Directors who have graduated from the Professional Director Training Program at Ohio University are working across the country (and internationally as well). I have chosen to focus on those directors for whom I have served as mentor since becoming Head of the MFA Directing Program in 2004. I hope to provide more information soon on directors who went through the program at an earlier date and under previous mentors.
In the meantime, here are brief biographies of our most recent graduates, noting their successes and accomplishments since graduation, as well as the work they did while students at Ohio University. Click on the show titles that are shown in a colored font to connect to a slideshow for that production (a work in progress).
Kerry Glamsch (MFA ’15) was a Michener fellow at The University of Texas Austin where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing in 1999. Since then, he has taught theatre and writing at The University of South Florida, The University of Tampa, and, as a Fulbright scholar, The University of Craiova, in Romania. Having spent a year working toward a PhD in Film Studies at Victoria University Wellington, NZ, Kerry decided to return to stage directing, and feels very lucky to have been a student here at O.U. He has acted in scores of plays and a handful of movies, and has recently optioned a screenplay, The Judas Goat. Currently, Kerry is on the faculty at the American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Florida, where he has directed productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Cabaret, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, among others. Ohio University Directing Credits: Crooked by Catherine Treischmann (Realism Project); The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov (Style Project); and Ball Joint by Jeffrey Chastang (Play Festival World Premiere + Thesis).
Ryan Holihan (MFA ’15) is from Southern California and started acting at a young age. He graduated from The Orange County High School of the Arts and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre from California State University, Fullerton. During high school he got an agent and soon landed roles in television and on film. Television credits include Doogie Howser M.D., The Wonder Years, Ellen, Fresh Prince of Bell, and a recurring role on Saved by the Bell among others. Film credits include roles in Ed Wood, The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, Apollo 13, and Air Heads. He also has appeared in numerous national and international commercials and has received a Screen Actors Guild award. Loving the art of storytelling, he is now pursuing stage directing with equal fervor and enthusiasm. Before coming to Ohio University his directing credits include professional regional theater credits of Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Secret Garden (the musical), An Ideal Husband, and Play On!. Recently Ryan served as Company Manager for Tantrum Theatre’s inaugural season in Dublin, Ohio. To see a full resume, go to www.ryanholihan.com. Ohio University Acting Credits: As You Like It in the role of Adam, directed by Shelley Delaney; and bobrauschenburgamerica in the role of Becker, directed by Dan Dennis. Ohio University Directing Credits: Dog Sees God by Bert V. Royal (Realism Project); Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill (Style Project); The Syllogism of the Golden Hippo by Rebecca Abaffy (Play Festival World Premiere); and Noises Off by Michael Frayn (Main Stage Thesis).
Aurora E. Held (MFA ’15) In addition to her graduate degree in directing, Aurora also holds her B.S.S. in Stage Management from Ohio University. Her background is largely in dance and she toured professionally for over a decade, performing original ballets for school children in rural and artistically challenged areas. In the summer of 2013, she made her professional directing debut on a production of Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at the Monomoy Theater in Chatham, MA. Favorite Stage Management credits include: The King and I, She Loves Me, and Arsenic and Old Lace. For more information, go to www.auroraeheld.com. Ohio University Directing Credits: All This Intimacy by Rajiv Joseph (Realism Project); Klauzál Square by Sarah Gancher (Style Project World Premiere); Rust On Bone by Bianca Sams (Play Festival World Premiere); My Attic Wife by Anthony Kochensparger (Lab Show World Premiere); and Marathon ’33 by June Havoc (Main Stage Thesis)
Emily Penick (MFA ’13) is a Seattle-based free-lance director and choreographer, and is currently Literary & Artistic Manager at ACT – A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. Emily often travels the country directing theater and nurturing artistic and cultural collaborations. Recent directing credits include Worse Than Tigers (ACT and RED STAGE, Seattle), Romeo and Juliet (Seattle Immersive Theatre), 9 to 5 (Centrestage), The Other Woman (Interact, Milwaukee), and the world premiere of the devised short play Pot of Gold at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Emily, who was born in California and raised in New Jersey, has a passion for travel and theatrical exploration. Whether she is collaborating abroad with the Hong Kong School for the Deaf on a visual theater piece, or incorporating Chinese Water Sleeve choreography to make the MTI premiere of Just So Jr. fly off the page, Emily feels an immense gratitude for the diverse experiences she can draw from to tell the stories worth telling. While many classic and contemporary playwrights have and continue to inspire Emily’s directorial voice, one of Emily’s greatest loves is nurturing new plays and working directly with playwrights. Ohio University Directing credits: Spike Heels by Theresa Rebeck (Realism Project); The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni (Style Project); The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams (Main Stage Thesis).
