Please see the bios for all of our MT Division Adjudicators. If you have any questions, please reach out to

Middle School:

Celina Burgueño: Celina Burgueño is an MFA candidate in Theatre Education & Applied Theatre at Emerson College, an aspiring high school teacher, and has been avid musical theatre goer since childhood. A retired zookeeper, Celina spent 8 years in the zoo industry and continues to explore the crossing points between drama and conservation education.

Emily Grove is a theatre director, actor, and educator living in the Boston area. She has directed such youth productions as: Singin’ in the Rain (Greater Boston Stage Company’s Young Co.), Goosebumps The Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium (BCT; East Coast premier), The Velveteen Rabbit (BCT), Once on this Island JR (Arlington Children's Theatre), and The Elves and The Shoemaker (Marblehead Little Theatre). As a teaching artist, Emily has collaborated with such companies as The American Repertory Theatre, Greater Boston Stage Company, Company One, BCT, Arlington Children's Theatre, and Kidstock! Creative Theater. Emily served as the Lead Teaching Artist for the Boston division of the Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS) program, which taught public elementary school teachers how to develop sustainable musical theatre programs in their schools. With a distinct interest in using theatre as a tool for social justice, one of her favorite projects is serving as the director for the Fayerweather Street School's theatre program (The Tempest, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, As You Like It, Radium Girls). As a performer, Emily likes to "Let It Go" on the weekends with the Snow Queen at Spark A Dream Princess Parties. Emily is a graduate of Salem State University and holds her BFA in Theatre: Performance.

High School:

Weylin Symes (he/him) is currently the Producing Artistic Director of Greater Boston Stage Company. He was extensively involved in the renovation of Greater Boston Stage’s building in 1999, and over the past 23 years he has overseen the growth of the theatre into one of Boston’s five largest performing arts organizations (Boston Business Journal). After serving as the theatre’s first Artistic Associate, Weylin assumed the role of Artistic Director in 2003 and was named as Producing Artistic Director in 2007. In his time at GBSC, he has directed over 50 productions for the Mainstage and The Young Company and adapted several pieces for performance on GBSC’s stage, including The Old Man and the Sea, Dracula, and It’s a Wonderful Life. He also wrote Last Night at Bowl- Mor Lanes and the story and book for the original musical Lobster Girl, both of which premiered on GBSC’s stage.

Chloe Kounadis (She/Her) - Chloe is a Greek American director, playwright, actor, and arts educator. This summer Chloe directed and choreographed Mamma Mia! at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse and choreographed Mean Girls at Weston Drama Workshop. New York City directing credits include Michael Long’s Do I Know You? and Gillian Beth Durkee’s On Trash Monsters. As an actor, Chloe was seen on the National Tours of Mamma Mia! (Ali) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (Lucy). Chloe’s solo show Approachable Face premiered in Fall 2022 at the Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. Training: BFA Musical Theatre from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Chloe is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. She lives in Harlem with her husband, Jake, and their adorably anxious dog, Mia. IG@ChloeKounadis

Rachel Bertone (she/her) is an award-winning director and choreographer with nearly 20 years of experience as a theater and dance professional. In 2022, she was appointed Reagle Music Theatre's second Artistic Director since its founding in 1969 and is the first female-identifying Artistic Director in its history. Over the past decade, Bertone has staged more than 50 musicals, including Cabaret (IRNE Award: Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Musical), Carousel (IRNE: Best Choreography), In the Heights (IRNE: Best Musical), The Wild Party (IRNE: Best Musical), Oklahoma (BCTA Critics’ Pick), West Side Story, Pippin, Gypsy, Little Shop of Horrors, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Billy Elliot, Barnum, Brundibar, Show Boat, HAIR, A Grand Night for Singing, South Pacific, Les Misérables, Joseph…Dreamcoat, among others. She has also worked on several New York-based projects, including co-conceiver and choreographer for Van Gogh: A New Musical, and director of a digital piece of theater for Kait Kerrigan and Bree Lowdermilk’s musical The Mad Ones. An established theater and dance educator in both Greater Boston and New York, Bertone has taught at esteemed institutions, including Boston Conservatory at Berklee, American Repertory Theater Institute at Harvard University, Emerson College, and Long Island University. She has also amassed an international student following for her variety of musical theater class offerings and professional development consulting services. Holding a bachelor of fine arts degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Bertone currently splits her time between New York and Boston.

