Creative and Teaching Staff for Upper Darby Summer Stage
Patrick Ahearn (Head Props Master) is a puppet designer, builder, performer and prop designer. He received his MFA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Connecticut. As an adjunct Art faculty at Rowan University, Patrick teaches puppetry. Additionally he holds an MA and BA in Music Education from Glassboro State College. Patrick has designed and performed in The Rocky Horror Puppet Show (Philly Fringe), Nickelodeon’s Stick Stickly Segments and the Beacon Award winning A Dinosaur’s Day in Trenton.
Mandie Curtis Banks (Choreographer, Nice Work If You Can Get It) has been performing and choreographing professionally for over 19 years. She attended West Chester University and graduated with honors with a BA in Musical Theatre. After graduation, Ms. Banks pursued her performing career in New York City where she performed regionally and nationally. Her favorite credit is as an Ensemble Member and Understudy to Sandy and Patty in the National Tour of GREASE. Mandie also has her teaching certification and has taught theatre and dance at The Episcopal Academy for the past 14 years. During her time at the academy, Ms. Banks developed a thriving dance program as well as choreographed countless dance concerts and musicals. Mandie has also had the privilege of teaching summer theatre camps and classes at Young People’s Theatre Workshop.
Meredith Boring (Wardrobe Supervisor) is a BFA graduate of Arcadia University. She works locally as a designer for Delaware Theatre Company, Theatre Exile and Upper Darby. She also works as a wardrobe supervisor at 1812 Productions.
Domenic Chacon (Lighting Designer) A graduate of The University of Iowa and Temple Univeristy Dominic is an Adjunct Professor at Drexel University and the Lighting Coordinator at Swarthmore College Lang Performing Arts Center. He is happy to be working on another season at Summer Stage. This season Dominic has designed Peter and the Starcatcher, Moon for the Misbegotten, Red, See What I Wanna See, and Pippin. He is also the designer for Drexel Dance and Freshdance at Drexel University. Favorite works include: Ordinary Days(11th Hour); Aladdin(People’s Light); In Conflict (Temple University/tour); Dave and Aaron Go to Work (1812); Proof, Beautiful Boy and The Rise and Fall of Little.
Matt Cloran (Writer, Composer and Director, Disney Princesses and Heroes) began his 28-year directing career at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center! He has directed and choreographed at over a dozen schools in PA and New. Just recently he completed ten years as Theatre Department Chair at The Haverford School. In addition to his directing and teaching duties, Matt has also performed with area theatre companies such as The Arden Theatre, Philadelphia Area Repertory Company, The Walnut Street Theatre in addition to helming his own summer theatre festival for seven years. Matthew was Program Manager fopr the Greater Philadelphia Cappies, leading more than 35 school teams to the award ceremony in May. Summer Stage favorites include the “Kids” series; Kids on Broadway, Kids Can, Kids in Hollywood, Kids Sing the Century and Elliot and the Magic Bed. He is delighted to return to Summer Stage after directing mainstage favorites, West Side Story and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He would like to extend his heartfelt thanks to Harry Dietzler for giving him his start!
Martin Dallago (Set Designer, Elf, The Musical, Jr. and Mulan, Jr.) was a stage manager before getting his MFA in Theatrical Design at Temple University. He taught for several years at Temple University’s Theater Department where he was head of the Design/Production Program. Martin is currently the production manager at West Chester University’s Department of Theatre and Dance after working in the commercial sector for many years, creating theatrical scenery for Carnival Cruise Lines, Curtis Opera, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Wilma Theater, and the Philadelphia Zoo.
Natalia de la Torre (Costume Designer, Disney Princesses and Heroes; Head Stitcher) Natalia is delighted to spend her third year here in the costume shop at Summer Stage! She holds an M.F.A. in Production Design for Costumes from Ohio University and previously served as costume shop manager for the Lantern Theater Company in Philadelphia. Credits include: The Penelopiad, Intimate Apparel and bobrauschenbergamerica (Ohio University), Lulu and the Golden Shoes (Flashpoint Theater Company); Brighton Beach Memoirs and Blood Knot (Monomoy Theater); The Island and Heroes (Lantern Theater Company); Assassination of Jesse James (Ego Po Classic Theater).
Sarah DeNight (Director, Mulan, Jr.) earned a bachelors degree in theatre and secondary education from DeSales University in 2012. Since then she has been living in New York and working as an actor. She is a member of the Actors Equity Association. She has also traveled to the University of Oxford to study theatre for a summer through the British American Dramatic Academy. While she is not performing, Sarah has stage managed, choreographed, and directed at Summer Stage. In New York, she taught musical theatre classes for kindergarten-5th graders with Applause NY. Having grown up a member of this wonderful program, Sarah is glad to have the opportunity to return as an adult to help create a safe space for growing theatre artists to learn and play.
