Sara Strehle Duke
Susan Alison Keady
Gulgun “Gigi” Karamete
Lisa Gabriella Pantano
Douglas Ullman Jr.
Sara Strehle Duke, Executive Director
Sara Strehle Duke is in her second year as Executive Director of Encore Stage & Studio. Before joining Encore full time, Sara became involved through directing for The Children’s Theatre (The Princess and the Magic Pea and The Little Mermaid) and choreographing for the Act III Theatre Company (Anything Goes and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). Previously Sara has worked professionally with the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia and Round House Theatre in Bethesda. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William & Mary where she directed and performed in many productions, as well as studying scenic design. She is most proud of her direction of Sinfonicron Light Opera Company’s production of Ragtime. A native Arlingtonian, Sara continues to reside in the county with her husband, Kevin, and her black lab, Lily.
Susan Alison Keady, Artistic Director
Susan Keady has played a central role in advancing Encore’s stage productions and educational programs. Under her leadership, the size of the audience and number of program participants have grown substantially. As a measure of Ms. Keady’s success, Encore Stage & Studio held special performances at the National Theater, MCI Center and receives on-going media coverage.
Susan Alison Keady is a native Washingtonian and teaches at George Washington University and in the Arlington, Montgomery and Prince Georges county public schools. In Prince Georges County she is a Creative Writing resident guest artist teaching under a grant from Walden University. She is an alumna of the Wolftrap Guest Artist program, and has served as a judge for the supreme moot court at GWU Law School. As Artistic Director of Encore Stage & Studio, Susan plays a central role in introducing thousands of children in the Washington area to the magic of the theater. Her original script of Hansel and Gretel was produced as part of the National Theater’s series for children. She directed over 100 episodes of The Kinetic City Supercrew, a radio adventure series funded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and currently broadcast on satellite radio. The show won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for broadcast excellence, as well as numerous gold and silver medals for educational quality and best writing at the International Radio Festival of New York. Susan’s Peabody Award commends her outstanding contribution as the program’s director. On the stage, Susan has directed over a hundred shows in the metropolitan area. She as appeared as a performer in a variety of roles, and she has also worked in films and television.
Leigh Troutman, Registrar
Leigh Troutman has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Special Education from American University. She taught learning disabled children at the Lab School of Washington for many years. The mother of two teenagers, she has worked for Children’s Theatre for over four years. She serves as administrative assistant and is the registrar for classes and summer programs.
Claire Wade, Bookkeeper
Claire Wade is from Massachusetts, but has lived in Arlington since 1985. Claire has been working for Encore since 2008. She has an undergraduate degree from Harvard in Art History, and an MBA from UC Berkeley. Her career has been in the financial services industry, specializing in strategic planning and product development. For the last 12 years, she has worked in bookkeeping and financial systems development on a part-time basis for various non-profits in Arlington. Outside of her career, Claire enjoys gardening. Claire’s family loves Encore, and her children have participated in a variety of shows during the last several years.
Aileen Pangan, Marketing Manager
Aileen graduated from Christopher Newport University with a B.A. in Communication Studies. During her undergraduate career, Aileen also minored in Leadership Studies and Dance, while staying very involved with many other campus organizations and performances. Before joining Encore, Aileen worked as a dance instructor for the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia, interning at BalletNova Center for Dance, and volunteering as a school representative for KODACHROME, a dance workshop series. Aileen has returned to her hometown of Arlington with great enthusiasm and passion as she joins Encore Stage & Studio’s positive environment and wonderful staff.
Caroline Schreiber, Programs Manager and Producer
Caroline joined the Encore staff in the fall of 2012, and has spent the past five years working as an actor, teaching artist, and arts administrator in the Washington, DC area. Caroline holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and studied at the London Dramatic Academy in England. She has taught for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC and the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, as well as working as a curriculum development specialist and program planner for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. Currently, she is on the faculty of the drama department at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria and enjoys performing with various companies throughout the DC area.
Kelsey Meiklejohn is an actor, dancer, and choreographer in the D.C. area. Choreography credits include 25th Annual…Spelling Bee at Episcopal High School; Secret Garden and the Pirates of Penzance with the Sinfonicron Light Opera Company. She is a graduate of William & Mary and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Kelsey is recently choreographed for Encore’s 2013 summer production of Legally Blonde The Musical and Stage Door’s Willy Wonka, Jr. Kelsey choreographs for the Encore Show Choir.
Larry McClemons, Volunteer Photographer
Larry McClemons has been photographing for Encore Stage and Studio since 1991. In that time he has photographed nearly 100 shows and dozens of workshops. He created Encore Stage’s first web site in 1999 and has since acted as webmaster. For those efforts he was awarded the first Celeste Groves Award in 2008. Larry’s enjoyment of appreciation for live theatre goes back to his high school days where he had the title role in a production of Waiting for Godot.
