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Our Team

Full-Time Staff



Executive Director/Co-Founder

With a BA in Theatre from University of Central Florida, Hillary (she/her) has a decade of experience working professionally as a teaching artist, director, producer, and youth theatre program director in Colorado and Florida. In these capacities, Hillary took a leadership role in her community as an arts advocate and was instrumental in growing existing programs both artistically and administratively. Her work with community outreach, marketing efforts and grant preparation, was critical to both the organizational impact on the community, but also its ability to be sustainable. 

Hillary began her love for theatre at the age of three. Knowing the positive impact it brought into her life, her passions grew into a desire to share this art and her skills with the next generation. Hillary is very excited to begin a new journey at WTP, and becoming a part of the Wellesley Community.

“I believe that the theatre arts further one’s character,  understanding, and growth as an individual. My goal as an educator is to inspire students to create, explore, think critically, have an understanding of what’s going on around them and enjoy every minute of it!”



Artistic Director/Co-Founder

For over 25 years, Ben (he/him) has worked in all aspects of the theatre as a performer, director, designer, technician, carpenter, and youth educator. Ben attended Florida School of the Arts majoring in Acting and pursuing his Associate in Science degree. Later, he formally expanded his knowledge in Technical Direction with a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.


As a performer, Ben grew into such roles as Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Cervantes / Quixote (Man of La Mancha), Harold Hill (The Music man), James Leeds (Children of a Lesser God - Best Actor, South Eastern Theatre Conference), and the title role in Shakespeare's Macbeth (Best Actor Thespian Award Winner). Ben worked professionally in Orlando as a stunt performer at Universal Studios Orlando as well as an actor with regional houses such as Florida Children's Repertory Theatre, Orlando Rep, and Mad Cow Theatre. As a child of educators, Ben followed his own desire and dream to teach.  


Recently his work has been seen on Season 9 of AMERICA'S GOT TALENT, with Jim Henson’s Muppets, and on a new cirque spectacular for the DRAGONE company. Credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, and Educational productions. 

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Office Manager, Resident Stage Manager, & Prop Master

Alexa Brooke Lambert (she/her) joined the Wellesley Theatre Project team in Summer 2016, and has felt at home here ever since. She earned her BA in English: Theatre Arts Concentration and Psychology: Developmental Disabilities Specialization from The University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where she focused primarily on stage management, production management, and performance, and served as President of The Off-Broadway Players. Recent stage management credits outside of WTP include working with Playwrights’ Platform, Tempest Productions, and Apollinaire Theatre Company. Also outside of WTP, she is the Social Media Manager for Lucozzi Portraits, runs her own Etsy shop, and is a devoted dog mom. 



Program Director, Resident Teaching Artist, Director & Choreographer

Hannah Shihdanian (she/her)

serves as the Program Director and Resident Teaching
Artist for WTP, and this is her 12th summer! She has a BA in Theatre Performance from The University of Vermont and works professionally as a performer and freelance teaching artist. She also runs her own dance fitness community which offers virtual and in person classes for adults and young adults. Hannah has performed in New York, Boston, Maine, and Texas. She has worked with the A.R.T., Greater Boston Stage Company, Reagle Music Theater, The Umbrella Stage Company, Artbarn, Babson College, and others in the New England area. She is Assistant Choreographing "The Little Mermaid" this summer at Reagle Music Theater, and Assistant Directing "Lizzie" at The Umbrella Stage Co. this fall. Her three kids love coming to WTP and this has been a home away from home for all of them.

Adjunct Faculty



Music Director & Voice Teacher

Eric Anderson Jr. (he/him) has worked as Musical Director with WTP on many projects, including In the Heights, Spring Awakening, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and many more! When not at WTP, he teaches voice and piano lessons from his studio in Stoughton, MA and  is an adjunct theatre faculty member at Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Eric previously lived in Bloomington, IN, studying at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and taking part in a wide range of theatre productions as producer, director, music-director, and – in one last-minute situation – a follow-spot operator.

