Paul R. Pierce, Producing Artistic Director – has led the Springer for more than three decades. During his tenure, audiences have tripled and the Springer has instituted popular programs like Springer Theatricals and the Springer Theatre Academy. In addition to being a veteran stage director, he is also a playwright, actor and musician. Paul is the former associate artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of America, the former artistic director of the Harbor Playhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the former managing director of the Wayside Theatre in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama and theatre from the University of Georgia. He is the author of the “Springer Ghost Book.”
Sally Baker, Director of Education – is a Columbus native. After graduating from Hardaway High, she attended the University of Georgia in Secondary English Education and Theatre and completed her Masters of Fine Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Drama and Theatre for Youth. Sally’s Springer stage debut was in 1984 and she has over two dozen Springer credits. She taught several years for the Springer Theatre Academy and returned to the Springer in 2015 as Academy Director. Sally has 10 years of classroom teaching experience as well as having worked for theatre companies in the San Francisco area, Nashville, Austin, Texas and Ohio as an actor and teacher. She is the founder and director of the Springer’s PAIR Program, an arts integration program working in several local elementary schools as well as the Director of the Springer Children’s Theatre and Theatre Academy. She and her husband, Brad, have two children and live in Columbus.
Danielle Patterson Varner, Managing Director – Has been at the Springer for 17 years and is now the Managing Director for the Springer Opera House. Danielle started at the Springer as a volunteer and has worn many hats since hired to be a full time employee. She is also an actor, having appeared as Gymnasia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Danielle has served on the board for Uptown Columbus Inc. and is currently a member of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Audience Building Roundtable. Danielle has been a key part in making the Springer Opera House a successful non-profit business, having been very successful in her role as Director of Development. She is excited to bring that momentum into her new position, and work to take the Springer to the next level.
Tate LeClair, Director of Development -has been working as an Arts Administrative professional for the past 8 years, but most recently at Stone Mountain Park with Entertainment and Special Events. He is a professional actor and director with a BFA in Theatre Performance from Columbus State University where he was on the Dean’s List and in the National Honors Theatre Fraternity Alpha Psi Omega. His Springer credits include the National Tour of Della’s Diner, Sister Act (Joey and Assistant Director), Beauty and the Beast, The Who’s Tommy, Sweeney Todd, and Mary Poppins. Tate’s passion for Fine Arts funding will be the key to his success at the Springer by cultivating relationships with corporate sponsors old and new, advancing the Springer Society donor-base, and working closely with the Board and Springer Staff for new grant initiatives. Tate is ecstatic to be back home with his Springer family. Call Tate today if you are interested in becoming a Springer Society member, have questions about sponsorships or Georgia Repertory Theatre.
Allie Kent, Director of Marketing & Audience Development – has worn many hats during her past 21 years while on the Springer staff. She has served as Box Office Manager, Operations Manager, and Director of the Springer Classic Movie Series. She was part of the project management team during the construction of the Springer Academy Annex and McClure Theatre. She currently sits on two of the Springer committees, Design Review and Community Outreach. In her current position as Director of Marketing & Audience Development, she is responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies, building awareness and growing audiences for the theatre’s events and programming. She also manages the Player’s Saloon, The Emporium, and box office services. She was recently voted Favorite Bartender by the Ledger Enquirer’s Reader’s Choice Awards. You can see her most nights behind the bar in the Player’s Saloon where she loves meeting Springer patrons.
Laurel Brownlee, Director of Sales – is new to the world of theater. After studying fashion and textiles at Savannah College of Art and Design she moved to Columbus in 2005 to pursue a career in the cosmetics industry. In 2013 she decided to expand her knowledge of business by enrolling at Columbus State University where she received her Bachelors of Marketing in December of 2015. Laurel is happy to assist with group sales, program ads and rental inquiries here at the Springer.
Deb Faulk, Director of Finance – began her relationship with the Springer Opera House in 1995 as a backstage volunteer. With a BS in Marketing and almost 30 years of business and finance experience, she has been in the finance department since 2009. She shares her home with her husband, John, and their 4 four-legged children.
