About Naperville Theatre Company Board of Directors

Our Company



The Summer Place, Inc. (or Summer Place Theatre as it has come to be known) got its start back in 1966 as a way to keep students active and their acting skills sharp over the summer months. 

It was founded by Donald "Doc" Shanower, then Dean of Theatre at North Central College in 1966. 2016 was our 50th season, and we dedicated our shows to Doc. Sadly, we lost Doc in 2015, just shy of our big 50th anniversary. We miss you, and most of all we thank you for creating this long-lasting Naperville institution.

Our Mission Statement

The Summer Place, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer-supported community theatre, based in the Naperville area, strives to provide professional quality year-round theatre arts entertainment. We are committed to providing:

  • A supportive and collaborative environment for artists;
  • High quality, culturally enriching entertainment to the community;
  • Educational opportunities for all ages through mentoring and performance based participation.

The Summer Place, Inc. gets funding through ticket sales, advertising sales, concessions proceeds, grants, and the generous donations of our patrons.

The bulk of our expenses go towards royalty fees, set building costs, and, depending on the production, costuming. To a far lesser extent we spend money on honorariums for our directors and musicians. Our actors do not get paid. For that matter, our actors don't pay us for the opportunity to act in our shows, although of late they have paid a script and costume fee to help defray those costs. Our producers, who are pulled from our Board of Directors, are not paid to produce the shows, nor are any of our Board Members or Officers paid for their service.

Summer Place is a Community Theater. It provides a great deal to Naperville: the opportunity to gather and create a work of art and to share that work with its citizens at a very low cost.

One of our largest supporters is Naperville itself. The Naperville Park District provides rooms for us to meet and rehearse and is a partner with us for Ghost Stories in the fall, and Naperville School District 203 provides our theatre venue during the summer: Naperville Central High School Auditorium.

Past Shows

Our Officers


President Don Gingold

Don Gingold, President"Your Ghost Host," Don has led the production of our Ghost Stories ... In the Park ... In the Dark for the past several years, as Producer, Director, TD, MC and Story Teller. He's been in numerous productions for us: the villain Henri in My Three Angels, the Wrigley Field Announcer in Bleacher Bums, Elisha Whitney in Anything Goes, Merlin and Pellinor in Camelot, Mr. Tinsworthy in 9 to 5, the book voice in How to Succeed, Potifar in Joseph, Doc in West Side Story, Senex in Forum, old Ben in The Secret Garden, the Ringmaster and Bailey in Barnum, and his first role at Summer Place, Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof. He is also one of the Summer Place Singers. Don was on the board for several years, supposedly cured but due to contagion from his daughter, had a relapse and is back. A 30+ year Naperville resident with wife and local author Kate, together they own Gnu Ventures Company which does publications, training and voiceover, and Sprocket Websites which powers this site. They have two grown children: one's a producer in LA and the other ...

Vice President Emma Gingold

Emma performed in her first Summer Place production in 2004 and has been involved in many productions since then, including Summer Place's annual Ghost Stories ... in the Park ... in the Dark. Although being on stage has its allure, she prefers being back stage--or even better, below it. Some favorite Vocal Directing and Music Directing credits include South Pacific, Footloose, and Camelot. Emma graduated from Knox College with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Music, and she is currently pursuing her Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano at North Park University. As a Summer Place Board member, Emma helps out on the Publicity Committee, updates the website, and coordinates volunteers. She fills her time accompanying for choirs and Solo & Ensemble festivals, teaching piano lessons, and music directing other area productions. Learn more at emmagingold.com.

Secretary Sara Blankestyn

Sara Blankestyn became part of the Summer Place Family in 2016, as a follower in Jesus Christ Superstar. This was a return to the stage after a long hiatus and she couldn't be happier. Since the summer of 2016, Sara has been seen on stage with SPT in Anything Goes and Sugar - the "Some Like It Hot" Musical. When Sara is not on stage, she still likes to be part of the team that makes the magic happen, lending her skills in Production Management, Costumes, Props, and now as a board member with SPT.

Sara holds a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management and works as a Sales Manager at Groupon.

Treasurer Jeff Sand

Jeff has served Summer Place in many capacities in his 10 years with the troop: Sound designer, Stage Manager, Producer, Box Office, Ticket, Poster and Program Designer and Board Member. Jeff has recently taken the lead in our grant submissions efforts as well as updated our bookkeeping.

Our Board of Directors


Ramona Try

Ramona OryRamona started her theater career in high school with John Pearce, who took a liking to her and featured her in George M. Cohan and Flower Drum Song. She won third place twice in the Last Fling Talent Show. She taught at Rosemary Beyer Dance Studio in the 1980s, and performed in the Sesquicentennial Follies in 1981 with the late, great Naperville Mayor George Pradel and John Ripsky.

Ramona has been in several Summer Place musicals, including The Music Man, Anything Goes, and most recently, Sugar (he "Some Like It Hot" musical).

She has been a dental assistant since the 1970s in Naperville and currently works at Alexian Brothers Hospital.

Christina Peck

Christina joined Summer Place Theatre in 2019 when she was cast in South Pacific. She also performed in the Spring 2020 fundraising revue just before the pandemic lockdown, and then performed virtually in Songs of Hope. Christina manages the publicity committee and works hard to publicize the shows Summer Place Theatre has to offer!

Christina and her husband, fellow Summer Place actor Jason, have been residents of Naperville since 2018. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education. She works as a high school special education teacher and is currently pursuing her Master's in Principal Preparation through Concordia University Chicago.

Ted Waltmire

Ted Waltmire has been a part of The Summer Place since 1977 when he was cast in Damn Yankees. Since then he has served as a musical director and on the Board of Directors producing plays and musicals as well as a term as President.  Ted has also studied at the Second City Training Center, Chicago Dramatists, and Porchlight Theater.  Following a stroke in 2009 Ted wrote the book and lyrics, collaborated with Stephanie McCullough on the music, and starred in The Mighty Ted which has been produced twice in Chicago. He was recently seen as the Bellboy in Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical

Sabrina Zeidler

Sabrina Zeidler was introduced to theatre when she saw her father in our production of Man of LaMancha; she saw every performance. She is grateful for being brought to the theatre by her mother and being handed a drill by her father, all at the age of five. She is a graduate of Elmhurst College with a degree in Theatre – Stage Management, Design and Technology, and Theatre Arts Administration, with minors in Communication Studies and Business Administration. Sabrina has been honored by the Kennedy Center for her work as a Stage Manager on several occasions. Currently, she is a Technical Director at Hinsdale South High School and a Technician at the McAninch Arts Center. She has been on our Board of Directors since 2013.

Steven Zeidler

Steve is the past president of Summer Place Theatre and has been a major supporter of this theatre group for years. He's also an accomplished actor and singer, appearing in many of our plays and musicals, most recently as Osgood Fielding in Sugar - The Some Like It Hot Musical, as well as Arthur in Spamalot, and appearances in Oklahoma, Harvey, The Man Who Came to Dinner, a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (pictured).


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