Board of Directors

Shelby Maticic

President

Shelby is one of the co-founders of Brelby Theatre. She enjoys performing, but is most comfortable in the director’s chair. Selected directing credits include:The Age of Eibhleann, Little Women: the musical, Dotty Dot: A New Children’s Musical, Fools, 12 Days of Christmas, Through the Mist, LUV, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Godspell.  Shelby received her Bachelor of Science in Theatre Performance from Northern Arizona University. She recently completed her MFA in Arts Entrepreneurship and Management at Arizona State University. She has taught courses in directing, youth theatre, musical theatre and stage makeup.

Carolyn Thomas

Vice President

Carolyn Thomas is an author, marketing professional, and jack-of-all-things-creative. She has had the pleasure of experiencing theatre from nearly every viewpoint: onstage, backstage, designing, directing, and writing. She has past experience in television working for Cobblestone Entertainment, and has worked with networks such as DIY, HGTV, Travel Channel, and more in both on-screen and behind the scenes capacities. Currently working in Marketing and as an audio describer at Phoenix Theatre, Carolyn has the pleasure of working with an incredibly talented group of people, and is very passionate about local theatre in Arizona. She has a special passion for getting youth from all walks of life involved in the arts. When not immersed in theatre, Carolyn enjoys volunteering, writing, and experiencing all of the wonderful cultural, culinary, and educational opportunities that Phoenix has to offer.
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Gil Benbrook

Treasurer

In 2013, after working for over 25 years in New York City, Gil Benbrook moved to Phoenix where he now serves as the Phoenix Theatre Critic for the national theatre website TalkinBroadway.com – reviewing over 130 shows a year. He also created and operates the PHXStages.com website, which covers all theatre in the Phoenix metropolitan area. 

In New York, Gil worked for Viacom for 25 years where he served in numerous financial roles, including the Senior Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis. But his first job within the Viacom family was as the first production accountant at MTV Networks, working on various MTV and Nickelodeon TV shows. He also served as the Business Manager for the $25 million dollar Broadway premiere production of Alan Menken’s “A Christmas Carol” musical and also was the production accountant for the “Beavis and Butthead Do America” feature film. Prior to his stint at Viacom, Gil worked for Rankin & Bass Animation, overseeing the production finances for the “ThunderCats” TV show.

Gil received his BS from the Indiana University School of Business with an emphasis on marketing and a film studies concentration. 

Gil is happy to serve as a board member for the ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence and is proud to support and promote the vast talent the theatre community in the Valley has to offer.

Robyn McFarland

Secretary

Robyn McFarland holds a BFA in Theatre Education from Arizona State University and a MEd in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University.  She spent several years on the executive board of Tempe Little Theatre and stage managed many productions with the troupe, including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Barefoot in the Park,” and “Godspell.”

Currently a junior high school computer technology teacher, Robyn has previously taught theatre and directed student productions of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “The Music Man,” “Into the Woods,” and “Fame.”  She brings her passion for the theatre into the classroom wherever possible.

 

Robyn lives in Mesa with her husband Brian and their son Charlie.

Kandyce Hughes

Kandyce Hughes is an award winning actor, director, designer, choreographer, and voice talent for theatre, film, and commercials.  Kandyce has been active as an ariZoni Board member for over 12 years and she is proud to be one of the original authors of the “ariZoni Rubrics,” the only existing set of theatrical rubrics used by an awards organization in the country.

She has directed and choreographed many award winning plays, musicals, films and commercials.  Her choreography was featured in, Canvas Falcons, an original musical performed at the  Orpheum Theatre, which won first place as a feature length musical at  the New York and Los Angeles Independent Film Festivals.  As a former dance teacher for ASU and Rio Salado Community College, she was awarded “Teacher of the Year.”  She was also instrumental in creating a pilot program of drama and dance for the housing projects of Phoenix and Guadalupe.   She believes in the importance of every element of theatre and has assisted with costumes for the regional tour of The Full Monty, Cats, and 42nd Second Street.  

As an actor, some of Kandyce’s  roles include: Gabrielle, The Dinner Party,  Lee, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,  M’Lynn, Steel Magnolias, Elie, Father of the Bride (Tribune Spotlight Award), but her favorite role is always the role she is currently playing. 

Richard Powers Hardt

Richard has a BA in Theatre Arts from Northern Arizona University and has been acting, designing, writing and directing theatre in Arizona for over 35 years.  Before moving back to Phoenix, Richard directed the comedy improvisational group, “Local Motion” in Flagstaff.

