Meet The New Phoenix Theatre Staff
Richard Lambert has been the Executive Director of the New Phoenix Theatre on the Park since he purchased the property in 1996. Since coming to Buffalo in 1988, Richard has appeared on most city stages as an actor (over 40 productions). He has directed many productions in the United States as well as Canada, and is the author of several plays. He has received over a dozen nominations in the city’s yearly “Artie Award” competition, in addition to winning Best Actor for Brad Frasier’s Poor Super Man. While living in Manhattan, Richard performed on many stages including the Tomi Theatre, Village Performers Theatre, and the Manhattan Theatre Club. It was while living in New York that he met and began a long-term relationship with noted actor/director/playwright Maxim Mazumdar, whose plays continue to be performed in both the U.S. and Canada, including a production of Oscar Remembered, directed by William Hutt at Stratford. It is for Mr. Mazumdar, who at one time operated the Phoenix Theatre in Montreal, Canada, that the New Phoenix Theatre is named. Before moving from Manhattan, Richard met the playwright and scholar Eric Bentley. The Phoenix currently hosts a yearly new play competition in his name and honor. In addition to his work at the Phoenix, Richard has hosted the local television show Human Touch for Adelphia Communications and has appeared in many commercials in Western New York.
KELLI BOCOCK-NATALE has been an active member of the Buffalo Theatre community for over 20 years. For The New Phoenix Theatre she has directed CLOUD 9, PETER PAN, MACBETH, BLACK BIRD and FOOL FOR LOVE, all nominated for the Artie for Best Director of a Play. Additionally, she directed Road Less Traveled Productions' THE GOOD THIEF, and the ICTC’s JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS, for which she received the Artie for Best Direction of a Musical. She has directed for Buffalo United Artists. She directed the original play CONFESSIONS, for which she was honored with Best Director at the 2004 National Gay and Lesbian Conference. Other BUA productions include SHAKESPEARE'S R&J, recipient of the 2003 Artie Award for Best Direction of a Play, FACING EAST (Artie nominee for Best Director) THE TRICKY PART, THE REINDEER MONOLOGUES, GODSPELL (Artie nominee Best Director of a Musical,) AVOW (Artie nominee Best Director of a Play), THE MINNEOLA TWINS and A... MY NAME IS ALICE, for which she was given the 1992 Artie Award for Best Director of a Musical.
As an actress, Kelli was seen in Musicalfare’s production of SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM and the ICTC and BPO’s production of THE BOURGEOUS GENTLEMAN. ICTC productions include WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE (Artie Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Play), AH! WILDERNESS, SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Artie nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Play,) THE LEARNED LADIES (Artie nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Play) and A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, (Artie nominee for Best Supporting actress in a Musical.) As “Sophie Tucker” in SOPHIE TUCKER – LAST OF THE RED HOT MAMAS, she received the Artie for Best Actress in a Musical.
Kelli won the Artie for Best Supporting Actress in a play for “Mattie Fae” in the Kavinoky production of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Kelli has performed at the New Phoenix Theatre as “Lola” in COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, (Artie nominee for Best Actress in a Play); Buffalo United Artists in THE NEW CENTURY and OUT IN THE OPEN; the Jewish Repertory Theatre Company as “Gorgeous” in SISTERS ROSENZWEIG (Artie nominee for Best Actress in a Play). Additional acting credits include: 42nd STREET, THE KATHY & MO SHOW, CRIMES OF THE HEART, PUTTING IT TOGETHER (Artie nominee for Best Actress in a Musical) and TOMMY (Artie nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical).
Franklin LaVoie, Master Puppeteer/Designer
Franklin LaVoie has been working in theater for twelve years. He works as a set and costume designer, builder, and painter for many theater groups throughout Buffalo, including The Kavinoky Theatre, The Irish Classical Theatre, Shakespeare In The Park, The New Phoenix Theatre, Pick of the Crop Dance Company, et al. Franklin is the founding member of Skeleton in the Closet Theater Company, where he has currently written, directed, and starred in The Bedeviled Chest, and for which he served as costume and set designer as well. For over ten years Franklin has been developing a series of lectures entitled “Sacred Geography of Western New York,” which examines the legends and folklore of his hometown. As a storyteller, Franklin has performed at The Chautauqua Institute, Lilydale Assembly, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo State College, and at other venues throughout Western New York.
Betsy Bittar, Costume Designer
Betsy Bittar joined the New Phoenix Theatre Company in the summer of 2001. Betsy's true passion is acting, and her stage debut with the company was Grace in Joe Egg. She recently starred at the NPTC in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane. Betsy has performed in a variety of roles at Alleyway, Irish Classical, BET, UB, Buffalo State, TOY and Ujima. She has also been Costume designer for the NPTC shows True West, Reservoir, Trophy Wife, The Country Girl, Guido, Jesus Hopped The "A" Train, Alice Underground, Metamorphosis, The Woman Before, and The Beauty Queen Of Leenane. Betsy is Treasurer/Board Member of the NPTC, a CPA, and a mother.
Michael Klemm, Graphic Arts Director / Webmaster
Michael D. Klemm is a lifelong Buffalo resident and freelance graphic designer. A graduate from Buffalo State College with a BA in Graphic Design, class of 1980, his befriending of the local theatre scene began when he was the art director and editor of Metro Weekend from 1995 to 1997. He later covered theatre, and was art director, for the short-lived paper Things To Do, Places to Go, People To See. He was the art director at Automart Magazine for ten years, works for Greater Buffalo Newspapers, designs the local biker magazine Hard Tales, and writes the video columns for his website, Cinemaqueer.com. Michael lives in North Buffalo with his husband - his soul mate, his life partner of 28 years, Andrew Klemm.
New Phoenix Theatre
Board Of Directors
Mark Moretti, Board Chair
Richard Lambert, Executive Director
Kelli Bocock-Natale, Artistic Director
Betsy Bittar, CPA Treasurer
Richard Campbell, Board Member
Michael Klemm, Board Member
Thomas A. Lambert, Esq., Board Member
Kelly Maurer, Board Member
Tom Scahill, House Manager
Eric Bentley, Board Member Emeritus
In Memoriam: Timothy C. White