Dazzle Awards Creative Team

Connor Gallagher


Connor is a New York-based director, choreographer and dance educator. He is best known for choreographing the world-wide musical phenomenon Beetlejuice, with productions on Broadway, Australia, London, South Korea and the currently running North American Tour. 


Connor received the Astaire Award for his work on The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of The Robber Bridegroom, directed by Alex Timbers. Other notable recent work includes a new adaptation of Beauty and the Beast for Disney Creative Entertainment running aboard the Disney Dream; the world-premiere stage adaptation of Disney’s Tangled; Robert Schenkkan and Neil Berg’s The Twelve (Denver Center); the HIFA Festival in Zimbabwe; Found (Philadelphia Theatre Company), 13 North American companies of ELF; and pieces for Goodspeed Musicals, The Public Theatre, Theatreworks USA, Buck County Playhouse, Lincoln Center, Papermill Playhouse, Westport Country Playhouse, ACT, Playhouse Square, and Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC. Connor most recently choreographed the world-premiere of Will Aronson and Hue Park’s IL TENORE at the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea. 


Connor is currently developing several musicals as director: the world-premiere stage adaption of Disney’s MOANA, Kit Yan and Melissa Li’s MISS STEP for MCC and THE BIG GAY JAMBOREE from Titanique creator Marla Mindelle, Jonathan Park-Ramage, and Philip Drennen. He graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory and was recently honored with the 2021 Young Alumni Award. He is a former competitive gymnast and made his Broadway debut as a performer in the final company of Beauty and the Beast. IG: @connorga. www.connorgallagher.com 

Chandon Jones

Associate Choreographer

Chandon is thrilled to be back at the Dazzle Awards this year! Chandon is based in Washington, D.C. and received her BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University in North Carolina. She has worked on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast around the world with companies in North America, China, Tokyo, UK, and most recently Australia.

As a performer, Chandon appeared in the North American tours of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Elf the Musical, Singin’ in the Rain at The Gateway Playhouse and High School Musical 2 at The North Carolina Theatre. Most recently, Chandon worked as the associate choreographer on Vanity Fair (Shakespeare Theatre Company) and Elf the Musical (USA Tour). Chandon’s additional choreographic work includes Theatreworks USA’s Off-Broadway production of Bunnicula! (associate choreographer), Skyline Theatre Company’s productions of Cabaret, Funny Girl and Dreamgirls (choreographer), Cornell University’s 150th Charter Day Celebration kicking off with a “Big Red Birthday Bash” (choreographer/director) and Tisch University’s 50th Anniversary Gala at The Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC (co-choreographer).

Joel Mercier

Music Director

Joel is a New England based Director, Music Director, and Composer. No stranger to Cleveland, Mercier spent four years with Great Lakes Theater, musically directing their productions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, My Fair Lady, The Secret Garden and Les Misérables, which won the Cleveland Critics and Broadway World Cleveland Award for Best Music Director. Past orchestration, arrangement, & music direction credits include nationally recognized theaters all over the country such as the New London Barn Playhouse (NH), Northern Stage (VT), Goodspeed Opera House (CT), Center for the Arts (PA), Idaho Shakespeare Festival (ID), the Palace Theatre (NH), American Music Theatre (PA), and NYC’s Duplex, Westbeth Off-Broadway & Nokia Theatre Times Square. An award-winning composer, Mercier’s original productions & adaptations include Ghost Hunting and Lost in Wonderland (NH Theatre Factory), The Magic of Fairytales Series (Palace Theatre), Tom Sawyer (Winnipesauke Playhouse), and A Christmas Carol: A Sparkling New Musical which toured across the country in 2013. Mercier, a graduate of the Hartt School, was the Resident Music Director & Artistic Associate at the New London Barn Playhouse for six years, a Guest Artist at Dartmouth College for three, and is currently the Producing Artistic Director at North Country Center for the Arts Jean's Playhouse in NH. He is very excited to be back in Cleveland, having musically directed all the Dazzle Awards shows since its very beginning. www.joelmercier.com 

Sara Smith

Associate Music Director

With a master’s degree from The Eastman School of Music, Sara works as a performer, educator, arranger and accompanist in the Cleveland area. She is a proud member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 4.

Regional performance venues have included Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland PlayHouse, Playhouse Square, ArtsBridge Summer Intensives, Broadway Dreams, Dazzle Awards, Opera Per Tutti, Cleveland Opera on Tour, Access to the Arts, and assorted other theater, dance and choral organizations.

Sara is currently a collaborative pianist at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music (25 years), working primarily with Music Theater majors, and previously was on staff for 10 years at The Cleveland Institute of Music. She also served as Head of the Accompanying Dept. at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, where she was a member of the piano and accompanying faculty for 18 years.

In addition to her work with regional theaters and at Baldwin-Wallace University, Sara teaches piano/theory in her home studio, accompanies the Western Reserve Chorale and BW Motet Choir and is on the music staff at old South Church in Kirtland.

