Melanie Heard (Artistic Director / Founder / Board President)
Melanie began her performance career at age 2 1/2 when she tap danced with a giant Raggedy Andy doll, but her professional arts background stems from the genre of classical ballet. She studied dance with the Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet School in DC, and Ballet West in Utah. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Ms. Heard has directed and/or choreographed 60+ full length shows with children and adults, including Shrek Jr, Once Upon A Mattress, The Little Mermaid Jr, The Music Man Jr, Beauty & the Beast Jr, Honk Jr, Seussical Jr, Lend Me A Tenor, Steel Magnolias, and You Dirty Rat! and AAARGH! PinkEye, A Pirate's Parrot in Peril for her family's murder mystery company, Poison Pen Players. Melanie has played many onstage roles - from a tap dancing chorus girl, to "Sally Bowles" in Cabaret to the title role in Evita. A credentialed teacher with a Master's of Education (MAed), and former "Teacher of the Year" in Los Angeles, she firmly believes in the power of a high caliber arts education. She founded C.R.O.W. based on the concept that children and young adults need and deserve the arts, so that they may become responsible, contributing members of society. "There is truly no magic that compares to that shining moment when a child succeeds in the arts."
Jason Wood (Musical Director / Summer Camp Director)
Jason is proud to be able to share the gift of performing arts with young people through C.R.O.W.! No stranger to the stage himself, Jason performed as "Mama Morton" in Chicago, "Captain Von Trapp" in The Sound of Music, "Cliff" in Cabaret and as "Horton" in Seussical Jr. He has also starred as "Jack" in Into The Woods, and has played several roles for Poison Pen Players, including "Winston Montague," an English Detective in So Long Saloon: How The West Got Dead and "Lafitte PinkEye" - a human parrot in AAARGH! PinkEye, A Pirate's Parrot in Peril. Originally from Los Angeles, Jason studied with the Groundlings School of Improv and performed with The Imagination Machine, a children's theatre improv troupe. Jason teaches voice and piano lessons privately to many of Florence's talented young people and adults - he currently has over 25 students!
Ellen Jacobson (Executive Producer):
Ellen studied theatre arts in college in Long Beach, CA. with David Emmes, Director Emeritus of the prestigious South Coast Repertory Theatre Company. She married Michael in 1967 and they will celebrate 50 years without killing each other in June. She was fortunate to be able to pursue the other great love of her life as a quarter horse breeder and owner for more than 35 years in Southern CA. You might remember her performance a couple of seasons ago here in Florence as crazy Aunt "Abby Brewster" in Arsenic and Old Lace. Currently she writes, directs and produces for her family's murder mystery company, Poison Pen Players. When she is not working in the arts, you can find Ellen riding one of her horses, Paloma or Tabasco.
Mike Jacobson (Executive Producer / Board Member):
A founding member of murder mystery troupe, Poison Pen Players, Mike is also no stranger to children's theater, having portrayed both hero and villain in Aladdin & The Swinging Genies (for which he also wrote the score, directed, and played the title role), The Little Mermaid, and Hercules (in which he portrayed "Cyclops," a one-eyed villain in an enormous prosthetic papier mache headpiece, who chased after Hercules' girl friend, played by his daughter, Melanie Heard.) Having been part of productions involving such diverse talents as Henry Mancini and Jerry Lewis, Mike is happy to work with with Florence's talented youngsters and perhaps Hollywood's future stars.
Hal Weiner (Consultant):
A former C.R.O.W. Board Member, Hal Weiner, MD, MBA, has over 45 years experience in the worldwide medical and healthcare information systems field including sales, marketing, development, consulting, implementation, and strategic planning. He is currently the President of Weiner Consulting Services, which he founded in 1998. He has been on several Boards, including: C.R.O.W., Peace Harbor Foundation, Keeping The Arts, and mTuitive Corporation. Hal was also the Chairman of the Florence Winter Folk Festival. He has been involved in the music scene since the early 1960’s as one of the Barbary Coast Singers and is still an active musician and performer. Hal remains a viable source for non-profit guidance for the C.R.O.W. Board, as well as a longtime supporter of the organization.
