Meet our Theater Staff!
Rebecca Goldberg (Music Director & Theatre Instructor)
Since she could talk, Becca has been involved in any music, dance or theater experience she could find. Devonshire allowed her to pursue those experiences both as a student and as an instructor. She musically directs for Teen & Young Performers plus the historic show, choreographs for Thin Ice Ensemble Theater and teaches theater classes. Becca holds a BME in Music Education from the University of Illinois. Highlights of her professional career include six years of high school music instruction, private vocal and piano coaching and working on over 50 shows at Devonshire. Her vast experience of the arts and education has helped develop her creative, motivated and lively teaching style. As an educator for over 10 years, Becca teaches her students to have deep respect for the arts, themselves and each other and is passionate about inspiring a new generation of artists to never stop creating!
Eileen Hand (Theatre Director/Instructor)
Eileen has been working for Devonshire for more than ten years. She directs adult Playhouse productions, teaches acting classes and is a voice teacher. During the day she is the Artistic Director for Thin Ice Ensemble Theater, a local youth theater organization for homeschool kids which is now under the umbrella of the Skokie Park District. After receiving her degree in music performance from University of Illinois CU, Eileen worked professionally in and around the Chicago area acting and singing.She has been directing and teaching for the past 20 years.
Robin Horwitz (Theatre & Facility Supervisor)
Robin has worked for 35 years in the arts administrative field while also acting professionally in Off-Broadway performances and regional theatre, films, and commercials. She maintains her Certification as a Parks and Recreation Executive and has developed a national award winning improv program for teens while also being an experienced director, stage manager and drama therapist. Robin can be seen teaching, house managing, producing, coordinating show marketing and periodically singing and acting.
Gary Kantor (Magic Instructor/Performer)
Gary has enjoyed magic since he was a child. Gary currently teaches magic classes at over 140 suburban park districts. He has also performs magic and balloon animals at birthdays and festivals. In addition, Gary has been a school social worker for the last 19 years. To see much more about Gary Kantor and his Magic Team, visit the website www.garykantor.com.
Heather Kristan (Scenic Artist and Set Construction)
Originally from Des Moines, IA, Heather earned a degree in theatre from Northwestern College, IA. In the ensemble-based theatre, she had the opportunity to learn skills for on, off, and back stage. Working in scenic carpentry, painting, costuming, lighting, run crew, acting, directing, and stage management, Heather developed a love and appreciation for every aspect of the theatre. Upon moving to Chicago, she enjoyed working at Lookingglass Theatre Company, The Den Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre, Cahn Auditorium, and of course Devonshire Cultural Center! She enjoys the inviting atmosphere theatre creates and is thankful for the welcoming doors of Devonshire where she can paint, create and teach.
Cydney Moody (Choreographer, Instructor & Stage Manager)
This is Cydney’s second year at the Devonshire Cultural Center. She served as choreographer for the adult Devonshire Playhouse production and stage manages for Young Performers while also teaching in movement in theatre classes. She also serves as an instructor with the Devonshire Theatre Arts Academy as she adds the elements dance and theatrical movement to all class levels from ages 3 to adult. She is a professional actress in Chicago with Stewart Talent. Some acting credits include: The Wolves—Goodman Theatre, Downstate—Steppenwolf Theatre, a supporting role in Chicago Med—NBC, and Somebody Somewhere—HBO. She has done many plays around the Chicago area. Cydney enjoys assisting in the Devonshire Preschool and is also a Personal Pet Sitter and an Art Model for Oakton Community College.
Michelle Nano (Theatre Instructor)
Michelle is an early childhood and theatre teacher. She graduated with a BA at Northeastern Illinois University. For about ten years she has been teaching classes at the Devonshire Cultural Center. She has also instructed at Weber Leisure Center and performed readings for Storybook Corner at the Exploritorium. In addition to teaching, she has a great love for music vocally. She has performed at various community plays and concerts. She has also performed at the Skokie Public Library for The Village on the Green Summer Concert events. With Michelle’s passion for music and combination with her early childhood experience this class will offer a fun and creative introduction for your future little performer.
Evans Poulos (Technical Theatre Director)
Evans has been involved with technical theatre at the Skokie Park District for years, initially as a Carpenter but gradually adding sound, lights, and other theatre technology skills to his repertoire. Trained as an Electrician, and having a working knowledge of public address sound reinforcement dating back to the 1980s. Evans teaches technical theatre to students in apprentice classes and summer camps. Projects of note, include a working murder set for Sweeney Todd, (long live the Sweeney chair!) Evans enjoys the collaborative aspect of theater at Devonshire Playhouse and has participated in at least 45 main stage shows and 30 Camp shows in addition to innumerable class showcases, dance performances and other special events. The playhouse is a vibrant and busy place which puts on over 20 different events each year on its stage.When not working on a show, he might be found acting in one or supporting his wonderful wife Gayle, in her various thespian activities as an actress, director, and educator, or his fantastic children, Dora, technical theater major at Case Western Reserve University and Joanna, theater major at Suffolk University.
