Meet the Creative Team
L. Don Swartz
Don 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, and Shakespeare in the Park. Artistic and Executive Director of Starry Night/Ghostlight since 1982, Don has published over 30 scripts that have been performed in 48 states, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Greece. His original titles include All Through the Night, Noodles, The Lodger, A Night of Dark Intent, Deep End of the Dark, Final Notice, Halloween Dreams, Halloween Screams, The Birds That Stay, The Forest of the Dead, The Silver Lady, Danse Macabre, and the iconic Lottie and Bernice franchise. His adaptions 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. Copies of Don's plays can be ordered at Concord Theatricals, Dramatic Publishing Company, Eldridge Publishing, Big Dog Publishing, Norman Maine Plays, and Heartland Plays, Inc. Don has directed over 130 plays and has appeared in almost as many.
DJ has been part of the Ghostlight Theatre since he was born. He was first seen in the 2007 production of Oliver! and since then has taken on many roles including Tom Sawyer in Tom Sawyer, Kyle in The Birds That Stay, and George in All Through the Night. DJ made his directorial debut in 2017 with Noodles and has since tackled The Lottie and Bernice Show, our annual production of Night of the Living Dead, Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula, and his favorite, All Through the Night. He is the leader of the theatre's Creative Committee, the 2022 recipient of the Stephen Holesko Memorial Award, and was the very first recipient of the Jed Woomer Memorial Spirit Award. He can't wait to continue to grow in this theatre.
Julie has been an active member of the company since 1986. She started as a chorus girl in Oklahoma! Since then, she has been involved with every show. Some of her favorite roles include Yente in Fiddler on the Roof (2012 and 2001), Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!, Marian in The Music Man, Justine in Halloween Screams and Final Notice, Mrs. MacDoogle in Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula (2010), Ingrid in A Night of Dark Intent, Anne and Sarah in All Through the Night, and the Maid of Honor in Lottie and Bernice: Regrets Only. When not on stage, Julie has been seen constructing sets, costuming, running lights and sound, and helping to run the house. She is secretary of Starry Night Theatre Inc.'s board and a past recipient of the Stephen Holesko Memorial Award. She is currently our head costumer, teaches the children's acting class, and is a member of our Creative Committee where she is in charge of house management.
Vanessa first joined the Ghostlight Theatre Company in 2004, appearing in A Christmas Carol. Over the years, she's appeared in many productions including The Innocents, It's a Wonderful Life, The Importance of Being Earnest, Here We Sit, 10 Little Indians, All Through the Night, Noodles (2007), The Lottie and Bernice Show, A Night of Dark Intent (2008 and 2018), Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula (as Mina in 2010 and Professor van Helsing in 2020), Frankenstein, Lottie and Bernice: Regrets Only, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, Ah, Wilderness!, The Curious Savage, The Lodger, The Silver Lady, Tales from the Ghostlight, and Jekyll/Hyde. She assists with costume design and teaches the teens acting class. She is the first-ever recipient of Starry Night Theatre's kindness award and is a member of the Creative Committee.
Gary W. Cox
Gary started with the Ghostlight in 2011, first appearing in Our Town. He had not been on the stage in 25 years. Since then, he hasn't gone anywhere else. Gary has performed on stage as well as the light and sound boards. He is also fortunate to be a member of the theatre's board and honored recipient of the Stephen Holesko Memorial Award. Most recently, he's been asked to participate in the Creative Committee. He looks forward to many more seasons at the Ghostlight.
VJ recently joined the Ghostlight Theatre Company when he debuted in The Curious Savage in 2018. Since then. he's become a vital member of the company, actively participating in our set construction crews. While he is extremely active behind-the-scenes, he's just as active on stage, having appeared in shows such as All Through the Night (as George and Irving), The Lodger, The Lottie and Bernice Show, The Silver Lady, Nosferatu: The Legend of Dracula, and Tales from the Ghostlight. VJ is also a member of our Creative Committee and the 2022 recipient of the Kindness Matters Award.
Ryan first joined the Ghostlight in our 2015 summer musical, Nunsense: the Mega Musical. He became a student of our acting classes before going on to perform in multiple shows over the years. You may have spotted him on stage in productions such as All Through the Night, Tom Sawyer, Lottie and Bernice: Livin' Large, The Birds That Stay, A Christmas Carol, The Edgar Allan Poe Show, Child's Play, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, Ah, Wilderness!, Nunsense II: The Second Coming, The Lottie and Bernice Show, Beauty and the Beast, and Night of the Living Dead. Ryan is also extremely active behind-the-scenes, helping to construct every set, and even running lights and sound. He is a past recipient of the Jed Woomer Memorial Spirit Award (2017) and the John Kerr Memorial Scholarship (2021). Ryan is also a member of our Creative Committee.
Carla has been a member of the company since 2004. She has a BA in Liberal Arts with her concentrations in theatre and communications. She has been in many productions over the years, but her favorite roles include Amy March in Little Women, Sarah in All Through the Night, Barbara in Night of the Living Dead, Emily in Here We Sit, and off stage as the coordinator/organizer of I Never Saw Another Butterfly. You can find Carla not only on stage but building sets, ushering, and running lights for productions. She is also a past recipient of the Stephen Holesko Memorial Award and a member of the Creative Committee, focusing on connecting the theatre with outside groups such as local schools.
Tracy is an Art Teacher & Arts Coordinator who has been involved at the Ghostlight since 2019. You have probably seen her daughters, Ari and Bella, on stage, but she prefers to volunteer behind the scenes. Tracy is the social media manager for the theatre. She also helps with crew, ushers, records video, takes photographs and recently learned sound tech for Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Tracy is the Art Consultant for I Never Saw Another Butterfly, returning in March. She is thrilled to use her arts background to promote all of the great things happening at the Ghostlight!
Alex first joined the Ghostlight family during the 2018 spring production of The Curious Savage as Fairy May. Her other principal roles include Holly in A Night of Dark Intent (2018), Barbara in Night of the Living Dead (2021), Andrea Borland in Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus (2022), and her personal favorite, Helen in The Spiral Staircase (2023). When she’s not on stage, she could be found in the booth running lights or sound for various productions. Alex also co-hosts alongside DJ Swartz, The Starry Night Theatre Podcast, an audio archive of the theatre highlighting historic moments, sharing past and current projects, and showcasing existing and emerging talent.