HBTI Production Bios
Learn more about our casts and staff!
(Bios are listed in alphabetical order by last name)
Isabel Billinghurst (Joane – Company) cannot begin to describe her excitement for this production. Recent credits include Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie at TrueNorth, Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank at Olmsted Performing Arts, and Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy at the Lorain Palace Theatre. She cannot think of a better way to have spent her summer than as Joanne! She would like to thank her family for their eternal love and support, and all of the people who granted her this amazing opportunity. “No day but today!"
Emma Blemaster (Amy – Little Women) is going into the 6th grade at Laurel School. She is very excited to be attending HBTI this summer as she loves acting, singing and dancing. She has been involved in many area plays as an actor and playwright, including Heights Youth Theater and Dobama Young Playwrights Festival. Emma takes voice lessons and plays guitar and drums.
Seth Bryte (Company – Oklahoma!) will be a junior at Lake High School this coming fall. Seth is so happy to be a part of the HBTI productions once again this summer. This is Seth's third production with HBTI. Seth has been a part of numerous productions including Gregory Gardener in A Chorus Line at HBTI, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd at HBTI, Stanley in Hello, Dolly! at Lake High School, and many more. Off of the stage, Seth enjoys spending time with friends and family and singing in his school's show choir. Seth would like to thank the HBTI production staff and his cast members for the effort and commitment put towards this show.
Sweta Datta (Company – Rent & Oklahoma!) 15 year old Sweta will be a sophomore at Mayfield High School n the fall 2015. After a few sessions at HBTI, she fell in love with Broadway because it encapsulates dance, singing and acting all in one art. Sweta has been cast in the shows - Aladdin and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Heights Youth Theater. In her spare time, Sweta writes novels and her own music. She plays guitar and piano, and is learning ballet, jazz, and tap.
Halle Dray (Company — Rent) is thrilled to be in HBTI's production of Rent! Halle has been performing since 2008 in Heights Youth Theatre's production of The Wizard of Oz. Other shows at Heights Youth Theatre include Pippin, The Wiz, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Midsummer, A Little Princess, Willy Wonka, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. She has also worked with Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory in Cinderella. Halle can also be seen in Pippin this summer at Mercury Theatre Company as the lead player. Thanks to friends and family and anyone who made this show possible! Enjoy the show!
Danielle Duke (Company – Rent) This is Danielle’s first show at HBTI! Danielle started performing in theater at age eight. She has performed at Fine Arts Association, Rabbit Run Theater, Andrews Osborne Academy, and her high school, Lake Catholic. Danielle will be a sophomore this fall. Some of her favorite roles include Alice in The Miracle Worker and Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. She is an ongoing member of Chili Con Comedy Improv Troupe at Fine Arts Association. Danielle also performs with LC Singers (Lake Catholic Show Choir), Concert Choir, and Marching Band. Many thanks to her Mom and Dad for everything they have done for her.
Natalie Fischer (Mark’s Mother – Rent) Natalie is a sophomore at Elyria Catholic HS. This is her 3rd season with HBTI and has been seen in many shows/performances at TrueNorth Cultural Arts, LCMT, Mighty Goliath and the Lorain Palace Theatre. Favorite roles include: Little Girl in Ragtime, Charlotte in Oliver and most recently as a Bird Girl in Seussical the Musical with Mighty Goliath Productions in Avon Lake. Last summer, she had the honor of being a featured soloist in the beautiful country of Chinon, France. Her goal is to become a director, performer or writer in NYC. Natalie would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support, Barbara for her vocal training and friendship and to Fred and Bebe for believing in her. Break a leg to the cast and crew!
Ashley Foster (Company – Rent/Kate – Oklahoma!) is 14 yrs old and will be a freshman at Aurora High School. She is thrilled to participate in two productions this summer at HBTI. Some of her favorite roles include Judas in Godspell Jr., Sharon in Finian's Rainbow at Seton Catholic School, Mayzie LaBird in Seussical at Aurora Community Theater, and Ernestine in Cheaper by the Dozen at Garretsville Curtains UpTheatre. When she is not on stage, Ashley enjoys doing volunteer work and traveling. She is also looking forward to being in the high school show choir. Ashley wants to thank all of her teachers, friends, and family for all of their continuous support!
Jenna Freireich, (Ali/Ensemble) is a sophomore at Solon High School. Favorite past roles include, Peter in Peter Pan and Liesl in The Sound of Music at Playmakers Theater, Ensemble in A Chorus Line at HBTI, Rebel in Urinetown at Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory, and Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Beachwood Theater. Besides performing, Jenna enjoys art, calligraphy, playing the guitar and shopping!
