L. Don Swartz
Holds a BA in Theatre Education from Concordia University, Chicago and a MAH in Theatre and English from SUNY at Buffalo. As an actor, Don has appeared with the Ghostlight, TOY, UB Theatre & Shakespeare in the Park. Artistic and Executive Director of Starry Night/Ghostlight since 1982, Don has published over 25 plays that have been produced in 47 States, England, Ireland, Guam, Canada and British Columbia. His original titles include All Through The Night, Noodles, The Lottie & Bernice Show, Here We Sit, Final Notice, Halloween Dreams, Halloween Screams, The Birds That Stay, The Forest of the Dead, The Silver Lady, Danse Macabre to name a few. His adaptations include: A Christmas Carol, Little Women, Frankenstein, The Monkey's Paw, Tales From the Enchanted City, The Edgar Allan Poe Show, and Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula. Don has directed over 130 plays and has appeared in almost as many. Don enjoys noisy evenings at home with Debby, Emily, Rosemary, DJ and Michael.
Jesse has been a member with the Company since 1982... Jesse has appeared with Studio Arena and The Alleyway Theatre in downtown Buffalo. Jesse has been featured in GTC productions for nearly 30 years, as well as serving as Technical Director and Designer. Jesse is also honored to be the recipient of the 2005 Stephen Holesko Memorial Achievement Award. Off time includes working for Delorenzo Electric as a supervisor and spending time with Princess Maddy....
Debby Koszelak Swartz
Debby has a BS in Elementary Education with an extension in English from Buffalo State College. She received her MA in Theatre and English from the University of Buffalo. She has been involved in theatre since 1975. She works in all facets of the theatre arts. She is most known for her work as Dean of Starry Night Acting School, an actress, director of our annual musical, art director, and costumer. Her favorite acting roles include Bernice of the Lottie & Bernice duo, the dead grandmother in Birds That Stay, Violet in All Through the Night, Gram (2011) Autumn(1992) in Halloween Dreams, Mrs. Hanson in Silver Lady, Dot Ott in Final Notice (aka Night We Knocked the Critic Dead), Lulu in Noodles, & Mama Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow (all L. Don originals). Favorites to direct have been, Fiddler '12, Oklahoma '11, The Sound of Music '10, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver!, Big River, & Pippin. Costuming favorites include Little Women, Frankenstein '12, Nosferatu, Fiddler on the Roof, A Christmas Carol, Joseph, & Pippin. She loves working with her wonderful husband, L. Don. She enjoys spending quiet evenings at home with Don, Emily, Rosemary, D.J.,& Michael. Debby is a sixth grade teacher at Drake Elementary School in North Tonawanda.
Joann V. Mis
Joann Has been a proud member of the company since it's beginning. She has been performing in productions and with local choral groups for almost thirty years. Needless to say, performance is a big part of her creative outlet. Joann serves on the board of directors here at the Starry Night Theatre. Some of her favorite roles include: Van Helsing in Nosferatu, Golde in Fiddler on The Roof, Nancy in Oliver, Mrs. Webb in Our Town , and of course, Lottie of the Lottie and Bernice series. Joann also has been very honored to serve as music director for the theatre for over twenty Summer musicals. She developed and instructed a summer theatre arts program for the Frontier district which she has proudly taught for over twenty years. When not onstage, she enjoys being involved in stage crew, sound crew and helping to organize and clean the theatre. She holds an MAH with a concentration in Theatre and Music, and proudly teaches Chorus, Music and is the director of the Drama program for Frontier Middle school.
Julie has been an active member with the company since 1986. She started with us as a chorus girl in Oklahoma! Since that time, she has been involved with every show. Some her favorite musical roles include: Yente in Fiddler '12 &'01, Aunt Eller in Oklahoma '11, Marian in Music Man, Esther in Meet Me in St. Louis, Agnes Gooch in Mame, Hodel in Fiddler '91, as well chorus in Joseph and Pippin. Aside from musicals, Julie has been seen in many main stage productions. Her favorites include: Justine in Halloween Screams and Final Notice, Mrs. MacDoogle in Nosferatu, Mrs. Pratt in The Birds That Stay, Ingrid in Night of Dark Intent, Anne and Sarah in All Through the Night and the Maid of Honor in Regrets Only!. When not on stage, Julie has been seen constructing sets, costuming, running lights or sound, and helping to run the house. She is secretary of Starry Night Theatre, Inc. Julie is happy to be an important part of the Ghostlight family.