Marian DiJulio, Education Consultant
Marion Di Julio comes to us with 23 years of teaching experience in Arts and Education in virtually all grades from kindergarten to college. She has also conducted numerous in-services for teachers on the topic of integrating arts education into the basic curriculum, and has served as a consultant to several school systems on the same topic. Her teaching credentials include drama classes for Gifted/Talented Visual and Performing Arts students and middle school students. She has also developed curriculum material for both elementary and middle school programs. She has taught drama related courses and lectured at the Smithsonian Kennedy Center, and Howard University, just to name a few. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Drama from Cardinal Stritch College and a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Arts from George Washington University.
Travis Beaty hails from Indiana where he obtained a degree in Theater from Hanover College. After college, he spent a year performing with The Children’s Theater of California in Sacramento before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. While in LA, he spent several years entertaining children at birthday parties all over Southern California dressed as various pirates and superheroes. Turning his attention to the field of education, Travis moved to DC where he’s been teaching elementary school drama with Creative Kids. He’s excited to bring his experience and enthusiasm for theater to Encore Stage & Studio.
Megan Behm is a director, fight director, and actor in the D.C area. Megan has worked with the Folger Theatre, Lean & Hungry Theater, Adventure Theatre, the Source Festival, the Washington Rogues, Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Red Knight Productions, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, the American Shakespeare Center, and the Studio 3 Theatre for Young Audiences. Megan is an Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, and graduated from the College of William and Mary. She joined the Encore team in 2013.
Thembi Duncan, Teaching Artist
Thembi Duncan is an actress, teaching artist, and playwright with over a decade of experience performing in the Washington area. She serves as Lead Teaching Artist at the historic Ford’s Theatre, teaching oratory to young people f rom all over the region. She is a proud recipient of an Artists in Schools grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Currently, she is in the early stages of writing her first children’s play.
Vince Eisenson, Teaching Artist
Vince Eisenson has worked as an actor and teacher in the Washington area since 2007. He has had the privilege of performing with Synetic Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, WSC Avant Bard, the Capitol Fringe Festival, and the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, where he is a Resident Actor. Vince has enjoyed working with students in public schools through programs with the Folger Shakespeare Library, Imagination Stage, and Montgomery County’s Trax. He has directed several student productions at the Theatre Lab in Washington, and coached actors at Northern Virginia’s Traveling Players Ensemble. Vince has also performed as a juggler at carnivals, parties, events, and schools along the east coast.
Christina Marie Frank, Teaching Artist
Christina Marie Frank holds a masters of Fine Arts in Theatre degree from the University of Iowa. She has taught kids acting classes through Stepping Stone Theatre, Exposed Brick Theatre, and In the Company of Kids Creative Center in Minnesota. Christina has done programming and teaching for Encore throughout the school year and is the director of the Tweens and Teens program during the summer. In addition she has worked recently as an actress with Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Spotlight Communicaciones, Inkwell, Faction of Fools, Pinky Swear Production, and Push/Pull Theatre.
Rachel Hynes, Teaching Artist
Rachel Hynes has been making people laugh as an actress, event MC, cabaret artist, and puppeteer from DC to Seattle and London. She created clown and humorous characters for Live Girls cabaret for six years, rapped for girl empowerment, and most recently delighted diners with her improvised menu of monologues at Artesa Kitchen’s Sensorium. In 2013, Rachel appeared as part of the Encore Presents series with her original performance piece, “Tale of a Tiger.” Rachel is a graduate of the London School of Performing Arts (LISPA), where she studied Commedia, clown, mask, epic drama, and original creation. She received her MFA from Naropa University in Lecoq-based actor-created theatre.
Gulgun “Gigi” Karamete, Teaching Artist
Gulgun Karamete holds a BA in Acting from the National Conservatory of Turkey and an MA in Theatre from SUNY Albany. From 1993-1998, she worked professionally as an actor with the National Theatre of Turkey, where she appeared in more than 30 productions including The Merchant of Venice, Noises Off, Three Sisters, and The Servant of Two Masters. She taught courses in acting and theatre history at SUNY Albany from 2001–2009 before relocating to the DC area. After a brief hiatus, she is delighted to return to teaching at Encore.
Andrew Keller, Teaching Artist
Andrew Keller has taught students from kindergarten to college in Missouri, Illinois, Virginia, and Massachusetts. He holds a master’s in Acting from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in Liverpool, England, and continues to act professionally in the Washington, D.C. area. Favorite credits include: Bob in Perfect Arrangement at the Source Festival, Gonzalo in The Tempest with We Happy Few, Macbeth in Macbeth and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew with St. Louis Shakespeare, Balladier/Proprietor in Assassins with New Line Theatre, and as a fight choreographer for St. Mark’s Players, The Fat and Greasy Citizens’ Brigade, and the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre. He’s done some other cool stuff too, but you’ll have to ask him about that in person.
Ben Kingsland, Teaching Artist
Ben Kingsland is a professional playwright, actor, and teaching artist. His plays are published by Playscripts.com and Heuer Publishing. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins with a BA in Writing.
