Michael Benson received degrees in music and theatre from Baldwin-Wallace College and received his MFA in scene design from Pennsylvania State University. He has worked across the nation as a scenic designer, technical director, scenic artist, and sound designer for over twenty years for such theatres as Northern Stage Company, Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Ohio Light Opera, Cleveland Playhouse and the American Heartland Theatre. Scenic designs of note include L’incoronazione di Poppea, Les Miserables, Beehive: The 60’s Musical, and Ruddigore. Specialties include period research, 3D computer modeling, and digital media for the theatre.
Office: duPont 320
Cate Brewer received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a certificate from Michael Howard Studio Conservatory. Favorite acting credits include Sense and Sensibility (winner of four Helen Hayes awards) at Folger Theatre. At UMW Cate directed Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Steel Magnolias, Frozen, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and The Miss Firecracker Contest. She is a member of Actors Arena, the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.
Office: duPont 322
Bridgette Dennett received her BA in scenic and costume design from The University of South Florida and a MFA in scenic design from Indiana University. She is a scenic designer and charge artist with a background in the fine arts. Her credits include design and artist credits at venues such as The Rose Theatre of Omaha, Tampa Repertory Theatre, Jobsite Theatre, Stageworks, and a position on the 2015 team for the United States exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial. Favorite recent designs include Macbeth, The Glass Menagerie, Woyzeck, and The Pitmen Painters. She specializes in painting and sculpture, casting and mold-making, ceramics, and both period and contemporary architecture.
Office: duPont 327
Max Doolittle received his BFA in theatre from Ithaca College and his MFA in lighting design from the University of Maryland. He is a member of USA-829 and has designed for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Mosaic Theatre Company, Theatre Alliance, Imagination Stage, Forum Theatre, Spooky Action Theatre, Adventure Theatre, The Kennedy Center/Second City, Constellation Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Academy for Classical Acting, Pointless Theatre Co, NextStop Theatre. His NYC credits include Ars Nova, Juilliard School, New Ohio Theatre, and New World Stages. Regional credits include Kitchen Theatre Company, Fulton Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Geffen Playhouse, Mississippi Opera Studio, and Minnesota Opera. Lighting direction for television includes Anderson Cooper 360, Piers Morgan Live, and a number of TED Talks. Max teaches Lighting Design.
Sherri Edelen is an actor working in Washington, DC. Professional credits include Arena Stage: Dave, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, My Fair Lady, Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress); Signature Theatre: Crazy for You, Gypsy (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress), Les Miserables (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress), Side Show (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress), Jesus Christ Superstar, Xanadu (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress), Company, La Cage aux Folles, Freaky Friday (world premiere), Road Show, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Cake Off (world premiere), Hairspray, Sweeney Todd; National tours include Me and My Girl and Nunsense. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Olney, Ford’s Theatre, Round House and Rep Stage for over 20 years. Sherri teaches Musical Theatre Performance.
Scene Shop Foreman
Kenny Horning graduated with an MFA in technical direction from the University of Missouri Kansas City in 2004. He joined the department in 2008 and in that time has supervised the construction of over 45 scenery builds in Klein Theatre, as well as the renovation of Wonder Bread Studio and our production warehouse. Kenny manages the student employees in the scene shop and supports faculty and students in Technical Production.
Office: duPont 314
Casey Kaleba is a Certified Teacher and Fight Director with the Society of American Fight Directors. Casey has staged movement and fights for more than five hundred productions for opera and theatre including the Folger Theatre, Round House Theatre, Washington National Opera, Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Wolf Trap Opera, Spoleto Festival, Rorschach Theatre, and Olney Theatre Center. He has served as a guest artist in Sweden and Canada, worked as an audition choreographer for Marvel Universe Live, and spent several years smashing things on the YouTube show Men At Arms: Reforged. Casey is a proud member of SDC, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He has worked on department productions including Macbeth, Spring Awakening, Romeo & Juliet, Noises Off, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Casey teaches Stage Combat, Rapier and Dagger, and Swashbuckling.
David Landrum has been a guest artist working with the University of Mary Washington since 2018. He was the music director for Merrily We Roll Along, Fun Home, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He has a bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre Accompaniment from Shenandoah Conservatory. He resides in Stafford, Virginia and is a music director, vocal coach, and accompanist. His other credits include work at Signature Theatre, Riverside Center for the Performing Arts, and many years with Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. David teaches Musical Theatre Performance.
Office: duPont 323
Kevin McCluskey received his MFA in theatre design from Indiana University. Kevin’s career has taken him to professional theatres and universities around the country where he has designed costumes and makeup for over 100 productions. At the University of Mary Washington, his credits include costume design for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Tempest, Spring Awakening, Always…Patsy Cline, and Fun Home. Kevin also designed the puppets and puppet props for the 2015 production of Avenue Q. Kevin’s specialties include costume history, period style and puppetry.
