Cathey Crowell Sawyer
Producing Artistic Director
Cathey Sawyer is in her 27th season as Producing Artistic Director of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. She is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and has directed over 200 plays professionally including several premiere productions. Before moving to West Virginia, she held Associate Director posts and was a resident actor for Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock, Arkansas, New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi, and American Stage Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida and was the Resident Director for Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee. She directed the premiere of GLORY GIRLS for Abingdon Theatre Company in NYC. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts in Directing. Also an Equity actor, she has worked on stage and in film and television. Favorite roles include Amanda in THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Jesse in ‘NIGHT, MOTHER opposite Academy Award winner Mercedes McCambridge, Desiree in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Titania in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and Louise in ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE. She is the vocalist for the West Virginia Jazz Orchestra and for the Washington Street Strutters. She is a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Artistic Excellence and the Order of Arts & Historical Letters Recognition for the WV Division of Culture & History. She was 2009 and 2016’s Business Leader of the Year and currently serves on the Board of the Greenbrier Valley Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, she received the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.
Box Office Manager / Administrative Associate
Jenna Balnionis grew up in Lewisburg and took classes at GVT as a child. She has been working at the theatre since 2014 years and loves being a part of the GVT family.
Shane Bennett is a 2013 graduate of New River Community and Technical College with a concentration in Information Systems. Before becoming part of Greenbrier Valley Theatre in 2016, Shane worked for years as a Computer Technician at New River Community and Technical College. Out of the shows Shane saw in 2016, ON GOLDEN POND was by far his favorite.
Jenna Fawn Brown
Costume Shop Manager / Costume Designer
Jenna Fawn Brown is a graduate of Florida State University with a Masters in Costume Design. Prior to working with GVT, she worked for the Cumberland County Playhouse and the Clarence Brown Theatre, to name a few. A sampling of design credits includes: THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, LITTLE WOMEN, CAROUSEL and TARTUFFE, among others. Jenna has been with GVT since 2009, and her credits include DRACULA: A ROCK OPERA, MACBETH, NEVERMORE, ROMEO AND JULIET and THE CRUCIBLE, to name a few. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for all your loving support. Always follow your bliss.
Mark Cohn is the GVT Technical Director, which facilitates the building and installation of the designed scenery for the 2018 season. He is a graduate of the wonderful Marshall University Technical Theatre program, and has since worked professionally in the Theatre Industry across the USA for well over a decade. He gives many thanks to friends and family everywhere, and hopes to one day build his own sailboat.
Richard Crowell, Production Manager, has been involved in technical production for over thirty-five years at numerous professional and university theatres. He has also designed the scenery and lighting for hundreds of productions around the country, including many at GVT since its inaugural season in downtown Lewisburg. Richard received his training and his Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design from The Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, studying with the renowned design team of William and Jean Eckart.
Sofia Crowell is the Development Manager at GVT. She graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Theatre. Sofia has worked in the South Florida regional theatres for nearly twenty years before recently moving to Lewisburg. She served as the Systems Manager at Florida Stage, the Box Office Manager at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and the Events Coordinator at Riverside Theatre. Sofia moved to Lewisburg because she had enough of the city life and was ready to live Wild, Wonderful.
Lukas Hagley is a recent graduate of Marshall University’s School of Arts and Media, having earned his BFA in theatre performance last spring. He is delighted to start navigating the professional theatre world at such a quality establishment. Lukas is serving as GVT’s Teaching Artist until the end of the academic year, after which he plans to further his regional theatre career. When he isn’t completing office work or teaching after-school classes, Lukas enjoys getting to know Lewisburg and walking the Greenbrier River Trail.
Marketing and Communications Director
Laura Kastenbauer is GVT’s Marketing and Communications Director. She received her Bachelor of Science in Management from UW-Superior and an Associate of Arts from Anoka Ramsey Community College. When she is not at GVT, Laura enjoys reading books, drinking coffee, exploring the outdoors, and delving into local history. She moved recently from Minnesota to Lewisburg with her husband and dog.
Marketing and Development Associate
Sarah Mansheim is GVT’s Development and Marketing Associate. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico and has served the Greenbrier Valley as a journalist and newspaper editor. A Pocahontas County native and long-time Greenbrier County resident, Sarah enjoys hiking, yoga, and reading. She and her husband Tom keep busy raising two daughters and a menagerie of pets.