Lee Kinney (MFA ’13) is a Canadian-born and -bred theater director, actor, and composer, and the founding artistic director of Valley Young Company in New Brunswick, Canada, a position he held from 2006 to 2012. While still in graduate school he assisted OBIE and Lortel Award winning director David Cromer on MCC Theater’s Off-Broadway production of Really Really. With Valley Young Company, Lee directed or produced over fifteen productions, including Hamlet, The Last Five Years, Never Swim Alone, Hair, and Company. He is currently freelancing in New York City, both as a director and a sound designer, working at such prestigious venues as The Flea Theater and Rattlestick Theater. In addition, Lee is working as a freelance graphic artist, specializing in graphic design for theater. Recent directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Penn State Altoona), North Star (78th Street Theater, NYC); and co-founding Standing Panda Theater Company in New York City. Ohio University Directing Credits: Killer Joe by Tracy Letts (Realism Project); Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Style Project); and Assassins by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman (Main Stage Thesis).
Jamie Lish Simone (MFA ’12) Jamie Simone is an elementary school theater teacher in Houston Texas. She works with students in grades pre-k through fifth grade. Jamie helps students to develop communication and critical thinking skills, as well as build self-esteem and cultivate empathy. She also teaches students on the autism spectrum; encouraging emotion recognition, expression, non-verbal behaviors and gestures, listening skills and eye contact. In 2016, she co-directed three school-wide programs focusing on the themes of Winter Holidays, Black History Month and Cinco de Mayo. In 2016 she also directed Carlos Perez’s Folktales for Fun and Stacey Lane’s The Boy Who Cried Wolf with her after school theatre club. Ohio University Directing Credits: Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies (Realism Project); Magician’s Apprentice by Garret Schneider (Play Festival World Premiere); The Enchanted by Jean Giraudoux (Style Project); Kate and Comet by Jason Half (Play Festival World Premiere); The Idiot adaptation from Dostoevski by David Fishelson (Main Stage Thesis).
Jocelyn Wiebe (MFA ’12) attended Abilene Christian University, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in theater and a master’s degree in English literature. Directing credits include The Taming of the Shrew and Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky in Columbus, Ohio and [sic], Cymbeline, Collected Stories, Anatomy of Gray, Two Rooms, and Little Light at theaters in Texas. She served as the assistant director for the world premiere of The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson at Dallas Theater Center (a co-production with the Public Theater), the assistant director for the 2011 Summer Season at Monomoy Theatre in Chatham, Massachusetts, and recently worked as the Producing Fellow for The GERM Project at New Georges in New York City. In addition to her work as a director, Jocelyn has worked in development and fundraising for nonprofit arts organizations such as Dallas Theater Center and the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. She also enjoys teaching theater classes to students of all ages, from pre-school through adults. She is currently teaching Theater and serving as the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Communication and Fine Arts at Lubbock Christian University. Ohio University Directing Credits: Proof by David Auburn (Realism Project); The Illusion by Pierre Corneille/ad. Tony Kushner (Style Project); Olympic Village by David M. Robinson (Play Festival World Premiere); Almost, Maine by John Cariani (Lab Show); Israeli Palestinian Resolution: A Very Extremely Important Play (in progress) by Samuel Goldmeyer by Ira Gamerman (Play Festival World Premiere); and Diana of Dobsons by Cicely Hamilton (Main Stage Thesis).
