Our Board

Petite Opera Productions Board of Directors

Susan K. Baushke

Susan K Baushke
Susan K Baushke, Board President, Executive Director, Artistic Team Leader

As President and Executive Director, Ms. Baushke brings a wide array of experience and skills to the company in both the arts and business. Holding both a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in Music Theory, Composition and Vocal Performance, and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from DePaul University, she applies a balanced arts-business approach to guiding the corporation mission and connecting with audiences. Ms. Baushke guides the company strategy, marketing, development, artistic/Human Resources and front office–all functions that support connections with patrons, artists, donors and the community. Along with Steven Arvanites, she also helps the direction of productions to meet goals.

Ms. Baushke leads the Artistic Team of the company. She applies her extensive performance experience in vocal performance, instrumental music, dance and visual art to the company, and is part of the Petite Opera Productions Translation Team that updates works for modern audiences. Ms. Baushke has also written the libretto and dialogue for the company’s works: Petite Opera Productions inaugural work, Al Fresco – Life Through Opera-Colored Glasses, and Petite Original Productions series That’s Amore!  As a featured performer and soloist, she has appeared with Petite Opera Productions, Light Opera Works, The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, Big Noise Theatre, Collaboraction, CenterStage Lake Forest, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Whiting Festival Park Orchestra, Park Ridge Gilbert & Sullivan company, Intimate Opera, and Bowen Park Opera, among others.

Cathy Dunn

Cathy Dunn
Cathy Dunn, Board Secretary, Resident Stage Director, Artistic Team Member

With a Bachelors of Music in vocal performance from Texas Christian University, and a Master’s in Music in vocal performance from Northwestern University, Ms. Dunn brings extensive experience to our Board in performing, directing, and operatic arts administration. As a performer, she was a member of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, and has appeared in over 140 productions with the full-time Lyric Opera chorus. Ms. Dunn has appeared in in numerous leading roles in opera, operetta and musical theatre in the US and Europe. She has directed over 30 productions across the United States with companies including Tulsa Opera, Intimate Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Washington Opera, Yakama Valley Opera, Bel Cantini and Washington East Opera—the latter which she founded. For Petite Opera Productions, she has directed over 10 productions, and holds the position of Resident Stage Director.

Steven Arvanites

Steven Arvanites
Steven Arvanites, Treasurer, Director of Production, Artistic Team Member

Steven brings a unique blend of business and artistic experience to the company. A trained performer, he has performed regionally with Petite Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Light Opera Works, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Bowen Park Opera, Music On Stage, Park Ridge Gilbert & Sullivan, Transgressive Theatre-Opera, Intimate Opera, CenterStage Lake Forest, Southwest Michigan Symphony and Whiting Park Festival Orchestra.

A skilled businessman with an artist’s creative bent, Mr. Arvanites has seamlessly applied his educational background in accounting, production planning and logistics into the role of Director of Production. In that capacity, he has managed the venue, production staff, and technical production aspects since the company’s inception. He also acts as Sound Designer and often as Set Designer for the company’s productions.

Jack Cohen

Board Member/Financial Advisor/Box Office Manager

With a Master’s of Science degree in Management from Purdue University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Northwestern University, Mr. Cohen acts as financial advisor, assisting with company financial statements for grants and fundraising, and offers business and financial advice to the Board. During productions, he also manages the Box Office and Front of House operations.

Elizabeth Sklena

Board Member/Lighting Designer/Outreach Advocate

Ms. Sklena has extensive experience in theatrical production management and lighting design, and in-depth knowledge of patron groups in the Chicagoland area. She leads lighting design for all Petite Opera Productions works, and provides technical expertise. In addition, Ms. Sklena shares her community and patron perspectives to the Board.

Interested in Joining our Board? Email us at info@petiteopera.org.

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