Center Stage Theater Camp Director/Acting Counselor
Irving is a performer, director, and choreographer. His work has been recognized by BroadwayWorld.com of Central PA, Theatre Sensation, Lancaster, Ephrata Review, and the Reading Eagle as well as the featured cover story for the Lancaster Latino newspaper La Voz Hispana. He is an alumnus of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC and studied under professors from Julliard, the New School and the New York Opera Company. Irving has also toured with The American Family Theatre Company based out of Philadelphia, PA. He is soon to be an Associate Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Irving serves as Ephrata High School's Theatre Program Director for its fall and spring productions in addition to
Ephrata Performing Arts Center's EPAC’s Kids4Kids Family Series
. His regional works and credits expands throughout the Berks, Lancaster, and Lehigh Regional counties. Irv is the creator and responsible for EPAC’s Young Artist Cabaret Series where upcoming young artist have a creative outlet for vocal and artistic expressions. During the school year he serves as a Behavioral Support Specialist for Newstory, working with students with developmental behavioral and emotion support.
Kristin Pontz is a Lancaster County native and received her BFA in dance from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
She has performed and choreographed all over the East Coast in such venues as the NY Fringe Festival, Merce Cunningham Studio,
and the North Carolina Dance Festival. Ms. Pontz currently teaches at Elizabethtown College, where she serves as faculty advisor
to the university dance group E-motion, and at Dickenson College. She is the Director of Rev9 Dance Company, a modern dance
company that performs regionally and is Assistant Director of COBALT Contemporary Ballet of PA. Ms. Pontz has choreographed
and served as assistant director for the award winning Hempfield High School Dance Theatre for over 14 years and has choreographed
many musicals including EPAC's production of American Idiot and for productions such as Opera Lancaster's "Hansel and Gretel." She
is also part of the successful EPAC’s Kids4Kids Family Series Junior Productions
as co-choreographer and artistic collaborator alongside Irving. She is responsible for
the amazing dance musical numbers known as “Act III” at the end of the show seen in
and The Lion King Jr.
Zachary Smith is an accomplished pianist, music director and piano teacher in the Lancaster area. He
received his MS and BA in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University with a Minor in Music. He
has recently music directed
Heathers: The Musical
at EPAC including Assistant Directing
. He is current music director for the much-anticipated
musical starring Edward R Fernandez as Mrs. Edna Turnblad this summer.
Christine D. Cieplinski, M.Ed
Christine is an actor, singer, director, producer, improv comedian, and costume designer. She is a show director and United Way
award-winning teaching theater artist with the Yocum Institute for Arts Education certified in the Children’s Theater Company of
Minneapolis Neighborhood Bridges Curriculum. Ms. Cieplinski is a visiting or resident teaching artist and show director at many
arts schools throughout the Tri-State region. She has studied Improv with Second City and Leela Improv Training Center San
Francisco and performed Improv with Kevin Bull of American Ninja Warrior and
Anthony Carrigan of Gotham. She is on the Principal Creative Team of Reading Theater Project, originating theater works relevant to Berks County, she directed their Improv troupe and produced their Penn Street LIVE! Bridging the Arts series. Having worked as the Clinical Director of a forensic therapy practice for 15 years, specializing in criminology and trauma, she produces a semi-annual theater presentation series for V-Day Greater Reading to assist child survivors of crime. Her costume designs have been seen on the Gretna Theatre, Montgomery Regional Theater, Reading Theater Project/Berks Opera Company, Ceres Gallery NYC, and June Havoc Theater NYC stages among many others. Her company, Cherry Herring Entertainment Company, has designed sound Off-Broadway at the Theatre Outlet, Dog Run Rep and June Havoc Theaters. CHEC also produces Interactive Theater for Young Audiences that focuses on critical thinking skills and self-protection. Ms. Cieplinski is proud to be the Chairman of the Board of the Children’s Alopecia Project, an international non-profit organization that helps kids who have lost their hair regain their self-esteem.
Reflecting on the Success of EPAC's Kids4Kids Series production of "The Lion King Jr" from Director Irving I. Gonzalez
The Lion King Jr
has been described as the "Hamilton
of Lancaster County". This was evident by how difficult it was to get tickets for the number of sold out performances. Those who were fortunate enough to witness first-hand the amazing cast of 70 will agree this was no ordinary Kids4Kids
production on the EPAC stage. From the moment you entered the theater, your "Lion King Jr experience" began. Patrons were transported to a jungle environment with background music, lobby décor, and red carpet step and repeat where masks and props were available as you took photos.
The Lion King Jr
gave our audiences the insight of how musical theater can have a dramatic effect on the lives of our young performers. Each cast member took on the challenge to tell this story in a way that was genuine and authentic, allowing them to carry over the narrative component of The Lion King Jr
. We believe this ownership by the cast was one of many ingredients to the success of the show. Another contributor were parents who volunteered their time and energy behind the scenes. To have both parent and child experience the process together is a gift.
Over the past six years, the Kids4Kids productions have certainly changed in their quality and standard of expectations. This would not have been possible without the continual support of our patrons and season sponsors, whose generosity has built our program to what it is now. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the amazing production team who share the same passion, dedication, and investment in the Kids4Kids Series. We applaud you.
From the beginning, we knew our journey was going to be filled with complexity and unchartered territory. The Lion King Jr
transformed the lives of individuals on the stage and off the stage. The show awakened the endless possibilities and potential of our young performers. It also enriched relationships among the cast that will no doubt last a lifetime. Based on the talented cast, we were confident that this production had the potential to be among our greatest achievements on stage and would transcend the hearts of our audiences. And it did just that.
Many have asked me about next year’s production, "How are you going to top this?" My response: "You will just have to wait and see!"
Please contact Irving Gonzalez at email@example.com
for more information.
For a full list of all of our youth education activities, please visit our youth