Director of Development
Resident Music Director
Resident Stage Manager
Tiffany Alastanos, Ashlee Albertson, Gabbie Ballesteros, Jade Brooks-Bartlett, Paulina Campbell, Wayne Chadwick, Meredith Eib, Jared Graham, Sam Intrater, Dylan Kaufman, Kevin Kearney, Grace Keller, Holly Kelly, Adrianne Knapp, Marissa Kovach, John Lynch, Matthew Nicola, Madison Middleton, Allie O'Donnell, Austin Patterson, Eric Rhodes, Stacy Walker, Henry Wiebe, Toly Yarup
Highwood at School
Kevin Kearney is the Executive Director of The Highwood Theatre in downtown Silver Spring. Also a director, pianist, and program developer, in 2004 he founded The Highwood Theatre as a student-run theatre organization dedicated to providing a venue for students to experiment, explore, and challenge themselves. Kevin now leads The Highwood Theatre, which has expanded to become a broader community-based theatre arts organization. He also currently serves on the Advisory Panel for TechSoup, the non-profit tech software website. For four years, Kevin was the Director of the Theatre Arts Program at School for Tomorrow, a private school in Rockville; he was also on a leadership team that developed the school’s programs and curriculum. Kevin has worked extensively with Levine Music, accompanying classes and recitals, accompanying the Levine Adult Choirs at the Kennedy Center, and working with its Music and Arts Summer Camp. He was a counselor for many years, Assistant Director for its Virginia camp, wrote the camp’s extensive curriculum for two years, and most recently served on the camp’s piano faculty. Kevin graduated from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where for multiple middle and high school shows he was a Pianist, Musical Director, Technical Director, Lighting Designer, or Director. He was Vocal Director for High School Musical, and Musical Director for The Wizard of Oz, at the Musical Theatre Center (now Adventure Theatre MTC) in Rockville, and was Rehearsal Accompanist and Performance Pianist for productions of Chicago, Carousel, and The Robber Bridegroom at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Kevin has taught private piano lessons and accompanied multiple musical theatre workshops, soloists, and performances for other organizations. He has a Technical Theatre Certification from The Alden Theatre in McLean, VA.
Matthew Nicola joined The Highwood Theatre in 2014 as Box Office Manager and Studio Performance Coordinator, before becoming the Artistic Director in 2015. In addition to coordinating studio performances, he also manages the Highwood at School program - which has grown to work with 37 schools across the DMV area and received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award by the Montgomery County Board of Education. In 2015 Matt served as an acting coach for Highwood's student production of Company, as well to serving as Mental Health Coordinator for Highwood’s student production of August: Osage County, before going on to direct numerous other student productions: Gypsy and the 1998 version of Cabaret, as well as 2015-2017 Summer Musical Theatre Intensives - Nice Work If You Can Get It, Musical of Musicals, the Musical, The Robber Bridegroom. In addition to his work at Highwood, Mr. Nicola is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a major in sociology and minor in theatre. While there he was a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Research Program, for which he completed an independent theatre-based project studying the development of original musicals. As part of this project, he attended The National Music Theater Conference at the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Center and interviewed prominent theatre professionals from NY, DC, and London about relevant experiences. He was Assistant Director of Levine Music’s Summer Music and Arts Camp in 2014, and has directed and acted in numerous theatrical productions.
Karla “Tip” Letsche is a long time Highwood supporter, who serves as Highwood's Director of Development. She works closely with Highwood’s Executive Director, Staff and the Board, and volunteers, to plan and implement development and fundraising strategies. Tip is also an attorney, and Senior Of Counsel with the Washington DC law firm Frankel PLLC. She has extensive experience representing and working on behalf of local non-profit organizations, and has chaired and served on the boards of several non-profit organizations in the DC metro area. Tip has also been Highwood’s Costume Designer since Highwood was founded.
Jade Brooks-Bartlett received her Bachelor's degree from Elizabethtown College, where she studied Theater Performance and Technology. Afterwards, she went on to apprentice at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, where she continues to work closely with the production team as a carpenter, electrician, and stage manager. She runs shows in the DC area as Wardrobe Manager and Assistant Stage Manager, but she also loves to direct and design props.
