Stephanie Morrison Hrbek
Stephanie grew up in East Lansing, Michigan where her parents, both ministers, built and served Edgewood United Church of Christ. The involvement of her family in the struggle for human rights shaped who Stephanie is today and her calling to a life’s work that engages her in building community rooted in justice. Near West Theatre reflects Stephanie’s commitment to living and serving in an urban setting rich in diversity. Stephanie founded Near West Theatre in 1978 on the principle of providing access to all interested, regardless of economic status, to an experience of the theatre arts. Over the years of Near West’s development, Stephanie has served as director, actress, playwright, choreographer and producer. She has co-authored several award-winning oral history productions. Today, as Executive Director, she is responsible for its overall operations and has remained involved artistically as choreographer. She is thrilled that the organization now has a fully accessible facility as a result of the formation and development of the Gordon Square Arts District where she has represented Near West Theatre as a founding partner since 2001. The level of participation already demonstrated by the community and partners, new and former, has continued to inspire since the building’s opening. She looks forward to continuing to expand Near West’s 38 year track record of “creating extraordinary theatre with ordinary people.” Stephanie is the recipient of a 2010 Cleveland Arts Prize for her work with the Gordon Square Arts District, a 2009 Cleveland Arts Prize for Distinguished Service to the Arts, and a 2001 Lifetime of Idealism Award from City Year. Stephanie has been married to Rev. George T. Hrbek since 1978. They are homeowners in Ohio City since 1979. They are delighted that their two sons, Seth (and wife Bridget) and Noah (and daughter Lydia) have chosen to make their home in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood!
Bob Navis Jr
Bob has been with Near West Theatre since 1980. He became Near West Theatre’s first Artistic Director in 1993, and in this role he is responsible for all arts programming and program development, and the formation and facilitation of a creative theatrical process that gives flesh and bones to the mission and values of Near West. He is a member of the Executive Team, and is involved in short and longterm planning, events, and conceptualizing marketing and publicity graphics and language. He has also directed the three main stage musical productions annually. For the first 32 years of his tenure, Bob served as Musical Director, Conductor, and Accompanist for all productions. Bob was also a leading artistic force in the exterior, plaza, and interior artistic design for the new theater. For the past 14 years, Bob has also designed, written and directed a musical revue which is performed for the Annual Benefit. Starting in 1967, at the age of 17, he served as Music Director/Pianist/Organist of St. Francis Church on Cleveland’s near east side for 17 years where he also taught music grades K thru 8. Together with Charlotte Ilc he founded and acted as Artistic Director of the St. Francis Community Theatre for 10 years. In the late 70’s, Bob became the Director of the Music/Theater Dept. at Erieview Catholic High School for seven years. He has been Music Director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church since 1987 to the present. Bob was pianist/vocalist at the Harmony Bar & Grill’s Open Mic Nites from 1997-2003 and has acted as Director and/ or Music Director of over 300 theatrical productions for St. Francis CYO, St. Jerome CYO, Signet Players, Southeast Summer Theater, Chagrin Valley Little Theater, Erieview Catholic High School, WSEM’s Spotlighting Me, Cleveland Public Theatre, Bratenahl Players, and Cleveland Play House.
Alvis first began working on and off on special projects at Near West Theatre dating back to 2008. He began in his regular tenure at Near West Theatre just after the new facility opened in February, 2015. In his current role, Alvis takes care of the building’s interior and exterior. His tasks vary from set-up and tear-down of the stage, audience risers, cleaning and maintaining the facility and plaza, as well as construction projects in the main theater.
Amy joined the staff in April 2014 after working at number of nonprofit organizations in the Cleveland area in administrative capacities. She oversees the office operations and contributes to projects in a number of areas of the theater, including marketing, development and production. Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters in nonprofit administration from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Amy’s love for the performing arts stems from her younger years “living” in the fine arts wing of her high school - participating in band, choir, and drama. She worked four years on crew in her high school’s drama program and served as stage manager of her high school’s production of Bye Bye Birdie. She also found her way onstage for that production and several others. Additionally, Amy was a member of production crew for seven seasons at Firefly Performing Arts Festival in South Bend, IN. Amy is excited to be a part of the growth and future of Near West Theatre.
Kelcie Nicole Dugger
Kelcie joined Near West Theatre in 2002 during the production of America Through the Looking Glass. Since then, she has appeared on the Near West stage in countless productions. Though her time on the stage has been nothing short of a thrilling and exciting ride, Kelcie feels called to pursue all the different aspects that go into making each show a success. She spends her days at Near West Theatre as the Office Coordinator and Box Office Manager. Kelcie has directed a few KLAMOR productions at Near West Theatre, including two original plays, Angels & Demons and Startin’ Somethin’, as well as a production of Once on This Island Jr., and the Cleveland premiere of The Snow Queen. She has also assistant directed a number of Near West Theatre’s main stage productions, including Hairspray, Children of Eden, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, A Christmas Story, the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar and Shrek, the Musical. Kelcie has walked away from each production with a higher understanding of art, creativity, and community. “Nothing will ever be able to replace the love I have for Near West Theatre, and the family I’ve been fortunate enough to find here.”