Jeri Hammond: Director of Education & Community Engagement at the Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University brings to her work over thirty years experience as an educator and a lifelong passion for the arts. An alum of Wheelock College, Jeri has degrees in education and special education, with a concentration in theatre arts. She also holds advanced degrees in Reading/ Literacy Development and Educational Leadership. Jeri has been part of the Wheelock Family Theatre “family” since the very beginning and has worked as a teaching artist, actor and director. A member of Actor’s Equity, Jeri was seen on the Wheelock Family Theatre stage in such roles as Mayella in To Kill a Mockingbird, Emily in Our Town, and Mary Warren in The Crucible. An experienced Director, Jeri works with actors of all ages. She loves her work as Director of Education where she plays a role in fostering empathy, creativity, and intellectual curiosity in the hundreds of students (pre-K-grade 12) who participate in Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University’s Education Program each year.

Gina Beck is a full-time member of the Voice Faculty at the Boston Conservatory, former voice teacher at Emerson College and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She was also a Senior Lecturer of "Vocal Techniques" and Creativity and Innovation classes “Finding Your Creative Voice” and "Revising Reality" at Suffolk University in Boston, MA for many years. Beck has established herself as a voice technician, cultivating understanding of physiology as she combines instruction of both classical and CCM (Contemporary Commercial Music) vocal production. She has also worked in the area of vocal rehabilitation with students diagnosed with various vocal impairments. She is known to inject an infectious dose of humor into her teaching, masterclasses, and her own vocal performances. Her current and former students are gracing stages on Broadway (Purlie Victorious), US national tours (Funny Girl, Frozen), and regional theaters across the country. She teaches privately in Natick, MA and over Zoom for students across the country.

Meg O’Brien (she/her) is in her 16th season at The Huntington where she has been the Director of Education since 2017. Meg has worked professionally as an access coordinator, actor, dancer, singer, director, producer, finance director, arts administrator, and stage manager. Meg’s passion is to serve young people, and she does this through arts education and supporting all young people in their exploration of the arts, their imaginations, and their artistry. For 20 years Meg has made her living teaching students of all ages about the world of the theater. Since joining The Huntington in 2008, Meg was the Education Manager of Education Operations and Access Coordinator before her promotion in 2017. She has directed, stage managed, and/or produced more than 40 performances, showcases, and other events for The Huntington’s Education Department. Meg is a founding member of The Huntington’s Equity and Anti-Racism (HEAR) Task Force, serving since its inception in June 2020. As Access Coordinator, Meg has significantly expanded programming during her tenure, helping to make Huntington productions more inclusive and accessible, which included working directly with ticketing to successfully launch season ticket series for AD, ASL, and OC patrons, and shepherding the return of Open Caption performances in 2019 for the first time in 10 years. Wheelock Family Theatre named Meg an “Astonishing Woman” in 2020, and in 2019 Meg was awarded the Community Access Award from the Bay State Council for the Blind. In 2017 Meg was awarded the Huntington’s Cohen Award for Excellence. Meg was a national Network Co-Chair of the Professional Theatre Network with AATE (American Alliance for Theatre and Education) from 2018- 2022 and has presented at AATE’s National Conference many times. Meg was selected with Sydney Chaffee, Codman Academy’s 9th grade Humanities Teacher (and the 2017 MA and National Teacher of the Year) to present a master class at the 2016 EL National Conference (centered around their partnership in the classroom teaching theatre to bring their humanities curriculum to life in performance). Meg has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Emerson College, Boston University, as well as for pediatric residents at Mass General and Boston Children’s Hospital. Meg is currently on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild (METG) and serves on their Development and Safety Committees. Meg also serves the METG as an adjudicator for their annual HS monologue competition, their annual Musical Theatre Festival, and their annual High School Drama Festival. After receiving her B.F.A in Acting from the University of Connecticut in 2004, Meg lived in Stockbridge, MA and was an Artist in Residence with the Berkshire Theatre Group. Meg was a member of the stage management team for BTG’s first three community productions (The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Oliver!) each of which had casts with more than 125 children. In 2005 Meg helped launch BTG’s Richie Dupont Fund which still provides scholarships to students enabling them to pursue their dreams of being onstage and affords them the opportunity to participate in BTG’s education programs. Favorite professional stage acting credits include dozens of roles in Theatre for Young Audiences touring productions, Assassins (Emma Goldman), Amadeus, and A Christmas Carol (Mrs. Fezziwig, twice) at the Berkshire Theatre Group, The Taming of the Shrew (Biondello) and King John (Prince Henry) at Shakespeare & Company, as well as featured roles in Candide, Violet, Sweeney Todd, The Crucible, The House of Bernarda Alba, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, and Seeing Laughter at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. In addition to her work at The Huntington, Meg was a Producer, Actor, and the Managing Director at the award-winning Bad Habit Productions from 2011 – 2015, where she helped BHP develop and launch their popular family programming and sensory friendly performances. From 2015-2017 Meg served as the President of the Board of Directors at BHP, which closed in 2017 after 10 successful seasons.

