Who We Are

Angie Benson

Adjunct Professor

Angie Benson is a music director, conductor, keyboardist, and member of the American Federation of Musicians. Professional credits in the DC area include Signature Theatre: Pacific Overtures (Keyboard & Odaiko), The Color Purple (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Production), RENT; Studio Theatre: Fun Home; Olney Theatre Center: Elf, Singin’ in the Rain. National touring credits include A Chorus Line and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. Select regional credits include A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Northern Stage, for which she also composed the score), The Who’s Tommy (Stoneham Theatre), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Playhouse Square), First Date (Kansas City Starlight), and Have You Met Miss Jones? (New Theatre, directed by Richard Maltby Jr., starring Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy). She teaches Musical Theatre Performance.


Michael Benson

Associate Professor

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
Phone: 540.654.1981
Email: mbenson4@umw.edu

Bridgette Dennett

Assistant Professor

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
Phone: 540.654.1984
Email: bdennett@umw.edu

Max Doolittle

Adjunct Professor

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 TalksHe teaches Lighting Design.

Email: mdoolit2@umw.edu

Sherri Edelen

Adjunct Professor

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. She teaches Musical Theatre Performance.

Email: ssimpso2@umw.edu

Kenny Horning

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. He manages the student employees in the scene shop and supports faculty and students in Technical Production.


Office: duPont 314
Phone: 540.654.1663
Email: khorning@umw.edu

Casey Kaleba

Adjunct Professor

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.  He 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. He teaches Stage Combat, Rapier and Dagger, and Swashbuckling.

Email: ckaleba@umw.edu

Kevin McCluskey

Associate Professor

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. His specialties include costume history, period style and puppetry.


Office: duPont 326
Phone: 540.654.1979
Email: kmcclusk@umw.edu

Laura Esti Miller

Adjunct Professor

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. She 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. She teaches Playwriting.

Email: lmiller4@umw.edu

Brandon Prendergast

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. He also oversees the stage management program and teaches Stage Management.

Office: duPont 322
Phone: 540.654.1982
Email: bprender@umw.edu

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. He 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, Resource Strategies in Arts Administration as part of the requirements for the minor in arts administration, and has recently developed a special topics course, Digital Media and Audience Engagement.


Office: duPont 329
Phone: 540.654.2233
Email: jreynol2@umw.edu

Kara Robertson

Adjunct Professor

Kara Robertson is the Founder and Artistic Director of Richmond based Karar Dance Company, a professional contemporary dance nonprofit organization.  She holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Her work has been presented across the country including at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in New York City at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, and in Utah for Movers & Makers hosted by Wasatch Contemporary Dance Company in Provo as well as at the Red Rock Dance Festival in St. George.  Kara and her work have received attention by Style Weekly, RVArt Review, RVA Magazine, CultureWorks Richmond, Virginia this Morning on Channel 6, VCU Alumni, and Broadway World.  She has received multiple grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation to provide education and access to artists in the greater Richmond area through programs hosted by Karar Dance Company.  She teaches all the department Ballet, Modern, and Jazz dance courses.

Roxann Rowley

Adjunct Professor

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. She teaches department dance courses.

Victoria Scrimer

Adjunct Professor

Victoria Scrimer has a PhD in theatre and performance studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research is in modern and contemporary theatre and dramatic theory with a focus on law and politics. Her work has appeared in EtudesText & Presentation, and Critical Stages as well as a diversity of edited volumes on theatre and performance. Her forthcoming book, Staging Change (Methuen), interrogates the relationship between dramatic theatre and political activism. 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. Victoria is on the board of the Comparative Drama Conference and is co-editor of their annual special edition of the journal, Comparative Drama.

Email: vscrimer@umw.edu

Ben Shaver

Adjunct Professor

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! He teaches Musical Theatre Performance.

Email: hshaver@umw.edu

Taryn Snyder

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. She 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
Phone: 540.654.1243
Email: tsnyder3@umw.edu

Stephen Spotswood

Adjunct Professor

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. He teaches Playwriting.

Email: sspotswo@umw.edu

Gregg Stull

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, Fun Home, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and The Rocky Horror Show, among many others. He is the Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and was named the William V. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Theatre in 2023.

Office: duPont 328
Phone: 540.654.1980
Email: gstull@umw.edu

Chelsea Thaler

Adjunct Professor

Chelsea Thaler received a BA in Theater Performance from American University, an MS in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MFA in Devised Performance from University of the Arts/Pig Iron Theater. Chelsea is a professional actor, clown, and pedagogue. Her work lies at the intersection of performance, directing, filmmaking, and devising new works of theater. She’s worked as an actor, director, educator, movement director, and administrator in the DC-area, in Philadelphia, and in the NYC experimental and Off-Broadway scenes. DC credits at: Studio Theatre, Arena Stage, Theater J, Source Festival, Synetic Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Capital Fringe, DanceArtTheater, Imagination Stage, Adventure Theatre, and The Kennedy Center. Awards: Helen Hayes Award for Best Ensemble in The Wolves at Studio, and a Nomination for Best Ensemble in The Island of Dr. Moreau at Synetic. NYC credits: LaMaMa ETC, United Solo Festival, Sam French OOB, The Secret Theatre, and more. Thaler is co-founder and co-artistic director of Philadelphia-based experimental theater company, mimebaby. She trained in acting at the Moscow Art Theater School, Stella Adler in NYC, in physical theater, clown, and mask work at the Pig Iron School in Philly, at The Center for Movement Theater with Dody DiSanto, and with Giovanni Fusetti. Member of Actor’s Equity (AEA), associate member of the Stage Director’s and Choreographer’s Society (SDC). She teaches Intro to Acting and Acting I.

Craig Wallace

Adjunct Professor

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 2The 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. He teaches Acting Shakespeare.

Email: cwallac3@umw.edu

Marc Williams

Assistant Professor

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. He 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
Phone: 540.654.1983
Email: marc.williams@umw.edu

Amanda Zeitler

Adjunct Professor

Amanda Zeitler received her MFA in Playwriting from Catholic University of America and her BA in English from Loyola Marymount University. She is an award winning playwright whose work has been commissioned by several DC institutions, including the National Archives, Imagination Stage, the Metropolitan School of the Arts, and the Catholic University of America. Notable DC productions include the world premiere of Weep at Nu Sass Theatre and Neverlanding at Theatre 4615. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America and serves as the Managing Associate for Theatre Prometheus. Amanda has been known to dabble as an actor, producer, and stage manager. She teaches Playwriting.



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. She 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.

Email: jhodge@umw.edu

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), she is a specialist in the Lessac technique and served the department as its primary vocal instructor and coach.

Email: hhousley@umw.edu

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 QuiltersInto the WoodsThe 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. He is an accomplished artist whose work hangs in local galleries and is widely commissioned by private collectors.

Email: dhunt@umw.edu