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Sound Designer

James Cannon (he/him) is a freelance audio engineer, sound designer and music producer from Chicago, IL. Recent credits include: The View Upstairs (Speakeasy Stage), The Rape of Lucretia (Boston Lyric Opera),  Well, Straight White Men (Hovey Players), The Rocky Horror Show, Passing Strange (Moonbox Productions), The Last Wide Open, The Old Man & The Old Moon (Umbrella Stage Company) and NIGHTTOWN: An Operatic Reimagining of James Joyce’s Ulysses (Lowell House Opera). In his free time, he enjoys Crockpot Cookery and cooking up hip-hop beats as The Culture. His latest instrumental project, Sketches can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Bandcamp, and any digital music store you can think of.  This is James' first time working with Wellesley Theatre Project and he is delighted to have been invited to the team! 



Choreographer &

Teaching Artist

Katie Anne Clark (she/her) is a Boston-based actress, director, choreographer, and teaching artist who grew up dancing at Fowler Dance Studio, Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, and the Boston Ballet.  Katie has a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre and Dance from Ball State University in Indiana and has been touring the country (and high seas) performing professionally for over fifteen years.  Favorite choreography projects include The Addams Family and Mamma Mia (Newton North High School), Mary Poppins (Wheelock Family Theatre), Rocky Relationships (Moonbox Productions), Hansel & Gretel (Peterborough Players), and Bye, Bye Birdie! (New London Barn Playhouse).  She has also choreographed for numerous high schools, community theaters, and theatre schools including Greater Boston Stage's Young Company, Reagle Music Theatre Youth Program, The Alexander Children's Theatre School, Step By Step Dance Studio, and Preschool Moves. 

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Bernie Baldassaro (he/him) is a performer, director, choreographer, and teaching artist fresh off the Broadway National Tour of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a Swing and understudying the roles of Mike Teavee and Augustus Gloop. He is honored to be back with his WTP family after serving as the IMPACT choreographer for the 2020-2021 season and teaching Musical Theatre Dance. A Boston-native, he has taught dance and acting for North Shore Music Theatre, The Young Co. at Greater Boston Stage, Artbarn Community Theatre, Venturing Studios, Refine Dance Studio, and On Your Toes Dance and Theatre Co.  He is also currently on faculty at Noel Smith Voice Studio as a dance instructor and audition coach. This past June, he directed and choreographed Aladdin for North Shore Music Theatre and Theatre by the Sea’s Fairytale Touring Company and he will be choreographing Frozen Jr. for NSMT’s Education Department later this summer. You can catch Bernie spreading Christmas cheer across the country on the Broadway National Tour of Elf the Musical this coming holiday season! Proud alum of Ithaca College with a BFA in Musical Theatre.

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Teaching Artist

Corrine Calderbank (she/her) is thrilled to be a part of Wellesley Theatre Project. She earned her B.A. in Communication Studies from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in May 2020. In college, she was president of the student run theatre club on campus - Actors Creating Theatre - while also being involved with the performing arts at Kutztown Area School District. Most recently, Corrine earned her M.A. in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre from Emerson College in May 2022. During the day, Corrine is a paraprofessional with the Public Schools of Brookline.



Teaching Artist

Riley Constantino (she/her)is very happy to be back in at WTP after Assistant Directing Winnie the Pooh, KIDS. She just finished her first year at the University of Vermont where she is majoring in Elementary Education. Riley has performed and interned for countless Wellesley Theatre Project productions throughout the past 10 years, including Spring Awakening and Legally Blonde (Elle Woods). She has continued performing in college through her A Cappella group, Viridescent. Huge thanks to WTP for welcoming her back to the family with open arms!

