Festival Respondents & Guest Artists

The following is a partial list of professionals who have lent their time, talent, and passion as respondents, workshop presenters, and guest artists to the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival.

Scott Adams (Monologues) is an actor and singer with a master’s degree in Theatre Arts from California State University Sacramento. He has worked professionally onstage as well as earned commercial and film credits for over 20 years in the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, and in New York. He is currently Department Chair and Professor of Theatre Arts at Sierra College in Rocklin, where he teaches and directs. He will be directing The Addams Family opening March 29 at Sierra College.  Mr. Adams served as Executive Director of Lenaea from 2003 to 2014 and was instrumental in bringing Lenaea from Sacramento State to the Harris Center at Folsom Lake College.

Julie Anchor (Monologues) Julie has been a professional actor for over 25 years, and has played a variety of leading and supporting roles for various professional & community theaters, including B Street’s Children’s Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, Capital Stage, and Main Street Theatre Works (MSTW), where she is Associate Artistic Director. Julie also does voice over work, commercials, and industrial videos, and has starred in several independent films. Last summer she directed her tenth show for MSTW, Escanaba in ’da Moonlight. Julie is a native Sacramentan, and this is her ninth year as a Lenaea respondent.

Sabrina Fiora Beach (Musical Theatre, Monologues) is a teaching artist, actor and director in the Greater Sacramento Area. She worked for the Sacramento Theatre Company (STC) School of the Arts for over four years and was their Theatre Camp Program Manager. She has directed elementary school productions, taught arts-integrated courses and after-school acting classes under the School Partnership Program at STC, and she was the pre-professional ensemble classes teacher. Classically trained, Sabrina has been a performer for over 26 years, an educator for the past ten years, and she holds a BFA in Drama with an emphasis in Performing Arts from L’école du Theatre des Teintureries in Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to moving to Sacramento, she worked as a professional actor in Western Europe and Russia. Sabrina is very passionate about theater arts, is currently working toward a second BA degree, and plans on pursuing a MA in Theatre Education. When she is not teaching, directing, or managing programs, you’ll often find her on various stages in the area.

Andrea Bechert (Duo Scenes, Scenic Design, Workshop Presenter) teaches Design & Technology at San Jose State University, and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. Other universities where she has worked and taught include the University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Ohio University and the University of Wisconsin. Her designs were included in the 2005 World Design Expo and the 1996 Prague Quadrennial.  Her numerous awards include Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, a Denver Ovation Award, an international Falstaff Award nomination, and more than 20 other regional design awards. Andrea has designed sets for over 300 productions at theaters across the country, including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks, the Cleveland Playhouse, American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Chautauqua (New York) Theatre Company, and the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas.

Ed Brazo (Musical Theatre) joined the Theatre and Dance faculty at California State University Sacramento in 2002 after pursuing a professional career for over 25 years. He teaches tap, acting, and acting technique for musical theater, and has directed Cabaret, Crazy For You, A Chorus Line, Company, How to Succeed…, Bat Boy, Nunsense, 42nd Street and A Broadway Christmas. Ed performed on Broadway in Take Me Along and toured nationally with Angela Lansbury in Gypsy. Sacramento credits include directing and choreographing The Music Man at Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre;  A Christmas Carol at Sacramento Theatre Company;  and playing Eugene Fodor in Crazy For You, Rudolph in Hello Dolly!, Lewis Morris in 1776,  Franz in The Sound of Music and Cinderella’s Father in Into The Woods at Sacramento Music Circus.

Mallory Brodeur (Monologues) has been a Lenaea Festival volunteer for the past five years. She has worked with numerous theater companies in Sacramento in nearly every capacity. She will make her directorial debut in June, in Resurrection Theatre Company’s Young Directors Series Showcase. She has worked with Sacramento Theatre Company’s Summer Camp, as well as their School Partnership Program. She has taught acting and costuming classes to adults with developmental disabilities. After several years as a Lenaea host, Mallory is thrilled to be helping students develop their techniques and passion for theater.

