The Crucible Cast and Creative Team Page

The Cast

josh headshotJosh Antoon (Reverend John Hale)- Little Lake is thrilled to welcome Josh to our stage. A social worker by profession, we couldn’t imaging a better person to play Reverend Hale. When he isn’t pretending to be a minister onstage, Josh spends his time scuba diving, traveling and being a Bruce Springsteen enthusiast. Though this is his first performance at the Lake, Josh could be seen as Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet at Robert Morris University, Norman Bulanksy in The Boys Next Door, and Robert in Don’t Dress for Dinner, both with The Bobcat Players.

Warren Ashburn head shotWarren Ashburn (Giles Corey)- Warren is celebrating his twelfth year on the Little Lake stage (by playing a cantankerous man who is eventually pressed to death by stones). Sounds like a good time to us! Most recently at Little Lake, he was seen as Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Bastien in A Little Hotel on the Side. Other favorite roles include Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Fagin in Oliver, Tito in Lend Me a Tenor, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, and John Barrymore in I Hate Hamlet. Warren’s work has been seen in theatres around the Pittsburgh area including Little Lake Theatre, Old Schoolhouse Players, Open Stage, Gemini Theatre Company, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Savoyards, Poet’s Corner, and Throughline Theatre Company.

liz headshotElizabeth Bennett (Abigail Williams)- Elizabeth once again finds herself onstage in an odd sort of love triangle with Eric Leslie and Jennifer Sinatra, having played Sandy (to Eric’s Teddy Lloyd and Jennifer’s Jean Brodie) in last season’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Elizabeth has also appeared as Raizel in Little Lake’s touring production of Letters to Sala, Betty/ Agnes Farnsworth in The Farnsworth Invention and Kitty in Charlie’s Aunt. Other favorite past performances include Orsino in Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Principal in The Complete History of America…Abridged at Syracuse University and Lina Lamont in Singin’ In the Rain and Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest, both at Upper St. Clair High School.

ina headshotIna Block (Rebecca Nurse)- We are fairly certain that even the real life Rebecca Nurse would have selected Ina to play this role, since there isn’t a kinder person in this world. And, like her character Ina is a super grandma to oodles of grandchildren. Ina, a Little Lake Wall of Fame actor and Will Disney Awardee, has appeared on our stage in over 60 productions. Her favorites include Aaronetta Gibbs in Mornings at Seven, Jackie in Hay Fever, Miss Barnes in The Winslow Boy, Mrs. Kirby in You Can’t Take it with You, and Julia in Lend Me a Tenor. Elsewhere, Ina has appeared with Odd Chair Playhouse, The Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Gemini Theatre, Washington Community Theatre, Stage 62 and South Park Theatre. Ina would like to thank her husband, Don, for his patience and support.

dylan headshotDylan Blussick (Hopkins)- In addition to being an outstanding young performer and Little Lake apprentice, Dylan is an up and coming theatre designer. In fact, during the run of The Crucible, Dylan will be designing the sets and props for three different productions in the Pittsburgh area. Recently, Dylan could be seen on our stage as Mole in Fantastic Mr. Fox, a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pascal in Beauty and the Beast, and Wally Webb in Our Town. Other favorite roles include Charlie Dickens in A Christmas Carol with Old Schoolhouse Players, Pugsley Addams in The Addams Family, and Lionel Astley in Back to the ‘80’s, both with Washington Junior/ Senior High School.

Bracken Burns headshot

Bracken Burns (Judge Hathorne)- Like his character, Bracken is no stranger to public office, having served as a Washington County Commissioner for 16 years. (We are happy to report that, unlike his character, he is incredibly compassionate.) Bracken has appeared in theatre productions and commercials for over forty years, having first appeared onstage when he was six, alongside his father, who was also an actor. Previously at Little Lake, Bracken has played Anthony Eden in The Audience, The Old Man in A Christmas Story, Bill Starbuck in The Rainmaker, and Chervet in A Little Hotel on the Side. Other favorite roles include John Hancock in 1776 and the Stationmaster in A Gift to Remember, both with Old Schoolhouse Players.