Debbie Anderson, Musical Director – has prepared choral and instrumental ensembles at the Springer since 1998. Her most recent credits include musical director for Lend Me a Tenor, Shrek The Musical, Della’s Diner and Les Misérables. Her roles at the Springer include Why, Baby, Why: The Music of George Jones and Tammy Wynette (which she helped create and which she will helped restage last April), The King & I (Anna Leonowens), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Miss Mona), Phantom (Belladova), Honky Tonk Angels (Angela), Ragtime (Mother) and Damn Yankees (Meg). She and her brothers sang on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1990.
Kevan Baxley, Box Office Manager – has been with the Springer for 5 season in the saloon. After studying Political Science at CSU she has decided to completely abandon that path in favor of something she enjoys, Arts Administration. Kevan considers the Springer her second home, and hopes to make each patron she helps feel the same way.
Aileen Fowles, Director of Community Outreach – has been involved at the Springer for over seventeen years starting out as a Springer Volunteer. She quickly became a student in the Springer Theatre Academy, and after graduating out of the program Aileen taught at the Academy for many years. She graduated from CSU with a bachelor’s in theatre design and production and has worked on and Volunteered for many Springer shows, with her favorite Five Guys Named Moe. She loves to laugh and tries to do so constantly whether she’s baking, bartending, or learning new songs on her ukulele. Send her an email if you would like to volunteer at the Springer!
Mickey Cole Jr, Patron Services Specialist –Mickey has been involved in the theatre world actively since the age of seven. He followed his love of acting through high school and into college where he graduated with a BFA in Theatre Performance from Columbus State University. Mickey is also a working film actor in the Atlanta Film scene where he is represented by Houghton Talent. His passion for the arts and his creativity aids in his customer service where he is always happy to talk to someone who needs help.
Matthew Swindell, Director of Production – started his journey with the Springer as a backstage volunteer and immediately became indispensable. He graduated from CSU with a bachelor’s in theatre design and technology and began work as a scenic designer for our Children’s Theatre productions. He was the scenic designer for Big Friendly Giant, Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing and Alice in Wonderland. Matthew was the technical director and road manager for the Springer’s touring shows The Marvelous Wonderettes, California Dreaming, and Della’s Diner and has learned many new skills throughout the touring process. In addition to his skills scenically, he is now an experienced lighting designer, sound engineer, and master electrician. Matthew works hard to make sure that all aspects of the production process run smoothly.
Katie Underwood, Associate Producer – is a graduate of CSU with a BFA in theatre design and technology and a former Springer Theatre Academy student. She coordinates casting for all main stage and studio series productions and is in charge of maintaining housing for our out of town actors. She also facilitates the Springer’s professional Artistic Apprenticeship program. In addition to her other responsibilities, Katie is the primary lighting designer for productions taking place in our McClure theatre each season. Favorite designs include Ace: The Eugene Bullard Story, The Jungle Book, Mother of Rain, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She was proud to add directing to her resume with last season’s production of The Great Gatsby.
Patti Jo Fenzel, Properties Designer and Artisan – earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre Design and Technology from Columbus State University in 2010. Since then, she has been working in theaters around the country including The Florida Repertory Theater, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Opera New Jersey performing a variety of backstage roles with a special focus on her career’s passion of properties design and management on such shows as The Santaland Diaries, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Don Giovanni, and Lend Me a Tenor.
DB Woolbright, Associate Director of Education – a Columbus native first came to the Springer in 1996 as a student in the Springer Theatre Academy. After graduating from the program, he began his journey as a teaching artist. He has gained diverse experience working with Rose of Athens, State College Community Theatre and Brookstone School. In 2016, DB and his colleague, Wesley Forlines, completed a sculptural installation along the BeltLine in Atlanta named The Service Station. As a musician, DB tours throughout the year with Katie Deal and Jason Petty in the Classic Nashville Roadshow series.
Beth Reeves, Education Coordinator – is a two-time graduate of Columbus State University, with a BSEd and MSEd in Theatre Education. She has worked for Dalton Little Theatre as the Office Manager and Artistic Director for Youth Ensemble Theatre. She has taught as a theatre teaching artist for Empowered Youth Of Columbus, Creative Arts Guild, and the Boys and Girls Club. As an actor, her favorite productions that she has performed in include A Raisin in the Sun and Fences. August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry are her favorite playwrights.
