M. Bevin O’Gara, Producing artistic Director
Bevin is joining the Kitchen Theatre Company for her third season after spending 15 years with the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, Massachusetts. During her time there, Bevin oversaw dozens of productions, workshops, and readings and played an active role in realizing new work by writers such as Craig Lucas, Kirsten Greenidge, Melinda Lopez, Stephen Karam, Lydia Diamond and A. Rey Pamatmat. She worked to create the first Huntington programing for the Robert's Studio Theatre with David Cromer's production of Our Town, which won the Elliot Norton Award for Best Production in 2013. As a director her credits include: Ironbound, the world premiere of Brawler, and Brahman/i for the Kitchen Theatre Company. Outside credits include: The Who and The What, Milk Like Sugar (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production), and Becoming Cuba at the Huntington Theatre Company; The Bridges of Madison County, appropriate, A Future Perfect, Tribes (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for Best Production), and Clybourne Park with SpeakEasy Stage Company; Brahman/i, Chronicles of Kalki, You for Me for You, Love Person, and The Pain and the Itch with Company One Theatre; Phedre with Actors' Shakespeare Project; Fast Company with the Lyric Stage Company; Marjorie Prime with the Nora Theatre Company; How Soft the Lining and Translations with Bad Habit Productions; Brawler, Two Wives in India, and Gary with Boston Playwrights' Theatre; 2.5 Minute Ride with New Repertory Theatre; and Melancholy Play with Holland Productions. She has worked as the Artistic Associate at the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA, where she started their second stage series called Downstairs at New Rep. Other companies include: Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Actor's Center of Australia and the Gaiety School in Dublin. Bevin has been a Guest Artist or Lecturer at several schools including: Harvard University, Emerson College, Brandeis University, Boston University, Tufts University, Boston College, Boston Conservatory, Northeastern University, and Ithaca College. Bevin is the proud recipient of the Lois Roach Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Boston Theatre Community and was recognized by the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf for her commitment to D/deaf and hard of hearing artists. She holds a BFA from Boston University. mbevinogara.com
Stephen Nunley, Managing Director
Over the years, Stephen has lived in the following cities: Buffalo/Williamsville, NY (ages 0-18), Troy, NY (18-23), Boston, MA (23-29), and New York City (29-52), including time in Little Rock, AR and Auckland, NZ (1 year) during the NYC years, topping it off with Ithaca. Some of his job experiences over the years include (not necessarily in chronological order): coat checker at the Buffalo Museum of Science; financial management trainee at General Electric Silicon Products plant; waiter at Friendly's in Boston; 7th & 8th grade math teacher; arts counselor at Tanglewood; modern dancer; waiter at Devon House in NYC; waiter, floor manager and general manager at 18th & 8th restaurant in NYC; part-time bookkeeper; bagger at the Williamsville, NY A&P. As a dancer, he has performed and taught in: Belgium, New Zealand, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Brazil, towns and cities from Maine to Hawaii… and Carnegie Hall. Since 2004 he has made his home in Ithaca, where he serves on the Strategic Tourism and Planning Board, is a member of the Ithaca Rotary Club, and sings second tenor in the Ithaca Gay Men's Chorus.
Lesley Greene, Associate Producing Director
Lesley has worked at the Kitchen since 2003. Her responsibilities are in both administration and production. On the administrative side, she leads the theater's marketing efforts, does grant writing, and provides technical support to the office staff. On the production side, she creates sound & projection designs (Ironbound, Hand to God, Mary's Wedding, The Brothers Size, The Whipping Man, among others), composes music (ten musicals for family audiences with collaborator Rachel Lampert, including Emmett & Ella: The Puppy Plot, Physics Fair, and Winter Tales), dances and creates dances for fundraising events, and is an actor and musician for Theatre for All Ages productions. This season she will be the sound designer for Proof and Cry It Out and will compose music for the Fitz&Startz Theatre for All Ages musicals Aunt Mae Comes to Brooklyn and Emmett and Ella: A Doggone Mystery. She is a co-founder and organizer of Porchfest, a music festival held on the porches of the Fall Creek and Northside neighborhoods since 2007 that has been duplicated in over 130 towns across the U.S. and Canada. Lesley is married to Robbert van Renesse, Ithaca's only ukulele-playing, unicycle-riding computer scientist. Their kids are almost too old to mention in her bio!
Reanna (R.J.) Lavine, manager of Growth and Giving
R.J. connects people's passions and interests to Kitchen Theatre programs through community collaboration, stewardship, grant writing, and event planning. Last year she helped write a series of successful grant proposals to green up KTC's lighting system with LEDs. Also an actor, R.J. can be seen in local theatre and film productions and has graced the Kitchen stage in Ithaca's One Minute Play Festival. In May 2019 she was awarded an SOS grant from the Community Arts Partnership to attend the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. R.J. believes live theatre has the power to transcend politics, ideology, and family history and to unite all of us living in this crazy world. She grew up in the Finger Lakes region and feels fortunate to live in this vibrant community with her husband, two children, dog, and 23 chickens.
