In May 1970, The Scioto Society was incorporated as a tax exempt, non-profit corporation. It dedicated itself to the cultural, historical, educational, and economic development of the tri-county area. These counties were, Ross, Pickaway, and Pike; as well as the state of Ohio in general. The principal impact area was designated as Ross County. The Society’s major goal was to help restore regional and national awareness to the area surrounding Chillicothe, so that the area could assume its’ rightful place in the early history of the United States. The Northwest Territory was in the particular thought of this process.
The first stage of that goal was realized when the premiere performance of the outdoor drama Tecumseh! was held in the summer of 1973, at the newly constructed Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre. Its 206-acre location was purchased by the Society and its 1800 seats continue to fill to capacity each summer. The drama has grown in popularity worldwide over the years. It has been selected, as one of the top 100 attractions in North America by the American Bus Association, and it has received local, state, regional, and even national acclaim. It has drawn well over 2.5 million visitors to Chillicothe during the past 42 years. Along with serving economically, and culturally to the area, Tecumseh! serves as a tradition to many families and is the first live arts experience for many children in Ohio.
Along with producing Tecumseh! the Society has undertaken many subsidiary programs over the years that have benefited the community. Along with playing a key role in developing the Scioto Valley Arts Council, and the Ross-Chillicothe Convention and Visitors Bureau, the organization has additionally sponsored concerts ranging from Symphony, Folk, Country, or Rock; as well as Community and Children’s Theatre, Statehood Day celebrations, and Bicentennial events.
On an educational standpoint, the organization has given lectures and talks to service clubs at the local, state, and national level. The continuance of offering college credit in undergraduate and apprenticeship programs draws young actors and technicians to the area. All offerings are done with the idea that the arts and humanities can and do serve as economic stimuli.
The Society directly serves the citizens of Ross, Pickaway, and Pike counties through its offer of employment and direct economic impact via Tecumseh! This impact is easily measured in the tens of millions each year.
The corporation operates at over a 90% earned income level through the operation of the drama and supplements its budget by receiving contributions, sponsorships, and grants from various sources on the local, state, and federal level. In 2015, Tecumseh! experienced an uptick in attendance with over 43,000 people attending the drama.
Mission: The Scioto Society, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation formed to advance, encourage and promote the recreational, industrial, economic, commercial and civic development of Ross County and the territory surrounding Chillicothe in whatever way and by such means as will improve the normal growth, employment opportunities, stability of employment in existing industry, advance of the industrial economy of the area primarily through the presentation of the outdoor historical drama TECUMSEH!
Brandon Smith, Producer/CEO
Brandon Smith has spent the past two decades dedicated to the idea that the arts can change lives. A Chillicothe native, he began his first summer season at Tecumseh! in 1994 as a ticket taker. Within two years he was Theatre Manager and over the next 5 summers he and Marion Waggoner created a template for operations that is still being used at theatres all over the country. Between summers at Tecumseh! he studied acting at the Stella Adler Conservatory with the likes of Elaine Stritch, Yoshi Oida, Tony Randall and James Tripp. After graduation he looked to combine the practical skills from Outdoor Drama with the artistic sensibilities learned in New York. Over the next decade he served in a variety of capacities from the smallest regional theatres in New England to new Outdoor Dramas in Ohio and the Catskill Mountains. In New York, he worked both on and off Broadway in marketing, management and box office. Following the summer 2005 season of Johnny Appleseed Outdoor Drama, he turned his attention to symphony orchestras. He oversaw a period of unprecedented growth at the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra as its General Manager. During his tenure, the orchestra tripled its number of concerts, doubled its fundraising dollars and established a major education program. He was thrilled to have the opportunity in 2010 to go to the birthplace of Outdoor Drama and became theatre manager at The Lost Colony in Manteo, NC. During his four seasons there he also served as interim CEO and guided the organization through its landmark 75th Anniversary season. It was honored with the Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre, the only historical outdoor drama in the country to be honored in such a way. Brandon is happy to be home now as CEO of Tecumseh! He looks forward to building on the foundation laid by his predecessors and taking the organization to a new level of excitement, artistic excellence and financial stability. He lives, quite literally at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, with his partner of 10 years, Dan.
