Board of Directors

Current Board of Directors

(Serving a two year term, September 2023 to August 2025)

Christine Abitabile

Christine Abitabile, President, is proud to be a founding member of Upstage.  Christine owns and operates her own bookkeeping business, is employed as the bookkeeper at the Churchtown Dairy, helps out her husband with his driving school, teaches QuickBooks for the adult non-credit course at Columbia-Greene Community College and is a certified QuickBooks consultant.  In her “spare” time Christine volunteers her time as treasurer and web master for her graduating class while maintaining the database for her class reunion.  She is a member of the Columbia County Sons & Daughters of Italy # 659, currently serving as Treasurer, and serves on the board of the Questar III Cosmetology Consultant Committee.

Andy Baker
Vice President

Andy has served on the board of Upstage Productions for the past 14 years where he has held roles of President, Administrative VP, and Representative at Large. He can often be found covering production ticketing duties and greeting show patrons. Although not an actor himself, Andy enjoys theatre and looks forward to watching and helping Upstage grow! In his professional life, he works in the Office of Admissions at Columbia-Greene Community College. 

Daniel Gregory
Production Coordinator

Daniel was born and raised in Hudson and currently lives in Hudson. He has been a Licensed Practical Nurse for the past 18 years and is currently employed at Columbia Memorial Hospital. His love of theater started with his participation in every show produced from head start until his senior year at Hudson High School. His relationship with Upstage productions began with Jesus Christ Superstar. In 1994, Dan was cast as the Cowardly Lion, and he reprised the role 20 years later. His favorite role by far was Upstage’s production of Hairspray, where he embraced the role of Edna Turnblad. In the Spring of 2022, Daniel made his directorial debut of Steel Magnolia’s. He also has had the chance to work stage crew for various shows and has now accepted role of Production Coordinator for the board of Upstage Productions. “The theater is a great release for all involved and the relationships formed help to keep you humble.”

Nancy Leonard

Nancy joined the Upstage Productions company as a dancer for the production of “42 nd  Street” in 2003, and continued on with “Music Man” the following year.  Enjoying the Musical Theater atmosphere, she joined the Board in 2004 as a Representative-at-Large, has served as Treasurer and Corresponding Secretary, and currently has resumed the Treasurer’s position.  She can often be found performing in the ensemble of a production, and/or working backstage as part of the crew.  “Community Theater is an opportunity for veteran actors to perform with and mentor newcomers, and offers many behind-the-scenes roles, in addition to those on-stage.”  It has always intrigued Nancy to watch the entire process of a production from the very thought of “what show should we do”, through the final curtain and returning the venue to its original state. Prior to her retirement in 2021, Nancy worked in the banking industry for many years, and in the Dean of Administration’s Office at Columbia-Greene Community College.

Molly Oliveira

Molly has had a love of the performing arts her entire life. She graduated from Penn State with a BS in forensic science and spent a few years as a Toxicologist in New Jersey before returning to upstate New York to work as an investigator for a pharmaceutical company. She debuted with Upstage in "Matilda" in 2022 and joined the Board soon after. You can also find her performing with The Hudson River Bells and The Treble Choraliers. Starting with the 2019/2020 school year, she's been able to choreograph Windham-Ashland-Jewett's Drama Club productions. She hopes to share her love of the arts with her community and encourage others to get involved in any way they can.

Jerome Byrne
Representative at Large

This will be Jerome’s first year on the board of directors. Jerome’s love for theater started in high school, where he did 4 shows. His first acting role since high school was with Upstage in Matilda. Since then, Jerome has performed at the Ghent Playhouse and Mac-Haydn Theater. Jerome is grateful for this opportunity and excited to explore this new role in an industry he is passionate about.  

Annie Drewello
Representative at Large

Annie Drewello is thrilled to be a member of the Upstage Productions Board!  A Greene County native, she missed being on the stage side of the theater after returning home from college when she found Upstage.  After such a positive experience as a cast member in the 2019 production of The Marvelous Wonderettes, Annie found as many opportunities to work with Upstage as possible!  A graduate of UMass Lowell with her Masters in Music Education, Annie currently teaches K-12 Vocal Music (Elementary General Music, Chorus and Theater!) at Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School in Windham, NY.  Annie has taught at several Summer Theater Camps and Workshops in New England and New York as well as adjudicates for NYSSMA Festivals throughout New York State. During the summer, she is on staff with the Columbia County Youth Theater in Chatham, NY and has served as Music Director for several of their productions.  Outside of teaching, Annie is an avid performer and is a member of several performance ensembles including The Hudson River Bells of Athens, the Treble Choraliers of Catskill, and the Jubilate Singers of Bethlehem.

