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About Toms River North Theatre

Our Theatre Program

Toms River High School North is home to the school district's Theatre Academy, a conservatory-style theatre intensive program in a public high school, offering the quintessential high school experience paired with a rigorous theatre program. The Nautical Stars Theatre Company is the performance branch High School North's theatre program, debuting two professional-level productions each year. We are also home to NJ Thespians Troupe #7455, a theatre honor society. 

Meet Our Staff

Meet the dedicated team of professionals who make our productions possible. Our teachers and staff are passionate about theatre and committed to providing the best possible experience for our students. Click on each photo to learn more about our team members.

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Theatre academy teacher, nautical stars theatre company director & choreographer

Dr. Michael Penna

Dr. Penna has a BFA in Musical Theater from Syracuse University, MA in Theater from Montclair State University, MPhil in Education from Walden University and a PhD in Education from Walden University. Dr. Penna teaches Theatre in the Arts Academy here at Toms River High School North. Dr. Penna has over 25 years of experience in the Theatrical Arts. Dr. Penna has worked professionally on Broadway, National Tours and Regional Theaters throughout the Country. Dr. Penna is proud member of the Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. Dr. Penna is a Council Board Member on the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a State Board Member for The New Jersey International Thespian Society and a Board Member for the National English Honor Society. Dr. Penna was the recipient of the 2022 NJ State Teen Arts: Educator of the Year Award, the 2022 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award: for Outstanding Educator, the 2022 Monmouth Arts: Arts Education Award, the 2022 International Thespian Society: Inspirational Theatre Educator Award, the 2019 Montclair State University Foxy Award for Excellence in Theater Education and the 2018 Basie Award for Best Lighting Design of a Drama.


Musical Director

George Powers

Mr. Powers has a Bachelor of Arts (Music) degree from Glassboro State College. Mr. Powers teaches Music Theory, AP Music Theory, Piano, Music Computing and Band here at North, and is the current 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year. Prior to coming to North he spent 22 years as Musical Director at Red Bank Catholic High School. Professionally, Mr. Powers was Musical Director of the Monmouth County Parks System Summer Theatre for 16 years. He also Musical Directed a number of shows for Phoenix Productions at the Count Basie Theatre. As a musician, Mr. Powers has also performed in many pit orchestras throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties as a keyboardist and a woodwind specialist. Away from school and theatre, Mr. Powers can be found at local establishments as the saxophonist and horn arranger for the local band “We’ll Be Fine.” Mr. Powers would like to thank Dr. Penna and the rest of the production staff, as well as the students involved in music and theatre arts for allowing him to be him.


Business Manager

Gail McNeill

Ms. McNeill, or more fondly known as Ms. Gail, has been a staple with Nautical Stars since 2015. Even before her appointed position, you could always find Ms. Gail helping out with fundraisers and events. Her own daughter is a Nautical Star alumni (2014-2017) and the connection Ms. Gail has with the student performers is genuine. She's the theatre company's biggest advocate and is a behind the scenes force for their success. 

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Hair & Makeup Designer

Joelle Mascaro

Joelle is a Toms River High School North 2022 graduate. This is Joelle’s fifth production with Nautical Stars, being involved with every musical production while in high school. Joelle is honored to be working again with Ms Eleneski and also honored to work with the rest of the staff of Our Town. 

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set builder

adam servodio

Adam Servodio was born and raised in Toms River and started in banking almost 20 years ago. He has worked as a Branch Manager for Wells Fargo for the past 8 years and has sat as the New Jersey Employee Volunteer Team President for Wells Fargo for over two years now, helping to promote philanthropy to team members throughout the entire state. When Adam is not working for Wells Fargo, he is dedicating his time to organizations in the community he is passionate about such as the Zzak G. Applaud our Kids Foundation as a board member, the Community Medical Center Council of Emerging Leaders board, The Salvation Army as the board Chairman and the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce as the First Vice Chair. Adam also dedicates his time to help the talented team of Exit 82, by building sets and even appearing in a few shows. When he is not working or volunteering, you can find him running marathons and reading. Adam enjoys spending his time with his wife, Kelly, and his dogs Foxy & Luna.

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Production Manager

Kelly Eleneski

Ms. Eleneski is an English as a Second Language teacher at Toms River High School North. She earned her B.A. in English with a minor in Political Science from Washington College and her Juris Doctorate from Roger Williams University School of Law. She has been production manager with the Nautical Stars Theatre Company since 2022 and has worked on four productions with the Company: Matilda, The Lightning Thief, Our Town and the upcoming production of Mamma Mia. Ms. Eleneski was a practicing attorney for eight years before transitioning into teaching so that she could work with students and effect change in her community.


Set Designer, Props Manager, Costume Coordinator (Fall)

Jenny Neuhoff

Mrs. Neuhoff is a teacher at High School North, whose classes include fashion design, interior design, set design, and costume design. She has been on the TRN Theatre Staff since 2022, designing the set for Matilda, The Lightning Thief, and Our Town. Mrs. Neuhoff has been involved in all aspects of theatre from a young age. She holds a degree in Fashion Design and Theatre from Marist College. Mrs. Neuhoff has professional experience designing and constructing costumes and working as a makeup artist.  From 2010-2018 she served as the production designer for the musicals at TRIE.


