David Ellenstein, Artistic Director, Born into a theatrical family, David Ellenstein has worked in theatres across the country. In May 2023, David was named Artistic Director of Laguna Playhouse, after filling the role in an interim capacity since September 2023. In addition David has been the Artistic Director of North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, CA since 2003. He is the former Artistic Director of Los Angeles Repertory Company and Arizona Jewish Theatre. A veteran of over 300 theatrical productions, he has worked at theatres across the country for nearly five decades, including Coconut Grove Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, Alabama, Great Lakes, and California Shakespeare Festivals, Portland Stage, 59E59, The Meadowbrook Theatre, and Colony Theatre.
Among the more than 60 productions that David has directed at North Coast Rep, favorites include The Remarkable Mister Holmes, which he co-authored, An Iliad, Dr. Glas (Streaming), Becoming Cuba (World Premiere), The Father (West Coast Premiere), Travels with My Aunt, Words by Ira Gershwin (World Premiere), Freud’s Last Session, Becoming Dr. Ruth and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
At other venues memorable productions include The Glass Menagerie (Alabama Shakespeare), A Shayna Maidel (Gaslamp Quarter Theatre), The Chosen (Papermill Playhouse, The Coconut Grove Playhouse), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Renaissance Theatre), Conversations with My Father (Portland Repertory Theatre), Cyrano de Bergerac (Southwest Theatre Company), Chapatti, and Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse).
Favorite roles as an actor include Andrey Botvinnck in A Walk in the Woods, Max Prince in Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Matt in Talley’s Folly at North Coast Rep, title roles in Hamlet at Los Angeles Theatre Center and Los Angeles Repertory Company; Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at Moonlight Stage, Richard III at California Shakespeare Festival; Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Laguna Playhouse; Calisto in The Illusion and Harker in Dracula at the Arizona Theatre Company; Jonathan in Sight Unseen at North Coast Rep and Portland Repertory Theatre. David has appeared in more than two dozen roles in film and television, and has been guest faculty for several universities including California State Northridge and Cal Arts.
Bill Kerlin, Managing Director, Originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, Mr. Kerlin brings over 30 years of finance, marketing, and sales experience to the Laguna Playhouse, including 12 years as Managing Director for North Coast Repertory Theatre and 16 seasons as the Director of Administration at the legendary Coconut Grove Playhouse, in Miami. During the time that Bill served at Coconut Grove, it was the largest professional not-for-profit producing theatre in the State of Florida. Mr. Kerlin graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Miami in 1984. While he completed his Master of Science from Florida International University, he concurrently taught classes at Miami-Dade College. He was also the Chief Financial Officer for Professionals’ Retirement Strategy, a national insurance and retirement planning service firm in Irvine, CA. He has also served as a Board Member for Camposition, a performing arts company whose mission was to push the boundary between contemporary performance and activism through live performance, interactive outreach programs, and professional development trainings.
Denys Baker, General Manager, joined the Playhouse in 2017 following a six-year stint as the Administrative Project Manager at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) where she is proud to have worked on the $34M conversion of the Strand Theater. Prior to her work at A.C.T., Denys spent 25 years in NYC managing Broadway productions including the Tony Award-winning production of CABARET at Studio 54. She holds an MFA in Performing Arts Management and first came to Southern California in 2010 as General Manager for threesixty Entertainment’s production of PETER PAN performed in a circus tent. Denys is thrilled to be in Laguna where she can pursue her love of hiking and backpacking and continue training to reach her goal of climbing to Everest Base Camp.
Veltria Roman, CFO/CTO, joined the Laguna Playhouse team in fall 2014 as Box Office Manager, bringing with her almost 20 years experience working in performing arts and live events in every aspect of including stage management, artistic planning, theater management, human resources, event production, and ticketing operations. Prior to coming to Laguna Playhouse, Veltria spent 3 years working in New York at the Kaufman Music Center restructuring their venue rental and ticketing operations to increase sales in both areas. During this time she also expanded her event production experience working with DeVoe Signature events, the leader in Plus Size Fashion Events. She is responsible for all Finance and Ticketing Operations at the Laguna Playhouse and lends her 15+ years experience in the Tessitura ticketing software to assist in improved patron interaction and Customer Service. Veltria holds a Bachelor's degree in English with a Theater Emphasis and was named as one of Orange Coast Magazine's Kick Ass Women in the arts in 2023.