Amanda head shotAmanda DeConciliis- Weber (Mercy Lewis)- We don’t know if Amanda is more excited to be cast as a teenager or to be able to be a villain in this show. Whatever the reason, Amanda is thrilled to be appearing in The Crucible. Last season at the Lake, Amanda played Hippolyta and Mustardseed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Amanda has also appeared at Little Lake as Rosie’s Mom in Really Rosie and a Stepsister in Cinderella. When she isn’t busy onstage at the Lake, Amanda spends her free time working on her new house with her new husband, Mike, and puppy, Riley. She is also a volunteer Alumna advisor with her sorority Sigma Kappa at Duquesne University.

heather head shot Heather Dressel (Ruth)- Heather tells us she aspires to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up, so we thought we’d give her a head start by playing one of the “crazy” afflicted girls in The Crucible. Heather, a ninth grader at Canon-McMillan High School is also a second year apprentice at Little Lake. Recently, Heather appeared as the Goose in Charlotte’s Web and Young Cain in Children of Eden with Old Schoolhouse Players. Other favorite roles include Who/ Cadet in Seussical, the Musical and Gretel in The Sound of Music, both at Canon-McMillan High School.

bella Head shot 2017Isabella Englesberg (Alice)- In addition to being a convincing Puritan teenager, Isabella is a championship tennis player. Her quick feet on the tennis court have also come in handy as she bounces between Crucible rehearsals, rehearsals for our upcoming production of Yes Virginia, the Musical and her duties as a Little Lake apprentice. Previously at Little Lake, Isabella appeared as Imagination Ensemble in A Surprise for Lydia, David in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and Judy Brown in The Adventures of a Bear Called Paddington.

sophia head shotSophia Englesberg (Susanna Walcott)- Sophia, a gifted ballerina, has worn through numerous pairs of dance shoes this season at Little Lake, having appeared as Rainbow in Rapunzel, as assistant choreographer for Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr., and playing Susanna in The Crucible. Earlier this year, she also appeared as a Duloc Dancer and Rat Tapper in Shrek the Musical at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. Other favorite performances include Ava in When You are a Little Bit Older for the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Ensemble for Phantom of the Opera at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and Imagination Ensemble in A Surprise for Lydia, here at the Lake. Earlier this season, Sophia was awarded the Bob Jones Scholarship for her outstanding work in our apprentice program.

moriah headshotMoriah Hathaway (Margaret)- Moriah is one of our most energetic cast members, probably because she is never seen without an iced coffee in hand. It is good Moriah has such an abundance of energy because she is certainly active during this show and is often bounding into rehearsals from another rehearsal at her school or the Center for Theater Arts. Moriah is an apprentice at Little Lake, but this is her first appearance on our stage. Elsewhere she lists her favorite performances as Belle in Beauty and the Beast at Peters Township Middle School, Ethel McCormack in Footloose with the Center for Theater Arts, and Elena in A Pending Engagement at Lincoln Arts Performing Arts Charter School.

jeff coffee headshotJeff Johnson (Francis Nurse)- This retired medical laboratory manager is one of the gentlest people you will ever meet and a devoted family man. He tells us his favorite things in life are traveling with his wife Colleen and spending time with his two wonderful daughters, Erin and Jenna. (So, of course he makes a perfect Francis Nurse.) Jeff’s other love, aside from his family, of course, is performing.  At Little Lake, Jeff has played Egeus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rev. Mercer in When We Are Married. Some of his other favorite roles include Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady and Roger Sherman in 1776 both with Old Schoolhouse Players, Admiral Boom in Mary Poppins and Mayor Shinn in The Music Man with Washington Community Theatre, and Dr. Grayburn in Something’s Afoot at South Park Theatre.

Eric Leslie CroppedEric Leslie (John Proctor)- Eric was eager to point out that, eerily, The Crucible is his (lucky, we hope) 13th production at Little Lake. Recently for the Lake, Eric could be seen as John Dodge in Middletown, Macaulay Connor in The Philadelphia Story, Teddy Lloyd in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. Other favorite roles include: Judge Haywood in Judgment at Nuremberg, Mortimer Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, both at Throughline Theatre Company, where Eric also serves as the business manager.

joe macerelli headshotJoe Macerelli (Thomas Putnam)- As an avid reader and historian and a lawyer by profession, Joe jumped at the chance to join the cast of The Crucible, a play rich in history and law. Previously at Little Lake, Joe has appeared as John Major in The Audience, Albert Parker in When We Are Married, Male Chorus in They’re Playing Our Song and a cop in Wait until Dark. With Stage 62, Joe has played Throttle in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Gatch in How to Succeed in Business…, and Juror #3 in Twelve Angry Men. Joe would like to dedicate his performance to his partners in crime: his beautiful wife Debra Ann, his three amazing grandchildren, and his best friend, Rande Stottlemyer.

