The New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT) is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting local theater around the state. The group’s core mission is to celebrate outstanding achievements by artists of all disciplines involved in the performance and production of New Jersey Community Theater. This is accomplished through the NJACT Perry Awards, New Jersey’s premiere community theater awards program. Originally founded as the AVY Awards over 50 years ago by William Perry Morgan, the organization has transformed itself several times, but has always kept its focus on celebrating creativity, craftsmanship and community in local theater.
Today, NJACT is led by a volunteer board of directors. These theater veterans are aided by over 200 volunteers across the state. Together, they work to identify the best and the brightest that New Jersey community theater has to offer and celebrate their work with an awards ceremony every fall.
Board of Directors
PJ is no stranger to Community Theater. Being a part of multiple theaters, including Performance with Passion Players, First Ave, SVP, and Premiere, to name a few, PJ been both behind and on stage for many shows. Being behind the scenes, PJ has staged managed, ran and design lighting and sound, Assisted directed, Directed, and ran tech for many shows. Not only being behind scenes, PJ has also performed many shows including: Cinderella (SVP), Cuckoo’s Nest (Both at ORTP and SVP), It’s A Wonderful Life (ORPT and SVP), Fiddler on the Roof (Premier), and Marvin’s Room (First Ave), to name a few. PJ is extremely happy to be on the board of NJACT with these amazing people.
Vice President of Communications and Logistics
Elizabeth is a graduate of Montclair State University with a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance, where she was a Presser Scholar and held several leadership positions in Sigma Alpha Iota, including the office of President. In August 2022, she received her Masters in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from William Paterson University. By day, she is the Assistant to the Dean for the Business, Technology, and Professional Studies Division at Mercer County Community College, where she also acts as the co-advisor for the Music Club and PrePAIR Club (a campus-wide mentorship club for students, faculty and staff). Previously, she worked as the Teaching and Administrative Assistant to the Music Department for 14 years and also served as the Director of Voice and Musical Theatre for the Tomato Patch Performing Arts Summer Workshop for 13 years. Behind the scenes, she has been the Music Director for Bugsy Malone, Jr., High School Musical 2, Jr., Camp Rock, and Zombie Prom, produced at Kelsey Theater on the Mercer County Community College campus in conjunction with Tomato Patch and the Kelsey Players. She made her Kelsey Theatre directorial debut, directing and musical directing Frozen, Jr. in February/March 2020, to sold-out houses. An active performer in musicals in the tristate area, favorite roles include Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins), Peter Pan (Peter Pan), Maria (The Sound of Music), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Anna (The King & I), Ida (Honk!—2007 NJACT Lead Actress in a Musical Nominee), Marian Paroo (The Music Man), Luisa (The Fantasticks), Narrator (Joseph…), Sarah (Guys & Dolls), Lily Craven (The Secret Garden), Julie Jordan (Carousel), Beth March (Little Women), Laurey (Oklahoma), Polly Peachum (The Threepenny Opera), Cinderella (Into the Woods), Rosa Bud/Deirdre Peregrine (The Mystery of Edwin Drood — 2020 NJACT Lead Actress in a Musical nominee), Mother (A Christmas Story) and Grace (Annie — 2022 NJACT Supporting Actress in a Musical nominee) . She has also appeared onstage as Mollie Ralston (The Mousetrap), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Katarina Cavalieri (Amadeus – 2015 NJACT Supporting Actress in a Play Nominee), Mariette Levieux (The Dinner Party), and Chelsea Thayer Wayne (On Golden Pond). She won the 2013 NJACT Perry Award for Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of The Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooge the Musical at the Algonquin Arts Theatre.