Office: duPont 326
Jason J. Michael
Jason J. Michael received an MFA in theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University. Before that, he received his BA in music composition from Susquehanna University in 1993. Subsequently, he received his BA in theatre from Kutztown University in 1996, and his MA in theatre from Villanova University in 2005. Music directing credits include Les Misérablés and The Full Monty with Sally Struthers at the Riverside Center Dinner Theatre, and contributing songs to Warp Speed: A Sci-Fi Parody Musical, which had its run at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City in August 2014. Onstage, favorite roles have included Britt Craig (Parade), Callahan (Legally Blonde), Mr. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life), and Wilbur/Edna (Hairspray). Jason is currently the Artistic Director/Music Director of the Stafford Regional Choral Society and is serving his tenth year as Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg. Jason is a member of ASCAP and previously taught Speech and Theatre at VCU and Virginia Union Universities. Jason teaches Musical Theatre Performance.
Laura Esti Miller
Laura Esti Miller received a BA from James Madison University and an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a dramaturg, writer, director, literary manager, and educator to students from preschool through college. She has been the literary manager at 1st Stage in Tysons, Virginia since 2015, programming multiple award-winning productions. Laura is the former Creative Development Director of the off-Broadway company Electric Pear Productions, and has worked with The Public Theater, The Kennedy Center, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, among others. Laura teaches Playwriting.
Production Supervisor & Data Administrator, Adjunct Professor
Brandon Prendergast is an AEA stage manager and a 1995 graduate of Mary Washington who works regularly at the major DC theatres including Ford’s Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Signature Theatre. Brandon has stage managed nearly 100 professional productions in his career including collaborations with Bernadette Peters, Julie Taymor, Twyla Tharp, Terrence McNally, Gillian Lynn, Jason Robert Brown, and others. He has worked on several world premieres and pre-Broadway runs including Ragtime, Follies, Sideshow, and Come From Away. Brandon also oversees the stage management program and teaches Stage Management.
Office: duPont 322
Jon K. Reynolds
Director of Marketing and Audience Services, Adjunct Professor
Jon Reynolds received his MA in arts administration from the University of Kentucky and BA in theatre from the University of Mary Washington. Jon has served as the Director of Marketing and Audience Services for the department since the fall of 2013, providing marketing and artwork for over 30 productions. Jon teaches Principles of Arts Administration and Resource Strategies in Arts Administration as part of the requirements for the minor in arts administration.
Office: duPont 329
Roxann Morgan Rowley completed her MFA in dance at George Mason University and her BA in dance at George Washington University. She is the artistic director for Next Reflex Dance Collective, an award winning and long-standing collaborative dance company in Fairfax, Va. Her work has been performed at nationally and internationally recognized venues and festivals throughout, including The Kennedy Center, The Harman Center for the Arts, The Cool NY/White Wave Festival, The Workhouse Arts Center, George Mason University, James Madison University, Dance Place and The Jack Guidone Theater. Roxann teaches at George Mason University, University of Mary Washington, and directs NOVA Dance Company for Northern VA Community College. She is also a newly appointed member of the Fairfax City Commission for Women. Roxann teaches all the department dance courses.
Victoria Scrimer has a PhD in theatre and performance studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests are in modern and contemporary drama and critical theory. Victoria is the two-time winner of the Comparative Drama Conference’s Anthony Ellis Prize and her work has appeared in Etudes, Text & Presentation, and Critical Stages. Her forthcoming publications include a chapter on documentary drama in Theatre in a Post-Truth World, part of the Methuen Drama Agitations series. In addition to her work as a dramaturg, Victoria is an experienced academic writing consultant and teaches writing and rhetoric at the Catholic University of America. She is an active member of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), and Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).
Ben Shaver (he/him/his) is an award-winning music director, singer, and vocal coach currently based in the DMV area. He holds a BM in Vocal Performance from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. He has performed on stages in the United States, Italy, Austria, and Georgia, most notably Carnegie Hall under the direction of Mairin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with artists such as David Schweitzer (Director: Trouble in Tahiti), Joe Barros (Director, Musical Co-writer: NY Theatre Barn), Garnett Bruce (Director: La Traviata), Francesca Mondanaro (Voice Studio), W. Stephen Smith (Voice: Juilliard, Northwestern University), Jeannette Lovetri (CCM Somatic Voice Work), Mairin Alsop (Conductor: BSO), John Williams (Conductor: Boston Pops), Kelly Glyptis (Accompanist for Concerts and International Competitions: Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera on West End) to name a few. Ben is currently a co-writer of To Whom It May Concern, a musical about the life of Ryan White, with Joe Barros (NYTheatre Barn) and Ryan Haase (StillPointe Theatre). Follow and contact him on social media at @barishaver!
