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 sixteenth musical with the Nordonia Drama Club as a member of the production staff, his twentieth overall. During his time at Nordonia, Chris is beyond honored to have been a three-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: The Wizard of Oz, 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 2009, Megan co-founded The Movement Project, a professional dance company located in Cleveland, whose mission is to challenge perspectives, evoke social change and bridge communities through the power of movement. TMP received their non-profit status in 2013 and in 2017 they officially moved to their new home at Pilgrim Church in Tremont.
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 starting with 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 and Director, 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. Cati has performed on stage with us in three musical productions: Joseph, The Wedding Singer, and Aida, as well as our 2011 fall production of Clue.
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”. Our 2018 summer camp marked her first turn as Director and we are excited for many more to come!
Cati is a May 2019 graduate of Kent State University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently working to complete her 4th and 5th grade Endorsement.
Musical and Vocal 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.
Orchestra Director and Conductor, 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.
William worked with Nordonia Drama as Musical Director and Conductor for our productions of The Wedding Singer, Aida, Cinderella, and Les Miserables, before leaving Northeast Ohio behind to head out on the road with the first national tour of Something Rotten as an Associate Conductor. We are thrilled to have him back as our Orchestra Director and Conductor for our 2020 musical! William is happily married to his wonderful and supporting wife Michelle. His hobbies include travel, reading, and spending time with his four cats.
Associate Conductor, Spring Musical
Ryan Dulaney is a 2019 graduate of Nordonia High School. While at NHS he was active in Band, Synergy and Drama, appearing in Oklahoma! (Cord Elam), All in the Timing (Mark) and The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow).
Ryan is a student at Baldwin Wallace University majoring in Film Study. He likes to write and play music. and is thrilled to be back helping with Nordonia Drama. He is also an avid chess player, and still owes Chris a game.
DANE CT LEASURE
Resident Fight Choreographer
Acting Coach and Production Assistant
Assistant Director, A Midummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing
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. He choreographed all the sword fight sequences for our production of Aida, 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! Up next, he will join us for our fall 2019 production of Much Ado About Nothing.