Ron Cisneros (Musical Theatre) was born in Sacramento and started dancing at age four. He began dancing with Barbra Briggs’ Camellia City Ballet in 1961 and Sacramento Music Circus in 1965.  In 1971 he began a long association with Disney, performing in Disney on Parade, rising through the ranks from chorus boy to dance captain, principal dancer and dance director. In 1981 Ron began eight seasons as the choreographer for Sacramento Music Circus. In 1985 he started choreographing for community theaters throughout the Sacramento area, receiving his first Elly Award in 1987 and 12 more since then.  Ron has choreographed and/or directed over 100 musicals for professional, community, and educational theaters, and has worked with such stars as Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Donald O’Connor, Mickey Rooney, and Barbra Streisand.

Alissa Deeter (Musical Theatre, Workshop Presenter) is a nationally recognized performer with a firm footing in the classical, operetta, and musical theater repertoires. She is an advocate of art to affect change and is continually promoting vocal music in local communities as a cultural force. She is the author of The Mélodies of Francis Poulenc: A Study Guide and has published several articles in the Journal of Singing. Alissa and her accompanist Arlene Shrut recently released a CD entitled Hier: Mélodies of Francis Poulenc on the Centaur label. She is currently an associate conductor for the Blueprint Ensemble Arts & Theatre Initiative in Portland, OR.

Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin (Duo Scenes, Workshop Presenter), a member of the faculty at Sacramento City College since 2005, has been working in the local theater community since 1994. She is Artistic Director of an all-female Shakespeare ensemble, Wildflower Women’s Ensemble, to provide free Shakespeare for the community in William Land Park and opportunities for women to explore traditionally male roles. As an artistic fellow of both Sacramento Shakespeare Festival (SSF) and City Theatre, she fulfills both administrative and artistic duties with those organizations, including directing, management and education. She is also director of the High School Intern Program for SSF, which she created in 2004.

James Elden (One Act Originals) is a CSU Sacramento alum currently residing in North Hollywood, CA. He is the co-owner of Punk Monkey Productions and co-founder of P.L.A.Y Noir, an annual festival of Film Noir-style one-act plays submitted from around the world, currently celebrating its seventh year of production. In addition to performing on stage and film, James can be heard as the voice of Spence on the Smosh animated series Zombies vs. Ninjas and can be seen sporadically on General Hospital on ABC and Conan on TBS. He is also the founder of the Los Angeles Collegiate Playwrights Festival, a theater festival designed to bring college playwrights and Hollywood professionals together on stage.

Deedee Eldridge (Monologues) is the Executive Director of FreeFall Stage in Folsom, CA, the longest-running currently-operating theater in the city. She holds her degree in Dramatic Art from UC Santa Barbara, has performed and directed over 100 productions, and taught students ages six to 60. Deedee has written or adapted over 25 plays and is currently working on a book tentatively titled Body Language in Theatre, which explores the tools of observation and emotion to create believable characters that draw an audience into our stories by using the main instrument of our craft to its fullness.

Scott Ewing (Monologues) is President and Artistic Director of Quest Theatre Works in Grass Valley, Calif.

Maureen Gaynor (Duo Scenes) is very pleased that the Festival continues and that she has the opportunity to participate and learn from all the attendees.  She is a graduate of CSUS Theatre Department and has been active in the Sacramento community since that time, primarily as a performer.  She serves as a volunteer on the board of several theater companies and as a judge for the Elly Awards.

Debra Hammond (Duo Scenes) Professor Hammond is an alumna of Sacramento State.  She earned her master’s degree at UCLA and worked professionally there for several years.  She is a theater arts instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, where she directed the all-American musicals Tintypes and Anything Goes. She was also seen as M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias at the Chautauqua Playhouse and as Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter for Magic Circle Theatre.  Debra has responded for a number of years at the Lenaea Festival and is pleased to be back at the Festival this year.