Assistant to the Chair and Director of Group Sales
Taryn Snyder graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a BA in theatre in 2015 and began working for the department that following fall as the Assistant to the Chair and Director of Group Sales. Taryn hosts the UMW Theatre Road Trip series and assists in the fulfillment of the social media, communications, and advancement initiatives for the program.
Office: duPont 315
Stephen Spotswood received an MFA in playwriting from Catholic University and is an award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist, and educator. As a journalist, he has spent much of the last two decades writing about the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the struggles of wounded veterans. His dramatic work (including Girl in the Red Corner, Doublewide, and more) has been widely produced across the United States. His novel, Fortune Favors the Dead was released in October 2020. Stephen teaches Playwriting.
Professor and Chair
Gregg Stull is a director and arts manager who has worked extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Gregg has received the Grellett C. Simpson Award, UMW’s most prestigious award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, as well as the Mortar Board Outstanding Faculty Award, the Outstanding Young Faculty Award and twice, the Academic Affairs Council Award for Teaching Excellence. The graduating class of 2003 honored him with the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award as the “faculty member who had the greatest impact on their lives.” Gregg directed the national tour of Crimes Against Nature, featuring Chris Kilmartin as well as the UMW productions of The Laramie Project, RENT, Spring Awakening, Little Shop of Horrors, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, God of Carnage, and Fun Home among many others. Gregg is the Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance.
Office: duPont 328
Natalie Tenner received a BA in English language and literature at the University of Notre Dame, a MA from the University of Warwick, and a PhD in theatre literature, history and criticism from the University of Maryland College in 2012 and began working with the University of Mary Washington shortly thereafter. Natalie has provided her services as the dramaturg for Tartuffe in 2016 and developed the study guide material for the high school matinee performance for that production. Natalie teaches Dramatic Literature, Theatre History and Literature, and It’s Alive!: Horror on the Stage.
Craig Wallace received his BA in theatre from Howard University, his MFA from Penn State, and additional training at the Royal National Theatre in London. Craig is a professional actor who has worked at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Hangar Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Nersey, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Now working primarily in Washington, DC, his professional credits include Shakespeare Theatre Company: Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, The Government Inspector (Helen Hayes Award nomination Outstanding Ensemble), Tamburlaine, Edward II, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet; Ford’s Theatre: A Christmas Carol, The Laramie Project (Helen Hayes Award nomination Outstanding Ensemble), Our Town, Necessary Sacrifices, Sabrina Fair, Jitney; Arena Stage: K2, All My Sons, The Great White Hope, Hot-n-Throbbing; Signature Theatre: Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2 (Helen Hayes nomination for Part 2); Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: The Last Orbit of Billy Mars, Tommy J & Sally, Our Lady of 121st Street, Starving; Round House Theatre: Young Robin Hood, Permanent Collection, Tabletop, The Little Prince; Everyman Theatre: The Cherry Orchard, The Soul Collector ; Studio Theatre: F**king A (2nd Stage). Regional theaters include: Hangar Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Craig teaches Acting Shakespeare.
Marc Williams received an MFA in directing from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework and an Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. Marc’s professional work includes extensive credits as a director and voice/accent coach. He spent two years as the Director of New Works at Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh, NC, and two years as the Casting Director for Fredericksburg Theatre Company. Marc was the 2018 recipient of the Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching at Arkansas State University, where he also directed productions that include In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Into the Woods, and As You Like It.
Office: duPont 330
Julie Liepelt, associate professor emeritus
Julie Liepelt, a scenic and lighting designer at UMW, trained at Indiana University and has worked at numerous theatres and academic institutions. Julie’s design favorites include Sunday in the Park with George, The Secret Garden and Love of the Nightingale. Julie is an expert at fabric modification, having studied specific techniques with eminent artists throughout the country. Julie has branched out into television set design, culminating in a regional Emmy nomination for her work with Megahertz, a live music and video format production.
Helen Housley, professor emeritus
Helen Housley received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland where she researched the role of the female director in the American Theatre. In addition to being an accomplished director (whose recent work at UMW includes Medea, The Country Wife, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] and our first-ever virtual production, Much Ado About Nothing), Helen is a specialist in the Lessac technique and served the department as its primary vocal instructor and coach.
David E. Hunt, Jr., professor emeritus
David E. Hunt, Jr. earned an MFA in Scene Design from UCLA. He has designed scenery and/or lighting for over 150 theatre and dance productions. Among his favorite designs are Quilters, Into the Woods, The Taming of the Shrew and The Trojan Women. David received an AMOCO Excellence in Scene Design Award for his production of Much Ado About Nothing. David is an accomplished artist whose work hangs in local galleries and is widely commissioned by private collectors.