Costumer Designer (Spring)

Frankie Confalone

Frankie has costumed five productions at High School North: The Lightning Thief, Matilda, A Killer Party, Shrek, and Pippin. Frankie's costumes have been seen throughout New Jersey working with Exit 82 Theatre Company, the Bordentown Performing Arts Center, Pierrot Productions, and Monmouth Regional High School (2019 Basie Awards Nominee "Outstanding Costume Design for a Drama" for Boeing Boeing). On the stage, Frankie was recently scene as Will in Phoenix Productions' American Idiot. Additionally Frankie serves as Operations Manager for Exit 82 Theatre Company overseeing their "Creative and Performing Arts Academy" and holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rider University.

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Tech Designer

Zack Bliss

Zack works at Lake Riviera Middle School in Brick, and he has been a lighting designer for over a decade. He is also the Technical Director and Resident Lighting Designer of Toms River's very own Exit 82 Theatre Company. Zack was recently a nominee for Best Lighting Design of A Play or Musical in the 2022 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Awards for his work on RENT.

Meet Our Student Leaders

At Toms River North, our students have leadership roles that allow them to effect everyday change within our theatre program and give them valuable real-world experience in team leadership and cooperation.


President, Nautical Stars Theatre Company

Hannah Kemp

Hannah is a senior at Toms River High School North and a Theatre Academy student. Hannah was most recently on stage for fall's production  Our Town (Mrs. Webb). She has also been in The Lightning Thief (Ensemble) and Legally Blonde at Toms River High School East (Elle’s Mom/Ensemble). 


vice president, nautical stars theatre company

Alexa de los santos

Alexa is a Junior at TRHSN. In addition to her role as vice president, Alexa serves on the NJ State Thespian Board. Alexa is also on the varsity cheer team and the reporter for FBLA. 


historian, nautical stars theatre company

kayla fredericks

Kayla is a Senior who has been a part of Nautical Stars Theatre Company for the past 3 years. She played the roles of Ensemble (Our Town), Katie Gardner (The Lightning Thief), and Children's Entertainer/Scary Big Kid (Matilda). Kayla is enrolled dually in the Chorale and Dance Academies at TRN. She has been inducted into the International Thespian Society Troupe #7455.


secretary, nautical stars theatre company

lucas maciel

Lucas is a junior at North. He is proudly part of the Theatre and Music Academys, playing saxophone for the Mariner Marching, jazz, and concert bands. He also sings for the rock band at North, the AOK Foundation, and his church choir. He was involved in the productions of Our Town (George Gibbs), The Lightning Thief (Grover), and Matilda (Bruce). 


treasurer, nautical stars theatre company

thomas watt

Thomas is a Junior at TRN. He has been part of the backstage crew for three shows at North: Our Town, The Lightning Thief, and Matilda. Most recently during Our Town he had the role of Assistant Stage Manager. 


social media coordinator, nautical stars & thespians

kelly nide

Kelly is a junior at Toms River High School North. She has performed in Our Town (Rebecca Gibbs), The Lightning Thief (Ensemble), and Extreme Theater. She is also a thespian.


recruitment chair, nautical stars & thespians

zachary menth

Zach is a sophomore at TRN and a student in the Theatre Academy. He has been a part of three North productions: Our Town (Professor Willard),  The Lightning Thief (Ares), and Xtreme Theatre. He is also the Playbill Designer for the 2023-24 Nautical Stars productions. Additionally, he has performed in the Exit 82 productions of Be More Chill (Scary Stock Boy) and at TRIN's production of Newsies (Jack Kelly). 


president, thespians

madison mcphee

Madison is a Junior at TRHSN. She is part of the Theatre and Vocal Academy. She is President of Thespian Troupe #7455, and an NJ STO. She is also in masters choir, rock band, and singing for this year's marching band show “Caged.” She has performed in musicals and plays since the 5th grade with school and other companies. Most recent being, Our Town (Emily), The Lightning Thief (Clarisse), Love (Awkwardly) (ensemble), and Be More Chill (Madeline/Ensemble).


vice president, thespians

saniya williams

Saniya is a Junior at High School North and a student in the Theatre Academy. She has participated in many productions at North, including Matilda (Amanda Thripp), The Lightning Thief (Echidna/ Ensemble), Our Town (Lady in the Box/Ensemble), and Xtreme Theatre.


historian, thespians

bailey terrett

Bailey is a Junior at High School North and a Theatre Academy student. Bailey was featured in Our Town (Constable Warren), Matilda (ensemble), and The Lightning Thief (Poseidon).


secretary, thespians

libbie diamond

Libbie is a senior at Toms River High School North and a Theatre and Visual Art Academy student. At North, Libbie has performed in Our Town (Stage Manager), The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (Hades/Newscaster), and Matilda (Google Translate/Ensemble). 


treasurer, thespians

danielle brooks

Dani is a junior at Toms River North. She was part of the shows Our Town (on the crew as  Props Manager) and The Lightning Thief (on the cast as ensemble).


chief morale officer, nautical stars & thespians

darlene penn

Darlene is a sophomore at Toms River High School North and a student in the Theatre Academy. She has been part of two productions at North: Our Town (Woman in the Balcony/Ensemble) and The Lightning Thief (The Oracle). She has also performed Exit 82 Theatre in Be More Chill (Scary Stock Girl). 

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