Luna Stage
"Master Harold"... and the boys

Our Staff

Cheryl Katz

Cheryl Katz

Artistic Director

Cheryl Katz has been with Luna Stage since 2003. She served as Director of Play Development for eight years before becoming Associate Artistic Director in 2011. She was appointed Artistic Director in 2013. During her time at Luna, she has contributed to the development of over fifty new works for the stage and has directed the world premieres of The High Water Mark by Ben Clawson, Carnaval by Nikkole Salter, Mercy and The Firefly by Amy Hartman, The Fastest Woman Alive by Karen Sunde, the NJ professional premiere of Thrill Me by Stephen Dolginoff, and all three Luna productions of The Man In Room 306 by Craig Alan Edwards (1995 and 2008 in New Jersey, 2010 in New York). Prior to her position at Luna, Cheryl developed and directed new plays in the New York area and worked as a producer, administrator and special projects manager for LaMama E.T.C., Under One Roof, Electronic Arts Intermix, Arts International and The School of Hard Knocks. She has worked in script development for The Young Playwrights Festival, The O'Neill Theatre Conference and The Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey and is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

You can contact Cheryl via email at cheryl.katz@lunastage.org or by phone at (973) 395-5551 ext. 203.

John Penn Lewis

John Penn Lewis

Managing Director

John Penn Lewis' career includes extensive work in both the theater and the retail and hospitality industries. His business management resume includes working for leaders in several fields, including Starbucks Coffee Co. and Novotel Hotels. As an arts administrator, he served as the Executive Director for both the Park Performing Arts Center and the world-famous children's educational theater company, The Shoestring Players. He also started his own production company, working with major Pharmaceutical companies on training events for their sales staffs.

Mr. Lewis majored in theater at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon where he studied Acting and Directing with Jack Leigh Featheringill. Moving to NYC, he continued his studies at the H.B. Studios. As an actor, Mr. Lewis has performed all across America. He also sang with NY City Opera for three seasons. Directing: Worked with Stephen Pickover (Metropolitan Opera) on the direction of Where or When. Regionally, A Thousand Cranes, The Wager, Little Foxes, Loot, Robert Patrick's Cheap Theatricks, and Hansel and Gretel. Producer: Rick Sordelet's Buried Treasure, a series of updated classics at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Scapin, King Stag, Servant of Two Masters).

You can contact John via email at john.lewis@lunastage.org or by phone at (973) 395-5551 ext. 207.

Liz Cesario

Liz Cesario

Production Manager

Liz Cesario has been working in theater and opera for over 30 years. She has Stage Managed productions for Luna Stage Company, 12 Miles West, What Exit? Theatre, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, Opera Carolina, Connecticut Opera, New Jersey State Opera, and Hartt Opera. In addition, she has worked on set and lighting crews at Virginia Operaand Lake George Opera Festival. She started working with Luna Stage as a stage manager in 2005 and become the production manager in 2009. Liz, a graduate of the University of Connecticut and a native of Hartford, CT., currently resides in Verona, NJ with her husband Steve Lawler. They are the parents of three talented and amazing boys and one adorable grandson.

You can contact Liz via email at liz.cesario@lunastage.org or by phone at (973) 395-5551 ext. 204.

Stephanie Wood

Stephanie Wood

Administrative Assistant/Casting Associate

Stephanie graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Theatre Studies in January 2014. While at Montclair State her focus was on the production side of theatre; she has Directed, Stage-managed, and Dramaturged productions and hopes to continue expanding her experience into more areas of theatre. This past fall she began her journey at Luna Stage as the Board Operator for their recent production of High Water Mark. She is excited to be returning to Luna Stage as their new Administrative Assistant and can't wait to see what the future holds for young theater artists today.

Kaitlin Stilwell

Kaitlin Stilwell

Resident Dramaturg

Kaitlin Stilwell has worked in the literary offices of Urban Stages, The Mint Theater Company, the Hangar Theater, and McCarter Theatre, where she assisted playwrights Marina Carr, Danai Gurira and John Guare on premieres of their new plays. As a freelance dramaturg, she has developed plays with Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Southern Writers' Project at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theater's Youth Ink! Festival, and with many individual writers. As an actor, Kaitlin toured North America as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof starring Chaim Topol, Theodore Bikel and Harvey Fierstein, alternatively. Kaitlin has done research for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Company in New York. Her postgraduate work in England culminated in a dissertation on the dramaturgy of climate change plays. Now a resident of Montclair, Kaitlin is so pleased to be working with such talented local playwrights and theater artists at Luna Stage.

