Meet Our Staff

Meet the 2022 Staff for all of our theatre productions.

Our current positions are filled for 2022. But, please stay in touch and learn more about our apprentice program here. We begin accepting those applications in January of each year for the season.

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Brendan Ragotzy

Barn Producer/Director Brendan Ragotzy. Brendan literally grew up in the business, from his walk-on debut in 1966's OLIVER! to his work as a stagehand, spot operator, stage manager, actor, director, assistant producer, and now Producer/Director.

Combining his parents' attributes with his own practical expertise, the Barn has an ideal leader for its second generation of Ragotzy ownership. In 1989 he made his directorial debut with HAIR, followed by our all-time hit THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, PHANTOM, A FEW GOOD MEN, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, TOMMY, BIG RIVER, FOOTLOOSE, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (also playing Pontius Pilate), ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT, THE WIZARD OF OZ, SHENANDOAH, THE CIVIL WAR (one of his favorites), CINDERELLA, MAN OF LA MANCHA, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, MOVE OVER, MRS. MARKHAM, AMERICAN IDIOT, and ROCK OF AGES.

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Penelope Alex

School Dean, Marketing, Equity/Staff/Apprentice Coordinator

In her 36th season, Penelope has more than established herself as the Barn’s quintessential leading lady. Her resume here is highlighted by a series of compelling performances. Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD, Donna in MAMMA MIA! Golde in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Aldonza in MAN OF LA MANCHA, Mona in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, (all opposite Robert Newman), and opposite Tom Wopat as Annie in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.

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Patrick Hunter

Managing Director/Box Office Manager

Patrick returns this summer for his eleventh season on the Barn stage. Favorite Barn roles include Beadle Bamford in SWEENEY TODD, Judah Ben Hur (and many others) in BEN HUR, The Preacher in BONNIE AND CLYDE, Warner Purcell in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, and Nicely Nicely in GUYS AND DOLLS, for which he won the Wilde Award. Patrick's directing credits include two productions of DISASTER!, 9 to 5 and 2019's BIG THE MUSICAL, for which he was recognized as outstanding director at the Wilde Awards.

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Troy Benton


This is Troy’s 21st season at the Barn Theatre. Though he can primarily be found in the orchestra pit he does come up for food, water, and to make guest appearances in the Rehearsal Shed Lounge. As a composer, he has penned music and songs for Barn Productions, such as OLD TIMER, RAUNCH AND ROLL, IN HOT WATER, and more.

Assistant Stage Manager Emily Boomer

Emily Boomer

Assistant Stage Manager

Emily is excited to be joining the Barn this summer for her first full season! She is not a stranger though, as she has been the Assistant Stage Manager for the ROCKY HORROR SHOW in 2019 and 2021.

Emily majored in Stage Management at Western Michigan University...

Technical Director Brett Buradell

Brett Burradell

Technical Director

After many years away working as a musician, audio engineer, video/projection mapping designer, screen printer, technical director, and music venue manager in Chicago, IL and New Orleans, LA, Brett has returned to his home state of Michigan and excitedly joins the Barn's staff for his first season in 2022.


Steven Lee Burright

Scenic Designer/Painting Artist

Sixteen seasons and still going strong and loving it at The Barn Theatre.

Steven’s thirty-four-year career has reached a lifelong high following his nomination and subsequent installation into The Barn Theatre Wall of Fame! This is an honor that fills him with immense pride and Joy. Eternal thanks to the Ragotzy Family for the Honor and the overall mentorship of those Barnies who came before.  Special thanks to Dusty Reeds/Associate Producer Emeritus, for her unwavering support and Mentorship. “ I owe my friend Dusty, my Career”.

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John Jay Espino

Rehearsal Shed Bar Show Musical Director

This is John’s 12th season here since ’92! Barn audiences will remember him from many roles including Plankton in SpongeBob Squarepants, Cogsworth in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Julian Marx in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, Herod in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, the Narrator in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and Sancho in MAN OF LA MANCHA. John has also served as the Barn’s musical director for SUNSET BLVD, MAN OF LA MANCHA, BLOOD BROTHERS, SOUTH PACIFIC, BIG RIVER, CHICAGO, and SPAMALOT.