Michael G. Murphy, Director of Advancement, was most recently President of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in his hometown area of Buffalo, NY. He previously served as Managing Director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Prior to the Globe, he was the Managing Director of Austin Lyric Opera in Austin, Texas; Director of Administration of San Diego Opera; and General Manager of San Diego Repertory Theatre. Before relocating to San Diego from New York City, he held similar positions at Theatre for a New Audience and the Joyce Theater Foundation’s American Theater Exchange. He also served as negotiating assistant for the League of Resident Theatres and sales representative for Columbia Artists Theatricals Corporation. Mr. Murphy is the immediate past president of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. He has served on various boards including the National Corporate Theatre Fund and Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, and as a Management Trustee for San Diego County Theatrical Trusts, the pension and welfare trust for IATSE stagehands in the San Diego region. He was also an adjunct faculty member of the Music Department at the University of San Diego. Mr. Murphy earned his B.F.A. degree in Stage Management from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and his M.F.A. in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Joe Alanes, Director of Education & Outreach, has had the privilege of being the Director of Education & Outreach at Laguna Playhouse since October 2021, and it has been such a joy to be able to serve the community in this way, and to be a small part of Laguna Playhouse’s monumental legacy. He especially loves to direct the students in the Youth Theatre productions, in shows such as Wanda’s World and The Lightning Thief: the Percy Jackson musical. Joe is also a teaching artist at South Coast Repertory, where he performed in his first Actors Equity contract many years ago. Aside from acting and teaching, he has also directed there as the Junior Players Director for a number of years, directing plays such as The Jungle Book, and Riding the Wind: Story Plays of Old China. Joe was also Co-Artistic Director of Modjeska Playhouse, where he had directed and acted in a number of plays, including True West, She Kills Monsters, and The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (abridged), and many more. He has also taught at the Orange County School of the Arts, where he directed several plays including Spoon River Anthology, a collaboration between OCSA and Modjeska Playhouse, and several other shows. He taught many grade levels and many different subjects while there. He was also formerly Director of Theatre at Mater Dei, having directed shows such as All Shook Up, Little Shop of Horrors, You Can’t Take it With You, and Les Miserables, among many others. He enjoyed getting to do unique things there, like playing Lafayette from Hamilton in the Homecoming Rally and staging a surprise flash mob performance of One Day More at another rally (you can find it on YouTube, it’s hilarious). Joe has also toured the country with various productions as an actor, ASM, stage manager, and company manager, and was a director and program manager at Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre. Joe graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and is currently completing his MA in Education and CTE Credential in Performing Arts and Media. He is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, and a new member of The Parents-of-Kids-in-Out-of-State-College club.
Kate Brandt, Interim Director of Marketing, is an arts and culture administrator and consultant with more than 20 years of experience in non-profit marketing and fundraising. As a consultant, and interim marketing director, Kate has worked with A Noise Within, Berkeley Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and Los Angeles LGBT Center Theater. As a staff member, Kate directed the marketing departments at Trinity Rep, Merrimack Rep, and Artists Rep. She also worked at Old Sturbridge Village, Foothills Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, and Broadway Rose Theatre Company. She is a graduate of the honors program at Boston College's Carroll School of Management, where she studied both marketing and theater. Kate currently works remotely for organizations throughout the country from her home in Auburn, MA.
Lisa HalePartner, Parallax Capital Partners, LLCCo-Chair
Jared K. MathisCEO, Moulton CompanyCo-Chair
Kate E. Phelan-LowenSenior Vice President, US Bank Private Wealth ManagementVice Chair
Harley BassmanManaging Partner at Simplify Asset Management Board Treasurer
Jeff WinstonRetired, Chief Technology Officer, Allergan, Inc. Board Secretary
Justin MyersEntrepreneur Board Governance and Nominations
Scott ArmaniniAssistant Professor at USC
Heather Anne Chalmers
Torin J CunninghamPediatric Orthopedic Surgery
James HaleManaging Partner, Parallax Capital Partners, LLC
Joe HanauerPrincipal, Combined Investments, LLC
Dr. Gary JenkinsRetired Pediatrician
Barbara MacGillivrayExecutive, MacGillivray Freeman Films
Greg MacGillivrayChairman, MacGillivray Freeman Films
Heidi MillerOwner, Tight Assets, The World Newstand
Jordy SpiegelCEO & Chairman, IKM
Artistic DirectorDavid Ellenstein
Glenn E. Gray
Otis HealySr Vice President and Western Regional Director, Smith Barney & Co (retired)
Melinda MassonCEO, Masson Strategic Advisors LLC
Artistic Director, David Ellenstein
Managing Director, Bill Kerlin
MANAGEMENTGeneral Manager, Denys BakerAssistant General Manager/Company Manager, Rachel Garlington
FINANCE AND TICKETINGChief Financial Officer/Chief Technology Officer, Veltria RomanAccounting/HR Assistant, Larry StotzTicketing Services Senior Manager, Chelsea MorganAssistant Ticketing Services Manager, Morgan LealBox Office Lead, Nikki JohnsonTicket Service Representative, Robert PhippsWebsite Consultant, Andrew LombardiIT Services
DEVELOPMENTDirector of Advancement, Michael G. MurphyDevelopment and Donor Relations Manager, Savannah CaseyGrants and Community Outreach Manager, Erin O'Flaherty
PRODUCTIONProduction Manager, Jordan MullerWardrobe Supervisor, Stacey NezdaResident Sound Designer/Audio Engineer, Ian ScotLighting Supervisor/Light Board Operator, Jeremy PlantMaster CarpenterTechnical Director, Paul Rossi
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONSInterim Director of Marketing, Kate BrandtMarketing Manager, Mackenzee OsborneGraphic Designer, Teresa EnglishPress Consultant, David Elzer, Demand PRBroadcast Consultant, Nancy Pank, Nancy's Media BuysSeason Ticket Sales, Theatre Direct
EDUCATIONDirector of Education, Youth Theatre, Joe AlanesEducation and Outreach Coordinator, Nakisa AschtianiTeaching Artists, Sabrina Harper, Toni Redman, Anthony Kairouz, Mary Sherg Kaye, Christina Mott, Keya Vance, Nathan Acupan, Arizsia Staton, Steve Northeast, Emily O’Flaherty, Mary Shipley
FACILITIES OPERATIONSFacilities Manager, David BryantFacility Maintenance Technician, Brian Lyter
FRONT OF HOUSEArtistic & Audience Services Manager, Wally ZieglerHouse Manager, Jules ButlerAssistant House Manager, Clara BushParking Supervisor, Curtis PebleyBartender, Marlon Gomez-Smith, Leanne Nolan
CONSULTANTSLegal Services, Stephen Berry, Paul HastingsCommunity Relations Liason, Karyn Philippsen