Our Staff

Ari Laura Kreith

Ari Laura Kreith

Artistic Director

Ari comes to Luna from Theatre 167, where she was the founding Artistic Director. At Theatre 167, Ari conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy: 167 Tongues, You Are Now The Owner Of This Suitcase, and Jackson Heights 3AM (PBS Pick-of-the-Week). The trilogy consisted of three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights, featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages, inspired by the world's most diverse neighborhood (Jackson Heights in Queens, NY). Other directing highlights include Mourning Sun, which premiered at Theatre 167 and toured Uganda, and Pirira, which received the 2014 NYIT Award for Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play and transferred Off-Broadway. Ari's commissioned projects include several pieces for Queens Theatre's World's Fair Plays (NY Times Critics' Pick,) I Like To Be Here: Jackson Heights Revisited and This Is A Mango at New Ohio for the Obie-winning Theatre: Village Festival. Ari directed the National Geographic-sponsored How We Are Connected at Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio. Musical theatre highlights include Dreamhouse - which she also co-created, and the European premiere of Adam Guettel's Myths And Hymns. Ari has crafted immersive, site-specific projects for Queens Museum and the NY Transit Museum, and adapted a touring version of Marina Budhos' novel Watched, which explores the impact of surveillance on Muslim-American communities. Ari received the 2015 NYIT Caffe Cino Award with Theatre 167 for consistently producing outstanding innovative theatre and the 2016 LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award in recognition of her work as a director and the body of work Theatre 167 created under her leadership. Ari currently lives in Montclair with her family, and holds an MFA from UC Davis.

Miriam Gardin

Miriam Gardin

Managing Director

Miriam's passion for theatre work has brought her on stage, on screen, and behind the scenes in Chicago, Washington, DC, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, and Israel. Previously, Miriam curated and produced both the 2013 and 2014 New Jersey Jewish Film Festivals, and the 2nd ReelAbilities: NJ Film Festival in 2014. As a performing arts consultant, Miriam worked with Situation Project, providing expertise that helped instill creativity in young students and nurture emerging artists. She previously served as director of development at The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), and interim director of development at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. As an account executive for Situation Interactive, Miriam worked with Disney Theatrical Group, 2econd Stage Theatre, and The Broadway League, among others. As a fundraising advisor, she worked toward endowing a scholarship fund for young artists with Situation Cares, helped launch the Riverview Jazz Festival in Jersey City, NJ, and supported 24/6: A Jewish Theatre Company. Other organizations include Performing Arts Chicago, where Miriam helped produce Chicago's first ever International Festival of Puppet Theatre in 2000, and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. Miriam also produced and directed The Divine Mr. Average in DC's inaugural Capital Fringe Festival and presented Twister Cabaret, an evening of new solo theatre works in Chicago, in which she also performed. With an MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College and a BFA from The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Miriam has won awards and critical acclaim for her work as a performer. Best award so far was the "#1 Best Mom" mug award from her two young children. Miriam lives with her family in West Orange, NJ.

Liz Cesario

Liz Cesario

Production Manager

Liz has worked as both a Production Manager and an Equity State Manager in many areas of theatre, including opera, drama, comedy, and musicals. She has worked with various size companies, from the union-staffed Bushnell Theatre with 2,800 seats to the Luna's 99-seat blackbox. When Liz is not at Luna, she can be found traveling the world with her husband or playing with her five grandsons.

Kaitlin Stilwell

Kaitlin Stilwell

Community and Connectivity Dramaturg

With many feathers in her cap, Kaitlin is excited to now serve as Luna's Community and Connectivity Dramaturg. Her postgraduate work in England culminated in a dissertation on the dramaturgy of climate change plays and Kaitlin continued to take on many roles, both on-stage and off-stage. She worked in the literary offices of Urban Stages, Mint Theater Company, Hangar Theatre, and McCarter Theatre, where she assisted playwrights Marina Carr, Danai Gurira and John Guare on premieres of their new plays. As a freelance dramaturg, she has developed plays with Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Southern Writers' Project at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theater Youth Ink! Festival, and with many individual writers. As an actor, Kaitlin toured North America as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof starring Chaim Topol, Theodore Bikel and Harvey Fierstein, alternatively. As a researcher, Kaitlin has done research for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Company in New York City. A resident of Montclair, Kaitlin teaches at Montclair State University, as well as at Luna.

Alexa Teebo

Alexa Teebo

Operations & Audience Services Manager

Alexa joined the Luna Stage family in 2015. She is most excited about expanding the children and youth programming at Luna. Her performing and administrative work in theatre includes participation in the NYC International Fringe Festival, NJ One Minute Play Festival, various regional theater and Off-Broadway performances, as well as nationally touring children's theater. Alexa became Education Associate in 2017, then Operations & Audience Services Manager in 2018, and also performs at Luna. Alexa earned a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of West Florida, and has a private music studio.

