Board Of Directors
Laurie Oravec, President
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.
Mark Eckstein, Vice President
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, Correspondence 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.
Catherine Burkhart, Member-at-Large
Originally from Syracuse, NY, Catherine Burkhart holds a BFA in Theater from SUNY Fredonia and has been active in Western NY theater for over 25 years. Her first role with Aurora Players was in 2003’s “See How They Run”. She has been an active member for 19 years and previously volunteered as a Board member. Although her first love is acting, and she feels lucky to have graced the AP stage many times, she has also directed four shows for the organization and produced five. She is a proud recipient of AP’s John C. Briggs Service Award. Catherine has worked for M&T Bank for 13 years. She practices yoga and enjoys hiking, reading and cooking. She is also a volunteer at Beaver Meadow/Buffalo Audubon Society.
Jason Gonser, Member-at-Large
Jason Gonser first became involved with Aurora Players in 2000 while in high school. While attending SUNY Geneseo to earn his BA in Theater, he received the Richard Story Award for Technical Theater and was Vice President of Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society. He returned in 2007 and has been active in the organization since. Jason was first appointed to the board in 2013, filling the vacancy left by Roberta Rathbun when she passed. He served on the board for much of 2013 – 2019, serving as recording secretary for a number of those years. He is a Manufacturing Engineer with Astronics Luminescent Systems, Inc.
Kim Hicks, Member-at-Large
Kim has been involved with Aurora Players since 1996 when she moved back to East Aurora and volunteered to help with the costuming of The Music Man. She has costumed many shows since then and chairs the Costume Committee, which maintains our extensive, award-winning costume collection. She has also served on the Play Reading Committee, helped with set decorating and front-of-the-house functions. Having recently retired from her position in soft goods product development with Fisher-Price, she is now enjoying the more in-depth involvement with Aurora Players that comes with serving on the board.
Tim Musial, Member-at-Large
I was invited to audition for a show by a friend from work, some 32 years ago. He’s moved out of the area, but I’m still here. As you might imagine, I have participated in this group in many capacities in that time. The draw of live theatre – of stretching my creative “muscles” – be it through onstage/backstage/production/publicity modes still excites me. To be able to do so – with my family and alongside a fantastic group of like-minded individuals – makes this a fulfilling avocation that is very enjoyable. I’m honored and excited to have the chance to guide the organization in realizing its goals in the coming years.