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 (Musical Theatre Respondent) is an award winning actor and singer with a master’s degree in Theatre Arts from California State University Sacramento. He has worked professionally onstage and earned commercial and film credits for over 20 years in the San Francisco, Greater Sacramento, and New York areas. He is currently a full-time faculty member at Sierra College in Rocklin, where he teaches and directs Theatre Arts. His recent directorial credits include Tartuffe and Into the Woods, and he will be directing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opening April 15 at Sierra College. Mr. Adams served as Executive Director of Lenaea for 13 years and is currently President of Lenaea’s Board of Directors.
Julie Anchor (Duo Scenes Respondent) has been a professional actor for over 20 years, and has played a variety of leading and supporting roles for various professional & community theatres including B Street’s Children’s Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, Main Street Theatre Works, and Capital Stage. Julie has also directed over a half dozen plays, does voice work, commercials, industrial videos and has starred in several independent films. Julie is a native Sacramentan, and this is her sixth year as a Lenaea respondent.
James C. Anderson (Duo Scenes Respondent) is a professional actor, director and teacher of drama. He has been Adjunct Professor at CSU Sacramento and Director of Drama at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks. For 25 years he has served as Artistic Director of The Short Center Repertory, a company of adult actors with developmental or other disabilities.
Ray Ashton (Musical Theatre Respondent) has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music. A music educator since 1975, he has musical directed You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Guys and Dolls, Bye Bye Birdie!, Sweet Charity, Godspell, and West Side Story, among others. As an instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin since 1999, he has taught many music classes and created the new History of Rock and Roll class in 2007. At Sierra, Ray was musical director for She Loves Me, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Into the Woods. He has done the annual Broadway at Sierra revue since 2001, and he wrote, directed, and conducted the shows in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
David Borad (Costume Design Respondent) has been involved with theater in the Sacramento area for nearly 30 years. He has been a director, costume designer, dramaturge, and actor. David holds a BA in Theatre from CSU, Sacramento. Recent theatre projects include costume design for She Loves Me at Sierra College, performing in Sweeney Todd at American River College, and acting as dramaturge for The Wiz at CSUS. David is also pleased to be a new member of The Alternative Arts Collective.
Ed Brazo (Musical Theatre Respondent) 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 and 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.
Ron Cisneros (Musical Theatre Respondent) 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 theatres 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.
Tina Cole (Monologues Respondent) received the prestigious “Golden Halo Lifetime Achievement Award” for her 50 years in the entertainment industry. Beginning at 19, she starred in five television series, the longest running and best known being My Three Sons with Fred MacMurray, for which she received the People’s Choice “Most Promising Actress” award and was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Comedy Series. She has recorded many albums with her family, the King Family, and with an offshoot group, The Four King Cousins, for which Tina sings lead. Her stage performances range from The Rainmaker to I Do, I Do and The Boy Friend. Currently, she directs for Sacramento Children’s Theater and has several forthcoming movies, including The 6th Friend and The Private Eye.
Brian Crall (Workshop Instructor) is the owner and Managing Director of the Sacramento Comedy Spot. He has created many comedy shows including The Free Hooch Comedy Troupe and Anti-Cooperation League. He is also the founder of the Sacramento Comedy Festival and majority owner of ComedySpotNation.com. Brian studied improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, home of Amy Poehler, Human Giant, Matt Besser and countless others. Brian teaches improv classes at the Sacramento Comedy Spot.
Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin (Monologues Respondent & Workshop Instructor) is a member of the Sacramento City College Theatre Arts/Film faculty, where she teaches Theory and Techniques of Acting, Cinema Genres and Introduction to Theatre. She recently directed the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival’s all-female production of As You Like It. Other plays she has directed include Pride and Prejudice, The Uninvited, After Juliet, All My Sons, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Something Wicked This Way Comes, A Few Good Men and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Lori has appeared on stage in Woody Guthrie’s American Song, Top Girls and Hay Fever at City Stage, and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, where she heads the Festival’s High School Intern program.