Sammy Viswanathan

Sammy Viswanathan

Marketing Associate

Born and raised in South India, Samyuktha (Sammy) is an actor, dancer and writer. When an injury restricted Sammy from pursuing dance professionally, she chose to study Visual Communication while also immersing herself in theatre. She worked with The Little Theatre in India before moving to NYC to work professionally as an actor. Inspired by the age-old quote, 'Be the change you want to see,' Sammy uses performance art pieces imbibing her poetry in the hope of helping bring about change that is necessary and urgent. She enjoys watching films and television, and reading books, which she regards as therapeutic and potential harbingers of change. A recent graduate of the MA Performance Studies Program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Sammy is excited to join the Luna team! Find out more about Sammy at: www.samyukthav.com.

Jessica Baskerville

Jessica Baskerville

Fundraising Assistant & Box Office Associate

Adrienne Reuss

Adrienne Reuss

House Manager

Deborah Caney

Deborah Caney

Resident Costume Designer

Jacey Erwin

Jacey Erwin

Resident Production Dramaturg

Daria Sullivan

Daria Sullivan

Education Associate

Vanesa Osei

Vanesa Osei

IT/Admin Intern

Cheryl Katz

Cheryl Katz

Artistic Director, 2013-2018

Cheryl Katz had the pleasure of working at Luna Stage from 2003 to 2018. She served as Director of Play Development from 2003 to 2011, Associate Artistic Director from 2011-2013, and Artistic Director from 2013-2018. During her time at Luna, she contributed to the development of over eighty new works for the stage and oversaw the creation of educational and developmental programming to nurture the artistic impulses and passions of the Luna artistic community. On the Luna MainStage, she directed the world premieres of Razorhurst, a musical by Kate Mulley and Andy Peterson, Tranquil by Andrew Rosendorf, The High Water Mark and King of the Mountains by Ben Clawson, Carnaval by Nikkole Salter, Mercy and The Firefly by Amy Hartman, The Fastest Woman Alive by Karen Sunde, the NJ professional premiere of Thrill Me by Stephen Dolginoff, and three Luna productions of The Man In Room 306 by Craig Alan Edwards (1995 and 2008 in New Jersey, 2010 in New York). Cheryl is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She currently works as a freelance theatrical director, teacher and dramaturg and can be reached at cakatzmeow@gmail.com.

Jane Mandel

Jane Mandel

Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus

Jane founded Luna, and served as Artistic Director for over 20 years. Jane holds an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has had a career in the theatre as actress, director, teacher, and producer. With her inspired guidance, Luna earned its reputation for producing excellent, intelligent and provocative theatre. Scores of new and classic plays have been shared with audiences through readings and full productions. Creating "devised theatre" is one of Jane's passions. She created and directed In The Name of The Woman (the first show done at Luna Stage), and we don't have enough sugar for the public (an exploration of racism), created and co-directed The American Project (an exploration of what it means to be an American), and co-created and directed Mi Casa Tu Casa (a bilingual Latino-based play with music that has been touring in New Jersey.) Other directing credits include: Reckless by Craig Lucas, Rosa Loses Her Face by Kitty Chen, Burying Fiona, Rapture and Little Beasts by Jeanne Marshall, The Queen of Thebes and Friends and Relations by Arnold Rabin, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, The Other Side of Newark by Enid Rudd, Fair and Decent by Thomas Diggs, and Vita and Virginia adapted by Eileen Atkins.

As Artistic Director she oversaw the productions of Death of a Salesman, Macbeth, The Whipping Man, The Dangers of Electric Lighting, The Old Settler and A Moon for the Misbegotten, to name a few. She taught theatre games and improvisation/acting at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she was a full time faculty member while also teaching at The New School, Whole Theatre, Montclair State University, The Teaching Artist's Collective, and Luna. She was a member of The Shaliko Theatre Company and acted in The Measures Taken, Ghosts and Woyzeck while in residence at The New York Shakespeare Festival and on tour. Jane currently directs, acts, and coaches acting.

Volunteers

Megan Mardiney

Megan Mardiney

Graphic Design, Special Projects

The Mardiney Group www.themardineygroup.com

Ann Coughlin

Ann Coughlin

Administrative Consultant

Betty Lando

Betty Lando

Facilities Consultant

Anne Burt

Anne Burt

Programming Consultant, LunaLit

Judy Bowman, CSA

Judy Bowman, CSA

Casting Consultant

Freewoods Films

Freewoods Films

Videographer

Freewoods Films is a new, woman-owned production company helmed by Laura Wald. Freewoods Films is dedicated to filling the culture gap by telling the stories of those whose stories are seldom told. Their shared ethos with Luna Stage, as well as the theatrical backgrounds of Laura and many on her team, combine to form the perfect partnership to support positive change in the community by promoting theatre though video. www.FreewoodsFilms.com

Upcoming Calendar

Jan 31 - Feb 24, 2019

MainStage
by Christina Gorman

Apr 4 - Apr 28, 2019

MainStage
by Gabriel Jason Dean