Polly Fleming (Costume Designer / Board Member):
Polly’s children have participated in C.R.O.W. classes, workshops, performances and events since C.R.O.W. began in 2011. For as long as she can remember, Polly has always loved theatre and dance. An accomplished performer herself, Polly portrayed "Maggie" in Lend Me A Tenor, gave many memorable performances in murder mysteries with Poison Pen Players, as well as roles in Cabaret and Chicago. In addition to performing, Polly designs the myriad of beautiful costumes for C.R.O.W. Her mom taught her to sew at a very young age, and Polly is delighted to be passing along the tradition by teaching her own kids. Polly worked for Head Start of Lane County and taught pre-K for 5 years. She has also taught classes in sewing technique. Polly says, "Nothing makes me happier than to help bring the many positive experiences of theatre to the fantastic children in my community!"
C.R.O.W. (Children's Repertory of Oregon Workshops) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, dedicated to enriching the lives of local children, their families, and the community, through the magic of live performance, classes, workshops, and more. Our board, instructors, and production team consist of highly-qualified individuals with professional dance, vocal, fine arts, and theatre arts experience . More than anything else...we all believe in the importance of quality arts education for our kids.
Genevieve Meltzer (Assistant Director / Summer Camp Director/ Board Member):
Genevieve has been with C.R.O.W. since its inception. She started out as "Hair /Makeup Designer" for Beauty and the Beast Jr., and moved up to "Assistant Director" shortly after. In 2014, she began co-directing summer camps and also joined the C.R.O.W. Board. Genevieve is a long time resident of Florence. She loves her community and is so glad she has found a way to give back, by being a part of the C.R.O.W. family. Before her days with C.R.O.W. she worked at the local Head Start and found that she had a passion for teaching and working with children. With C.R.O.W. she gets to combine that with her love of theatre. Genevieve does enjoy being on stage herself from time to time, playing roles such as “Liz” in Chicago, and Edith Fleisher and her brother Al Fleisher in Poison Pen Player’s You Dirty Rat! and her favorite role, "Truvy" in Steel Magnolias. "That was one of the best experiences of my life!" she says. But C.R.O.W. is truly where her heart is.
Maree Beers (Musical Director/ C.R.O.W. Parent and Volunteer Coordinator):
Maree hails from McMinnville Oregon and relocated to Florence after meeting and marrying her husband, Jesse. Between work and raising a family, she still gets involved as much as she can in the performing arts. Maree has been a member of the production team for many CROW shows, working beside Jason Wood as his "Assistant Musical Director." Maree recently performed as "Roxy Hart" in Chicago, in the summer showcase, If I Didn't Care: a tribute to The Inkspots, and as "Eponine" in Last Resort Players production of Les Miserables. Maree helps to coordinate the many parents and volunteers that assist with C.R.O.W. events, including the "Death By Dessert" Fundraiser in February. She is also officially a C.R.O.W. mom and is excited to see her daughter, Zhade on the stage.
Karen Mechek (Scenic Artist / Creative Consultant):
Karen is originally from Marinette, Wisconsin where she became involved in the local theatre in college. Although she has never had any "formal" art training of any kind, she has worked on set and lighting design for about 7 shows. Karen lived in the Las Vegas area for about 25 years where she did a variety of jobs and was very active in the Elks Lodge. She moved to Florence in 2012, and "loves living here and being involved in the local theatre productions." Karen's talents are "in demand," and she helped with sets and costumes and also worked backstage for The Holly Jolly Follies and other productions. She looks forward to many more projects within the local theatre scene.
Margaret McDiarmid (Lighting Designer):
Originally from London, Margaret is now happy to call Florence her home, where for the past few years she has worked as stage crew, stage manager, props mistress, lighting designer, and anything else that needed doing. Margaret lists her favorite past productions as Les Miserables, Little Mermaid Jr, Seussical Jr, Steel Magnolias, The Sound of Music, and the Melodramas at the Florence Playhouse. Margaret truly enjoys working with the C.R.O.W. family...."Here's to another great production!"