Austin Sargent, Associate Director of PAIR – is so excited to be joining the incredible Education Office team!! Austin is a Columbus native and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre & Arts Administration from Viterbo University (La Crosse, WI). As a teaching artist, Austin has worked with a variety of ages for companies including: Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre, The Boys and Girls Club of LaCrosse, Pangea World Theatre (Minneapolis), CLIMB Theatre (Minneapolis), Imagination Stage (Washington D.C) and is a long-time teacher with the Springer Theatre Academy. In his spare time, Austin works with several local schools to help coach their productions during the school year.
Jen Weisphal, PAIR Administration – Jen Weisphal holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Performance from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC. Jen is a native of North Carolina, but has traveled and lived around the world working with youth in places such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and multiple countries in Europe. Jen has been a theatre and dance teaching artist for over 15 years with places such as the Imperial Center of Rocky Mount, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, and Missoula Children’s Theatre. Jen has always believed that the arts are vital for youth and human development and is thrilled to be working in the Education Department of the Springer Opera House and especially with the Professional Arts Integration Resource program as a PAIR Specialist and administrator.
Rebecca Gossett, Production Stage Manager — Rebecca Gossett received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design & Technology from Columbus State University. She stage manages the majority of the Springer’s Main Stage Series and oversees the stage managers for the Studio and Children’s Theatre productions. Some of her favorite credits include The Producers, A Chorus Line, Beauty and the Beast, Tommy, The Little Mermaid, Dreamgirls, and Newsies. She also heads up the Springer’s internship program with CSU, bringing in students to learn on the job in a professional theatre setting.
Julianne Slaton, Production Engineer and Sound Designer -– earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre design & technology at Columbus State University with a proficiency in Sound Design. She started at the Springer as a volunteer and transitioned to working here full time on our 2015 production of A Chorus Line. She has since enjoyed working on productions such as Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, as well as completing her first professional scenic design for the Academy’s production of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.
Alli Kaman, Director of NO SHAME Theatre – is a recent graduate of Columbus State University, where she earned her BFA in Theatre Performance. Some college credits include Spring Awakening (Wendla), Love’s Labor’s Lost (Princess), and What the Butler Saw (Mrs. Prentice), among others. While in school, she continued to develop her other artistic interests as well, such as songwriting, visual art, poetry, and improvisation. As Director of NO SHAME Theater, she encourages creativity, authenticity, and fearlessness, in others as well as herself.
James Clark, Landmark Operations Manager – has been working with his hands since he was eight years old. He has always had a strong appreciation of history and is excited to do his part to protect and preserve our National Landmark. He has picked up a variety of skills over the years and is well equipped to manage the many challenges that a 146 year old building presents. In his free time he enjoys sitting down with a good book or playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons with close friends.
Kelvin Usher, Guest Services Supervisor – grew up on the east side of Columbus. After graduating from Kendrick High School, Kelvin joined the Marine Corps. He spent the next 10 years serving his country during Desert Storm in Bosnia as well as Afghanistan. He traveled to Egypt, Italy, Japan, Australia and throughout the United States. Kelvin has a Bachelor’s of Science and Nursing. He is an active Mason here in Columbus at the Modern Free and is practicing Martial Arts, boxing, and wrestling. Kelvin started working for the Springer Opera House in November of 2015 and fell in love with the atmosphere and the employees, who he so kindly calls, the backbone of the Springer. Kelvin is so proud and grateful for his opportunity to be a part of the Springer and its future.
Sara Lynn Herman, Springer Film Institute Director – is a professional film, television and voiceover actor from Columbus who has worked on television projects for NBC/Universal, HGTV, Lifetime, and other networks. A veteran stage actor as well, Sara Lynn is a graduate of the prestigious Dell’Arte International school for physical theatre and has toured the country as an actor and performer. Sara Lynn is represented by Atlanta Models and Talent
Jef Holbrook, Springer Film Institute Producer – is a professional film, television and voiceover actor and screenwriter. He’s a Columbus native who has worked on projects for Lifetime, OWN, Discovery, Audible and others. He is best known for his voiceover work with Scientific American and the New York Times. Jef is also represented by Atlanta Models and Talent.