For the past 25 years Holly has been closely connected with the revitalization of West Chester Borough. First as a member of the initial Downtown Committee, then as a member of the Main Street Program. That program initiated a committee to organize a Business Improvement District which she helped to create, and then was selected as a board member. After two years on the BID, Holly was elected to Borough Council where she served for 8 years, as president for four years. During that time she helped oversee the construction of the new Chestnut Street garage, the development of a Retail overlay district, and worked on ordinances that helped the economic development of the Downtown. She has most recently served as Vice Chair of the West Chester comprehensive plan committee, President of the BID, and member of the committee that restored and returned the historic fountain to Marshall Square Park.
Eric is the president of Great Valley Industries in Downingtown, PA. West Chester is his hometown, and he loves living there. He has been active in local government and community organizations for many years. Most recently, he helped launch the Barclay Grounds Preservation Alliance which succeeded in rallying community support to save the historic Barclay Grounds from development. He is also a member of the newly-formed West Chester Historical Commission. Having fought years ago to save the Warner Theatre, a 1930’s art-deco movie palace, only to see it demolished, he is thrilled that Uptown has turned the old armory into a thriving performing arts center.
Chris Howe graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Accounting. Prior to joining CTDI, he worked as a CPA at Arthur Andersen & Co. in audit and advisory services. Chris joined CTDI in 1994 and currently serves as the CFO and Vice President of Accounting. Chris has responsibility for internal and external financial reporting, accounting operations and general ledger, global consolidation, financial business systems, treasury, bank and debt management, compliance, acquisition integration, and the financial control environment. During his tenure at CTDI, Chris has served in progressive roles within CTDI from Assistant Controller, to Controller, to Director of Accounting. Chris is a valued member and advisor to the CTDI Executive Management team. He has provided due diligence, analysis and decision support related to business acquisitions.
Molly Morrison is retired president of Natural Lands, one of the oldest and largest regional non-profit land trusts in the United States. She retired in 2018. Morrison took the reins at Natural Lands in 2005 and her leadership resulted in some of the region’s most significant conservation achievements. During her tenure, the organization has preserved permanently more than 32,000 acres of open space in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.Prior to joining Natural Lands, Morrison worked for the Chester County Board of Commissioners, where she served in a variety of positions over a 21-year period, most recently as Director of Policy and Planning. In that role, she was responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the county’s nationally recognized open space program (which has resulted in more than 42,500 acres of permanently protected land in Chester County) as well as for policy development and program implementation for planning, parks, water resources, community development, housing, and environmental protection. Morrison served on the Natural Lands Trust Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2000.
Gary R. Green retired in 2010 as president and CEO of the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley, an Association of four YMCA branches serving 55,000 members throughout Chester County. Gary co-orchestrated the merge of the Central Chester County and Brandywine YMCA Associations in 2001 to form the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley which was the second largest YMCA in Pennsylvania. Gary has extensive experience in developing and working with volunteer boards. He oversaw all YMCA fundraising efforts including capital and endowment development initiatives, along with annual support campaigns. Gary’s final project before retirement was leading the West Chester Area YMCA in raising over $3 million to construct a new YMCA in East Goshen.
Tom spent 35 years working for major building material companies such as Armstrong World Industries and High Concrete before starting his own outdoor furniture manufacturing company, Metaphor. Much of his career was spent traveling, with seven years living overseas in Hong Kong and London. Tom and Connie returned to West Chester for the second time in 1998 and decided to grow roots here and look for ways to contribute to the community. After working on several projects for the Borough, they joined forces with Richard May and Linda Foster to start the process to bring a theater to West Chester. That process has not only produced a wonderful theater, but a chance to work closely with a number of people who have become good friends. Without these friends, Uptown! would not have been possible!
After opening RKM Advisors, a fee-only financial services firm now located at 121 N. Walnut St., West Chester, Richard began getting involved in the community. From the 1980s to the early 1990s, he served in various positions on the boards of diverse not-for-profits including the GWCCC, West Chester Lion’s Club, West Chester Civil Service Commission, West Chester Recreation Commission and West Chester Vacancy Board. Since 2000, Richard has helped numerous organizations including West Chester Downtown Foundation and West Chester Business Improvement District. In addition, he served as Treasurer of the Board of the West Chester Public Library during its $2.7 million renovation and expansion project and founded West Chester Library, Labor & Capital, LLC to provide the project with $400,000 in initial funding. He also co-founded the Uptown Entertainment Alliance to bring a new theater to West Chester and founded Uptown Bravo Theatre, LLC which raised $1.5 million in capital for the new Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, opening December 31, 2016.
After a 30 year career with The DuPont Company, Roy retired in 1992 giving him more time to pursue one of his passions – historic preservation, as evidenced by his involvement in ten preservation organizations over the past nearly forty years. His contributions to historic preservation led to Roy’s being named the first West Chester Downtown Foundation “Preservationist of the Year” and the recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award, Preservation Pennsylvania’s signature award for lifetime achievement in preservation. Roy has also been active in the Borough, having served on its Historical and Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board and the Board of the Business Improvement District.
