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A small and mighty team. 

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michael-obertacz

Michael Obertacz

Executive Director

Mike is honored to serve the Near West Theatre mission and community in his role as Executive Director. In this role, he oversees the operations,...Expand

Mike is honored to serve the Near West Theatre mission and community in his role as Executive Director. In this role, he oversees the operations, strategy, and finances of the organization. Mike has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University, spent a decade as a professional actor performing in over 45 productions nationally, and has spent the last 15 years leading and directing programming for nonprofit organizations in Cleveland and New York City. Before coming to Near West Theatre, Mike spent four years as the director of programs with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, and in the same capacity with Career Gear, NYC, a nonprofit social service agency providing holistic programming to prepare formerly homeless, incarcerated, and chronically unemployed men to reenter society. Mike received youth development training through the MyCom Youth Work Institute at Case Western Reserve University, was designated a 2008 United Way Junior Fellow through Baruch College in New York City, and is currently engaged in Leadership Cleveland (best class ever) through The Cleveland Leadership Center, where he also serves on their Alumni Advisory Committee. He also serves on the City of Shaker Heights Public Art Task Force ensuring the city’s commitment to community focused public art. Ever the artist at heart, while balancing organization leadership, civic engagement, and family, Mike has stepped on the NWT stage from time to time as an actor and director. Mike currently resides in Shaker Heights with his wife, Leta, their two sons, and Boston Terrier, Teddy.

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trinidad-snider

Trinidad Snider

Artistic Director

Trinidad Snider is thrilled to return to her NWT roots as the new Artistic Director! Trinidad first came to Near West Theatre in 1989 for...Expand

Trinidad Snider is thrilled to return to her NWT roots as the new Artistic Director! Trinidad first came to Near West Theatre in 1989 for a teen production of Fame, followed by performances in various shows on the NWT stage over the next 20 years. Her excellence as an artist also was developed through education at the Cleveland School of Performing Arts and Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, as well as extensive work as a director and performer in the Northeast Ohio community, including experience directing adults, teens, and children. Most recently, she served as a Teaching Artist with The Musical Theater Project, where she taught the Kids Love Musicals and Intergenerational programs, and helped to create and facilitate the Creative Aging Program focused on seniors and the arts. She served as the Business Director for The Memorial Opera House in Indiana and has held many roles in Human Resources and customer service for Marriott and InterContinental Hotels. She looks forward to working in this amazing community and joining the Detroit Shoreway family. She resides in Chardon with her husband Michael and their four wonderful children.

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alvis-ashley

Alvis Ashley

Maintenance Technician

Alvis first began working on special projects at Near West Theatre back in 2008. He began his regular tenure at Near West Theatre just after...Expand

Alvis first began working on special projects at Near West Theatre back in 2008. He began his regular tenure at Near West Theatre just after the new facility opened in February 2015. In his current role, Alvis takes care of the building’s interior and exterior. His tasks vary from set-up and tear-down of the stage, audience risers, cleaning and maintaining the facility and plaza, as well as construction projects in the main theatre space.

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amy-gertiser-clausen

Amy Gertiser (Clausen)

General Manager/Facilities Manager

Amy joined the staff in April 2014 bringing her experience with performing arts, social work, and nonprofit administration into her career here. She oversees the...Expand

Amy joined the staff in April 2014 bringing her experience with performing arts, social work, and nonprofit administration into her career here. She oversees the operations, human resources, and facilities management of the theater. Amy also serves on the GSAD-CIC Board representing Near West Theatre. Amy holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame as well as a Masters of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Amy experienced the powerful benefits of performing arts as a youth and is honored to help create those opportunities for the next generation. When she’s not at the theatre, you can usually find her training at her nearby fencing club, gardening in her yard, or traveling with her husband, Chris.

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perren-hedderson

Perren Hedderson

Technical Director

Perren Hedderson has been involved at Near West Theatre since 1994. At that time the theatre and Urban Community School established a partnership that spanned...Expand

Perren Hedderson has been involved at Near West Theatre since 1994. At that time the theatre and Urban Community School established a partnership that spanned many years. It helped many kids in the Ohio City neighborhood find a space where art was alive and working. It was a verb for him. It shaped the rest of his life. If you have seen a show in the last 25 years, Perren has either been in the show, built the set, created projection effects, or all of the above, give or take a handful. Sometimes you need a break! He has worked in film and live theatre in Cleveland all during this time. Also in New Mexico for a few years, working in film. He has been the Technical Director since 2017. He’s now a father of Kellen with his wife Sarah, living that Cleveland Life!

