Staff

Executive Team

Brian Jones (IUP): Executive/Producing Director

Brian is chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and is the resident scenic and lighting designer. He earned an MFA in design and technology from The University of Florida in 1984.  Since then he has designed scenery and lighting for over 200 productions in academic and professional theatres. He received a Certificates of Merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for the scenic design of Zastrozzi, The Master of Discipline, Boys Life, and Soldier’s Heart.  Brian’s artistic interests also include puppetry and masks, and Youth Theater.  He was an Artist in Residence with Mum Puppettheatre in Philadelphia, PA, where he designed The Puppetmaster of Lodz.

Rachel DeSoto-Jackson (IUP): Managing/Education Director

Rachel is a local educator, scholar, and theatre-maker residing in Pittsburgh, PA and a faculty member at IUP in the Theater and Dance Department as an Assistant Professor of Applied Theater where she also leads SPATE (Simulated Patient/Applied Theater Ensemble). She received her MFA in Performance Pedagogy and MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Rachel has taught locally as a teaching artist for several youth organizations including Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater, Saltworks Theatre Company, Alabaster Children’s Theatre, City Theatre Company Young Playwrights, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Rachel was awarded the Jim Rye Fellowship (2014) from the International Performing Arts for Youth organization for her work with youth and Theatre for Young Audiences. She currently serves on the board of the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed international organization and on the Editorial Board of the organization’s journal.

Sharen Camille (Baltimore, MD): Artistic Director/Academy Musical Director

As a performer, Sharen is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Maria in West Side Story in National and European Tours or her Off-Broadway turn in NYs longest running musical The Fantasticks as The Girl. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre with honors from the University of Michigan School of Music. Her versatility led to successful performances on the classical stage, the musical theatre stage, Film and TV. Sharen is a proud member of the actor’s unions SAG/AFTRA and AEA.

For the past 11 seasons at Footlight, teaching and directing have become the primary focus of Sharen’s artistic life both in Indiana and, where she resides, in Baltimore. She has taught voice, dance, and acting in Baltimore, St. Louis, Nashville and Los Angeles. Sharen is thrilled to be returning to Footlight as the Artistic Director and can’t wait to work with the newest group of young actors!

Directors and Teaching Artists

Steven York (Oswego, NY): Academy Play Director/Teaching Artist

Steven is a professional Art and Entertainment Producer hailing from upstate, NY, returning to Footlights for his third year.  Steven studied Theatre and Events Management as a graduate at Florida State University after earning his BFA in Acting and Directing with a minor in Dance at Marshall University in Huntington, WVa. Steven’s signature handlebar mustache is a proud hold-over from his years as an illusionist and circus performer in the historic Flying High Circus and Big Top in Tallahasse, Florida.  Steven has worked in countless theatre and event productions over the last decade, and has owned and operated his own production company for the last three years. In addition to his artistic work, Steven routinely presents as a guest speaker as well as a wedding officiant, teaching artist and event host. When Steven isn’t directing, or producing film or special events, he enjoys cycling, weight lifting, hiking in the woods with his dog Gumbo and cooking up Vegan creations in the kitchen. Steven would like to thank his wife and best friend, Ola, for her unwavering love and boundless support.

Sean Barrett (IUP Alum): Campers Musical Director/Teaching Artist

Sean is an alum of IUP Theatre and Dance and thrilled to be returning to Waller Hall again this summer for Footlight Players!  A professional actor/director from Chicago some of Sean’s favorite roles as an actor have been Gomez (The Addams Family), Frog (A Year With Frog and Toad), Aldolpho (The Drowsy Chaperone), and Nathan Detroit (Guys and Dolls). As a director: Seussical, Nunsense, and Lend Me a Tenor. Rock the arts and keep theatre alive!!!

