Staff

Nathan Motta

Artistic Director

Nathan is the 5th Artistic Director at Dobama Theatre where he spurred Dobama's move to become the region's newest Equity Theatre and where he’s directed critically acclaimed productions of AN OCTOROON (Best Director- Cleveland Critics Circle), THE FLICK, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, SUPERIOR DONUTS, A BRIGHT NEW BOISE, THE LYONS, TIME STANDS STILL, THE ALIENS, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL CELEBRATION, MARIE ANTOINETTE, and the World Premiere of HOW TO BE A RESPECTABLE JUNKIE. A professional director, conductor, and composer/lyricist, Motta has worked with Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Oberlin College, Cleveland State University, John Carroll University, Opera Cleveland, Ohio Light Opera, Cain Park, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Mercury Opera Rochester, and Civic Light Opera (Pittsburgh). He is the Founding Artistic Director of the Dobama Emerging Actors Program (DEAP), Dobama's elite summer acting program. He has written two original musicals, LITTLE WHITE GLOVES (an adaptation of the movie All I Wanna Do) and MIDSUMMER (based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream). He holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.M. from the Eastman School of Music. Member Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), the national theatrical union that unites, empowers and protects professional stage Directors and Choreographers throughout the United States.

Phone:  (216) 932-6838
Email: nmotta@dobama.org

 

Julie Friedman

Managing Director

Julie has been with Dobama for eleven years – first as Financial Manager and then Associate Managing Director before moving into the role of Managing Director in August 2013. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Oregon and an MFA in Dramaturgy and Theater Criticism from Brooklyn College CUNY. She has also worked as dramaturge on several Dobama productions. Ms. Friedman manages everything related to business and operations at Dobama, has navigated the theatre's move to becoming Equity, and has overseen a 85% increase in operating budget in the past three years.

Phone:  (216) 932-6838
Email:  jfriedman@dobama.org

 

Jonathan Wilhelm

Associate Managing Director

Jonathan Wilhelm has had a long and varied career in the theatre from being the youngest intern at Oberlin Music Theatre to fabricating leather armor for Great Lakes Theater's production of KING LEAR with Hal Holbrook. As a performer he has been a professional children's storyteller (Mr. Hatbox), a Cleveland Christmas icon (a ten-year stint as Mr. Jingeling), and most recently appeared in Lucas Hnath's ISSAC’S EYE at convergence-continuum as The Narrator/Dying Man. As a playwright, his work has been performed at Ensemble Theatre (MIRACLE AND WONDER, 2012), John Carroll University (HOUSEHOLD TALES, 2010) and Cleveland Public Theatre (PUBLIC DISPLAYS, 2010). He has directed productions at Lorain County Community College THE CRUCIBLE, OLIVER!), Workshop Players (MORNING'S AT SEVEN, THE CURIOUS SAVAGE), and more murder-mystery dinner theatre productions than he can count. For seventeen years, he worked at Borders Books & Music where he organized book signings/events for Gen. Colin Powell, Judy Collins, Sandra Brown, Suze Ormond and Bob James, among others. He lives in Cleveland Heights with his partner Michael and cat Edgar.

Phone:  (216) 932-3396
Email: jwilhelm@dobama.org

 

ANNE BAKAN

Assistant Managing Director

Anne Karyna Bakan received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Direction and Stage Management from Baldwin Wallace University in 2014 and has worked as a freelance artist for several area theatres since then. She headed the Billing Department at Partners for Behavioral Health and Wellness in Beachwood for three years and is proud to join the Dobama staff as the Assistant Managing Director after serving as a house manager for the theatre during the 2016-2017 season. Over the years she has directed several plays and staged readings, including CHAIR AND CONFESSOR, NO GOOD DEED, GREAT GRANDPA’S MELLOW CHAIR and A TELEGRAM IN THE WORLD OF SMARTPHONES at Garfield Players, ALL OF THE THINGS I HAVE DONE FOR YOU at Playwrights Local, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES and STRAIT PEOPLE AND THEIR PROBLEMS at Baldwin Wallace, and most recently, MORRISON V. DANVERS as part of Dobama’s 39th Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids Playwriting Festival. She has assisted the direction of such shows as A DOLL’S HOUSE and THE TESTAMENT OF MARY at Mamaí Theatre Company, STANDING ON CEREMONY: THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS and THIS IS NOT THE PLAY at Cleveland Public Theatre and INCENDIARIES with the Ohio City Theatre Project. In Dobama’s upcoming season, Anne will assist in the direction of GROUNDED and APPROPRIATE under acclaimed New York director Alice Reagan and Dobama’s Artistic Director Nathan Motta, respectively. She has also choreographed and stage managed a number of productions for these and other Cleveland area theatres. Anne lives right here in Cleveland Heights and is proud mama to two ferocious felines, Felicity June and Sawyer Émile.

