NHS Drama Staff
Drama Club Advisor
Director, Fall Play and Spring Musical
Advisor, International Thespian Troupe 2802
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 a production 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 spring musical directorial debut in 2014 with The Wedding Singer. This year will mark his fifteenth 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 is still active in the community as an actor, director, and properties designer. Some of his favorite roles have included: Guys and Dolls (Nicely Nicely Johnson), Aida (Zoser), the Northeast Ohio Premiere of The Gospel According to Tammy Faye (Jerry Falwell), Godspell, A Christmas Carol (Scrooge), The Taming of the Shrew (Tranio), 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: Oklahoma!, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wedding Singer, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, Disney's The Little Mermaid, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Crucible, Almost, Maine, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Les Miserables.
Chris is active as a director, actor and properties designer at several area theatres including: Rubber City Theatre, Buckeye Community Theatre and Weathervane Community Playhouse. He has taken home Chanticleer Awards for his Properties Designs of Weathervane's productions of Oklahoma! and Willy Wonka. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Rubber City Theatre, based out of Akron, with whom he has worked since their inception in 2013.
MEGAN LEE GARGANO
Choreographer and 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, and assumed the title of Assistant Director for 2015's production of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida.
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.
Coordinator, Drama Summer Camp
Cati Brasdovich is a 2015 graduate of Nordonia High School. In some way, shape, or form, she has been involved with NHS Drama since 2011. She joined the summer camp team as a counselor during high school and continued throughout college. You can sometimes find her hanging out in the auditorium, which is still labeled as her “home away from home”.
Cati is set to graduate from Kent State University in May of 2019 with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Musical Director, Spring Musical
Kathleen Pellington is the choral director for Nordonia Middle School. She earned her BME at Otterbein University, where she co-founded and co-directed the a cappella group Ottertuned. She had been the vocal director at Wapakoneta High School for the four years before coming to Nordonia. Kathleen also works as a counselor for Camp A Cappella, has served as a judge for Varsity Vocals and performs regularly with her own a cappella groups Inside Voices and Square One.
Kathleen joined the Nordonia Drama family for our spring 2019 production of The Wizard of Oz.
Musical Director and Orchestra Conductor, Spring Musical
John Pickering is the Director Of Choral Activities for Nordonia Hills City Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Bowling Green State University & Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from Kent State University.
Winner of the Louis John Johnen Vocal Competitions, he has appeared on stage in numerous professional and community theatrical productions including Beauty & The Beast, King & I, 110 In The Shade, A Christmas Carol, Pippin, Sound of Music, La Traviata, and Gianni Schicchi, Street Scene, among many others. He has performed with Middletown Lyric Theatre, Canton Player’s Guild, Akron Lyric Opera, Canton Comic Opera Company, Waterville Playshop, Nightengale Opera Theatre & has been guest soloist with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra and the Toledo Choral Society with the Toledo Symphony.
Active as a choral clinician and judge, choral ensembles under his direction have had the honor to sing for President George W. Bush, have opened for nationally recognized acts, appeared on statewide teaching conventions and B.O.H.S.A. (Best Of High School Acappella) National Compilation recordings. They, also, have consistently received Superior ratings at both OMEA District and State Contests. John is a member of Ohio Music Education Association, American Choral Directors Association. He resides in Cuyahoga Falls with his wife, Julie and their 3 children; Caleb, Leah & Micah.
DANE CT LEASURE
Resident Fight Choreographer, Acting Coach and Production Assistant
Dane CT Leasure is a professional director, actor, and fight choreographer. He is the founder of Rubber City Theatre in Akron, Ohio, where he serves as the Producing Artistic Director. He has directed throughout Northeast Ohio, Virginia, and New York City.
Some of is favorite directorial credits include, Dr. Faustus, Hamlet, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, Lear, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, The Revenger's Tragedy the Musical, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Dane has been involved with the Nordonia Drama Club since 2014. He has taught acting and combat workshops, served as fight choreographer on several productions, and most recently served as Assistant Director for our 2017 fall production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Fight Choreographer for our spring 2018 production of Oklahoma!