Vanessa Mercado-Taylor (MFA ’10) has forged a dynamic teaching and directing career in Dallas, Texas, where she has become a company member of Cara Mia Theatre Company, and a visiting scholar at El Centro College, working not only with professional actors, but pursuing exciting collaborations as an activist with Latino playwrights as well as working with underprivileged students and minorities. Recent credits include Where Earth Meets the Sky (Pangea World Theatre & Caria Mia), The ID Project (Dallas), Tiene Duende and Yerma (Cara Mia), for colored girls… and 4:48 Psychosis (El Centro College), and founding member of TANTO (Teatro Alianza of North Texas Organizations), a Latino theater alliance. Ohio University Directing Credits: Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire (Realism Project); Yerma by Federico García Lorca (Style Project); Southbridge by Reginald Edmund (Play Festival World Premiere); Hallucinogenic Toreodor Devised Project by Limehouse Theater (Prague Fringe); Marisol by José Rivera (Main Stage Thesis).
Elenna Mosoff (MFA ’10) is currently producing and directing in Toronto, Canada. Credits include Founding Member of The Mission Business (Toronto); Uncovered: Sting & The Police Acting Up Stage Toronto); Co-Director, Visitations, The Drake Hotel (Toronto); Co-Director, Shadowfall, NASA Ames Research Centre (Mountain View, CA); Producer, Soulo Festival (Toronto); Co-Creator, Adventure Bandit, Inc. (Toronto); Coordinator, Emerging Artist Mentorship Program, Acting Up Stage; and Dramaturg for Human Furniture, at the Storefront Theatre in Toronto. Ohio University Directing Credits: How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel (Realism Project); The Gratifications by Ryan Dowler (Lab Show World Premiere); The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco (Style Project); Hallucinogenic Toreodor Devised Project by Limehouse Theater (Prague Fringe); and The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson (Main Stage Thesis).
Bryce Britton (MFA ’09) earned his B.A. in Directing at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. An active member of Actors’ Equity Association and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Bryce recently served as director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Musical Theatre in the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts. Previously he had been on faculty at Penn State Altoona. Directorial credits include Wonder of the World, West Side Story, Pippin, Into the Woods, Sleuth, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, A Voice from the Prairie – the Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Humperdinck’s opera version of Hansel and Gretel, An Actor’s Nightmare, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweet Charity, Oklahoma!, Spamalot, Spring Awakening, Eurydice, The Bennett House, and Ruined. He also wrote and directed an original adaptation of John Webster’s Jacobean tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi. Recently Bryce was honored to direct a production of Macbeth at the Hazleton Federal Correctional Institution in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. Ohio University Directing Credits: Extremities by William Mastrosimone (Realism Project); The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter (Lab Show); The Small of Her Back by Dana Lynn Formby (Play Festival World Premiere); Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher (Style Project); and The Grapes of Wrath by Frank Galati (Main Stage Thesis).
Andy Felt (MFA ’09) is former Artistic Director/Founding Board Member of Shakes”Pear” in the Garden in San Bernardino, and Acting Manager of L.A.’s Imagination Company. He earned his B.A. in Performance at Cal State University, San Bernardino. Since graduating from O.U., he has been on the faculty of Marietta College, where he is a tenured Associate Professor. At Marietta he has directed Blithe Spirit, Hamlet, Arms and the Man, Romeo and Juliet, The Rocky Horror Show, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Other professional credits include An Appalachian Christmas Carol (Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, Athens, OH), Dracula (Monomoy Theater, Chatham, MA), Romeo and Juliet and Oklahoma! (Redlands Theater Company, Redlands, CA), Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakes“Pear” in the Garden, San Bernardino, CA). For Shakespeare on the River in Marietta, Andy directed The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ohio University Directing Credits: The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute (Realism Project); ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford (Style Project); Inherit the Whole by Dana Lynn Formby (Play Festival World Premiere); and The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Main Stage Thesis).
