BOARD OF DIRECTORS
James Dalfonso originally hails from Valparaiso, Indiana and is a graduate of the prestigious Eastman School of Music. Aditionally, he has completed graduate studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN). Since moving to the South Jersey area in 1993, Jim has become involved in the local arts community as a performer, producer, and as the chairman of the Gateway Playhouse. A trained opera singer, Jim’s operatic credits include “Tom” in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, “Rinuccio” in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, “Belcore” in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, and “Frederick” in The Pirates of Penzance. In addition, Jim has extensive musical theater credits including “Tony” in West Side Story, “Officer Lockstock” in Urinetown, “Emile DeBecque” in South Pacific, and “John Jasper” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. By day, Jim can be found as an Interior Finish Specialist at ERCO Ceilings of Somers Point. Jim currently resides in Ocean City (and sometimes Sanibel Island) with his wife Debby and their Puerto Rican rescue dog, Matilda.
KEITH D. COOPER
A graduate of Indiana University School of Theater and Drama, Keith has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 35 years, first as a performer, singing and dancing, and later as an Entertainment Administrator and Company Manager. Broadway credits include: Broadway: Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Off-Broadway: The Toxic Avenger. National Tours: Disney High School Musical and Sesame Street Live (numerous productions). Casinos: Caesars Atlantic City and Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City. Cruise Lines: Norwegian Cruise Lines (M/S EPIC, M/S Breakaway, M/S Escape) Carnival Cruise Lines (M/S Tropicale). Keith also serves on the Board of Directors for the SJ AIDS Alliance where he co-produced a series of fundraising performances entitled, Broadway on the Boardwalk I-VI with partner, Kelly Briggs. Keith is a proud member of Actor Equity Association (AEA), and Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM), and co-owns KCKB Productions, LLC with Kelly Briggs. Keith was the proud recipient of the 2019 Lou DeScioli Award of Excellence from the Somers Point Business Assoication.
LAYNE R. BUCKINGHAM
Russ is the Managing Partner of the Avalon Golf Club and Country Club Tavern in Cape May Court House, New Jersey. He is a 1984 Graduate of Pennsylvania State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in both Computer Science and Math. Russ sits on the Middle Township Planning Board and the Advisory Board for the Jersey Shore Pops. Russ, along with his wife Karen (also a board member) lives in Cape May Court House and has two children, Jacklyn and Trevor.
VICTORIA P. BIRON
Victoria Biron is assistant to the Director for the Noyes Arts Garage (Stockton University) in Atlantic City. She is also an actress and has appeared in Steel Magnolias and On Golden Pond at Dante Hall. Other credits include: You Can't Take it With You, Pirates of Penzance, South Pacific, Beauty and the Beast, Urinetown, Music Man, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Glass Menagerie, Oklahoma, The Odd Couple, Harvey and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Victoria is a tea expert and lecturer. She is on the Board of the American Association of University Women of Atlantic County and has volunteered for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center and the Alcove.
Karen Buckingham is a proud graduate of Wildwood High School and attended the former Stockton State College. She spends most days substitute teaching at CMC Special Services School, which she finds extremely rewarding. Karen is active in various charities and sits on several boards in Cape May County, including the Animal Advisory Board and the Middle Township Arts Council Board. Karen enjoys shopping, social media, and her fur babies RosaBud and Angel. Married to Layne Buckingham, Karen considers her greatest accomplishment being a mother to Jacklyn Laura Buckingham and Trevor Russell Buckingham. In addition, Karen recently became a grandmother to Chase Russell Buckingham who has stolen her heart. She thanks you for supporting local theater and the Gateway Playhouse.
ELIZABETH (BETTY) G. BURKE
Betty has served on the Board of Trustees, Area Health Education Center, Inc. (AHEC) Camden NJ, since 1983 as past president and current recording secretary; and the Gateway Playhouse Board of Directors since 2008. Love of theatre, opera, and performing arts matured through the Gli Amanati Del Opera Club and the Charlotte Cushman Library & Theatre Museum Club, Philadelphia, PA. Initially as board secretary, president and on the transition team, Betty's efforts helped lead to the successful conversion from Club to Foundation, located in the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA. The Foundation offers scholarship grants to aspiring performers, writers, and musicians. In 2012 Betty, a registered nurse, re-careered and established Ways of Wellness, an integrative care practice located in Linwood, NJ. She holds certifications in Reflexology, Aromatherapy for Health Care and Reiki, Master Level. She resides in Smithville, Galloway Township with her husband John.
