Producing Director Heather Burns is the manager and artistic director of the company. She has directed many of the companies productions including Steele Magnolias, The Diary of Anne Frank, Butterflies Are Free, and all of our youth project musicals. She started performing on stage when she was a little girl doing numerous shows with the Ridgewood Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company and The Radburn Players. For The Highland Stage she has been seen as Cori in Barefoot in the Park, Lily in Loose Knit, Meridith in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Petra in A Little Night Music and Doris in Same Time, Next Year to name a few. Before taking over as Producer for the company, she served as the Artistic Director and held many positions such as Stage Manager, Costumer, Electrician, Sound Designer, and Scenic Painter. She is an acting teacher at On Stage at the Loft and for our summer Musical Theatre Workshop. Prior to that she taught acting at The Phoenix School of Fine Arts, Fledglings and Fields of Green Montessouri Schools. She has a Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Rowan University and teaches Theatre at West Milford High School.
Co-Director / Co-Musical Director Faith Anderson is a member of Actors Equity and is best known for her work in musical theatre,
having been featured in over 300 productions, including 7 years with the Off Broadway Musical "The People Garden" at The York Theatre.
Faith has been Musical Director for the Highland Stage since 2004, when she began taking summers off from performing to do theatre with her
daughters Paige and Morgan. Additional work includes Ilona in She Loves Me at The Bickford Theatre, Sonja Hennie for New Jersey
Playrights, Good Witch of The North at Papermill Playhouse in The Wizard of OZ and Mad Donna in The Mask of The Millenium for
Luna Stage in Montclair. Faith plays the role of Belle in Beauty and the Beast with Yates Musical Theatre and performs
regularly for Rainbow Theatricals. She performed the role of Lilly in Swingtime Canteen for Perrenial Prods, where she rediscovered her love
for the trumpet!
Faith has collaborated with high profile writer James Rado (Hair), performed with Larry Chance and The Earls, and was the sole back up singer for Gloria Gainer on the 2006 release of Hallelujah, Christmas is Here. Faith has fronted two 20-piece Big Bands including NJ Pops, both as a trumpet player and singer. She is currently touring a one-woman show called Swinging On A Star featuring the music of Betty Hutton, accompanied by Peter Candela, piano player for Broadway's Lion King. Collaborating with colleagues Heather Burns and Renee' Ziegler is a joy! Having her husband Jon conduct at her side is a Big Bonus!
Choreographer Renee Ziegler is the co-director and full time teacher/choreographer of Ziegler Dance Centre, located in McAfee, NJ. She has been dancing for 27 years and teaching for 13. She teaches and studies all styles and genres of dance, from ballet to hip-hop and everything in between.
Renee has been the resident choreographer for Highland Stage since Grease in 2005, during which the kids in the company dubbed her rehearsals as " Dance Boot Camp!" She then helped bring to life Thoroughly Modern Millie, Beauty and the Beast and Guys and Dolls.
She has been recognized for her choreography both regionally and nationally in many dance competitions. Recently, Renee was featured in Studio Life Magazine as an "up and coming dance professional". She always enjoys working with the young talent in Highland Stage's ever-expanding community.
Conductor / Co-Musical Director Jon Hartlage has been the orchestra conductor for The Highland Stage since he and his lovely wife Faith put together a production of She Loves Me in 2003. With experience as a percussionist for many years, he conducted the pit from the drum set for Grease in 2005 and Hairspray in 2011. In 2012, Jon was thrilled to get more involved in teaching the music to the cast as Co-Musical Director, mostly for an opportunity to get "a word in edge-wise" with Faith! As an Equity Actor, Jon has worked in the New York area as Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, the Italian Tenor in The Magic of Mario Lanza, Don Jose in Carmen, Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutte, and Sam Kaplan in Street Scene. He has performed at Lyric Opera Cleveland, The Bickford Theatre, and the Papermill Playhouse and toured for 2 years with the Pushcart Players, where he originated the role of Alex Mayer in Wow! What a Century. As a classical tenor, Jon has performed at The Caramoor International Music Festival under Maestro Will Crutchfield and appeared with the Altamura Center for the Arts, where he collaborated with operatic legends Jerome Himes and Licia Albanese. He recently appeared with The Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra, to present a program of Neopolitan arias. Jon has seen this Highland Stage troupe continue to grow, with nearly 100 young people each year...helping foster this artistic outlet for the talented youth of this area is one of his most rewarding endeavors. Having played Curly for my own high school many years ago, I’m so happy Heather & Faith finally agreed to my three-year plea, and agreed to produce the endearing musical Oklahoma! with me Summer 2012. Sharing the production with them and our delightful cast and musicians gave me a fun musical break from my 2-year-old son Darios’ beloved Mary Poppins and Veggie Tales, and of course his favorite game, CHASE ME! My life's true gifts are his happiness and Faith's enduring love.