Annie Garrett-Larsen

Lighting Designer

Annie Garrett-Larsen is a lighting designer based in New York City. She is thrilled to be returning to Playhouse Square to design her third Dazzle Awards. Her other Cleveland design work has been seen at Cleveland Play House (CWRU/CPH MFA Program, The New Ground Theatre Festival, & CPH Academy). Select designs have been seen at Chautauqua Theater Company, Detroit Public Theater, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, Judson Memorial Church, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Tank, The Wild Project, and many additional venues in and around New York City. Education: Bard College, B.A. in Theater & Performance. She is currently pursuing her MFA at NYU Tisch. anniegarrett-larsen.com

Brett Young

Sound Designer

As a Cleveland-based Audio Engineer, Sound Designer and Artist, Brett brings two decades of experience to his craft. Noteworthy projects include his role as FOH Engineer and System Technician for the PBR Velocity Tour, FOH Engineer and System Designer for surprise performances featuring acts like Cage the Elephant and Paramore at Bonnaroo Music Festival, as well as System Designer and FOH Engineer for EST Fest and XX Mas with Machine Gun Kelly. He has served as Monitor Engineer and FOH Engineer for Eddie Money, the Cleveland Film Commission collaborating with Tom Hanks and the Cleveland Orchestra. Brett's contributions have earned him recognition in FOH Magazine.

During his work with Vertical Sound, Brett was a part of the Brite Winter Festival production, Systems Tech for Willie Nelson and worked events with Cleveland Public Theater. While working at Accurate Sound and Lighting, he was involved with Werkout Music and Arts Fest, production of Cleveland Pride, and even being Monitor Engineer for Debbie Gibson. Mentionable solo projects include Sound Installation for Iron Chef Michael Symon Restaurants, recording studio projects including Ante Up Studios and Magnetic North Recording and tour experience traveling as a musician.

Brett is a graduate of the audio program at Lakeland College, working internships with Paul Hammond and Tom Anderson at Suma Recording Studio and TA Audio, and assisting on projects such as the recording of Attack and Release by the Black Keys and Foley Sound Design work for a remaster of American Graffiti. Brett is currently the Head of Audio in the KeyBank State Theatre at Playhouse Square and is a proud member of IATSE Local 27. Brett is excited to be a part of the Dazzle Awards and can't wait to see what this year becomes.

Jack-Anthony Ina

Stage Manager

Jack-Anthony Ina is a director, designer, and stage/production manager with over 300 production credits. His work has recently been seen in Atlanta, New York City, and throughout Northeast Ohio. Jack graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre: Stage Management and Arts Management & Entrepreneurship in 2020. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and is currently working as the Production Manager for Baldwin Wallace University's Conservatory of the Performing Arts. Jack also continues to work as a freelance director and designer. 

Recent Credits: Ordinary Days (Production Stage Manager), Ride the Cyclone (Production Stage Manager, Video Designer), A Soulful Christmas (Lighting Designer), Motown (Production Manager and Lighting Designer), Sister Act (Lighting Designer), Ghost the Musical (Production Stage Manager), The Wild Party (Production Stage Manager), Sweeney Todd (Choreographer, Lighting Designer), The Lightning Thief (Scenic/Lighting/Props Designer, Production Coordinator), The Color Purple (Lighting Designer), Kinky Boots (Lighting/Video Designer), Disney’s Newsies (Director, Music Director/Conductor), Secrets at 54 Below (Director).

IG: @jackanthonyina  jackanthonyina.com 

Julie Wagner

Julie C. Okuley

Assistant Stage Manager

Julie received her Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre degree from Siena Heights University in 2011. Back to reprise her role as ASM for the Dazzle Awards, other stage management credits include The River Bride, Breakout Session & The Outstretched Hand (Cleveland Public Theatre), A Streetcar Named Desire and Bright Ideas (The Brecksville Theatre), Bloody, Little Pieces (Blank Canvas Theatre), Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share (Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square 2016-18) and others. Julie has also most recently returned to the stage with appearances in Lakeland Theatre’s If/Then (u/s Kate) and Blank Canvas Theatre’s productions of We Will Rock You (ensemble). Favorite roles include Hannah in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Nancy D. in A New Brain, and Lavinia in the two-part production of Mourning Becomes Electra. She has been seen on the Croswell Opera House stage in multiple productions, including A Chorus Line (u/s Kristine, Connie) and Titanic. Julie is currently employed full-time for the Education Department at Playhouse Square.

Whitney Miller

Production Assistant/Props Master

Whitney Miller is a Cleveland-based, freelance Stage Manager and a full-time Project Manager, with a background in technical design. She is thrilled to be a part of the Dazzle Awards team. Whitney attended Case Western Reserve University for Chemical Engineering and Film Studies where she spent most of her time with the CWRU Footlighters. Some of her favorite past shows include Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Blank Canvas Theatre), Evil Dead the Musical (Blank Canvas Theatre), The Last Five Years (Players' Theatre Group), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Blank Canvas Theatre), and her most recent work in Head Over Heels (Near West Theatre). She's happiest in the theatre, writing, or taking photos with Shiny Penny Studios. You're all very talented!