Vice President of Production
Alissa is a graduate of Kean University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, Voice Concentration. By day, she is an Elementary Music Teacher at Hurden Looker School in Hillside where she teaches Instrumental, Choral and General Music. She was bit by the “theatre bug” back in 3rd grade while performing as the 4th Child in “The Pied Piper”. After high school, she jumped into Community Theatre with Linden Summer Playhouse. She has since performed with Cranford Dramatic Club, Mystic Vision Players, Villagers Theatre, Westfield Community Players, Fearless Productions, Union County Performing Arts Center and Playhouse 22. Alissa serves on the Board of Trustees of Mystic Vision Players where she currently holds the office of Secretary. Her favorite roles include Maggie in “42nd Street”, Sarah in “Company” and the Housekeeper in “Man of La Mancha”.
Lyndsey (she/her) has enjoyed acting and theater for what seems like forever, and is honored and thrilled to use her love of project coordinator in the role of Secretary for the NJACT board to support regional performing arts. Previous show credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Laramie Project, Our Town, Fiddler On The Roof, Inspecting Carol, Antigone, Working, and more. Film credits include The Yellow Wallpaper. When she isn’t acting, she’s typically writing speculative thriller fiction (available on Amazon); being a mom to the most awesome kid on the planet, Chloe; podcasting from a pile of pillows in her bedroom; designing digital art; and consuming too much cold brew.
Rita is proud to be a member of NJACT. Rita was selected as a Woman of Excellence in Arts and Humanities by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Commission on the Status of Women in Union County. In addition to serving as Treasurer for NJACT, Rita is also a member of the Mystic Vision Players Board of Directors. There she acts as Producer for most of their productions. She has received nominations for Perry Awards six times for musicals and original productions. In 2002 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from NJACT for her volunteer work in theater, dance, and community service. As a high school teacher, she moderated the Performing Arts Club and produced at least 40 shows, choreographing at least a dozen of them. Rita has appeared in American Rapture, singing duets with her husband and with Patrick Starega, but she is mostly known for 40 years of her Christmas Eve Open House where she cooks all the food for at least 150 people. Her cooking expertise has led her to appear on Cooking Live and Sarah’s Secrets on the Food Network, where she was named the “Sauce Queen” of New Jersey, the Food Network’s Choice for Spaghetti Sauce. Her cookbooks La Dolce Vita and Next Door to the Chicken Market contain recipes of all the food she makes on Christmas Eve and much more! Rita would like to congratulate her daughter, Barbara Greco Brady, who has been named NJ Dance Teacher of the Year and Eastern Regional Dance Teacher of the Year, and who most recently was named 2nd place National Dance Teacher of the Year.
Marie was a member of Villagers Theatre Board of Trustees for 20 plus years and served as their VP of Production for many of them. At Villagers she produced countless shows both on the Main Stage and Black Box. She founded both KidsVill and TeensVill at Villagers, two successful programs which are still going strong today. Marie was also a 10 year member of the board of New Jersey Association of Community Theatres (NJACT) and was the recipient of the 2022 NJACT Lifetime Achivement Award. Marie had the pleasure of playing Grandma Kurnitz in Lost in Yonkers at SVP. Other acting credits include Mother Superior in Nunsense I and II at Mystic Vision Players and Sayreville Main Street and Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie at Playhouse 22. She has been everything from a witch to a horse in many other productions. She was a member of the inaugural community ensemble of A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre. Marie has had the honor of directing such wonderful shows as Shadowlands, Blood Brothers and Last Night at Ballyhoo among others. She is excited about returning to the board of NJACT Perry Awards as Reviewer Liaison and looks forward to meeting and training new reviewers who are truly the lifeblood of the organization.
Stephen J. Seserko III
Technical Media Specialist
Starting in 2009, Stephen took an interest in all things technical theatre related, running sound for his first show, “Brigadoon,” a school production at Woodstown High School. He immediately fell in love with theatre at his very first rehearsal. It wasn’t long before Stephen became obsessed with learning all that he could about what makes a theatrical production successful, and has directed, acted, and designed many shows using this knowledge. Stephen is currently the Technical Director for his alma mater, Woodstown High School, where he teaches students about every aspect of technical theatre, instilling that same passion that got him hooked. He can be found acting in various productions across New Jersey, including his favorite past roles as The Baker (Into the Woods), The Old Man (A Christmas Story), Seitz/Ensemble (Newsies), and Gaston in the 2019 NJACT “Outstanding Production of a Musical” Perry Award winner, “Beauty and the Beast,” at Off Broad Street Players. Stephen can also be found running technical elements for shows, including his 2019 NJACT “Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play” Perry Award winning work on “The Crucible” at Cumberland Players. He is excited to bring his passion and knowledge of South Jersey theatre to the proverbial “table” that is the NJACT board!
