STEP 2023: Biographies

Inda Blatch-Geib (Costume Design) Inda’s work as a costume and production designer for over 1,000 theatrical, commercial, and film releases has spanned 37 years and crossed four continents. Production and costume design has included commercials for Krylon, Bryant & Stratton, Footlocker, The West Virginia Lottery’s national award-winning campaigns, The Ohio Lottery, Microsoft, Under Armor, McDonalds, Troy-Built, Meijer, and The Original Mattress Factory; as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 1970’s and 1980’s themed videos, national spots for the team, and design for on-court half-time shows including their mascot shield design and pyrotechnic sword. Live performance and festival design include Machine Gun Kelly’s (MGK) U.S. and European Tours as well as ESTFEST and Wolstein Arena productions. Specialty projects include microphone stand designs for MGK and Bear. Print designs have included set styling for Harper’s Bazaar UK Scarlett Johansson cover and spread as well as catalogue set styling for Foundations and Kilgore Trout. Additionally, Ms. Blatch-Geib’s designs have been showcased in exhibits at The Smithsonian Institute with film projects including Ohio Art Direction of The Signal staring Laurence Fishburne and production and costume design of  The Con. Theatrical design includes production and costume design for the special off- Broadway production of Kris Kringle, The Musical, costume design for the Cleveland Play House production of Native Gardens, as well as multiple productions for the Colombian National Opera. Music video production and costume design includes Machine Gun Kelly’s Alpha Omega and Let You Go releases. Locally, Inda has been the resident designer for Karamu House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Magical Theatre Company, and Cleveland Institute of Music.  Her company, Inda Blatch-Geib Designs, offers costume and production design services, as well as prop, set, and costume rental and custom fabrication.

Zion Benson (Jasper, Truth Seeker Molder/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a rising senior at Cleveland School of the Arts as a drama major. This is their second year as a member of STEP at CPT. Their past works are We Are One at Cleveland School of the Arts and In the Heights with the CSMD All-City Musical. He is excited to share The Midnight Mist with his city. He would like to thank his friends for being so supportive. His favorite part of the STEP day is rehearsing the play with his fellow castmates and directors. Let’s rock!

Jeliannys Cappellain (Lilac, Captain Flo-wer/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actress from Cleveland, Ohio. She is an upcoming junior at Cleveland School of the Arts. This is her second time being a member of the STEP ensemble at CPT, and she is so excited to perform The Midnight Mist to the Cleveland Community. Her favorite part about being at STEP is when they review the songs they’ve created. She would like to thank her acting teacher at CSA for bringing the opportunity to once again be a member of STEP, and for encouraging her to always try her best.

Jayla Carter (Pebbles, General Molder/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actress and writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is majoring in drama at Cleveland School of the Arts. She was previously cast in Rise: The Reconstruction of the Arts, The Little Mermaid and All Shook Up at Near West Theatre. She’s also participated in acting programs at Karamu House and Cleveland Public Theatre. This is Jayla’s first year being a member of the STEP ensemble and she is excited to share the “Four Nations” song with the Cleveland Community! Her favorite part of being in the acting ensemble is learning how to rap! She would like to thank her family for supporting her and the STEP cast for their amazing work and dedication. She is so happy to play General Molder.

Melissa Crum (Director) (she/her) is a Cleveland-based writer, director, educator, and performer. Melissa currently holds the position of artistic and education associate at Cleveland Public Theatre. A recipient of the 2016/2017 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship through CPT, she and co-writer Caitlin Lewins developed Everything Is Okay (and other helpful lies), a dark musical comedy. Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies) went on to be produced in the 2018/2019 CPT season and received a reading at the New York Musical Festival in the summer of 2019. Through this work, Crum and Lewins were also finalists for the 2019 Mitten Lab. As an educator Melissa has worked with Cleveland Public Theatre, Playhouse Square, Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland Play House, and The Musical Theatre Project. Melissa has directed locally with Cleveland Public Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Talespinner Children’s Theatre, Playwright’s Local, The Ohio City Theatre Project, and French Creek Theatre. For more information, please visit

Avieana Faulks-Williams (Sora, CouncilPerson Flyer/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an artist from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a rising sophomore at Cleveland School of the Arts where she majors in visual arts. This is her second time being a part of the STEP ensemble at CPT. She loved doing STEP last year, so she came back for more and is still loving it. She loves the community at CPT and is excited to share The Midnight Mist with everyone.

Samantha Gallo (Aura, CouncilPerson Flo-wer/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actress from Cleveland, OH. She is a junior at Garrett Morgan High School. It’s her second year at STEP. She is excited to share The Midnight Mist! Her favorite part of the process is connecting with others. She would like to thank her dad for being her biggest supporter. She’s so excited!!

Dred Geib (Props/Costume assistant) Dred is a production designer for IBG Designs and specializes in properties, costumes, and sets. Working in the Northeast Ohio area, he focuses mainly in theater, film and art installation.

