Meet the poets & players.
Tess Burgler - Viola deLessups, Fight Captain
Audiences might remember Tess as: d’Artagnan, Rosalind, Helen, Kate Middleton, Hermione, 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). Late this season, she will play Martha Jefferson in 1776. She is beyond grateful for you, this theatre, her beautiful friends, and her Smallville.
Sarah Caley - Sam, ensemble
Sarah is absolutely thrilled to be returning to Ohio Shakespeare Festival for their production of Shakespeare in Love! Ohio Shakes audiences may remember her as Balthazar in this summer’s production of Romeo & Juliet. Sarah also has numerous grade school, high school, and community theater credits, and is a frequent participant in FIGHT NIGHT and other workshops with Ohio Shakes. Love above all!
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.
Amiee Collier - The Nurse
Amiee is thrilled to make her Ohio Shakes stage debut this season. Last season, she worked crew for Camelot and Romeo and Juliet. Based in Cleveland, she has a long list of roles, but here are some of her favorites: Merrily We Roll Along (Mary), Next to Normal (Diana), and Sunday in the Park with George (Dot/Marie) at Lakeland Civic; Bat Boy: The Musical (Meredith Parker) and Equus (Hesther) at Blank Canvas Theatre; Sweeney Todd (The Beggar Woman) at Cain Park; Jekyll & Hyde (Lucy) and Evil Dead – The Musical (Cheryl) at Beck Center. amieecollier.com
Buckley Collier - Spot
Buckley is a very good boy. This 8-1/2 year old cairn terrier/poodle mix has very respectable theater resume. Some of his previous credits include The Wizard of Oz (Toto) at Willoughby Fine Arts, Annie (Sandy) at Beck Center (three times), Magnificat High School, and Normandy High School. Buckley would like to thank his mom, Amiee, his kitten, Holiday Golightly, his toys, and Julie Andrews.
Sarah Coon - Noll, Molly, ensemble
Sarah is thrilled to be back at Greystone Hall. Over the past few years with Ohio Sakes, Sarah has tackled roles both offstage (stage management and directing), and on (Benvolio, Romeo and Juliet; Celia, As You Like It; ShakesBEER events). By day, she's a high school English teacher. She holds an M.A. in Theatre from Bowling Green State University and a M.Ed. from John Carroll University. She sends all her love to her family, the "great 8," and her ever-supportive husband Jason.
Zara Deardroff - Assistant Stage Manager
Zara has always loved theatre and the arts. She graduated from Clarion University with Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2007. She continued her training in theatre and acting while attending the American Music and Drama Academy (AMDA) in Los Angeles until 2009. Previous to joining the OSF crew, Zara worked at the Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster, Ohio, supporting local art and theatre education in our communities. Whether she is onstage or off, Zara’s love and passion for the theatre cannot be denied. She’s excited and thankful to be involved with such an amazing cast and crew!
Jim Fippin - Ralph, ensemble
Jim has been a company member since 2006, and has appeared in Treasure Island..., The Three Musketeers..., All’s Well That Ends Well, Romeo and Juliet, 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.
Holly Humes - Queen Elizabeth
Holly is grateful to return for another production with Ohio Shakespeare Festival. During the day, she is a professor of communication at the College of Wooster and Lorain County Community College, and the head coach of the Wooster High School Speech & Debate team. Audiences may remember her from All's Well... (Countess), Macbeth (Lady Macduff), King Lear (Goneril), Twelfth Night (Maria), and Robin Hood... (Princess Marguerite). She would like to thank her husband, Scott Custer, for all of his love and support.
Jeremy Jenkins - Frees, Robin, ensemble
Jeremy returns to the Greystone stage after having been seen in Lone Star (Cletis) during its inaugural season. A proud Ohio Shakes company member, he has appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander), The Merchant of Venice (Lorenzo), and The Taming of the Shrew (Hortensio) among others. Favorite credits include The Woman in Black (Arthur Kipps), Death of a Salesman (Happy Loman), The Odd Couple (Felix Unger), and three productions of The Glass Menagerie (Jim O’Conner). By day, he is a high school English teacher for Strongsville city schools. Love to Purty! High Four! Jeremy dedicates this performance to his two favorite deputies, Dylan & Nash.
Marty LaConte - Costume Design
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 - Burbage, Music Director
Jason is ecstatic to be returning for his sixth season with Ohio Shakes! Jason is a local professional performer, instructor, and podcast co-host 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 Camelot (Mordred), Romeo & Juliet (Paris), 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.
Michelle Elyse Levinson - Stage Manager
Michelle is currently pursuing her B.A. in Stage Management from Baldwin Wallace University, and is very excited about her first production at OSF. Some of her favorite stage management credits include Rock 'N' Roll, Stage Door, Henry VI Parts I & II, and most recently Ah, Wilderness! Special thanks and much love to the BW theater department, Matt, and Katherine.
