Get to know us!

Help us build the world’s best career platform for performing artists.

About the team.

Founded in 1960 as a weekly trade magazine, Backstage has evolved into a powerful platform supporting the careers of creators and performers all over the world. Meet the team that leads the platform supporting over 100,000 members.

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Leadership

Joshua Ellstein

Chief Executive Officer

In 2011, Josh partnered with a group of investors to reimagine what a traditional trade publication could one day become. Today he drives long-term strategy and execution across the Backstage technology platform. Prior to backstage, Josh was at the Boston Consulting Group. He is a proud Michigan Wolverine, father, sailor and technologist.

Michael Felman

Chief Financial Officer

Michael Felman joined Backstage as Chief Financial Officer in 2012, bringing with him 10 years of experience advising media, internet and financial companies on M&A and capital raising. As CFO, Michael is responsible for overseeing all finance and accounting functions, as well as HR and corporate development. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Michael graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Finance and enjoys golf and diet coke.

Michael Madia

Corporate Controller & VP of Finance

Michael joined Backstage with experience in public accounting and the private sector, both of which were predominantly in the technology industry. He holds a BBA in accounting from Hofstra University and is a licensed CPA in New York State. In addition to leading the accounting & finance functions, he is involved with various aspects of operations. Mike enjoys: espresso, soccer, movies, and exploring the great outdoors.

David Grossman

Chief Marketing Officer

David oversees Backstage’s digital products and strategy -- prior to joining Backstage, David worked as the head of business development at Inc. and Fast Company. In his spare time, David enjoys playing Nintendo with his kids, road cycling, skiing, cooking Chinese food, and being a closet Metalhead.

Kasey Howe

Executive Director, Media

Kasey has always been drawn to sales because it allows her to connect with people and learn about new businesses and products. She loves to travel, swim in the ocean and is addicted to SoulCycle.

James Reynolds

Chief Technology & Product Officer

Prior to backstage James, a Pythonista and Elasticsearch evangelist, was a consultant working on projects from small starts ups to JP Morgan. James likes skiing and craft beer and wishes there was an Olympic sport marrying the two.

Luke Crowe

Vice President, Casting

Since 2000, Luke has worked at Backstage, helping to turn the trusted publication into a modern digital brand featuring a wide variety of innovative casting tools reaching a greatly expanded worldwide audience. Previously, Luke studied filmmaking and worked as a writer, editor, teacher, and digital consultant.

Oscar

Gentle Giant

Oscar is a gentle giant who loves napping, hanging out on the couch, and going to the park with Josh.

Lebron

Garbage Raider

This Lebron will not be taking his talents to South Beach. Instead he takes his talents to the Backstage office. Lebron has a great vertical, loves to eat, curl up next to Gail and rummage thru garbage cans.

The Team

Jeff arrived at Backstage after several years of freelancing and working as an Art Director in the theater industry. When not waist deep in a soup of pixels and CSS, he frequently finds himself on a bike, in the woods, practicing Kung Fu, or sipping an IPA somewhere in Brooklyn.

Jeff Lilley

Lead Product Designer

From Bay Area startups in CA to Backstage in NY, Dayee works on the product side as a product designer. She spends her spare time enjoying city views and quoting "The Fast and the Furious" whenever possible.

Dayee Leung

Product Designer

Tom has rejoined Backstage after a few years at Sonicbids and other pursuits. Formerly of Brooklyn, currently out of Boston, Tom spends his time keeping code and servers happy. Motorcycles, photography, radio/electronics tinkering, food, wine and travel keeps him (mostly) sane.

Tom Achtemichuk

Engineering Lead

Joe joined Backstage as a full stack dev in June 2018. When not building web apps, Joe can be found reading, playing video games, or watching the Rangers attempt to play hockey.

Joseph Zeleny

Full Stack Engineer

Agata has joined Backstage to work on the platform as a software engineer. When she's not thinking about programming she likes to plan her next restaurant outing or optimizing her workout.

Agata Neltz

Platform Engineer

Cassie is the first quality assurance manager to join the Backstage team. She has several years of QA experience between a small startup and a large scale digitial agency. When she's not busy breaking things, she enjoys yoga, good teas, IPAs, netflix binges, and anything German.

Cassie

QA Manager

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor (and now project manager), Allie’s background includes women’s interest, breaking news, health, beauty, and, of course, entertainment. Despite a crippling fear of singing in public, she still believes she’ll be a Broadway star one day.

Allie White

Digital Managing Editor, Project Manager

Benjamin Lindsay is Senior Editor at Backstage, where if you’re reading it in our weekly magazine, he’s written or edited it first. He’s also producer and host of our inaugural on-camera interview series, Backstage Live.

Benjamin Lindsay

Senior Editor

Other than playing with the office dogs, Elyse oversees casting content on Backstage. She's a midwestern transplant who is happiest seeing theater or marathoning a new TV show. When she's not doing that she's most likely seeking out food or at the ballet.