Sydney Gilmore (Athena, CouncilPerson Molder/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is a singer and actress who has been in a variety of musicals, including Matilda, Jekyll and Hyde, Hairspray Jr. and In the Heights. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but has spent most of her life in Miami. Sydney relocated back to Cleveland and is a rising junior at Cleveland School of the Arts. She is the founder of IAM Magazine and the Arts Library Features Web Family, as well as the author of Don’t Touch My Hair! which is available on Amazon. This is Sydney’s first year being a member of the STEP ensemble at CPT, and she is very excited. She shares Oprah Winfrey’s conviction that “You will always have more in life if you look at what you have. You’ll never have enough if you focus on wat you don’t have.” Last but not least, Sydney wants to thank her mom for always being her number one supporter, and her family, friends, and God.

Zavi Odetta (Teaching Artist) (they/them) is an actor, writer and director, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After recently receiving their BFA in Acting this spring, Zavi was thrilled to return to Cleveland Public Theatre this summer as an artistic assistant for Station Hope and for their second summer working with STEP. In their spare time, you can find Zavi creating new works, including, but not limited to a new musical in development about Medusa, a novel that takes place in an airport, and turning a 15-minute one person show into a full 90 minute play. At the end of the summer, Zavi will be making their big move to New Jersey, to further their career as an actor. They hope you enjoy the show! Recent credits include: Children of Eden (Yonah/Young Cain), The Girl That Turned Into a Feather (Joclyn), Sweat  (Cynthia), and The Laramie Project (Barbara Pitts Track). Stay updated on Instagram @zavi.odetta or online at

Jailyn Sherell Harris (Teaching Artist) Jailyn is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she received her BAC in theatre, with a minor in dance. As a performer, she has had the opportunity to perform in film, arenas and in theaters across Northeast Ohio and beyond with credits from Dobama Theatre, Ohio Shakespeare Festival, Ensemble Theatre, Karamu House, Lakeland Civic Theatre, the Players Guild Theatre, and the A.R.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She enjoys working on and developing new works and had the opportunity to perform in the world premiere of Heartbreakers In Hell by Joey Contreras and Benjamin Halstead (Rubber City Theatre). Directing credits include a staged reading of the new musical Wishful Thinking by Jamie Maletz and a virtual production of Ragtime with M.A.D. Factory Theatre. Jailyn has a strong dance background and extensive experience in Jazz, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. She is an inaugural member of MadJax Dance Company. Jailyn has choreographed for theaters and organizations across Northeast Ohio and beyond, including the Sitar Arts Center in Washington, DC.

Mai Hoang (Artistic and Education Associate/Stage Manager): Mai Hoang (she/her) is a local actor, musician, and artist originally from Iowa City, Iowa. Her first time working with Cleveland Public Theatre, she is excited to bring her skills to the STEP program. Mai is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where she studied psychology, theater, and English. She is grateful for her ever-changing artistic journey and the people she meets along the way. She hopes you enjoy the show and is immensely proud of the team’s hard work.

Samia Keeton (Wren, Truth Seeker Flyer/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is extremely proud of being in the summer touring STEP cast for the second year. Samia lives in Cleveland with her family, and attends Cleveland School of the Arts where she is a part of the theatre department. Samia has always had a deep passion for acting. She hopes to go into comedy in the near future. Samia believes that anything in this world is possible so that thing you want…. go for it! Never limit yourself. Instagram: @samiakeeton

King Lavender (Leo, General Radiator/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He is an upcoming sophomore at Cleveland School of the Arts where he is a theater major. This is King’s first time in STEP, but not at CPT. He is excited to perform The Midnight Mist with Cleveland Public Theatre. His favorite part about being in STEP is the creative writing that happens during the middle or end of the day. King would like to thank his parents for always supporting him and his friends for making work fun.

Elisa Lovelace (Faith, General Flyer/Voice of the Mist/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is a singer from CSA (Cleveland School of the Arts). She is a rising junior, where she’s in the choir and does drama club. This is her second time participating in the STEP program. Her favorite part about being in the ensemble is everything. She would like to thank Missy, Ms. Nicole, and Dr. Miller for introducing her to this program. “I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT!!!”

Kayla Ponyard (Aries, General Flo-wer/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble), a young girl who was born and raised in Richmond Heights, Ohio, has always been in love with every part of the arts and what it has to offer. Acting, singing, and dancing give her joy and the sense of freedom. Her passion is the arts and that’s why she came back to CPT. She was a part of the STEP ensemble last year and she came back because she missed the community, love, and joy in the arts that is given at CPT. She is very excited to be in this play. (Kayla was in the 2022 STEP Play, The Myth of Me).

Amahriah Ransom (Lelani, CouncilPerson Radiator/Voice of the Mist/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an artist who was formally introduced to the art world at the age of 10. She participates in singing, drawing, dancing and is looking forward to gaining new insightful information and skills. Ms. Ransom is a rising college freshman studying informational technology. She is enjoying her very first-time in STEP. She is dedicated to improving with every interaction she encounters involving art and daily life.

Julie Roark (Ari, Captain Radiator/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actor and writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a student at Max Hayes High School and a first-time member of the STEP team. Julie has experience as a choreographer and wrote her very own script this past year. STEP has felt like finding an artistic family.

