Our Professional Staff
TOM LUPFER (Director/Producer) is a graduate of the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University, where he earned a M.A. He also holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Susquehanna University. Currently, Tom is a drama teacher at a performing arts magnet school in Montclair, NJ. In May 2015, Tom co-produced the documentary film Ceremony for This Time, premiering at the Montclair Film Festival. The film chronicles the creation of a performance piece celebrating the power of the performing arts in education.
The director/producer for PV Theatre since 2007, Tom is proud to collaborate with his wife Merielle, with whom he was honored to share the 2014 Montclair State University JoAnn Fox Award, given to a director who is: "an inspiration to his/her students, whose passion for theatre is infectious, and who creates a community, a loving extended family in his/her school in the process of producing high quality productions." Tom's favorite productions are his twin daughters.
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 excited to be a part of the team for PV Theatre! 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 sings soprano as part of the NJ-based Terpsichore Ensemble, and is a freelance performing artist.
FRANCESCA SILVANO (Choreographer) is a native of Rome, Italy, where she graduated from the National Academy of Dance, before attending the Covent Garden School of Dance in London. Upon moving to the U.S., Mrs. Silvano has performed for various dance companies and choreographers in New York City. She holds a degree in Comparative Literature, and is happy to share both her talents -- academic and performing-- at PV.
KELSEY MCGRAIL (Choreographer) is a PV Theatre alum, class of 2012. She started choreographing during her junior year, and has choreographed musical numbers for twelve PV Theatre musicals. She is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo.
CURTIS SHIELDS (Lighting Designer) is a New York City based lighting designer for theatre, dance, and opera. Broadway: The Spongebob Musical (Assistant to LD). Regional: Shrek The Musical, Evita (Assoc.) Oklahoma! (Assoc.), Fallen Skies. Additional Credits: West Side Story, Carrie, Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA, Triumph of Love, Den of Thieves, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (Assoc.), The Joci Awards, and numerous dance shows. PV: Urinetown, Anything Goes, Don’t Drink The Water, Cabaret, The Laramie Project and Ten Years Later. A proud PV Theatre alumni, Curtis is happy to be back in the space where he found his love for theatrical design. He is a graduate of Montclair State University where he received a BFA in Lighting Design. IG: @curtisshieldsdesign curtisshieldsdesign.com
MELISSA GARGIULO (Costume Designer/Costume, Prop, Hair & Makeup Supervisor) is so excited to be working with the students of PV Theatre. A graduate of Montclair State University’s BFA Costume Design & Technology program, where she designed Reefer Madness, Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, and the premiere of Gift, choreographed by So You Think You Can Dance’s Stacey Tookey. She is also a certified makeup artist with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Professionally, she has worked with the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Bristol Valley Theatre, as well as for NETworks Presentations national tour of The Sound of Music. To keep up with her work, follow @melissaann.g.designs on Instagram or visit
JONATHAN MELCHIORRE (Sound Designer) A Pascack Valley alumnus, Jon holds a BFA in Theatre Design/Technology from Emerson College. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jon was working in the Boston area as a freelance sound designer and engineer. He has worked throughout the Boston area for professional companies and educational institutions including: ArtsEmerson, Actors Shakespeare Project, Bridge Rep, Break A Leg Theater Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Also Known As Theatre, Moonbox Productions, Praxis Stage Company, Emerson Stage, and SpeakEasy Stage. Postgraduate PV theatre credits include Crush ('17, Foxy Nomination), 1776 ('20), The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon ('20), Little Shop of Horrors ('21), Night Night, Roger Roger ('21), You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown ('22).