NHS Drama Staff
Drama Club Advisor.
Director, Fall Play/Spring Musical
Chris Simmons is a graduate of Nordonia High School, Class of 2004. He has since earned degrees in Education and Theatre Arts at The University of Akron. In 2013, he completed his Master's Degree in Education.
Chris has been involved with the Nordonia Drama Club in some capacity since he graduated high school. Originally an assistant and backstage coordinator, he moved up to the role of Assistant Director for 2011's Beauty and the Beast and then assumed the role of Director for the 2013-2014 school year. He has directed the fall play since 2012 and made his Nordonia musical directorial debut in 2014 with The Wedding Singer. This year will mark his fourteenth musical with the Nordonia Drama Club as a member of the production staff. During his time at Nordonia, Chris is honored to have been a two-time recipient of the Superintendent's Award.
In addition to Drama at Nordonia, Chris was very active in theatre at UA, and is still very active in the community as an actor, director, and properties designer. Some of his favorite roles have included: Aida (Zoser), the Northeast Ohio Premiere of The Gospel According to Tammy Faye (Jerry Falwell), Godspell, The Taming of the Shrew (Tranio), Much Ado About Nothing (Don Pedro), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bottom), and Big River, for which he earned an American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Nomination for his portrayal of The King.
His directorial credits include: Little Shop of Horrors, The Wedding Singer, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, Disney's The Little Mermaid, The Importance of Being Earnest, And Then There Was One, Almost, Maine, Les Miserables, School Edition, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.
Chris is an active volunteer at Weathervane Community Playhouse in Akron, Ohio, as a director and designer, where he took home Chanticleer Awards for his Properties Designs of their productions of Oklahoma! and Willy Wonka. He also currently serves as the Assistant Artistic Director, Casting Director, and a member of the Board of Directors for Rubber City Theatre also based out of Akron, with whom he has worked since their inception in 2013.
MEGAN LEE GARGANO
Choreographer/Assistant Director, Spring Musical
Megan Lee Gargano is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, where she began her training in 2003 at the Royal School of Ballet under the direction of Joanne Hughes Morscher. In addition, Megan studied at The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, BalletMet, performed with The Pennsylvania Ballet and participated in several dance festivals throughout Ohio.
In 2012, Megan received her BFA in Performance and Choreography from Ohio University School of Dance where she developed her own artistic voice under the mentorship and direction of Madeleine Scott, Marina Walchli, Mickie Geller, Travis, Gatling, Tresa Randall, John Bohuslawsky and Gladys Bailin. While studying at OU, Megan performed the reconstruction of Alwin Nikolais piece Noumenon Mobilus, under the direction of Alberto del Saz. She has performed in faculty works by Mickie Geller and guest work by Adriana Durant, Stefanie Batten Bland and Sean Curran.
In July 2010, Megan studied at the Laban Centre in Greenwich, London, where she furthered her studies in Limon and Release Techniques, choreography and contact improvisation. In 2010, Megan set original work at the Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights and in 2011 her work “Formally Phrased, with the exception of a few” was selected for adjudication at the American College Dance festival held at Grand Valley State University, Michigan. Megan first choreographed for the Nordonia High School Drama Club with 2013's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Currently, Megan serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Columbus based organization OhioDance and is also an active member of the Dance Advance Team at DANCECleveland. The Movement Project’s work has been featured at Cleveland Public Theatre, Hullabaloo/Valerie Mayen, Cellar Door Cleveland, Arts in August, OhioDance Festival at BalletMet, Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio University and Dumbo Dance Festival in NYC.
Musical Director, Spring Musical
William C. Shaffer is a full time organist, pianist, and accompanist in the greater Cleveland area. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from Baldwin Wallace University under the late Dr. George Cherry, and received his Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano under the guidance of Anne Epperson and Dr. Russell Miller at the Cleveland Institute of Music. His long list of accomplishments since then include a performance in the East Room of the White House, three international tours and guest performances with The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
William is currently the organist at the historic St John’s Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, and the sole accompanist at Temple Emanu El. He also is a staff accompanist at Baldwin Wallace University where he also teaches piano through the outreach department, as well as accompanying the famous BW Men’s Chorus. William recently has agreed to be the accompanist for the Cleveland State University Choruses, and also accompanies the Cleveland Pops Chorus.
William also loves the musical theater world, and was thrilled to tour nationally with both Wicked and The Addams Family in the recent past. He also has played for Broadway touring shows that have come through Cleveland, including West Side Story, Grease, Billy Elliott, The Addams Family and Wicked. He has also musically directed several shows, including Beauty and the Beast, Oklahoma, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, City of Angels, Guys and Dolls and Merrily We Roll Along. In the spring of 2014, William made his first appearance at Nordonia High School music directing and conducting The Wedding Singer.
William is happily married to his wonderful and supporting wife Michelle. His hobbies include travel, reading, and spending time with his four cats.