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emily-hehnen

Emily Hehnen

Assistant Technical Director

Emily learned about Near West Theatre while doing stage crew in high school and started volunteering there in 2010, becoming a member of the staff...Expand

Emily learned about Near West Theatre while doing stage crew in high school and started volunteering there in 2010, becoming a member of the staff in 2018. She graduated from Ohio University in 2016 with a BFA in Production Design and Technology. In addition to being the Assistant Technical Director (ATD), Emily will occasionally work as a sound and video technician for Near West events and performances. One of her favorite programs at Near West is the Summer Technical Workshop, because she enjoys getting to show and teach people what she does, so come hang out and learn cool stuff. When she’s not working she enjoys staring at the pile of books she has yet to read and spending time with her family.

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bailey-pfohl

Bailey Pfohl

Audience and Community Development Manager

Inspired by the work NWT does, Bailey leads the charge on the organization’s marketing & community engagement. Along with a mighty team of young professionals,...Expand

Inspired by the work NWT does, Bailey leads the charge on the organization’s marketing & community engagement. Along with a mighty team of young professionals, she is also heading up NWT’s efforts to engage young professionals through it's new Limelight Society. Bailey is an alum of Syracuse University and Case Western Reserve University and is engaged in various circles around Cleveland involving the arts, social justice, and LGBTQ communities. She is passionate about her dog Andie, voter advocacy, and chocolate.

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brendan-reynolds

Brendan Reynolds

Development Director

Brendan joined the Near West Theatre team in 2018. He brings more than a decade of experience in fundraising for the nonprofit sector to his...Expand

Brendan joined the Near West Theatre team in 2018. He brings more than a decade of experience in fundraising for the nonprofit sector to his role as Development Director. Prior to joining Near West Theatre Brendan served in various development capacities with Holden Forests & Gardens, Kent State University, and the Cleveland Zoological Society. Brendan is a proud graduate of Baldwin Wallace University’s (formerly Baldwin-Wallace College) arts management program. Brendan is a lifelong music theatre fan and two of his favorites are Follies and Sideshow.

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michael-stein

Michael Stein

Production Manager/Rentals Manager/Lighting Design

Michael had worked as the Lighting Designer for various productions here at NWT since 2009 before becoming a permanent member of the staff as Production...Expand

Michael had worked as the Lighting Designer for various productions here at NWT since 2009 before becoming a permanent member of the staff as Production Manager/Rentals Manager in 2016. His 40+ year career in theatre has taken him across the U.S. from Maine to California. However, he spent most of his previous career as the Stage Manager/Production Manager/Lighting Designer at the Carousel Dinner Theatre in both Ravenna and Akron, OH. Michael's lighting designs at NWT include 1776, Carnival!, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Urinetown, Once on this Island (2009), Secret Garden, The Wiz (2010), Rent (2010), Willy Wonka (2011), A Christmas Story the Musical, Move On!, and many of the yearly benefit performances both here and at Trinity Cathedral. Born in Warren, OH and a KSU alumnus, he and his wife Carlie now reside in Avon and love spending time traveling whenever possible.

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Support Staff

michelle-gregorczyk

Michelle Gregorczyk

Accountant

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, majoring in accounting, from Cleveland State University in 1991 and passed the CPA exam in 1992....Expand

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, majoring in accounting, from Cleveland State University in 1991 and passed the CPA exam in 1992. Since beginning her accounting career in 1991, Michelle has worked for numerous prestigious firms such as International Management Group and the Cleveland Ballet. Since 2003, Ms. Gregorczyk has served as the founder and chief executive of In Balance, a local accounting firm with notable clients such as: Near West Theatre, Verb Ballets, Progressive Arts Alliance, Cleveland Tenants Organization, Zygote Press, Inc., Y-Haven, Ten Thousand Villages, and Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation. Michelle has earned a reputation throughout the non-profit community as a trustworthy accountant with an uncanny ability to stabilize and assist in the turn-around of struggling agencies. She is the biggest Indians fan currently employed by Near West Theatre!

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Kevin Kelly

Fundraising & Administration

Kevin is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Administration. He is an avid tennis player and spent 16 years...Expand

Kevin is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Administration. He is an avid tennis player and spent 16 years working for the mutual fund firm Federated Investors, Inc., as a Customer Service Supervisor and Wholesaler. At Near West Theatre, Kevin is responsible for the playbill ad sales and assists with other occasional fundraising projects.

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