Heather Keith (MFA ’08) began her theatrical career at Etobicoke School of the Arts where she majored in Drama. She continued her studies in Performance at Humber College, earned her BFA in Theatre Arts (with distinction) from Concordia University and her MFA in Directing from Ohio University. Heather has a particular interest in developing new work and, among others, directed the premiere of a short piece entitled Table for Six by Hande Vural at Nightwood Theatre’s New Blood Cabaret. Heather directed the award winning film Zehra & Dak-ho (Best Drama, Poppy Jasper Film Festival ’09), which was screened in film festivals across the United States including The Queens International Film Festival. Selected highlights in her career include being a founding member of Les Goons Theatre Troupe, Assistant Directing at the Blyth Festival and Victory Gardens in Chicago, and directing her play I Am Love. Heather has taught Theatre Performance at Concordia and Ohio University and Advanced Directing at OU. Ohio University Directing Credits: The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson (Realism Project); Lion In The Streets by Judith Thompson (Style Project); How He Lied To Her Husband by George Bernard Shaw (Lab Show); and Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind (Main Stage Thesis).
Michael Gerber (MFA ’08) earned his B.A. in Theater/Performing Arts at Western Oregon University before coming to Ohio University. While still a graduate student at O.U., Michael directed See How They Run at Monomoy Theater in Chatham, MA. He did his internship at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, and subsequently joined the staff there as Company Manager. Other directing credits include Hard Times (CoHo Productions, Portland, Oregon); and The Flu Season and Leading Ladies (Clackamas Community College). He has taught theater at Clackamas Community College, and is Artistic Director of Broken Machine Productions. Currently he is serving as Associate Director of the Barter Youth Academy in Abingdon, Virginia. Ohio University Directing Credits: As Bees in Honey Drown by Douglas Carter Beane (Realism Project); The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice (Style Project); The Santaland Diaries (Lab Show); and Macbett by Eugene Ionesco (Main Stage Thesis).
Ed Cisneros (MFA ’07) runs a drama program at the Multicultural Academy of Scholarship in Chicago, directing young people in such exciting plays as Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, and Electricidad, a Chicano take on Sophocles’ Electra by Luis Alfaro, and The Katrina Project: Hell or High Water. Ed regularly participates as an ensemble member of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s CPS Shakespeare! productions, and was given the Inspire the Future award by Steppenwolf Theater. Recently Ed was inducted into the Golden Apple Academy as a Teacher of Distinction. Ohio University Directing Credits: Our Lady of 121st Street by Stephen A. Guirgis (Realism Project); Outcry by Tennessee Williams (Lab Show); The Insect Play by Karel and Joseph Capek (Style Project); HappySlap by Laura Jacqmin (Main Stage World Premiere); and The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan (Main Stage Thesis).
Melissa Hill Grande (MFA ’07) is currently based in Pittsburgh, where she spent five years as the Associate Artistic Director at Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, working alongside founding Artistic Director Andrew S. Paul. While with PICT, she had the opportunity to create and oversee the New Classics Series, a new play workshop/reading series in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, and directed Garden and When the Moon Has Set. She was a founding artistic director of Phase 3 Productions (Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Swamp Baby, Miss Julie and Lion in the Streets), and worked with Off the Wall Theatre (Well and The Other Place), Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks (Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost), No Name Players (SWAN Day), Bricolage (BUS), and Guiding Star (Arranged Marriage). Through a complex series of events and coincidences all three of her degrees (a B.F.A. in Production Design and Technology/Costume Design, an M.A. in Theater History and Criticism, and an M.F.A. in Directing) are from Ohio University. She was on faculty in the theatre department at Marietta College for thirteen years. As resident costume designer and shop manager, she designed many shows, taught costuming and dramatic literature courses (Irish, American, and contemporary) and started directing. Ohio University Directing Credits: Streets Come Knockin’ by Christopher De Paola (Play Festival World Premiere); If Condition by Aaron Carter (Play Festival World Premiere); Quills by Doug Wright (Style Project); and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme by Frank McGuinness (Main Stage Thesis).