Chris Owens (Sound Designer and Technician / Scenic Designer):
Chris has provided sound for many shows, including Holly Jolly Follies, Shrek Jr, Once Upon A Mattress, The Little Mermaid Jr, The Music Man Jr. and Beauty and the Beast Jr. He was also "Sound Tech" for LRP's Angry Housewives. Chris's favorite play to date is Lend Me a Tenor, in which he had a backstage role blowing bubbles amidst slamming doors. Chris is a proud C.R.O.W. parent. He has been volunteering for the program for many years now; most of them in the sound booth. In his "spare" time, he may be found doing costruction, traveling with the Poison Pen Players, or fixing something for friends.
Contact Us: PO Box 184, Florence, OR 97439 (541) 999-8641 firstname.lastname@example.org EIN: 45-3478841
Jennifer Marus (Dance Instructor):
In January of 2009, Jennifer took a belly dance class as a form of exercise after having her son. Little did she know she would be getting an unbelievable life changing experience. Since that first class she has gone "deep into the rabbit hole of the dance and performance world." She continues to regularly practice belly dance, as well as study many other dance forms with an emphasis in Indian dance. Jennifer is an award-winning dancer who frequently dances at belly dance venues around the state, but is remembered locally from her role as "Velma Kelly" in the 2015 Last Resort Players production of Chicago.
Mackenzie Calvert (Dance Instructor)
Mackenzie Calvert was born in Susanville, California where she began studying classical ballet and tap under the direction of Joan Zeuhlke at the age of four. In 2007, she studied with Lauren Baze/Sweet Creek Youth Ballet Co. Since then she has studied modern and interpretive dance and has continued her studies of ballet with Eugene Ballet Academy, Time & Tide Dance Company, Dance & All That Jazz in Newport, and Nevada Dance Academy. Her repertoire with Sweet Creek Youth Ballet Co. included Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, one of Ariel’s Sisters in The Little Mermaid, the Cat in Peter and the wolf, the Sugar Plum Fairy in a winter collage (excerpts from The Nutcracker), Duets, Solos, and other roles in all of the company's full length ballets and shows. Mackenzie believes dance should be taken seriously, but above all, she believes that it should be fun and accessible to all.
Tristin Gregg (Dance Instructor)
Since the age of 8, Tristin has been training in the performing arts and various genres of dance. Tristin says, "My eagerness to train others what I have been taught over the years, is what drives me to work with today's curious minds." Originally from the Las Vegas area, Tristin says that hip-hop dance is one of the most "cardio" types of dance, and yet is truly expressive. This is why she decided to study this from of dance for three years with an instructor, and then to continue her own personal study for four more years. Tristin also trained in lyrical, jazz, ballet and theatre dance for nearly ten years. She has performed in many leading roles for C.R.O.W., including "Queen Aggravain" in Once Upon A Mattress and "Lord Farquaad" in Shrek Jr. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge with many dancers through the C.R.O.W. program.
Eileen Fuller Angilletta (Dance Instructor)
Eileen grew up in Upstate New York, performing in local theatre, while also studying voice, theatre arts, and dance. Along with moving around the country as a Navy wife, she taught junior high Social Studies/English teacher for 25 years. Starting out as a physical education instructor, she has had a love for both fitness and performance.While in Washington State, she taught in a very diverse school district that was both close to Seattle and the military community. She facilitated an afterschool Cultural Awareness Club for the students which promoted awareness of Native Americans, Africa, Filipino, and India, just to name a few. Her students learned various dances and drumming while having local speakers from the community come in and discuss their cultures. Students performed out in the local community and schools, as well. Now living here in Florence, Eileen also teaches Belly Dance, Bollywood Fusion, and exercise classes at Lane Community College.