Live theater returns to the Sunrise with She Kills Monsters

This weekend, the Sunrise Theater will present a community production of She Kills Monsters. It represents the first full stage production the Sunrise has endeavored to produce outside of radio plays since Our Town in 2014.  

She Kills Monsters, by Qui Nguyen, is an endearing story that is as funny as it is full of heart. Taking place in Ohio in the mid-nineties, it centers around Agnes Evans who is dealing with the death of her sister Tilly. Agnes, who was often distant from Tilly, focuses her grief through the lens of a module of the game Dungeons and Dragons that Tilly had written. Through playing the game she is able to discover who her sister really was and, of course, fight a few goblins along the way. 

This play represents a return to form for the Sunrise in that all of the actors, directors, technicians, and artists come from the community! The Sunrise would like to thank the play’s sponsors: Gamer’s Guild, Swank Coffee, and Flowland.

The play is being co-directed by stage veterans Jessie Dietzel and Amy Damone. Both have been involved in theater for decades and have acted and directed in a multitude of shows inside and outside of Moore County.

Dustin Bonecutter (Narrator)
Dustin grew up in Ohio, was in Athens Ohio in 1995, and played Dungeons and Dragons. So, he’s thrilled to be a part of this production of She Kills Monsters at the Sunrise. Dustin was active in theater in high school and community theater is something he hopes to continue to be a part of for a very long time.

Outside of work, he is a member of F3 Sandhills, a local chapter of F3 nation. He also enjoys telling Dad jokes and delighting in the reactions he gets from his wife, daughters, and anyone else within listening distance. In addition, he likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

Ayla Rodriguez (Tilly)

Ayla Rodriguez is incredibly excited to be playing the role of Tilly. She has been passionate about the arts for many years and is overjoyed to have the opportunity to finally perform for a live audience again. Some of her favorite roles onstage include Antigone in Antigone, Maureen in RENT, and Alice in Alice and Wonderland. Following this production, Ayla hopes to pursue theatre for the rest of her life.

MJ Mason (Agnes)

MJ Mason is ecstatic to be portraying the role of Agnes in the Sunrise’s She Kills Monsters. MJ is incredibly thankful to be back in the theater with her last appearance being 3+ years ago in Augustana College’s production of The Three Musketeers, as Milady De Winter. MJ would like to extend her deepest gratitude to the cast, crew, sponsors, and audience members of this production. You are all the reason that live theater still has a home. On a personal note, MJ would like to thank her AZ family, IL family, and James Wheeler for their endless love and support.

Stephen Makie (Chuck)

Stephen is excited to perform in Sunrise Theater’s She Kills Monsters.

In 2021 Stephen played Peter Quint in the production of The Innocents and assisted with the production of A Christmas Story as the assistant stage manager at the Encore Center. 

Before COVID stopped all theater fun, Stephen was honored to play the roles of Peter Cratchit in Encore’s A Christmas Carol and Young Harry Bailey and George’s son in Sunrise Theater’s Live Radio Play – It’s a Wonderful Life in 2019. He also performed in The Greatest Showman at New Century Middle School and in Missoula Children’s Theater’s Jack in the Beanstalk that same year.

Stephen participated in the last 4 local shows presented by the Missoula Children’s Theater and attended the Missoula Children’s Theater East Shore Summer Camp in Missoula MT during the summer of 2019 and the North Shore Camp in 2021.

Stephen is 14 years old with a passion for the theater. He loves to sing, play the piano, camp, cook and spend time with his friends and family.

Carson Meyers (Miles)

Carson is excited to join Sunrise’s production of She Kills Monsters and is enjoying his time with the cast. Other roles he has enjoyed playing would be Sam Carmicheal (Mamma Mia), Timothy (Badger), and King Triton (The Little Mermaid). Besides theatre he enjoys editing videos and posting them on his YouTube channel: Dr Arson. He would like to thank his Mom, Dad, Step-Dad and the rest of his family for supporting him. IG: @dr_arson

Jade Baker (Lilith/Lily)

Jade Baker is ecstatic to be jumping back into theatre after the pandemic cut short her last production; Matilda the Musical. While at Pinecrest High School, Jade was deeply involved in theatre; she was a lead in the North Carolina Theatre Conference competition, NCTC, both 2018 and 2019, and was deeply involved backstage with the title of Loft Head her senior year. As a sophomore at Sandhills Community College, she is currently pursuing a career in medicine and hopes to transfer to the college of her choice this fall. From sewing, singing, to acting, Jade enjoys spending her free time creating expressions of the arts to share with her community.  

