Algonquin Arts

Board of Trustees

Eliot Arlo Colon
Board Chair

Eliot has been Board Chair of Algonquin Arts Theatre since 2017. When Eliot is not leading his software license management company, his passions are tennis, supporting local charities and spending time with his family. Eliot's passion for the Algonquin stems from his community relations role with the Brielle Board of Education, where, besides serving its board for 10 years and two-term President, was instrumental in pushing for funding and rebirth of its arts, band and drama programs. To Eliot, the Arts are a critical component of the community and he witnessed first-hand its positive impact in dozens of local youth. Eliot is also an active member of the Manasquan River Yacht Club and co-founder of IFC United, a locally based charitable organization. Eliot and Lorene, his wife, live in Brielle with their two teenage sons.

Ron Gaffney
Vice Chair

Ron Gaffney has been a resident of Manasquan for 29 years. He and his wife Denice have two children and two grandchildren. After retiring from law enforcement he held executive positions in the security and warehousing/trucking industries. He is an advocate for volunteerism in the local community. In addition to coaching baseball, softball and soccer at the elementary school levels, he is the past Chairman of Manasquan Recreation Commission on which he served for 20 years. A member of the Manasquan Board of Education for 8 years, he held positions of President and Vice President. Ron is also a group facilitator for the Common Ground Grief Center. An avid motorcyclist, Ron is a member of 3 motorcycle clubs. His interest in the theater began with his involvement in participating in his own elementary and high school plays. Ron has been a long-time supporter of the Algonquin, beginning with its initial renovation. Along with a group of volunteers, armed with screwdrivers and paint brushes, the original seats in the theater were dismantled, the metal support frames were hand painted and the refurbished seats were reinstalled.

Janice Blanton

Born and raised in my native Oklahoma, I was blessed by a family and a community that greatly valued the arts. The town of El Reno supported children and adults in their endeavors. We had lots of scientists in the family, but the quality of our lives was enhanced by music, theater and art. Everyone played an instrument. As an adult living in New Jersey, I taught Art in grades K-8 for many years. Currently, I am the organist and accompanist at Manasquan Presbyterian Church and enjoy the opportunity to play for and with amateur and professional musicians and choirs. I lead The Fellowship, a men's choir at our church. (Gentlemen, please join us!) As the local cultural center of our lives, Algonquin Arts Theatre has a great deal to offer. We have come so far and are succeeding through your loyal support-both by your attendance and your gifts. My goal is to help our organization to continue to grow and to benefit the wonderful people of all ages in our delightful seashore community. AAT is a gift to all of us and a bright star in my life, for sure!

Dominick Palumbo

Dominick grew up in Point Pleasant Beach. He is a graduate of Point Pleasant Beach High School and Stockton University. He and his family have been involved with Palumbo's Appliance Center since the business was opened by his grandfather in 1941. Before his career in banking, he worked in New York City in the Financial District. Dominick is currently employed as a Premier Banker at Wells Fargo in Ocean Township, NJ. Both of his daughters have participated in the Algonquin Summer Stage program; his oldest daughter, Katie, performed the lead role in The Sound of Music. Dominick is a member of the Point Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce. He volunteers his time teaching financial literacy at Memorial Middle School and participates in the Junior Achiever program. Dominick, and his wife Kimberlee, currently live in Point Pleasant with their daughter, Paige. His older daughter is a middle school teacher in Manassas Park, Virginia.

Dara Brown

A veteran of stage, screen and TV, Dara began her theatrical career at the age of 10, working in NYC's Milliken Show. National tours include "ANNIE" and "GYPSY" with Angela Lansbury, Broadway showcases, two musicals in Japan commercials, voice overs, and TV shows including Guiding Light, and Law and Order: SVU. Her caricature hangs in Sardi's Restaurant. She studied Shakespeare at Oxford University and holds a BS in East Asian Studies and a BA in Broadcast Journalism from NYU. Dara worked at ABC, HBO and INTV before joining NBC in 2000 to pioneer webcasts for She can be seen hosting MSNBC Live, Early Today, First Look, TODAY, CNBC and spent 5 years on TWC's Wake Up With Al. Dara returned to the Jersey Shore to raise her son and daughter. She is a volunteer for 180 Turning Lives Around, an ambassador for the Samaritan Center at the Jersey Shore, joined Algonquin's Gala Committee in 2012, and the Board of Trustees in 2017.

Christine Carlson

Chris Carlson, born and raised in Monmouth County, has been an educator for over forty years. She will be entering her twelfth year as the Superintendent/Principal of Brielle Elementary School in September 2019. Her passion for the arts with respect to the theater, dance, and music have been an integral part of her life and something that she considers to be of major importance for the children in her district. When not working, Chris loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, boating, going to the beach, reading and gardening.

Larry Durso

Since 1978, Lawrence Durso has been in the Financial Services Industry. He has primarily focused on creating solutions for unique problems typically associated with high net worth clients and their families. Additionally, he holds multiple securities registrations and life and health insurance licenses.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree (summa cum laude) from St. John's University and a Master's Degree from Columbia University. He has appeared in "As Seen In ..." in Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune and Money magazines. He has been quoted in trade publications such as Registered Representative and was featured in the Prudential Financial National Seasoned Broker ad campaign.

Larry founded ShoreHaven Wealth Partners in 2020 with his son Michael Durso and Michael Lombardi. Most recently he had led the Durso Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley, where he was a Managing Director-Wealth Management.

Away from the office, Larry is active in several charitable organizations, including St. John's University (past President of the SJU Staten Island Alumni Association) and the Daughters of Saint Paul. He is a member of the Algonquin Arts Theatre Board of Trustees and an active Supporter of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. Larry resides in Shrewsbury, N.J. with his wife, Patricia.