Don Hayden (Musical Theatre) has performed at numerous Sacramento Area theaters, including Big Idea Theatre, Capital Stage, Sacramento Theatre Company, Sacramento Music Circus, the B Street Theatre, Main Street Theatre Works, American River College, the Delta King Theatre, The Show Below, River Stage, Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, Resurrection Theatre, Davis Comic Opera Company, Davis Musical Theatre Company, the Woodland Opera House, and many others since 1976.  Don has also been featured in several short films and numerous commercials. A former Artistic Director at Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, Don received his BA from Yale (where he sang with The Duke’s Men), and later earned his MFA in Acting at UC Davis.

James Henderson (One Acts) is a graduate of CSU Sacramento in Theatre Arts. He has studied in the United Kingdom at the University of Wales and at the Globe Theatre in London. He has directed over 100 plays and musicals, has appeared in more than 60 productions, and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. James is also a playwright and novelist. He taught theater at Fort Bragg High School in Northern California and at Skyline High School in the Greater Seattle Area. He brought students to Lenaea more than 25 times, and is excited to be here again on the “other side of the fourth wall.”

Robin Henson (Musical Theatre) studied directing at California State University Sacramento and was subsequently a freelance director in the Sacramento region. His most recent local projects were Mrs. Sorken for Ovation Stage, Enchanted April for The Acting Company in Yuba City, a revival of the ’80s drama The Shadow Box, and a specially adapted version of the classic Tartuffe for Chautauqua Playhouse. Robin was on the board of Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento and a founding participant in the League of Sacramento Theatres, and is a regular respondent for Lenaea and for the CETA theatre festival for middle school students. He currently resides in Cupertino.

Elise Hodge (Monologues, Duo Scenes) is the owner of EMH Productions, which is dedicated to putting time and energy into community theater for those wishing to pursue acting or have a creative outlet, as well as facilitating networking opportunities to writers, directors and producers for theater, TV and film.  This is the eighth year Elise has produced, directed, acted and written for the stage in Sacramento, and her sixteenth year doing TV and film, often splitting her time between Los Angeles and Sacramento. Elise feels pleased and privileged to be part of the Lenaea Festival for a sixth time. Currently, Elise is Managing Director of Wagner media Group, a film and TV production company based in Sacramento, and in March she will star in Dancing Lessons at the Ooley Theatre in Midtown Sacramento.

Elizabeth Holzman (Duo Scenes) has worked in the professional and community theaters of Sacramento for the past eight years. She also worked extensively with Sacramento Theatre Company’s educational programs prior to returning to school to get her master’s degree in 2017. She currently teaches in high school, performs in shows, and enjoys traveling. Her specialties and focus are in ensemble-based theater, theatrical movement, and devised works. She was last seen as Emilia in Othello at Big Idea Theatre in Sacramento.

Billy Houck (Workshop Presenter) has been a theatre educator 40 years at Sunset High in Hayward, Arroyo Grande High School in Arroyo Grande, and Fremont High in Sunnyvale. He has directed hundreds of plays, including the majority of the Shakespeare canon, and has written many plays including numerous publications and productions all over the United States and worldwide. At Arroyo Grande High and Fremont High, he created a New Play Festival that encouraged and showcased student writers. He currently serves as the Northern California Representative to the Thespian State Board. Billy is retired and lives with his wife in Carmichael, CA.

Alicia Jeffrey (Musical Theatre, Lenaea Board President) is the Executive Artistic Director of Broadway by the Bay in Redwood City, Calif.; a former board member and producer for Contra Costa Musical Theatre; and a founding member of “OMG, I Love That Show!” Productions of Walnut Creek, Calif. She has served in numerous artistic capacities throughout the Bay Area theater community, including casting director, director, music and vocal director, production manager, and stage manager. Recent production credits include Aida, Million Dollar Quartet (Theatre Bay Area finalist for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Music Direction), Miss Saigon; Beauty and the Beast; Les Misérables; West Side Story; Kiss Me, Kate; My Fair Lady; In the Heights; Dreamgirls; Anything Goes; Tommy; Godspell (Theatre Bay Area Award nominee for musical direction); Dogfight; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; Disenchanted! and others.  She proudly serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival.

