Outstanding Artist in Theatre 2024

Outstanding Artists: Individual artists whose work within their field has made a significant impact within the discipline over five years or more.


Elynmarie Kazle is a multidisciplinary artist, director, stage manager and management consultant. An Akron resident, she currently serves as the President of the Stage Managers’ Association Foundation (SMAF) a national foundation based out of NYC, and the Production Manager for Akron School for the Arts. 

She began her professional theatre career in Ohio, stage managing for Great Lakes in Cleveland and Opera Columbus. Following that were numerous gigs in Southern and Central CA including San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, Los Angeles Classical Ballet, and the Santa Monica Playhouse in between stints in NYC for places such as Brooklyn Academy of Music, Playwrights Horizons, and solo international tours. She has now moved into directing and production management and regularly serves as a consultant for nonprofits around the country on organizational management and fund acquisition.  

Kazle has directed 15 plays including The Revolutionists, On the Verge, and Four Women Talking about the Man Under the Sheet and most recently, a premiere for local playwright Eric Mansfield, Trial by Fire. 

She has chaired multiple symposia and conferences and designed signature stage management programs for non-traditional institutions such as the United States Institute for Theatre Technology USITT (Stage Management Mentoring Project SMMP), LDI International, Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute, and Scouting USA. As chair of the Stage Managers’ Association (SMA), she collaborated with SMA leadership to create the National Collaborators Conference, the first arts conference to go online in the pandemic. 

An active volunteer, she is proud to have served on the national steering committee NoMore10outof12s.com which focused on reasonable working conditions for non-profit theatres.  She has served as a scout leader for over 20 years, with service to Troop One BSA, Girls 7001 and Crew 3001 and the Great Trail Council. 

Kazle was named a Fellow of USITT in 2007; named to the National Theatre Conference in 2017; named to the Order of the Arrow – scouting’s national honor society; and an honorary Thespian of Firestone’s Troop 5570. In 2023 and 2022 she received the Founders Award from the Stage Managers’ Association and from USITT, the Joel E. Rubin Founders Award. In 2007, she received a citation for special service to the Weathervane Women’s Board after leading Weathervane Playhouse for nine years during a period of great growth and change. 

Three things you might not know about Elynmarie Kazle: She has flown a plane, once personally seated JFK Jr at a show she was stage managing in LA and had an odd encounter with Arthur Miller, the playwright, backstage at the National Theatre in London, UK. 

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