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Our Professional Staff


TOM LUPFER (Director/Producer) directed the Pascack Valley HS Theatre program from 2007-2024, and is thrilled to take on the challenge of a combined Pascack Theatre program! 


He loves collaborating with his wife Merielle, with whom he shared the 2022 MSU Foxy Award for Best Direction of a Musical. Tom is a Drama Teacher/Director at Glenfield MS, a Visual & Performing Arts Magnet in Montclair, NJ. Tom co-produced the documentary film Ceremony For This Time (2015 Montclair Film Festival), chronicling the creation of a performance piece celebrating the power of performing arts in education. He is thrilled that his nine year-old twin daughters love going to rehearsal almost as much as he does. MA: Educational Theatre, NYU; Educational Leadership, Montclair State. BA: Theatre, Susquehanna University

MERIELLE LUPFER (Director) is a 2001 alumna of PVHS who holds a degree in Educational Theatre from New York University. She spends the school day teaching 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies at George G. White Middle School in Hillsdale. Returning to helm the high school theatre program that was her initial training ground in performance and design, and doing it alongside her favorite collaborator, has been a dream come true for the past 15 years. Though she sometimes jokes that her work is mostly “doing skits with kids,” Merielle believes strongly in the importance of the arts in students’ lives and is grateful for the privilege of creating art with young people for a living. Among the parts she’s enjoyed playing on stage are Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Amy in Company, but Merielle’s favorite role is Mama to her twin daughters. 


GAYLE FUENTES (Music Director) is thrilled to be a part of the team for the Pascack Theatre program! She holds a B.M. with a concentration in voice from Mason Gross School of the Arts and currently works as a vocal music teacher and private vocal coach. Outside of teaching, she is a freelance performing artist. 


KELSEY MCGRAIL (Choreographer) graduated from Pascack Valley in 2012 after performing in eight shows. She then joined the PV Theatre staff as a choreographer in 2013 and has stuck around ever since! During the week, Kelsey works as a data analyst for a large Public Relations firm, but she is forever grateful to the Lupfers and the students for letting her join them every weekend. 


JONATHAN MELCHIORRE (Sound Designer) is an alumnus of Pascack Valley and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Design & Technology from Emerson College. Jon currently serves as an Account Executive for the Broadway Audio Sales Division at PRG headquartered in the heart of Secaucus, NJ. His heart beats for education and is always eager to contribute to the growth of the theatre program he once called home.


GUS KOENIGES (Associate Construction Crew Supervisor/Associate Sound Designer) (he/they) is honored to be invited back to assist the sound and scenic teams on High School Musical. He’s a PV 2020 alum and has just graduated with their BFA in Technical Direction from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He owes his career to his humble beginnings with PV Theatre and it has been a treat to return home to be a part of this show.

MAX ADOFF (Acting Coach)  has worked on six productions as acting coach with Pascack Valley High School’s Theatre program.  Max is a PV graduate of the Class of 2013 in which during his time he participated in many PV Theatre productions such as Footloose, The Laramie Project, The Pajama Game, and Romeo and Juliet. Max graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Acting, continuing his performance and backstage work in productions such as Lips Together, Teeth Apart, The Pillowman, Translations, and Speed-the-Plow, as well as several independent films in which he has continued involvement. Prior to beginning his teaching career, Max was a lead performance teacher at Porch Light Studio in Bergen County working with younger children on acting, Improv, and film. Max has worked for four years in Bergen County Schools as a full-time instructional aide, the last two at Milestones Program. 

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