Matt Gittins (Mark – Rent/Curly – Oklahoma!) is excited to play Mark/Curly in these two great shows! He graduated from Chardon High School in June and was last seen at HBTI as Mike in A Chorus Line. Some of his other favorite roles include Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can, Pippin in Pippin, and Albert in Bye Bye Birdie. He is looking forward to attending college this fall and intends on studying musical theater. He is thankful for his family and friends and is so happy to be back at HBTI this summer!
Kayla Gerogosian (Gertie Cummings – Oklahoma!) is 15 years old and will be a 10th grader attending Holy Name High School next year. This is Kayla's second year at HBTI where she appeared previously as Head Attendant in The King and I. She has also appeared as Helen Burton in The Children's Hour and Ensemble in Bye Bye Birdie at The Beck Center, Gavroche's Gang in Les Miserables at Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory, Narrator 5 in Aladdin Jr., King Louie in The Jungle Book Kids, and Dot in Honk Jr. at 82nd Street Theater, as well as many others. Kayla currently takes piano and voice lessons. Lastly, she would like to thank the cast and crew for all the hard work they've done and hopes you enjoy the show!
Jessica Hirsh (Aunt Eller, Dance Captain – Oklahoma!) Jessica is a graduate of Lawrence School and will be start out as a BFA Musical Theatre student at Youngstown State this fall. Favorite past roles include Mayzie (Seussical), Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy (Shrek), Judy Turner (A Chorus Line), Grace Ferrel (Annie), Helena Landless (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), and Little Becky Two Shoes (Urinetown). In her spare time, Jessica enjoys touching animals, video games, and thinking about working out (it sounds like a solid idea).
Rachel Hoy (Mim – Rent, Ensemble – Oklahoma!) is a rising sophomore at Chagrin Falls High School. She is very excited to have the opportunity to participate in this production. Her recent shows include: Cinderella (Chagrin Falls High School) (Ensemble), The Wedding Singer (Stagecrafters) (Bum), Hairspray (Heights Youth Theater) (Amber) and Beauty and the Beast (Chagrin Falls MS/IS) (Belle). She would like to thank Leslie Varnick, her voice teacher, and her friends and family for supporting her in her theatrical pursuits.
Denzel Jones (Jud Frey/fight captain – Oklahoma!) Denzel was last seen at HBTI playing Bobby Mills in A Chorus Line. Denzel is a graduate of Brush High School and The Chagrin Academy and is currently an English Major at Notre Dame College. He has played a variety of roles including Malcolm in 13, the musical, Kyle in Legally Blonde and the Bishop in Les Miserables. Denzel appreciates the directors he has worked with for the great opportunities!
Ryan Kacmar (Jo – Little Women), Ryan, an eighth grader at Harmon Middle School in Aurora, is thrilled to back in HB’s Black Box Theatre. Last summer she performed here as Lucy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Since that time, she has played Artful Dodger in Oliver! at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre and Wendy in Peter Pan & Wendy at Solon Center for the Arts. Ryan sings in her school choir and plays soccer. Like her character Jo, Ryan also enjoys writing; her Power of the Pen team placed first at both the district and regional competitions this year.
Sydney Keller (Oklahoma!) will be a junior this fall at Shaker Heights High School. For five years, Sydney was a member of Garfield Heights Youth Theater where her big voice and comedic timing earned her parts such as the Wicked Witch in Snow White and in Oz. She has also been a performer in “green show” productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth for Stage Left Theater Company in Medina. But she is most proud of her role as a Storyteller in the SHHS production of Once On This Island this past school year. Sydney's first love is singing, but she also plays guitar and piano, and enjoys riding horses. She would like to thank her voice teacher, Gary Race, and the HBTI directors for the opportunity to be involved in a great production.