Tatyana Rojas-Hibbitt (Luciana, Truth Seeker Radiator/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an all-around performer. She is a recent graduate of Maple Heights High School. They are attending Louisiana State University this fall and are excited about continuing their theatrical career in new places. This is her second year in CPT’s STEP ensemble and the anticipation to showcase this new work of art is overwhelming. They would like to thank all the people and staff at CPT who contributed to the extraordinary work and growth they achieved.

Joshua Smith (Technical Director/Set Designer) Josh has worked on more than 300 productions in the last 10 years. His work has been seen on Broadway (Anastasia, 1984, Hello Dolly), ESPN (E:60, Outside the Lines, SC6, The Fantasy Show). Other favorite projects include The Mere Distinction of Color at President Madison’s Montpelier, Lathrop Place at the Paul Revere House Museum in Boston, and Seachange at Mystic Seaport. He holds a degree in theatre with specializations in tech theatre, youth theatre and puppetry from BGSU. He has worked most recently with Talespinner Children’s Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Eastern Michigan University, and The Valentine Theatre.

Lauryn Stewart (Lauren, Mediator/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is a 15-year-old singer and actress who was born in Mobile, Alabama, but moved to Cleveland when she was six years old. Lauryn is currently a sophomore at Cleveland School of the Arts. Lauryn has a passion for jazz, soul, neo-soul, and R&B music. When Lauryn isn’t singing or acting, she likes to have fun but also writes scripts and is currently learning how to play the piano. Lauryn would like to give a special thank you to her family for helping her and being supportive of her decisions. She would also like to thank the cast and crew for making it a very delightful, meaningful, and quite interesting summer.

Nicole Sumlin (Director of Education) is an actor, singer, director, writer, producer, and educator.  In 2014, she was named Educator of the Year by the Ohio PTA Board’s 11th District. In 2016, she shifted her focus to performing arts instruction and clinician work with area choruses and theatre ensembles (including the Dazzle Awards at Playhouse Square, Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s All-City Musical, and Shining Star CLE) while continuing to perform in Cleveland and New York City. In 2019, Nicole was awarded Best Actress in a Musical by the Cleveland Critics Circle for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille at Beck Center for the Performing Arts. She is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and studied voice at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. She currently serves as Director of Education at Cleveland Public Theatre and has served as an adjunct faculty member of Baldwin Wallace University’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She is trained in intimacy direction, DEI, and anti-racist practices. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association.

Nathan Thorpe (Clover, Captain Flyer/Gerry, The First Star/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He is homeschooled. This is his first time being a member of the STEP ensemble at CPT. He is so excited to share The Midnight Mist with the Cleveland community. His favorite part about being in the acting ensemble is everything down to the physical warmups, the vocal warmups, and the friends he made along the way. He would like to thank his mom for being there every step of the way.

Errin Weaver (Teaching Artist) is a choreographer, community activator, and the executive artistic director of Mojuba! Dance Collective, an African contemporary dance company dedicated to exploring spiritual and cultural dance traditions of the African Diaspora to restore community wellness, share and validate the Black narrative experience, and reestablish cultural connection, based in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a Masters in public service from DePaul University and an MFA in choreography and interdisciplinary studies from Wilson College. She is now also the visiting guest artist at Cleveland State University.

Errin has taught, been in residency, and sat on panels regarding sacred dance rooted in the Gospel tradition and Africanist dance forms extensively. Through her work, she has created the Emerging Black Choreographers Incubator, hosted countless workshops and festivals, and become a published author.

Her choreography has been presented regionally and internationally, and has received awards and commissioned support. She has been deeply vested in wellness and the community arts where she has facilitated training sessions, free outdoor movement workshops, and a collaborative evening length work uniting professional and aspiring artists in a telling of Black American history.

Errin is certified at the M’Singha Wuti level for the Umfundalai Contemporary African Dance technique and has taught spiritual and African based dance forms extensively.  A former company member of the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, she has worked with such notable choreographers as Abdel Salaam, Jeffrey Page, Monique Haley, Ronald K. Brown, Babacar N’Diaye, and the late Baba Chuck Davis.

Jaya Woods (Brandy, Captain Molder/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an actress from Cleveland, Ohio. They are an upcoming senior at John Marshall Informational Technology. This is their first time working with the STEP ensemble at CPT. They are excited to be working with STEP as an opportunity to further their acting career, and also meet people.

Eva Vergez (Lori, Minutekeeper/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) is an artist who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and lived in Miami, Florida before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in 2021. She recently discovered her love for theater and is excited about her first time being a member of the STEP ensemble at CPT. She has also participated in the Winter and Spring session of the CAN ensemble at CPT. She loves the community that CPT has created and is thrilled to share this work that her fellow cast members, and teaching artists have worked really hard on! Enjoy the show!

Ja’Miyah Youngs (Ezlyn, Truth Seeker Flo-wer/Townsperson/Mist Ensemble) joined STEP in 2022 at Cleveland Public Theatre. She goes to Cleveland School of the Arts and will be an upcoming junior. She’s been in multiple productions in school and around Cleveland. One of them was In the Heights at Playhouse Square through All-city. Ja’Miyah is so excited to be back at STEP and hopes you enjoy the show!