Lara Mielcarek* - Marlowe
Lara has been a company member since 2006 and has had the incredible opportunity to play many 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). As an Equity actress in Cleveland, Lara has frequented the stages of Dobama Theatre, Ensemble Theatre & Beck Center for the Arts, among others. She’s proudly won the Cleveland Critics' Circle "Best Actress" award in both 2015 and 2017. When she's not onstage, Lara dapples in directing, manages the Hermit Club, teaches at Cleveland State, coaches Spinning, and volunteers for A.R.C., her "Shakespeare Behind Bars" effort at the women's penitentiary. She is incredibly grateful to Ohio Shakes, her theatrical home, and gives love to her husband, Michael.
Maya Nicholson - Lambert, Adam, ensemble
Maya is a senior at Kent State University majoring in Theatre Production. She's performed in Smokey Joe’s Café, The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Shop of Horrors as well as Kent State Stark's Voices from Hurt Street as various characters, one being “Winifred Oprey,” doing a play-off of the Oprah Winfrey Show. She was costume design assistant for I Love You Because and Assistant Stage Manager in Spring Awakening, all at Kent State. Her last two shows for her senior year happened to be two favorites of hers. She directed Ain't Misbehavin' and was cast as Mrs. Dickson in Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel. Her earliest season at Kent State began as she performed as the sassy sister, Libby, in The Maiden’s Prayer and Melanie, the outspoken sister in Lewis Black's One Slight Hitch. She was the Assistant Director and character of Francis in Blur, Ginette, Sandrine and Rhonda in Almost, Maine and Eliza in What We're Up Against. Maya is also currently directing For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow was Enuf at the Avenue Arts Marketplace and Theatre in Canton.
Elise Pakiela - Webster
Elise is excited to return to Ohio Shakes! She spent two summer seasons at Stan Hywet, performing in Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, and The Tempest, and singing and dancing in the Greenshow. Previous credits include Wait Until Dark (Gloria) at Idaho Shakespeare Festival/Great Lakes Theater, The Crucible (Betty Parris) at Cleveland Play House, A Little Night Music (Fredrika) at Lakeland Civic Theatre, The Devil’s Disciple (Essie) at Coach House Theatre, and Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars (Pockets) at Dobama Theatre for which she was recognized as a “Superior Achievement Rising Star” by the Cleveland Critics Circle. Elise has trained at Broadway Artists Alliance of NYC, the Dobama Emerging Actors Program, and Interlochen Center for the Arts where she performed as Feste in Twelfth Night. Gratitude to the OSF company and Mom, Dad, Sean, and Ryan. www.elisepakiela.com
Joe Pine - Will Shakespeare, 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 Romeo, 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--!
James Rankin - Lord Wessex
This is James' third production with Ohio Shakes and he is ecstatic to be working with this wonderful group of people. James is a local actor who has worked with various theaters around town. Some of his past credits include: Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby at Ensemble Theatre, Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher in Peter and The Starcatcher at Dobama Theatre, Biff Lowman in Death of a Salesman At French Creek Theatre. He has also done quite a bit of Educational work for Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, and Cuyahoga Community College (Ranging from directing, outreach tours, workshops, and teaching). All and all, James is very grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank his family, friends, and for their love and support. Enjoy the show!
Scott Shriner - Fennyman
Scott is pleased to be appearing in Shakespeare in Love and 1776 this season. His most recent roles with Ohio Shakespeare Festival are Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Prime Minister Evans in King Charles III, and Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He has performed in many other productions with this group since joining Ohio Shakes in 2004, and he continues to savor both the company of these amazing people, and the challenge and enjoyment of the work.
Lenne Snively* - Henslowe
Lenne is very excited about (finally) getting to work with Ohio Shakes, especially since she knows so many in the company from productions in other Ohio theaters. Some favorite roles: Duchess of York (Richard III) at Boise Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theater, Linda (Kin) Dobama, Abby (A Great Wilderness) Beck Center for the Arts, Madam Armfeldt (A Little Night Music) and Hannah (The Spitfire Grill) both at Porthouse Theater. This summer Lenne returned to Porthouse to play Aunt Eller in their season closing production of Oklahoma. For Jimmy--always in my heart.
Mark Stoffer - Tilney, DeLessups, Lighting Design
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.
Kelsey Tomlinson - Mistress Quickly, Kate, ensemble, Costume Design
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.
Katie Zarecki - Peter, ensemble, 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 - Ned, Fight Director
Ryan loves his job. As Resident Fight Director (excelsior!) for the Ohio Shakespeare Festival, he has had the honor to play the lover Orlando in As You Like It, the bold Porthos in the Three Musketeers... and the proud Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and he has staged violence for the past six years in the Akron/ Cleveland area. He has been training, teaching and choreographing stage violence for over fifteen years. As a stage combat instructor, he host 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, and has been the fight choreographer for Dobama Theatre's past three season's for shows including The Baker St. Irregulars, Hand to God, Peter and the Starcatcher, and An Octaroon. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, he trained in Chicago with such groups as the Babes with Blades and is a proud member of the SAFD. When not avoiding stabbings, he runs his leather shop, The Buckle and Rose, on Etsy.com. He lives in Stow with his beautiful and talented choreographer wife, Katie Zarecki, and their dog, Calamity.