Anthony D’Juan (One Acts/Originals Respondent) has been an active writer, actor, stage and film director, producer and teacher since 1996. As a playwright, his works include The Irony Effect, MEN IN RIFFS, theory of the dream, and Safe At Home: The Jackie Robinson Story. His stage directing credits include subUrbia, Othello, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, A Clockwork Orange (The Musical), Top Dog/Underdog, Endgame and the world premiere of A Tiger Without Mercy. As an actor he has appeared in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Zoo Story, Hamlet, The Time of Your Life, Waiting for Godot, The Conductor: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and many more. His recent play THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED will soon receive a staged reading in New York.
Deedee Eldridge (Monologues Respondent) is Executive Director of FreeFall Stage (freefallstage.com) in Folsom, the longest currently running theater in the city. She is a 35-year theater veteran who holds her degree in Dramatic Art from UC Santa Barbara. Deedee has directed over 100 productions and performed in at least as many over her lifetime. She teaches the craft of theater at her Folsom base to thespians ages six to over 60, and her company is currently touring She Has a Name by Andrew Kooman as a means of raising awareness in the fight against human trafficking in the US and abroad.
Maureen Gaynor (Duo Scenes Respondent) 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 theatre companies and as a judge for the Elly Awards.
James Glica-Hernandez (Musical Theatre Respondent) is owner-educator of Sacramento Vocal Music in Woodland, CA. He has privately taught singing since 1977. Since 1998, he has also been principal music director at the Woodland Opera House. He was vocal director, musical and stage director at Natomas Charter School Performing and Fine Arts Academy from 2001 to 2008. He was both a performer and managing director of the Sacramento Opera Association from 1991-1998. James is a ten-time Elly Award nominee for musical direction and has won four times. He is also a four-time Chesley Award nominee for acting. He received his music and theatre arts education at CSU Sacramento.
Alex Gomez (Workshop Instructor) started his career in Diablo Valley College’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” at nine years old. Bay Area native, he has since performed all over the United States, ranging from a national tour of, The Prince and the Pauper as the Pauper, an Off-Broadway production of West Side Story as Chino, as well as Zeke in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s performance of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He was seen most recently as Usnavi in Broadway By the Bay’s TBA award winning production of, In the Heights. He is currently cast in Broadway by the Bay’s production of Miss Saigon.
Ed Gyles Jr. (Monologues Respondent) is the founder and Artistic Director of Imprinity Theatre Company. He is an AEA membership candidate, an Elly Award-winning director, a four-time acting nominee, and was a founding member of ComedySportz Sacramento. His experience as a performer spans more than 25 years, including stage, film, television, and radio. He also leads workshops on character voice development for Nakamoto Productions. For more information, please visit www.EdGylesJr.com.
Robin Henson (One Acts Respondent) studied directing at California State University Sacramento and has since been a freelance director in the Sacramento region. His most recent 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.
Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Guest Artist) was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Dominican parents. He was looking at a career in medicine but a regional play of Taming Of The Shrew convinced him that theater and the arts were in his future. Since then he performed as a back up dancer and choreographer for local pop acts and then graduated to lead singer in alternative rock bands in Hunter College where he attended the Film and theater program. His theater credits include: THE NEW AMERICANS by Elizabeth Swados, POPOLVUH by Ralph Lee, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and most notably RENT: THE MUSICAL for which he received the 1996 TONY AWARD, DRAMA DESK AWARD and an OLIVIER nomination for the British production. He then reprised the role of Angel in the 2005 RENT film directed by Chris Columbus. Additional film credits include: FLAWLESS by Joel Schumacher, acting opposite Robert DeNiro and Phillip Seymor Hoffman, RED BUTTERFLY by Jon Alston, GIRL FROM THE NAKED EYE by David Ren, and most recently THE RAINBOW BRIDGE MOTEL by Scott Rubin. TV credits include: LAW AND ORDER SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, MEDIUM, WITHOUT A TRACE, BANSHEE by CINEMAX and most recently the NBC show Blind Spot. He’s working on his memoirs and adding film editing and directing to his resume.