Dylan Kaufman is a rising freshman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is pursuing a BA in Theatre with a minor in music. He joined Highwood in 2013 as an actor, and has acted, directed, music directed, conducting, and played in pit orchestras for many shows since then. He now works as the Director of Music. As of the summer of 2018, Dylan has participated in over 15 Highwood productions! Outside of Highwood, Dylan has performed at the Kennedy Center and Strathmore, sung with the Montgomery County Youth Chorus, plays saxophone, bassoon, and piano, and has participated in various plays, musicals, bands, and choirs at his high school and in the county. Dylan believes that Highwood offers something for any and every person, and strongly encourages families and people of all ages to check it out!
Bio coming soon
Angel Soriano Lara is the Development Associate and current Student Actor, Musician, and Director at The Highwood Theatre. Currently studying at Northwood High School, Angel takes part of their Academy of Music, Theatre, and Dance (AMTAD) Department, and hopes to one day make a living out of the performing arts. He's previously performed at a variety of venues including the Kennedy Center, Capital One Arena, and the Strathmore Music Center. Angel loves to get involved and give to the community as much as possible by doing what he’s most passionate about - the performing arts. Angel has a diverse set of skills including vocal, instrumental and beatboxing; Angel also has experience with many different genres of performing such as Acting, Musical Theatre, Choral, and A Capella Music. Angel would like to personally thank his family, friends, former and current Performing Art Teachers, and most importantly the Highwood Theatre for their continuous support to help him thrive in the performing arts.
Mason Lipczenko is the Administrative Manager at Highwood as well as a student at Sherwood High School. He has been doing theatre for his entire life. He has had extensive training and experience with acting, singing, dancing and film production. He has been acting at Highwood since 2016 and began working in 2018. He has had numerous notable roles in recent years, and has also co-directed Bye Bye Birdie and My Fair Lady at Highwood.
Lu Collina is the Resident Stage Manager, working to enable the students of The Highwood Theatre to have a professional level theater experience. Recently, they were involved in stage managing My Fair Lady and co-directing Lend Me a Tenor. Lu attends The Siena School where they are a active member of the theater program. When not behind the stage, Lu is a avid cook and amateur scientist, combining the two with explosive results.
Stacy Walker is the Costume Manager at The Highwood Theatre. She is a newcomer to the DMV area, having moved here from Florida earlier this year after graduating from Florida State University. She also enjoys her other job of walking dogs around the downtown Silver Spring area. She loves making costumes for the kids and helping them feel like they've become the character!
Sam Intrater has worked with Highwood Theatre since 2015 when he performed as King Arthur in Spamalot. He has since performed in You Can't Take It With You (Grandpa Vanderhof), Avenue Q (Nicky), and Into the Woods (Rapunzel's Prince). He graduated from Albert Einstein High School in 2018 and is now studying Theatre and Education at the University of Maryland. Sam wishes that he himself had found his passion for the arts at a younger age and greatly enjoys watching campers "catch the bug" at Art Squared!
Madison Middleton is a rising freshman at Middlebury College, where they plan to joint-major in Theatre and Music. Madison has been performing with the Highwood Theatre since 2011, most recently appearing as Charlie in Nick Blaemire's musical SOON. They also directed Highwood's production of Sweet Charity and 'night, Mother and wrote The Dog Must Die and The Requiem. Other DC credits include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Polaroid Stories, West Side Story, and Museum with The Theatre Lab School of Dramatic Arts, and Children of Eden and The Secret Garden with Young Artists of America at Strathmore.
Grace Keller is a student at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. She has been dancing for 10 years, and choreographing for 5 years. Over the past year, she worked with the casts of "Fame Jr". at Loiederman Middle School, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "Once Upon A Mattress" at Albert Einstein High School, and "Sweet Charity" and "Bye, Bye, Birdie" at Highwood. She is looking forward to another great season at Highwood!
Austin Patterson is working at Highwood for the first time after having played in the pit band for man of their shows. He has done a lot of theater around the community, including at Imagination Stage and at his High School, and also spends his time participating in other performing arts groups as well.
Tiffany Alastanos, originally from Bridgeport, WV, is a dance teacher and choreographer who currently works for Montgomery County Public Schools. In addition, she teaches dance classes around Baltimore and D.C. in modern, jazz, tap and repertory. Ms. Alastanos has performed with Piel Morena Contemporary Dance in Chicago, IL, where she worked actively with their school outreach program. Her education includes a BFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from Ohio University and an MA in Education from University of Maryland Baltimore County.