Our Staff

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Gus Rogerson, Artistic Director, started at the Project as a volunteer in 1991. He has been a member of the New York theater community for more than 20 years. His acting credits include the original productions of SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, FACE VALUE, and THE GREY ZONE, and the film IN AND OUT, opposite Matt Dillon. His directing credits include the American premiere of David Harrower’s first play, KNIVES IN HENS. He served as associate producer for the feature film SUNDAY, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Carol Ochs, Executive Director, has worked in the non-profit theater community for over 25 years. Carol came to the Project from Lincoln Center Theater where she worked for five years as assistant general manager. Previously, she was director of marketing and development for the Ark Theater Company of Soho. She holds an MFA in Theater Management from the Yale School of Drama and has taught there. She is a board member of the Human Arts Association, of ART/NY and has sat on the Nancy Quinn Fund and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs grants panels.
John Sheehy, Director of Development & Marketing, joined The 52nd Street Project from Lincoln Center Theater where he was Development Associate and Research Associate for four years. Prior to that he worked at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT. John is also a lyricist and published playwright with an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Brandeis University. His plays have been seen in Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Louisville, KY.
George Babiak, Production Manager, worked for years as a bicycle mechanic at Bicycle Habitat in New York City while futilely pursuing a career in the theater. Prior to working at the Project, he helped found Recycle-A-Bicycle. George also traveled the world as a member of TheaterSports New York, an improv comedy troupe. He has a degree in English Literature from Hunter College. George is also a PADI SCUBA Divemaster and member of the New York Aquarium Volunteer Dive Team. One of his latest and proudest achievements is swimming the Hellespont in August of 2015 with his wife Vanessa Valdes. He loves the Project, is delighted to finally have that elusive career in the theater, and wants to work here for a couple of centuries.
Liz Bell, LMSW, Director of Education, received a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy from Villanova University in 1998. She began volunteering at the Project as Homework Helper in 2000, becoming an intern that same year. In 2001, aside from joining the Project staff, she completed her MA in American and British Literature from NYU. In 2009, she finished her MSW at Fordham University, with a concentration in clinical social work and a specialization in children and families. She became a licensed social worker in 2010. She is currently working toward her LCSW while attending the Training in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy program at IPTAR (Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research).
Natalie Hirsch, Associate Artistic Director, was born and raised in San Francisco. She attended Brown University and then received a Masters in Applied Theater from the City University of New York. Before coming to the Project, she directed the Junior Youth Theater of the Creative Arts Team. For many summers, she was the Performance Coordinator of Camp Winnarainbow, a performance arts and circus camp in Northern California. Natalie can speak fluent French, juggle, and walk on stilts. She is also trained in a number of different dance techniques. She is totally exhilarated to be joining the Project Team.
Tim J. Lord, Technical Director, began as a Project volunteer in 2012, writing, directing, and assisting in Playmaking. On the technical side of theater, he has been working professionally since 1998 both Off-Broadway and for numerous regional and mid-sized theaters, including Trinity Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and St. Louis Black Rep. Tim also has an MFA in Playwriting from the University of California, San Diego. His plays have been produced in Boston, New York, Louisville, Los Angeles, and in many cities named for saints, including San Francisco, San Diego, and St. Louis.
Laura Lane, Manager of Individual Giving, joined The 52nd Street Project in 2014 after four years at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), where she was a Senior Campaign Manager for their largest fundraising campaign, Team In Training. Prior to that she worked at Jersey Cares in Newark, NJ, and was an intern and musical theater apprentice at Telsey & Co. Casting. Laura volunteers with the LLS Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, where she has managed fundraising events for two winning candidate campaigns. An avid runner, Laura co-captains a Team In Training Community Team, the “LL Cool Kids”, that has been nationally recognized for their fundraising efforts. Laura is a theater kid at heart, first discovering her passion at the Stage Door Workshop, and later earning her B.A. in Theater and Speech Communications from Trinity University.
Johanna Vidal, Community Coordinator, is also a former Project kid, and a recent graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in Spanish. While at U of M, she was co-Entertainment Chair of EnspiRED, an arts organization focused on self-expression. She also interned for En Nuestra Lengua, a Spanish immersion program where she helped kindergarten students enhance their vocabularies in their native language of Spanish. She is thrilled to join the Project as a full-time staff member!
Melissa Gundling, Development & Management Associate, joined us in the Fall of 2015. She is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina where she studied Public Relations and Dance Performance and Choreography. While in school, she studied abroad in Florence, Italy and was president of the Student Advisory Board for Dance. Melissa has been performing from a young age and has interned with various nonprofits including Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. She enjoys cooking, sappy movies and spontaneous travelling. Melissa is extremely excited to contribute to such a welcoming and inspiring organization.
Garrett Kim, Program Director, joined the “intern (summer 2014) turned staff” club in 2015. He has taught in Milwaukee for the Theatre Academy and the Next Steps program for students with autism at First Stage Children’s Theater, where he’s also an alumnus of their pre-professional actor training program Young Company. Garrett currently studies playwriting and directing just up the road at Fordham University and plans to graduate in May 2016. He is a National Merit Scholar Finalist, as well as a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the national honor society of Jesuit universities. He’s overjoyed to be part of the Project Team!
Jennifer Jimenez, Receptionist, is another Project Kid turned staffer. As a teenager, she enjoyed thrift shopping and began developing her talents as a designer, making denim purses out of distressed clothing scraps and bedazzling T-shirts. Being an active member and volunteer of the 52nd Street Project led to internships with costume and jewelry designers. Her skills were sharpened and she was later hired for special projects, which included garment construction and assisting with high profile television shoots. Jennifer attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Marketing. Years later she began to experiment with jewelry design and realized this to be her true passion. Wire wrapped rings and exclusive trinkets are what makes Jennifer’s style unique. Her own brand, Golden Knuckles Jewelry NYC, was born in 2011.
THE 52ND STREET PROJECT 789 10th Avenue New York, NY 10019 | 212.333.5252
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