He will once again be musical directing our very popular nightly Rehearsal Shed bar show.

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Jeannette Fischer

Costume Coordinator

Nettie (as she is known at the Barn) is an energetic, indispensable member of our team. As manager of our costume shop and storage, Nettie has kept that department running smoothly for over twenty years.

Her favorite show was CAUGHT IN THE NET, which she designed and built herself.

Musical Director Chris Gray

Chris Gray

Musical Director

Chris started at the Barn Theatre with our outdoor Bar Show in 2020, joined the staff last summer and we’re pleased that he has joined us for Seven Brides and Rock of Ages as Musical Director once again.

An eclectic musician in the Midwest region, Chris had music-directed musicals, opera, symphony orchestra, choral ensembles, and cabarets to name a few.

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Melissa Cotton Hunter


Melissa is celebrating her eleven-year Barniversary this year and thrilled to be spending it back on the Main Stage as actor and choreographer! Barn audiences will undoubtedly remember her recent roles as Julia in THE WEDDING SINGER, Sophie in MAMMA MIA!, Shelby in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and the first three-time Janet in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (2012, 2019, and 2021).

Costume Designer Karsen


Costume Designer

This is Karsen’s first summer at The Barn Theatre.  She has designed and constructed costumes throughout her career for both professional and academic theaters, including Theatre West Virginia and Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Jerry McAllister

Jerry McAllistar

Stage Manager

This is Jerry’s 9th season at the Barn, and we are ecstatic to have him back with us! Jerry has served as stage manager at 3 Below Theatre and The Retro Dome in San Jose, CA as well as production managing. He has also stage managed at the Brava Theatre in San Francisco, CA, Theatreworks USA and Kraine Theatre, in New York City.



Garrylee McCormick

Hair/Wig/Make-up Master

Garrylee has served as the hair and wig master for the Barn Theatre since 1961. In addition, he is the hair and wig master for Western Michigan University’s Theatre Department and is a freelance wig master for national tours playing at Miller Auditorium and DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids.

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Joe Pehrson

Back 40 Pizza Staff

Joe was an apprentice at the Barn Theatre from 1994-1996. He appeared in many productions, his favorites being HAIR, LA CAGE…, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, and the world premiere of BILLY THE KID.

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Matt Pierce

Properties Manager

Matt is a senior Theatre Arts major at Taylor University. Matt has spent his past three years working on several production staffs as Master Electrician and Properties Master. Matt is passionate about props artistry and scenic design; he is grateful to strengthen his skills working at the Barn Theatre this summer.

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Calli Ragotzy


Calli is in her third and final year of Western Michigan’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program and is set to graduate in April 2023. Even though she is not going down the traditional route of theatre or film like her siblings and family, she still is able to incorporate her creative side into her future profession through interventions and unique, individualized care.

Jake Ragotzy

Jake Ragotzy

Sound Designer

Jake is ready to get whipped back into shape here at the Barn! He is the sound designer for the main stage shows and functions as the landscaping manager.

He has recently graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Film Studies and a Minor in Fiction Filmmaking.

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Luke Ragotzy

The Rehearsal Shed & Miss Penelope's Bar Manager,
and Bar Show Director

Luke is so excited to see you all this summer! Along with being a member of the Equity company, Luke is the Bar manager of the Rehearsal Shed, Miss Penelope’s Saloon and will be directing Bar Shows this summer.

Luke has appeared on stage many times here at the Barn - most recently as Rocky in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW...

Musical Director Matt Shabala

Matt Shabala

Musical Director

Matt is beyond thrilled to return to The Barn for the 76th season!  Matt spent the last three years in the Denver area teaching kids and adults to play the piano and sing at Globalsound Studio in Broomfield, CO.

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Sammy Verdino

Lighting Designer

Sammy Verdino is a freelance lighting designer, programmer, and electrician who is bursting with joy at the opportunity to join the Barn Theatre for their 2022 summer season.

Previously, Sammy worked as the Lighting Designer and Assistant Executive Director of the Showboat Theatre in Iowa but has had the opportunity to work at a number of theatres in a number of states around the country.