Elise Hodge (Duo Scenes Respondent) is the owner of EMH Productions, dedicated to putting time and energy into community theater for those wishing to pursue a creative outlet, and to facilitating networking opportunities for writers, directors and producers in theater, TV and film. Elise has produced, directed, acted and written for stage, TV and film, splitting her time between Los Angeles and Sacramento, and has been a member of LA’s 68 Cent Crew Theatre Company for 10 years. Most recently, Elise directed a production of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger at the Wm. J. Geery Theatre in Sacramento. www.emhpros.weebly.com
Michael D. Jackson (Musical Theatre Respondent) spent a decade with California Musical Theatre in a variety of capacities before moving to New York where he worked as a director, playwright, theatre critic and agent for Music Theatre International for 14 years. He is a contributor to the McGraw Hill Spotlight on Music textbooks and the Broadway Junior Collection. A year and a half ago, he moved back to Sacramento where he is now the Director of Theatre Arts for Christian Brothers High School.
Alicia Jeffrey (Duo Scenes & Musical Theatre Respondent & Workshop Instructor) is 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 & vocal director, production manager, and stage manager. Recent production credits include Les Misérables; West Side Story; Kiss Me, Kate; My Fair Lady; In the Heights; Dreamgirls; Anything Goes; Tommy; Godspell; Dogfight; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; Disenchanted! and numerous others.
Jasen Jeffrey (One Acts Respondent & Workshop Instructor) is an award-winning actor as well as a musician, puppeteer and production stage manager around the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a proud member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society) and SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors). Past directing credits include In The Heights and Les Misérables at Broadway By The Bay, Dogfight and Thrill Me for “OMG, I Love That Show!” Productions, Disney’s Tarzan and Little Shop Of Horrors for Contra Costa Musical Theatre (CCMT), and Rent for CCMT, Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre and Stars2000. Jasen’s latest project is an upcoming production of Miss Saigon at Broadway By The Bay.
Jan Johnston (One Acts Respondent) 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 Respondent & Workshop Instructor) is an award-winning Bay Area music/vocal director. He is the resident music director of Broadway By The Bay, and he recently won Outstanding Music Direction for Dogfight at Theatre Bay Area 2015. His recent credits include: Tommy, West Side Story, Triangle, Les Misérables, Anything Goes, Dogfight, Dreamgirls and In The Heights (Theatre Bay Area Winner for Outstanding Music Director and Overall Production). Sean has toured and recorded internationally and performed in Disneyland’s World of Color Winter Dreams. Upcoming projects include Miss Saigon and Oklahoma!
Glenn Kelman (One Acts Respondent & Workshop Instructor) graduated from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University with a BFA in Acting. He was a resident performer/director at the award winning Shadow Bow Theatre in New York City. Since moving to Los Angeles, Glenn has directed dozens of world-premiere plays and musicals throughout Southern California. He has been a fulltime director for the Disney Company for 20 years, conceiving and directing live stage shows around the globe for ABC, ESPN, Disney Studios, and at Disney Resorts worldwide.
Claudia Kitka (Musical Theatre Respondent), 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.
Blair Leatherwood (Monologues Respondent) has been a proud respondent to the Lenaea Festival for many, many years, and hopes to be so for a long time to come. He is a Sacramento-based actor with deep roots in the community. He graduated from CSU, Sacramento and had performed on many stages in the region. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity, and has numerous film and commercial credits.
John E. Lee (One Acts/Originals Respondent) 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 more than 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 currently celebrates his ninth consecutive season as playwright and artistic director for the Fairytale Town Troupers. Mr. Lee has also served as artistic director and after-school drama coach for EGAD Productions at Elk Grove High School since 2013.
