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.
Holly BrownVice President
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 Distrrict 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.
A. Roy SmithTreasurer
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.
Kane Bender is President of Internetseer the world’s largest website monitoring service that alerting customers when their website is down or slow. He has co-founded and run several internet businesses such as Marine.com, Sailnet.com and others. He also co-founded Crystal Signatures, a local crystal manufacturing company designing and creating the finest lead crystal awards in the world that included gifts of State for Presidents of the United States, International sporting trophies, and corporate gifts.
Kane’s enthusiasm and passion for bringing the Arts to West Chester is contagious. He brings new marketing ideas to grow community awareness and engagement.
Tom McEvoyImmediate Past President
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!
Richard MayUptown! Bravo Theatre
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.
Catherine FriedmanExecutive Director
Sharon GaborMarketing Associate
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 KroftAdministrative Assistant
Therese Walden-MurphyEducation Director
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.
Brydon Lidle IVTechnical Director
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!
Linda M. Foster, Ex-officio
Martha Carson Gentry
Tom McEvoy, Chair