Kevin Dietzler, (Choreographer, Nice Work If You Can Get It) an Upper Darby native, grew up around Summer Stage. He has performed with companies such as Walnut Street Theatre, The Ritz Theatre, Villanova Theatre, and Players Club of Swarthmore and has directed and choreographed for several local high schools and colleges over the past 11 years. He holds his M.S. in Education and B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Saint Joseph’s University and currently works full-time with Villanova University’s IT department.
Harry Dietzler (Executive and Artistic Director) founded Upper Darby Summer Stage at the age of 20 while a student at Temple University College of Music. Harry taught music at Cardinal O’Hara High School before becoming the director of the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center. Harry Directed and did Musical direction for more than 300 school shows in the Philadelphia region. He is the founder of The Greater Philadelphia Cappies and The Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation. He received the 2011 Barrymore Award for Lifetime Achievement was one of 20 runner-ups for the 2016 Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education presented by Carnegie Mellon University. He is proudest of his five children, seven grandchildren and wife Dottie, whom he met at Summer Stage!
Chris Donnay (Stage Manager, Nice Work If You Can Get It) is currently a student at Pomona College studying mathematics. On campus, Chris has stage managed for theater department productions of Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night, and he will be returning in the fall for The Cherry Orchard. He also serves as a house manager for the music department and recently toured Italy with the Pomona College Glee Club.
Mary Leigh Filippone (Director, Bye, Bye, Birdie) is a theatre director, teacher and arts administrator. Her work has been seen onstage at Springfield High School, Upper Darby High School, Archbishop John Carroll High School, Young People’s Theatre Workshop, The Players Club of Swarthmore, PA Leadership Charter School Center for Performing & Fine Arts and Upper Darby Summer Stage. Favorite directorial projects include The Dinosaur Musical, Our Town, Annie Get Your Gun, Cheaper By The Dozen and Bye Bye Birdie. As a performer, Mary has enjoyed time on stage as Maggie Jones (42nd Street), Queen Aggravain (Once Upon A Mattress), Aunt Eller (Oklahoma!) and Mrs. Sizemagraff (Betty’s Summer Vacation). Mary holds a Bachelor of Science in Educational Theatre from New York University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University. Beginning fall 2016, Mary will be a full time faculty member of the Theatre Department at Appoquinimink High School in Middletown, Delaware.
Gina Giachero has been music directing the Mainstage shows since 2007 and is honored to come back year after year. She is a graduate of West Chester University with a BA in Music with electives in Theatre. She music directs and performs in many Philadelphia and surrounding area theaters including the Arden, Walnut Street, 11th Hour Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company and more. She is an adjunct faculty member at Temple University and has worked in children’s theater programs for over 12 years. She is also the director of the Annual Parkinson’s Benefit Concert whose proceeds benefit The Parkinson Council of Philadelphia.
Jenny Hiyama (Scenic Charge) is a scenic painter and scenic designer from Los Angeles, CA. She attends Ithaca College in New York, where she is a senior earning her BFA in Theatrical Production Arts. She has also interned at California Shakespeare Theatre in Berkeley, CA. Jenny recently returned from her semester abroad in London.
Nick Hunchak is honored to have been working at Upper Darby Summer Stage for many, many years. Currently working with the Apprentice Program, Nick has also worked as a costume designer and Children Theater Director. During the year, Nick proudly works in the Ridley School district as an elementary teacher.
Amanda Kelly (Choreographer, Mulan, Jr.) has been dancing for 22 years and performing theatrically for 10 years. She joined UDSS for Beauty and the Beast in 2006 and was Dance Troupe’s Choreographer of the Year in 2011. Aside from choreography, Amanda is also passionate about education, earning her B.S. in Adolescent Math Education from Long Island University in 2014. Having never done Children’s Theater in her time, Amanda feels incredibly blessed and honored to experience the magic in her 5th year on staff!
Jackie Langley (Music Director, The Dinosaur Musical) has music directed Children’s Theater productions since 2005 and is enjoying her 21st season with Summer Stage. Jackie is a graduate of The Catholic University of America, with a combined BM degree in Instrumental and General/Vocal Education and is currently pursuing her Masters in Music Education Technology degree at West Chester University. She has taught choral music for 11 years at schools in Maryland and Pennsylvania and is currently the Choral Director at Haverford Middle School. Jackie has also enjoyed performing as memorable characters at Summer Stage throughout the years, such as Golde (Fiddler on the Roof), Alice (Titanic), Alice (Thoroughly Modern Millie), and Alice (My Favorite Year) while singing and dancing on stage with her husband Steve.