 

David Tilk

Resident Technical Director

David has 25 years’ experience as a theatre technician working for many theatres in Cleveland, as well as being involved in a variety of educational settings in legit theatre. These include: Cleveland Public Theatre, Opera Cleveland (A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC), Sign Stage (WINNIE THE POOH, STUART LITTLE), Cain Park (SWEENY TODD, PIPPIN), Barberton Magical Theater (SECRET GARDEN, A WRINKLE IN TIME, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD), Chagrin Academy of the Performing Arts (STEEL MAGNOLIAS, NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, MAN OF LA MANCHA, SECRET GARDEN, RHINOCEROS), and WHIZBANG! Theatre Company. Dave sees every new set as a personal challenge to produce the best possible outcome that fits the designers’ plans and the actors’ individual needs. He is pleased to return for the upcoming season at Dobama, where he has worked on GRIZZLY MAMA, BRIGHT NEW BOISE, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS, OR, AN OCTOROON, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER and many other notable plays. David has built hundreds of outstanding sets, designed by some of the area’s finest set designers, and is looking forward to a new season as he continues to be a part of the exceptional plays at Dobama. 

 

Marcus Dana

Resident Lighting Designer

Marcus  has worked at Dobama Theatre since 2003 in various capacities including Technical Director and Lighting Designer.  Recent shows are:  HANSEL & GRETEL (Technical Director) with Nightingale Opera, LD Dance Concert: Design Dancing On The Edge, Cleveland School of Ballet  THE NUTCRACKER. Previously Lighting includes: Tri-C East/Metro from 2000-2016 as Lighting Designer, Laurel School 2009-12, Resident Lighting Designer at Near West Theatre from 2001-06, Guest LD at The Canton Players Guild 2005-11, Verlezza Dance 2004-10, Beck Center 1995-2000, including THE SECRET GARDEN, where he won the 1995-96 Peggy Ezekiel "Award of Outstanding Achievement”, CSU Factory Theatre, Cassidy Theatre, Karamu House, Lake Erie College 1997-06, Willoughby Fine Arts Association, The Bang and The Clatter Theatre, Kalliope Stage, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Bonfils Theatre and The Changing Scene.

 

CYRUS O. TAYLOR

Resident Sound Designer

Cyrus Taylor is a native of Shaker Heights, and an alumnus of Case Western Reserve University’s theater program. His design credits include How To Be A Respectable Junkie, The Mystery of Love and Sex, and The Call (Dobama Theater); Clybourne Park and Metamorphoeses (Cleveland Play House / Case Western Reserve University Masters of Fine Arts Program); Mothers and Sons and Seminar (Beck Center for the Arts); A Streetcar named Desire and Woman and Scarecrow (Mamai Theater Company); Mr. Burns (Cleveland Public Theater); High Fidelity, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and The Addams Family (CWRU). He has also acted as audio engineer for Godspell and The Frogs (Cain Park); Titus: A Grand And Gory Rock Musical (Cleveland Public Theater); Forever Plaid, Mary Poppins and Spitfire Grill (Beck Center for the Arts); Gutenberg! The Musical (Dobama Theater); along with numerous events and performances at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

 