Rebecca Light (Monologues Respondent) is an actor, writer, and producer based in Los Angeles. She is a company member of Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood, where she served on the Artistic & Management Committee and appeared in numerous productions. She holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University. While earning her degree in Boston, Rebecca directed an intensive summer program with high school students in which they wrote and performed one-act plays as an ensemble. She is originally from Sacramento and is a proud alumna of St. Francis High School and the Lenaea Theatre Festival.
Elizabeth Malzahn (Monologues Respondent) has an MFA with honors in Professional Acting from NYU and has taught, directed, and acted throughout the United States for 25 years. Mentored by Bob Smart, she earned a BA and MA in Theatre Arts at CSU Sacramento. Her teaching and directing include Annandale College, Eagle Theatre, Fillmore Art School, and Iowa Theatre Company. Off-Broadway roles include: Adriana in A Comedy of Errors, Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal and Masha in Three Sisters. Regional roles include Miss Hannigan in Annie, Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Rosalind in As You Like It, and Naomi in the world premiere of The Grass House at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.
Susan McCandless (Set Design Respondent) is currently the Artistic Director for Main Street Theatre Works in Amador County. Over the last 10 years, she has been the recipient of several Elly Awards from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance for both set and costume design and directing. Susan majored in theatre education and minored in music at Cal State University at San Jose and the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She taught theatre for a middle school in Victoria and is now a realtor with Coldwell Banker Award Realtors in Amador County.
Renée McManus (Duo Scenes Respondent & Workshop Instructor), a San Francisco native, received early training at that city’s American Conservatory Theatre, then studied Theatre Arts at CSU Fullerton. While pursuing her degree, she had the opportunity to perform in many shows at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. With her degree in hand, and now a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild, she returned to San Francisco, where she works in the TV and film industry, shooting commercials and episodes of popular TV shows. Her love for theatre is still in every commercial shoot; the projects may change, but the passion never dies.
Jessica Minnihan (Costume Design Respondent) is the resident costume designer and costume shop manager for the Sacramento Theatre Company. She has also created costumes for Walt Disney World Entertainment, Sacramento Music Circus, Des Moines Metro Opera, B Street Theatre, and KOLT Run Creations. Shows Jessica has designed include The Importance of Being Earnest, Antigone, Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, Ruthless, Little Shop of Horrors, Vinegar Tom, A Little Princess: The Musical, Pride and Prejudice, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pirates of Penzance, Sense and Sensibility, Of Kites and Kings, and Cinderella. Jessica is a graduate of Central College, Pella, Iowa.
Steve Minow (Duo Scenes Respondent) is a Sacramento-based actor who has been performing for over 35 years. His most recent role was Matt Drayton in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at Cape Fear Regional Theatre (CFRT) in North Carolina. Locally he has worked at California Musical Theatre, New Helvetia Theatre and Capital Stage. Steve holds his MFA in Acting/Directing from the University of Arizona. His next role will be Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace at CFRT. In his off-stage life, Steve is a professional candy man.
Margaret Morneau (Monologues Respondent) 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 and a concentration in directing. Margaret has studied with Steppenwolf Theatre company co-founder Jeff Perry (Cyrus on ABC’s Scandal) through CSU Summer Arts. Some of her favorite shows she has directed are Burn This, Gruesome Playground Injuries, The Glass Menagerie, and The Sleeper. She is currently in production with The Shadow Box, opening in March in Sacramento. She has been responding or working in other capacities with Lenaea since 1998 and loves the opportunity to see new actors putting their heart into their work!
Micaela Muro (Monologues Respondent) has an MA in Theatre Arts and has taught and directed theater in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Elk Grove. In Hollywood she studied acting with noted coach Janet Alhante, working with Salma Hayek, Wil Wheaton and other well-known actors. Micaela is an acting coach and director for Musical Mayhem Productions, Inc., working with young students ages four to eighteen, and a Theatre Arts teacher at Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School. She has provided private coaching for actors in San Diego, Los Angeles, Elk Grove, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa. Her most recent projects are featured voice jobs in education videos for the Sacramento County Office of Education, CSU Sacramento, and Stanford University.