Hannah Kulawiak (Lexi Darling – Rent/Laurey – Oklahoma!) This is her in her second summer at HBTI. Hannah, an incoming freshman at Aurora High School, did her first show at age 7 at CVLT. Last summer she had a bloody good time being part of the amazing cast of Sweeney Todd and was also tickled pink to play Margot in Legally Blonde with Mercury Summer Stock’s TeenStock. Recently Hannah enjoyed taunting orphans as Miss Hannigan in Annie, Jr. at Harmon Middle School and being locked in a tower as Teen Fiona in Shrek the Musical at Beachwood Community Theatre. Some of her favorite roles have been Ursula in The Little Mermaid, Jr., Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Jr. at Solon Center for the Arts and Cat in HONK! at Aurora Community Theatre. She also enjoyed lead roles in her school musicals as Angie in Metaphasia and Wolf in The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood. In addition to her mildly obsessive passion for musical theatre, Hannah is an avid violinist. She is a three-time winner of her school strings competition. She plays improvisational violin and is a backup singer for the pop group, Actually Electric. Hannah would like to thank her voice teacher for her guidance and encouragement and Bebe and Fred for giving her these fantastic opportunities. Of the 525,600 minutes of 2015 she is sure another summer of learning at HBTI will be the highlight. Many a new day will dawn, but HBTI’s fabulous actors and staff will always hold a special place in her heart. Break a leg everyone!
Kevin LaMonica (Will Parker – Oklahoma!) Last summer Kevin played Charlie Brown in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at HBTI. Kevin will be in the 9th grade at Shaker Heights High School this fall. He has performed in various shows at Heights Youth Theatre (HYT), Ensemble Theatre, Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory, and Shaker Heights Middle School (SHMS). He has previously trained with the Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute (HBTI). His favorite role to date is Mike Teavee in Willy Wonka at HYT. Other credits include Chiam in For the Love of a Leica at Ensemble Theatre, Nibs in Peter Pan at HYT, Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz at SHMS and Understudy for Boy in The Big Meal at Dobama Theatre.
Sophie Longo (Ellen — Oklahoma!) Sophie is going to be a freshman at Aurora High School this fall. She is delighted to be performing for the first time with the Hathaway Brown Theater Institute. She has been singing and acting in numerous productions since she was 7. Some of her stage credits include Shrek (Teen Fiona), Seusical Jr. (Mayzie), Fiddler on the Roof (Bielke), Honk (Ida), Roar of the Greasepaint (Gloria) and Annie Jr (Annie). She'd like to thank her family and friends for all the support and hopes everyone enjoys the show!
Ella Murray (Virginia – Oklahoma!) is thrilled to be a part of the production Oklahoma! at HBTI. Ella is in 7th grade at Chagrin Falls Middle School. Ella has been a part of 14 productions over the last 6 years. Her most memorable roles include Sally in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Princess Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Amaryllis in The Music Man and The Mayor of Munchkin land in The Wizard of Oz. This is Ella's third year at HBTI and she looks forward to another amazing summer with an incredible cast and crew. Ella would like to thank the directors and stage crew for all they do to make this production come to life. See you at the show!
Jack Philbin (Homeless person – Rent/Joe – Oklahoma!) is very excited to be performing in Rent and Oklahoma! this summer! Jack first discovered the acting bug while being apart of stage crew for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Some of his previous credits include Petey Peterson in Casino Dreams at the Hathaway Brown Playwrights Festival in the Black Box Theatre, Dopey/Pig #2 in Law & Order: Fairy Tale Unit and the Cheese Merchant in Cinderella in the Garfield Theatre at Lawrence Upper School. Jack would like to thank his directors, music directors, choreographers, casts and crew for making the shows possible, his friends for their support, and lastly his parents for their unconditional support and for giving birth to him. He wishes his casts to break a leg and for the audience to enjoy the show!
Leah Saltzer (Maureen Johnson – Rent) is over the moon with excitement to be part of this awesome production! She has been seen on the HBTI stage as Cassie in A Chorus Line, the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, and Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde. Other favorite credits include: Ariel Moore in Footloose and Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Solon High School; Hope Cladwell in Urinetown and Marian Paroo in The Music Man at FPAC; and Liesl von Trapp in The Sound of Music at TrueNorth Cultural Arts. Leah was Vice President of Solon High School’s show choir, as well as tuba section leader in band, and a member of the Madrigrals. She will be attending Ithaca College, pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre.
Garrett Scharf (Cord Elam – Oklahoma!) is a Notre Dame College student. He sings in the choir, and plays percussion in the marching, concert and pep bands there. He is majoring in Communications and minoring in Performing Arts. This spring he played Armond in Notre Dame College’s production of Once on This Island and sang in Mercury Theatre Company’s special concert event A Whole New World. Last summer he played Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde at Mercury Summer Stock's Teen Stock and was in the Company for HBTI’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He recently he played Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown and King Charles in Pippen at Stagecrafters' Teen Academy.
