Meet our team
Megan Carney is the Artistic Director of About Face Theatre. She is also a founder of About Face Youth Theatre and a member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. As a director, playwright, and educator, much of her work has involved directing world premieres and creating original work based on interviews and research.
Megan’s recent Chicago directing credits include Time Is On Our Side (About Face), Winter, Grizzly Mama, Body/Courage, American Wee Pie, and The Walls (Rivendell). Her plays based on interviews and research include Women At War (Rivendell and regional touring), Open Systems: 5 Years After Hurricane Katrina (Goodman Theatre Community engagement and partners in Baton Rouge), Let Them Eat Cake (with Holly Hughes and Moe Angelos at Dixon Place and other venues), Pittsburgh Project Remix (staged in a former Pittsburgh steel mill), and eight years of ensemble based plays with About Face Youth Theatre (Chicago and national touring). Megan developed and facilitated a performance and dialogue program with About Face Theatre that partners with organizations and corporations to advance equity and inclusion in the workplace. This program is now available through AFT’s Outreach and Engagement efforts.
During nearly seven years as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Megan developed arts-based public programs, curated exhibits, advised on policy, and led interactive workshops exploring personal identity and bias, systemic oppression, and strategies for creating inclusive spaces.
She served on the Honorary Board of About Face Theatre and the LBTQ Giving Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women and volunteers with the Chicago Restroom Access Project of Pride Action Tank. Carney’s work has been recognized with multiple awards for her leadership and artistic excellence including 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 is a certified mediator with the Center for Conflict Resolution and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue from Virginia Tech 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.×
Dave Toropov is an arts development professional excited to be on the team at About Face Theatre. He is a co-founder of Chicago Arts Access and the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Inspired and educated by his years of Chicago activism, he enjoys using the principles and methods of collaboration and community building to provide a healthy structure and long-term sustainability for local live arts programming. Previously, Dave gained arts fundraising experience at Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and served on the Board of Directors at Oracle Productions.
Dave 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. He spent his youth in Massachusetts and New York acting and singing in many groups and theater productions, but realized by his early twenties that he most enjoyed being behind the scenes, making art financially possible for all of us.×
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 is excited to work with About Face again. Many thanks to Big Mouth Talent.
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.×
Charles Riffenburg (he/him/his) is a graphic designer, illustrator, and marketing director/consultant specializing in non-profits and arts organizations. His marketing and branding design have appeared with such companies as Emerald City Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Marriott Theatre, the House Theatre of Chicago, Lifeline, and the Chicago Fringe Festival, as well as BoHo Theatre, where has served as marketing director and graphic designer since 2010. He has also acted on stage and directed around Chicago, including the Jeff-nominated thrilled Veronica’s Room at BoHo. In his sparse free time, he creates comics and graphic novels. You can check out his design portfolio at www.GrabBagMedia.com.×
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.×
Amy graduated from Kenyon College in 2017 with degrees in English literature and theatre, concentrating in directing. Since moving to Chicago via Gambier, OH and Arlington, VA, Amy has been pursuing ways to support the artists who inspire them. Amy works with About Face Youth Theatre as Stage Manager, Teaching Artist, and behind-the-scenes Education Associate. They also are a freelance video editor, providing video content for About Face Theatre as well as the Chicago Restroom Access Project and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Amy believes in fostering creative spaces as sanctuaries where folks can form supportive and lasting friendships, building hope on smaller scales for one another as well as for wider audiences. Feel free to catch Amy on their podcast with Dave Toropov (also from About Face Theatre), “AudQuest: The Audacious Musical Quest of Snames & the Friendly Ghost” as Amy and Dave discuss music, philosophies of identity, and queer friendship (audquest.podbean.com).×