C. Keith Henderson

Keith was born in Branshott, England and grew up in Upper Montclair, NJ. He attended the Lawrenceville School where he was Vice President of the Periwig Club, which produced plays for the community at a theatre owned and operated by the school. Subsequently, he attended Dartmouth College and Rutgers Law School. After attending Law School, he clerked for Haydn Proctor who was a Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court with chambers in Asbury Park. Keith temporarily relocated to southern Monmouth County for his two years of clerkship, fell in love with the Jersey Shore, and never left. He became active at the Algonquin Theatre, at the time the not-for-profit purchased the building which houses the theatre. Soon thereafter, he became a member of the Board of Trustees, and for a number of years, he has provided legal services to the theatre. Keith lives in Manasquan with his wife, Barbara, and his son, Keith Jr., and maintains a law practice in the Borough with his son, Michael. When Keith is not working, he can be found on the water, either in a kayak, or on his sport fishing boat, Makaira.

Carrie McGowan

Carrie first became involved with AAT when her youngest daughter began taking part in the wonderful education classes offered here. Her daughter was born a dancer and performer and the AAT was a perfect match for her interests. Through the years her daughter performed in many Algonquin Youth Ensemble and main stage productions and so began Carrie's volunteer efforts in the "front of the house". Through the years Carrie has enjoyed watching and volunteering at many of the shows and events at AAT.

Carrie is very excited to have the opportunity to continue working with the theater as a member of the Board of Trustees as she believes that having a wonderful performing arts venue like AAT is a great gift to the community. Carrie has been a resident of Brick for 18 years where she and her husband raised their two daughters. She works for a consulting firm as an environmental scientist remediating legacy chemical facility sites mainly in New Jersey.

Ed O'Malley

Ed was born and raised in Mantoloking. When not working as a realtor, Ed is an avid sailor, skier, and fisherman, vacationing in Florida and New Hampshire. In high school, and later at Kenyon College, he worked as a volunteer on almost every theater production, on the technical side. This was the start of his love of theater. He is also an active member of Mantoloking Yacht Club and Manasquan River Golf Club. In addition, he also gives his time as a volunteer and board member of Save Barnegat Bay (NJ), a volunteer for the Mt. Washington Observatory (NH), and a consultant to the Mantoloking Environmental Commission. Ed is also a member of the Point Pleasant Beach Rotary, and the Bay Head Business Association. Ed and Meagan, his wife, live in Brielle.

Trisha D. Scudder

Trisha D. Scudder is a pioneer in the field of executive coaching and has been called one of the country's "leading executive coaches -- the CEO's secret weapon." Over 30 years ago she began studying organizational transformation and leadership, leading her to found Executive Coaching Group, Inc., in New York in 1987. Today the boutique firm works with senior executives and teams around the world.

Executive Coaching Group specializes in coaching corporate management, entrepreneurs, marketing agencies and Wall Street firms. Trisha's work has proven ECG's motto: When leaders grow, companies grow.

In January 2020 Trisha reduced the number of clients she coaches and turned over ownership and management of ECG to her business partner of 12 years, Herma M. Schmitz.

Trisha has been privileged to coach more than 750 senior executives at BlackRock, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Dell, FCB, Goldman Sachs, Google, Group M, Merck, PayPal and others.

In October 2018, in recognition of her pioneering work in executive coaching, she was awarded the prestigious Missouri Medal by the University of Missouri Journalism School for excellence in journalism and communications. Trisha's first career was in advertising as a copywriter and creative director on national brands including Revlon. Later she created the marketing strategy, fashion look and brand name that launched Swatch watches. Swatch is cited by strategy guru Gary Hamel in "Competing for the Future" as "imaginative, compelling and foresightful... not just a marketing innovation, Swatch was a reconception of the entire Swiss watch making industry." Swatch was named a "Marketing Milestone of the Decade" by The Wall Street Journal.

Since 1975 Trisha has lived in New York and had two season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera. She's a member of the Met's Opera Guild and ABT's Dancers' Circle. When she married Sea Girt attorney G. Kevin Callahan in 2016 and they moved to Brielle, she was looking for a cultural home at the Shore. Fortunately, she attended the Algonquin Arts Theatre's impressive production of Madama Butterfly in 2017 and has been an avid booster of AAT ever since, attending plays, concerts and musicals and helping to raise funds for ATT's production of La Boheme in 2019 and the postponed 2020 production of La Traviata. Trisha joined the AAT Board of Trustees in 2020. To the other Trustees she says frankly "I can't sing. I don't play an instrument. But I'm good at orchestrating projects and raising money!"

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Trisha's passions include golf, skiing, Orange Theory Fitness, cycling trips in Europe, collecting original posters of Mistinguett, star of 1920s Paris, and Westie "Scooter" Scudder.

Heidi Wittenberg

Heidi grew up on the Manasquan River in Wall Township. From earliest childhood she has enjoyed her favored pastimes of swimming, fishing, boating and long walks on the Manasquan beach. She also has fond memories of visiting area parks and historic sites as well as attending many art shows, craft fairs, musical events and local theatrical productions. Since 1998 Heidi has been associated with the family owned Folk Agency, Realtors in Brielle. As the fourth generation Broker of Record of the firm, she now continues her passion for the joys of living the shore life style by using her enthusiasm and unique leadership style in spreading the word of the value of the natural beauty and cultural treasures of life in this beautiful area of New Jersey. Following in the tradition of her family and her firm, Heidi strongly believes in supporting the local community. She currently serves as a Trustee on the Board of The Algonquin Arts Theater, our truly unique, local performing arts treasure. She serves as the President of The Brielle Chamber of Commerce and as an active member of the Manasquan Elks Lodge. She also enjoys volunteering her time with German Short Hair Pointer Rescue of New Jersey.