Erica Lee (Assistant Technical Director) graduated with a BA in Theatre with a minor in Business Administration at the University of Nevada, Reno. After graduation she worked at Opera in the Ozarks as the assistant technical director. Following that, Erica moved to Philadelphia to work at the Walnut Street Theatre and Summer Stage.
Anna Light (Costume Designer, Elf, the Musical, Jr.) is an experienced draper and costumer working in TV, Film and Theatre in Philadelphia and New York City and is pleased to join the staff at Summer Stage. She holds an MFA and BFA in costume production from Boston University and is a member of IATSE Local 799 in Philadelphia and Local 764 in New York City. Please visit her website at annalightstudio.com.
LeVonne Lindsay (Costume Designer, Mulan) Manages the costume shop and teaches courses at The University of the Arts. She holds a B.S. in fashion design is from Philadelphia University and an M.F.A in costume design from University of Maryland, College Park. Other Teaching credits include: Stevenson University, James Madison University, and Valdosta State University.
Chris Luner (Production Manager) is a New York based stage manager who earned his B.S. in Arts Administration (Theatre Concentration) from Wagner College in 2013. In 2015, Chris worked on the Broadway run and 1st National Tour of The Illusionists: Witness The Impossible. Chris has worked Off-Broadway and regionally in stage, production and general management roles. At Summer Stage, Chris began as a participant in 2005. He has worked his way up to Production Manager and has worked on over 50 productions during his eight years on staff.
Dan Luner (Public & Community Relations Manager) is a rising public relations professional in the Greater Philadelphia Area. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cabrini College where he earned his B.A. in Communication in 2016. At Summer Stage, Dan began as an apprentice in 2005 and is in now in his fifth year on staff in the marketing department. To stay connected with Dan, visit his website (www.danluner.com) or follow him on Twitter (@dluner13).
Lindsey B. Mayer (Set Designer, The Dinosaur Musical) started her set design career at Summer Stage at age 15. She has worked along side designers such as Tony Award winning Donyale Werle. Her work was also exhibited as part of the American student showcase at the 2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.
Sean McElwee is a proud alum of Upper Darby Summer Stage, returning to the Performing Arts Center after 10 years. Sean received a Bachelor of Music degree from West Chester University and recently graduated with a Masters in Theology from Villanova University. For the past 10 years, Sean has taught music in public and private schools and since 2010 has been the Director of Music at Saint Agnes Church in West Chester where he works regularly with children and adults who seek to develop their musical gifts and offer them in service to the community. Sean is thrilled to be working with this year’s Rising Stars!
Chris Monaco (Director, The Fantasticks, Director’s Workshop, Assistant Director, Elf, The Musica, Jr.) graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Theatre and is currently an acting scholar in Villanova University’s Masters program. He appeared this spring in their musical A Wonderful Noise, as well as Brian Friel’s Translations. He has been a teaching artist at the Montgomery Theatre and has worn many hats at Summer Stage in his six years working on staff. His specialty is coaching actors one-on-one and in small groups, giving close attention to bringing out an actor’s core potential.
Paul Moffitt (Technical Director, Upper Darby Performing Arts Center) has been a theatre artist since 1991. A graduate of UNCG with an emphasis in Technical Theatre, Paul has designed or provided technical direction for hundreds of shows across America and Europe. Schools Paul has worked at include Swarthmore College, Ursinus College, and Upper Darby High School. Paul was recently hired onto the faculty at The Germantown Academy. This is Paul’s sixth season with Summer Stage. Hobbies include amateur astronomy, vegetable gardening, building sail boats, going on extended camping adventures, playing strategy games, bad jokes, and reading. Paul lives with his wife Cybele, daughters D’Arcy and Maeve, two dogs and three cats in Lansdowne.
Liz Nugent (Properties Designer) received her degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in Theatre Design Technology and has since been working in the Philadelphia area. Working in all aspects of Theatre Production- favoring Stage Management & Props – Liz has also taken to Production Management. Recent collaboration includes Lantern Theater Company, 1812 Productions, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, and Arden Theatre Company in Center City; People’s Light in Malvern, the Glimmerglass Festival in New York state, & Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington.
Nick Pignataro (Musical Director, James and the Giant Peach) is honored to be working with Summer Stage students for the second year! Nick has worked as conductor and music director for the Players’ Club of Swarthmore, Cardinal O’Hara High School Theatre, and Sun Valley High School. He is co-music director of the Delaware Valley Young Musicians’ Orchestra and has been a guest and rehearsal conductor for the Drexel University Orchestra and Concert Band, Bravo Brass, Youth Orchestra of Bucks County Philharmonia, and the Atlantic Brass Band. Nick studied conducting with Paul Bryan of the Curtis Institute of Music and now is a graduate student at West Chester University studying with Joseph Caminiti. He graduated from Temple University in 2011 with a degree in Music Education. Nick keeps busy during the day teaching elementary school band in the Penn-Delco School District.