Assistant Technical Director
Perren has been involved at Near West for many years as ATD and video effect producer. Recent shows include A Christmas Story, the Musical and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also acts; roles include Eddie in Texas Chainsaw the Musical and Billy Bibbit in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Blank Canvas Theatre.
Cory has worked with Near West Theatre since early 2005, and is thrilled to now be on staff in a position that enables her to help broaden and build the unique voice of the organization. With twenty years’ experience in theater, Cory has worked as a performer, director, teacher, and writer in various venues in the Cleveland area, Atlanta, GA and the UK, but Near West holds a special place in her heart for its unique blend of brilliant theatrical vision and inclusive, socially conscious community development. Favorite directing/writing credits include Unlucky for Some, a collaboration created at the University of Hull in Scarborough, England (winner of the UK's NSDF Award for Innovation), and 8 years as the annual Creative Director and Marketing Manager of Kringle's Inventionasium at Tower City Center. In 2007, Cory earned her Actor's Equity card as Eden (Faith u/s) in RESPECT: A Musical Journey of Women at the 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta. Other favorite performing credits include Anita (West Side Story), Sally Bowles (Cabaret), Sandy (Grease), Rosie (Bye Bye, Birdie) and Donna (Tina u/s) in Playhouse Square's Tony n' Tina's Wedding. Cory has also performed in many Near West productions, including The Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods), Florence (Chess), Charity (Sweet Charity), and Ellie May Chipley (Show Boat). She has also assistant directed such Near West shows as Side Show, Tommy, The Music Man, and Merrily We Roll Along. Cory has a passion for positive living, mind-body wellness, and individual and organizational social-emotional leadership, and recently received her Certification in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) from NYC’s Flourishing Center. Pairing CAPP with her theater training, she also recently jumped back into teaching, running a "Mindful Theatre: Character Development" workshop at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, AZ.
Technical Director/Facilities Manager
Josh is in his seventh year with Near West Theatre. Josh is well-versed in scenic production, having worked for eighteen years as a carpenter and metal worker, and also has extensive experience coordinating all technical aspects of productions. Josh was born and raised in Berea and received a Dramatic Arts Degree from Cleveland State University. He has worked in numerous theatres and scene shops including: Arena Stage, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Baldwin Wallace University, Oberlin College, University of Cincinnati - College Conservatory of Music, and 3DX Scenic Studio.
Stage Manager/Asst. Production Manager
Ryan graduated from Wright State University in April 2013 with a BFA in Theatre Design & Technology with an emphasis in Stage Management. He began working with Near West Theatre the summer of 2012 when he stage managed Hairspray and then returned on staff in 2013 to stage manage all Near West shows, including Side Show, A Christmas Story, the Musical, Near West’s 2014, 2015, & 2016 Benefits, Once On This Island, Jr., Move On!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Shrek, the Musical, HAIR, and Scrooge! the Musical.
Susan joined the staff of Near West Theatre in September 2015 through the Humility of Mary Volunteer Service program. She currently assists the marketing manager by facilitating all of Near West’s social media (follow us!) as well as assisting the office coordinator with box office and front of house tasks. Susan also is working on developing possible programing that coincides with our new ADA compliant building including sensory productions, signed performances, and generally making the arts accessible to all. Susan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from Wilmington College and is currently working on her Master’s in Arts Administration at The University of Akron, where she was a graduate assistant and had the pleasure of working on all the School of Dance and Theatre’s main stage productions. Susan has had a passion for theatre since high school where she gained not only performance experience but also was able to work backstage. She was able to continue performing in undergrad where some of her favorite roles include Olive in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Violet in Violet the Musical. Susan has also had the opportunity to work as concession and facilities manager at a number of theatres including The Historic Murphy Theatre in downtown Wilmington and Porthouse Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls.
Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, majoring in accounting, from Cleveland State University in 1991 and passed the CPA exam in 1992. Since beginning her accounting career in 1991, Michelle has worked for numerous prestigious firms such as International Management Group and the Cleveland Ballet. Since 2003, Ms. Gregorczyk has served as the founder and chief executive of In Balance, a local accounting firm with notable clients such as: Near West Theatre, Verb Ballets, national ballet company, Progressive Arts Alliance, Cleveland Tenants Organization, Zygote Press, Inc., Y-Haven, Ten Thousand Villages, The ARC of Greater Cleveland, and Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation. Michelle has earned a reputation throughout the non-profit community as a trustworthy accountant with an uncanny ability to stabilize and assist in the turn-around of struggling agencies.
Contractor: Fundraising & Administration
Kevin is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Administration. He is an avid tennis player and spent 16 years working for the mutual fund firm Federated Investors, Inc. as a Customer Service Supervisor and Wholesaler. At Near West Theatre, Kevin is responsible for assisting Marketing in Ad Sales and Payment Process, as well as various projects that need payment follow up, such as the Seat Campaign. He also keeps track of the daily Cash Log, and creates reports for Administration and Accounting.