Little is known about the person known to most as Paul. Some say he is the offspring of the North Wind and a burnt out street light. Others say he came to North Tonawanda seeking truth and justice. Still others say he is just some schmoe from Cheektowaga. Quite honestly, no one has bothered to ask. He just kind of hangs around.
What is known is that Paul has a degree in the Liberal Arts and has spent a good amount of time on the stage as a stand up comic. Since joining, some of his favorite roles include Jonathon Brewster from Arsenic and Old Lace, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Wendell Boothe in Final Notice, and Norman Bulansky in Boys Next Door. On top of acting, he has some directing and writing credit with the company. He hopes to continue to grow as an actor and someday publish some of his writing.
And ladies, he's single... wink wink, nudge nudge (he made us write that).
Justine Swartz Laski
Justine made her debut in 1992 as a snow child in Carousel. Her favorite roles include Helen Keller in Miracle Worker, Jo March in Little Women, Mabel and Sarah in All Through The Night, Ellie in Step On A Crack, Cassie in Halloween Screams, The Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol and Gretchen in A Night of Dark Intent. Justine has taken a hiatus from school, but plans to finish soon with a degree in psychology. She has also taken many theatre classes at starry night, taught the kids group in a semester of theatre school, co-directed "The Course Acting Show" one acts and is actively involved in crews. She loves spending time with her webmaster husband, Jim, Abigail, new baby Cooper, cats Kovu and Leo and iguana Cartman.
Meagan, currently studying Adolescent Chemistry education, made her debut in the 2002 production of Carousel as a snow child. Since then she has played various roles in many shows with the company. Some of her favorites include Chorus of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Holly in A Christmas Carol and a zombie in Night of the Living Dead. Meagan has also taken acting classes with the company. While Meagan no longer acts with the company she enjoys seeing the company's productions year round and assisting with crew whenever she is available.
Vanessa is a graduate of Alfred University with a BA in Theatre. She has been involved in productions at the Kenan Center's Taylor Theatre, Alfred University and here at Starry Night. Some past roles here include, Nurse Preen in The Man Who Came to Dinner; Miss Giddens in The Innocents, Mary Hatch Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life; Gwendolen Fairfax in The Importance of Being Earnest; Elaine in Noodles, Candy in The Lottie and Bernice Show, Mina Harker in Nosferatu, Justine/ the she-creature in Frankenstein and most recently, Mitzi Azwad in Regrets Only. Vanessa is presently following her dreams in Georgia. She knows she is always welcome to return to her Ghostlight home!
Jim is the webmaster and designer of the Starry Night Theatre web site.
He has also worked on technical crews many times running lights and sound, creating special effects and helping out whenever and wherever possible.
Jim spending time with his wife Justine, daughter Abby, cats Kovu and Leo and iguana Cartman.
Sarah Averill McFadden
Sarah first appearance on the Ghostlight's stage was in the 1995 performance of Step On A Crack (see also Tonawanda News: "Ghostlight's 'Crack' Filled With Drama.") Some of her favorite roles since have included Emily in Our Town, Raven in The Silver Lady, the Interlocutor in This Is Not A Pipe Dream, and Mrs. Smith in The Bald Soprano, for which she won a TANYS award. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College and a BA in English and theatre education from SUNY Fredonia. She lives in Buffalo amidst a menagerie of dachshunds, cats, one pony, and one very tolerant husband.