Briana Bostic (Kaliope/Kelly)

Hey there! My name is Briana and I play Kaliope/Kelly. I am one of the youngest of the cast. I am 16 years old and a sophomore at Pinecrest High School. I haven’t been in theatre very long, but it sure didn’t take me long to fall in love with it. I was in the school musical my freshman year, and I’m in the school musical this year as well. I was also a part of the one-act Second Samuel with Imagine Youth Theatre. Outside of theatre, I am a photographer and I used to run track and play basketball. I have met so many amazing people through theatre and created lifelong friendships. I don’t plan to stop acting anytime soon and would like to continue this art throughout college. If you are thinking about starting theatre, even in the slightest bit, I say go for it! You will not regret it!

James Wheeler (Orcus/Ronnie)

James is incredibly honored and excited to be playing the part of Orcus. James’ most recent engagements with theatre have come at Augustana College where he last played Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. James would like to thank Amy, Jessie, and everyone at the Sunrise for welcoming him with open arms into the Southern Pines theatre community. He would also like to thank the cast and crew for working tirelessly in a time of immense global stress so that our audiences can gain a bit of respite by attending the theatre for an evening. Thank you for coming and enjoying She Kills Monsters!

Anna Yeatts (Vera)

Anna Yeatts is a fantasy and horror writer living in Pinehurst, NC.  Anna holds an MFA in Popular Fiction Writing from Seton Hill University. She is delighted to perform in She Kills Monsters alongside her daughter, Ayla Rodriguez (Tilly). 

Ben Frizzell (Steve)

Ben Frizzell is a graduate of the College of Charleston’s Theatre Performance Program, currently working as a production assistant for Judson Theatre Company in the Sandhills. He has previously been seen in Antigone and Living Dead in Denmark at the College of Charleston. This is his first show with Sunrise Presents.

Abby Grissom (Farrah)

Abby Grissom lives in Pinehurst with her family and is a senior in high school. Her favorite subject is theatre, and she hopes to pursue acting as a career. She is incredibly excited to play the role of Farrah and is overjoyed to work with so many talented actors at the sunrise. Some of her favorite past roles include Clarisse in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Tommy in Matilda, and Jimmy Deanne in Second Samuel.

Baylor Coppage (Evil Gabby)

Baylor is very excited to do this show for a number of reasons. For one, this is the first show she’s ever done with such a variety of ages. She usually does high school performances or musicals at school, but this will be the first time performing with adults. Baylor is also excited for the role she plays, “Evil Gabbi” is a bully and she normally doesn’t play characters with this personality. She believes it will be a great experience for her acting career.

Jillian Mann (Evil Tina)

Hi!! My names Jillian Mann and I am STOKED to be working on She Kills Monsters. This will be my first time working in community theatre and it has been such a wonderful experience. Previously, I’ve worked with Imagine Youth Theatre on shows like Second Samuel, Jekyll and Hyde, Les Misérables, and Legally Blonde

Gabby Wood (Evil Stacy/Monster)

Gabby Wood is currently attending Sandhills, where she is pursuing an Associate of Science and studying to become a personal trainer. She works her life away as a Starbucks barista, as well as a baker. Gabby is a proud mother of two, her dog Bandit and her cat Pickles. She hopes to lead a passionate life helping both people and animals, working as God’s servant. Her two goals in life are to spread love and pay it forward.

Kathryn Ottaviano (Evil Stacey)

Kathryn is 32 years old and has performed in productions of Wicked, Return to Oz, The Princess and the Pea, Beauty and the Beast, and has ten years of dance experience.  In her free time she likes to kayak, fish, hike with her dogs, cook, read and sing!  

Elliot Dietzel (Monster)

Elliot is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. He was last seen as a lemur in Madagascar Jr. and has an upcoming role as “ancestor ensemble” in Moana Jr. When he is not acting he enjoys playing video games on his oculus and playing board games with his family. Elliot wants to thank Amy and Jessie for giving him this role, Ms. Lick for teaching him acting, his dad AND his gramma!

Performances are Friday, January 28 and Saturday, January 29 at 7 pm, Sunday, January 30 at 3 pm, Friday, February 4 and Saturday, February 5 at 7 pm, and Sunday, February 6 at 3 pm. Tickets are $30 VIP / $25 Reserved / $20 Students and can be purchased at, at the Sunrise Office, or by calling the office at 910-692-3611.

Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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