s a teacher/coach and a hardcore disciplinarian—basically the school “enforcer.”

Miss West: Mid to late twenties: she’s the “new” English teacher fresh out of grad school. Though allied with “the establishment,” she’s sympathetic to the student’s ideas.

Daniel Porter: Eighteen, a senior, he’s the "golden boy" - handsome, popular, athletic. He has college aspirations, but will do his military service first, as his elder brother, Doug, who is already in Viet Nam. Dan is basically good-hearted, though he tends to be arrogant with his peers.

David Porter: Sixteen, a sophomore, he’s the brainy child of the family. Born with a heart defect, he’s been coddled a bit by mom. He’s looking for a meaningful life outside the military, though he craves his father’s approval.

Emily Ross: Seventeen, a junior. She’s pretty and deep; Daniel’s “steady.” Affable and attractive, she’s popular and “in,” though her liberal religious background leads her toward unconventional interests.  Her mother is a Quaker, and Emily is sympathetic to the pacifist ideology.

Charles "Chaz" Decker Jr.: Seventeen, a junior. He’s outgoing, likeable, and unabashedly leftist. And smart—one of those who excels in English and Physics. His humor and strength of personality attract others to him.

Act Two: 1990

David Porter: He’s forty-one, a legal aid attorney, married to his high school crush, Emily. They have two teenagers and have reached that marriage “wall” where the beauty and uniqueness of life together have faded and the days are filled with obligations and stress.

Emily Ross Porter: Forty-two, David’s wife. She’s a high school social studies teacher. She’s at the same “wall,” her idealism almost but not quite crushed by the demands of work and marriage and parenthood. 

Danielle Porter: Seventeen, the elder of David and Emily’s children. She has internalized their strong sense of values, but not their idealism. She’s determined to enlist in the armed forces, aware of the turmoil it will trigger.

Dean Porter: Emily and David's youngest. Just shy of sixteen, he’s a Reagan-era kid; into toys, winning, and sarcasm.

Charles Decker, Jr.: Forty-two and rich. He’s dropped the nickname Chaz and has made a 180 switch from his schooldays. A prosperous weapons-system designer for Martin Marietta Corp., he drives a wicked car and sports a trophy wife.

Britney Decker: Late twenties, she’s a Florida babe Charles acquired on one of his extended contracts for the Air Force. She’s content in her role as a ‘kept woman;” she has a decent social life, money for shopping, and vacations.

Charles Bryant Decker III: Seventeen, he’s the son of Chaz and his first wife. He has few illusions about his father. He’s cool toward the stepmom and prefers to be called Bryant.  He's enamored of the burgeoning hip-hop culture.

Brendan Curry: Eighteen, he’s Danielle’s boyfriend, an Irish pacifist and artist. He loves Danielle and is adored by her parents, as he shares many of their beliefs



John M. Donovan (Proctor, Charles Decker): A native of Indiana, John graduated from Wabash College with a B.A. in English and a minor in Theatre. He is the founder and head writer of the Banana Punch sketch comedy group, and has appeared with other sketch comedy groups including Comedy Cooperative and The Patsies. John is also a freelance marketing writer. He has two daughters, Caitlin and Delaney, and a three-year old granddaughter, Jade.

Jeff Duis (Chaz Decker, Bryant Decker): Local audiences have seen Jeff in productions of Chicago, Cats, The Buddy Holly Story and All Shook Up. A graduate of Lincoln High School and Simpson College, Jeff will celebrate his third season as the mascot for The Iowa Energy. Hobbies include playing drums (14 years) and guitar (7 years).

Daniel Haymes (Dan Porter, Brendan Curran):originally from Chicago, Dan graduated from Drake University last spring with a B.F.A. in Acting and minors in Musical Theatre and Percussion. At Drake he performed in numerous productions; his final role was Barry Champlain in Talk Radio. Dan has worked steadily in theatre since his graduation, appearing in Repertory Theatre of Iowa’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, StageWest’s production of Bill W. & Dr. Bob, and his own original production of Gutenberg – The Musical. Dan enjoys tennis, baseball, playing the drums, collecting plays, and making people laugh.


Bryan Healy (Marshall Porter, David Porter-1990): A father of five grown (and growing) children, Bryan lives in rural Newton, IA. With the help of his makeup artist (and wife) Cindy, he has been performing a one-man Mark Twain show in theatres, convention halls, schools and riverboats throughout the Midwest for the past 25 years. He is a charter member of the Tune In Yesterday radio show, and the New Sugar Grove Players. Bryan has appeared in numerous plays and musicals including South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, Hello Dolly, and Annie, and has directed a number of shows, including My Fair Lady, Camelot, Annie Get Your Gun, and Kiss Me Kate. He is the resident pyro-technician for Newton Community Theatre. In “real life”, Bryan runs a chemical plant, but his real passion is bringing original, significant literature to life. He is proud to be part of this, inaugural production of Thursday’s Children.


Megan McQueeney (Miss West, Britney Decker):Megan is happy to be making her Iowa theatre debut in Thursday’s Children. Originally from Eagle, Colorado, Megan is a freshman theatre major at Drake University. Back home, she appeared in a number of shows, including Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Suessical: The Musical, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Wizard of Oz. In her spare time, Megan likes to ski, sail, and hang out with friends.

Brian Osborn (David Porter-1965, Dean Porter): Brian is an Ankeny resident and graduate of Ankeny High School. He currently attends classes at Des Moines Area Community College. Brian has appeared in local productions of MASH, Little Shop of Horrors, Dracula, and Guys and Dolls. Brian has a passion for acting, writing, and the NFL. He also enjoys poetry, walking, and working out, which he somehow finds time for between school, bartending at The Waterfront and being in Thursday’s Children.


Preshia Paulding (Grace Porter, Emily Ross Porter-1990): A Des Moines theatre veteran, Preshia has appeared in numerous productions around central Iowa. Recent roles include Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor for Repertory Theatre of Iowa, Judy Garland in the Des Moines Playhouse/StageWest co-production of Beyond the Rainbow, and Fla Sorento in the Tallgrass Theatre production of Sleeping Dogs. She has worked in television, appearing in dozens of commercials and industrial films, as well as in the mini-series Amerika with Kris Kristofferson. Her vocal talents have been featured in studio recordings and commercials, and she is a host on two internet radio shows: ACME Modern Old-Time Variety Radio Hour and Dedicated…For The Troops(through, scheduled to air in January 2011.) She is a member of the B&B Cabaret Singers, a frequent guest artist for the Banana Punch sketch comedy group, and a singer performer for Entertainment to Go, LLC.   In her spare time, Preshia keeps busy trying to keep up with her six children and six grandchildren, and volunteering for a soldier and family support group at Fort Des Moines.


Natalie Schmit (Emily Ross-1965, Danielle Porter): Natalie comes to us through the Drake University Theatre department, where she is a first year musical theatre student. She hails from Bloomington Minnesota, where she has been seen in a number of productions including Hello Dolly, The Crucible, Steel Magnolias, and Seussical The Musical. She loves spontaneous dance parties and giggling as much as possible. She would like to thank her grampa for his constant support.



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