6702 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102
Who we are header db37b3d0fcd7934f925abd454a96cb3cbe334a8314d834460583b41e4b7004ed


Michael Obertacz
Executive Director

Mike is honored to be joining the Near West Theatre team and looks forward to serving the Detroit Shoreway Community. Working with NWT perfectly aligns his passions and experiences with youth development, arts and education, social service, nonprofit leadership, and musical theatre, an art form he credits for his own personal and professional growth. Mike has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University, spent a decade as a professional actor performing in over 45 productions nationally, and has spent the last ten years leading and directing programming for nonprofit organizations in Cleveland and New York City. Before coming to Near West Theatre, Mike spent four years as the Director of Programs with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL). There, he was the architect behind a Resident Teaching Artist Initiative, which evolved the organization and increased capacity by adding professional teaching artists to full-time staff positions. He was also responsible for leading a formalized professional development series for artists, which resulted in new and innovative residencies that better serve and engage Greater Cleveland students through STEM, ELA and social-emotional integrated programs. Prior to his role with CAL, Mike served as the Director of Programs with Career Gear, a nonprofit social service agency providing holistic programming to prepare formerly homeless, incarcerated, and chronically unemployed men to reenter the workforce and successfully support their families. Mike received youth development training through the MyCom Youth Work Institute at Case Western Reserve University, was designated a 2008 United Way Junior Fellow through Baruch College in New York City, and is a recent alumnus of the Civic Leadership Institute through The Cleveland Leadership Center, where he now serves on their Alumni Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Education Committee with the Cleveland Museum of Art, and on the City of Shaker Heights Public Art Committee. Mike currently resides in Shaker Heights with his wife, Leta, and their two sons.


Trinidad Snider
Artistic Director

Trinidad Snider is thrilled to return to her NWT roots as the new Artistic Director!  Trinidad first came to Near West Theatre in 1989 for a teen production of Fame, followed by performances in various shows on the NWT stage over the next 20 years. Her excellence as an artist also was developed through education at the Cleveland School of Performing Arts and Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, as well as extensive work as a director and performer in the Northeast Ohio community, including experience directing adults, teens and children. Most recently, she served as a Teaching Artist with The Musical Theater Project, where she taught the Kids Love Musicals and Intergenerational programs, and helped to create and facilitate the Creative Aging Program focused on seniors and the arts. She served as the Business Director for The Memorial Opera House in Indiana and has held many roles in Human Resources and customer service for Marriott and InterContinental Hotels.  She looks forward to working in this amazing community and joining the Detroit Shoreway family.  She resides in Chardon, Ohio with her husband Michael and their four wonderful children.

Alvis Ashley
Maintenance Technician

Alvis first began working on and off on special projects at Near West Theatre dating back to 2008. He began in his regular tenure at Near West Theatre just after the new facility opened in February, 2015. In his current role, Alvis takes care of the building’s interior and exterior. His tasks vary from set-up and tear-down of the stage, audience risers, cleaning and maintaining the facility and plaza, as well as construction projects in the main theater.


Amy Gertiser (Clausen)
General Manager/Facilities Manager

Amy joined the staff in April 2014 bringing her experience with performing arts, social work, and nonprofit administration into her work here. She oversees the operations, human resources, and finances of the organization, and contributes to projects in a number of areas of the theater. Amy holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame as well as a Masters of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Amy experienced the powerful benefits of performing arts a youth and is honored to help create those opportunities for the next generation. Contact Amy at aclausen@nearwesttheatre.org.

Perren Hedderson
Technical Director

Perren has been involved at Near West for many years as ATD and video effect producer. Recent shows include A Christmas Story, the Musical and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also acts; roles include Eddie in Texas Chainsaw the Musical and Billy Bibbit in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Blank Canvas Theatre. Contact Perren at phedderson@nearwesttheatre.org.