TESIA DUGAN BENSON

Resident COSTUME DESIGNER

Tesia is a Cleveland based Costume Designer. Recent designs include AN OCTOROON, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, MARIE ANTOINETTE, SUPERIOR DONUTS, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL CELEBRATION, THE ALIENS and TIME STANDS STILL for Dobama, TOXIC AVENGER, THE FROGS and SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE for Cain Park, DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA and ANCESTRA at Cleveland Public Theatre, and 'NIGHT MOTHER at The Beck Center. Tesia worked with Opera Cleveland as Costume Coordinator and designed the costumes for LA VOIX HUMAINE.  Other credits include designs for Apollo’s Fire, Lakeland Civic Theater, Near West Theater,  Keystone Repertory Theater, Baldwin Wallace University, BIOLA University in La Mirada California, Cleveland State University, Cleveland City School District All City Musical, and Laurel School. She also serves as draper for the Baldwin-Wallace University Costume Shop and Adjunct Faculty teaching Stage Makeup.  Tesia holds her M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

MEGAN MINGUS*

RESIDENT STAGE MANAGER

Megan is one of the resident Stage Managers here at Doabma Theatre. This is her seventh season, where she has worked on over twenty productions in different capacities from Stage Manager to Props Designer and painter. Some of the more memorable ones include, but are surely not limited to, THE FLICK, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, AN OCTOROON, OR,, BECKY SHAW, CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL, KIN, BELLEVILLE, THE ALIENS, TIME STANDS STILL, 4,000 MILES and THE SEAFARER. She has worked all over Ohio and Utah as a Scenic Artist, Stage Manager, Stage Crew and in Company Management. Megan is a graduate of Kent State University, where she graduated with a BA in Theatre Studies and would like to thank her family and friends for their support. She would also like to thank YOU, the patrons, for supporting live theatre. Thank you and enjoy the show!

 

Joel Rathbone*

Resident Stage Manager

Joel is a Resident Stage Manager at Dobama Theatre. Previously, he had been a freelance Stage Manager for nineteen years in Cleveland.  He has managed productions for Playhouse Square, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Cleveland Shakespeare Company, and Lakeland College. He was grateful for the opportunity to manage Dobama's HAND TO GOD, MARIE ANTOINETTE, THE NIGHT ALIVE, THE REALISTIC JONESES, THE CALL, THE NORWEGIANS, SUPERIOR DONUTS, and COCK.  His other favorite productions around town have been NEXT TO NORMAL for Lakeland College and Ensemble’s production of THE NORMAL HEART.  As always, he couldn’t do it without the support of his friends and family, especially his wife Hester and their adorable son, Joel Wade.

 

Justine schneider

Resident Scenic artist

Justine Schneider is a freelance artist from the Cleveland area. She is happy to make her return to Dobama Theatre as their Resident Scenic Artist this season! Justine has previously painted many of Dobama's productions including, but not limited to; HAND TO GOD, THE FLICK, THE NIGHT ALIVE, AN OCTOROON, MARIE ANTOINETTE, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER and THE REALISTIC JONESES. Justine has also painted for Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland Play House, Chagrin Falls Performing Arts Academy, Near West Theatre and Cedar Point’s Halloweekends. She is always up for a challenge and enjoys how each production is a brand new experience! For more information and pictures from her various theatrical endeavors, visit www.facebook.com/artistjustineschneider/.

Mindi Bonde

FRONT-OF-House COORDINATOR

Mindi has worked in many capacities at local professional and community theatre venues including Actors’ Summit, Beck Center, Cain Park, CCC-E, Great Lakes Theater, Halle, Kalliope Stage, and 14th Street Theatre.  She is the Assistant Box Office Manager at Cain Park. Previously, Mindi was a tech dresser for the national tour of EVITA, was Dorothy Silver’s dresser in Dobama’s highly acclaimed 4000 MILES, and worked as Assistant Stage Manager on TIME STANDS STILL and THE REVISIONIST as well as Production Assistant on THE NORWEGIANS. Mindi holds a Master’s degree from Western Illinois University.  She is the proud mother of Melissa and C.J. and grandmother of Jacob.

 

*denotes member Actors' Equity Association, the labor union representing American actors and stage managers in the theatre.

 

DOBAMA THEATRE’S MISSION IS TO
PREMIERE THE BEST CONTEMPORARY PLAYS
BY ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS IN PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTIONS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY.

Through educational and outreach programming, Dobama Theatre nurtures
the development of theatre artists and builds new audiences for the arts while
provoking an examination of our contemporary world.