Leadership

Benjamin Cole | Director of Theatre School Education and Outreach

Benjamin Cole Headshot1Benjamin Cole is proud to lead as the Director of Theatre School Education and Outreach for North Coast Repertory Theatre. With over 20 years of professional acting experience, Ben has been seen on stage locally at The Old Globe, The La Jolla Playhouse, North Coast Repertory Theatre and many others. Some directing credits for the Theatre School @ North Coast Rep include: A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Three Musketeers, The Comedy of Errors, She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurer’s Edition, Monty Python’s Spamalot Young@Part Edition, The Snow Queen, The Gorilla, Cymbeline, Yo, Vikings!, The Little Prince, The Giver, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol, The Mousetrap, MacbethTwelfth NightKnuffle Bunny (A Cautionary Musical), All’s Well That Ends Well, and Romeo and Juliet. You may have seen Ben on stage in Professional Theatre for Families productions of: Christmas ToyshopYou’re a Good Man, Charlie BrownSleeping Beauty; and A Year With Frog and Toad. He has also appeared in NCRT productions of: How the Other Half Loves, Travels With My Aunt, Way Downriver; William Faulkner’s ‘Old Man’BetrayalFaded Glory; and Who Am I This Time?. In addition to his work at NCRT, he is an adjunct professor of Theatre at Grossmont College. Before coming to San Diego, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Grand Valley State University where he taught over 200 students each semester in courses on Shakespeare, Stage Combat, and much more. Ben earned his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Western Illinois University, his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting/Directing from Central Michigan University, and studied acting through New York University in Ireland. He has experience acting, teaching, directing, and fight choreographing all over the country including work with the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. He is also an actor/combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and Dueling Arts International, and regularly fight choreographs at local professional theaters and colleges. Check out our Theatre School @ North Coast Rep website for classes and upcoming student productions: www.northcoastreptheatreschool.org/.

David Ellenstein | Artistic Director

Artistic Director of North Coast Repertory Theatre

Born into a theatrical family, David has worked in theatres across the country. Before joining North Coast Rep in 2003 he served as Artistic Director for the Los Angeles Repertory Company and the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company (AJTC). A veteran of over 250 theatrical productions, directorial favorites include:

North Coast Rep  Holmes & Watson, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Father (West Coast Premiere), This Random World, Travels with my Aunt, The Illusion, Hedda Gabler, Way Downriver; William Faulkner’s ‘Old Man’, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush, Chapter Two, Freud’s Last Session (San Diego Premiere), Faded Glory (World Premiere), Mandate Memories (World Premiere), Becoming Cuba (World Premiere), Time Stands Still, Words by: Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook (World Premiere), Two by Pinter: The Lover and The Dumb Waiter, HENRY IV Part 1, Heroes, My Name is Asher Lev, The Drawer Boy, Becky’s New Car, Ghosts, The Tempest, Talley’s Folly, Over the Tavern, Old Wicked Songs, The Dresser, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Madagascar, A Shayna Maidel, The Honky-Tonk Angels, Rashomon, A Moon for the Misbegotten; Tuesdays With Morrie; Collected Stories; Halpern and Johnson; Romeo and Juliet; Amy’s View; Einstein Comes Through (also co-author); The Chosen; A Life in the Theatre; Story Theatre and Charley’s Aunt. 59E59 – Lord Buckley. Park Square Theatre – Words By Ira Gershwin.  The Colony – Words By Ira Gershwin. Coconut Grove Playhouse  Sonia Flew starring Lucy Arnaz; Halpern and Johnson starring Hal Linden and Brian Murray. Papermill Playhouse – The Chosen starring Theodore Bikel and John Lloyd Young. Portland Stage – Halpern and JohnsonRenaissance Theatre – Long Day’s Journey Into NightActor’s Theatre of Phoenix – Rabbit Hole. Alabama Shakespeare Festival – The Glass Menagerie, Rocket City (World Premiere), Honky-Tonk AngelsLaguna Playhouse – Chapatti, Alexandros (World Premiere)Southwest Shakespeare Company – Cyrano de BergeracAJTC – Awake and SingMeadow Brook Theatre – A Christmas CarolPortland Rep – Conversations With My Father and Gaslamp Quarter Theatre – A Shayna Maidel

Favorite roles as an actor include Max Prince in Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Matt in Talley’s Folly at North Coast Rep, title roles in Hamlet at Los Angeles Theatre Center and Los Angeles Repertory Company; Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at Moonlight StageRichard III at California Shakespeare FestivalEinstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Laguna Playhouse; Calisto in The Illusion and Harker in Dracula at the Arizona Theatre Company; Jonathan in Sight Unseen at North Coast Rep and Portland Repertory Theatre.

Film and television credits include over three dozen roles including “Star Trek IV,” “The Practice,” “Foul Play,” “Christine Cromwell,” “Renegade,” “Eight is Enough” and “General Hospital.” David has also been guest faculty for numerous universities including California State Northridge, Cal Arts, and Shakespeare workshops privately. David lives with his beautiful wife Denise and their amazing sons Jamie and Will.

Bill Kerlin | Managing Director

Bill Kerlin, originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, brings over twenty years of finance, marketing, and sales experience to North Coast Repertory Theatre, including sixteen seasons as the Director of Administration at the legendary Coconut Grove Playhouse, in Miami. During the time Mr. Kerlin served at Coconut Grove, it was the largest professional not-for-profit producing theatre in the State of Florida. Coconut Grove Playhouse had an impressive 1,100 seat mainstage (LORT A), and a 140 seat encore room (LORT D). An education department had classes for children and adults, a summer camp, and two touring shows which supported academic content in public schools.

Over the years, CGP was home to hundreds of theater’s most eminent artists, including: Tallulah Bankhead, Maureen Stapleton, Hume Cronyn, George C. Scott, Liza Minnelli, Denzel Washington, Bea Arthur, Jack Klugman, Tony Randall, Judd Hirsch, Kathleen Turner, Lucie Arnaz, Hal Linden, and Theodore Bikel. Many Tony and award-winning playwrights, directors, and composers premiered works at CGP including: Cy Coleman, Charles Strauss, Jimmy Buffet, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Herman Wouk, David Auburn, Alfred Uhry, and Luis Santeiro. Several projects have moved to Broadway, off-Broadway, National Tours, or the West End including: “Fame,” “Matador,” “Family Secrets,” “Visiting Mr. Green,” “Death of a Salesman,” “An Evening with Jerry Herman,” “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” “Tallulah,” “The Gathering,” “I’m Not Rappaport,” and “Urban Cowboy”.

Prior to joining the Playhouse in 1988, Mr. Kerlin worked as a Senior Training Specialist at Interval International in Miami. His background includes stints in direct mail advertising for Advo Systems and market research for RJ Reynolds. Mr. Kerlin graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Miami in 1984. While he completed his Master’s of Science from Florida International University, he concurrently taught classes at Miami-Dade College and worked full-time.

Most recently, Mr. Kerlin was the Chief Financial Officer for Professionals’ Retirement Strategy, a national insurance and retirement planning service firm. Bill also served as a Board Member for Camposition, a performing arts company whose mission is to push the boundary between contemporary performance and activism through live performance, interactive outreach programs, and professional development trainings. Through unique performance interventions, Camposition’s artists crash through life, performing in unexpected places and situations.