Mark has been with the Ghostlight Theatre Group since November of '05 and he feels he has found a home. There are no people better in the world than "Ghostlight" people. He first graced the stage here as Harry Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life." He followed that up with playing Ernest/Jack in "The Importance of Being Earnest", as brother Levi in the summer musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat," Dr. Armstrong in "Ten Little Indians," and was pleased to help create the role of Stu Boodle in L.Don's "Noodles". "Reeeeaaaaallllllly. . .I thought we were having meatloaf!" He was also seen in "Child's Play" and "Picnic," which he was able to interact with his daughter for the first time on stage, Mr. Cooper in "the Night of the Living Dead," Uncle Billy in "It's a Wonderful Life" ('08), Mr Van Daan in "The Diary of Anne Frank," and Ichabod Crane in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," another L. Don original. Since then, Mark was seen as Sgt. Trotter in "The Mouse Trap", Bob Cratchett in "A Christmas Carol", Ray-Bud in "Dearly Departed", and as Andrew Carnes to his daughter's Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!" (a forty year dream come true.) In 2011, Mark was able to perform as George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life". 2012 brought him a spot in "Frankenstein" (another L. Don original). Most recently, he appeared in "The Spiral Staircase" ('12). Mark is no stranger to the stage, having appeared elsewhere as Bob Cratchett in A Christmas Carol, Brother Dan in Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat as well as roles in Up The Down Staircase, Mame!, Anything Goes, and Starring in Handel's Young Messiah. In the "off season" Mark runs his own Home Improvement Company and is happily allowed to build the many projects that you enjoy around the theatre (seen and unseen).
Jayson joined the company in August 2005 as Ben/Hank in Big River. Since then, he has grown to love every aspect of theater, from acting to the technical side of things. His favorite role has been Hank in Marvin's Room, but other favorites include The Artful Dodger in Oliver!, Zebulun in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Tom in Night of the Living Dead, McArdle in Child's Play, and John in All Through the Night. He has also served as a Technical Director on several shows. He ultimately plans on running a production company designing lights and sound for plays and bands. Jayson is a graduate of Niagara University. He is a very talented musician. He is a guitar player for the band Stone Row, whose magical mix of Celtic and world music is taking the area by storm!
Amanda joined the Ghostlight family in February 2006 and is so thankful that she did. She is a graduate of SUNY Oswego and was in the 2006 one acts as Joan in "The Children's Story," a member of the female ensemble in "Joseph ... Dreamcoat," Judy in 2006 and 2007's "Night of the Living Dead," Bet in "Oliver," Madge in "Picnic," Catherine in "Pippin," Ado Annie in "Oklahoma", and was most recently seen as Helen in "The Spiral Staircase." She now works down at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Holds an MBA degree from SUNY Buffalo and a Master's degree in Education from Niagara University. Kathy is a full-time instructor and the Coordinator of the teacher prep program at Erie Community College. She has been an active member of Ghostlight for the past 15 years. Kathy was last seen on stage as the landlady in our winter 2012 classic, Frankenstein. She enjoys being in shows as well as ushering, fund raising and bringing new groups to see our productions.
Daniel was most recently featured as Long John Silver in the 2012-2013 season World Premiere of Treasure Island.
Daniel first appeared on the Ghostlight stage in 2004, after attending the Theatre's adult acting classes. Favorite roles include:
- Long John Silver
in the World Premiere of "Treasure Island (2013)"
- The Creature
in the World Premiere of "Frankenstein (2012)"
in "Nosferatu: Legend of Dracula (2010)"
- Brom Bones
in the World Premiere of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (2009)"
in "All Through The Night (2009)"
in "Picnic (2008)"
in "Night of the Living Dead (2006/2007/2008)"
- Male Voices
in the World Premiere of "The Lottie & Bernice Show (2008)"
in "A Christmas Carol (2004/2007)"
in "The Boys Next Door (2004)"
Many thanks to the Starry Night Theatre company for the opportunities and mentoring throughout the years.
