The Montford Park Players are run by a volunteer board of directors, each of whom serve for a 3-year term. The board meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 pm on Zoom, unless otherwise notified. Meetings are open to all, with the exception of matters affecting personnel. Organizational documents are available to the public here.
Montford Park Players Board of Directors
Board Chair – Jessica Frantz
Jessica is Director of Development for BirdNote, an independent nonprofit production company. Prior to joining BirdNote, Frantz worked as the Director of Membership and Operations for the Public Radio Program Directors Association (PRPD), the trade association for the public radio content community, and formerly worked in membership and development for Blue Ridge Public Radio (WCQS FM) in Asheville, NC. Jessica also has experience as a fundraising and organizational development consultant working in the not-for-profit arts and community service sectors with a focus on revenue impact strategy that combines individual giving, social media strategy, audience engagement and activation, and data management best practices. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credentialed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. In her free time Jessica serves on multiple not-for-profit boards and hangs out with her 75 pound labradoodle, Max.
Board Vice Chair – Frank Salvo
Board Secretary – Honor Moor Honor Moor started out her career as a board certified K-12 art teacher but quickly transitioned to follow her dreams in acting in both Seattle and Manhattan. She was a member of a Southern Repertory Theatre & performed in countless plays and a long standing Off-Broadway musical review. She studied the Sandford Meisner technique with famed teacher Fred Karaman, in Carnegie Hall Studios. After years of acting, Honor left the circus and worked for two New York Cancer Foundations in development where she learned to fundraise, create events and write grants. Moor moved back to her hometown of Asheville in 1998 and raised two kids and continued to act, direct and teach theatre while also being the Executive Director for Junior Achievement WNC, Asheville Parks and Greenways Foundation and was in charge of development for the Altamont Theatre. She was a six year member of the Junior League of Asheville and board member of the NC Arboretum, Jewish Community Center, Asheville City Schools Foundation, Asheville Community Theatre, Asheville High School PTO and AHS Speech & Debate Executive Committee. Moor is currently is serving on the THRIVE board. She is delighted to be writing plays and has had five of them produced locally at the Magnetic Theatre and Montford Park Players.
Board Treasurer – Charles Umberger
Board Member At Large – Stan Ingber
Stan Ingber, a retired law professor, has taught and written in the fields of constitutional law, criminal law, and legal philosophy for more than 43 years at 10 schools in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has also served on numerous American Bar Association and government commissions dealing with criminal justice and anti-discrimination. In addition to his many years performing before crowds of often enthralled law students, Stan has also enjoyed the stage lights as a litigator, a storyteller, an actor (community theater), and the legal consultant for The Hippodrome Theater, a professional regional theater in Gainesville, Florida. He thanks the Montford Park Players for again affording him a role to play in the theatrical community.
Board Member At Large – Tod Leaven
First and foremost, Tod Leaven is father and husband, living in the Montford neighborhood of Asheville, just a few blocks from the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater. Additionally, he is a lawyer and partner at the law firm Grimes Teich & Anderson, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and a Veteran of the United States Army. He likes to believe that he is also an actor, appearing beside his very talented daughter, Eleanor, at Montford Park Players, Asheville Community Theater, and Shakespeare & Friends in Tryon, NC. He attended college at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and law school at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill.
Board Member At Large – Candace Taylor
Candace Taylor is an actress, teacher, vocal coach and director who has taught Acting and Voice and Speech classes at Loyola University Chicago, North Central College, Roosevelt University, University of Colorado/Boulder, University at Albany, Southern Methodist University, University of Tennessee/Knoxville, Northwestern University, and University of Delaware. She is presently Chair and Artistic Director of the Theatre Department at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She has worked as an actress with the Acting Company, the Public Theatre, American Players Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, North Carolina Stage Company and Milwaukee Shakespeare, to name a few. Candace, trained in the classics, has also directed a whole lot of Shakespeare. As a vocal coach, she has worked with Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and with Indiana Repertory Theatre, where she was the dialect coach for a production of Intimate Apparel, starring Viola Davis. Most recently, Candace has been teaching in the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Center through the Inside/Out program out of Temple University and has developed a new theatre course called Performing Social Justice, in which students research, study, create, and perform activist and protest pieces. She has been elected to and served in Warren Wilson College’s shared governance Forum for four years, helping to create new policy for the College. Last spring, Forum members, which include faculty, staff, and administrators elected her to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the College, representing the interests of faculty. Candace has a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University, an MFA in Acting from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware, and is a certified instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework.
Youth Representative – Eli Hamilton
Governance Committee Chair – Jessica Frantz
Finance Committee Chair – Charles Umberger
Fundraising Committee Chair – Tod Leaven
Programs Committee Chair – Candace Taylor
IDEA Committee Chair – TBA
Montford Park Players Staff
Executive Director & CEO – John Russell
Executive Director John Russell became the first employee and Executive Director of Montford Park Players in 2006. He has been instrumental in growing the audience and enhancing the audience experience since his arrival. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Arts Council in July 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper. He currently also serves on the North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation Board as Vice President and Chief Fundraising Officer, and also as a member of the Outdoor Theatre Committee for SETC.
In 2018 the Institute of Outdoor Theatre recognized Russell with the Mark R. Sumner Award, a national award exemplifying the highest standards of American outdoor drama. The Sumner Award recognizes significant contributions by an individual to a specific drama, or to the outdoor drama movement. Recipients have played a major role in the production of a specific outdoor drama or they have made a noteworthy impact on outdoor theatre.
Production Manager, and Resident Fight Choreographer – Deanna Braine Smith
Production Stage Manager – Caitlin Lane
Head of Costumes – Trinity Smith Keel
Director of Photography – Rodney Smith
Director of Facilities – Walker Linkous
Resident Lighting Designer – Jason Williams
Resident Dance Choreographer & Social Media Coordinator – Kristi DeVille
Marketing Director – Jeff Catanese
Food & Beverage Manager – David Broshar