Elyse Roth

Senior Editor

Jack Smart is a writer and editor who has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen. A student of theater and criticism, Jack was originally born in Hawai‘i and is now based in Brooklyn. He enjoys long walks on the beach and knows every line of the movie “Chicken Run.”

Jack Smart

Awards Editor

Before Backstage Briana Rodriguez worked as a mixed-media music and pop culture journalist and documentarian. She’s a tap dancer who loves watching "I Love Lucy" reruns almost as much as she loves guacamole.

Briana Rodriguez

Managing Editor

Casey Mink is the Staff Writer at Backstage. When she's not writing about television, film, or theater, she is probably watching it somewhere.

Casey Mink

Staff Writer

Lisa is an editor at Backstage who began her career in the NBC Page Program and most recently was a full-time freelance writer. When she's not at Backstage, she's either writing about pop culture and fashion, attending comic cons, or playing Dungeons & Dragons. She's also a Gryffinpuff still waiting for her owl.

Lisa Granshaw

Junior Editor

Mark produces the magazine, helps promote the podcast and works on other various efforts at Backstage, and generally just tries to be helpful. Can be seen wandering the 5 boroughs and beyond with a backpack full of gym clothes and spiral notebooks.

Mark Stinson

Production Manager / Special Projects

Ryan wears many hats when it comes to marketing, spending most of his time working on acquisition strategies and data analysis. He also wears many hats.

Ryan Remstad

Growth Marketing Manager

Ry is a big fan of creative marketing and building relationships. When she’s not working on those things at Backstage, she’s putting her NYU Film degree to work, shooting music videos, short films and portrait photography. She also loves craft beer and her rescue pup, Riley.

Ryann Thompson

Product Marketing & Partnership Development Manager

Stanley uses the power of experimentation to discover the best experiences for Backstage users. When he’s not running growth experiments, you can find him riding his Boosted board, looking at watches, or reading the latest tech news.

Stanley Zuo

Conversion Rate Optimization Manager

Caitlin first fell in love with Theater in the 1998 Morehead Elementary School rendition of Annie Jr. where she played the role of Lily St. Regis. She found that remembering entrances and nailing the nasal, northern accent without a dialect coach to be difficult. She retired from acting not long after, and is now a designer, illustrator, and singer-songwriter in Brooklyn, NY.

Caitlin Watkins

Marketing Designer

Francis is a digital marketer and social media expert with a Master’s degree from NYU who enjoys good puns, bad puns, singing at karaoke bars, and eating mozzarella sticks. Rumor has it that he is the top Hufflepuff supporter on the eastern seaboard.

Francis Ramos

Social Media Manager

Katie is a Swiftie first, human being second, social media expert third. When she’s not tweeting about theater, TV, and film on @Backstage she’s tweeting about it on @KatieMinard. Keep an eye out for her at a Broadway show on any day that ends in “y”.

Katie Minard

Social Media Specialist

Ben is a Brooklyn-based digital marketer at Backstage. With a passion for hip hop music, personal brand direction, and standup comedy, Ben enjoys working to help creators make projects they’re proud of. Please ask him about his experience being cast on our platform, he won’t stop talking about it.

Ben Carleton

Growth Marketing Associate

Sam oversees all sales campaigns and clients to ensure a seamless workflow and client experience. She also works with film studios and TV networks to help them get nominations and win various awards. Being from Long Island she loves the beach, cooking, traveling and buying random things on Amazon.

Samantha Sherlock

Media Operations

Victoria represents Backstage down under. Before joining the Backstage team, she worked as a talent agent and producer. The rest of Victoria's days are filled with food, wine, and Law & Order: SVU.

Victoria Beal

Australian Casting Specialist

Eli grew up in beautiful Traverse City, MI. After graduating (GVSU), he moved to NYC. He worked as a casting assistant on various projects (film/TV/Broadway) before landing at Backstage. He lives with his fianceé and pup (Mabel). He loves (the color) purple and is a fan of the L.A. Lakers and Detroit Lions, and enjoys most 90's jams.

Elijah Cornell

Casting Account Manager

Riley is a former casting associate whose credits include "Trainwreck" and CBS' "Person of Interest." He loves bread, chocolate, and the movie "Clue." There's probably more he could say about himself but he can't think of anything at the moment.

Riley Fee

Film & TV Casting Editor

Dan is a Philadelphia transplant who has spent time as a writer, an editor, a film critic, and a phone book delivery driver one summer. He loves film, sports, evergreen tweets, the winter, and above all, Gritty.

Daniel Gelb

Casting Editor

Jill joined Backstage after 6 years of work in unscripted casting and development, where she specialized in tracking down teen moms, top chefs, and treasure hunters. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, baking, Netflix marathons with her husband Morgan, and making up songs for their feline child, Goose. Her go-to karaoke jam is probably a country song.

Jill Heller

Casting Editor

Effie joined Backstage after five years of working as a casting associate for various film and TV projects. She likes documentaries, books and traveling.