Lisa Gabriella Pantano
Lisa Gabriella Pantano studied voice, piano and acting at Carnegie Mellon and graduated Salutatorian of her class from the Eastman School of Music where she was awarded the Adelaide Lyndsey Award for Voice. Recently, Lisa obtained her MFA in acting. Lisa has performed in operas, musical theatre and theatrical productions in the United States, Italy and Canada. Favorite roles: West Side Story (Maria), Le Nozze Di Figaro (Cherubino), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania), Measure for Measure(Mariana) and Hello, Dolly (Irene Molloy). She has performed in professional choirs at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Vatican. Lisa has taught voice, piano and acting in New York City, NY, Rochester, NY and in Madison, Wisconsin. Having just moved to DC this summer, Lisa is excited to be a part of the Encore family and to meet and teach students in the DC metropolitan area.
Amy Thompson, Teaching Artist, Director
Amy Thompson loves theatre and working with children. She has run the Shakespeare program at Nottingham Elementary School in Arlington since 2007, where she has directed productions of As You Like It, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Macbeth. She is an affiliated teaching artist with the Folger Shakespeare Library, where she introduces students in grades K-12 to Shakespeare’s life and works. She also acts in local theatre productions and festivals. At Encore Stage & Studio, Amy has taught afterschool and weekend drama classes, summer camps, and served as assistant director and fight director for A Night at the Wax Museum. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Theatre Education at Catholic University.
Douglas Ullman, Jr., Musical Director of Encore Show Choir
A vocal performance graduate of New York University’s Steinhardt School is the Musical Director of The Encore Show Choir. He has worked as an actor and singer, most notably in the current off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks (The Must and Matt). Other credit include the Asian tour of The Sound of Music (Rolf), A Funny Thing…(Hero) at Florida Repertory Theatre, Ragtime (Younger Brother,) Fiorello!, Grease (Doody), and Godspell, as well as numerous readings and workshops.
Sara Conrad, Choreographer and Teaching Artist
Sarah Conrad has been involved with Encore via Act III summer shows since 2005. She currently teaches Preschool in the Diocese of Arlington. She performed with Encore for seven years, and this past summer choreographed and assistant technical directed Pirates of Penzance. Sarah recently performed in Legally Blonde with RCP and in The Nutcracker with her ballet studio. Sarah has trained in Classical Ballet under the instruction of Margaret Haddad for seventeen years and in Neo Classical Ballet through a pre-professional residency program with the Dance Theater of Harlem for four years. She loves performing – dancing, singing, acting, you name it.
Gary Hauptman, Lighting Designer, Master Electrician
Gary has occupied the designer’s chair for Encore since The Pirates of Penzance in 2012. He greatly appreciates the confidence Encore has shown by entrusting him with the current season’s shows. Gary came to DC to work for a national bar association and was soon lighting shows for The Arlington Players, Hexagon and Port City. He was a founder of Detroit’s Attic Theater with additional lighting credits in dance, ice shows, rock bands and even a magician. After a long break from theater to run an international trade and training firm, Gary enjoys being part of the creative and supportive Encore team and working on shows with a bunch of great kids.
Matthew Heap, Music Director and Sound Designer
Matthew Heap is delighted to be working with Encore again after his sojourn at the University of Pittsburgh while getting his Ph.D. He has been with the company for 15 years as an actor, director, music director, choreographer, and composer. Currently, Matthew teaches music at American University, where he is a Professorial Lecturer.
Kristen Jepperson, Master Carpenter, Technical Director
Kristen Jepperson is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, with a BFA in Harp Performance. Since graduation she has toured nationally as a member of the New Christy Minstrels and with Ragtime, the Musical (Emma Goldman). Theatrical credits include: Daisy, The Adding Machine, Studio Theater; Reno, Anything Goes, Olney Theater; Agnes Gooch, Mame, Toby’s of Columbia; Reverand Mother Mary Regina, Nunsense, Toby’s Baltimore. Costuming credits include: Rapunzel, Miss Electricity, the 25th…Spelling Bee at the Workhouse Theater; Pirates of Penzance, Legally Blonde, Encore Stage. Set construction credits include: Sleeping Beauty, Legally Blonde the Musical, Encore Stage. Having gotten her start in childrens’ theater as a child, working with Encore “on the other side of the table” makes a nice circle.
Marji Jepperson, Props and Set Dressing Designer, Director, Choreographer
Marji Jepperson has been active in theater all of her life, in this area and in California as an actor, choreographer and director. As an actor, her favorite roles include: Aunt Eller in Oklahoma (Act III), Touchstone in As You Like It (Act III), Kate Keller in All My Sons (Great Falls Players), Aunt Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace, and Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady with various companies.
Debra Leonard, Costume Design & Build, Makeup Designer
Debro Leonard has been designing for Encore for many seasons. She also works at area colleges and theatres and has previously designed costumes for television and film. In addition, Debra teaches in public schools.
Samantha graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Ohio Wesleyan University in May 2011. Before moving to Virginia, she spent time as a stage management intern at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck, RI. She has been involved in almost all aspects of technical theatre. Some of her favorites include Stage Manager for The Love of the Nightingale, Stage Manager for Mame, and Assistant Stage Manager for 39 Steps. Samantha has worked as producer for Encore’s production of Pirates of Penzance and technical director for multiple shows in Encore’s 2012-2013 season.
Group photo taken by Larry McClemons