martha headshotMartha McElligott (Martha)- We recently discovered that Martha, a ninth grader at Upper St. Clair High School, has quite the list of odd interests. Her favorite things to do include studying biology, playing softball, selling 50/50 tickets, parking cars as a Little Lake Apprentice, and of course, appearing on stage. Previously at the Lake, Martha appeared as Beatrice in The Miracle Worker and Alice in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. She also played a Bird Girl in Seussical, the Musical with the Pittsburgh CLO Academy and a Princess in The King and I at Fort Couch Middle School. Martha also appeared in the movie Won’t Back Down and can be seen as a student in the upcoming film Where’d You Go Bernadette.

pam headshotPam Pasternak (Sarah Good)- Pam pulled double duty on this production, serving as both actor and properties manager. In fact, she is so dedicated to the project she recently travelled to her family home in Massachusetts to find several of the props appearing onstage. (Okay, she really went to visit her family, but did manage to find several of our props in an antique store near Salem). When she isn’t busy backstage making amazing props for our productions, you can occasionally catch Pam onstage. Some of her favorite roles have been Mrs. Bumbrake/ Teacher in Peter and the Starcatcher, Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach, Mrs. McCarty in Our Town, and Cousin Rozia in Letters to Sala.

kayleigh head shotKayleigh Peternel (Mary Warren)- Kayleigh tells us she got her inspiration for her character as John Proctor’s servant from all of her experiences serving no foam, half-caf lattes in her job as a Starbucks’ barista… and, of course, from her work here as a Little Lake apprentice. Earlier this season at the Lake, Kayleigh appeared as the Teacher in Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. and as the Queen’s assistant in The Audience. Elsewhere, she has appeared in the Ensemble for Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, where she is a senior.

jared headshotJared Pfennigwerth (John Willard)- Jared spends much of this production literally running between the light booth and his entrances on stage, since he is our technical director as well as Willard for this production. When he hasn’t been busy in our light booth, Jared could be seen as Hal in Proof, Harry in Little Lake’s touring production of Letters to Sala and Mac/ Edward in The Philadelphia Story. Elsewhere, Jared has appeared as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rudy in Over the Tavern, both at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. On film, Jared can be seen as a Stygian Triplet in Dogma, Darren in One for the Money, and Young Laborer in Outsiders. And if Jared isn’t busy enough, he can also be found teaching acting and film for Act One Theatre School.

kathleen head shotKathleen Regan (Ann Putnam)- Kathleen, once a stand-up comic in New York City, now works as VP of Capital Management for PNC Bank, where those comedy skills probably come in handy during long meetings. Last season at the Lake, Kathleen played Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kathleen’s New York Theatre credits include Bertha in Hello From Bertha, Flora in  27 Wagons Full of Cotton, Nurse in Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Stella Mae in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and Sabine in  Moliere Unplugged. Regionally she has played Juror #4 in Twelve Angry Jurors, Pooty in Reckless, Hattie in Laundry and Bourbon and Mistress Page in Merry Wives of Windsor.


John Reilly Headshot CONTRAST (1) (1) John Reilly (Deputy-Governor Danforth)- This retired college English and Theatre professor currently spends his days proofreading for an international law firm and researching historical facts about Puritanical Massachusetts. (John tells us that the real Governor Danforth was opposed to the witch trials because of “spirit evidence.”) John has also found the time to direct Noises Off for Towngate Theatre and appear in several productions over the past few years. He played McLeavy in Loot, Owen Turner in Light up the Sky, Old Man in Prelude to a Kiss (all at Little Lake) and Knut Brovik in Quantum Theatre’s production of The Master Builder.

