“I love theater and I love my community. Open Door Community Theatre brings together these two passions in such a beautiful way.”
Colleen Cullen has worked for the Social Security Administration for 30 years in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Baltimore, and is currently the deputy area director for Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin. She lives in Woodbury with her husband, and they have two young adult daughters. Over the past 10 years, Colleen has been involved both on stage and behind the scenes with Woodbury Community Theatre, Ashland Productions and Stillwater Community Theater. She is happy to be contributing her time and talents with Open Door Community Theatre, working with a strong group of people to support live theater and strengthen the community – a “win-win!” as she likes to say. Colleen’s community service includes singing with Spirit Song ecumenical choir and volunteering with the Irish Fair of Minnesota, working with Irish chefs to bring their delicious cuisine to the Minnesota palate. An avid reader and cook, Colleen’s secret aspiration is to own her own catering business.
“I am excited about the opportunity to serve once more in developing a truly ‘open door’ community theater.”
Tom Vaaler’s career included 35 years in human resources at 3M, and seven years as an interim executive with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Tom and his wife have lived in Woodbury since 1965 and have four children who were active in school theater and sports. In 1975, Tom joined a group of parents to start Woodbury Community Theatre, where he served as a board member (two terms as chair) and was involved in fundraising. Tom appeared on stage in over 40 performances with Woodbury Community Theatre, having the good fortune to sing and act with all of his children and three of his grandchildren. He has served as president of the congregation, chair of the elders and chair of two major building projects at Woodbury Lutheran Church, and was board chair of the nonprofit mental health agency Family Means when they launched their building program. A proud graduate of Luther College, Tom has served his college as a member of the President’s Council, annual fund chair and chair of his 50th class reunion.
“Knowing that the proceeds from Open Door Community Theatre stay in the community and benefit those that most need it makes it all worthwhile, and binds us all together with an even greater purpose.”
Lisa Cressy, volunteer coordinator for Lakeview Hospice, grew up in St. Paul Park, participating in music and theater in elementary/middle/high school and college. One of her daughters got involved in local community theater and encouraged Lisa and the rest of the family to as well, which led to special times when all four Cressys appeared together in the same shows. Lisa has contributed hundreds of volunteer hours to local community theater, St. Pascal and Spirit Song Choir. Her desire to join Open Door Community Theatre comes from her strong belief in its mission of being rooted in the community: high quality theatrical productions produced, developed and performed by people from our own community. She notes that it’s pretty fun to see your lawyer, dentist or even your teacher up on stage, in the pit or back stage.
“As Open Door Community Theatre continues its journey, it is important to stay true to our roots, drive greater engagement with the community, grow talents in individuals, and give to deserving charities.”
Craig Hamer is retired from 3M, where he was an engineer who created process and product solutions for a wide variety of global products. His first interaction with theater was in high school, as a lighting crew member at Woodbury High School. The arts are important to Craig’s entire family, with his wife and son spending time in orchestras, St. Ambrose music ministry and theater pit orchestras, and a daughter who works in ceramic fine arts. Craig was also involved with First Robotics through East Ridge High School as a mentor. In his free time, he enjoys participating in a golf league, curling league, boating, biking and crosswords.
“Community theater is special, and Open Door Community Theatre truly understands how important it is to create a welcoming environment where all are accepted. How can you not want to be part of that?”
Alex Berger currently works in Boston Scientific’s Design Assurance division. A theater veteran with over 40 productions in the last 15 years, Alex performed in school productions, with Woodbury Community Theatre and at the Phipps Center for the Arts. His present role is more behind-the-scenes, primarily as stage manager and most recently with Ashland Productions and Theatre in the Round. A proud Minnesota Gopher alum who enjoys golf and board games, Alex notes that the opportunity to help further Open Door Community Theatre’s mission to give back to the community that raised him is particularly exciting, in a time where the world needs the arts more than ever.
“I love Open Door Community Theatre’s mission to bring together the arts and charitable giving, and I look forward to helping the organization grow and become a known presence in the community.”
The director of human resources at Supportive Living Solutions, Stacey Dolan shares a love of music and theater with her husband. After college, Stacey concentrated on folk music gigs around the Twin Cities, and then returned to theater to find a community of like-minded people and feel a sense of connection in performance. She has appeared in productions with Woodbury Community Theatre, Stillwater Community Theatre, Ashland Productions, the Phipps Center for the Arts and Open Door Community Theatre’s inaugural show, “Shrek the Musical.” As a past volunteer at Voices of Hope Women’s Choir, Special Olympics and Sheridan House, Stacey recently took up gardening as a peaceful project, and is very proud of her spaghetti squash harvest.
“As a past community and school theater volunteer, my experiences were incredibly energizing and positive. I want to be part of building an organization that sustains the experience I had as a volunteer, while giving back to the community for many years to come.”
Colleen Emery’s 32-year career at 3M includes her current role as vice president of plant operations in the Healthcare Business Group. With two daughters who participated in the arts during their K-12 years, Colleen stepped up to volunteer behind the scenes, giving her a greater perspective and admiration of live theater after seeing first-hand what it takes to put on a great performance. Colleen brings a wealth of volunteer experience to Open Door Community Theatre, including serving on educational boards at the K-12 and collegiate level and a local chamber of commerce board. Her interests include home improvement projects, flower gardening, biking, hiking and spending time with family.
Abigail Heimel Peterson
“Theater was such an influential part of my life growing up. I’m looking forward to all the amazing things we have planned and the future of Open Door Community Theatre, and am most excited about Open Door being a place for kids to find their voice on stage.”
Abigail Peterson is a construction project manager at Minneapolis-based Gardner Builders, where she leads a team specializing in projects at healthcare facilities. She grew up outside of Hudson and found her theater community at a young age at the Phipps Center for the Arts. A performer and volunteer on stages across the east side of the Twin Cities, Abigail appeared onstage in Open Door Community Theatre’s “Shrek the Musical” while her husband worked backstage building sets. They live in St. Paul with their corgi, Murphy. She’s excited to serve Open Door Community Theatre in a new capacity as a board member.
“Being a part of community theater has allowed me to experience the creative process – from vision to a final production – with an incredible group of people working together for the benefit of our community.”
An active member of the Woodbury community since 1984, Tom Musser is a dentist and owner of Art & Science Family Dentistry in Woodbury, where he resides with his wife and where they raised their three children. Tom initially became involved with local theater as an audience member and small business owner who has sponsored many local high school and Woodbury Community Theatre productions. He has performed in three Woodbury Community Theatre Stars on Broadway shows as well as Les Miserables. Tom served in a leadership role on the Woodbury YMCA Board which was instrumental in fundraising for and building the city’s Y. Singing has been a big part of Tom’s life since his high school days, and he enjoys singing with Spirit Song Choir. He loves spending as much time as possible with family and friends at the cabin.