Matt Okin (Artistic Director), founded Black Box Studios in 2007 and opened The Black Box Performing Arts Center in November 2015. Recent directing credits include: Significant Other, Spring Awakening, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Hair; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (teens), Talk Radio; Griller; Peer Gynt; Buried Child; Hand To God; Heathers The Musical: High School Edition (teens); Disgraced; Cloud 9; Skip & Rivkah's Not-So-Kosher Interactive Wedding Experience; The Goat Or, Who Is Sylvia?; Blood Brothers A Musical; Evil Dead The Musical; Bad Jews; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (teens); True Groove Productions' Diana & Navy & The Golden Tooth (workshop); The Pillowman; and Passing Strange (all at BBPAC); the Off-Broadway premiere of This Time, A New Musical Romance (at Theater For The New City, as well as BBPAC); and the BBS Ensemble's Falsettos "In Concert", House Of Blue Leaves, and Next To Normal (bergenPAC), among many others. As a playwright, director, and composer, Matt's original musicals include: Out Of Whack: The All-Kids Rock Musical (devised, at Theater For The New City), Soul Searching (45th Street Theater, DR2 Theater, D-Lounge, and the NYMF), Generations (various NYC venues and NYMF), and A Match Made In Manhattan: The Interactive Jewish Wedding Experience (NYC and national tours). His original plays, produced both in New York and on national tours, include: Beltsville/Rockville Part One: Rise of the Goatman (Theater for the New City); One Innocent Woman, Second Chances, Twist Of Faith, Walter Liked To Sit In His Big Backyard, Cherry Hill, The Ugly Wife, and Pigs. Matt received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University's Tisch School Of The Arts. He has two grad school-age daughters, Rachel and Arielle.
BLACK BOX REPERTORY COMPANY MEMBERS
|Michael Gardiner (Managing Director) is honored to serve as a member of the Black Box Repertory Company. He is also a NY/NJ-based actor, director, and teaching artist. Mike is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a BA in Theatre Arts and Communication. As an actor, he has appeared in over 12 Black Box productions. He has also performed in NY (Theater for the New City), and regionally. As a teaching artist, he works with Arts Horizons, for Black Box's long-running YACHAD improv program for young adults, Yeshivat Noam's Drama Exploratory program, as well as with the Adult Acting Workshop. He has directed Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet for Black Box Studios' Shakespeare in the Park. www.michael-gardiner.com|
|Sara Giacomini (Education Director & Administrative Director) is honored to be a member of the Black Box Repertory Company. Sara is also an actor and teaching artist at Black Box. She is a graduate of Farleigh Dickinson University, where she earned her BA in Musical Theatre. She has appeared in numerous Black Box productions, most recently playing Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Past teaching credits at Black Box PAC include: Musical Theatre Kids Workshop (Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Into the Woods JR.) and Drama Kids (James and the Giant Peach). Other teaching credits include: George Street Playhouse and Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. "Never apologize for your art." saragiacomini.com|
|Cassandra Guglielmo has been involved with the Black Box community since fall of 2018 and is extremely thankful to be a part of the Black Box Repertory Company. She has been involved in the arts since the age of six. She has been professionally acting and teaching children's musical theater, drama, and dance classes since graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in February of 2018.|
|Danielle MacMath (Managing Director) has been performing with Black Box since 2016, and is honored to be a founding member of the Repertory Company. Danielle is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, with a BA in Musical Theater and Literature, and a Masters in Teaching. Since graduating, she has been acting and teaching in the NJ/NY area. DanielleMacMath.com|
|Larissa Terese (Literary and Special Events Coordinator) is a proud member of the Black Box Repertory Company. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a BA in Theatre Arts and concentration in musical theatre. While in school, Larissa spent a semester in England studying text and play analysis. Further experience includes work with Pixie Dust Players and Springville Center for the Arts. Larissa has been an active member at Black Box since 2017, serving as an actor, stage manager, and general staff.|
|Ilana Schimmel is an actress, director, dramaturg and teaching artist based in the NJ/NYC area. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies from Montclair State University where she truly developed her love for the arts. Notable performances include: 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, In the Heights, Legally Blonde, The Crucible, The Glass Menagerie, Dog Sees God, The Shape of Things, Proof, and Dracula. She taught for 7 years as a counselor at Center Stage Musical Theater Camp in Tenafly, NJ, where she worked to create a Broadway-style musical in three weeks that included workshops in acting, movement, dance, voice and improvisation. She also has been coaching with Kiddie Soccer for the past 3 years where she developed a series of fun, thematic games designed to teach children the basics of soccer in a fun and physical environment. Ilana anticipates that through performances at Black Box, students will develop their confidence, communication, and performance skills by working together as an ensemble.|
|Christina Cruz is thrilled to be teaching at Black Box Pac. After graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelors Degree in English and Psychology, she decided to go back to school for Musical Theatre at Florida School of the Arts. While still living in St. Augustine, Christina choreographed, directed, and performed in several mainstage shows at The Limelight Theatre. She also choreographed several of The Limelight Theatre's Kidz Factory productions which included Fiddler on the Roof, Jr., Willy Wonka, Jr., Guys and Dolls, Jr., Starstruck!, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin, Jr. Christina attended Montclair State University where she received her MA in Theatre Studies. Most recently, Christina choreographed Aladdin, Jr. and Annie, Jr. for Dover Middle School. She directed and choregraphed Aladdin, Kids for Edgemont Elementary School, Brookdale Elementary School's Dream Big Showcase, and The Lion King, Jr. at the Black Box Pac Performing Arts Center. This past summer, Christina's choreography was featured in the Musical Theatre Conservatory's 2019 Summer Showcase at the Symphony Space Theatre. She is thrilled to be able to share her passion for musical theatre with the students at Black Box!|
|Leora Hyman is a Rutgers Theater Arts grad and long-time alum of Black Box, where she started performing when still in middle school and has since appeared in countless productions - student, semi-pro, and professional. Leora has taught and directed kids and teens throughout Bergen County and beyond, and also teaches classes for the Paper Mill Playhouse.|
|Robert Parmelee (Web) Rob has over 25 years of theater and ticketing experience. He worked for The Shubert Organization (New York, NY) for 18 years- first as a call center manager for Telecharge.com, then as a member of the IT Department. Rob now works as Web Administrator for the Roundabout Theatre Company (New York, NY).|
Sari Rosen (Teaching Artist In Training) is an incoming freshman at Montclair State University to study education! She has been performing, doing tech and teaching at Black Box for about 10 years now, both as a student and professionally.