Catherine Friedman has been a huge fan of Uptown! since its inception. As someone who is a performer with a lifelong love of the arts, she considers it an honor to be part of what the theater has become to the greater West Chester community. Catherine was the Executive Director of Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children in West Chester for seven years before joining Uptown! Prior to that position, since 2003, she has worked for several other local social service organizations, including Residential Living Options, Chester County Department of Community Development and Safe Harbor of Greater West Chester. During those fifteen years, since settling here with her husband, she also established deep roots. After a childhood spent moving internationally with her military family, Catherine now considers West Chester her “hometown”. She holds a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College at Rider University and spent her early career in supportive roles for performing arts organizations including New York City Opera. No stranger to Uptown!, Catherine regularly performs as a member of one of Uptown!s seven resident companies, Opera tutti. She is proud to already be a member of the Uptown! “family”.
April Evans is one of two Administrative staff at Uptown!, managing box office, events and programming logistics. April caught the attention of past Director, Angela Scully as a volunteer several years ago as a person who pays attention to detail and knows how to get things done. No stranger to the performing arts, April also manages Chosen Dance Company with her husband Clyde Evans Jr. She enjoys the ever changing work of getting to know new patrons and new performers at Uptown!
Debra started her professional career in Musical Theatre touring the east coast in Me and My Girl and Annie. In London, she conceived, created and implemented an intensive course in Dance and Musical Theatre utilizing her proximity to the West End. Debra now offers the course in the U.S. and has published a feature article in Dance Studio Life Magazine (October, 2015) based on her curriculum. She also created a program matching American and international dance schools which was nationally sponsored by National Dance Week.
Debra graduated with a certificate in dance from the University of the Arts and also holds a B.A. in Arts Administration. Debra has been featured in Dance, Dancer and Dance Teacher Magazines for her work in dance education. She is certified in all three levels of Progressing Ballet Technique and is accredited at the Master Level with the National Registry of Dance Educators. Debra is a Temple University honorarium proctor for the performance examination of dance education candidates. Debra was a contributing writer for Dance Studio Life Magazine for eight years and is currently a columnist for The Dance Journal and Phindie.
Sharon has been excited about Uptown! since she saw that very first poster several years ago. She believes that culture builds community and agreed with founders that West Chester needed a theater as an important element in its growth as a vibrant community. With a long history of developing, implementing and marketing arts programs for non profit organizations, Sharon looks forward to building on Uptown!’s rapid success. Her experiences include work with visual and performing arts and artist groups, large and small. In the Chicago area, Sharon managed and promoted tours for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and Oak Park community. More locally, her work helped raise community awareness and participation in the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus, Unionville High School Musical Theater and, in Yorklyn, DE, the Center for the Creative Arts. Involvement in successful arts programs with extraordinarily talented people gives her great joy.
Charlotte Kroft is one of two Administrative staff at Uptown! In addition to general administrative duties such as box office, house management during performances, and coordinating memberships, Charlotte is on point for scheduling and training the theater’s cadre of volunteers. Prior to joining the staff, Charlotte volunteered at Uptown! and enjoyed a long-term and diverse career at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. She has been a member of Concordia Choral Arts since the fall of 2008, and served as both Secretary and President for a number of years. At Uptown!, Charlotte enjoys the diverse and fast-paced nature of the theater, especially interacting with patrons and tremendously talented performers!
Brydon has equal and extensive knowledge on sound and lighting, always delivering a first class experience in all of his shows. After obtaining his degree in Audio Technology, Brydon has worked full time as lighting designer for Premier Productions, designing for Theatre Harrisburg, The Giant Center (18,000 seats), Hershey Theater, Underground Arts Philadelphia, Hershey Area Playhouse, and the Hershey Lodge to name a few. As FOH audio technician, Brydon held residency at the Music Box Theatre for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. This 800 seat theatre houses music and dance reviews, concerts, national touring artists, and unique resident productions. He has held the role of Technical Director, Master Electrician, Audio Engineer, and Lighting Designer and Engineer for countless venues in Central Pennsylvania. As a performer, Brydon is and actor, plays trumpet, cello, and continues to perfect his juggling and circus skills. At Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, Brydon has worked as Audio 1, Audio 2, and lighting for Kiss The Sky: Jimi Hendrix and Cream, Evvolution: Chosen Dance’s Story of Hip Hop, Speaker Series: Victoria Browning Wyeth. More to come!
Director of West Chester Studio for the Performing Arts, which she founded in 2009, Therese is a professional actress who has performed in New York City, Los Angeles as well as regional theaters across the country. She holds an MFA in Classical Theatre from the Old Globe Theater Professional Actor Training Program and has been seen and heard in Commercials, Voice-overs, TV, Soap Operas, Industrials, Film, and on Stage. Therese join the closing cast of the 1997 Broadway Company of Annie as Martin Charnin’s assistant director and continued on with the National Tour. Therese received a Best Actress Dramalogue Award for her work as Grace in Annie and was nominated for a Best Actress Robby Award for her work as Fiona in Brigadoon, both while working in Los Angeles. In addition to performing Therese has taught Musical Theatre, Shakespeare, Acting and Speech for over 25 years at many theaters and schools: The Old Globe Theatre, LA Repertory Company, Flat Rock Playhouse, Performers Theatre Workshop in NJ, The Hedgerow Theatre, The Media Theatre as well as private coaching in New York City.