You can contact Kaitlin via email at kaitlin.stilwell@lunastage.org.

Valerie Sanchez

Valerie Sanchez

Graphic Designer

Valerie Sanchez has an Associates in Web Graphic Design, a Bachelor's in Multimedia Design and Management, and Masters in Communications focusing on New Media and Marketing. Valerie has a passion for all aspects of design, especially branding and print design. Currently she works in the fields of both marketing and graphic design working as a Marketing Associate and Graphic Designer. Her well-rounded skills and experiences help her to understand that there are many aspects to both marketing and design, by creating work that is not only creative but also functional. Valerie is always proud to be a part of Luna Stage and helping to promote the amazing art and performances it brings to the community.

If you would like to know more about Valerie Sanchez, please visit her website: http://vdesigns.4ormat.com/home or contact her at valmasta@gmail.com.

Anna'le Hornak

Anna'le Hornak

Artistic Resident

Anna'le Hornak graduated in May of 2016 from Albright College with a degree in English and Theatre hoping to pursue a career in dramaturgy and literary management. She has done dramaturgy for several productions at her college in addition to working in stage management and lighting design and leading projects involving the production of new student plays, including the establishment of an annual new play festival geared towards offering students new experiences and mentorship in fields like directing and design. She was also the 2015 recipient of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region 2 Student Dramaturgy award.

She joins Luna Stage as an Artistic Resident for the 2016-2017 season and looks forward to helping new plays develop and learning more about the workings of a professional theatre company. Her future plans include graduate school for an MFA in dramaturgy, a PhD in dramatic literature, and much, much more work with new play development.

Jane Mandel

Jane Mandel

Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus

Jane Mandel (Director/Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus) holds an MFA from New York University School of the Arts and has had a career in the theatre as actress, director, teacher and producer. She is the founder of the non-profit theatre company, Luna Stage, and served as Artistic Director for over twenty years (now AD Emeritus). With her guidance Luna Stage earned a reputation for producing excellent, intelligent and provocative theatre. Scores of new and classic plays were brought to audiences through readings and full productions. One of her passions is for creating devised theatre. She created and directed In The Name of The Woman (the first show done at Luna Stage), and "we don't have enough sugar for the public" (an exploration of racism), created and co-directed The American Project (an exploration of what it means to be an American), and co-created and directed Mi Casa Tu Casa (a bilingual Latino- based play with music that has been touring in New Jersey.) Other directing credits include: Reckless by Craig Lucas, Rosa Loses Her Face by Kitty Chen, Burying Fiona, Rapture and Little Beasts by Jeanne Marshall, The Queen of Thebes and Friends and Relations by Arnold Rabin, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, The Other Side of Newark by Enid Rudd, Fair and Decent by Thomas Diggs, and Vita and Virginia adapted by Eileen Atkins. As Artistic Director she oversaw the productions of Death of a Salesman, Macbeth, The Whipping Man, The Dangers of Electric Lighting, The Old Settler and A Moon for the Misbegotton to name a few. She taught theatre games and improvisation/acting at NYU School of the Arts where she was a full time faculty member, The New School, The Whole Theatre, Montclair State University, The Teaching Artist's Collective, and Luna Stage. She was a member of The Shaliko Theatre Company and acted in The Measures Taken, Ghosts and Woyzeck while in residence at The New York Shakespeare Festival and on tour. Jane currently directs, acts and coaches acting. You many contact her at jmandel9@gmail.com.

Upcoming Calendar

Oct. 6 - Oct. 30

Mainstage
A World Premiere by Ben Clawson

October 10, 7:30 pm

New Moon Reading Series

November 7, 7:30 pm

New Moon Reading Series

Dec. 1 - Dec. 18

Mainstage
by Steve Murray

December 12, 7:30 pm

New Moon Reading Series

Feb. 2 - Mar. 5

Mainstage
A World Premiere by Obie Award-Winner Nikkole Salter, author of Carnaval and Lines in the Dust

Apr. 13 - May. 13

Mainstage
A World Premiere by Andrew Rosendorf