Staff and Board

Our Staff

Ari Laura Kreith

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ARI LAURA KREITH is the Artistic Director of Luna Stage, where she recently directed Gabriel Jason Dean's HEARTLAND and J.Stephen Brantley's PIRIRA, and conceived/co-directed the site-specific SECRET CITIES. She is also the founder and Artistic Director of Theatre 167, where she conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy - 167 TONGUES, YOU ARE NOW THE OWNER OF THIS SUITCASE, and JACKSON HEIGHTS 3AM - three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages, inspired by the world's most diverse neighborhood. Other directing highlights include MOURNING SUN, which premiered at Theatre 167 and toured to Uganda; the world premiere of Tina Howe's SINGING BEACH; commissions for Queens Theatre and the New Ohio, and the European premiere of Adam Guettel's MYTHS AND HYMNS. Ari has developed immersive, site-specific projects for Luna Stage, Queens Museum and the NY Transit Museum. A recipient of the LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award and the NYIT Caffe Cino Fellowship, Ari received her BA from Yale and her MFA from UC Davis. Ari grew up in 27 countries

Miriam Gardin

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Thrilled to have found a home at Luna Stage, Miriam has worked in the performing arts in Chicago, DC, Detroit, LA, NYC, and Israel. Previously, Miriam curated and produced both the 2013 and 2014 New Jersey Jewish Film Festivals, and the 2nd ReelAbilities: NJ Film Festival in 2014. Other organizations and clients include Situation Interactive (as well as offshoot Situation Project), The Ensemble Studio Theatre, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, Disney Theatrical Group, 2econd Stage Theatre, The Broadway League, Riverview Jazz Festival in Jersey City, 24/6: A Jewish Theatre Company, Performing Arts Chicago (where Miriam helped produce Chicago's first ever International Festival of Puppet Theatre in 2000), and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. Miriam lives with her family in West Orange, NJ.

Liz Cesario

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Liz has worked as both a Production Manager and an Equity State Manager in many areas of theatre, including opera, drama, comedy, and musicals. She has worked with various size companies, from the union-staffed Bushnell Theatre with 2,800 seats to the Luna's 99-seat blackbox. When Liz is not at Luna, she can be found traveling the world with her husband or playing with her five grandsons.

Sammy Viswanathan

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Born and raised in South India, Samyuktha (Sammy) is an actor, dancer and writer. When an injury restricted Sammy from pursuing dance professionally, she chose to study Visual Communication while also immersing herself in theatre. She worked with The Little Theatre in India before moving to NYC to work professionally as an actor. Inspired by the age-old quote, 'Be the change you want to see,' Sammy uses performance art pieces imbibing her poetry in the hope of helping bring about change that is necessary and urgent. She enjoys watching films and television, and reading books, which she regards as therapeutic and potential harbingers of change. A recent graduate of the MA Performance Studies Program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Sammy is excited to join the Luna team! Find out more about Sammy at: www.samyukthav.com.

Cheryl Katz

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Cheryl Katz had the pleasure of working at Luna Stage from 2003 to 2018. She served as Director of Play Development from 2003 to 2011, Associate Artistic Director from 2011-2013, and Artistic Director from 2013-2018. During her time at Luna, she contributed to the development of over eighty new works for the stage and oversaw the creation of educational and developmental programming to nurture the artistic impulses and passions of the Luna artistic community. On the Luna MainStage, she directed the world premieres of Razorhurst, a musical by Kate Mulley and Andy Peterson, Tranquil by Andrew Rosendorf, The High Water Mark and King of the Mountains by Ben Clawson, Carnaval by Nikkole Salter, Mercy and The Firefly by Amy Hartman, The Fastest Woman Alive by Karen Sunde, the NJ professional premiere of Thrill Me by Stephen Dolginoff, and three Luna productions of The Man In Room 306 by Craig Alan Edwards (1995 and 2008 in New Jersey, 2010 in New York). Cheryl is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She currently works as a freelance theatrical director, teacher and dramaturg and can be reached at cakatzmeow@gmail.com.

Jane Mandel

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Jane founded Luna, and served as Artistic Director for over 20 years. Jane holds an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has had a career in the theatre as actress, director, teacher, and producer. With her inspired guidance, Luna earned its reputation for producing excellent, intelligent and provocative theatre. Scores of new and classic plays have been shared with audiences through readings and full productions. Creating "devised theatre" is one of Jane's passions. She created and directed In The Name of The Woman (the first show done at Luna Stage), and we don't have enough sugar for the public (an exploration of racism), created and co-directed The American Project (an exploration of what it means to be an American), and co-created and directed Mi Casa Tu Casa (a bilingual Latino-based play with music that has been touring in New Jersey.) Other directing credits include: Reckless by Craig Lucas, Rosa Loses Her Face by Kitty Chen, Burying Fiona, Rapture and Little Beasts by Jeanne Marshall, The Queen of Thebes and Friends and Relations by Arnold Rabin, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, The Other Side of Newark by Enid Rudd, Fair and Decent by Thomas Diggs, and Vita and Virginia adapted by Eileen Atkins.

As Artistic Director she oversaw the productions of Death of a Salesman, Macbeth, The Whipping Man, The Dangers of Electric Lighting, The Old Settler and A Moon for the Misbegotten, to name a few. She taught theatre games and improvisation/acting at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she was a full time faculty member while also teaching at The New School, Whole Theatre, Montclair State University, The Teaching Artist's Collective, and Luna. She was a member of The Shaliko Theatre Company and acted in The Measures Taken, Ghosts and Woyzeck while in residence at The New York Shakespeare Festival and on tour. Jane currently directs, acts, and coaches acting.

Board of Directors

Laura Amin

Debra Caplan

R. Jonathan Cobb

Rachael Grochowski

Dawn Stewart Harris

Lowell Jacobs

Pat Morrissy

Jill S. Slattery

Gary Taylor

Rita Woodard

Raj Amin, Special Advisor to the Board

Advisory Board

Andre Braugher

Ruthi Byrne

Rose Cali

Suzzanne Douglas

reg e gaines

Cady Huffman

Rosemary Iversen

Palisa Kelley

Joe Morton

Cal Trevenen

Gila Zalon

Jules Zalon

Kim Zimmer