Mike Audet is the president of First Look Buffalo Theatre Company. Following a successful career as an executive in the real estate technology sector, Mike co-founded the WAV Group in 2003, which has become of the most successful real estate consulting firms in the country. An avid singer/songwriter/musician, Mike also serves as a director on Music is Art .
Joel HusVar - Vice President
Joel HusVar serves as Vice President of First Look Buffalo. Mr. HusVar brings over 15 years of business experience to First Look Buffalo. He was the general manager of HusVar Fine Art in Buffalo in 2009 and has since founded multiple companies. His experience is across multiple industries including art, real estate, finance, fund raising, venture capital and manufacturing. As the current owner of HusVar Real Estate Mr HusVar leads over 60 agents. He recently served as the President of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors with over 3.700 members, a Director of the New York State association of Realtors and is a Director of the National Association of Realtors. We are excited to bring so much national experience to First Look Buffalo.
Ryan Gruchala - Treasurer
Ryan Gruchal, is a Senior Accountant with The Bonadio Group. His office is in East Aurora. Ryan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Accounting from Canisius University, and is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State. He has four years of experience in accounting and has worked with many nonprofits on their compliance needs. Ryan was active in the theatre productions at Saint Francis High School, during his time there, and regularly attends productions at many of our local theaters. When Ryan heard about First Look Buffalo, and our mission, he was very excited about joining our board. He particularly likes our focus on developing new Playwright material! Ryan has also agreed to serve as Treasurer for our board!
Susan Rusch-Oconnell - Secretary
Susan has been a board member of First Look Buffalo since its official start in January 2022. Her desire is to make the art of theater available to all age groups and economic tiers. Susan has worked for a variety of business corporations and self-owned companies, including General/Operations manager for The Gap/ Old Navy, buyer and management positions for a variety of retail venues, loan officer and mortgage broker, real estate agent and currently she is an assistant manager for Robert Basil Buick GMC Cadillac in Orchard Park, NY. Susan has vast experience working for non-for-profit organizations, including a board member of ActsMetro in Columbia, SC from 2008-2014. She has been a mentor to families in crisis, a leader of Act Teens and Girls in Action/ girls organizations (2000-2006) among several other mission and outreach projects throughout her life. She currently lives in Dunkirk NY with her husband Billy. They have 2 daughters and 7 grandchildren.
Cindy Chan - Director
Cindy Chan is a native New Yorker. Born in NYC, she grew up in acting schools, dance classes, and voice & diction training. She then attended Performing Arts High School, majoring in Drama. Later, she was accepted into two media training programs – WNET Film/Television School, and Community Film Workshop, both geared toward bringing minorities into the industry. During this time, Cindy met David, moved to Buffalo, and married. David was hired out of training school as a cameraman for WGR-TV, and subsequently Cindy went into radio broadcasting, working at WBUF, WGRQ, WNYS, and WECK. Years later she became a paralegal, working for attorneys and engineers. She founded a not-for-profit, a political action committee, and a limited liability corporation, in an effort to advocate for things like legal rights for domestic partners, encouraging political involvement, improving the lives of our senior citizens, and most vociferously for complete education for every single child. Looking to the future, Ms. Chan is squarely focused on service to the community, to the arts, and to the embodiment of the concepts evoked by the acronym – WWJD.
Harry Lipsitz - Director
A Producer and Production Manager from Buffalo, NY; graduated from Point Park University with a B.A. in Cinema and Digital Art, concentrating in Producing.He is a proud humanitarian, dedicated to the growth and prosperity of equality & diversity inside the film community. He is ADDITIONALLY a proud owner and co-founder in Casting Buffalo LLC and the Co-Administrator at The Joseph Giambra Legacy Fund, and proudly sits on the board at First look Buffalo theater company.
Luigi Rodo – Director
Luigi Rodo is one of the top Realtors in the Western, NY market, consistently ranking in the top 5% annually for listings and sales, in addition to managing multiple rental properties and a successful property management business. Luigi has served as Treasurer for First Look Buffalo since season one. In addition to his real estate work and duties with First Look Buffalo, Luigi is active in multiple charities.
Bob Rusch - Director/Artistic Director
Bob is the founder and former artistic director of SkyPilot Theatre Company in Los Angeles and is a co-founder and current artistic director for First Look Buffalo Theatre Company in Buffalo NY. He has produced over 30 productions, many of which were world premieres. Some of his favorite’s were KONG: A GODDAMN THIRTY FOOT GORILLA by Adam Hahn, WAR BRIDE by Samantha Macher, DETECTIVE PARTNER HERO VILLAIN by Brett Neveu and FURSONA NON GRATA by Jeff Goode. He also began teaching scene study and audition technique at Acting Studio 716 which he founded in 2016 in Buffalo NY. As an actor, some of Bob’s favorite theatre roles are Mountain McClintock in REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT by Rod Serling, The Driver in HELLCAB by Will Kern, The Partner in DETECTIVE PARTNER HERO VILLAIN by Brett Neveu, Bernie in SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO by David Mamet and Ross in the 2014 World Premiere of RESET by Samantha Macher. While working in Los Angeles, Bob worked on such classic shows as WILL AND GRACE, ER, CROSSING JORDAN and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Bob is most known for playing Doyle McPoyle on the cult classic ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and the recurring character of Skeeter on the huge hit SONS OF ANARCHY. He also worked on many films including SAVING MR. BANKS, CHRISTMAS IN VERMONT, THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY, WIDOW’S POINT and the critically acclaimed TOM OF YOUR LIFE directed by Jeremy Sklar. When Bob is not acting or producing, he is very focused on helping people buy and sell homes all over WNY as a licensed real estate agent with HusVar Real Estate.
Mark Tramont - Director
MARK TRAMONT serves as a director with First Look Buffalo, where he heads up our fundraising committee. Mark is also the CFO/VP of St. Mary’s School in Lancaster, where he is deeply involved in their arts/acting programs. Mark is truly grateful for the support he has received from his wife Eileen their daughters and sons in law Sarah, Jon, Jessica and Erik and their grandchildren Audriana, Ellery, Olivia and Julien.