Drew made his début on the Ghostlight Theatre stage in 2008 as the Dr. Zombie in "Night of the Living Dead." Other roles include Mr. Martini in "It's A Wonderful Life" 2008, Mr. Kraler in "The Diary of Anne Frank" 2009, Principal Wilson in "Time Out for Ginger" 2009, Agent Ritter in the World Premier of "The Revenge of Ichabod Crane", Jeremy in the 20 Year Anniversary of "All Through the Night" 2009, Jonathan Harker in "Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula" an original adaptation from the Bram Stoker novel by L.Don Swartz, Franz in "The Sound of Music", Christopher Wren in Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap", Fred in the 25th Anniversary Production of "A Christmas Carol", Simon Stimson in "Our Town", Reverend Hooker in "Dearly Departed", Ike Skidmore in "Oklahoma", Inspector Magrady in the World Premier of "Frankenstein" and Mendel in "Fiddler on the Roof". Happy New Year everyone!!!!!
Hailing from the wonderful city of Buffalo, Dan was introduced to the Ghostlight Theatre by one of his best friends, Katherine Quattrini, all the way back in summer 2010. Actually, that isn't that long ago. But boy, is he happy she brought him in! His past performances on the Ghostlight Stage include Captain Georg Von Trapp (Sound of Music-2010), Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present (A Christmas Carol-2010), Curly Mclain (Oklahoma!-2011), and most recently had the extreme privilege of playing Tevye in the 2012 production of Fiddler on the Roof. He looks forward to many, many, MANY more performances with his wonderful/wacky/dysfunctional-in-a-good-way Ghostlight family.
Gary W. Cox
Gary (also known as "Greg" to some people) is celebrating 2 years this
winter at the Ghostlight Theatre. After not performing for close to 30
years he returned to the stage in "Our Town" as Constable Warren. Then was
cast in Oklahoma, "It's a Wonderful Life" as Ernie, the world premiere of
"Frankenstein" as Dr. Polidori and "Fiddler on the Roof" as Reb Morcha. He
has also assisted in the booth with lighting and sound in other productions.
He thanks the Starry Night family for accepting him into their fold, letting
him be involved in something he has missed over the years, theatre. Meeting
the people in this company and being able to work alongside them has been
the biggest reward and privilege for him.
Bob's first role with the company was in 1997, where he performed as
Pavel in I Never Saw Another Butterfly. He has also enjoys helping
with lighting and crew tasks, when possible. His favorite roles
include Officer Bert in It's a Wonderful Life, Magistrate Kirwin in
Frankenstein and the role of a hobo in Tales from the Enchanted City.
He enjoys dark comedies and suspenseful thrillers. When he is not
acting in theater or independent film, he works in Product Management
for a company that caters to media & entertainment, enjoys composing
music and has produced background music for commercial advertising.
Michael Sean Dempsey:
Michael has been a part of Starry Night theater's community since 2007. Although he hasn't participated in many plays until 2012, he still goes and supports his Starry Night family. Michael is a current student at the University at Buffalo and is a BFA Theater Performance major. He hopes to one day be apart of the Buffalo Theater community if he doesn't make it in New York City. Coming back to Starry Night has not only helped to better him on the stage but off as well and he is looking forward to his next performance with this wonderful family.
I have been acting at the Ghostlight Theatre since 2003 when I made my debut as Mabel in All Through the Night. After that, I found my love for the theatre and have appeared in many productions over the course of ten years. Some of my highlights include Flora in the Innocents, Ginger in Time Out for Ginger and most recently as Sara in All Through the Night (my first adult role). I attend Niagara University for Spanish and TESOL education. I also volunteer coach for NTAA and work at the NT youth center, so you're bound to see me somewhere!
Holds a BFA in Illustration from UB with a minor in Digital Film. Chris has always been interested in telling stories through visual art as well as on stage, and his favorite roles include: Victor Frankenstein in “Frankenstein”, Junior in “Dearly Departed”, Ellard in “The Foreigner”, Dr. Einstein in “Arsenic and old Lace”, Ali Hakim in “Oklahoma”, Ethan in “The Silver Lady”, Algernon Moncrieff in “The Importance of being Earnest”, Mr. Martin in “The Bald Soprano”, Rene in “This is not a Pipe Dream”, and Yvan in Yazmina Reza’s one act play “Art”, which he also directed. In addition to acting, Chris likes to turn his artistic eye on occasion to set design, and has designed or built many sets for Ghostlight over the years.
