Meet our team
As a founding director of About Face Youth Theatre, Megan’s collaborative work with community partners around the city addressed chosen families, identity development, housing instability, and more in celebrated performances that premiered in Chicago and toured around the country. Recent Chicago directing credits include Julie Jenson’s Winter, George Brant’s Grizzly Mama, Danielle Pinnock’s Body/Courage and Lisa Dillman’s American Wee Pie and The Walls with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She also co-created Women at War, a multi-year performance and civic dialogue project about women in the military that continues to tour.
For the past six years she served as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, one of the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she developed programming to investigate and reveal diverse LGBTQIA+ identities and histories through oral history collection, participatory workshops and a variety of public programs. She has served on the Honorary Board of About Face Theatre, the LBTQ Giving Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women and with the Chicago Restroom Access Project of Pride Action Tank. Carney’s work has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. She has a MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue and a BA from Kalamazoo College where her ideas about art as a tool for social justice and activism began to take shape.×
Alana Parvey Zalas
Alana Parvey Zalas comes to About Face Theatre from Route 66 Theatre Company, where she served as business manager for four years and remains an artistic associate. She is also the bookkeeper for Barrel of Monkeys, which teaches creative writing in Chicago Public Schools and professionally produces theatre written by children. Previously, Alana served as assistant to the production of “stop.reset.” at Goodman Theater, both for the onstage component and for the online component at stopreset.org. Alana has also worked as a personal assistant to a Golden-Globe-winning actress and as the production manager for the Consortium Project. She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, from Northwestern University, and from the Second City Training Center writing program. Before turning to arts administration, Alana constructed props and set pieces for theatres throughout Chicago, including “Hillbilly Antigone” (Lookingglass Theater), “The Man of LaMancha” (Court Theater), “Silk” (Goodman Theater), “Ten Acrobats” (Silk Road Rising), “Charlotte’s Web” (Emerald City Theater), and sock puppets for “King John” (Sockspeare Productions).×
Ben comes to About Face from House of Blues/Live Nation Worldwide, where he worked more than twelve years in finance and accounting. He has been an AFT Artistic Associate since 2010 and served on the company’s Board of Directors from 2011 – 2014. During that time, Ben spearheaded several fundraising initiatives and co-chaired Wonka Ball for four years.
As an actor, Ben has appeared in seven AFT productions to date including Whitman, Take Me Out, Say You Love Satan, Wedding Play, The Flowers, The Homosexuals and The Pride. He has also worked with The House Theatre of Chicago, TimeLine Theatre, Steep Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Pegasus Players, CityLit Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, LiveWire Chicago Theatre and Sideshow Theatre in Chicago, as well as Mark Taper Forum, The Blank Theatre, Hudson Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Met Theatre, Secret Rose Theatre and Greenway Court in Los Angeles. Television credits include Passions, It’s All Relative and several episodes of Will & Grace, where he played Will’s boyfriend’s sister’s fiancé. He holds a BFA in Music, Theatre and Dance from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio.×
Dylan John Toropov
Dylan John Toropov is an early-career arts development professional excited to join the team at About Face Theatre following years of arts fundraising experience at Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and serving on the Board of Directors at Oracle Productions. They currently also serve on the Board of Directors at Greenhouse Theatre and is the co-founder of Chicago Arts Access. Inspired and educated by their years of Chicago activism, they enjoy using the principles and methods of collaboration and community building to provide a healthy structure and long-term sustainability for local live arts programming.
Dylan arrived in Chicago in 2011 after completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY and graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. They spent their youth in Massachusetts and New York acting and singing in many groups and theater productions, but realized by their early twenties that they most enjoyed being behind the scenes, making art financially possible for all of us.×
Ariana is thrilled to be part of the AFT family. She is a New York City transplant who has happily found her home here in Chicago. She speaks four languages fluently and loves food.
Since moving, Ariana has worked with American Theater Company as their Audience Service Apprentice & Marketing Fellow, Pop Magic Productions as Director of Marketing & Development, and Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble as their Social Media Coordinator.
Additionally, Ariana is a performer and devisor who has worked with companies such as Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (where she is a company member), Pride Film and Plays, the Prop Thtr as a part of Rhinofest 2017, and Saint Sebastian Players.×
Mia Vivens (she/her/hers) is a queer poetess// mover// maker originally hailing from Columbus, Ohio. She is a recent alumna of Valparaiso University, having studied Theater and Dance. She is specifically interested in exploring the intersections of the queer community amongst black and brown folks. In Chicago she has worked with Collaboraction, Silk Road Rising, The Inconvenience, and The Jades. She excited to work with About Face again. Many thanks to Big Mouth Talent & love to Avi.
Donny Acosta is a queer performance artist from Orange County, California. He started working with About Face as a youth ensemble member and a member of the Youth Task Force. He has devised and performed his work all over the city including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Stage 773, the Abbie Hoffman Died for your Sins Theatre Festival, and Salonathon. He is a proud ensemble member of the Drinking and Writing Theatre and artistic associate of the Wild Atlas Theatre Company.×
AJ Schwartz is a director and general theatremaker hailing from Cincinnati. They are committed to making the gayest theatre possible, so working with About Face is a dream come true, even a year in.
A Loyola graduate, their most recent directing credit is The Henry V Project. They have worked with Pivot Arts, Steep Theatre Co., and TodayTix. Soon they will be assistant directing AFT’s mainstage show Time is On Our Side.
In their free time, AJ likes to cook, garden, take pictures, and consume as much queer art as they can.×
David Rosenberg specializes in comprehensive public relations campaigns for non-profit and commercial theatre. He is also proud to work with AstonRep, Barrel of Monkeys, Bailiwick Chicago, The Den, Interrobang, Jackalope, JPAC, LiveWire, Mary-Arrchie, New Colony, Pine Box, Shattered Globe, Sideshow, Step Up, Strange Tree and Theatre Seven.
He previously served as Communications Director at Steppenwolf Theatre and worked on the Broadway In Chicago account with Margie Korshak Inc. His broadcast news experience as a writer/producer includes CNN Headline News, CLTV, FOX Chicago and WGN TV.×