Jasen Jeffrey (One Acts, Duo Scenes) is an award-winning actor, director, musician, puppeteer and production stage manager around the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Society of American Fight Directors. Past directing credits include In The Heights, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, The Producers, Next to Normal and Aida at Broadway by the Bay, Dogfight and Thrill Me at “OMG, I Love That Show!” Productions, RENT, Disney’s Tarzan and Little Shop Of Horrors at Contra Costa Musical Theatre (CCMT), RENT and Rock of Ages at Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre (PCRT), RENT and Cabaret at Stars 2000. Jasen’s latest upcoming directorial project is Into The Woods for Broadway by the Bay.

Janis Johnston (Costume Design) serves on the faculty of the CSU Sacramento Department of Theatre and Dance. She has had a long and varied career as educator and professional costume designer, makeup artist, and director. She began her teaching career as a high school drama teacher and, after earning her MFA, served on the theater faculties at the University of Washington, College of the Redwoods, Wenatchee Valley College, Seattle University, Northwestern U. of Louisiana, and Southern Illinois University.  Jan was a costumer and lead makeup artist at Pacific Northwest Ballet, and she worked on Seattle productions at A Contemporary Theater, Seattle Opera, and other theaters. She designed costumes for Seattle Children’s Theater and Pioneer Square Theater. Most recently she directed productions at Wenatchee Valley College and Leavenworth Summer Theater.

Sean Kana (Musical Theatre, Workshop Presenter) is an award-winning Bay Area music director, pianist and conductor currently serving as the resident music director for Broadway By the Bay in Redwood City. He teaches applied voice for the MFA program at American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco. Sean recently served as associate music director for a pre-Broadway musical, Ain’t Too Proud at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Currently, Sean is working on The Music Man at Broadway By The Bay, where his most recent production was Smokey Joe’s Café.  His other recent credits include playing keys at TheatreWorks for Rags, as well as the world premiere of the musical Triangle. He has been the music director for The Theatre Bay Area Awards for the past few years, and he has earned TBA Awards for best musical direction for his work on both In the Heights and Dogfight. A classically-trained musician with a degree in vocal performance from San Francisco State University, he has toured internationally and recorded sound for movie trailers and soundtracks for Pfeifer Broz. Music. Sean possesses an extensive knowledge of repertoire, style and technique and is a prominent vocal coach in the Bay Area.

Claudia Kitka (Musical Theatre) is a Professor of Music at CSU Sacramento, teaches applied and classical voice, as well as musical theater with Ed Brazo of the Department of Theatre and Dance.  Her background includes Equity work in a musical stock company, leads in dramatic productions, operatic heroines, and extensive performances in both recital and cabaret venues.

Jonathon Lamer (Monologues) is a professional actor from Los Angeles with over 25 years of stage, film and commercial experience.  He has worked with several theater companies in the Los Angeles area, including The Chance Theater, The Blank Theatre, A Noise Within and Anteaus Theatre Company.  He has been a theater adjudicator for many years, including The RoleAbout Theatre Festival, the California Educational Theatre Association, the English Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, and the US Army Tournament of Plays in Europe.   Jonathon is a company member at Theatre of NOTE.

Jeannie Larson (Musical Theatre) is the owner and instructor of an on-site dance, drama and music program called Stars and Steps in Roseville, Calif., and she has directed over 15 youth musical theater productions in Roseville.  Jeannie is a graduate in Drama from the University of Southern California, and she has participated in several professional musical theater productions, industrial films, commercials and variety shows over 20 years.  Her favorite role was Bombalurina in the fourth national tour of Cats.