Hannah Schmidt (Ado Annie – Oklahoma!) Hannah Schmidt is going into ninth grade at Hathaway Brown School. Some of her favorite roles include Snoopy in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (for which she won a Cleveland.com award) and an attendant in The King and I at HBTI, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie, The Baker's Wife in Into the Woods jr., and Jasmine in Aladdin at University School, and Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at Hathaway Brown along with many others. When she's not in rehearsal or dance class she is dancing around the house or belting out show tunes. She also enjoys playing piano and reading. Hannah is very thankful and excited to return to HBTI for a third year in Rent and Oklahoma!
Mary Sikorovsky (Rent/Oklahoma!) is thrilled to be a part of HBTI's Rent and Oklahoma!. She attends Beaumont High School and will be a sophomore in the fall. Mary has performed in various shows at Heights Youth Theatre, Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute, Beaumont High School, and Beachwood Community Theatre. This summer Mary will be attending Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute for her third year. She also takes ballet at Cleveland City Dance and voice lessons with Fairmount School of Music. Mary would like to thank her family and friends, and wishes the cast and crew many broken legs!!!
Fred Sternfeld (Director - Rent: School Edition) has created or co-created acclaimed performing arts training programs for young people at the Dallas, Seattle and Cleveland Jewish Community Centers, Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory (FPAC) and Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute (HBTI). For HBTI he previously directed The King and I and co-directed A Chorus Line. Fred is widely represented on Northeast Ohio stages through diverse projects, garnering numerous honors and awards, a few of which are listed here: West Side Story and The Miracle Worker at TrueNorth, Yellowman at Karamu Performing Arts Theatre, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Saturday Night at Beck Center, Ragtime, the musical, A Shayna Maidel and Fiddler on the Roof at the Cleveland JCC. He previously served as Artistic Director at Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute, Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory, Lakewood Little Theatre - Beck Center for the Arts and the Cleveland, Seattle & Dallas Jewish Community Centers. Other selected credits: Fiddler on the Roof & The Sound of Music at Cain Park; The Fantasticks, Steel Magnolias and Baby at TrueNorth; Gruesome Playground Injuries at Ensemble Theatre; The Bluest Eye at Karamu Theatre; A Little Night Music, Company, Les Miserables: School Edition, Children of Eden and Into the Woods at FPAC; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife & The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek at Dobama Theatre; Man of La Mancha, The Twilight of the Golds & Conversations With My Father for the Cleveland JCC; Amadeus at Willoughby Fine Arts and Proof at GLTG. www.fredsternfeld.com.
Carson Strnisa (Mr. Grey – Rent) Carson is in the 10th grade at Garfield Heights High School. He was been involved in theatre since 2nd grade. He also is involved in the show choir at his high school. He hopes every one enjoys the show!
Michael D. Swain (Benjamin Coffin – Rent) This past June, Michael performed with the Akron All-City Musical at the Akron Civic Theatre where he was Donkey in Shrek the Musical. Some if his recent credits include The Cowardly Lion/Zeke in the Wizard of Oz, Issachar in Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Joseph Asagai in A Raisin in the Sun, all at Weathervane Playhouse. Other performances include Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man & Teen Angel/Vince Fontaine in Grease both at AECHS, Fred in Bye Bye Birdie & One of Coalhouse's Men in Ragtime the Musical at Akron Civic and more. Michael just finished his senior year at Akron Early College High School and also received his Associates of Arts from the University of Akron, upon graduating from high school. He is heading to Ohio Northern University this fall to earn his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Arts Administration. He would like to thank his friends and family for all they contribute to his career as a performer.
Karson Taylor (Ensemble – Rent) could not be more excited to be in her first HBTI production this summer! In the fall, Karson will be a freshman at Aurora High School, where she is a member of the Emerald Ensemble, AHS's show choir, and plays viola in Aurora High School's Concert Orchestra. Karson has absolutely loved theatre since 1st grade. Some of her favorite roles have been Flotsam in The Little Mermaid Jr., Isabel in Pirates of Penzance Jr., and Simeon's wife/the Baker in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Solon Center for the Arts. She also has recently played the Apple Seller in Annie Jr. at Harmon Middle School and Little Bo Beep in Shrek the Musical at Beachwood Community Theatre.
Brian Tuohey (Sam - Oklahoma!) will be an 8th grader at St. Clare School. He has been performing in community theatre since the 2nd grade with his first performance in Once on This Island (Heights Youth Theatre). Since then he has been in numerous shows, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (HYT), The Wiz (HYT), The Music Man (Fairmount Performing Arts Center), King Louis' dancing monkey in Jungle Book (HYT), A Twin in Peter Pan (HYT), Buddah in The King and I (HBTI), a featured dancer in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (HYT), a counsel member in Hairspray (HYT), Link Larkin in Hairspray (St.Clare) and most recently Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie. Brian is thrilled to be working once again with Bebe and the cast and crew of Oklahoma!. Brian dances with Spotlight Dance Studio (Mentor, Ohio), he takes voice lessons with Ms.Helen Todd and plays the saxophone. Brian runs cross country, track, basketball and swims on the city swim team. He is looking forward to another summer session of HBTI camp and wishes all the cast members Good Luck! And... he would like thank his friends and family for coming to the show!