Christine Nicholson (One Acts Respondent) has been directing since 1992, and has a particular passion for Shakespeare. Representative directing credits include; A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Sacramento Theatre Company, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, and nine 50 Minute Touring Shakespeare programs for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Much Ado About Nothing with Capital Stage, An Ideal Husband, Dolly West’s Kitchen, Top Girls and The Conduct of Life at UC Berkeley, A Servant of Two Masters, Working and Carnival at City Theatre, and Reefer Madness at Artistic Differences. She has been affiliated with UC Berkeley since 2003, taught for 12 years at Sacramento City College and for over a decade at Solano Community College. She holds an MFA in Theatre from UC Davis with an emphasis in Irish Theatre. She has been an actor for over thirty years and is a proud member of Actors Equity.
Kelley Ogden (One Acts Respondent) is an award-winning actor, director and producer who has worked in professional and educational theater all over the country. Co-founder of acclaimed fringe-theater company KOLT Run Creations, Kelley graduated from the High School for Performing & Visual Arts in Texas and holds a BFA in Performance from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, where she won the prestigious Chicago Theater League Scholarship. She has worked with Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Outdoor Shakespeare, Capital Stage, Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Main Street Theater Works, TheatreCorps, Unhinged Productions and Theatre San Jacinto.
Allen Pontes (Duo Scenes Respondent) has been a veteran actor and director for over 37 years and a proud member of AEA, AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild. 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, animated characters and commercials in the Bay Area. He was Artistic Director for Capital Christian Center for six years, has been a fight choreographer, has taught numerous acting and history workshops, and has directed numerous shows for various theaters in the Sacramento community.
Erin Renfree (One Acts Respondent) is a native of Sacramento. Erin has performed, directed and choreographed locally for the past 20 years. She was most recently seen in the Main Street Theater Works production of Leaving Iowa and in The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) at Sutter Street Theater. Among her various stage roles, she has played Mother Superior in Nunsense, Theda Blau in It Had To Be You, Margrethe Bohr in Copenhagen, and Molly in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She is the recipient of two Elly awards, and has developed and directed fund-raising revues for several nonprofit organizations.
Samantha Reno (Set Design Respondent) is going into her fourth season as resident scenic designer at Sacramento’s B Street Theatre, where she designs anywhere from 15 to 18 productions a year. Most recently hailing from Cincinnati, she has been working professionally as a designer and scenic artist for 13 years. In Cincinnati she was proud to work for companies such as the Cincinnati Opera, the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, and Town Hall Theatre in Centerville, Ohio. She still designs for Town Hall on a long-distance basis. Samantha graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 2008 with BFA degrees in graphic design and scenic design.
Rob Salas (Monologues Respondent) is a founding Artistic Director of Davis Shakespeare Ensemble in Davis, CA and a faculty member at Sierra College. Directing credits include Exit Theater (SF), New Village Arts (San Diego), Dramatic Adventure Theater (NYC), UC Irvine, and Harvard University. Rob has also assistant directed at many prestigious theaters including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, American Repertory Theater, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Rob holds an MFA from UC Irvine and a BA from Harvard University.
Allen Schmeltz (Duo Scenes Respondent) has been an artistic associate at Sutter Street Theatre for eight years; prior to that he was the founder and artistic director of Garbeau’s Acorn & Oak Theatre. Allen has directed over 60 productions and has been nominated for 15 Elly Awards for directing; he has won twice. In addition, Allen is an instructor in acting and improvisation for both private students and in a workshop setting. Allen is also an actor, having appeared as the Stage Manager in Our Town, Henry in The Fantasticks, and other roles throughout the greater Sacramento area.
Shaleen Schmutzer-Smith (One Acts Respondent) is Managing Director of 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.
