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Guest Speakers

Danny J. Butts
Carol Cimino
Gene Columbus
Andrew Kato
Hope Rose Kelly
Jamie Kern
Sterling Michols
Stephanie Pearlman
Charles Perry
Nicola Roberts
NIkky Rossini
Marc Rothschild
Rick Spencer
Jason Tart
Tan Falkowski Wells
Alisa Zinovoy

Carol has served in many roles during her tenure at SeaWorld of Florida. In addition to her nearly 20 years as a technical entertainment manager, she has also worked a variety of disciplines including lighting, lasers, ride maintenance, costumes, stage management and technical direction. With a BA in Communication Arts, a Masters in Adult Education and Training and continuing education in computer technology, she considers herself a lifelong learner, and is familiar with the struggle to balance continuing education with practical experience. 

Currently working in the convention and trade show industry overseeing Freeman Audio Visual's work on the West Coast, Tan has been working in live production for 20 years. Starting at Penn State's Center for Performing Arts, Tan moved on to work with theaters and festivals across the Northeast before heading west to join Freeman where she has been for ten years working as a production manager before moving into general management.

Alisa Zinovoy is a Producer with PSAV's Creative Services. In this role, Alisa is part of a team that provides all aspects of event production including creative development, operations and digital media. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BFA in Theatrical Stage Management. After completing internships at Williamstown Theatre Festival and Disney Event Group, Alisa spent over a decade stage managing and producing events. 

Before joining PSAV in 2012, Alisa worked for a diverse group of organizations including Disney Event Group, Walt Disney Creative Entertainment as well as a variety of production companies. 

Gene Columbus had a performing career working in Motion Pictures and Television, as well as Musical Theatre while attending Santa Monica College. Over time, Stage Management opportunities became available and this was perhaps, the best training and use of Gene’s talents.  In 1970, the Disney Organization asked that he join the national and international tour of “Disney on Parade” as the Ballet Master, Assistant Stage Manager, and Cinderella's Prince. In 1977, Gene accepted a position at Walt Disney World as Manager of Entertainment in the Magic Kingdom. Later, he took on the responsibility as General Manager of Disney’s Convention and Resort Entertainment which involved doing large scale special events and convention shows. Through the years, Gene continuously was involved with Entertainment staffing issues. 

Gene has over 35 years of Disney experience, having managed, produced, cast, and directed many of the shows and events at Walt Disney World.  After his retirement from Disney in the spring of 2008, Gene returned to his first love, theatre, and is now the Executive Director of the Orlando Repertory Theatre.

Danny received his degree in Lighting and Stage Management from Illinois State University and followed this with an internship at Disney. From there he worked in Operations (rides) at Animal Kingdom, transferred over to Magic Kingdom and joined various entertainment teams there for 6 years. After that he moved to Disney Cruise Line where he was an onboard SM for DCL for 4 contracts (swing for the Magic and Wonder).  4 crossovers, 8 casts and 24 different productions later, Danny came back to land and was the PSM for “King Triton’s Concert” at Tokyo DisneySea.  Danny currently works as a Production Manager for TokyoSea.

Andrew Kato is the Producing Artisitic Director at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. During his tenure, he has produced over 60 productions and subscriptions have grown to over 7,600 patrons. He has been the Creative Consultant/Coordinating Producer on the Tony Awards for the last 12 years (which has received the Emmy Award eight times). He has produced many Broadway concerts, including Chess in Concert starring Josh Groban; the Twentieth Anniversary Concert Benefit of Dreamgirls (starring Audra McDonald); Funny Girl in Concert; the Original Broadway Cast Reunion Concert of Once On This Island; The Tenth Anniversary Concert Version of Into the Woods, among others. Andrew produced the 1999 through 2002 New York State Governor’s Arts Awards; and Experience Lincoln Center (hosted by Jon Stewart). He was the conceiver and Associate Producer of Madhattan at Las Vegas’ New York New York Hotel and Casino, Savion Glover and Friends at the Delacorte Theatre, and off-Broadway’s the Bomb-itty of Errors. He was a Producing Associate on the Broadway productions of Jelly’s Last Jam, Angels in America and the off-Broadway production of Cryptogram. 

Hope Rose Kelly has been an equity stage manager for over 15 years.  She has served as the Production Stage Manager at Shakespeare & Company since 2008 as well as stage managed several national tours out of Montana Repertory Theatre, and multiple productions at Long Wharf Theatre.  Hope also serves as the second vice chair for the Stage Managers Association.