Lori Fabian is a former professional performer and stage manager and has been involved in theatre in New Jersey since 2001. She was a Perry Award nominee in 2011, inducted into the NJACT Hall of Fame in 2016, and has been active in NJACT governance since 2012. Professionally, Lori has had over thirty years of experience as a professional grants manager, writer, and counselor; twenty-seven of them as President and Principal Consultant of Fabian Consulting, Inc. A skilled grant writer, presenter, and project manager, Lori and her FCI team have helped nonprofit organizations raise over $84 million and provided grants research, training, and counsel to hundreds of agencies across the United States. In addition, Lori has provided evaluation consultation and/or external evaluation to nonprofit organizations since 1997.
Member at Large
Bill is very excited to join the NJACT board once again, having served on the board back in 2000 when residing in northern NJ where he grew up. After living several years in both Tucson and Minneapolis, he has resided in South Jersey since 2012 with his husband and three “little ones” and happy to be back in the “ Jersey theater” circle once again!
Early in his career, Bill studied theater in NYC and did day-player soap work while in school. He has over 50+ shows to his directing credit. Favorites include “The Shadow Box”, “Fun Home”, “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” at Haddonfield Plays & Players; “The Boys Next Door” ; “Angels In America” at various theaters in Arizona; “Company”, “And The World Goes Round”, “Picnic”, “Steel Magnolias”, “To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday” at The Players Theater Company- NJ, “Love! Valour! Compassion!”; “Best Little Whorehouse
in Texas” at Antrim Playhouse – NY.
Bill is also the recipient of many NJACT, NJTL, ESTA and AACT awards and nominations over the past 25 years including 5 Perry Award nominations garnering 2 trophies! Most memorable was representing New Jersey in the 2003 AACT Competition with “The Laramie Project” and winning the NJTL state, ESTA regional, and then receiving the NJACT Perry Award for Best Play. Bill’s work career includes a degree in Finance with 25 years in the optical industry and 17 years in the veterinary Industry. He is currently the Hospital Administrator/HR Director for two veterinary hospitals in the Philly area. Bill is an avid cook coming from Greek parents who taught him early as well as also attending culinary school. Perhaps had he followed this dual path, dinner theater might have ensued!
Aside from directing and cooking, Bill enjoys collecting music, movies, loves to travel and adores his “little ones”, Finn, Phoebe and Cassie. He is thrilled in starting this second chapter with NJACT!
Member at Large
Khy Garner hails from Woodbridge where he teaches private vocal instruction. Deeply rooted in the New Jersey community theater scene for over forty years, he is a co-founder of Mystic Vision Players where he served on the board of directors. Not only does he understand the life of a singer, actor and dancer, he has directed, musically directed, choreographed, produced, played in pit orchestras and costumed shows across the state.
A multiple Perry Award nominee and winner, Khy was inducted into the NJACT Hall of Fame in 2018. He was also honored in 2019 with an award by the National Council of Negro Women for his lifetime excellence in community service and the field of arts. Khy served as the artistic and musical director for Black History Month programming at the Union County Performing Arts Center. During the Covid lockdown when theaters were closing, Khy was still able to help provide entertainment and education at UCPAC when he introduced Momentum: Voices for Change, giving a platform to black artists to perform and discuss social topics within the black community. Khy is an accomplished playwright with a series of five plays under his belt. His first play Filling in the Blanks, won a Perry Award for 2017 Outstanding Production of an Original Play. Currently Khy has launched a series of Cabarets that have been performed to sold out audiences.
Khy is excited to be a new face on this distinguished board.