Nancy Silva (Monologues Respondent) is a professor of Theatre Arts at American River College with a career in theater that spans 35 years as actress, director, choreographer, and playwright in professional, academic, and community theater. Nancy has appeared in Electricidad at Sacramento Theatre Company as well as in community theater productions in the Sacramento area. Nancy is a two time Elly winner for directing and for best production, and was nominated for an Elly for her performance in Aladdin for the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival. Nancy received an MA in Theatre Arts and an MFA in Directing, both from the University of Minnesota.
Andrea St. Clair (Monologues Respondent) is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, with professional credits throughout Northern California. She has had the honor to perform with Tony award winner James Monroe Iglehart, as well as with Adrian Zmed, Arielle Jacobs and composers Scott Alan and Georgia Stitt. She holds her BA in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University and is an alumna of CAP21. Favorite shows and roles include: Ruthless! The Musical (Judy), Kiss Me, Kate (Lili/Kate), and The Wild Party (Queenie.) Andrea is also a local choreographer and adores working with children of all ages.
Andrew (Drew) Sutherland (Monologues Respondent) is an actor, educator, amateur chef, author, theater artist, and all around Dogsbody. He has worked professionally as an actor. He holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Lisa Thew (One Acts Respondent) is a co-founder/producer/director/performer with local fringe theatre company, KOLT Run Creations. With KOLT, she last performed in the critically-acclaimed My Own Stranger, and has directed Keely & Du, Lips, Crime & Punishment, Escape from Happiness, Antigone, Where We’re Born, Smudge and Vinegar Tom. Locally, she has also directed projects for UC Davis, Resurrection Theatre, and Capital Stage. She is a founding member of the Chicago Sable Ensemble in Chicago, IL, where she attended The Theatre School at DePaul University as a performance major. She currently oversees the Standardized Patient Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine.
Bill Voorhees (Duo Scenes Respondent) has been involved in theater for 30 years in the Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco regions. Local theaters where Bill has worked include The Show Below, Thistledew Playhouse, 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 premiere of Kirsten Vangsness’ Potential Space at Los Angeles’ Theatre of NOTE, where he serves on the Artistic Management Committee. Bill also works at the famous B-movie studio The Asylum, producers of the cult-hit Sharknado movies and the SyFy TV series Z-Nation. Film and TV credits include Real Time with Bill Maher, Attila, 13/13/13, Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark, Ardennes Fury and Z-Nation.
Hans Weichhart (Workshop Instructor) has spent his whole life in theatre, whether it be onstage, backstage, or on the business end. As a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, he studied both acting and stage management. This was also where his involvement in the Lenaea Festival began. His mentor and longtime director of the festival, Bob Smart, asked him to be a Monologue Respondent in 1999. After Sac State, he journeyed to Southern California to pursue a career in film and television. Hans was then cast at the Disneyland Resort as a character performer. This “detour” led to being cast as an AGVA performer, getting his Equity card, recruiting and casting for all five global Theme Parks and the Cruise Line, and eventually overseeing the entire entertainment operation for Disney California Adventure and the three Resort Hotels. Hans returned home to Northern California in 2013 to care for ill family members. Since then, he co-directed the award winning (Theatre Bay Area Awards – Best Outstanding Musical) production of In the Heights at Broadway by the Bay and has been seen onstage throughout the East Bay, including CCMTs production of Tarzan as the villain, Clayton. Hans has stayed involved with the Lenaea Festival since 1999 and in March 2015, the Board of Directors bestowed him with the great honor of becoming the Interim Executive Director.
Bill Zarriello (Duo Scenes Respondent) was Respondent Coordinator and Associate Director for the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival for ten years (2006–15) and is a graduate of Sacramento State, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, and UC Davis. He has performed off-Broadway, worked in film and television, spent three years on the road with four different touring shows, and taught at the famed John Houseman Studios in New York. At the moment, he is directing The Shadow Box for Resurrection Theatre, to open March 2016. Also, his singing voice can be heard on the new PSA for the Sacramento Public Library.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org