The Berman staff is comprised of performing arts professionals and educators who have experience in dance, theatre, music, film, acting, directing, design, management, producing and presenting. Together they are the creative force behind the extraordinary successes of The Berman since its founding in 2011.
Elaine (Hendriks) Smith | Senior Director
Elaine (Hendriks) Smith has been a part of The Berman since it’s opening in March, 2011. Prior to The Berman, Elaine was the Artistic Director of The Historic Gem & Century Theatres (Detroit, MI), Deputy Director of Matrix Theatre Company (Detroit, MI), the Production Manager of Commotion Entertainment and has over 20 years experience as a theatrical manager, designer and presenter nationwide on such production as: Say Goodnight Gracie (Lighting Designer, Stage Manager, Production Manager), Altar Boyz (Production Stage Manager), The Second City, Detroit (Stage Manager & Designer) and Trinity Irish Dance Company (Lighting Designer). Elaine has been a proud mentor of youth at Matrix Theatre Company, Minnesota Festival Theatre, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, The Second City, Detroit, Roeper Summerstock Theatre and The Berman. Elaine has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre from Wayne State University. She strongly believes that to help art thrive, you have to educate people that it is accessible and invaluable.
Eric W. Maher | Technical Director
Eric W. Maher received his B.F.A. in Theatre from the University of Detroit Mercy after switching from an architecture major. While completing his degree, Eric helped build and became one of the founding members of Planet Ant Theatre, in Hamtramck, Michigan. Eric has been Technical Director for Oakland University’s Music, Theatre and Dance Department; UDM Theatre Company/Athens Centre Classical Theatre Program; and The Jewish Ensemble Theatre. He served as the Director of Operations for Matrix Theatre Company before coming to The Berman. Eric has over 20 years experience in the Detroit theatre community as a director, playwright, designer, actor, stage hand, producer and technical director. He has had the privilege to work on over 100 productions professionally all around southeast Michigan and abroad in Greece. He has been honored with three Wilde Awards (two for performance and one for design) and one Rogue Critic Award (for prop design), .
Bryan S. Spangler | Front of House Manager
Bryan S. Spangler is a Detroit native who earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Detroit-Mercy, where he also completed the Classical Theatre Program in Greece. Bryan also completed graduate courses in Theatre Studies at Eastern Michigan University, where he participated in the One Acts Festival as a contributing writer and served as dramaturg for the production of The Imaginary Invalid. During his twenty year career in the theatre, Bryan has worked in nearly every aspect of theatrical production from stage management, to technician, to design. As an actor, Bryan has worked with numerous theaters in the Metro area, including The Abreact Performance Space, Plowshares Theatre Company, Walk & Squawk Performance Project, Thick Knot Rhythm Ensemble, The Theatre Company, the legendary Zeitgeist Theatre, and most recently, Planet Ant. Bryan has taught acting for The Matrix Theatre and The Detroit Public School system at Detroit School of Arts, where the curriculum he created included classes in Theatre History, Scene Study, Movement, Stage Dialects, and Voice. Bryan is happy to be part of The Berman and the JCC, where the best of the arts and the community come together.