Fatu Sheriff headshotFatu Sheriff (Tituba)- Fatu is a classically trained singer, with a beautiful voice and a degree in music. We are so glad she has found her way into the Little Lake family this season, having already appeared as the Female Doctor/ Freelancer in Middletown.  Outside of Little Lake, Fatu lists her favorite stage experiences as appearing as Laureen in Poof, directing Duo, and being in the chorus for Verdi’s La Traviata. When she isn’t acting, Fatu is a full time student working towards a degree in nursing.  She also loves to travel and hopes one day that her travels take her to Japan. She dedicates this performance to her mom.

jen sinatra headshotJennifer Sinatra (Elizabeth Proctor)- Jennifer was recently nominated for Best Actress in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh City Paper’s Best of 2017 for her work last season as Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Jennifer also appeared last season as Gertrude Winklesworth-Bode in Jeeves Intervenes. Jennifer’s other favorite roles at Little Lake include Rosemary in Outside Mullingar, Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa, and Veronica in God of Carnage. Jennifer tells us that she is busy planning a trip to balmy Costa Rica to get warm after rehearsing for weeks in our chilly rehearsal barn.

lindy headshotLindy Spear (Betty Parris)- Lindy has been counting down the days until The Crucible since she was offered the role in April. Lindy tells us she “loves The Crucible almost as much as she loves Little Lake,” which probably explains why she has decided to spend her entire summer here as camper, actor, stage crew and apprentice. In fact, by the end of the season Lindy will have appeared in three productions (this show, Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr, and One Man, Two Guvnors), been on run crew for three shows (this show, Wonder of the World, and A Tuna Christmas) and ushered over four dozen times. Previously at the Lake, Lindy appeared as James in James and the Giant Peach, Pervenche in A Little Hotel on the Side, Penny in A Surprise for Lydia, and Bree in Fancy Nancy, the Musical. This past spring, Lindy played Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at Canonsburg Middle School, where she is an 8th grader.

Stephen V TothStephen Toth (Ezekiel Cheever)- In addition to extensive acting credits, Stephen is an amazing pastry chef, specializing in mini gourmet desserts and out of the box themed cakes. (We are hoping for a Crucible cake for the cast party- hint, hint!) When he isn’t creating sugary masterpieces, Stephen can be found on stage throughout the Pittsburgh area. His favorite performances include Lloyd in Noises Off with Old Schoolhouse Players, Ira Stone in Laughter on the 23rd Floor with New Kensington Civic Theatre, Mr. Dussel in The Diary of Anne Frank with The Theatre Factory, Davenport in Funny Money with Apple Hill Playhouse, and Bernard Dunlap in Suite Surrender at South Park Theatre.

terry heaDSHOT'Terry Westwood (Reverend Samuel Parris)- Having been a body guard to the queen, Broadway producer, and a stingy old miser, Terry is thrilled to be able to add Puritan minister to the list of roles he has played.  At Little Lake, he appeared as the Equerry in The Audience, Sidney Black in Light Up the Sky and Tom/Leslie/Phyllis in Sylvia. Other favorite roles include: Bubbalowe in Too Many Cooks at Apple Hill Playhouse, Garry in Noises Off at Ligonier Theatre, Scrooge in A Musical Christmas Carol with the Geyer Performing Arts Center, Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank with Indiana Players, and Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, both at Comtra Theatre.

jena headshot newJena Oberg (Director)- Jena has wanted to work on The Crucible since being called back for the role of Mary Warren in Little Lake’s production of this show nineteen years ago. (She was cast as Jo March in Little Women instead).  Since then, she has gone on to direct and perform in over 50 productions at the Lake. Earlier this year, Jena played Catherine in Proof and directed Peter and the Starcatcher and Wonder of the World. Up next, Jena will be co-directing A Tuna Christmas. Other favorite directing experiences at Little Lake include Outside Mullingar, The 39 Steps, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Farnsworth Invention, The Miracle Worker and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

melissa tyler headshot (2)Melissa Tyler (Choreographer)- Melissa is a direct descendant of one of the women accused during the Salem Witch Trials, so naturally that makes her an expert on witchcraft choreography. Actually, her choreographic genius is probably due to her extensive dance background. Melissa is a company member of Bodiography Contemporary Ballet and serves as the Bodiography Movement Therapy Program Director. She is also the choreographer and dance instructor for Act One Theatre School and on the dance faculty of La Roche College. Melissa holds a MFA in dance from Point Park University, and  a Masters in Exercise Science and Wellness Promotion with a concentration in injury prevention from California University of Pennsylvania.

The Creative Team

Technical Director- Jared Pfennigwerth
Properties Manager – Pam Pasternak
Costume Designer- Jessica Kavanagh
Choreographer- Melissa Tyler
Stage Manager- Sophia Englesberg
Production Run Crew- Dylan Blussick and Luca Macri
Production Photographer- James Orr