Theatre Staff

 

Jennifer Heavner Baker (Executive Director) is from Norman and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma. Before taking the job at the Sooner Theatre, she lived in NYC and traveled as a professional actress and choreographer working in numerous productions across country. She thought she was through with the “performing” chapter of her life, until she found herself on stage again, right here at The Sooner Theatre as Rita LaPorta in Lucky Stiff, Nancy in Oliver, and Ms. Darbus in Disney’s High School Musical!!! What a hoot! Other favorite roles include Carlotta in Phantom, Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo, Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and the Prima Donna in Sugar Babies. Other favorite performing credits include, an NBC Movie of the Week, several feature and indie films, a performer in Reader’s Digest’s DVD, America, Portrait of Song, a soloist for The National Governor’s Convention, a brief stay as the lead female in a popular Branson show, and a guest performer in President Clinton’s Inaugural Parade. Favorite “blasts from her past” include, Music Theatre of Wichita, Lyric Theatre of OKC, Mill Mt Theatre, Buck’s County Playhouse, Pocono Playhouse and 6 years as Laurey, in Discoveryland’s production of Oklahoma! Jennifer has also appeared in numerous commercials and videos, including Wendy’s, Mazzio’s, Rural Telephone, WIC, Deaconess Hospital and over 30 car commercials in OK, TX and PA. She has choreographed several commercials for the Oklahoma Lottery, Riverwind, and Taco Mayo. Additional choreography jobs include Six Flags Parks, Premier Parks, Discoveryland, Bear Creek Farms, and the Oklahoma Dome Dedication. She has directed and choreographed numerous musicals and live events across the country and has choreographed nearly 100 musicals for various theatres, high schools and colleges. In addition to her position at The Sooner Theatre and The Studio of The Sooner Theatre, she directs the United Way’s Celebrity Sing, and in 2007 directed Norman’s big event to celebrate Oklahoma’s Centennial, “The Centennial Follies with Larry Gatlin”. She serves and has served on several Norman boards and committees to include: United Way’s Cabinet, Transition House’s June Bug Jam, Norman Public School’s Gifted Council, Citizen’s Advisory Board, The Mayor’s Centennial Committee, and The Main Street Christmas Parade. She is a member of Norman Rotary and a past Board Member for The Norman Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer is married to Jay Baker and they have two daughters, Addison and Aubrey Jane. Jennifer says “without a doubt, the most incredible role of all time is that of…mommy!!!!”

 

NANCY COGGINS, APR (PR & Development Director) is excited to be back in the theatre, working with donors, foundations, businesses and individuals who believe in the quality of life performing arts brings to this community. Nancy graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in Journalism. She is an award-winning Marketing and Communications expert with more than 15 years’ experience in the tourism and museum industry, specializing in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising of tourism products to local, regional, national and international audiences. Coggins is glad to be back in Norman serving as Director of PR & Development for The Sooner Theatre, and has promoted some of the state’s largest tourism attractions including The Harn Homestead & 1889er Museum, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and Science Museum Oklahoma, directing all marketing and public relations activities, including creation of marketing and communication plans and strategies, budgets, market research, press materials, and media communications. Nancy worked with local, regional, national and international media to facilitate interviews with topic experts, and has represented tourism entities as spokesperson for the media. She also has extensive experience in working with the group travel and trade show markets to increase awareness in consumer travel, group tour and school group market locally, regionally and nationally. Nancy is a 2011 Leadership Norman graduate, the 2008 recipient of the Paul E. Danelly Harmony Award for Outstanding Public Relations Practitioner from the PRSA-OKC Chapter, is one of OKC Business’ 2005 Forty under 40 and has served on the board of directors for Frontier Country Marketing Association, PRSA-OKC, Association of Women in Communications and is currently president of JAYMAC, the Alumni Association of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Oklahoma. She lives in Norman with her amazing husband and two beautiful daughters.

 

 

NICKI KRAISKY (Business Manager) joined the staff as Business Manager in 2008, but she was not new to the Sooner Theatre. She served as a Sooner board member from 2006 -2008. Originally from a suburb of Chicago, she attended the University of Oklahoma and received a degree in Fine Arts. After graduating, she worked in education, retail, and has over twenty years of accounting experience at a local CPA firm. The position of Business Manager is a perfect blend for Nicki. She gets to use her accounting skills in order to help the Sooner Theatre, but in conjunction with a very creative atmosphere with some amazingly talented people. She and her husband Ken live in Norman.

 

 

TRACY STEWART (Programs & Calendar Coordinator) has been a Norman resident for most of his life and appreciates all the ways this community is engaged in artistic expression. His entire family, with his wife Leasa and three children, have enjoyed performing in many of the productions here over the years and feel blessed to have the opportunities the Sooner Theatre and its programs make possible.  “Working in the arts surrounded by talented and creative energy is a joy, a privilege, and an investment in community, all rolled into one.”

 

MICHAEL TODD (Production Manager) is an artist, singer-songwriter, and educator from Oklahoma City. He has toured the world with music, singing around campfires in Alaska and subway platforms in New York City, as well as two European tours. He’s performed in children’s institutions from Chicago to Boston, on the stage in Baltimore and Connecticut, and along the turnpikes of Oklahoma. With his band he has opened for Starship, Sawyer Brown, Tracy Lawrence, BJ Thomas, Sammy Kershaw, Joe Diffee, Aaron Tippin, Pam Tillis & Lorrie Morgan, & Ray Stevens. Beyond his work as a production manager in the concert business with OKC BACKUP, and as a Wedding Singer/DJ with Full Circle Melody, he has recorded seven albums and written three musicals, including two children’s albums, JAMINALZ JAMZ A-Z.  He has taught in the music and theatre programs at Oklahoma City University and Towson University. His youth education experience extend from Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre, to Baltimore’s Silver Penny Program, Goddard School, Chicago’s Windy City Players, and Oklahoma Children’s Theatre. He has dedicated his life to the creation of art and the education of young people.

 

DEANNA BROWN (Office/House Manager) is happy to be back in the Norman non-profit community and excited to be a part of the Sooner Theatre family.   She has over 20 years of fundraising, event coordination and administrative experience.  She is the current board chair for Teen emPower! and lives in Norman with her fiancé.  When she’s not working or volunteering somewhere she loves to ride motorcycles and travel.

 

TISH WILLIS (Studio Director) has a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy and Choral Education from Eastern New Mexico University and a Master’s degree in Musical Theatre from Oklahoma City University. She is also the Choir Director for Harrah United Methodist Church. Tish taught private voice at Stagestruck Studio in Oklahoma City for thirteen years and is currently a member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Pops Chorale. Her latest role is that of wife to husband Greg Willis and mom to Connor and Sutton Willis. She is thrilled to be part of the family of The Sooner Theatre and is excited for a fantastic upcoming year!