Vito Abate: Vito is an award-winning actor, producer, director, writer, and videographer originally from New York City. After many years he left the city and spent four seasons working with the Tony-winning theatre company of the Denver Center for Performing Arts before relocating to Charlotte, NC. While in NC he performed with the nationally recognized Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and acted and directed throughout the Carolinas. Vito was a founding judge of Charlotte’s Blumey Awards and helped send Eva Noblezada (finalist) and Reneé Rapp (winner) to the Jimmy Awards. He served as Vice President of the North Carolina Theatre Conference and continues to adjudicate their high school play festival every fall. Vito has been a judge in the METG musical theatre division since relocating to Greater Boston in 2019. In 2023 he directed the musical A Man of No Importance at The Footlight Club in Boston. Favorite roles include Billis/South Pacific, Fester/The Addams Family Musical, Mitch/”Streetcar”. Directing highlights: Sylvia, A Funny Thing…, Steel Magnolias, Children of Eden, A Christmas Carol, Leading Ladies. Vito is an acting coach as well as a certified life and mental health coach.

Peter Sampieri: Prof. Sampieri is a director, playwright, musician, composer, puppeteer, and teaching artist. His professional directing credits include (Off-Broadway) the world premiere of On The Line at the Cherry Lane Theatre, The Sister Wall at Barrow St. Theatre, The Three Same Guys at The Public, and Space Laser, in Space! at The Vineyard. (NYC workshops): world premieres of Show Ho at Six Figures, Ars Nova, and Vendetta Chrome for The Dramatist’s Guild. (Regional Theatre): Wit, A Christmas Carol, and The Taming of The Shrew at Trinity Rep, and the world premiere of Yemaya’s Belly at Portland Stage Company. Red Noses, Crime and Punishment, The Pillowman, and the world premiere of Radio Free Emerson (Elliot Norton Award in 2008 for Outstanding New Play) at Gamm Theatre. Others include A Bright Room Called Day, Talk to Me Like the Rain…, Recession: The Musical, Decagogo, and King Stag for the Elemental Theatre Collective. He has taught and directed at New York University, Brown University, Huntington Theatre Company, New England Conservatory of Music, Providence College, University of Rhode Island, OperaWorks, and Northwestern University. This is his sixteenth year serving as a tenured Professor of Directing and Performance for the Theatre and Speech Communication Department at Salem State University where he’s directed Twelfth Night, Cabaret, Kafka in Tel Aviv, The Grapes of Wrath, The Master and Margarita, A Free Man of Color, Ragtime, The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Skin of Our Teeth, The School for Lies, and Something Rotten. His original plays include Kafka in Tel Aviv, Grass, The Painter in the Trees, Offended, and The Digital/Analog of Peter Sampieri. He graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program at St. Michael’s College, receiving dual Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Theatre and English Literature; later he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the Trinity Rep Conservatory. Peter is the 2002 recipient of a Pell Award Scholarship for Artistic Excellence, and the 2014 recipient of 3 national awards from The Kennedy Center for his original play Kafka in Tel Aviv, including Outstanding Direction of a New Work, and The David Mark Cohen National Playwriting award. His multi-media production of The Long Christmas Ride Home in 2020 garnered 13 national awards from the Kennedy Center, including Special Achievement in Directing. He was an O’Neill Playwriting Fellow in 2014, received Salem State’s first-ever Distinguished Teaching Award in 2015, a Whiting Fellowship in 2017, and became a guest resident artist and teacher at The National Theatre Academy in Helsinki, Finland in 2017. He is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild, and SDC, a national labor union for directors and choreographers.

MS Division Judge Bios

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