Jennifer Schilansky, Production Stage Manager
Jennifer has been the resident stage manager since 2012. Previous production favorites include: Tribes, The Royale, Ironbound, Brawler, Birds of East Africa, Hand to God, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Mountaintop, Paloma, Sunset Baby, Lonely Planet, Swimming in the Shallows, Slashes of Light, What I Thought I Knew, The Motherf**ker With the Hat, The Whipping Man and Brian Dykstra Selling Out. She has also served as the the Production Stage Manager for the Hangar Theatre's Little Women, Dégagé and A Doll's House Part 2. Prior to moving to Ithaca, she spent five years as the resident stage manager for Stageworks Theater in Hudson, NY. She has also stage managed for Half Moon Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY, and Bard College. A native of Catskill, NY, Jennifer holds a BA in Acting from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. Jen enjoys exploring the gorges of Ithaca with her sidekick, and unofficial KTC mascot, Buddy, and her husband Eric.
Brendan Komala, Technical Director
Brendan has been building sets (and other things) for KTC ever since the transition to the "new" building, building every set but one in the last 9 years. A transplant from the midwest where he worked primarily for the Steppenwolf Theatre Company (and a variety of smaller Chicago area groups), he worked for Cornell on arriving in Ithaca and now enjoys the KTC family and looks forward to our new adventures for this season.
Scott Hitz, Production Coordinator/Sustainability Manager
Scott is a Director, Producer, Puppeteer, and educator whose work has been seen worldwide. Scott was a co-founder of Monkey Boys Productions where he still serves as an Associate Artist and Producer from time to time. His work has been seen on television: TV Funhouse (Comedy Central), The Book of Pooh (The Disney Channel), Mother Goose Jams (Sprout!), and on stage: Avenue Q, (Vineyard Theater, NYC), Bunnicula (The Arden Theater, Philadelphia), Little Shop of Horrors (Ford’s Theater, Washington DC), Animal Farm (Synapse Theatre, NYC). Directing and writing credits include: Carnival of the Animals (Philadelphia Orchestra), Orchestra 2000 (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), Spring (Sprout Television). Scott has also been honored with the position of Artist in Residence at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center summer puppetry program, where he began work on his stage adaptation of The Little Prince, which premiered at Cape May Stage in NJ and eventually played at the New Victory Theatre on 42nd street in NYC. His work has taken him to Korea as part of the Chunchon International Festival for Puppetry, and he has also been the recipient of a Henson seed grant for his production Ursa Major: The Voice of the Bear. Locally his work has been seen in the Hangar Theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, and The Kitchen Theatre’s Hand to God, serving as Associate Director & Puppet Director respectively. You can find out more about him at www.scotthitz.org
Stiller Zusman, Scenic Artist
Stiller began her scenic work in theater, designing and building sets for Buffalo Ensemble Theatre. At that time she was finishing an MFA in Sculpture at the University of Buffalo. Thirty years later, after several full careers in fine arts, teaching and clinical art therapy, she has been recruited back to theater. Her exhibitions include shows at Albright Knox Gallery, where she received the Partners Press Award for Sculpture, Everson Museum, Hall Walls Gallery, Adrianne Adrian Fine Arts and more. Her work appears in private and public collections, including a permanent installation at the University of Wyoming. She has designed many studio workshops for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, taught sculpture at SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College. Her own gallery and teaching studio, Abovoagogo was on Seneca St, around the corner from the theater for many years.
“Painting all of the productions in the last season has been a fine adventure! I am delighted to continue my work in this vibrant community of artists.”
Tyree Cobbins, House Manager
Tyree is a 25 year old actor who is very excited to be working with the Kitchen Theatre Company for the upcoming 2019-2020 season. His introduction to the Kitchen Theatre was when he came to the opening night performance of The Royale. Before the position of House Manager, Tyree went through the Actors Workshop of Ithaca Meisner Technique program. He studied for six semesters under Eliza VanCort. After graduation he would go on to work as a teacher’s assistant for the class. He’s had the honor of being in AWI showcases, The Ithaca Fringe Festival, The Laramie Project and After Orlando, a reading with Civic Ensemble. He has always had an attraction to putting on a show. In his senior year of high school Tyree started training to be a professional wrestler and has had a love for sports entertainment ever since. Whether it’s on stage, in front of a camera or in a ring, Tyree himself is no stranger to performing. He is extremely honored to work with everyone here at the Kitchen Theatre.
Xavier Valent, Box Office Associate
Xavier is excited to be returning to the Kitchen for a third year. He grew up in Ithaca and went to Ithaca High School. His interests include music, video games and going on adventures. He aspires to be a voice actor one day.
