Toby B. Orenstein-President is an alumna of New York’s High School of Performing Arts & Columbia University. Toby has combined her roles as educator and director throughout her theatrical career. She’s taught at Catholic University, her own Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, and has directed most of the productions at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia since its opening in 1979. Since 1975, Toby has been the creative force behind The Young Columbians, a touring musical troupe that has played at the White House and Wolf Trap among other places. In the last thirty years, Toby’s Dinner Theatre has received over 80 Helen Hayes Award Nominations, and Toby herself received the 2003 Helen Hayes Award for her direction of Jekyll and Hyde. Other prestigious awards include Columbian Woman of the Year, a Howie Award for outstanding contributions to the Arts in Howard County, 2007 Marylander of the Year, 2008 Inductee into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, and most recently the Friends of Education Award and the Cherry Adler Award.
Janet Davidson Gordon- Chairman has resided in Howard County for over 30 years. As a performer with the Washington “Capitol Steps”, she has performed all over the country and Canada, including shows Off-Broadway, and the Capitol, and the White House. Janet has mentored with “Big Brothers/Big Sisters” and A-OK Kids and also volunteers her spare time to art classes at Howard Community College and projects for the Howard County Democrats. She resides in Snowden Overlook with her husband, Neil, and Cocker Spaniel, Mitzy.
Carolyn Kelemen-Vice Chairman followed James Rouse’s dream to Columbia in 1970 and has been writing about dance for both print and media since 1975. Besides teaching dance at Howard Community College and elsewhere, she formed the Interfaith Housing Ballet Troupe at Slayton House and staged one of the New City’s first dance benefits at Merriweather Post Pavilion in the early years of Columbia. In 1999 she won a Howie Award for her support of the arts, and in 2006 she was inducted into the Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame for her efforts on behalf of “A Labor of Love,” a benefit for people living with HIV/AIDS. She continues to produce concerts and workshops to support the medical and artistic communities. “Dancing for Divas” a salute to women in music and dance will be held at HCC’s Smith Theater Saturday, Oct. 22nd. You can listen to HCC Dragon Radio’s “Razzle Dazzle” for the latest updates in the arts. Carolyn was honored recently by the Maryland Museum of African Art. Carolyn was born in New Jersey, danced professionally from age 6-21, earned her B.A. degree at Rutgers, holds a Masters of Arts in Dance from Mills College, and continues to take classes wherever and whenever.
Mindy Hirsch-Secretary has been employed in the Howard County Public School system for 24 years. She has served as a Professional School Counselor, Crisis Team Coordinator, Peer Mediation Coordinator, and Advance Placement Coordinator. Mrs. Hirsch has served as a school consultant for the Horizon Foundation from 2007-2010. Prior to her service with Howard County Public Schools, Mrs. Hirsch served as the Director of Columbia Association’s Teen Center and Program Coordinator of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware. Mrs. Hirsch was one of the original students for the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts.
Harold Orenstein-Treasurer along with his wife Toby co-founded The Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts and Toby’s Dinner Theatre all in the same decade more than thirty years ago. Both organizations are highly respected in the community and financially successful to this day. His career as an economic and financial consultant spanned more than fifty years during which time he was employed by such organizations as Planning Research Corporation, Booz Allen, The United States Postal Service, and The Postal Rate Commission. His undergraduate work was in Statistics specializing in both market research and quality control at the Baruch School of the City College of New York. At New York University’s Graduate School of Business, he studied Corporate Finance and Investment as well as Regulatory Theory and Law. At The American University, he completed all the requirements for a Ph. D in Economics but never completed his dissertation.
Mary Armiger- Member is President, Principal, and Founder of Armiger Management Corporation. She is a Maryland licensed Real Estate Broker since 1985, with over 30 year’s experience in brokerage, land development, residential sales, and marketing as well as apartment and condominium management. She managed over 1500 apartments in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Her 40 years of community service have focused on housing (affordable, mixed-income and senior) education, and the arts. Professional memberships have included the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, Howard County Association of Realtors and the Howard County Homebuilders Association. She served 6 years on the Howard Community College Education Foundation Board and 3 years on the Howard County Arts Council Board. She co-chaired the 1997 opening of the Jim Rouse Theatre and the 2007 Howard County Hospice Taste and Auction 25th Anniversary event, and she served 3 years on the College of Notre Dame Alumnae Executive Board. She is currently chairman of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts and previously served as a board member for CCTA from 2005 to 2011. Ms. Armiger holds an AA from Howard Community College, a BA, and MA from The Notre Dame of Maryland University (formerly The College of Notre Dame of Maryland) and is a 1987 graduate of Leadership of Howard County.
