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Meet Our Team


Mark A. Zimmerman

Theatre Director

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Mark A. Zimmerman has served as the theatre director at the Akron School for the Arts since 1995 and has been the guiding force for the educational theatre program that has been named an “Outstanding School” by the Educational Theatre Association (2013). Shows under his direction have so far earned eight Dazzle Awards from the NE Ohio Musical Theatre Competition including “Best Musical” in 2018. Zimmerman has been among the first area directors to present many musical productions including The Prom (2022) The Little Mermaid (2016), Ghost the Musical (2015), Mary Poppins (2014), Monty Python’s

Spamalot (2013), The Color Purple (2012), Legally Blonde (2012), Hairspray
(2011), The Producers (2009), Side Show (2008), and Urinetown (2007). Mark’s
local directing credits include productions at the Akron Civic Theatre / All-City
Musical (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Bye Bye Birdie, Ragtime,
Hairspray) as well as productions at the Cleveland Public Theatre, Weathervane
Playhouse, Stow Players, the Western Reserve Playhouse, Coach House Theatre,
and the University of Akron. He is a member of the state chapter board of the
Ohio Educational Theatre Association. He  received the Arts Educator Award at the 2024 Arts Alive ceremony sponsored by the Summit Arts Space.


Elynmarie Kazle

Director and  Production Manager

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Elynmarie Kazle is a director, fundraiser, management consultant, stage and production manager with an  extensive resume that includes dance, theatre, opera and special events management on both coasts. She currently serves on the board of the Stage Managers’ Association as Past Chair, after serving eight years as chair. In 2022 she was honored with the SMA’s Founders Award. Currently she serves locally as the Vice Chair Special Projects for Ohio Valley USITT, and is President of the Stage Managers’ Association Foundation/US. Pro SM Credits include: Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes
Theatre (*then Shakespeare), San Diego’s Old Globe and Opera Companies, Opera Columbus, Ohio Ballet, Long Beach Classical Ballet, Columbus Ballet Theatre and the Regional Emmy Awards among others. A Fellow of the United States Institute for Technology, she created the Stage Management Mentoring Program now in its 32nd year and has created a similar program for Firestone which serves as a model for high schools around the country. She’s a mem-
ber of the Production Managers Forum, has mentored for USITT’s Gateway Project and has adjudicated at numerous thespian festivals around the country as well as at International. Following a successful run at Tiffany Theatres, she criss-crossed the country on tour with Paul Linke’s one man shows including Playwrights Horizons in NYC, then on to Malmo and Stockholm, Sweden. For Firestone she recently directed Eric Mansfield's "Trial By Fire" and "Alicia from the Real," which, thanks to the students involved were the most wonderful experiences.

Technical Director

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Steven Miller

 Music Director

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Steven A. Miller is a local musician and is a Firestone grad who first started playing for musicals with our production of The Wiz in 2002. Since then he has played in several area bands and  accompanied shows at

Woodridge High School, Tallmadge High School, Weathervane Playhouse, and the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools All-City Show, among many others.

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Richard Morris

Scenic Designer

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Richard Morris is a free-lance scenic designer and is also the resident scenic designer and technical director at Weathervane Playhouse. He previously served in the same position at Karamu House in Cleveland for 19 years.

In 2011, he was the recipient of the National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scenic Design (National Black Theatre Festival) and was keynote speaker at Alabama State University on “African Americans in Scenic Design.” In 2008 he also won Scene Magazine’s “Best Scenic Design” for Caroline, or Change, and in 2001 received the Actors Guild Award for his Scenic/Lighting design for Riff Raff and Treemonisha. He has designed for many theaters in the Northeast Ohio area; Ensemble Theatre, Dobama, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cuyahoga Community College, Oberlin College Theatre, Firestone Theatre, and Jubar Productions, to name a few. Morris also directs productions, with his most recent credits at Weathervane including Dreamgirls, Holes and A Christmas Carol: The Musical. Other directing projects include Leap of Faith, Black Nativity, Christmas is Commin Uptown, The Government Inspector, Raisin, Dracula, It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, Purlie Victorious, The Jungle Book, Seussical, Willie Wonka, Birds of a Feather, 101 Dalmatians, Into the Woods, The Aristocats Jr, and Morris is a graduate of Kent State University and is currently working on a new musical production. He recently designed the set for Alice Childress' Wedding Band for The Stratford Festival.


Ashley Aquilla

Guest Director

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Originally from St Louis, Mo. Ashley Aquilla is a performer, teaching artist, and director. She was introduced to performing arts in 2009. Aquilla's recent performance in Our Lady of Common Sorrows was well received at Cleveland Public Theatre. She was most notably Aquilla was seen in Playwrights Local, Objectively/Reasonably: a community response to the shooting of Tamir Rice 11/22/14, Ohio City Theatre Project's Incendiaries, Barbecue at Cleveland Public Theatre, and Playwright/Director Cornell Calhoun III’s award winning Court Square, Talladega Alabama, SugarBelle and Central’s Lyrics at Cleveland City Hall. Aquilla has directed several pieces including Purses at Karamu House, My Body is Blue, Black Mongoose and His Lil Purple Butterfly at Convergence Continuum, At Last at Ensemble Theater, and School Girls at Firestone High School. She was also a teaching artist for the Cleveland Play House. Ashley strongly believes in the efficacy of using entertainment as a catalyst for social awareness and change. Outside of theater Aquilla is a wife, mother, nurse and co-owner of SignGypsiesCleveland.