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Director, Choreographer & Teaching Artist

Julia Deter (she/her) is a Boston-based director, choreographer, and educator. Julia is thrilled to be working with WTP again after choreographing Bright Star, Matilda, Charlie Brown, and directing/ choreographing Urinetown and Spring Awakening. Other Boston-area direction & choreography credits include The Old Man & the Old Moon (The Umbrella Stage Company), Birdy (A.D., Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), Hedwig & the Angry Inch (The Umbrella Stage Company), See Rock City & Other Destinations (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Avenue Q (Arts After Hours), Peter & the Starcatcher  (Footlight Club), Next to Normal (BTD), West Side Story (Turtle Lane), A Chorus Line, Ragtime, The Rocky Horror Show, Singin' in the Rain, and The Producers (all at The Umbrella). In a previous life as a performer, she was seen in the National Touring companies of 42nd Street (Ensemble) and All Shook Up (Dance Captain), and the European Tour of Fiddler on the Roof (Chava), among others. She has worked backstage with the Broadway companies of 42nd Street, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and with the Radio City Rockettes. Julia is an Honours graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and teaches performing arts throughout the Boston area. 



Director & Teaching Artist

Jess Harms (she/her) is on a mission to remind us that we all belong by exploring the vulnerabilities of being human on stage. With a Master's in Theatre Education from Emerson College, she is a creative combo of educator, artist, and your personal hype squad. She has directed over 75 shows (so far!) and was awarded the MA state award for Best Director. Her productions have earned the state award for best production seven times and national honors. She empowers educators as a Pre-AP Arts National Faculty member and theatre arts curriculum writer for the CollegeBoard. In 2014, she founded the Massachusetts Thespians Chapter to encourage, advocate, and promote theatre in our schools. 

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Erica Lundin (she/her) is so happy to be part of the Wellesley Theatre Project family. Erica is a local actress and choreographer, and has been dancing since she could walk! She started dance when she was 3, and grew up at a competitive dance studio. Erica’s love of theatre began a few years after that, and she has been in (at least) a musical or play a year since then. Erica began choreographing musicals in high school, and continued choreographing dance numbers for her college dance company. Some of Erica’s recent choreographer credits include; Legally Blonde, Pippin (Chelmsford High School), Orlando (Lyric Stage Company), Margo Veil: An Entertainment (Suffolk University). When not choreographing, Erica can be seen on stage performing herself. Some performance credits include; The Nutty Suite (Refine Dance Studio) Head Over Heels, 42nd Street (Umbrella Stage Company), Swan Lake in Blue (Greater Boston Stage Company), A Chorus Line (Arlington Friends of the Drama). Erica can also be found dancing with the Refine Dance Company based in Danvers, MA.

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Music Director

Elijah McTiernan (they/he) is so excited to be joining Wellesley Theatre Project's team for Disney's Winnie the Pooh, KIDS! He is a freelance artist and music teacher in the Greater Boston area. He currently teaches 4th-8th Vocal/General Music at Dedham Country Day School and has taught various workshops with Greater Boston Stage Company, The Company Theatre of Norwell, and Somerville Arts Council. Elijah is a stage performer, music director, and stage manager having worked on shows including Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tobi), Into the Woods (Jack), Next to Normal (Henry), Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Christopher), Frozen Jr. (MD), Madagascar Jr. (MD), Godspell (SM), and Hair (SM). Hobbies include songwriting, acoustic guitar, rock climbing, and composing.



Music Director & Voice Teacher

James Murphy (he/him) has worked as a Music Director for WTP on Sleeping Beauty Jr. and Beauty and the Beast Jr.  He is thrilled to be back with WTP as a voice teacher.  James has his Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory and his Masters of Music Education from Anderson University. James is going to be entering his 9th year teaching at his own voice studio in Burlington.  Having taught middle school chorus for 4 years, he left that position to focus full-time on teaching voice, a true passion of his.  He has helped students get into colleges like Berklee, Emerson, and The Boston Conservatory Masters of Theatre program. Helping students prep for auditions is one of his favorite aspects of teaching voice but it's also hard to top helping students get comfortable in their voice and let that instrument out.  When not teaching voice, James is also active in the local theatre scene as a music director.  He has done several shows with the Umbrella Stage Company including 42nd Street, Sideshow, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Avenue Q.  James has also won back-to-back DASH awards for Best Music Director for his work on Big Fish and Parade, both at The Umbrella.