Tom Fisher
Representative at Large

Tom is a native Hudsonian, He graduated from St.Bonaventure University and received his Master's Degree from Sage Graduate School.  He also served in the U.S. Army with the highest rank obtained of Captain. Tom has been involved with Upstage Productions for over 20 years, serving in the roles of President, Vice President, and Representative at Large. His first involvement was as a performer in "Oliver" in 1997, alongside his daughter. Since then Tom has performed in a number of main stage shows, cabarets and murder mysteries. The highlight of his performances was the opportunity to perform with all three of his children, Caterina, Julianna and Antonio, during a production of "Music Man" in 2003. Tom is most proud of the Board's efforts to expand their visibility in the community and  to experiment with new genres including all children productions and After Dark Productions.

Nicole Molinski
Representative at Large

Nicole is honored to serve on the Board for Upstage! She started working with Upstage in Spring of 2022 as Shelby in Steel Magnolias, then right into the Fall as Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical! Nicole felt right at home with Upstage from the start. They have touched her heart in so many ways. She is thrilled to be working with such a talented team who is dedicated to creating professional, high quality theatrical performances, while also educating and mentoring youth. Nicole grew up in a life of performance and is a trained actress, singer, and dancer who regularly performs in theatre and film. She studied and continues to study Theatre and Musical Theatre at the University at Albany and Blue Horse Repertory Company. She has worked with elementary students at Taconic Hills Drama Club and has a lot of experience in the marketing side of theater as well.  Nicole works as a Standardized Patient at Albany Medical College and is co-owner of Molinski Photography. She looks forward to contributing to Upstage’s growth and helping others find the magic in theatre!

Mary Ellen Pierro
Representative at Large

Mary Ellen joined Upstage Productions in 1993 when she performed in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” as a nurse. This role was a good fit for her, being that she is a nurse in her professional life.  Mary Ellen has served on the Upstage board in the roles of President, Corresponding Secretary, and Representative at Large.  A school trip to see “Grease” on Broadway began her love of theater.  She was in a play every year in high school including “Mame”, “The Boyfriend”, “Wizard of Oz”, “The Music Man” and “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds”.  “Jesus Christ Superstar”, in 1994, was the last Upstage production Mary Ellen performed in. Since then she has taken her valuable skills off-stage with Upstage!

Michele Pierro
Representative at Large

Michele, a founding member of Upstage, has held the offices of President, Vice President and Representative at Large. She has directed, assistant directed, and performed in many shows over the years, with the original companies - Columbia Hall Players, Hudson Middle School Friends of the Arts, and Upstage Productions. She holds a B.S. in Speech and Theater from Iowa State University, an M.S. and Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the College of Saint Rose and has worked at the Berkshire Theater Festival and several regional companies. Michele retired from a career with the NYCDOE and is currently an instructor at Cornell University. She continues to look forward to supporting the work Upstage does, bringing quality productions to the community, and providing valuable opportunities and experiences to its talented youth.

Elizabeth Schneider
Representative at Large

Elizabeth is a new member, just joining the board in August 2023 after her debut performance in The Wedding Singer.  She is a lifelong member of the Hudson community and is motivated to help the arts become more accessible for local youth and adults.  Elizabeth holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from The College of Saint Rose and is working towards her certification in Creative Arts Therapy.  When not working as a Social Worker, she runs The Sternfeld Dance Studio located in Hudson and teaches yoga throughout the county.  Elizabeth looks forward to continuing her movement and performance journey with Upstage Productions!

Candace Wood
Representative at Large

Candace Wood has been a member of Upstage Productions since she was cast in her first role as Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray” in 2011. Since then Candace Wood has been in numerous Upstage Productions including “Legally Blonde,” “Steel Magnolias,” and “The Wedding Singer,” and has been a member of the board since 2012. Candace Wood is a Registered Nurse and currently works at Nuvance Health in Poughkeepsie. When Candace Wood is not at work or performing Candace Wood can be found wrangling her two young, special needs sons. Candace Wood looks forward to her term on the board and thanks you for taking the time to read Candace Wood’s biography.