Richard is a director and designer. Recent credits  include directing the Arizona premieres of “Maple and Vine”, “Rapture, Blister, Burn” and “Grand Concourse” for Theatre Artists Studio, and “All Through the Night” for Theater Works.  Other favorites through the years include the Actor’s Equity Project, “Extremities” at the old Planet Earth Theater, “King Lear” and  “Much Ado About Nothing” for The Shakespeare Theatre, “The Importance of Being Earnest” for Mesa Little Theatre, “ Dark of the Moon”, “Beyond Therapy” and “Almost Maine” for Theater Works and “Speed the Plow” for Theatre Artists Studio.

 As a writer, he has had several produced plays including an adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” which ran for three winters at Theater Works.  Some of his favorite acting roles include Charlie Fox in David Mamet’s, “Speed the Plow”, “Toby Belch” in Shakespeare’s, “Twelfth Night” and King Sextimus in the musical, “Once Upon a Mattress”.

Richard was a co-founder of The Shakespeare Theatre and Off-Center Productions.  He has worked with numerous theatres around the valley and has received ariZoni nominations for both directing and design, as well as a win for his set design for “Dark of the Moon”.   He is currently a member of the Board of Directors at Theater Works and is their Artistic Committee chair and is an Artistic Member of Theater Artists Studio. 

Meribeth Reeves

Meribeth is an arts manager with over 28 years arts marketing, development and managing experience. In June of 2018, she became the managing director of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts where she works with an incredible three-person management team and stellar staff.

 

Previously, she was Executive/Artistic Director of Desert Foothills Theater. During her 12-year tenure at DFT she started Desert Foothills Youth Theater, developed DFT's education program, expanded the number and quality of performances each year from two to more than 12 and led the theater to the start of a capital campaign to develop its new space.  

 

Before that she worked as marketing director for the Pittsburgh Dance Council and Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, provided private consulting in nonprofit marketing and fundraising, taught arts management courses at Point Park College, taught performing arts/theater at Foothills Academy Elementary Prep, directed and stage managed productions for Thoreau, NM, a Production Company, Oberlin College, the Physical Theatre Group, the Nathan Group and many more.  She is a member of Class VIII of the ASU Lodestar American Express Leadership Academy  and a proud 2018 OnMedia Arts Hero.  She is also a working theater director and stage manager working with several theaters throughout the valley including Desert Foothills Theater, Fountain Hills Theater, Pinnacle Creative Arts and more.

Rob Stuart

Rob Stuart is an accomplished actor, singer, and songwriter. A familiar face in local theater productions, he has spent the past 30 years playing major roles in both dramas and musicals. He is the proud recipient of ariZoni awards for his portrayals of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and Orin Scrivello, DDS in Little Shop of Horrors. Rob is also a commercial and voice-over actor, plays the guitar, and writes music for a vocal quartet comprised of him and three of his brothers. Rob brings to the board the professional experience that comes from 18 years in the medical and pharmaceutical purchasing and supply chain management world. Currently, he works as Director of Purchasing and Supply Chain at the Mesa-based Southwestern Eye Center.

William Symington

William Symington earned a B.A. in Creative and Performing Arts from Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa. William received his M.F.A. in Theatre from Arizona State University after completing an internship at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. His areas of concentration are Technical Direction and Scenic Design. Professionally, William served as the Technical Director at Arizona State University's Lyric Opera Theatre in the School of Music for 9 years, and then became the Scenic Designer/Production Manager for the next 5 years before coming to Grand Canyon. During that time, William acted as the Scenic Designer, Technical Director, and Scenic Artist for several companies throughout the Valley including Phoenix Theatre, The Cookie Company, Actor's Theatre of Phoenix, Paradise Valley Community College, Valley Youth Theatre, Shakespeare Sedona, Southwest Shakespeare, Central Arizona Community College, and Intel Corp. 

While at Arizona State University, Professor Symington acted as Production Manager, Technical Director, Scenic Designer, P.R. and Outreach Coordinator for Lyric Opera while serving on the Fine Arts Staff Counsel. Professor Symington has had the great fortune to work in nearly all of the areas of entertainment production arts and has thus learned a great deal from his students over the years. In his spare time, William and his family volunteer at his daughter's school in the student garden. As a family, we enjoy many of the arts including crafting, painting, theatre, dance, music, and film.

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© 2019 by Robyn McFarland for ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence

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