In Front of the Curtain

Joe Campolieta, Artistic Director and Conductor

Mr. Campo has been with Simsbury Summer Theatre since 1999. A Crane School of Music graduate with a B.A. in Music Performance and Education, Mr. Campo began his music career in the trombone section of the Syracuse Symphony. Moving to the New York City area, he became principal trombone with the North Shore Symphony. During his performing career, he played Carnegie Hall and backed up entertainers including Joel Grey, Ben Vereen, Bobby Vinton, Tom Jones and Bob Hope, as well as performing in the orchestra for the Ice Capades and Disney on Ice. Currently the director of human resources for the Torrington Public Schools, Mr. Campo previously taught instrumental music and directed the district’s All-City Band. He also is an adjudicator for Connecticut regional music festivals and teaches private brass lessons. Additional directing credits include the Simsbury High School jazz band, three SHS musicals, First Church of Christ’s junior and cherub choirs, and the Squadron Line School Drama Club. A performer with a variety of local groups, including the Bristol Reunion Big Band, FVJC-ES Klezmer Band, Cornerstone Brass, and The Dozing Dogs, Mr. Campo performs in the annual Asylum Hill Congregational Church jazz service and the Boar’s Head Festival. He regularly performs in the pit orchestra for Theatre Guild of Simsbury, Simsbury High School, and Irving R. Robbins School musicals and is a re-enactor at the Simsbury Historical Society, portraying Tavern-keeper Jeffrey Phelps. He has two children, Dan and Kate, and enjoys sharing the magic of theatre with them.

Lesley Lambert, Choreographer

Ms. Lambert joined the professional staff in 2000 as choreographer for The Pajama Game. Ms. Lambert is an accomplished choreographer and master teacher, with students who have moved on to careers on Broadway, regional theater, film, television, music videos, dance companies, ballet companies and other professional venues. Ms. Lambert began performing at the age of two and has never stopped. An accomplished competitor and performer, her specialties are tap dance, musical theater and jazz. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her choreography on a national level. Ms. Lambert is the assistant director at New England Dance Centers in Granby, CT and Westfield, MA, which has been recognized as one of the top ten dance studios in the country. Her students have been seen on So You Think You Can Dance and other national television competitions. She is the director of The Kids’ Cabaret musical theater at NEDC, writing, directing and choreographing the productions. Ms. Lambert holds a B.A. from Westfield State University. She has two daughters, Shaunnessy and Ryan, who are wonderful dancers in their own right.

Mandy Mulé, Assistant Director

Amanda Mule has been with SST since 2003, when she joined SST as a freshman in high school. During her seven years as a SST member, Ms. Mule delighted audiences with her comic timing and wonderful voice in memorable roles such as Mama in Bye, Bye Birdie, Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street, Aunt Eller in Oklahoma, and Miss Jones in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. She was president of the SST Youth Board for three years.  Returning to SST after college graduation, Ms Mule was an adult advisor for hair and makeup, technical director, and then in 2014 became the assistant to the director.

Ms. Mule earned her bachelor’s degree in music/vocal performance from the University of Connecticut. She has a certificate in critical pedagogy from the Westminster Choir College and a Master’s Degree in Arts Education with an emphasis on multiple intelligences from the University of St. Joseph. She is a third grade teacher in the Torrington Schools, teaches voice privately and is the artistic director of the Hartford Stage Summer Youth Ensemble.

Behind the Scenes

Heidi Bengraff, Stage Manager

Ms. Bengraff joined SST in 2013, bringing over over 30 years of theater experience.  She has been stage manager, assistant stage manager and producer for multiple Greater Hartford area groups, including The Manchester Musical Players, Little Theater of Manchester, Producing Guild, Theatre Guild of Simsbury, Montage Theater Company, and East Granby Youth Theater.  In addition to stage managing, her responsibilities included, at times, properties, set dressing, running crew, construction/painting coordinator, lighting and sound technician.  Ms. Bengraff served for over 20 years on the Board of Directors of The Manchester Musical Players as VP/Asst VP of Production.  A student of voice and dance, she has performed  in many Manchester Musical Players and Theatre Guild of Simsbury productions.

Chris Stone, Set Design and Decoration

Mr. Stone, with SST since 2012, is also an alumnus of SSTFY from the years 19(cough) to 19(cough) — in other words, long, long ago. He appeared (as the male lead) in Pajama Game, Guys & Dolls, Bye Bye, Birdie, and Music Man with Board of Directors President Nancy Grandin, which tells you how long ago it was. Since then he has been active in the Hartford area theatre and music scene, performing with numerous area community and professional theatre troupes and orchestras. Favorite leading roles have included those in Jekyll & Hyde, Kiss of the Spider Woman, I Do, I Do, A Little Night Music, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Kiss Me, Kate. He has also directed numerous shows and cabarets as well as designing and building sets for many of them. Mr. Stone is a soloist and section leader at First Church in Glastonbury and also sings with the a cappella quartet UnCommon Time. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Stone lives with his wife, Catherine, and their two girls, Anna and Cate, in Portland. His bedtime rendition of “Daddy’s Little Girl” routinely receives a sleeping ovation from his girls.

Leslie Mills, Set Decorator

Ms. Mills joined the SST staff in 2013. A graduate of the Charter Oak State College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art, she worked with the East Hartford Summer Youth Arts Festival then joined Manchester Musical Players as Stage Manager. Once they discovered her range of talents, she painted scenery, designed sets, assistant stage managed, worked backstage and sang on stage for many years. In addition to MMP and EHSYF, Leslie has worked with East of the River Cue and Curtain, Little Theatre of Manchester, and Theatre Guild of Simsbury.

Canta perecimus perpaucis tamdiu instructa ut omnia conficere possemus nihilo tandem deducta.
"We have done so much with so little for so long, we can now do anything with nothing."