Blair Leatherwood (Duo Scenes) has been a Respondent at the Lenaea Festival for over a decade. He is a graduate of CSU Sacramento and has an MFA in Acting from Brandeis University. He is primarily an actor, having appeared on most of the stages in and around the Sacramento Area (and beyond). He has also done extensive commercial and film work, and is an audio describer for blind and low-vision patrons of California Musical Theater.

John E. Lee (One Act Originals) is an award-winning playwright, director, actor, theater arts educator, graphic arts instructor and stage combat choreographer who has worked professionally in the Sacramento region for over two decades. Since 1997 his original stage productions have garnered 156 Elly Award nominations for theatrical excellence. He was the founder of Sacramento’s original Little Bus Players and Retro-Active Arts and has been a Lenaea Respondent since 2002. Mr. Lee served as the Artistic Director for EGAD Productions at Elk Grove High School from 2013 to 2018, and is currently celebrating his eleventh season as Playwright and Artistic Director for the Fairytale Town Troupers.

Romyl Mabanta (Monologues) is an actor, director, educator and coach. Theater credits include Santa Cruz Shakespeare, La Jolla Playhouse, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Montana Shakespeare Company and Sacramento Theatre Company. As an arts administrator, his programs received recognition by President Obama’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities. Romyl has trained with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Roy Hart Theatre of France, Decroux Mime, The Suzuki Company of Toga and the Deutsches Theater of Berlin. He holds an MFA degree in Acting from the University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program and BA degrees from UC San Diego, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Joshua Marx (Duo Scenes, Workshop Presenter) is a professional actor, director, producer, and teacher of theater. He has received national acclaim for his performances in such shows as Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Elephant Man and The Woman in Black at Hillbarn Theatre, Fool for Love at San Jose Stage, and Thoroughly Modern Millie at Contra Costa Musical Theatre. He directed Saturday Night Fever and Oklahoma! at Broadway by the Bay, Sweeney Todd and A Few Good Men at Hillbarn Theatre, and The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at San Jose Stage, and later this season he will direct 110 in the Shade at 42nd Street Moon in San Francisco. Joshua is certified as a stage combatant by the Society of American Fight Directors, and has choreographed fights for theaters across the country. He is also founder of the Immersive theater group FloodLight Productions. Joshua holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where he specialized in training in the Meisner Technique. Joshua is a Professor of Theatre Arts at San Jose State University and Diablo Valley College, and a teaching artist for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, the California Shakespeare Festival, and TheatreWorks.

Leo McElroy (Workshop Presenter) is a founding director of the Sacramento Playwrights Collaborative, a non-profit which for ten years has presented workshop readings and discussions of new works by local authors.

Steven Minow (Monologues) has a BA in Drama from CSU Sacramento and an MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Arizona. He has been acting, directing and producing theater in the Sacramento region for 40 years. He has also played several leading roles at Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville, NC – most notably, the title role in Sweeney Todd, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, and Matt Drayton, the father in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Sacramento audiences have seen his work at Runaway Stage, Sacramento Music Circus, the New Helvetia Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Co., and the the Delta Theatre at Delta College in Stockton. Currently, Steven is playing Dr. Harvey Kelekian in Wit at Big Idea Theatre. Last season he won an Elly Award as best lead actor in a drama for for his portrayal of the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade at Folsom Lake College.

Aerin Morneau (One Acts) has been doing theater in Sacramento for many years and has been involved with Lenaea since 1998, conducting the Festival’s make-up workshop and helping to curate Lenaea’s social media presence. Aerin is a board member at Resurrection Theatre and recently directed Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. She hopes all attendees love this Festival as much as she does. (Break legs!)

Margaret Morneau (One Acts) is a local director/actor/producer, currently working with Resurrection Theatre in Sacramento.  Margaret graduated from CSU Sacramento with her master’s degree in Theatre Arts and a concentration in directing. Favorite shows she has directed include Balm in Gilead, Burn This, Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Glass Menagerie, Sister Cities and The Sleeper. She is currently in production starring in a world premiere of local playwright Jayna Anderson’s The Guardians in Sacramento.  She has been with Lenaea, as a Respondent and in other capacities, since 1998 and loves the opportunity to see new actors putting their heart into their work!

