With a BFA in Musical Theater and a minor in Directing from The Boston Conservatory, Hillary is the proud Executive Director of Theatre South Playhouse, a local non-profit in the heart of Dr. Phillips. As a professional actress in New York, Hillary spent years performing at Lincoln Center’s The Metropolitan Opera, Tony & Tina’s Wedding and touring the Tri-State area with Joey & Maria’s Wedding as well as appearing on various NY based movies and TV shows. While living in the NYC, Hillary worked as Assistant Casting Director of the hit show “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”. In 1998 Disney relocated Hillary to sunny Orlando to perform various singing princesses, and various under the sea creatures. Hillary has appeared both locally and regionally in various musicals and plays for the past 20 years. Hillary created Theatre South Playhouse in 2009 and couldn't be prouder of what this small, unique theatre company has achieved as an educational institution as well as a professional theater. She is a Dr. Phillips' mom with two amazing children who just so happen to love the stage! Hillary is a proud founding member of GOPAR and is honored to volunteer with these amazing humans as we continue to give back to our arts community.
Before joining the staff at Orlando REP, Chris had a busy career all over the United States. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UCF in 2005 and immediately after was accepted into the prestigious Yale School of Drama and graduated from Yale University with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Technical Design and Production. Throughout his schooling, Chris held positions at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and the New York Summer Play Festival. At Yale, Chris worked at the renowned Yale Repertory Theater on many productions and was schooled in everything from structural engineering and automation to production and theatre management.
After Yale, Chris went to work for one of the largest Broadway Scene Shops, Hudson Scenic Studio, working in the Automation department. In 2009, Chris was a supervisor in the construction of the NYC Times Square Ball, which is the first ball to reside in Times Square year-round. After all that, Chris has spent the last 12 years at Orlando Repertory Theatre. Managing over 100 productions as the Production Manager, Chris also held the role of General Manager before becoming Executive Director in the summer of 2019.
He is very involved in the Central Florida community. Chris is a proud Leadership Orlando graduate, Class 91, and class 2.0. He serves on multiple advisory boards for UCF and is Board Treasurer for GOPAR – a relief non-profit organization for artists, created during the pandemic. He is active is his church and in the Dr. Phillips community. But his most important roles are Dad to his son Michael (12), daughter Gracie (11), and husband to his high school sweetheart Katie.
Laurels career mainstay and creative home was as the Show Director and Entertainment Manager for Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows for 25 years. It allowed her to participate in the Orlando Fringe Festival as a performer and director in over 22 productions that won numerous awards and culminated in her winning the Critics' Choice Award for Best Director in 2019.
She was also thrilled to be part of a duo that wrote multi-day mysteries and created original groundbreaking Children’s programs for Disney Cruise lines. She feels it is her great good fortune to be working now at AdventHealth in the Consumer Experience Department where she has been involved in the creation of a new program to survey their network practices. The innovation at Advent Health is allowing for several new creative opportunities and she is excited to be growing with this, Top 150 Places to Work in Healthcare winner!
As a professional director, performer and script writer in Central Florida for over 30 years, Laurel is honored to be acting as Vice President for the newly formed GOPAR Board. Changing career paths in 2020 herself as a result of the Pandemic, she feels keenly for the need in our community to have an organization like GOPAR, where our performers can turn in times of crisis.
Janine is an actor/singer/dancer who has been performing on Central Florida Theater stages since the 1980s. Her full time job is at Trinity Preparatory school in Winter Park where she is the Fine Arts department chair, auditorium manager, theater teacher, director, choreographer, adviser, mentor, and sponsor of the school’s thespian troupe. Janine was one of two teachers named the “2018 Inspiring Teacher” by the Broadway League Foundation Jimmy Awards. In 2006 she was awarded The H. Benton Ellis Award for Excellence in Teaching. During the summer of 2015 Janine received a fellowship to study at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. She loves providing her students with plenty of opportunities for artistic growth. Janine has taken her students to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland during the summers of 2008, 2012, 2016, and is excited to take another group during summer of 2022! She has a B.A. in Fine Arts/Theatre from Ramapo College of New Jersey and M.A. in Musical Theatre from U.C.F.
David Russell is a founder of SAK Comedy Lab, a 230-seat comedy improv theater in
Downtown Orlando, which opened in 1991, and current President of SAK Theatre Co.
David served as Artistic Director and Managing Director of SAK Comedy Lab from 2002-
2012. As Artistic Director of SAK, David’s services were sought out by Walt Disney
Entertainment, who contracted David to serve as Show Director for several shows,
including the World Showcase Players, Turtle Talk, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Comedy
Warehouse and The Adventurers Club.
David has also directed several professional theater productions in Central Florida
including Bad Dates, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Explorers Club, You Can’t Take it With You,
and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. David also directed Laughter on the 23rd Floor at the
American Stage Theater in St. Petersburg, FL, and the award-winning Black Wood at the
Orlando International Fringe Festival.
Dave has been a coach and instructor of improv for more than 35 years and currently
oversees SAK corporate training as lead Facilitator, and SAK custom corporate
entertainment as Creative Director and Creative Producer.
Michael Wanzie is a founding member of GOPAR and former Executive Director of The Center (Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community services center) who has been a human rights and arts activist for most of his adult life. He is an actor, playwright, and producer who holds the box office record for most tickets sold in the history of the Orlando Fringe Festival. and is the recipient of the Festival’s Terry Olson Lifetime Achievement Award. He has written 29 plays and - with composer partner Rich Charron - musicals which have enjoyed full-staged productions. As the Artistic Producing Director of Wanzie Presents, Michael Wanzie is proud to have been fairly compensating actors, designers, and technicians in Central Florida for 40 years.