Sloan Stakleff

Pit Director

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Sloan Stakleff is the director of Orchestra at Firestone CLC. He serves as the director and conductor for the Pit Orchestra, having conducted "The SpongeBob Musical," "The Prom" and "Tuck Everlasting," so far. Mr. Stakleff taught at Crouse CLC, Litchfield CLC, and has been at Firestone CLC since 2022. Mr. Stakleff holds a B.M.E in Music Education with a minor in
Jazz Studies and Saxophone Performance.

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Tess Burgler

Guest Director

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Jacob Jay Jones


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Jacob Jay Jones (Choreographer) has worked for the Central Florida Community Arts Ambassadors and the Walt Disney World Company. There he has performed for countless Disney parades, shows, holiday, and media productions. Along with multiple shows and events with the Star Wars Saga. Jacob has also worked as a professional singer/dancer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; traveling around the world performing in their one of a kind Production Shows. During his time dancing Jacob has had the opportunity to work with renowned directors like Tiger Martina, Eric Jordan Young, and Patti Wilcox.  When not traveling and performing, Jacob can be found teaching and choreographing for dance studios, competitive high school show choirs, and musical productions across the midwest.

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Dana Schweiger

Lead 24hr Project Mentor

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Dana Schweiger has had a life- long interest in writing and theatre. From a young age she took acting classes and participated in theatre. She is a 2008 graduate of the theatre program at Firestone High School. After graduating, Dana returned to volunteer for the 24 Hour Theatre Project (Theatre Kapow) for the 2016. Dana  makes time to regularly see shows at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. Dana also attributes her experience in the theatre program to her success in her current job as a recruiter. Theatre gave Dana great people skills and confidence in speaking with others. Dana lives in Parma and writes for fun regularly.


Shilo Hart

Music Director

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Emelia Sherin

Guest Artist

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Emelia Sherin is a Warren native who has been professionally choreographing and performing for 10 years. Sherin currently coaches the Howland Speech and Debate team and runs the education departments of Stambaugh Auditorium, Opera Western Reserve, DeYor, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and The Youngstown Playhouse. She sailed the seas and worked for Disney Cruise Lines as a dancer and actress. Once she returned to land, she attended Kent State University and earned her degree in Public Relations with minors in Dance Studies and Theatre Management. During her time in college, she created and co-wrote a play about addiction called, (In)Dependent, and created the sexual violence and misconduct prevention program, Lights On, for youth and community theatre. She is also a certified Intimacy Designer/Choreographer.

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Shirlee Idzakovich


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Shirlee Idzakovich is a professional costume designer and stylist who lives between New York City and Los Angeles. She is a seasoned costume designer with over 100 builds under her name. She is a designer who works on Broadway, Off-Broadway, videos, movies, red carpet styles, and special event styling. She has wokred with many amazing people including Madonna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Billie  Eilish, Viola Davis, and many more. One of Shirlee's passions is to teach the next generation the way it really works in a professional costume shop. She is an editor as well curriculum editor/writer for the NAA/NEA for high school students in costume design and costume construction. Shirlee is married and has three daughters along with many grandpuppies.

Tess Burgler has dedicated her life's work to the study and performance of the works of William Shakespeare. She's performed professionally for over 25 years. Some of the theatres she's worked for include Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Porthouse Theatre, Theatre IV in Virginia, Dobama Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Coach House Theatre, Weathervane Playhouse, Beck Center, and more. The bulk of her professional work is done with Ohio Shakespeare Festival, where she is a resident actor and Managing Director. Some favorite roles there include Hamlet, Helena (Midsummer and All's Well), Rosalind (As You Like It), Ariel (Tempest) Imogen (Cymbeline), Viola (12th Night), Juliet, and many more. She's also an avid stage combat student, having spent the last three years dedicated to studying with the Society of America Fight Directors and with the resident OSF Fight Director (and her best friend in the world), Ryan Zarecki. 

Shiloh Hart is a Youngstown native and a Firestone graduate. During her time at Firestone she performed as Tobias in Sweeney Todd  [2010] and Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray [2011]. At 21, Hart wrote and demo recorded "All Over You" with Grammy nominated songwriter Jan Buckingham. She was at this time signed under the Jason Wyatt Production Company out of Nashville, TN. She was the lead studio vocalist and songwriter for 4 years. Upon having her children, she moved back to Ohio to be closer to her family. She signed on to Cmore5 Productions, where she continued as a lead studio vocalist, saxophonist, pianist, and composer. Moving back to the Youngstown area officially during 2021, she noticed a lack of youth art education and opened Hart's School of Performing Arts in Warren, Ohio. She teaches year-round performing arts to the youth. Hoping to bring them opportunities and a well-rounded education to prepare them for artistic work upon graduating high school. Her most recent work was in Rent at Powers Auditorium, where she appeared as Maureen Johnson under the music direction of Emmy and Tony winner Michael J. Moritz Jr. 

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