Patric Phillips(USC-Upstate. Greenville, SC): Campers Play Director/Teaching Artist

Patric received his BA in December 2012 from the University of South Carolina Upstate. As an undergrad he studied theatre and communications, acted in numerous plays, and traveled abroad. In his summers, he was performing and studying in London as part of the International Youth Arts Festival for two consecutive years. He then apprenticed for Berkshire Theatre Group in Pittsfield, MA during the summer of 2013 in their Actor Training Program. There, he completed a 13-week stint of the Suzuki Method, performed in plays, and landed an Artist in Residency; teaching and performing. Last summer at Footlight, he directed the camper’s original work Secret Wonders of the World. Some other directing credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, Of Mice and Men, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Stuart Little. along with staged readings, and collaborative visual arts projects in Spartanburg, SC. Since beginning with Footlight in 2016, Patric has fallen in love with the program and surrenders all his gifts to make Footlight the top creative and educational theater producing entity for youth!  On his return to South Carolina, he has plans to obtain his teaching certification and then continue on to grad school in pursuit of an MFA in Directing. “Never settle, keep on pushin’, and discover everything.”

Ola Krazpulska (SUNY Oswego): DTM Director/Teaching Artist

Ola Kraszpulska is delighted to return for her 5th year in Footlight Players. This year she is once again serving as the DTM program coordinator. Ola has a BFA in Theatrical Design and Production from Marshall University and a MFA in Scenic Design from Florida State University. She is currently working as the Assistant Professor of scenic & lighting design at SUNY Oswego. Previous design credits include Waiting for Godot, Wizard of Oz, Urinetown and Pride and Prejudice. Her paper presented at the IV International Conference of American Drama and Theatre in Seville Spain was published in “Old Stories, New Readings : the Transformative Power of American Drama”. Ola enjoys teaching workshops to young theatre artists, and in addition to Footlights, she’s done so at several conferences, including NYSTEA, KCACTF and Oswego’s Dramafest. This summer, Ola is most looking forward to reuniting with the Footlight Family, working with the new members and commuting to work on her bicycle.

Lydia Gibson (IUP alum): Teaching Artist Apprentice

Lydia Gibson is the Teaching Artist Assistant for Footlight Players, making this the second year with the company. She recently graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with her bachelors in Theater.  Now currently located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lydia is a performer and teaching artist for Saltworks Theater Company. She also gives private voice lessons and baristas at Commonplace Coffee Company.

Music & Dance

Amber Leitsch (IUP Alum): Music Director

Amber Leitsch is a graduate of IUP where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education, as well as her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance. In addition to directing the Crimson Youth Choir and teaching privately in the IUPCMS, she directed/arranged music for the IUP Crimson Chords, an elite all-female a capella jazz ensemble. Last fall, she also directed Homer-Center’s Musical Annie and worked on Marion Center’s Musical Marry Poppins.  She performed the lead role of Rosalina in IUP’s production of Die Fledermaus and has been a part of other productions including Le nozze di figaro, Suor Angelica, Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray, Guys and Dolls, Anything Goes and Godspell.  Amber is also a first-place winner of the NATS Music Theatre competition, held at West Virginia University.  For this upcoming fall, she is relocating to Chicago, IL to become a full-time music and voice teacher. Amber is so incredibly honored to be a part of Footlight Players again for her second season and wishes the entire cast good luck for whatever is yet to come!

Victoria Ivory (IUP): Choreographer/Dance Captain

Victoria is pleased to be spending her summer choreographing for Footlight Players! She is a senior dual degree majoring in INFA-Dance Arts and General Business Management at IUP. She has been dancing for the past twenty years training in all styles of dance. Victoria is a member of the IUP Dance Theater and has performed numerous times with the company. Past credits have included: An Evening of Story Legends and Tales, An Evening of Percussion and Dance, Gabriel’s Dream, Carmina Burana, Blood Wedding, A New Genesis, Kun-Yang Ling/Dancers, Homegrown, and Princess and the Pea…Brained! Over the past years Victoria has been awarded scholarships and awards for school and within IUPDT. Victoria is very excited to be able to spend her summer with young artists who are the next generation of this art!

Designers

Tucker Topel (Point Park, Pittsburgh): Set Designer/Teaching Artist

Tucker Topel –Scenic Designer – is a recent alumni of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is thrilled to be back at Footlight for his second year. Tucker’s most recent design credits include: A Devil Inside (The REP), Robin Hood (Point Park University), You On the Moors Now (PPU), Pinkalicious: The Musical (PPU), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical (PPU), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (PPU) Footlight Players 2017 Festival (IUP), Gypsy (Timber Lake Playhouse), Having Our Say: The Delany Sister’s First 100 Years (TLP), and A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum (TLP). He would like to thank his family and friends for their endless love and support.

