Meet the Staff

Merrideth Ziesse

Owner, Director, & Choreographer

Born and raised in NYC, Merrideth studied dance at the prestigious June Claire School of Dance. Merrideth has a BA in theatre from High Point University and received her MFA in acting from Florida Atlantic University. She has performed throughout the United States from the outdoor dramas of Theatre West Virginia to the NYC national tour of Gypsy. Locally, you may have seen her in the Onstage Atlanta’s production of Parallel Lives or as Ruby in Stage Door Players’ Dames At Sea. Merrideth also teaches tap dancing at The Studio Atlanta Dance and is thrilled to train the artists of tomorrow through her company, MZStageworks.

Megan Wartell

Co-Director & Choreographer

Megan has been performing since the age of 3, dancing since age 7, and has been told she could sing before she could talk. She began choreographing and co-directing with M.Z. in 2014 after graduating from Georgia State University with a B.A. of Psychology. In addition to teaching various levels and styles of dance from ages 2 – Adult, Megan has choreographed shows at Renfroe Middle School (Guys & Dolls Jr. and Legally Blonde the Musical Jr. - also directed) First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta (Mary Poppins), Act 1 Theatre (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Once Upon A Mattress), Marietta's Theatre in the Square (Big River), and OnStage Atlanta (Asst-Choreographed: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). Megan is also a Teaching Artist at the Alliance Theatre and performs professionally at various theatres around Atlanta. She loves being a part of the M.Z. family and enjoys getting to teach and work with your incredibly talented children!

Marcie Millard

Business Manager & Instructor

Marcie has been with MZStageworks since its inception has been an instructor since Thoroughly Modern Millie. She graduated with a BA in Theatre Performance and Management from Berry College and has performed in theatres all over the city. Marcie can be seen this summer performing in Les Miserables at The Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville!

Rachel Miller

Musical Munchkin Instructor

Rachel studied musical theater at the American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she ultimately produced and performed in her own one woman show "Kissing Frogs". She has lived in Atlanta for 9 years with her husband Eric and has been working as a performer as well as a teacher at MZStageworks. Rachel has enjoyed her voyage on the Good Ship Lollipop with her very talented shipmates.

Dan Balmer

Sound Operator & Teaching Assistant

This is Dan's seventh semester with MZStageworks and these kids continue to amaze him each and every class! Dan first joined the MZStageworks family for Aladdin. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis and has over 20 years of theatrical experience.

Sara Smith

Set Design & Graphic Design

Sara graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from the Art Institute after attended Pima College as a theatre major. Growing up, Sara danced from the time she could walk and was very active in musical productions. Her favorite roles were Gloria in The Wizard Of Oz, Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan, and Martin from Little Shop Of Horrors. These days, Graphic Design takes up most of her time but the theatre is still a place she calls home, so she is very excited to be involved with MZ Stageworks!

Angelo Cerniglia

A Florida native, Angelo grew up in a very theatrical family. The black sheep in his family are those who didn't pursue a career in the performing arts. Since graduating from Shenandoah Conservatory with a B.F.A. in Theatre for Youth and a minor in Dance Education he has traveled the country teaching and performing. He recently spent four years at Riverside Children's Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida, directing and choreographing. Some of his favorite credits include: The Rocky Horror Show (choreographer), Cats (Mungojerrie), The Wedding Singer Regional Premiere (Bad Hair Guy), Xanadu Jr. Premiere show (choreographer), Disney's The Little Mermaid (Choreographer), and Little Shop of Horrors (choreographer). He is so excited to be teaching with MZstageworks! REMEMBER: WHEN IN DOUBT, STEP TOUCH IT OUT!

Cara Mantella

Cara Mantella has appeared on stages in and around Atlanta including The Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Theatre in the Square, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Actor’s Express, Horizon Theatre, Stage Door Players, Dominion Entertainment Group, and Théâtre du Rêve.  Some of her Film/TV credits include: The Founder, The Good Lie, Trouble with the Curve, 90 Minutes in Heaven,  I, Tonya, Nashville, Outcast, Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva, Christmas Cupid, My Future Boyfriend, Zoe Ever After, The Game, and Royal Pains. She’s also appeared in commercials for Zaxby’s, Haverty’s, Georgia Lottery, and more.  She has her BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Matt McCubbin

Matt McCubbin is a native of Roanoke, VA but is happy to currently call Atlanta his artistic home! Since graduating with a double major in Musical Theater and Communication Studies from Christopher Newport University, Matt has worked professionally as an actor, singer, and performer throughout Virginia and Georgia at various regional theaters, theme parks, and opera companies. His most memorable experience so far has been traveling the world with ArtSpot, an international children's theatre company geared toward English educational programs abroad.  Offstage, Matt has worked as an Assistant Director for International Dance Challenge, Dance Olympus, and Dance America and is currently a Teaching Artist for the Alliance Theatre. Matt is thrilled to be a part of the MZ staff!

Corynne Wagener

Corynne is a Musical Theatre and TV/Film actress. Previous training includes: Circle in the Square in New York City and a BFA in Musical Theatre from Samford University. Following College, Corynne worked at Orlando Shakespeare Theater for a year where she performed in Children’s Theatre Musicals, taught Musical Theatre, and most notably, performed in Main Stage Productions where she shared the stage with Dee Roscioli and Davis Gaines. Corynne began directing overseas in London as an assistant director at Lewisham Youth Theatre where she lead an improv troupe. Following this, Corynne interned at Telsey + Company in New York City where she learned the ins and outs of Casting. Corynne is thrilled to now be living in Atlanta, continuing her acting career. She is excited for this season at MZ Stageworks and can’t wait to work with Merrideth and all of her wonderful students!

Katrina Loncaric

Katrina Loncaric is a choreographer and dance instructor versed in teaching nearly every type of dance including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Preschool Dance and Music Theatre. Her choreography has been seen with The City of Roswell’s Performing Arts Department’s Roswell Dance Starz and Dan & Company Dance Studio’s Atlanta Jazz Theatre.  She is also the owner of TinkerBelles Dance, a preschool dance program that travels to area preschools introducing movement and dance. Since growing up and receiving her training with Dan and Company Studios in Dunwoody, GA, and St. Pius X High School, Katrina has been blessed with sharing her talents around the world.  Most notably, Katrina worked with Susan Stroman in the Broadway production of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, where she not only danced in the Ensemble, but also performed as the Understudy to the female lead, Ulla. She also performed in the Las Vegas production of The Producers sharing the stage with Tony Danza and David Hasselhoff.  In Las Vegas, Katrina was also a Feature Singer and Showgirl in the long running Las Vegas spectacular, Don Arden’s Jublilee!  She has also been seen around the world traveling as a Cabaret Vocalist with Azamara Club Cruises, where in addition to performing in the ship’s production shows, she regularly took the stage in her own “One-Woman Cabaret”.  Katrina holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and has studied and performed Improv and Sketch Comedy with The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre, Second City, and The Groundlings in New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.  She also has had a successful Voiceover Career, most notable heard as a regular promos voice for Nickelodeon.  Some favorite musical regional credits include: A Chorus Line (Judy); Crazy For You (Irene); Damn Yankees (Lola); and Hair (Jeannie).