Our Staff

Leadership

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JANICE LUISE-LUTKUS

Executive/Artistic Director/Author 

Executive Director and founder of AspenDream Productions™; CT’s longest running Comedy Wedding and Murder Mystery Company.

Janice has directed more than 60 plays including the works of David Auburn, Neil Simon, Peter Shaffer, and A.R. Gurney.  She was the producer and host of the TV program, CT Arts & Entertainment© a program that interviewed entertainers in the State of CT.

Janice is the author, producer, and director of seven interactive, immersive plays that are often sold out months in advance. Janice is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America, League of Professional Theatre Women, and Associate Member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society.

For more information see her personal website, janicedirects.com

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BARBARA PARADISE

Stage Manager / Editor

Barbara is a former secondary business education teacher and realtor. Currently, she is a tutor on an as-needed basis for a local high school as well as a justice of the peace. Barbara holds a number of degrees including a MBA and is currently working on completion of a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Janice says she has more degrees than a thermometer.

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RACHEL SZOSTEK

Director of Development

Rachel is a Connecticut native living in Southington and pursuing her Masters Degree in Library Science. Homeschooled until the 7th grade, she started singing, dancing, and acting as a way to meet other kids, working with the Hartford Children's Theater, Hart School of Music, Griffith Academy, and the New Britain Repertory theater. The dancing didn’t stick, but performing remained a huge love. She joined Phoenix Theater Company’s annual productions of the Rocky Horror Picture Show performing in a variety of roles, including both Columbia and Janet, and starring as Rita in Educating Rita with the Windham Theater Guild. This is her return to acting after a 7 year hiatus where she had a few kids and worked a few jobs, including a preschool teacher, traveling science performer, and museum educator. She’s excited to be working with Aspen Dream Productions and becomin’ a part of da family.

Production

Artistic

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STEVE OSSAIS

Music Coordinator

Steve Ossias has been with AspenDream Productions since 2016 and in his current role as Singing/Music Coordinator for the past two seasons. He has built his resume of more than 30 productions since as recent as 2009. Prior to joining ADP Steve performed with and did technical production work with several community theaters in CT and MA. Some of his favorite roles include Fagin (Oliver!), Scrooge (Scrooge, the Musical), Chief (Get Smart), Grandpa Joe (Willy Wonka), Marlowe (Enter Laughing), Ambassador Magee (Don’t Drink the Water), The Rabbi (Fiddler), and Mushnik (Little Shop of Horrors). 

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DONNA EKEGREN

Costume Manager, Dramaturge, Stella Machiavelli (Franco’s Ex), Ice Queen (Clue)

Donna Ekegren was born in the Bronx and has resided in Cheshire, CT for the past 34 years. She is a former teacher and has taught high school, middle school and nursery school. She began acting at eight years old and has loved it ever since. She has performed in many shows in New York and Connecticut. Favorite roles include Anna in The King and I; M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias; Mae Peterson in Bye, Bye Birdie; Maria in Lend Me a Tenor; Melissa Gardner in Love Letters; and Lucille in The Cemetery Club. She has been with ADP for 20 years. Thank you to her husband and two daughters for their never ending support and to everyone in ADP.

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JENNEY RIVARD

Costume Manager, Mama Lambrusco

Jenney has been involved in theater for 2 decades now. She has mostly been involved in Castle Craig Players and served on their Board of Directors, and with ADP. Her greatest love is the murder mysteries, so Aspen Dream Productions is a great fit. In her real life she has been an optician for 44 years and taught community college for 27 years. Just like Mama, her cooking might just kill you.

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BARBARA O'CONNELL

Creative Consultant and Acting Coach, Mama

Barbara’s love of comedy and theater began at the age of 10 when she made up shows and performed them for the neighborhood kids in her family garage. She has performed for numerous theater groups, including Thomaston Opera House, The Warner Theater, Windsor Jesters, Southington Community Theater, Pleasant Valley Players and the Torrington Civic Theater. Some of her favorite roles include Anna in The King and I, Mrs. Banks in Barefoot in the Park (3 times), Mother Superior in The Sound of Music, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Belle Poitrine in Little Me and Aunt Em in the Wizard of Oz. Directing credits include Cabaret, The Most Happy Fella, The Man of LaMancha, and Goshen Players first non-musical show, Blithe Spirit. Her most recent and certainly most favorite comedy roles were for Aspen Dream Production, where she played Mama-Angie Lambrusco and/or Sister Merry Rose for 13 years.

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DANIEL VIETS

Music Assistant, Danny Lambrusco (Groom), Waddlesworth (Clue)

Danny Viets has been performing on stage for over 20 years now! His endeavors have taken him from the high school stage, through Six Flags, community theaters, and dinner theater, as well as a small part in an international film. Roles that have stood out to him are Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the Baker in Into the Woods, and Lt. Cable in South Pacific. He has been part of AspenDream Productions for 8 years now and has enjoyed every minute of it. His goal throughout his career as a performer has always been to bring happiness and joy to others and he will continue to do that tonight!

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CHRISTOPHER BETHUNE

Modeling Instruction, Moe da Muscle

Christopher Bethune was born in New Haven, CT and has been a member of AspenDream Productions since 2017.  Mr. Bethune has an extensive resume which includes acting, modeling and film production while working as a Social Worker. Mr. Bethune continues to train at the Actor's Gym under the guidance of Reno Venturi. His recent projects include Footprints of an Angel, Rainbow and Karmic Angel.

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MELISSA RAND

Choreographer/ Donna Machiavelli/ Ice Queen

Melissa is a Connecticut native, having performed across the state in both community and professional productions since the age of 8. She attended ACT School for the Arts and received her BA in Theatre from Kean University. She has been a member of ADP for over five years, appearing in many shows during that time and has performed at Mystic Seaport in their seasonal productions. She has also been a part of several independent film productions. In addition to acting, Melissa is also a singer and dancer, a true triple threat - so all you goons better watch out!

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KAYLA KUSY

Music Coordinator, Cleavette (Clue), Donna Machiavelli (Bride), Sophia I’llCastraya,  various bridesmaids,

Kayla Kusy is an actress, singer and model from Connecticut.  She graduated from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC in 2018.  She has been in shows “For Better & For Worse”, “Mob’s Murder Mystery” and “Reform School”.  She has been with ADP since 2019 and is not only excited to be acting in “I Haven’t Got A Clue” but so honored to be making her debut as Production Manager with AspenDream Productions!

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DON RONDINI

Uncle Franco / Creative Consultant

Don is a 30 year veteran of the Connecticut theater scene. He has performed with various theater groups throughout the state from Windsor to Orange. He seems to find himself in many Neal Simon productions, playing Victor Velazco in Barefoot in the Park, Sergeant Toomey in Biloxi Blues, Barney Cashman in Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Mel Edison in Prisoner of Second Ave. Then he came across this wonderful lady Janice Luise of Aspen Dream Productions who invited him to audition for the part of Father O’Flasky in their comedy wedding show, For Better or For Worse. Don performed in that role for 10 years before getting the lead role of Uncle Franco for the last 10 years, which has been the highlight of his acting career. He would like to thank his wife Marie for 30 years of running lines with him and all this theater craziness.

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JOSEPH GARAHAN

Sound &  Music

Night Owl Entertainment

Administration

David Lutkus, General Manager/Director of Accounting

Carissa Wages, Website and Video Editing