The Great Gatsby: A live radio play Creative

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Beatriz Esteban-Messina
Beatriz was an arts educator and high school principal for 40 years. Since retiring in 2011, she has worked on over 50 shows both on and off stage. In 2018, she received an NJACT Perry Award for direction of an original play, Pets & Their Humans. Additionally, she has been nominated for “best featured actress” in Moon Over Buffalo & To Kill a Mockingbird, and for directing 'Night Mother. She is presently directing RADIUM GIRLS at Old Library Theatre and will direct OTHELLO at HACPAC and WHATco. Beatriz is president of Teaneck New Theatre, and serves on the boards of Nutley Little Theatre, WHATco, and Hudson Theatre Works where she runs the Children's Stage Project. She is thrilled to return to WHATco where she directed Steel Magnolias, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, andElf Jr. Thanks to this amazing cast & crew, and to Superwoman, Brandi-Leigh.
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Musical Director
Scott Burzynski
Scott teaches General Music to some pretty awesome kids at two of the coolest elementary schools in the known universe, namely Washington and Garfield schools in Kearny. He also has nearly two decades of experience working as a church organist, a field from which he is now officially retired. Scott has worked in community and educational theatre as music director, conductor, accompanist, pit musician, and on a few rare occasions when his arm was twisted, as an actor. Scott is a WNYC supporter and an avid podcast listener. These traits can be traced back to his fascination with old radio plays as a kid, when he found a collection of them on a bunch of cassette tapes, so he is excited to be participating in this production!
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Stage Manager
Marisa Cicchino Friedman
Marisa was a former early childhood teacher at Franklin School in Kearny. She entered the world of community theater back in 2015 when she was in Hairspray with the Livingston Community Players. After that she was in 3 WHATCo productions; The Little Mermaid (Aquata), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Tintinnabula), and Kearny: A True American Warrior (Girl #3). Marisa has been WHATCo’s Social Media Manager for Facebook for about the past 6 years. She is excited to try her hand at stage managing and is grateful to Beatriz and WHATCo for the wonderful opportunity! She sends her love to her supportive husband Josh; their 3 children Gavin, Alexa, and Connor; and her Mom Mariann, who helped instill a love of the arts in her.
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Stage Manager
Deborah Vartan
Prior to Covid-19, Deborah worked in a number of WHATCo productions, including The Little Mermaid (Ursula), Alice in Wonderland (Caterpillar), Christmas Story, and Jungle Book (Stage Crew/Wrangler), Princess and the Pea (Maid), Christmas Fairy Tale (Past Fairy), and Unlucky Clovers - A Murder Mystery Dinner Theater (Detective). Recently Deborah was in Trivia Night Murder - An original Murder Mystery Dinner Theater (Victim Gina Graham).
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Julia Sharp
Julia, a retired professor of fashion, is pleased to be working on The Great Gatsby with Bea and this group of talented actors. She has costumed over 50 plays for the professional (Equity) theater at Centenary University and numerous plays for community groups. Last year she won a Perry Award for the costumes for Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. Julia is also the author of several textbooks including one on textiles, and one on the use of design elements in creating apparel and costumes.
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Brandi-Leigh Miller
Brandi-Leigh has produced and directed multiple WHATCo productions, appeared on stage (Almost, Maine) and is proud to be serving in her second year as board president. A native of Alabama and Florida, Brandi-Leigh studied Vocal Performance at the Lois Cowles Harrison Performing Arts Center and Florida Southern College, focusing on both opera performance and business management. Beginning in her youth, she performed with local music and theater groups, and later as both a performer and producer at several Central Florida theme parks. After a career in politics and public policy, she relocated to Kearny to join her husband Jim and enjoys volunteering with many non-profit community organizations on issues related to women and youth, the arts, and education. In her professional life, Brandi-Leigh is the global director of attorney compliance for an international law firm. Check her out on the lighting board for this production!
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Sound Design
Keith Raulerson
Keith has worked with the talent of Nutley Little Theater, Studio Players Theater, Apricot Sky Productions, and was nominated for a NJACT Perry Award for his work with Teaneck New Theater. He is proud to be joining WHATCo this season to help create a memorable atmosphere with such a talented team.
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Lighting Designer
Brooke Gorsica
Hailing from Yorktown Virginia, Brooke Gorsica is a digital content designer local to metropolitan New Jersey. Brooke Gorsica achieved her Bachelor of Arts at George Mason University (Fairfax VA) in 2019 with a double minor in Film and Media Studies & Event Technology. She most recently directed ‘Almost Maine’ with WHATCo and is currently serving on the board of directors for West Hudson Arts & Theater Company. Some of her previous lighting design credits include, ‘The Last Pastrami Sandwich’ (Apricot Sky), ‘Rumors’ (WHATCo), ‘Nobody Dies on Friday’ (Conscience Drama Directive), ‘The Seagull’ (The Wheel Theatre Co), ‘Really Really’ (The Mason Players). To view her creative portfolio and learn more, please visit
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Sound Advisor
Jim Miller
Jim has done sound design for multiple WHATCo shows including Drop Dead!, Bridesmaid Murder, Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, and Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. He also provides sound reinforcement for WHATCo's live events and singalongs. Jim studied audio engineering and recording at the Institute of Audio Research in New York City. Jim is thrilled to be a part of the Peanuts gang with this outstanding cast and crew and to have helped assemble the technical needs for WHATCo's new space in Harrison.
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Assistant Lighting and Sound Operator
Jonathan A. Brantley
Jonathan is thrilled to be working with WHATCo on The Great Gatsby: A Live Radio Play. When he is not involved in writing, Jonathan serves as Adjunct Professor at Saint Peter's University, where he teaches Theatre, Composition, Creative Writing, and Literature. Regional Credits: Hudson Theatre Works, Nutley Little Theatre, and Juno Theatre Company. HTW: Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, and Almost Maine. NLT: Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus. JTC: Sentimental Journey, Why Must the Show Go On?: An Evening of One-Act Plays, and Proud Peacocks Variety Show.
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Set Designer
Brian Sullivan
Brian is excited to join the WHATCo family after a long hiatus from theatre! His prior building credits include set design and construction for WHATCo's You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Little Shop of Horrors, Rhinoceros, and Bat Boy the Musical with 20 Cent Fiction Theatre Company. Outside of theatre, Brian enjoys weekly donut trips with his wife, Samantha, and exploring with their dog Winston. Brian would like to thank his parents for instilling an early love of theatre and his wife for bringing him into WHATCo!

