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 mission of The Scioto Society is to advance and promote the artistic, recreational, industrial, economic, commercial and civic development of Chillicothe Ohio and the surrounding geographical areas comprised of Ross, Pickaway and Pike counties. The Society’s primary focus is the annual presentation of the historical drama Tecumseh! and also any additional activities that drive, support and promote the development, stability and prosperity of the area, its history, its residents and its visitors.
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 14 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 – Director of Development
LeAnna has been with the Scioto Society since 2014. She enjoys the power and dynamics of the drama, and it has stuck with her since her grandfather brought her for the very first time. “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.” She loves spending time with her family, and dear friends, and thanks them for their never ending support. She dedicates her career and all accomplishments to her departed grandfather Clarence. She would also like to thank Brandon Smith, Jeremiah Waggoner, and Marcia Holton for the amazing experiences, and opportunities she’s had while working here. Finally, and above all, the cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication! Enjoy the show! LeAnna is from Waverly, OH.
Karen Bright- Director of Retail Sales & Services
Karen is thrilled to be coming back to the mountain for her 15th season. She graduated from Jackson High School and has multiple years of experience in customer service and accounting. She has worked in the box office and the gift shop. She enjoys the atmosphere and patrons at Tecumseh! “I really enjoy seeing all of the regular customers come back each season; but, I love meeting new friends even more! It always seems like one big family every summer.” In the off season, you will find her at the Tecumseh Trading Co. in historic downtown Chillicothe. Karen would like to thank her husband, three children and six grandchildren for their support over the years! Karen is from Jackson, OH.