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Michael Obertacz (He, Him)

Executive Director

Mike is honored to serve as the Executive Director of Near West Theatre, Cleveland’s premier intergenerational community theatre and founding anchor institution of the Gordon...Expand

Mike is honored to serve as the Executive Director of Near West Theatre, Cleveland’s premier intergenerational community theatre and founding anchor institution of the Gordon Square Arts District. Near West Theatre is currently celebrating its 45th year serving the Near West Side of Cleveland through large-scale musical productions, educational programs and community events. In this role, Mike leads the organization in service to its mission and the community, strategy, culture and operations, and financial health and sustainability. Recently receiving the Neighborhood Builders Award from Bank of America, Near West Theatre has grown capacity post-pandemic serving several Cleveland schools, expanding its production and events season, and prioritizing diversity and inclusion in staffing, board recruitment, production teams and teaching artists. 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 20 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 for seven years 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 an alumni of Leadership Cleveland 2020. Mike sits on the Gordon Square Arts District Special Improvement District Board and resides in Shaker Heights with his wife, Leta their two sons.

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Trinidad Snider (She/Her)

Artistic Director

Trinidad (Rosado) started her NWT journey back in 1989 in the teen production, Fame. Her excellence as an artist was developed through education at the...Expand

Trinidad (Rosado) started her NWT journey back in 1989 in the teen production, Fame. Her excellence as an artist 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. 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.

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Perren Hedderson (He, Him)

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 (She. Her)

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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Brendan Reynolds (He, Him)

Advancement Director

Brendan joined the Near West Theatre team in 2018. He brings more 15 years of experience to his role as Advancement Director. Prior to joining...Expand

Brendan joined the Near West Theatre team in 2018. He brings more 15 years of experience to his role as Advancement 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 (He, Him)

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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Amani Green (She, Her)

Program Manager

Amani is so excited to serve as the new Program Manager at Near West Theatre! She grew up as a third culture kid in Cairo,...Expand

Amani is so excited to serve as the new Program Manager at Near West Theatre! She grew up as a third culture kid in Cairo, Egypt, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in Psychology. She has been involved in several casts/production teams of shows at Near West Theatre since 2017 (most recently playing Madame in Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and serving as the Assistant Director of the summer teen show, All Shook Up). She previously worked in higher education administration at Case Western Reserve and Oberlin College. Aside from theatre, she enjoys women’s gymnastics, reading fantasy series, and is obsessed with her nephew!

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Hannah Armenta (She, Her)

Engagement Manager

Hannah joined the NWT team in 2022. She originates from the Central Coast of California where she started her theatrical journey at Pacific Repertory Theatre...Expand

Hannah joined the NWT team in 2022. She originates from the Central Coast of California where she started her theatrical journey at Pacific Repertory Theatre in 2005. She then went on to earn an A.A. degree in Visual Communications from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, CA. Relocating to Ohio in 2012, she pursued a B.S. in Multimedia News with a minor in Political Science at Kent State University. She took advantage of every opportunity at Kent State – playing Rugby, serving as the Fall 2014 Editor-in-Chief of The Kent Stater, and interning at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars through the Washington Program in National Issues. She also won a Hearst Journalism Award in the Breaking News category in 2015. Following graduation, she dedicated herself to community service as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Cleveland from 2015 to 2016 where her school team gave her the Service to a Cause Greater Than Self award. Her passion for education and the youth of Cleveland led her to Teach for America, where she continued her AmeriCorps service. At Johns Hopkins University, she earned an MS. Ed. degree in Secondary Education, specializing in Special Education and Mathematics. While earning her degree, she excelled as an Intervention Specialist at a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school, teaching inclusion mathematics and A.P. Computer Science Principles. She taught for five years, and during that time, earned an Accomplished Teacher rating from the State of Ohio and coached Cheerleading. In 2021, Hannah joined the ensemble of Roger’s and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Near West Theatre and fell so much in love with NWT, she just had to join the organization. Hannah lives with her Fiancé, Sarah, in Gordon Square, and in her spare time she likes hanging out with her cats, Salem and Tululah, dancing, reading, and seizing every opportunity to perform on stage.

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Kamilla Jensen (She/Her)

Box Office Manager

Kamilla grew up near Madison Wisconsin and has been performing in theatre and music groups since 2005. She graduated from Wittenberg University in 2019 and...Expand

Kamilla grew up near Madison Wisconsin and has been performing in theatre and music groups since 2005. She graduated from Wittenberg University in 2019 and moved to Cleveland shortly after to teach at Solon Center for the Arts. She's also been in several productions around the area such as the Crucible at the Fine Arts Association and some of her overall favorite productions include Cabaret, Circle Mirror Transformation, Tigers be Still, and the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She is incredibly excited to be working at Near West Theatre and has loved getting to know this amazing community.

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Emily Hutlock (She/Her)

Advancement Associate

Emily is thrilled to be serving the Near West Theatre community! Emily first became involved in theatre when she was six. Since then, she has...Expand

Emily is thrilled to be serving the Near West Theatre community! Emily first became involved in theatre when she was six. Since then, she has stage managed over 15 production and proudly served on several board across Ohio. After studying English and Arts Management at Baldwin Wallace University, Emily earned her MA in Arts Policy and Administration at The Ohio State University. In March 2023, she premiered her thesis project: a documentary film detailing the return of community theatre after the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently lives in Cleveland Heights with her fiancé James and loves to read, bake, and go on walks.

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