Ryan Vincent (Squeegee – Rent) is thrilled to be back on the HBTI stage again this year working with extraordinary director Fred Sternfeld and an amazing staff, cast and crew in Rent! Involved in theater since he was five years old, Ryan will be a 9th grader at Orange High School in the fall. Ryan was last seen at HBTI as Linus in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and was directed by Fred as Gavroche in Les Miserables. 2015 roles include Captain Von Trapp in Playmakers’ The Sound of Music and Emmett Forrest in Orange Schools’ production of Legally Blonde the Musical! Professionally, he received rave reviews as Sacha in the Cleveland Play House/Cleveland Orchestra joint production of Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, Prince Mamillius in Great Lake Theater’s The Winter’s Tale, for multiple roles in Dobama’s production of The Big Meal, and as a Spirit in The Magic Flute with Apollo’s Fire at Severance Hall. Regional credits include Tommy, (Age 10) in Tommy, a Benefit for Broadway Cares, Edgar in Ragtime with Mercury Summer Stock, and Capi in the staged reading of The Owl Girl at Cleveland Public Theater, also under Fred’s direction. Favorite local roles include: Jojo in Seussical at the Fine Arts Association; Ryan in High School Musical, Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, Charlie in Willy Wonka, all at Playmakers; Tiny Tim in Geauga Lyric Theater’s A Christmas Carol, Peter in Mame with Hudson Players and multiple performances as Theo in Pippin. Ryan has also performed with the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and numerous times with Opera Cleveland at Playhouse Square. Film credits include the award-winning Turning Point and A Silent Truth, both directed by Peter A. Fields, and he earned a television credit as the title role in The Zachary Kessler Mystery Adventures pilot. Ryan was the recipient of the 2012 Indie Gathering International Film Festival Star Award in the youth division.
Mary Grace Wilkinson (Meg – Little Women) Last summer Grace played Peppermint Patty in HBTI's production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown will be a 7th grader in the Shaker schools. She has been acting and performing since Kindergarden when she played a Who in Seussical and theater has played a huge role in her life ever since! Some of her most recent roles included Bena Blewet in The Wishes at the Marilyn Bianchi Kids Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre and Lily in Unaccompanied Minors, also part of the Festival. Grace enjoys playing lacrosse and swimming when she is not on stage!
Morgan Faith Williams (Company — Rent) Morgan is thrilled to return to the HBTI stage and to work with Fred for a third time! She was seen most recently in Shrek The Musical at Near West Theatre and also had the wonderful experience of participating in the documentary Move On! which was selected as part of the Cleveland International Film Festival. She has performed in many theatres over the past ten years including Beck Center for the Arts, Near West Theatre, The Lorain Palace, True North Cultural Arts, Mighty Goliath, Mercury Summer Stock, Olmsted Performing Arts, and HBTI. A few of her favorite roles include The Sound of Music (Brigitta), The Miracle Worker (Helen Keller), Once on this Island (Erzule), Miracle on 34th Street (Susan Walker) and Chicago. She has enjoys singing in her school choir and Honors Choir of Lorain County, cheerleading, dancing and volunteering in The Zoo Crew in the summer. She would like to thank her parents for endless support and Fred Sternfeld for including her in the Show. Break an eyelash everyone!!
Ally Yellets (Sue – Rent) is excited to be making her debut at HBTI! She has performed in dozens of shows over the past couple of years at the Beck Center, True North Cultural Arts, Nearwest Theater, MGP, Clague Playhouse and Strongsville Community Theater. Her favorite roles include PB in One Slight Hitch, Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical, Jane in Tarzan, the Musical, and Andrea in Once on This Island. Ally is a member of the pre-professional ballet group at Lakeshore Theater Dance. She is also a cheerleader, member of Student Council, A capella Group, and Concert Choir at her school in Avon Lake. In her free time, Ally loves to play her guitar and piano and assist with Children’s worship at her church. She is excited to be a part of this talented cast and crew of Rent and thanks Fred Sternfeld and Bebe Weinberg Katz for this incredible opportunity.