Benno Ressa, Bar Manager
For the past three years, Benno has enjoyed serving beverages and treats in the Kitchen Theatre lobby. After working in bars and lobbies in the Los Angeles Music Center, he was thrilled to find a home with the front of house team at KTC. When he's not behind the bar, you can find this aspiring opera singer working with many local institutions including Fitz&Startz Productions, Opera Ithaca, Auburn Public Theater, Hangar Theatre, and Triphammer Arts among others! He hopes you enjoy your time at the Kitchen Theatre.
Anna Cunningham, Stage & Production Management Fellow
Anna is excited to join Kitchen Theatre Company for the 2019-2020 season. In 2018, Anna graduated from Duquesne University, where she studied theatre arts and communications. At Duquesne, Anna worked primarily as a sound designer, stage manager, and director. Favorite university credits include Macbeth, Three Tall Women, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Avenue Q, and How I Learned to Drive. As a member of the Pittsburgh theatre community, Anna was a production assistant and assistant stage manager for PICT Classic Theatre and a stage manager, sound designer, and producer for The Summer Company. Favorite professional credits include Come Back Little Sheba, The Heiress, American Idiot, and Heathers: the Musical.
Glenn Epps, Marketing & Design Fellow
Glenn is a recent graduate of Ithaca College where he studied Journalism. His previous work includes hosting a podcast via The Ithacan where he discussed art, politics, and society in Ithaca. While he’s no stranger to the limelight, he’s excited to take a seat behind the scenes and bridge his passions for art and media together to highlight the exceptional work being done at the Kitchen. His favorite theater experience is skipping school to travel into NYC and watch the world premieres of two one-acts by Tennessee Williams.
Ollie Jeoung, Artistic & Administrative Fellow
Ollie is a recent graduate of Knox College with a B.A. in Theatre and a B.A. Creative Writing, where he was fortunate enough to participate in various aspects of theatre including directing, playwriting, and acting. His favorite credits include directing A Number (Caryl Churchill) and writing To Dream or Not to Dream, which has been seen in Knox College's Playground (New Plays Workshop) and New Plays Festival III. At Knox, he served as the Playground Coordinator for the Theatre Advisory Board, and worked as a T.A. in the scene shop. Last summer (2018), he served as the Casting/Arts Administration Intern at Northlight Theatre and Paskal Rudnicke Casting. He hopes to start his own theatre company one day, and become an artistic director. He is thrilled to be joining the Kitchen Theatre Company for the 2019-20 season!
Tyler Struble, Artistic & Administrative Fellow
Tyler, originally from Horseheads, NY, is a recent graduate of Ithaca College where he majored in Theatre Studies. At Kitchen Theatre Company, Tyler has served as assistant director for Tribes and directed in the 2nd Annual One Minute Play Festival. Directing credits include: Tatjana in Color and The Moors (Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts), and The Tingler (a devised performance at The Cherry Artspace). Dramaturg credits include: Pride and Prejudice (The Hangar Theatre) and Madge and Rodney Pretend to Go to Space, a new play developed at Ithaca College. Additional assisting credits include: Pride and Prejudice, A Brief History of America (The Hangar Theatre), Cabaret, The Changeling, and Can Can (Ithaca College). His play, The Luck of the Draw (co-written with Khai Tyler), won the 2019 New Play Incubator Competition in Ithaca, NY. Tyler was a member of the 2018 Hangar Theatre Lab Company as a directing intern.
Anissa Sanford, Bookkeeper
Anissa the Kitchen Theatre team in April 2017. Anissa is originally from Cortland, NY. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2000 with a degree in Speech Pathology & Audiology. She has two amazing teenagers, Justin Scheidweiler, 17, and Ashleigh Scheidweiler, 15, who attend Dryden High School. Anissa has worked for many local non-profits in Tompkins County, and in January 2017 opened her own bookkeeping business, AES Accounting Services. She loves working with all different clients and business types, and she especially enjoys the team at the Kitchen Theatre. Spending her Thursday mornings with Stephen Nunley has been nothing short of a dream come true!! She is looking forward to seeing you at this season's performances, definitely one of the MANY perks of being part of such an amazing team.
Gran Hadick, Trainee
Gran has only been here for a few months but has already helped in areas ranging from rigging lights, painting and preparing sets to cleaning and organizing costumes and props. She has lived in the Ithaca area for about three years. A senior at Ithaca's New Roots Charter school, she plans on a career behind the scenes making live music and theater happen.
Zoe Klimascewski, Trainee
Zoe is 21 and finished school last year through Groton and BOCES which she enjoyed and was a welcomed and valued student. Her favorite food is Mac and cheese, her favorite colors are orange and purple, and she loves the ocean and Key West. She volunteers at Groton library to develop more job skills and simply to help out. She wants to learn new things and meet new people. Zoe grew up in Tompkins county and her parents are teachers; thus Zoe's love of learning.
J. Matthew Oliver-Arroyo, Trainee
Matthew is a native Ithacan and has lived in Ithaca and in Puerto Rico. He is interested in art and music and would like to one day work in video game art and design. He's looking forward to getting more hands-on experience in theatre this year.