Elizabeth Mougharbel (Costume Design) is an Elly-nominated costume designer and member of the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild.  She has worked on such musicals such as Urinetown, Grease, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Guys and Dolls, as well as dramas – The Curious Savage, The Crucible, and a steampunk version of The Tempest. She is currently working with Main Street Theater Works (MSTW) in Jackson, California, and has dressed comedies such as Doublewide, Texas; Mama Won’t Fly, and Escanaba in da Moonlight and dramas including The Crucible and The Last Lifeboat. Upcoming plays for MSTW are Leading Ladies and Alone Together this coming June through September.

Christine Nicholson (One Acts) has been a theater professional for over 25 years as actor, director and educator. She has taught acting since 1998 at UC Berkeley, CSU Sacramento, Sacramento City College and Solano College. She also has taught theater history, speech and voice, stage movement and one-act playwriting. She has directed for UC Berkeley, Solano College, Sacramento City Theatre, the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Sacramento Theatre Company (STC), Capital Stage, and CSU Sacramento. She has performed with the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Foothill Theatre, STC, Wildflower Women’s Shakespeare Ensemble, Synergy Stage, Center Rep, and many others. She holds an MFA from UC Davis in Theatre with an emphasis on Irish Theatre, and has been the program director for UC Berkeley Study Abroad’s “Irish Theatre Today” for the past several years.

Shawn B. O’Neal (One Acts) is a local actor and director who fine-tuned his craft at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. In addition to directing many productions (God’s Ear, Beyond Therapy, Talking With, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress), he has recently appeared onstage in The Crucible at Sacramento Theatre Co., The Pillowman and Twelfth Night at Big Idea Theatre, Angels in America at the Stockton Civic Theatre, and God of Carnage and Burn This at Resurrection Theatre.

Janey Pintar (One Acts) is an educator, actor, and theater movement enthusiast who is a professor of Theatre Arts at Sierra College and William Jessup University. She has worked as a theater teaching artist for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission through the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Program, and for the Sacramento Theatre Company (STC), where she directed the first production at Sol Aureus School. Janey has acted at various theater companies, including Capital Stage, Main Street Theatre Works and Big Idea Theatre. She is a graduate of UC Davis, San Francisco State University, and the American Conservatory Theatre’s STC Program.

Allen Pontes (Monologues) has been a veteran actor and director for over 40 years and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, and the Screen Actors’ Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.  His numerous academic credits have been with CSU Sacramento, Sacramento City College, and various studies in cold readings and monologues, improvisation for the camera, voice over for audio books, animation, characters and commercials in the Bay Area.  He was Artistic Director for Capital Christian Center for five years, has worked as a fight choreographer, taught numerous acting and history workshops, and directed numerous shows for the Sacramento community over the years. Allen is currently a resident artist with Main Street Theatre Works in Jackson, CA.

Kellie Raines (One Acts) is a local actor, director, playwright, and visual artist. She is an Associate Artist at KOLT Run Creations, for whom she directed The Adoration of Dora. Her KOLT performance credits include Escape from Happiness, Vinegar Tom, Antigone, and My Own Stranger. Kellie’s other notable performances include Motherf**ker With The Hat and The Underpants at Big Idea Theatre, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet at Theater Galatea, and God’s Ear and Five Women Wearing The Same Dress at Resurrection Theatre. She directed Episode 4 of Boxed Up: The Musical, an immersive, site-specific, episodic musical. She has a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Art from the University of California Davis. She works KVIE-6, Sacramento’s PBS Channel, wearing many hats, including associate producer and on-air talent.

