New Players Company
In 1972, Jack Boyle, a member of the RHS English Department, founded the New Players Company as a co-curricular activity involving 30 to 40 students who produced two or three plays per year and another two during the summer. Jack continued to direct for the New Players Company until his retirement from RHS in 1988.
By 1979, the program had expanded to four to six plays during the school year plus a summer program and special production for children, introduced by Brian Aschinger, who was then the Director of the Company.
In 1986, Rachael Daum and Dennis Carroll, both faculty members at RHS, were appointed Co-Artistic Directors. Meg Schaefer joined the Company in 1988 as a Resident Director. During the 1990’s student participation in New Players steadily increased, until it comprised over 10% of the student body. The Junior New Players program began in the early 1990’s as well and soon became an integral part of the Company. During this period, numerous alumni returned to New Players to serve as directors and designers.
In 2005, Meg Schaefer was appointed Artistic Director of the Company. Meg was committed to expanding the company’s network of directors and designers and hired many alumni and other theatre professionals to work in various capacities. In 2009, Meg successfully applied for non-profit status for NPC Association, and recruited a Board of Directors, comprised primarily of parents of current and former students, to provide financial and service support to the New Players Company.
Meg retired in Spring 2022, and proudly passed the Artistic Director baton to her former student, Kelly Van Zile. Kelly Van Zile graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1992. Over the last ten years, she has worked for the New Players Company directing the students in plays and musicals. In addition, she served as Producer of the company alongside Dr. Meg Schaefer. Kelly holds a double degree in Theater and English and works as a corporate communications coach for Exec-Comm in NYC.