Teaching Artist

Molly Gandler (she/her) is ecstatic to join the outstanding team at Wellesley Theatre Project. She's majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a minor in Theatre. Molly is a proud alumna of WTP and she's thrilled to be back at this very special place. At school, Molly is the PR Manager of her internationally award-winning a cappella group, Pitches & Notes. She has a strong background in musical theatre, acting, and vocal jazz, and she's eager to share her love for musical theatre with the next generation of WTP students!



Director & Teaching Artist

Lydia Jane Graeff  (she/her) joined The Wellesley Theatre Project family as a Teaching Artist in the summer of 2017, and has directed many productions here including Clue, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Puffs. Outside of WTP, Lydia is a Boston Public School Teacher at Boston Adult Technical Academy and a Resident Teaching Artist for Boston Lyric Opera, specializing in Arts Integration for English Language Development classrooms. Lydia has directed, taught, and performed all over the country and in the Greater Boston Area. She holds an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College and a BA in Film Production from Elon University.



Teaching Artist

Ariella Kasmer-Jacobs (she/her) is very excited to join the Wellesley Theatre Project family for the Head to Hogwarts Camps! Ariella holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a diploma in Musical Theater from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (London).  She currently working on her MA in Theater Education from Emerson.



Costume Designer

Ash Long (they/them) is very excited to join the Wellesley Theatre Project family! They graduated in 2020 from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Production Design with a concentration in Costume Design. Previous work includes Big Fish with WTP and Matilda with the Savannah Children’s Theatre. They also participated in Odyssey of the Mind for 12 years. To see more of their work you can visit their website



Music Director, Voice Teacher,

Costume & Puppet Designer

Jennie McGuinness (she/her) is a graduate from New York University’s Steinhardt School with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, with a specialization in Musical Theatre. In the years since graduation she has performed professionally in New York, Regionally and Nationally, including the National tours of Elf, the Musical! and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Recently, she has enjoyed breaking into the local theatre scene performing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change with the Concord Players and The Old Man and The Old Moon at the Umbrella.
With WTP she has had the amazing opportunity to work with the students as a Music Director (Frozen, James and the Giant Peach), Costumer (Frog and Toad, Mary Poppins, Bright Star), Puppet creator (Cinderella, Disney’s the Little Mermaid, Frozen, Seussical, Through the Looking Glass) and Voice Teacher. She is incredibly grateful for the WTP family and the amazing impact they have on the local community.

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Teaching Artist

Rose Mooney (she/her) is a singer/songwriter and educator from Newton, MA. She is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, where she studied music education and musical theater performance. Rose has a passion for teaching and inspiring her students through music directing musicals, choirs, and private lessons. Previous music directing credits include Newsies and Finding Nemo at the Greater Boston Stage Company. Rose is also an active performer in her own band and solo gigs around Boston. Her styles include pop, musical theater, and Celtic. Rose has performed in many original musical theater works at Berklee and has written some original songs herself, mainly pop and musical theater. Previous performance highlights include The Burren, The Bebop, Newton's 4th of July celebration singing the National Anthem, her senior recital in the Red Room, Crepusculum Chamber Choir, and various porchfests and music festivals around Greater Boston. Rose hopes to continue to inspire her students and audience through her music.

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Heather Rotondi (she/her) is a passionate theatre lover from Billerica, MA. She enjoys being involved with shows on the stage, behind the stage, at the back of house and as an audience member and has loved being a part of WTP since Puffs from its 11th season. She holds a Masters of Education Administration: Higher Education Option from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and enjoys the transferable skill set it's given to strengthen her theater skills while working with members of WTP. Outside of WTP, Heather is a Human Resources specialist that fills her free time with community theater, seasonal camping, travel, her family & friends and her cats.