Emily Hehnen
Assistant Technical Director

Emily learned about Near West Theatre while doing stage crew in high school and started volunteering there in 2010, becoming a member of the staff in 2018. She graduated from Ohio University in 2016 with a BFA in Production Design and Technology. In addition to being the ATD, Emily will occasionally work as a sound and video technician for Near West events and performances. Recent shows include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Big Fish, and The Addams Family. One of her favorite programs at Near West is the Summer Technical Workshop, because she enjoys getting to show and teach people what she does, so come hang out and learn cool stuff. When she’s not working she enjoys staring at the pile of books she has yet to read and spending time with her family.

Bailey Pfohl
Audience and Community Development Manager

Bailey joins the Near West team at an exciting time for the organization. Bailey received her BA in Art History in her hometown at Syracuse University and her MA in Art History and Museum Studies at Case Western Reserve University. Much of her youth was spent on the stage, so this position at Near West offers a nice return to the theatre community, following a lengthy break to focus on her studies. Bailey is engaged in various circles around Cleveland, involving the arts, social justice, and LGBTQ communities. She is passionate about all of these things and chocolate. If your organization is making Cleveland a better place and interested in partnering with Near West, Bailey wants to hear from you! Contact her at bpfohl@@nearwesttheatre.org.

Brendan Reynolds
Development Director

Brendan Reynolds joined Near West Theatre in July 2018 and brings a myriad of development and nonprofit experience to Near West with over a decade of professional experience. Brendan has been fortunate to experience success in fundraising with Holden Forests & Gardens, Kent State University and the Cleveland Zoological Society. Brendan is a proud graduate of Baldwin Wallace University (formerly Baldwin-Wallace College) where he studied Business Administration and Arts Management. As a lifelong theatre fan, Brendan is thrilled to join the Near West Theatre team and to help advance Near West Theatre’s mission. Contact Brendan at breynolds@nearwesttheatre.org.

Michael Stein
Production Manager/Rentals Manager

Michael returns to Near West Theatre as the Production and Rentals Manager. Previously, he was Lighting Designer for several Near West shows and benefits including Once On This Island, The Wiz, The Secret Garden, Willy Wonka, Rent, A Christmas Story, the Musical, and Move On! Michael's 40+ year career in theatre has taken him across the U.S. from Maine to California, but mostly in Ohio as the Stage Manager/Production Manager/Lighting designer at the Carousel Dinner Theatre in Akron, OH. Prior to returning to Near West Theatre, he was the Production Manager/Technical Director at the Palace Theater in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Michael most recently added Urinetown, the Musical to his list of Lighting Designs for Near West Theatre, as well as Co-Lighting designer for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Mary Poppins. Contact Michael at mstein@nearwesttheatre.org.

Olivia Zink
Community Engagement Associate

Olivia joins Near West Theatre as a North East Ohio AmeriCorps Notre Dame Mission Volunteer. Olivia received her degree in Theatrical Performance Studies in her hometown of Springfield, Ohio at Wittenberg University. With experience in both technical and performance theatre, Olivia’s passion is rooted in theatre’s ability to spread love and change, and is excited to have the opportunity to work for an organization that implements those values into everything it does as she begins her professional career.

Support Staff

Michelle Gregorczyk

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, majoring in accounting, from Cleveland State University in 1991 and passed the CPA exam in 1992. Since beginning her accounting career in 1991, Michelle has worked for numerous prestigious firms such as International Management Group and the Cleveland Ballet.  Since 2003, Ms. Gregorczyk has served as the founder and chief executive of In Balance, a local accounting firm with notable clients such as:  Near West Theatre, Verb Ballets, national ballet company, Progressive Arts Alliance, Cleveland Tenants Organization, Zygote Press, Inc., Y-Haven, Ten Thousand Villages, The ARC of Greater Cleveland, and Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation. Michelle has earned a reputation throughout the non-profit community as a trustworthy accountant with an uncanny ability to stabilize and assist in the turn-around of struggling agencies.

Kevin Kelly
Fundraising & Administration

Kevin is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Administration. He is an avid tennis player and spent 16 years working for the mutual fund firm Federated Investors, Inc. as a Customer Service Supervisor and Wholesaler. At Near West Theatre, Kevin is responsible for the playbill ad sales and assists with other occasional fundraising projects. 

What's Happening Now at Near West Theatre?