Volunteer Director / House Manager
Jane is a native Huntsville, Alabama She attended the Greenbrier College for Women in Lewisburg, making Lewisburg her home. Jane has two children and six grandchildren. Jane has been with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre for 18 years, serving as House Manager and Volunteer Director.
Kermit Medsker is the resident Music Director at GVT. His academic credits include BMus in Piano Performance, MA in Directing and Acting from University of Arkansas, and MFA in Theatre Design from University of Memphis. Previously he has served as resident Music Director at Charleston Stage, Charleston, SC, and resident Scenic Designer at Theatre Memphis, Memphis TN. His first show as music director at GVT was Pirates of Penzance 24 years ago when GVT’s performance space was a barn. Over the years, he continued to work both at the barn and (since 2000) in GVT’s current state-of-the-art theatre, as a guest artist on various productions. Since moving here permanently in 2013, his music directing credits include Babes in Toyland, a new adaptation by Cathey Sawyer and himself; also Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, Beehive!, Chicago, Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story, Lucky Stiff, and Man of La Mancha. As an actor, he was most recently seen onstage here as Dr. Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest; as Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Ira Stone in Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and Firs in The Cherry Orchard. Kermit’s scenic designs at GVT include recent productions of On Golden Pond and Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Before returning to Lewisburg as a resident, he directed and music directed Into the Woods at Rhodes College in Memphis TN, which won the Ostrander Theatre Award for Best Musical in the College Division. He was music director for [title of show] at Theatre Memphis, and for Sister Myotis’ End Times Hootenanny at TheatreWorks in Memphis. From time to time during the season he hosts the company revue labeled Kermit’s Kabaret in the lobby of the theatre.
Mike Murdock was part of the Professional Actor Training Program at Ohio University before finishing his degree at Marshall University. He has worked professionally at the City Theatre in Pittsburgh and spent three years creating and running The Muse Theatre at The Complex in Los Angeles. He has also worked in Charleston, WV, and London, UK. He returned to Marshall University as a professional teaching artist. Before joining GVT as the new Properties Master, he was a Resident Director at Arts Resources for the Tri-State in Huntington, WV for five years, creating the city's first year-round theatre, where he directed and helped build and maintain all aspects of the company. He lives in Lewisburg with his wife, Joanna.
William J. Proud is the sound designer for Greenbrier Valley Theatre. You can often find him walking the streets of Lewisburg, to and from work. Though he prefers to be hidden backstage during shows, he has been seen on stage in a few shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Member of the Wedding, Moon Over Buffalo, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Elizabeth Salisch* is thrilled to be with Greenbrier Valley Theatre this season where she previously stage managed THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, PIPPIN, MOON OVER BUFFALO, THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES: DREAM ON and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Off-Broadway credits include: THE OEDIPUS CYCLE, NATHAN THE WISE, TWELFTH NIGHT, TARTUFFE and VIEUX CARRE at the Pearl Theatre Company. Regional Theatre: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY and THE WIZARD OF OZ at Theatre by the Sea, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS and INTO THE WOODS at TheatreZone, GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, OUR TOWN and OUTSIDE MULLINGAR at George Street Playhouse. Opera: L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILEGES (MSU Opera) and SWEENEY TODD (Tri Cities Opera). Educational Theatre: PEACEMAKER, THE NEW KID, IRL, AUSTIN THE UNSTOPPABLE (George Street Playhouse), FLY GUYS AND OTHER STORIES and THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE (Theatreworks USA).
Education Director/Associate Artistic Director
Courtney Susman is GVT’s Education Director. She received her MFA in performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and her BFA in Theatre from Marshall University. A few of her past directing credits include DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR., LET IT SNOW, DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID JR., CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE, SEUSSICAL JR., FOOTLOOSE, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, WINNIE-THE-POOH and LES MISÉRABLES: SCHOOL EDITION. She has been seen on GVT’s stage as Horatio in THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET, Carol in LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR, the Fortune Teller in THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, Varya in THE CHERRY ORCHARD and the Housekeeper in MAN OF LA MANCHA. Courtney most recently appeared in LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT as Cathleen and directed BABES IN TOYLAND.