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Teaching Artist

Elizabeth Rouse (she/her) is a distinguished and award-winning choreographer, dance teacher, and performer. With a BA in Dance and Psychology from Bryn Mawr College, Miss Liz’s two-decade plus career has seen her choreography used, taught, and featured throughout the Northeastern United States. Her talents have been utilized by several world-famous individuals, including New Kid on the Block member Joey McIntyre, and her work has been performed at such historic venues as Fenway Park, and Walt Disney World. In 2016, she won the Distinguished Achievement Special Honors (DASH) award for her choreography of “Bat Boy” at Boston’s historic Footlight Club. Some of Miss Liz’s former students have gone to star on the stage and screen, with several former pupils having earned nominations for Emmy and Tony Awards, as well.

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Teaching Artist & Choreographer

Tess Stevens (she/her) is recent graduate of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance. As an artist, she has trained in all styles of dance with a particular passion for jazz and musical theater. Tess recently made her professional debut with Reagle Music Theater performing in their 2023 season of Oklahoma and The Little Mermaid! Prior to her Reagle debut Tess spent her summers in Chicago and New York studying jazz and contemporary, teaching at a local dance studio, and choreographing for musical theater. In her free time she furthers her own training in New York City taking classes, making connections, and auditioning. Alongside dance she has begun carving out her niche in weight training and nutritional education. She is very excited to join the Wellesley Theatre Project community teaching this fall! 

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Nadine Sa (she/her) is thrilled to be joining the Wellesley Theatre Project. By day, Nadine is a call center representative for a laboratory company and by night, she enjoys working with various theater groups in the Greater Boston Metrowest area.  Nadine started her theatrical journey on stage in musicals as a child, but learned in high school that her true passion was behind the scenes. In college, she learned how to stage manage when the resident stage manager wanted to appear in that season's play and the rest is history.  Favorite shows that she has stage managed include Titanic with Concord Players (EMACT Award for Stage Manager for Musical); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Secret Garden (Also with Concord Players); Little Mermaid (Needham Community Theater); Mountaintop and Who Will Sing for Lena? (Lexington Players). Nadine is overjoyed to be working with the WTP staff and students on The Lightening Thief.



Teaching Artist, Choreographer & Costume Designer

Kennedy Van Cleve is thrilled to be joining WTP again as the Costume Designer for Squirrel Girl Goes to College. She first joined WTP last summer as the Choreographer for Winnie the Pooh Kids! Kennedy has the Bachelor’s Degree in Drama & Theatre for Youth from the University of Northern Iowa. She’s worked as a Teaching Artist for Wheelock Family Theatre, Arlington Children’s Theater, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Drama Kids International, & more. Besides teaching Kennedy loves performing, she worked as a Character Performer at Walt Disney World for three years before moving to the Boston area. Kennedy aspires to create a safe theatre environment for students of all ages and abilities, to have the freedom to create and play.

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Teaching Artist: Technical Theatre

Luke Van Cleve (he/him)  is excited to be working with WTP this fall. Luke is a Graduate of the University of Northern Iowa where he studied Design and Production of Theatre. For the last 3 years, Luke has worked for SeaWorld Orlando as a scenic carpenter. He recently moved to Boston to work for the American Repertory Theatre as a scenic carpenter. He also works as a freelance scenic designer, recently designing, Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It, and Shrek the Musical. Luke can’t wait to share his passion for creating and teaching theatre!

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Music Director & Teaching Artist

David Wright is thrilled to be joining the fantastic community of the Wellesley Theatre Project. David has been appearing on stage and behind stage for over twenty years, trying to balance performing, direction, and teaching in and around Boston. Favorite roles include Ricky Taylor in Bat Boy (EMACT award for best supporting actor in a musical), Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, and Baker in Into the Woods. Recent music direction credits include the regional premiere of Hundred Days, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Umbrella Center for the Arts), Cabaret (Footlight Club, EMACT nomination for best music direction), and In the Heights (Watertown Children's Theatre). When not buried in a music score, David is a special education team chair with the Newton Public Schools. Thank you to the WTP staff, students, and creatives for making his first production one to remember. 

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