BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cody Carlton - President
Cody Carlton is the Executive Artistic Director as well as the Main Stage Director for CharACTers Theatrics. Cody began performing at the age of 12 with his first role as The Artful Dodger in Lionel Bart’s Oliver! and has been involved ever since. Cody has performed in well over 50 productions playing such roles as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, and Emmett in Legally Blonde the Musical. Cody began directing at the age of 15 with his first show, Disney’s The Jungle Book, which received rave reviews and had a completely sold out run. At the age of 16, Cody formed CharACTers Theatrics in Gadsden, Alabama. Over the past 7 years, Cody has directed over 40 productions. Some of Cody’s most recent directing credits include Shrek the Musical, Spamalot, and Peter Pan. Cody has also written six play adaptations including Tom Sawyer, Pride and Prejudice, and A Christmas Carol.
Cody also serves as the President of the CharACTers Board of Directors.
In addition to theatre, Cody currently attends Jacksonville State University and will graduate May 2015 with a BS in English Language Arts Secondary Education. He is married to Santana Carlton who currently serves as the director of the CharACTers Children’s Theatre. Cody and Santana work as a production duo on many productions with Cody as the director and Santana as the choreographer.
Cody is excited about the future of CharACTers and looks forward to seeing the organization reach new heights.
Ken Staeck - Vice-President
Ken was born in 1957 in a small town in western Wyoming. At the age of six, his family moved to Long Beach, California. They moved again in 1966 to their new house in Seal Beach. This is where Ken would attend school through high school and on to the Dental Technology Institute. After 9 years as a Dental Technician and due to the economy, it was once again time for Ken to make a career change.
1983 finds Ken as a stevedore superintendent working vessels at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, California. In 1987, he moved to San Francisco to work for another stevedore company. A year later, he was hired by American Honda Motor Co. to be a distribution field rep in Denver, Colorado.
In Denver, Ken met and married Michelle Keys, and just 6 months later, they were moving to Southern California. Garden Grove to be exact. During their stay in Southern California, Ken's two children, Aspen and Cody, were born. In 1996, they moved to San Diego to open a new port operation for Honda. In 1998, they moved again to Ohio to work at the Honda Manufacturing Distribution Centers.
In 2004, they moved again to Weatherford, Texas. Here they became involved with a large homeschool group. Cody & Aspen did small performances, 4H group, baseball, and other events. Within a year and a half, Honda had them move again to Lincoln Alabama. They found a house in the rural Ohatchee area.
After getting used to hearing, “Y’all ain’t from around here”, Michelle & and his son found the CharACTers Academy for Fine Arts. During his family's first CharACTers production, Ken assisted taking tickets. The next year, CharACTers staged “Oliver!". Ken & Cody assisted with set construction and set up. At this time, Cody Carlton asked Ken to play a small part. He even got to shoot Bill Sikes.
That was just over five years ago. Theatre is now a big part of Ken and his family's lives. Michelle does costumes; Aspen & Cody do some productions or work backstage.
Ken is very proud to be associated with CharACTers Theatrics as a Board Member. Ken believes that CharACTers and CCT Kids is making a positive impact for the Arts in Northeast Alabama, and he says that CharACTers is truly a blessing to be part of.
Santana McKinney-Carlton - Secretary/Treasurer
Santana currently serves as the Children's Theatre Director and Lead Choreographer for CharACTers as well as the Director/Instructor to the award winning CCT KIDS Competition and Performance Troupe and the Musical Theatre 101 class. She has performed in numerous productions within the past eight years. Some of her favorite roles include Peter Pan in Peter Pan the Musical, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde the Musical, Amber von Tussel in Hairspray, and Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Santana has also choreographed for other organizations such as The Theatre of Gadsden, Heritage Hall’s Arts Education Program, and 21 Century After-School and Summer Programs. Santana has been working in the Visual and Performing Arts field with children for 8 years. She has two Associate’s Degrees in Art and Business from Gadsden State Community College. Santana is currently attending Jacksonville State University where she is studying Technical Theatre.
Santana is a woman who wears many hats. Not only does she perform and teach, she is also involved in the "technical" and business side of CharACTers. She currently serves as the Treasurer/Secretary for the CharACTers Board of Directors. She is the resident Graphic Designer and spends most of her spare time designing all the posters, programs, banners, t-shirts, and more for CharACTers. Santana is also the Event Coordinator and works continuously to make "CharACTers" a house-hold name.
Santana stays very busy working on the scenic design as Lead Charge Artist for all CharACTers productions. Each time you attend a CharACTers production, you are seeing original artwork by Santana!
In her very little free time, Santana enjoys working on craft projects. She loves to host parties and entertain. She coordinates birthday and holiday parties for her friends, family, and students. She also makes and decorates cakes as a hobby!
Debra Whittaker - Board Member
Debra Whittaker became involved with CharACTers when her daughter joined the CCT Kids Performance and Competition Team in 2012. Since then, Debra has volunteered backstage, made costumes, constructed sets, advertised, and raised funds. She even made her stage debut as Lord Farquaad’s guard in Shrek the Musical. To her, CharACTers is an organization her entire family can get involved with. Three of her children have performed with CharACTers, and two of her other children have helped with set construction and as backstage hands.
Debra has always been an avid volunteer. In the past, she has given her time, energy, and money to various organizations such as the March of Dimes, Children’s Hospital of Alabama, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, the Spirit of Anniston, and the Noble Street Festival. She is the proud mother to five children, and in her spare time she is the Engineering Manager at Aerospace Coatings International.
Daniel Henson - Board Member
Daniel Henson is a native of Glencoe, Alabama. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University and is employed by TGI, a software development company based in Madison, Alabama.
Daniel began working with CharACTers in March 2013 when his oldest daughter was cast in Suessical. He enjoys working behind the scenes with the technical aspects of the shows.
CharACTers is something Daniel feels brings families together and provides opportunities for the entire family to get involved. He also feels CharACTers provides opportunities in the arts that children and families might not be exposed to otherwise. Daniel considers it a honor and privilege to be a part of such a fantastic organization.