Dan Iwaniec (Washington, DC): Costume, Hair, Makeup Designer/Teaching Artist

Dan Iwaniec is a designer and theater educator in Washington DC.  As an alumni of IUP, he’s served as a costume and scenic designer for Footlight Players (2006-2010, 2017), Post Playhouse (2012-2013), and the National Opera. He’s been honored to work in some of the country’s best theaters including Arena Stage, Signature Theater, Wholly Mammoth Theater, Folger Theater, Shakespeare Theater, Two Rivers Theater, and the Kennedy Center.  In addition, Dan has collaborated with Tony Award winners Paul Tazewell (Hamilton) and Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes), and Teller (Penn & Teller).

Forrest Trimble: Lighting Designer

Forrest Trimble is a Professional Lighting designer currently working out of Pittsburgh PA. He is an alumni of both IUP and Footlight Players. Forrest have designed many works in Pittsburgh with companies such as Pittsburgh Musical Theater (Lion King, Little Mermaid, assisting on Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, Saturday Night Fever), New Horizons Theater (The Meeting, Detroit ’67, The Ballad of Emmett Till, Lotto), and IUP (12 th Night, Spelling Bee, Die Fledermaus). He has also worked in dance with Morgantown Dance Studio (Wizard of Oz, assisting on The Nutcracker, Jazz Nutcracker, Cinderella), Texture Dance company (assisting on, 2016-2017 season) and with IUP (Gabriel’s Dream). Most recently Forrest has been touring as a technician with Squonk Opera. He is happy to be back at his roots where he began at Footlight!

Production Staff

Jules Calnan (IUP alum): Production Manager

Jules is excited to join Footlight Players as Production Manager for the 2018 season! This year is her third year with FLP, with experience from previous years as a Production Intern and Production Stage Manager.  Jules is a recent Alumni of IUP, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Theater, Stage Management. A Design/ Tech/ Management (DTM) Theater professional, Jules brings strong experience with sound, lighting, scenic artistry, and stage and production management. She has had the pleasure of stage managing shows such as Blood Wedding (IUP Dance), Boeing Boeing, and Lizzie Borden the Musical and has contributed to the Theater community serving as Production Coordinator for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) and Production Manager for the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (PTO) 2018 conference. Passionate about Theater since childhood, Jules is committed to the positive and creative experience of Footlight Players!

Kaitlyn Cramer (IUP alum): Production Stage Manager

Kaitlyn Cramer is thrilled to be returning to Footlight Players for her second summer, this time in the role of Production Stage Manager. Throughout her educational career at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kaitlyn has had the opportunity to work on numerous shows as the stage manager, assistant stage manager, properties master, and wardrobe crew. Her involvement also included the opportunity to take two shows, We Are Proud… and Soldier’s Heart, to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival where she received the Distinguished Stage Management Award for We Are Proud. During her last semester of college, while student teaching, Kaitlyn spent her afternoons assisting with United High School’s production of The Wizard of Oz as assistant to the director. Following her December graduation, Kaitlyn used her theatrical skill set to acquire a position on the touring production of VStar Entertainment’s Discover the Dinosaurs: Dinosaur Time Trek Shark Edition tour as an assistant electrician. She hopes to continue to pursue theatre, especially touring, and would love to become a full time drama teacher someday. Kaitlyn is excited to be back at IUP and working with the wonderful professionals and players at Footlight to create some truly spectacular shows again this summer.

Carly Long (Point Park): Technical Director

Carly is Senior in the Technical Design and Management program at Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts. She is extremely excited to be joining the Footlight Players Company for her first season. Past credits include Technical Director of Robin Hood for Playhouse Jr. at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Assistant Technical Director for Gift of the Magi for the Point Park Conservatory. She would like to thank the production team and Footlight Player students for all their hard work and dedication.

Keith Young (IUP faculty, retired): Accompanist/Pianist

Keith R. Young was the Principal and Solo Saxophonist with the U.S. Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. for 20 years. With this premiere military ensemble, he performed on saxophone, piano and flute, touring throughout the world. After retiring from the Air Force in 1998, he became a Professor of Music at IUP where he taught for 18 years, retiring in 2016. He remains active performing on piano and woodwinds and is very happy to be back as Footlight’s piano accompanist for a third season.

Administration and Operations

Heather L. Giavedoni (IUP alum): Arts Marketing Manager

Heather Giavedoni is so excited to expand the reach of Footlight Players and give more people the opportunity to enjoy the theater. She has recently graduated with her B.A. in Theater and her B.S. in Communications Media. Heather also recently completed an internship in Washington D.C. with Joy of Motion Dance Center as a marketing intern and looks forward to seeing the outcome of all the hard work put in by everyone, especially the players, at FootLight.

Sarah Calnan (IUP): Arts Administrator

Sarah is new to Footlight Players for this 2018 season and is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to a creative experience for players and supportive experience for parents. Sarah is an IUP graduate student, currently completing her Masters of Education, School Counseling degree. As an Educator, Counselor, and strong supporter of the Theatre Arts, Sarah is committed to the positive growth experience for all Footlight camper and academy players. As Arts Administrator, She hopes to engage and welcome parents, provide support, and collaborate to create a fun season!

Interns

Evans Malkin (Point Park): Academy Play Production Intern

Evans Malkin was born in Nigeria but has spent the majority of his life in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Currently an acting major at Point Park university which is also located in Pittsburgh it is his first year at Foolights. He is incredibly excited to meet all of the players and looks forward to a summer filled with growth and excitement.

Stephanie Toner (Point Park): Academy Musical Production Intern

Stephanie Toner is a senior stage management major at Point Park University. She is proud to have stage managed a dance show called Point Park Connections. Other favorite credits include The Sea (ASM), The Scottsboro Boys (ASM), The Gift Of the Magi (Assistant Scenic Charge), and A Devil Inside (Assistant to the Designer). She is most looking forward to working with the Footlight team and to learn new skills and fine tune others.

Shane Smay (Pitt): Campers Play Production Intern

Shane Smay is super excited to be working with the Footlight Players!  He is currently studying to obtain his B.A. in Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Campus.  His main focus is stage management. At Pitt, Shane is Chair of the local student chapter of USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.  Some favorite past productions he’s worked on include Peter Pan, Our Town, Roustabout: The Great Circus Train Wreck and Rhinoceros.  In the upcoming 2018-2019 season at University of Pittsburgh Stages, Shane will be stage managing productions of The Last Five Years and Into the Woods.

Bailey Dieter (Point Park): Campers Musical Production Intern

Bailey Dieter is a production intern for this summer. It is her first time working with Footlights and she’s looking forward to a great summer. She is excited to spend time in a theater, while meeting new people and gaining new experiences.

Brad Keller (Pitt): Set/Lighting Intern

Brad Keller is senior theater arts major at the University of Pittsburgh. He has recently been an ASM in UP Stages devised piece Recoil. Brad has also been a part of Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s production of The Little Mermaid. Most recently, he had the pleasure of being on the set of $1, a new TV series being filmed right in Pittsburgh. Brad is looking forward to working on various productions this summer and returning for his final semester this fall.

Emily McMichael (IUP): Costume Intern

This is Emily’s first year with Footlight Players, but certainly not her first in the Waller Hall costume shop. She will be a senior this year in IUP’s Theater and Dance Department, with a concentration in design and costume construction. As costume intern, Emily works alongside Dan to help the players really embody their characters, and enrich the world of the play. She was elated to find that Footlight provides some unique creative challenges to designers as well as the players. When she’s not in the costume shop, Emily can often be found watching pretentious art films with her beloved cat, Kano.

Aleah Krug: Musical Theatre Intern

Aleah Krug is an upcoming junior theatre major here at IUP. She is honored to be helping with the camp this year and wishes the best to all of the casts. “Break a Leg everyone.”

Assistant Staff

Isabella Anderson

Isabella Anderson is excited return to Footlight for the second year in a row! This past Spring, Isabella attained her Bachelor’s of Art in Music Performance and Theatre Arts & Drama from Eureka College in Illinois. Most recently, Isabella directed and musically directed the musical Sweeney Todd, successfully performed in her senior recital, and wrote an original musical for her honors thesis. This summer, Isabella is looking forward to working on some great shows and being a part of the Footlight team!

 

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