Katherine made her Ghostlight debut in 1995 in the children's chorus of "Oliver!". Over the next few years, she had the opportunity to play some great roles, including Laurey in "Oklahoma!" and Katrina in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". She took a hiatus to attend SUNY Fredonia for her Bachelor's degree and UB for her Master's degree and returned to the Ghostlight stage in 2010 as Maria in "The Sound of Music" opposite her best friend Dan Zerpa. She followed that by playing Belle in "A Christmas Carol", Laurey in "Oklahoma!", Mary Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life", and Nurse Barker in "The Spiral Staircase". She cannot wait to make many more memories with her Ghostlight family!
Eric made his debut with Ghostlight in 2010 as Simms in Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula. From that point he went on to play in A Christmas Carol and as Slim in Oklahoma. Acting is a passion of Eric's and he enjoys being able to exercise his craft around such talented individuals that is Starry Night Theatre Company and putting on an amazing show every single day.
Since 2006 I have taken a great interest in theatre. My first show being High School Musical. Going into fifth grade, Debby Swartz was my teacher and opened my eyes to theatre even more. I started in the theatre's acting classes and that's where it all kicked off. Since then, I have been in numerous productions. My first show with this company was summer of 2011 when we did Oklahoma! When I was welcomed with open arms I couldn't stop coming back. I am 16 years old, I attend North Tonawanda High School and I plan to go to New York City to start a career in becoming a make up artist and doing as much theatre as I can.
Nate has been doing shows with the Ghostlight for almost 3 years now. His debut show was The Sound of Music where he played Baron Eberfeld. After getting a small taste of how much fun doing shows were and why he loves theatre so much, he just keeps on coming back. Other shows he has done are as follows: Topper in a Christmas Carol(2010) Howie Newsome in Our Town(2011) Cord Elam in Oklahoma(2011) Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life(2011) and The Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof(2012). He also enjoys helping out at crew whenever he can. Here's to a long and happy life with his Ghostlight family:D
"Carolyn began acting many years ago, just for fun. Then in college, she had an opportunity to perform "Toymaker and Son" in NYC for 6 weeks. One of her fondest memories is of being proposed to by her now husband, Mark, during rehearsals for "Toymaker". Carolyn first appeared on the Ghostlight stage in "The Importance of Being Earnest" in 2006. Some other favorite roles include Mrs. Potiphar in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", Boo Boodle in "Noodles", Mrs.Van Daan in "The Diary of Anne Frank", Miss Casewell in "Mousetrap" , Lucille Turpin in "Dearly Departed and Flo Owens in "Picnic". When not on stage she is studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health coach. She also enjoys travel, Disney, and especially spending time with her family. One of her greatest joys is getting to perform on stage with her husband and, at times, her children!
Dan has been a proud member of Ghostlight Theater since 2006, when he stepped on stage as a clueless cactus in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since then he has played numerous roles. Some of his favorite being, Neil in All Through the Night, George Gibbs in Our Town, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma!, Norman Carpenter in Halloween Dreams, and Motel in Fiddler on the Roof. Dan is also the recipient of the 2011 John Kerr Memorial Scholarship and is the 2011 NTHS Vocalist of the Year. Off stage, Dan is a theatre major at Buffalo State College and hopes to do theatre for the rest of his life.
Presently cast as Redruth in Treasure Island, I am totally excited to be a part of my first stage show since High School. Thank you Starry Night Theatre!! Other theatrical credits include: a featured action mutant and teacher extra in Deftone Picture's sci-fi movie, Ombis, which is coming out this year. I was born in Scotland and graduated from Irvine Royal Academy. I came to the US in 1968 and spent my working life in the auto industry. I am a volunteer at Kavinoky Theatre in Buffalo.