Marcia Holton – Director of Finance & Personnel
This will be Marcia’s sixth year with the outdoor drama Tecumseh! She is a graduate of Chillicothe High School, and she has studied Psychology and Social Sciences at Ohio University in Athens and the Columbus State Community College. Marcia helped to form the customer service department at Mill’s Pride Cabinetry in Waverly, OH, and has worked for the corporate division of Petland. Things that keep Marcia coming back to the mountain are the beautiful story of the drama and the chance to meet and greet people from across the country and the world. She loves to spend time attending her youngest daughter’s basketball games and sporting events. She also participates in community theatre with the Chillicothe Civic Theatre. Marcia sends her love to her children Lauren, Katie, Ben, Jenna, and her wonderful grandchildren Noah and Hadley! She would also like to thank Sue Spears and Beth Beatty for the opportunity to work on the mountain, Marion Waggoner for the tremendous working experience, and the cast and crew for all of their patience and enthusiasm over the last several weeks. Marcia is from Chillicothe, OH.
Jeremiah A. Waggoner – Associate Producer
Jeremiah is overjoyed to return to the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre for his seventeenth season. He has worked across several areas of theatre operations—in the Gift Shop, on the Maintenance Staff, with the Parking and Security team, and for a brief stint as lighting operator for the Scioto Society’s 2000 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This will be his second year serving on the Administrative Staff. He graduated from Ohio University, Athens in 2003 with a BA in English and Creative Writing and in 2012 he graduated from the University of Notre Dame with an MA in English and American Literature. His scholarly interests revolve around European colonialism and indigenous resistance movements from the late 1600’s to the early 1800’s. When he’s not working on theatre operations or doing research, Jeremiah enjoys hanging out with friends, Sherlock Holmes stories, cooking and grilling, all forms of music, bass guitar, used book sales, stargazing, and hiking. He would like to send his love and thanks to his father Marion and his mother Nita, J.J., Kane, Ahpoo Lawrine, Ernie and Lindy, his Texas and Kentucky families, Raymond Speakman, Richard Doliber, Brandon Smith, Marica Holton, LeAnna Kleinke, Curt and Pam Potter, and his amazing and beautiful girlfriend Kayla. He would like to dedicate his season’s work to the memory of his Grandfather Ahwoo Jack Battise, Sr. Jeremiah is from Chillicothe, OH.
LeAnna Kleinke – Administrative Director
This will be LeAnna’s second year with Tecumseh! and she is excited the season has finally arrived after a grueling winter. LeAnna has over 12 years of experience working in customer service, and over eight years of banking and financial experience. She graduated from Piketon High School and studied Office Management at Ohio University – Chillicothe. LeAnna enjoys the power of the drama. It has stuck with her since her grandfather brought her for the very first time. She was so awestruck, she wore an Indian outfit to school every day for a month. “Tecumseh, means something a little different to every person that attends, but to me, it’s a special memory; the smell of Old Spice as I hugged my grandfather’s neck when the cannons went off. It’s the most special place I’ve ever been.” In her spare time, you can find LeAnna with her family and friends. She sends love to her daughter Gracelynn, husband David, best friend Jessi Bennett, mother Deanna and her departed grandfather Clarence. She also thanks Marcia and Marion for the amazing working experience and the cast and crew for their hard work and dedication. Enjoy the show! LeAnna is from Waverly, OH.
Jenny Male – Artistic Director
Jenny Male (Artistic Director) has been a part of the Tecumseh family for almost two decades. She started as an actor and then transitioned into the roles of Fight Director and Dance Choreographer. In 2014, she became the Director for the production and is thrilled and honored to be at the helm of this stunning show.
Jenny is a director, vocal coach, and fight & dance choreographer in the DC/Baltimore area. Favorite directing and choreography credits include Tecumseh!, Spring Awakening, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Argonautika, Avenue Q, Into the Woods, Twelfth Night, A Chorus Line, Noises Off, and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Jenny is Associate Professor of Theatre at Howard Community College and is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors. DC/Baltimore fight and movement credits include Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Yellowman, Venus in Fur, Hamlet, August: Osage County, The Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Jenny is very grateful for the amazing support of Brandon, the Tecumseh staff, and the Board of Trustees. Jenny is from Columbia, MD.