Jamie Kern graduated from Millikin University with a BA in Theatre and a Minor in Writing.  She came to work for WDW on the college program immediately following undergrad and never left.  She has worked as a Coordinator in attractions, a Guest Talent Coordinator, and Production Assistant for Magic Kingdom entertainment events.  In 2007 she moved to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where she opened the Jedi Training Academy and went on to work on shows like Fantasmic, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and the Block Party Bash parade.  She was worked as a Production Stage Manager for Creative Entertainment working on Star Wars Weekends and all Run Disney events and on numerous other projects including ESPN the Weekend, ribbon cuttings, Festival of the Masters, press events, and even with Michelle Obama on an event she did here related to kids health.

Sterling Michols graduate from Yale School of Drama with an MFA in Stage Management. Currently based in Berlin, Sterling has made a career of working with circus artists and illusionists.  Highlights include work as a stage and production manager for Cirque Du Soleil, Absinthe Las Vegas, Circus FlicFlac  The New York Premiere of The Illusionists and the national tour of Cris Angel’s Supernaturalist.


Stephanie Pearlman is the VP of Reality and Documentary Television for Asylum Entertainment. She has worked as a producer on multiple popular TV shows including Hells Kitchen, Big Brother, America’s Got Talent, and Locked Up among many others.  Stephanie is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama having received her MFA in Stage Management.

Charles (Chip) Perry is a Lighting Director for WWE televised productions.  He is directly responsible for arena lighting for all WWE products, Wrestlemania, Raw(USA network), Smackdown (SciFi network) Main event and WWE Superstars. A select list of professional credits includes: Lighting Director for WWE’s WrestleMania 29 and 30, Lighting Designer for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and The REP’s Lyle the Crocodile and Charlotte’s Web, Installation Crew for Dragons Go Go Wild at Lotte World (Seoul, South Korea). Sound Design for the National New Play Network Pluto at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and the world premiere of Wizzer Pizzer at 7 Stages Atlanta.   A partial client list of non theatrical shows includes: Bonnaroo Music Festival, Lionel Richie, Firefly Music Festival, Forecastle Music Festival, Bandit Lites, Alabama, Kenny Chesney and Bacardi Global.

Nic Roberts began her career at the Rep Theatre in London.  Her career highlights include working on the Millennium Dome at the turn of the century and serving as a stage manager for The West End’s production of The Lion King.  She moved to the United States in 2004 to work as the General Stage Manager for Cirque Du Soliel’s La Nouba.

Nikky Rossini works at the Hettema group as a Central Producer for Interactives, New Technology, Gameplay, and Show Systems. She has a varied career in international events and attraction producing including work for the RMS Queen Mary, RGH themed entertainment, Riva Creative, and Thinkwell design. Nikky also worked as a production coordinator for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Marc Rothschild is a proud alumnus of Theatre UCF in Orlando, Florida. He graduated with his BFA in Stage Management in 2000. Following a successful internship with Walt Disney World Entertainment, Marc turned his internship into a career.

Marc began his Disney career as a stage manager with the Disney Event Group managing corporate events including stage shows, parties, general sessions, and other industry events

In the fall of 2007, Marc was promoted to the role of production manager at Disney Creative Entertainment- Show Development and Production. He has worked in all four Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Cruise Line. His work for Disney also allows him to support projects across the US and around the world. Marc is currently supporting projects in Tokyo and Shanghai. He also continues to mentor cast members as well as students from Disney’s College Program. Marc’s community involvement also includes adjudicating for the Florida State Thespian Society. 

A Creative Manager for Universal Orlando Resort, Rick is the author of five novels; ICEBOUND The Viking Cipher (available on iTunes/iBooks; Nook; Kindle, etc.); ALL THAT GLITTERS; THE MONEYMASTER; TERROR MERCHANTS; and THE DEVIL’S MIRROR. He provided scripting and show direction for the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me - Minion Mayhem and the all new LegendaryTruth - THE COLLECTIVE an Alternate Reality Game for Halloween Horror Nights 2014. 
As writer/producer/director, Rick’s credits include the feature length motion picture THUNDERBORN (Joseph E. Levine Presents); the PBS television series SHINING TIME STATION “starring” THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE (Quality Family Entertainment), Universal’s interactive website content and live entertainment for HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS (’03 thru '14) including an Addy Award as Director for the LegendaryTruth Interactive Website. Private clients include Paul McCartney’s MPL Communications; Chip Davis’s Mannheim Steamroller; Putnam; Time Warner; Harcourt Brace; Macmillan; Thomas Nelson Publishing; and National Public Radio.

Jason Tart is the Manager of Entertainment Technical Support at SeaWorld of Florida. He holds an Associate's degree in Entertainment Design and Technology from Valencia College and has been with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment since 1986. Jason has served the company in various capacities such as entertainment technician, technical director, stage manager, rigger, and lighting designer in several parks. He now leads the entertainment technical maintenance team in Orlando serving SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica.

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