Artistic Staff 2019
Jay Manley, Director
Jay Manley is an award-winning director whose musicals and plays throughout the Bay Area have garnered repeated praise and numerous awards from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and Dean Goodman “Choice” Awards. He founded Foothill Music Theatre in Los Altos, California, to present classic and new musicals on the campus of Foothill College. He was the recipient of a 2006 special citation from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle “…in recognition of his distinguished career as founder and artistic director of Foothill Music Theatre.” At Foothill College where he chaired the Theatre Arts Department, he also established the Foothill Theatre Conservatory, a flourishing pre-professional actor training program. For the last 30 years, Jay has led popular theatre tours to New York, Ashland, London, and other major theatre production centers, through his company, New York Theatre Tour: www.nytheatretour.com. Jay’s extensive knowledge of American musical theatre history has made him a sought-after speaker and lecturer. Jay earned a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He lives in the East Bay.
Mark Dietrich, Music Director/ Conductor
Mark Dietrich is a Computer Science professor, piano instructor, audition coach, and small business owner, having retired from the military in 2006 and from IT/tech in 2017. Credits: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Oklahoma! (x3); The Full Monty; Man of La Mancha; Next to Normal; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; The Honky Tonk Angels; Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical; The Taffetas (x2); How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Forever Plaid; 1776; Pitch Perfect; Dogfight; Footloose; Guys & Dolls; Legally Blonde (x2); Young Frankenstein; Avenue Q; RENT. Assistant MD/Associate Conductor/Pianist favorites: Next to Normal; The Fantasticks; Rhythms of His Soul: The Eugene O’Neill Story, Mamma Mia; Little Shop of Horrors. Special thanks to my #1 fans (my kids): Ellen, John, Mary, and Julia.
Nicole Helfer, Choreographer
Nicole is a Bay Area native and a graduate of San Francisco State University. Choreography credits include: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan and West Side Story for Mountain Play, In the Heights for Broadway By The Bay (Theatre Bay Area Award-winner), Dogfight for OMG Productions, Tarzan for Contra Costa Musical Theater (Shellie Award nominee), Rent for Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre Company, Measure for Measure for San Francisco State University, 8 Track: The Sounds of the 70s, Six Women With Brain Death, and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (Shellie Award nominee) for Willows Theatre Company. She has also choreographed Click Clack Moo and the very successful Pinkalicious for Bay Area Children’s Theater. In addition to performing regularly in regional musical theatre productions, she has taught dance and theatre classes for Young REP, Kid Stock, Inc., Dance Mission Theatre, Marilyn Izdebski Productions, YMCA and Spindrift School of Performing Arts. Currently, Nicole is happily teaching a variety of dance classes at the Ballet School in Walnut Creek and is theatre faculty at Oakland School for the Arts. She is so honored to be working with such an amazing creative team.
Michelle Navarre-Huff, Costume Designer
Michelle “Mishka” received her Master’s Degree in Costume Design from Western Illinois University and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, holds a B.A. in French and a minor in Art and Theatrical Design from Central University of Iowa. Mishka resides in Olympia WA and is the Costume Shop Manager/ Staff Designer for University of Puget Sound and owns her own Costume rental and production house – Costume Atelier Masque & Pettycote. She has worked in numerous theatres from Olympia to Seattle including Tacoma Actors Guild, Theatre 9/12, Olympia Family Theatre and specializes in large cast Musical Theatre. Some of her favorite productions include: Mr. Burns; A Post Electric Play, The Force of Habit, Spring Awakening, The Secret Garden (musical), Metamorphoses, The Cradle Will Rock and dressing interpretive docents for and exhibit – Discovering the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Seattle Science Center. In her spare time Mishka loves to paint and her work can occasionally be seen in Washington area venues.
Becky Parker-Geist, Properties Designer
Becky works bi-coastally Off Broadway in NY and in the Bay Area, filling a wide range of production roles (props, scenic, lights, production management, costumes…). In NY she has worked with Ars Nova Theater, NY Theatre Workshop, Signature Theatre, Atlantic Theatre, etc., and in the Bay Area: Mountain Play, A.C.T., Alter Theatre, Marin Ballet, etc. She also runs her own audiobook production company, Pro Audio Voices. Becky’s great passion is to help great stories come alive through theatre and voiceover. Becky is President of Bay Area Independent Publishers Assn. and the Professional Connections chapter of BNI. She lives in San Rafael has three adult daughters and a granddaughter.