John Astin- Member has appeared in hundreds of TV shows and over 30 movies. He is probably best known for the roles of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, Evil Roy Slade, the Riddler and other similarly eccentric comedic characters. Astin received an Academy Award nomination for Prelude, a short film that he wrote, produced and directed. He was nominated for an Ace Award for his work on Tales from the Crypt and received an Emmy nomination for the cartoon voice of Gomez on ABC-TV’s The Addams Family. He has also toured the one-man play Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight. Originally from Baltimore, Astin returned to his roots and currently teaches method acting and directing in the Theater Arts and Studies Department at Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater.
Steve Duffy-Member is currently Executive Vice President of the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. G.W.C. Whiting and LeBaron Turner founded The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company in 1909 on the belief that integrity, engineering talent, and a dedication to their customers would make the very best in the construction industry. For more than a century, their success and reputation in the marketplace have been testaments to their wisdom. Whiting-Turner is one of the fastest growing construction firms in the nation. Whiting-Turner works with premier architects and consultants from across the nation and around the world on some of the most intriguing and technically demanding projects being designed and built. Construction professionals are exposed to the very latest trends, building systems and construction methods on projects such as hospitals, life sciences laboratories, data centers, performing arts facilities, university sports facilities, and lifestyle centers.
John Harding– Member starred in “The Late Marty Washington (Who Might as Well Be Dead),” a musical comedy produced in Long Beach to rave reviews. John went on to major in theater and English at UCLA, polishing his skills as a freelance theater reviewer. In 1982 he joined the staff of the Howard County Times and retired from journalism in 2011 as arts editor for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. Along the way, he served several terms on the board of the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society and hosted a cable-TV cultural affairs program, “Critics’ Choice.” Currently, John contributes theater reviews to DC Metro Theater Arts while pursuing his love of fiction writing. His latest fact-based novel is “The Ben-Hur Murders: Inside the 1925 ‘Hollywood Games’,” available in hardcover and paperback from Lulu Press and as a Kindle book from Amazon.com.
Sarah Otchet-Member is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years of experience as a financial professional. She received her MBA from Johns Hopkins University and her undergraduate degree in Economics and Business Administration from McDaniel College. Her experience includes long-term strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, business process improvement, system implementation and partner relationship optimization. Sarah is currently Chief Financial Officer of Next Century Corporation, a professional services company based in Columbia, Maryland. Next Century protects our country and saves lives by providing highly skilled software solutions to support the US Intelligence Community. Company awards include the National Capital Business Ethics Award as well as “Top Workplaces” from The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. Prior to joining Next Century, Ms. Otchet served as Assistant Vice President of Finance for SAIC’s Cyber and Information Solutions business unit. In addition, she was Chief Financial Officer at SM Consulting, at one time the largest woman-owned business in Baltimore. Her distinguished career also includes financial leadership positions at Energy Solutions and Impact Innovations Group. Sarah enjoys the outdoors as well as volunteering with Special Operations Warrior Foundation, AFCEA, and local community race events. She lives in Ellicott City, MD with her husband, Elliot, and their 2 children, Caroline and Megan.
Melissa Rosenberg– Member is a nonprofit specialist with experience in grant writing, fundraising, community outreach and arts management. She spent 10 years with the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, first as Director of Development then Executive Director. While there, she helped develop and funded a Theater Outreach Program that served 25,000 Baltimore City students and individuals of differing abilities here in Howard County. Most recently, she was Director of Development for 2-1/2 years at Joe’s Movement Emporium, a performing and community arts center in Mount Rainier, MD. Her work at Joe’s focused on building a solid development program, adding new streams of revenue, creating the organization’s first reserve funds and parlaying a 20th Anniversary Celebration into a year-long journey to financial stability.
Jack Wilen– Member is Senior Vice President-Investments at Raymond James Financial in Timonium, Md. He has been a financial advisor for forty years. Jack enjoys supporting various education-related non-profits in Baltimore City. These include organizations providing mentoring, tutoring, summer enrichment, college counseling and after-school programs. Currently, he serves on the advisory board of Bridges
Honorary Board Member:
Edward Norton, Professional Actor & CCTA Alumni
Board Selection Criteria
CCTA Board Members are selected on the basis of:
- Commitment to CCTA’s Mission and Goals
• Willingness to assist CCTA in the attainment of those goals
• Availability to participate in CCTA activities
• Interest in the theatre arts
• Knowledge of the arts community
• A profound commitment to arts education for every child