Jennifer Russell (Stage Manager & Props Designer)
Jennifer is pleased to work with both adults in Playhouse productions as well as Teen Performers. Her 20-year career as a stage manager, production manager, and house manager includes working on tour, in summer stock, dinner theatre and in many Chicago area theatres, including the Royal George and Steppenwolf Theatres. At Devonshire she has stage managed Pippin, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Follies, The Sounds of Hope, and Les Miserables as well as lent her artistic and organizational abilities to several other productions.
Sarah Schueller (Theatre Instructor)
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sarah received her degree in Acting and Directing from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Previously, she has been an actor and instructor with the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, the National Theatre for Children and worked as a theatre specialist for two years at Summer on Broadway. Sarah is excited to continue being a part of the Devonshire team and bring theatre magic to a new generation of actors. Sarah teaches the Mini-Playmakers class.
Tyler Skafgaard (Theatre Director/Instructor)
Tyler is a graduate of North Park University, holding a BA in Conflict Transformation with a focus in Theatre and Performance. Through studying and working with Theatre of Witness and Theatre of the Oppressed, he has experienced the importance of using theatre as a way to empathize the real accounts of individual people and promote healing. Tyler for the last five years has worked throughout Chicago as a director, actor, and teacher. Tyler directs Teen Performers and select productions with Thin Ice Ensemble Theater. He teaches Broadway Bound and Spotlights-Comedy/Drama. Tyler also serves as the resident stage combat choreographer/instructor for various productions and classes.
Tony Springs (Choreographer)
Hailing from Cincinnati, Tony has been with Skokie Park District for almost 10 years. His work has been seen in Cabaret, Monty Python's Spamalot, Hello, Dolly!, Follies, Company and Les Miserables to name a few. He began with Summer on Broadway in 2012 as a Dance Specialist and remained on staff to teach Hip Hop, Ballet and Jazz. In 2015 he became Artistic Director of the Devonshire Dance Ensemble. in 2015. Tony has been a company member of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble—a multidisciplinary company rooted in the tradition of Tanztheatre that devised works promoting social change in the community and world. Tony also works in Evanston at a senior living community specializing in dementia/memory loss life enrichment. A graduate of Northern Kentucky University, Tony has a B.A. in Theatre Arts with a dance minor. During and after college, Tony choreographed for and performed with many theatre companies in the greater Cincinnati area including Showbiz Players, Cincinnati Landmark Productions, Cincinnati Music Theatre and The Carnegie in Covington, KY. He received Orchid Awards from the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA) for his Excellence in Choreography for shows such as,"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Altar Boyz and The Music Man. Favorite shows are The Drowsy Chaperone, A Chorus Line and 42nd Street. To those who say they can't dance, just wait. Mr. Tony WILL make you a dancer!
Gayle Starr (Theatre Director/Instructor/Specialist)
Gayle has been doing theater since she was five and told her preschool teacher that she would not talk to her unless she was called by her proper name… Cinderella. Gayle graduated from Northwestern University with a major in performance studies and went on to receive her Masters of Fine Arts in Theater for Youth from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, she taught for the Young Actors Program through the Organic Theater and did curriculum development for Imagination theater, before working as a Drama Therapist for the Institute for Therapy Through the Arts. Gayle is currently a licensed clinical school social worker during the day in addition to teaching with Devonshire Theatre Arts Academy and directing at The Devonshire Playhouse. Gayle acts in shows and her favorite roles include: Sarah (Company), Olive (Female Odd Couple) and the Earl of Richmond (Richard III). Favorite shows she has directed are: Little Women, Secret Garden and Our Town. Gayle considers her greatest achievement to be raising her amazing daughters Dora and Joanna and enjoying life with her cute if sometimes grumpy husband Evans. She loves working with both the kids and adults in the Devonshire community.
Cheryl Yenter (Theatre Instructor & Stage Manager)
Cheryl has been involved in theater and music and education for many years. Cheryl received her music education degree from the College of St. Teresa, and an Education degree from Winona State University. She has taught vocal music and produced concerts and performances by young people of all ages. She has sung in and managed various choral groups. Cheryl homeschooled her two children and continues to teach writing and literature classes. She is also an avid English country dancer as well as a 4H Leader. Cheryl has been with Thin Ice Ensemble Theater first as a parent volunteer and then staff member since 2012. Watching young people bring their characters to life on stage continues to bring great satisfaction. She is happy to be a part in making theatrical magic.