Cecilia Nadal (Playwright) is founder and Executive Director of Gitana Productions. Since 1997 she has provided the creative vision for all programming including theater, musical and educational investments. Prior to Gitana she started and managed a successful social enterprise for 22 years known as Productive Futures Inc. Cecilia merged all of her interests into the Gitana mission of global healing through the arts receiving local, state and national attention from such organizations as Leadership St. Louis, Women of Achievement, YWCA Women in Leadership, the St. Louis Visionary Award, the national Encore. Org initiative and most recently she received the 2019 Missouri Arts Award for “Leadership in the Arts.” Cecilia was inspired to write An Amazing Story: German Abolitionists of Missouri to provide hope and optimism about the future of American democracy.

Garrett Bergfeld  
Vivian Watt (Director/Choreographer) has been associated with Gitana since 1997 as Artistic Director, Actress and Choreographer. In this partnership she has worked with such greats as Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Melba Moore, China National Orchestra, Brazilian Virginia Rodriguez, and Japanese Violinist Aska Kaneko, not to mention being a dance coordinator for Gitana’s Global Education through the Arts program. Gitana’s production “Complacency of Silence: Darfur” in which she acts and choreographs was nominated for 5 Kevin Kline Awards. Vivian directed and acted in the widely acclaimed play New World, that told the true stories of women refugees in St. Louis.
Abraham Shaw


Garrett Bergfeld has performed in leading roles with Gitana including “Black & Blue” and “Between Worlds” In the past Garrett was often seen in Shakespearean roles such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Iago, & Petruchio. In real life Garrett is an Associate Professor of Physiology at Webster University. Abraham Shaw
Greg Matzker has been active in theatre for over 30 years. He has been seen performing at The Muny, St. Louis Symphony, New Jewish Theatre and The Black Rep. He was the former Artistic Director of Marble Stage Theatre which under his direction was awarded best community theatre for the Midwest. Recently Greg has been busy on the road playing Vic in the Rat Pack Lounge and Mark Twain in A Tale of Tom an Huck as well as the regional premiere of Junie B. Jones the Musical with the Round Barn Theatre in Indiana.

Abraham Shaw
Abraham Shaw attended the Webster University Conservatory. A St. Louis native his most recent credits include The Crucible (Stray Dog Theatre), All Is Calm (Mustard Seed Theatre), Lost in the Stars (Union Avenue Opera), & Legally Blonde (Hawthorne Players). Much love to Mom for her continued support.

Abraham Shaw
Ross Rubright is a senior at Saint Louis University where he holds a double major in theatre and vocal performance. Notable credits at SLU include John Proctor in The Crucible, Creon in Antigone and Judas Iscariot in Godspell. Outside SLU he has appeared in two operas at Union Avenue Opera, and will be returning to UAO later this Summer to sing with the chorus of La Boheme. Ross is thrilled to be expanding his horizons by joining Gitana Productions in putting up Amazing Story, an original play offering much needed and timely insight into a vital chapter of our history as Americans.

Abraham Shaw
Elizabeth Dunn is a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis in Theater Arts She has worked with the Polar Express, Beauty and the Beast and the 100th Birthday Bash at the MUNY. Elizabeth also does commercial work in the St. Louis region.

Abraham Shaw
Clifton Flex Cliff was born in Chicago IL where he sang as a very young man in the Chicago Children's Choir. Stationed in Germany in the military, he returned to the US in 1989 and started working as an administrative law judge for the state of Illinois. Cliff enjoys different types of music and dancing with his wife and is well known in the German community, not only in St. Louis. He is grateful for the opportunity to once again appear on stage in such an Amazing Story.

Abraham Shaw
Sylvia Flex Silvia was born and raised in Germany and immigrated to the US in 1989. She is a wife, mother of 3, grandmother of 2 and works as a nurse at Delmar Gardens North. She enjoys dancing with her husband and can be seen doing just that on a TV commercial for the German Hofbrauhaus. Silvia is excited to participate in this Amazing Story that shows the positive German influence in Missouri.

Abraham Shaw
Janelle Grace Johnson Half immigrant, half St. Louisian and being raised in South City, I had the wonderful opportunity of being taught by Gitana many years ago. My love for the arts is deep within my spirit and I'm grateful for the opportunity to let it be free again.

Janelle Grace Johnson
Lydia Foss is a Girl Scout Bronze Award recipient. She enjoys spending time with family, friends, animals, nature and good books. Recent Theater Credits include I Now Pronounce at The New Jewish Theater and Mystical Transformations at The Rhinoceros New Works Festival in Chicago. She is grateful to Gitana Productions for including her in this journey through history and social justice in a way that is so meaningful and personal.

Lydia Foss
Naim Campbell Naim Campbell is a 6th grader at Loyola Academy. This is his second production and first play with Gitana Productions. Naim is a junior block captain, singer and community advocate. In May 2019, Naim won a dance contest at his school with his mom. Abraham Shaw
Lauren Crump Lauren is in the 7th grade who was attending Marian Middle School but will now attend Ritneour Middle School this year. This is Lauren's 1st play and production with Gitana productions. She is a intermediate piano and violin player. She also ran track and will continue. She will be attending Aim High accelerated summer program. Lauren is a hard worker and strainght A student who has stepped out of her comfort zone to participate in acting. Abraham Shaw
Michele Siler (Costumes) returns to Gitana as our designer of choice. She is well known in town and has worked with New Jewish Theater, Actor’s Studio, Upstream Theater and St. Louis Shakespeare and more. Michele worked on “Eye on the Sparrow,” “Black and Blue,” “Complacency of Silence: Darfur” and more with Gitana.
Tim Poertner (Lights/Sound/Set Design) is currently a professor at Lindenwood University in lighting and scenery design. Tim was nominated for outstanding set design by the Kevin Kline Awards for Complacency of Silence: Darfur and The Last Days of Julius Iscariot. Abraham Shaw
Jazmine Wade is excited to be working with Gitana Productions. She has recently appeared in ”Dreamgirls”, “Raisin in the Sun” (Hawthorne Players), ”Legally Blonde: The Musical” (Hawthorne Players), and ”Cardboard Piano” (West End Players Guild). In her down time she enjoys reading, hanging out with family and friends, and exercising. Abraham Shaw

Speech by Cecilia Nadal, First African American from St. Louis to receive Missouri Arts Award for Leadership in the Arts
( For Cecilia’s speech go to 45. 42 minutes)