Kelly Anne Pipe (Web Designer) has been a part of the Summer Stage family since childhood: first, as an audience member, then as a performer, and for the past eight years as part of the staff. Kelly Anne received a degree in New Media at Fairfield University and holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Saint Joseph’s University. She works full time at Saint Joseph’s University as the Web Developer and Designer, and lives in Havertown with her husband Dave (a fellow former Summer Stager) and daughter Maddie. She also runs a small photography business and develops websites for a number of organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. http://www.kapipe.com
Charles S. Reece (Lighting Designer, Disney Heroes and Princesses) is this summer lighting his 10th production for Summer Stage, having also designed the annual Philadelphia Cappie Awards and the Summer Stage 40th Anniversary Gala at UDPAC. Chuck has worked as a designer and production manager in the Philadelphia and New Jersey region since 1994, where he has designed over 60 productions for the theatre. He was nominated for a 2004 Philadelphia Barrymore award for his design of The Woman in Black at Bristol Riverside Theatre. Other designs range from dance and opera, to concerts and nightclubs, to corporate events, trade shows, weddings and professional sports teams. Please visit www.ReeceLighting.com.
Amanda Snarski (Director, The Dinosaur Musical) loves coming home to Summer Stage as often as possible! Amanda holds a B.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Wagner College and has been trained in teaching artist methods at the Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia) and the Roundabout Theatre Company (NYC). She has worked as a teaching artist for the Walnut Street Theatre and the Barrymore award-winning Adopt-A-School program. Amanda has also enjoyed her work at the Arden Theatre, Theatre Horizon, Merion Mercy Academy, and Queens Theatre in the Park (NYC). As an actor, Amanda has performed at the Walnut Street Theatre and starred as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray at the Surflight Theatre in NJ. In 2006, she was selected by Bernie Telsey to sing live on CBS for The Early Show’s segment “My Broadway Debut.” Amanda is a member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Alicia Tomkowich (Rising Stars Stage Manager) is a long-time member of the Summer Stage community and has been part of the Rising Stars staff for five years. She earned a B.A. in History from Catholic University and is currently earning her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology at West Chester University. She has previously worked in the Autistic Support program at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU). She also works as a Lead for Elwyn’s Therapeutic After-School Program in Media, PA.
Brian Walsh (Director, Nice Work If You Can Get It) Brian holds a degree in theater from Kutztown University and a Masters in Education from Cabrini College. Brian has been a member of UDSS for the past 19 summers! Brian has directed Junie B. Jones, Beauty and the Beast Jr, Narnia, and many other children’s theater shows. This is his first time directing the Mainstage production. Brian has directed at Players Club of Swarthmore, Marple Newtown High School, Holy Child Academy, and the Chester Charter School for the Arts. Brian also performs, most recently with Limelight Performing Arts Center and many other venues including Players Club of Swarthmore, Candlelight Dinner Theatre, and the Ritz Theater Company. Brian teaches Kindergarten at The Chester Charter School for the Arts and resides in Drexel Hill with his husband Ryan and their cat Sly.
Amanda Wolff (Costume Shop Manager) received her BFA in Costume Design from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Since graduation, she has been working at the Walnut Street Theatre as Costume Stitcher. She also designs for various Philadelphia theatre companies. Her recent designs include See What I Wanna See, Field Hockey Hot (11th Hour Theatre Co.), Shipwrecked!, Mickle Street (WST Studio), Nine (Rowan University). Amanda loves managing the Costume shop for Summer Stage every year! www.amandawolff.com
Lauren Stevenson Yacina (Marketing Director) joined the staff of Upper Darby Upper Darby Summer Stage in 2008. Lauren began her career in a Philadelphia advertising agency as a media planner, after graduating from Gettysburg College where she studied English Literature with a concentration in Theatre Arts. Lauren moved onto advertising sales, then became Publisher of a regional real estate publication, and then joined the marketing team of an international IT consulting firm. Of all the experiences in her career, overseeing the marketing of Upper Darby Summer Stage has been the most challenging and rewarding, and is the position she has been most passionate about. Her favorite part of the job is working with the talented marketing staff, most who are in high school, college and early post-graduates. She is extremely grateful to Harry Dietzler who has provided her with the opportunity to develop her graphic design skills, and create the Marketing Internship Program where she has the opportunity to mentor an extraordinary group of passionate and intelligent young marketers.