The Staff of The 52nd Street Project

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Kat Almirañez, Associate Artistic Director, has been working in the field of theatre in education for over 18 years. Prior to joining The Project community, Kat was part of the Creative Arts Team (CAT) community for 21 years, going from youth theatre member in 1996 to becoming Program Director for the Literacy through Drama program. Kat is a visual artist, theatre artist, and a human rights activist. She earned her BA at New York University and is currently studying in the MA in Applied Theatre program at CUNY School of Professional Studies.
Avi A. Amon, Music Director, is an award-winning composer, sound artist, and educator. He has written hundreds of songs with the young people at the 52nd St. Project over the years and continues to be inspired each time he sets foot in the building. Outside of The Project, his multi-genre work has been developed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theater Of Louisville, Ars Nova, La Mama, New York Theater Workshop, Spoleto, and in a 100-year old grain silo in Buffalo, NY, among others. He is a Dramatist Guild Fellow, a Larson Grant winner, and has been an artist-in-residence with Berkeley REP, Exploring the Metropolis, Judson, Target Margin, New Dramatists, The O’Neill Theater Center, and Weston Playhouse. Avi also teaches a variety of collaborative art-making courses at NYU Tisch, where he received his MFA in Musical Theatre Writing.
Ahmed Attia, Development Manager, is a former Project kid and a graduate of Lehman College where he earned his BA in History and in Theatre. He is currently working on earning his master’s degree in History at Lehman College as well. Prior to re-joining the Project, Ahmed was a part of the Whitney Museum’s membership team for 2 years, joining them when they moved to their new location downtown. He was also an Educator at the New York Historical Society, where he enjoyed guiding kids of all ages through the museum’s exhibitions. More than anything, Ahmed loves tennis, despite a woeful record playing for the Lehman College tennis team (a record Ahmed refuses to speak about or acknowledge).
George Babiak, Director of Design & Production, 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 since 2007. Two of his proudest achievements are swimming the Hellespont in Turkey in 2015 and 2019 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 BellClinical Consultant, received a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy from Villanova University in 1998. She has a long history with the organization, beginning as a volunteer Homework Helper in 2000 and becoming an intern that same year. In 2001, she completed her MA in American and British Literature from NYU, and joined the Project staff, serving as the Director of Education for 17 years. In 2009, she received her MSW at Fordham University, with a concentration in clinical social work and a specialization in children and families, earning licensure in 2010. In 2017, she became a licensed clinical social worker, received her certification in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, and became an Affiliate Member at IPTAR (Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research).
Ana Gonzalez-Soto, Receptionist,is a Mexican-born theater enthusiast and purveyor of the arts. She moved to New York in 2019 to attend Pace University and shortly after found the 52nd Street Project where she became an intern and volunteer. Ana has participated as a dramaturg, backstage crew, and in-class volunteer for many programs such as Playmaking and Teen Ensemble. Throughout her youth, Ana spent her time studying and practicing different performing arts in Arizona, Southern Texas, and NYC. Her other interests include fashion, travel, carbohydrates, sports that are mostly stretching, and films about immigrants. She lives in Hell’s Kitchen with her boyfriend and her two cats, Elliot and Lana.
Natalie Hirsch, 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
Garrett Kim, Program Director, joined the staff in 2015 after interning and volunteering at the Project. He has taught at First Stage Children’s Theater in Milwaukee for their Theatre Academy and their Next Steps program for students with autism at First Stage, where he’s also an alumnus of their pre-professional actor training program Young Company. Outside of his work at the Project, he creates and develops new theater, and he’s a member of Dramatists Guild of America. Garrett graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University in May 2016 with departmental honors in Theater, concentrating in playwriting & directing.
Kristina Nungaray, Marketing and Events Manager, joined The Project by way of the world of Public Relations. Originally from Houston, Texas, Kristina was drawn to the greater New York area by her love of theater, music, and creative writing. When she is not living her best life at The Project, she is a competitive synchronized and open water swimmer and a newbie runner who is chasing her first full marathon. She spends as much time as possible with her two dogs Jingle and Frijole, or with anyone else’s dogs she can find. She loves spending time giving back to the greater community around her and makes homemade breakfast tacos for people in need, regularly. One of her favorite things to do is cook homemade Mexican food for anyone who will let her!
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 Institutional Advancement, 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.
Johanna Vidal, Director of Education, is a former Project kid and a graduate of 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!  
Caylyn Wan-Creager, Education Associate, is a Bay Area native and graduate of NYU Tisch with a BFA in theatre and minor in Law & Society. At NYU she performed in the Stella Adler tour of The Two Gentlemen of Verona and was VP of the Asian American Theatre Alliance. Caylyn has taught at Kids On Camera and the Marsh Youth Theatre as well as interned at the American Museum of Natural History.  
Brianna Weintraub, Production Manager, is better known as “Bri” (it rhymes with “glee”).  Bri has been working in theater since she was in 2nd grade. She completed her MFA in Technical Production in spring of 2020 and has been working as the Production Manager and Lighting Supervisor at Sarah Lawrence College. Prior to moving to New York, Bri worked in dance, concert production, events, and theatre, and is excited to come back to her ultimate goal of creating theatre while working with young people.




THE 52ND STREET PROJECT 789 10th Avenue New York, NY 10019 | 212.333.5252
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