Original Creative Team

Joe Landry's plays have been produced across the country and internationally, and include It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Reefer Madness, Vintage Hitchcock: A Live Radio Play, Eve & Co., Beautiful, Hollywood Babylon, and Numb. Mr. Landry attended Playwright's Horizons/NYU, founded Second Guess Theatre Company in Connecticut and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. He is currently developing new projects for the stage and screen. Official website:

Kevin Connors has been a professional musical theatre composer and director for over 30 years. Off-Broadway credits include music and lyrics for Prime Time Prophet, Jukebox Saturday Night, The Abandoned Loves of Frederick R., Life Anonymous, Lover: The Valentino Musical, Babes Off Broadway (finalist for the Michael Stewart Production Award) and Babes in Toyland. He also penned music and lyrics for two other works with playwright Joe Landry -- It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play and Mothers and Sons. His debut CD of original work -- The Things We Never Say -- was released in October, 2000. Also an award-winning director, directing credits include Yours, Anne, The Fantasticks (Connecticut Critics Circle Award nominees), Next To Normal (Connecticut Critics' Circle Award winner), It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (2008 Moss Hart Award winner), A Little Night Music, Edges, john & jen, Doubt, Driving Miss Daisy and The Last 5 Years; as well as writing original music and lyrics for more than 10 children's musicals. He is the recipient of the Connecticut Critics' Circle's Tom Killen Award for Outstanding Contribution to Professional Theatre. Mr. Connors co-founded Music Theatre of Connecticut in Norwalk in 1987 where he still serves as Executive Artistic Director.