Erin Renfree (One Acts) is a Sacramento native who has performed, directed and choreographed locally for the past 25 years. She was most recently seen in the Main Street Theatre Works production of The Crucible and in Under Milkwood for the Forgotten Theatre Company. Her other stage roles include Mother Superior in Nunsense, Theda Blau in It Had To Be You, Margrethe Bohr in Copenhagen, and Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She has developed and directed fund-raising shows for several nonprofit organizations, and has served many years as an Elly judge and Lenaea High School Theatre Festival Respondent.

Samantha Reno (Set Design) is heading into her seventh season as resident scenic designer at B Street Theatre in Sacramento, and has designed well over 100 productions over the course of her career (but who’s counting?). Most recently from the Cincinnati area, she still does design work for children’s theater companies there, most notably for Town Hall Theatre in Centerville, Ohio and the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. For B Street Theatre, her most recent productions include 1 Man, 2 Guvnors; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; and Bloomsday.

Allen Schmeltz (Monologues) has been, for the past 11 years, an artistic associate, director and teacher at Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom, where he teaches teaches acting, scene study and improvisation.  Prior to that he was the founder and artistic director of Garbeau’s Acorn and Oak Theatre. He has directed over 70 plays and musicals, and has been nominated for multiple Elly Awards for excellence in Sacramento-Area theater, winning several. He is also a recipient of the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award.   In addition, he has acted in various theaters throughout the Greater Sacramento Area.

Patricia Lee Schmeltz (Duo Scenes, Monologues) has been acting since a very early age. She has an AA in Theatre Arts and a BS in Business. She has studied at American River College (ARC), Sierra College, and San Francisco State University (SFSU). After a hiatus in the business world, Trish returned to theater, having appeared in shows at SFSU, ARC, Sierra College, Free Fall Stage, The Alternative Arts Collective, Resurrection Theatre, Theatre One and Chautauqua Playhouse, where she currently serves on the board of directors and as chair of the Fund Raising Committee. Most recently she played Maria in Comedy of Tenors at Chautauqua Playhouse, Louise in Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at Theatre One, and various roles as part of the ensemble in The Laramie Project at Sierra College. Shows she has directed include The Vagina Monologues and 8: The Play (Sierra College); The Velveteen Rabbit, The Secret Garden, Sherlock Holmes and the Ladies in Distress and The Odd Couple (Chautauqua Playhouse).

Shaleen Schmutzer-Smith (Monologues) is a company member at Big Idea Theatre Company in Sacramento. A multiple Elly Award-winning actor and director, she has worked with many theaters throughout the Sacramento region, including Big Idea Theatre, Resurrection Theatre, Runaway Stage Productions, Chautauqua Playhouse, Woodland Opera House, and Main Street Theatre Works.  While at CSU Chico, Shaleen competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition of the American College Theatre Festival and was selected to workshop with the late director Milton Katselas. She has also appeared in local independent films and served as a respondent for the Lenaea Festival and the San Juan Unified School District Theatre Festival.

Maggie Upton  (Monologues) holds an MA in Theatre Arts from CSU Sacramento and has been teaching, acting, directing and working in theater management in the Sacramento Region for many years. She has served as Managing Director of River Stage, where shows she directed include Five Women Wearing The Same Dress and The Waiting Room, and where her onstage appearances include Sympathetic Magic. She has been executive director and/or board member for a number of organizations, a theater instructor for the Los Rios Community College District, and is a member of the Playwright’s Collaborative Steering Committee. In the past year she directed The Miracle Worker and Love, Sex and the IRS at Lincoln Community Theatre, Hidden Palms at the Geery Theatre in Sacramento, and the current production of Juno and the Paycock at California Stage. This May Maggie will direct Moonlight and Magnolias for Mission Avenue Players, and looks forward to many more such projects in the future.