Katie Calvi grew up on Bay Avenue and is thrilled for the Gateway Playhouse’s revival. Katie is a graduate of Rutgers University where she earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Exercise Physiology. Professionally, Katie worked in corporate human resources at kate spade new york where she focused on executive recruitment, international human resources, and building brand culture. Katie is now a full-time mom of her two boys Clark (5) and Frederick (1). Katie is an active member of the Linwood Democratic Club and Shore Mothers Club. In her free time, you can find Katie on the squash courts, on her yoga mat, or biking with her husband Chris. Katie is the granddaughter of Paul Aiken, founder of the Gateway SJRT.
CLAIRE N. COLLINS
Claire has been an Arts Education Instructor and Music teacher since 1985. She has taught as Musical Director for no less than six highs schools of the Camden Diocese, and currently is the Music Department Chair at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ. Claire is also Owner and manager of Celebrations; a wedding planning and services company. While at Holy Spirit Claire has been responsible for Budget Preparation and initiated and administered the Spirit of Music Fund, raising over $125,000 for the Holy Spirit Music dept. She specializes in music theory and college preparation as well as advanced and honors programs for both band and choir.
DR. GREG DRAGON
Greg has been involved in community theater for over thirty years and has performed in dozens of shows with a variety of local theater companies, but he has always considered the Gateway as his "home court". In addition to his interest in theater, Greg plays keyboard for two local bands, the Rocktologists and the Shore Thing Band. Greg is an anesthesiologist at Cape Regional Medical Center and lives in Seaville with his three children, Julia, Samantha and David.
Lori is Co-owner of WiserLink Inc. Advertising and Public Relations. She is responsible for art direction, graphic design and video production, including selection of and communication with vendors as well as client service and business development. Lori has experience in numerous design programs including: PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, Final CutPro and others. In her previous firm, serving as Senior Art Director Lori was responsible for all direct mail, in-house signage and collateral, special event invitations, print advertising and outdoor advertising. Prior to that, Lori held graphic design positions at Caesars Hotel Casino and at Raphel Marketing in Atlantic City. A graduate of Richard Stockton College, Lori was an Art Major with a concentration in Computer Graphics and Visual Arts. Lori has also taught graphic design as an adjunct professor for Atlantic Cape Community College. Besides serving on Board of the Theater Collaborative of South Jersey, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the South Jersey AIDS Alliance. Lori is married to Brian Hoatson, a designer with FVHD Architects-Planners. They have one daughter, Harbour.
KAREN S. SUTHERLAND
Karen is originally from Lake Worth, Florida, where she studied at Palm Beach Ballet. She moved to New Jersey from New York City, where she performed in Broadway shows, including the original productions of Pippin and The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. She also worked with Bob Fosse and Barry Williams on the first touring company of Pippin, and Juliet Prowse on the tour of ...Whorehouse. She also was thrilled to perform in a touring company of Mame, starring Angela Lansbury and Jane Connell. Other regional credits include: Cabaret, Irene, and Brigadoon. TV and film credits include: Ryan's Hope and the film Headin' for Broadway. Karen performs locally with the Shaken Not Stirred Players, and has been seen in productions of Nunsense, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Urinetown, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Pirates of Penzance, and A Christmas Carol at the Gateway Playhouse. She is a founding member of the Theater Collaborative of South Jersey. Karen is also a member of the Somers Point Arts Commission.
It is with great sadness and heart felt gratitude that we remember those members of our Gateway Family that have moved on to the the ultimate stage.
PAT CUCCHI PUGLISE
Pat served on the Board of Directors as Corresponding Secretary for seven years. Performing arts love began at a very young age, taking her to the stage as an actor/dancer/singer and eventually to forming a non-profit community theater, the Sea Isle City Players from 1989-2004, where she honed her producing and directing skills. Keeping her administration skills intact, Pat served as Secretary/Treasurer in Cub Scouting, and currently is serving as the Fundraising Chair with BSA Troop 76 in Sea Isle City. Pat lives in Cape May Court House with her husband, Mike, and has 3 children and 5 grandchildren.