Efthimia Reich

Casting Editor

Elaina is a native New Yorker by way of Syracuse and London. Backstage is one of her first "real jobs" after graduating college, and she has dabbled in acting, screenwriting, and videography. She enjoys spicy food, conspiracy theories, and trying her best at karaoke classics.

Elaina Crocket

Casting Editor

Kailyn joined the Backstage team as the staff accountant in 2019. When she's not running numbers, Kailyn enjoys running races. She also loves cooking, reading, wine, and dogs.

Kailyn Ciancarelli

Staff Accountant

Jenny grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She worked in the world of costumes for Theatre, Opera, Dance, Film, and Television for almost 10 years. As the Backstage Office Manger she makes a mean house drink for the office Thirsty Thursday. Enzo is also from Cleveland. He loves tennis balls, ice cream, and visiting all of his friends at the Backstage office.

Jenny O'Donnell

Office Manager

Natalie comes from a past of theatrical audio design, customer success, and project management. Now, she is at Backstage striving to hone the ultimate user experience. In the wild, Natalie can be found enjoying an Old Fashioned, reading a true crime novel, and listening to 90's Pop Punk with her husband Andrew and kitty Harley.

Natalie Petruch-Trent

Operations Manager

Ben Wasserman is a Brooklyn-based customer service representative whose work has been featured all over emails, live chat, and occasionally on the telephone. He can be seen every Monday-Friday between the hours of 10am and 6pm EST right here at Backstage.

Ben Wasserman

Customer Service Representative

Stephanie had a cameo as an intern in 2014 before joining Backstage full time as a professional people pleaser in 2016. She enjoys sad songs, jigsaw puzzles, and iced matcha all year round.

Stephanie Chung

Customer Service Representative

Richard is a former casting director who has worked in both New York and Los Angeles and tries to use his prior experience in the industry to help the customers he interacts with. He enjoys films from the 60s and 70s, watching Rocket basketball, reading Albert Camus, and good social outings.

Richard Burridge

Customer Service Manager

Originally from Northern Ireland, Christine is a Casting Specialist with 10 + years industry experience sourcing talent for projects ranging from commercials to Broadway and everything in between! She is passionate about all things theatre, film and fitness; will eat anything that involves avocado, and loves a good glass of wine.

Christine McKenna-Tirella

NY Casting Specialist

Neill is Backstage UK's Casting Specialist and has worked in the industry for over 15 years. When not watching the latest BBC drama/comedy he enjoys eating curry, playing snooker, DJ-ing (badly), Alan Partridge quotes and holds the quite frankly very sad title of ‘Doctor Who Camden Pub Quiz Champion 2014’.

Neill Kennedy

UK Casting Specialist

Hannah joined Backstage following years working in casting & production across the breadth of the UK. When she's not building Backstage UK from London, she's usually listening to podcasts, casting for her side projects, drinking gin and singing really, really loud in her car/house.

Hannah Williams

UK Casting Specialist

Veronika Claghorn is an experienced casting director whose credits include Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” A Philadelphia native, she worked at the Backstage NY Office before moving to Atlanta where they film “Stranger Things.” Every day she hopes to run into Winona Ryder.

Veronika Claghorn

Casting Account Manager

Rebecca is the keeper of Call Sheet, first of her name. Queen of the email update, tracker of companies, and editor of the database. Rebecca previously worked as a costumer’s assistant, actor, and personal assistant in Los Angeles. In her downtime she enjoys obsessing about The X-Files and telling her dog to stop barking.

Rebecca Welch

Research & Call Sheet Editor

Christina is a casting specialist, representing Backstage in Southern California. Before joining the Backstage team, she worked in Talent Development & Outreach at Nickelodeon. When she's not working, Christina loves to write, travel, and volunteer at her local animal shelter.

Christina Kleppinger

LA Casting Specialist

Lisa Hamil is a casting director and producer in Los Angeles. Her recent work includes the upcoming autism drama “Tyson’s Run” and the dramedy “Headshop.” She also co-wrote and directed the film “Bad Behavior” with Nicholas David Brandt, which premiered on Lifetime.

Lisa Hamil

Casting Editor

Margaret Ruling is originally from Indiana but calls Los Angeles home now and she is never leaving. When she's not making words and pictures look good, Margaret enjoys ballet classes, singing loudly, and pretending to be other people.

Margaret Ruling

Art Director

Prior to joining the Backstage team, Melinda worked for Baseline StudioSystem tracking TV development. When she's not working, she enjoys cuddling with her cats while obsessively watching every television show to ever air.

Melinda Loewenstein

Managing Casting Editor

Byron reminds everyone what it would look like if Tony Robbins motivated the regional team, just from a height & voice perspective. Currently on his third atempt at learning French.

Byron Karlevics

Regional Casting Editor

Anna works with both Backstage and Sonicbids Customer support teams, flawlessly transitioning between actors and musicians. In her down time, she enjoys baking gluten free, the occasional TV binge session and drinking tea.

Anna Szatkowski

Customer Support Agent

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