Bill Voorhees (Duo Scenes) has been involved in theater for 32 years in the Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco regions. Local theaters where Bill has worked include The Show Below, Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, Chautauqua Playhouse, and California Stage. Bill was also Artist-in-Residence at Folsom High School and an instructor at Sacramento Country Day School. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he has worked on The Family Guy and American Dad! for Fox TV Animation. Plays that Bill has directed include the world premieres of Skeleton Stories by Delondra Williams, Red Helen by Jennifer Barclay and Kirsten Vangsness’ Potential Space at Los Angeles’ Theatre of NOTE, where he serves on the Artistic Management Committee. Film and TV credits include Real Time with Bill Maher, Attila, Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Ardennes Fury, Circus Kane and Z-Nation.  

Eric Wheeler (Monologues) is a member of Actors Equity Association and a forty-year veteran of theater in Northern California.  He has performed everything from light opera to Shakespeare, and everywhere from Off-Broadway to regional tours. He has several world premieres under his belt and is active in film, radio, commercial, and video game production, such as NBA2K15 and Mafia 3. His most recent productions include The Crucible and A Christmas Carol at the Sacramento Theatre Company. This is Eric’s ninth year as a Lenaea Respondent. His first Lenaea experience, however, was as a student entrant in 1977. He didn’t win.

Ashley White (Duo Scenes) has been a director, actor, and theater arts educator. She has studied at the Globe Theatre (London), Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), and Broadway Teachers Workshop (New York City). Shows Ashley has directed include Noises Off; Almost, Maine; You Can’t Take It With You; Grease; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; and The Addams Family. She is currently directing Newsies at the Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, which will be opening in March. She is a two-time Elly Award nominee for direction and set design. During her years teaching high school theater, she guided her school’s one-act plays to Silver and Bronze medals at Lenaea. Ashley has also led workshops at high schools on monologue and duo scene development.

Sam Williams (Musical Theatre) has been a theater arts professor at American River College (ARC) for the last 21 years.  He has directed and choreographed many theatrical/musical productions at ARC and at Central Michigan University, where he taught for nine years.  Sam has also taught dance at Sacramento High School and Grant High School, and dance and theater at Hawkins Studio of Performing Arts, Broadway Academy of Performing Arts, Capitol Ballet Studio, and Ovations Dance Studio.  Sam owned Vision Studio of Performing Arts from 1993 to 1997.  He has performed several solo productions, such as Elite Syncopations (a tribute to Scott Joplin), Jazzonian Dream Variations (a tribute to Langston Hughes), and Appalachia at the Cross (a tribute to Jesus Christ).

Bill Zarriello (Duo Scenes) received his BA in English from CSU Sacramento, a certificate in Performance from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, and an MBA from UC Davis.  He has been an actor/director in New York and the Sacramento area for many years, most recently directing Mothers and Sons and I Ought to Be in Pictures for Sacramento Theatre Company and The Shadow Box for Resurrection Theatre.  As an actor, he is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA, has performed Off-Broadway, worked in film (City Hall with Al Pacino and John Cusack) and television (Saturday Night Live), worked as a Guest Artist with Lincoln Center, taught at the famed John Houseman Studios, and spent three years on the road with four different touring shows.  He is currently teaching acting classes to high school actors at KD Studios in Roseville.

Become a Respondent

The Lenaea High School Theatre festival requires over 40 respondents to respond to either monologues, duo-scenes, one-acts and musical theatre submissions. Respondents should be comfortable working “hands-on” with student performers on their pieces, conducting ad hoc acting exercises with performers directly after their performances.

To qualify to be a respondent, you must be 21 and have one of the following:

  • BA or BFA degree in Theatre Arts
  • Graduate Student pursuing their MFA in Theatre Arts
  • Be a Theatre Arts educator
  • Be a Professional Theatre Artist

To participate in the Lenaea Festival, respondents must be able to:

  • Provide a resume of professional experiences
  • Attend the Respondent Orientation Seminar (usually one week before the festival)
  • Be available for the entire 3-day scheduled shifts
  • Be willing to offer exercises and offer constructive responses
  • Complete the scoring rubric and confirm final rankings

Complete the Respondents Submission Form and email it to: