Meet the lovers & fighters.
Stephanie Bahnij - Festival Stage Manager
Stephanie ecstatically makes her premier with Ohio Shakes this summer! She recently made her return to Theatre this spring by Prop Designing The Split Show after a brief hiatus in ND; where she Shop Managed an antique furniture restoration store. Past credits include SM for Playwrights Local, Convergence-Continumm, Tri-C and HYT; Run Crew and Follow Spot for Cleveland Play House and Lights, Props and Scenic Painting for the Tri-C Theatre Departments. Stephanie sends deep appreciation to everyone involved for this incredible opportunity!
Trevor Buda - Peter, Scenic Carpenter
Trevor is a returning for his third summer with Ohio Shakes. Some previous roles include Silvius in As You Like It and Prince Florizel in The Winter’s Tale. He is a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, where some favorite roles were Palamon in The Two Noble Kinsmen and Valentine Brown in Quality Street. Thanks to family, friends, and teachers who challenge and endlessly encourage him. 1 John 4:18.
Terry Burgler*+ - Friar Laurence, Artistic Director
Terry Burgler is a professional director, actor, writer and educator with a notable record of achievement over the past forty years. He has performed professionally on the Globe Theatre stage in London, and has acted and directed at numerous regional theatres across the country, including McCarter Theatre, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Stage/West and TheatreVirgina, where he served for 13 seasons and was as the most successful Artistic Director in that theatre's 50 year history. For four years he was Artistic Director at Porthouse Theatre here in Northeast Ohio, presiding over record-breaking seasons that garnered significant critical praise as well. He resigned his position there to be able to pursue his passion for Shakespeare as one of the two founding Artistic Directors of the Ohio Shakespeare Festival. Read more here.
Tess Burgler - Juliet, Managing Director, Fight Captain
Tess can’t tell you how exciting it is to play this role across from her real-life Romeo. Ohio Shakes audiences might remember her as: d’Artagnan, Kate Middleton, Hermione, Rosalind, Ariel, Viola, Juliet, Cordelia, Maid Marian, Rosaline, Imogen, among others. She has been directing the Greenshows at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens for almost a decade, though recently she's stepped away from that role while still serving as overseeing Artistic Director. She's also begun to direct for the main stage (The sell-out production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged], which returns for a third remounting this January, and the encore production of Robin Hood: An Adventure, with Music). Next year, she is excited to reprise her role as Juliet (nine years after the first one) and the corresponding character of Viola in Shakespeare in Love. She is beyond grateful for you, this theatre, and her Smallville, and the life she gets to live.
Sarah Caley - Balthazar
From her first taste of theater at a very young age, Sarah was hooked. She’s been involved in grade school, high school, and community productions, her most recent credit being Johann Steindorff in the Orchard House’s production of Bach at Leipzig. An ardent audience member and participant in Ohio Shakespeare's monthly FIGHT NIGHT and other workshops, Sarah is absolutely thrilled to appear onstage in Ohio Shakes’ production of Romeo and Juliet, and would like to thank Ohio Shakes for this incredible opportunity.”
Nancy Cates+ - Director, Artistic Director
Nancy Cates is one of the two founding Artistic Directors of the Ohio Shakespeare Festival, an Equity company just finishing its fifteenth season producing Shakespeare and other classics at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Nancy has an undergraduate degree, cum laude, in Drama from the University of Virginia, and has been a professional director and producer for all of her adult life. Read more here.
Sarah Coon - Benvolio, Greenshow Director
Sarah is so happy to return to the Ohio Shakes stage this summer. She has tackled roles both offstage (stage management and directing) and onstage (Celia, As You Like It and numerous ShakesBEER events) with the company. A teacher by day, she holds an M.A. In Theatre from Bowling Green State University, and a Master's in Education from John Carroll University. She sends all her love to her family, the "great 8," and her ever-supportive husband Jason.
Geoffrey Darling - Lord Montague
Geoffrey recent appearances with Ohio Shakespeare Festival have tended toward comedy; King Pellinore in Camelot and Geronte in Scapin, so he’s pleased to find a change of pace in the current season. He wishes all his fellow company members happy and rewarding times, both at Stan Hywet and Greystone, because they sure give him both. It’s been ten years since his Ohio Shakes debut in Taming of the Shrew and he hopes for many more, with love and support from his wife Rose.
Rachael Endrizzi - Lady Capulet
Rachael is so excited to be making her debut with Ohio Shakes! She recently returned to Ohio after working throughout the US, primarily in New York, Fort Myers, and Atlanta. Her favorite Shakespeare credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), Macbeth (Lady Macbeth) with Gulf Coast Shakespeare and Much Ado About Nothing (Hero) with The Laboratory Theatre of Florida. She is a graduate of the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in NYC. www.RachaelEndrizzi.com.
Jim Fippin - Sampson
Jim, a company member since 2006, has appeared in The Winter’s Tale, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry IV, Part One, Richard III, King Lear, and Hamlet. His resume also includes roles in Kimberly Akimbo, Uncle Vanya, August: Osage County, Custer, and The Real Thing. He holds a BFA from Otterbein, where he met his wife, Elaine, and, where their daughter, Emelie, is a junior.
Reid Henry - Friar John
Reid Henry is currently a student at Indiana University studying theatre and drama, and is so pleased to be returning for another season with Ohio Shakespeare. Some of his credits include Gonzalo in "The Tempest", Male Ensemble in "The Exonerated", and has been most recently seen as Baron Tuzenbach in "Three Sisters" and as Man 1/Priest in Machinal. Reid is from Fort Wayne Indiana.
Sara Katrenich - Abraham
Sara is a second-year company member. She's often seen onstage with a sword in her hand, recently as a Cardinal's guard in The Three Musketeers: An Adventure, with Music. You may remember her from the Henry Bishop Stage as Hyacinth in Ohio Shakes' Scapin. She loved her first summer season with Ohio Shakes, especially playing in the Greenshow! Favorite past roles include Luce in The Comedy of Errors, Veronica Craye in The Hollow, and Miss Willie in The Curious Savage. Sara also enjoys performing with Eastern European folk dance group, Living Traditions Folk Ensemble and flexing her Meisner muscles at the Houde School of Acting. All the love!.
Sydney Keller - Ensemble
This is Sydney's third season with Ohio Shakes and she is thrilled to be back! Some of her favorite roles include the Lead Musician/Fighter in The Three Musketeers: An Adventure with Music and Ensemble in Scapin. She would like to thank her friends at Ohio Shakes for always challenging her and helping her grow, and as always, her family for supporting her and driving her to rehearsals!
Marty LaConte - Costume Designer
Marty has been a costume designer since her high school theater days, and later when her daughter performed on the stage at Our Lady of the Elms HS. She was then invited to costume shows at the Coach House Theatre in productions including A Lion in Winter, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and Custer. Marty joined the Ohio Shakespeare Festival team the summer of 2015 as costume and specialty props designer for Henry V. Since then her creative side was able to run wild while creating the mystical, fantasy creatures in The Tempest and Macbeth, as well as select specialty props for Coach House and Ohio Shakes productions. More recently, she designed the critically acclaimed costumes in last year's Camelot at Ohio Shakes and the speciality costumes and props from the Ohio Premiere of King Charles III. She was recognized with a Superior Achievement Award by the Cleveland Critics Circle for her work on The Tempest. Marty is a retired registered nurse who resides with her husband in the city of Green.
Jason Leupold - Paris, Greenshow Music Director
Jason is ecstatic to be returning for his sixth season with Ohio Shakes! Jason is a local professional who holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Kent State who has performed in numerous venues both in Northern Ohio and NYC. As an Actor/Manager with Ohio Shakes, audiences may remember him from King Charles III (Mr. Stevens), Camelot (Mordred), The Three Musketeers... (Aramis), and more. As always, much love to his friends, family, the Great 8, and wonderful wife Sarah for their continuing love and support.
David McNees - The Prince
David thoroughly cherishes every moment spent with Ohio Shakespeare Festival over the last 10 years in productions such as: As You Like It (twice, now), Romeo & Juliet, Witness for the Prosecution, King Lear, Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, The Foreigner, Twelfth Night, Henry IV Part One, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, and Robin Hood. He is a veteran of San Francisco, Berkeley Repertory, and Winedale Shakespeare Festivals out on the West Coast. He was also a founding member of Pour Boys Productions in the Bay Area, receiving Bay Area Critics' Circle and Los Angeles based Drama-Louge awards for roles in Boys' Life, Hurlyburly, American Buffalo, Don Juan in Chicago and more. Many moons ago, he focused on Shakespeare studies at UC Berkeley, then received his MFA in Applied Psychology and Performing Arts from New York University. David has used drama in therapeutic settings as well as in his teaching career. Television credits include Nash Bridges, and some really cheesey rock videos..
Lucy McNees - Ensemble
Lucy is so excited and grateful to be returning to Ohio Shakespeare Festival for her 5th summer season! Some of her favorite roles are Viola (Twelfth Night), Cecily (Importance of Being Earnest), as well as performing in the Greenshows and OSF’s productions of Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It, and Much Ado About Nothing. She sends her eternal love and appreciation to everyone in the Ohio Shakes family for their support, and hopes you enjoy the show!
Lara Mielcarek* - The Nurse
Lara has been a company member since 2006 and has had the incredible opportunity to play a good chunk of Shakespeare's leading ladies. A small few of her favorites include: Kate (Taming of the Shrew), Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing) and Lady Macbeth (Macbeth). She is a grateful Equity actress in Cleveland and has worked at Dobama Theatre and Ensemble Theatre. A show at each of these won her the Cleveland Critics' Circle "Best Actress" awards for 2015 and 2017. Other theatres include: Coach House, French Creek & Beck Center for the Arts, among others. When she's not onstage, Lara runs A.R.C., a "Shakespeare Behind Bars" effort at the women's penitentiary in Cleveland and is an adjunct instructor at both CSU and Mount Union. She gives thanks to Ohio Shakes, her ensemble of girlfriends for their incessant help with wedding planning, and to her other half, Michael Christescu. Huzzah!.
Jerry Mirman - Customer Care
Jerry is a constant figure at Ohio Shakes. He's likely greeted you as you walked by the merchandise tent or helped you find your seat at Greystone Hall. Perhaps he drove you on the Stan Hywet tram down to the lagoon or escorted you back to your car on a dark summer's night. He has been working with the company for over a decade, and he has worked with Artistic Director Nancy Cates on seemingly countless projects across the area, including Coach House Theatre and Weathervane Playhouse. While you will most frequently see Jerry selling swag for Ohio Shakes, he is happy to help all customers in all capacities. Jerry is a crucial volunteer at the theatre and intregal to the welcoming atmophere of our company.
John Peters - The Apothecary, House Manager
John is eternally grateful to perform under the stars with the Ohio Shakespeare Festival! When not treading the boards, John is also the House Manager for Ohio Shakes. Recent credits include: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Danceny) at Weathervane Playhouse, A Few Good Men (Cpl. Howard) at Hudson Players, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (Actor 1), Drop Dead! (Chaz Looney/Drools) at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, The Psychic (Adam Webster) at Stow Players, and Murder on the Nile (Smith) at Coach House Theatre.
Joe Pine - Romeo, Technical Director
Joe has been involved in many of the tremendous new programs offered this year since acquiring the new theatre. Recent Ohio Shakes credits include Prince William (King Charles III) and Lancelot (Camelot). He also made his debut as a playwright last fall with the Ohio Shakes production of his adaptation of The Three Musketeers... Favorite Ohio Shakes credits include Hotspur (King Henry IV, Part One), Feste (Twelfth Night) and Stephano (Tempest). Other regional credits include Horatio (Hamlet, Seven Stages Shakespeare Company), George (Of Mice and Men, Coach House Theatre), Slank (Peter and the Starcatcher, Dobama), Fersen (Marie Antionette, Dobama) and Billis (South Pacific, E.J. Thomas Hall). This one's for you, Lo'. Look, up in the sky--!
Scott Shriner - Lord Capulet
Scott joined this superbly talented company in 2004 and is so grateful to be part of it. Ohio Shakes roles include Prime Minister Evans in King Charles III, Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oswald in King Lear, Cassio in Othello, both Malvolio and Antonio in Twelfth Night, and Gary in I Hate Hamlet. Others: Max in Lend Me a Tenor (both Weathervane Playhouse and Coach House Theatre), Howie in Rabbit Hole (Weathervane), Will in The Book Club Play (Actors’ Summit), and Charles in Blithe Spirit (Coach House).
Kim Simbeck - Costume Crew
Kim is excited to join Ohio Shakes in Verona this summer. When Kim is not performing on stage, she loves to work backstage on costumes. She was the head of wardrobe on several productions in college and high school and participated in The Cleveland Playhouse’s centennial season dressing A Comedy of Tenors. Kim would like to thank Tess, Terry, and Nancy for this opportunity and to thank her Mom for being wonderfully her.
Natalie Steen - Gregory
Natalie is a Junior acting major pursuing her BFA at Baldwin Wallace University. Recent credits include Gloucester in King Henry VI, Part I and Bullingbroke in King Henry VI, Part Two. You can also see her this fall as The Wife in the Baldwin Wallace production of American La Ronde! She would like to not only thank the cast and crew but her family and friends for their endless support! Huzzah! Enjoy the show!
Mark Stoffer - Main Stage Music Director, Original Music
Mark performed as an actor in his first Ohio Shakes production in 2008 and brought his many talents to the Company as a full member in 2010. As Master Electrician (M.E.), he keeps our technical systems in good working order - even at our outdoor, summer location at Stan Hywet Hall, where the elements can present a unique challenge. As both M.E. and Lighting & Sound Designer, he is regularly to be found at Greystone Hall either working on upcoming events or maintaining the systems we have there. As Music Director for the past several seasons, he has been creating the musical setting for all of our productions of Shakespeare's plays. In keeping with the Original Practice philosophy, he searches out early sources to use as a foundation, and has written many original compositions or new arrangements based on older tunes in order to best suit the musical talents of our actors.
Buddy Taylor - Light and Sound Designer
Buddy has been with Ohio Shakes since 2003, and it continues to give him enjoyment and new challenges. Even though he moved to Texas in 2008, he still returns several times a year to design lights, design sound, build set pieces, or just add his two cents to a conversation. He recently joined the company at the indoor Greystone hall venue the Sound and Light Design of King Charles III. Some of his favorite Ohio Shakes productions (so far) are Othello, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Comedy of Errors. Buddy also does design and production services in Texas for some schools and smaller local venues.
Emerson Grey Thoenen - Assistant Stage Manager
Emerson is beyond excited to continue working with the Ohio Shakespeare Festival. His most recent work with Ohio was as Assistant Stage Manager on King Charles III and playing around with the wacky cast and crew of Complete Works.... He also was the Stage Manager for Camelot and Scapin, and his first immersion into Ohio Shakes was fulfilling the role of Assistant Stage Manager for The Three Musketeers... Emerson’s range in the Performing Arts varies from playwriting, filmmaking, and occasionally background acting. In May of this year, he will be graduating from Kent State University with a degree in Theatre and English. Emery is extremely grateful for all the supportive humans he has in his life. Much love and light, friends.
Kelsey Tomlinson - Ensemble, Greenshow Costume Designer
Kelsey is thrilled to be working with Ohio Shakes for another season. Audiences may remember her most recent role as Diana in King Charles III. Other recent roles include Constance in The Three Musketeers... and Sandra in A Thousand Clowns (Coach House Theatre). She also serves as a Resident Costume Designer for Ohio Shakes. Audiences may remember her recent design work in Scapin and King Charles III. Other notable credits include Angels in America, parts 1 and 2 (Ensemble Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along (Lakeland Community College), and Dogfight (Western Reserve Playhouse). When not doing theatre, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and trying her hand at music. Much love to family and friends.
Jenna VanWeelden - Ensemble
Jenna is excited to be joining Ohio Shakespeare for the first time this summer! The last time she performed was at the American Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia, where she played Irina in an ensemble-devised production of The Three Sisters. She has also recently appeared as Olivia in New City Players’ Twelfth Night (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). Jenna has her BA in Theatre Arts from Taylor University.
Andreas Varner-Waltz - Paris' Page
Andreas is eleven years old and goes to Miller South with a focus in drama. This is his second performance with Ohio Shakes after playing Tom of Warwick in Camelot. He likes reading and has two cats. He enjoys taking European fencing and piano. He is a fan of British television, and especially Doctor Who. He would like to thank Ohio Shakespeare Festival for giving him the opportunity to act in another play!
Elena Varner-Waltz - Ensemble
Elena is deliriously happy to be performing in her first show with Ohio Shakes (instead of watching from the audience)! She has previously performed in Miller South's musicals, The Tempest (Antonio), and Cinderella (Ensemble). She also sings with Summit Choral Society in their Performance Choir. Elena will be going to Firestone High School next year. Thanks to family and friends – in school and in Summit Choral. Without their support, these opportunities never would have happened. (Plus, I never would have gotten over my stage fright.)
Mikyla Wilfred - Ensemble
Mikyla is excited to be part of her first season in the Ohio Shakespeare Festival. Her past roles include Yente in Fiddler on the Roof, Florence in The Curious Savage, and Princess Number 12 in Once Upon a Mattress. She is very excited to get back into theatre after finishing her Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Akron. In her spare time, she enjoys being behind and in front of the camera. She hopes you enjoy the show!
Karen L. Wood - Lady Montague
Karen is a thirteen year veteran with OSF. Favorite shows include The Comedy of Errors, King Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, and As You Like It. Favorite shows at other theatres include Guys and Dolls, She Loves Me, Gypsy, The Drowsy Chaperone, Pippin, Steel Magnolias, Present Laughter, Lend Me a Tenor, and Over the River and Through the Woods. Thanks for supporting live, local theatre.
Katie Zarecki - Tybalt, Choreographer
Since graduating from Bowling Green State University with a B.M. in vocal performance, Katie has appeared at a variety of venues as actress and/or choreographer. Some of her favorite past shows are The Three Musketeers... and Scapin with Ohio Shakespeare Festival and Cabaret with Blank Canvas Theatre. For the past six seasons, she has been a part of the Ohio Shakespeare Festival, appearing in and choreographing the Greenshows and plays. In whatever free time she has, Katie teaches dance and voice privately and with Cleveland Heights High School.
Ryan Zarecki - Mercutio, Fight Director, Scenic Carpenter
Ryan Zarecki loves his job. As the Resident Fight Director (excelsior) for the Ohio Shakespeare Festival, he is overjoyed to be playing Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Parolles in All's Well... and returning as Porthos in Three Musketeers... As a stage combat instructor, he host workshops, private lessons, and the monthly FIGHT NIGHT at Greystone hall and has worked with the Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute, the Wayne Center for the Arts, Cleveland State University, Akron University, Case Western University, and Dobama theatre, to name a few. A graduate of Bowling Green State university, he trained in Chicago with groups including the Babes with Blades, and is a proud member of the SAFD. He has been teaching and choreographing stage violence for over a thirteen years. When not avoiding stabbings, he runs his leather shop, The Buckle and Rose on Etsy.com. He lives in Stow, OH with his talented and beautiful choreographer wife, Katie Zarecki, and their dog, Calamity Jane.