Board Of Directors
Reneé M. Ronan, President
Reneé M. Ronan has been involved with Aurora Players since 2002 when she was cast in Play It Again Sam. But it wasn’t until 2013, after her two children entered college, that she was able to jump in with both feet! After performing in You Can’t Take It With You, she took on many backstage roles such as: stage crew; stage manager; prop master; lighting technician and producer. Reneé joined the Board of Directors in 2016, becoming president in 2020. During her short tenure as President she has spearheaded, with David Hall and other volunteers, the remodeling of the backstage areas while presiding over preparations for Aurora Players’ reopening. She is also the Producer of this fall’s season opener: HAIR. Reneé has an associate degree in liberal arts–humanities and social science. She calls Aurora Players her home away from home and is particularly proud that her entire family is happily involved.
John Szablewski, Vice President
A musician and artist, John Szablewski has been a member or Aurora Players since 2016, when he was cast in Little Shop of Horrors. He is a founding member of Theatre in Hamlin Park and directed its inaugural production, Alice in Wonderland. Currently, he is the Music Director for this fall’s production of HAIR. He is also the founder of Buffalo Theater Guide, an online site for theater reviews. He has played keyboard for numerous musicals, including The Wedding Singer, Mamma Mia!, She Loves Me and many others.
Mark Eckstein, Recording Secretary
Mark Eckstein is a retired college administrator. He has served on the boards of various community theater organizations, holding positions including member-at-large, secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president. He acts a bit, sings better than he acts, does sound and lights, works backstage, ushers, and works the concession stand. Sometimes, he also directs. Mark holds an MS in management from Keuka College. He lives in Johnsonburg with his wife Mary, who acts and sings better than him.
John Woods, Corresponding Secretary
John Woods has been a member of Aurora Players since the summer of 2006, when he volunteered during the production of Sylvia. He has worked multiple backstage jobs including stage manager and crew for many productions since his arrival. John also served on the Publicity Committee as its Chair for several years and, in between all that, found time to be on stage in several productions. He enjoys gardening, car collecting and composing showtunes.
Chris Best, Member-at-Large
Chris Best has been involved in local theater since 2002, joining Aurora Players in 2004 as a cast member of The Wizard Of Oz. Chris’ entire family has been active with Players since then, both onstage and behind the scenes in various roles. A veteran of 60 shows with a variety of WNY theater companies, Chris also spent many years as a board member with ACTS in Alden, including three years as board president. His most recent appearance on stage with Aurora Players was in the very popular fall 2019 production of Bright Star.
David Hall, Member-at-Large
Along with being a seasoned actor, David Hall has brought his artistic vision as a director to many Aurora Players favorites such as The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Little Shop of Horrors and many others. He is the director of this fall’s exciting season opener, HAIR. Currently chair of Players’ Play Reading Committee, David also applies his passion for set design, building and decorating to bring a professional and unique flair to many Aurora Players productions. He has also conducted several successful acting workshops.
Laurie Oravec, Member-at-Large
Laurie Oravec joined the Board in January of 2021. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY at Buffalo. As former director of public relations and brand development for Fisher-Price, Laurie brings new ideas for marketing Aurora Players and its productions as well as a legal point-of-view based on prior experience as a corporate paralegal. She has assisted with props, set decorating, stage crew and appeared in several Aurora Players productions beginning in 2017.