Meet The Team
Chief Artistic Director
Damien Lorton is an actor, singer, director, producer and instructor. He is 12th generation Californian and is a member of the Rios Family of San Juan Capistrano. Damien found his passion for music at a very early age and by the time he was seven he was traveling the globe performing with the likes of Bob Hope, Art Linkletter, Phyllis Diller, Wayne Newton, Sarah Brightman and Luciano Pavarotti, to name a few.
Damien found his calling in 2004 when he and Nicole Cassesso co-founded, One More Productions with the hope of creating and producing quality theater at a professional level and an affordable cost, making the arts accessible for everyone in the community. In 2008, One More Productions embraced the City of Garden Grove and the historic GEM Theater as its permanent home.
Chief Executive Director
Nicole Cassesso is a professional Actor, Singer, Dancer, and Producer. She developed a lifelong passion and love for the arts at a very early age, taking the stage for the first time at three-years-old and never looking back.
In 2017, Cassesso became the 88th recipient of the Los Angeles Times “Woman of the Year” Award for her immense contributions to theater as an actor and producer.
She has received critical acclaim for her work on stage. Most notably in the title roles as Violet in Violet, Gypsy Rose Lee/Louise in Gypsy and Patsy Cline in Always Patsy Cline, for which she received 2017 and 2018 Broadway World Nominations. She was also named Best Actress by the OC Tribune for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
Chief Operating Officer
As a technical professional in the live events industry for twenty years, Dan has supported hundreds of events across Southern California, including venues such as South Coast Repertory and Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Dan functions as the Director of Information Systems for PCE, a leading live events production house located in Huntington Beach. Specializing in lighting, audio, and video, Dan is pleased to share his technical and professional skills with the incredible team of One More Productions. When he is not working, Dan loves to cook for his lovely wife Pamela and beautiful daughter Hailey.
Tad Fujioka is the Theater Manager for One More Productions at The GEM Theater and has been joyfully answering your phone calls in the Box Office since 2014. He grew up in sunny San Diego where his love of performing began and relocated to Orange County to pursue a degree in what he loved. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Fullerton with his BA in Theater and found The GEM shortly after. His first experience at the theater was performing in the 2013 production of The Holiday GEM, the first show back after the 2011 fire. He found a home at the theater and continued performing in shows including Bright Star, Disaster!, Hello, Dolly!, Cabaret, Violet, and various others on the GEM stage. He has also been lucky enough to perform regionally at The Moonlight Amphitheater, The Candlelight Pavilion, Knott's Berry Farm, and several local colleges. When he is not at the theater, he can be found taking yoga classes, disc golfing, and playing with his friends' dogs.
Ryan is a professional singer, actor, and stage technician. He began his performing career at the age of 17, where he was coerced into his first show by his friends and his mentor and teacher, Sue Semegran. Since then, he has performed all across the US, most notably as Sam The Snowman in the stage adaptation of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer The Musical for 6 years. Other prominent roles include Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, Val Jean in Les Miserables, Horton in Seussical the Musical, "Woof" Donovan in Hair the Musical, Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd, and Hot Blades Harry in Urinetown the Musical.
Ryan is no stranger to One More Productions or The GEM Theater stage. He started working with Nicole and Damien in one of their first productions back in 2005. He also works at Pacific Coast Entertainment as a Warehouse tech. When he is not working, Ryan continues to hone his craft, auditioning and performing wherever and whenever he can. Ryan is proud to be working with the team at The GEM and looks forward to many more years of friendship and great shows.
For the past 35 years, Harold has owned and operated the highly successful Mendenhall Productions and has a wide range of experience from Technical Director and Lighting Designer to Set Construction and Set Design. Harold’s career in the entertainment business began in 1975 and has provided a wide range of opportunities to work on a multitude of different shows from The Academy Awards to the Super Bowl to Michael Jackson concerts. Touring shows include Hello Dolly, A Chorus Line, Blue Oyster Cult, REO Speed Wagon, plus over 50 music videos on MTV. Harold also served as the Technical Director for Long Beach Civic Light Opera for many years, overseeing everything from movies, theater, corporate events, trade shows, and exhibits. He has been a part of the One More Productions team since 2018, after many years as an audience member, and looks forward to many more successful seasons to come!
Scenic Design Lead
Wally has been One More Productions Resident Scenic Designer ever since he retired from the position at Saddleback College some 15 years ago. His extraordinary design work has also been seen throughout the country, having designed more than 800 shows for college, National and International conventions, theme parks, and numerous schools of every level. He has been distinguished with numerous awards from Emmy Awards, Robie Awards, Drama Log Awards and just about every available award given in theatre endeavors. The GEM Theater stage was named after Wally for his exceptional design work. If you have seen any of the shows on The GEM stage, you know what a big part his designs are to the success of their productions.
Jeff is one of the finest and most sought-after musicians around. He is a drummer/percussionist and musical contractor who has had the honor and privilege of working with One More Productions since its inception. He has played professionally since the age of 13 and has worked with many well-known musicians and celebrities, on cruise ships, churches, with the San Diego Chargers Band, and toured across the US and Europe. Jeff specializes in musical theater but is just as comfortable playing classical, rock and roll, country, gospel, or jazz fusion. He not only teaches drums and percussion, but he also teaches violin, cello, guitar, and other stringed instruments at the Yamaha School of Music and also privately. He has a background in voice as well. From private parties to symphonies, to casual gigs, to professional settings, to teaching music to students of all ages, Jeff is a musician and teacher with years of experience and a dedication to his craft, and along with his sense of humor, he finds joy in everything he does. But his favorite place is to be is sitting behind a good set of drums with a couple of drumsticks in his hands.
Kady is a dancer, actor, and singer. She found her passion for the arts at an early age and was hooked after taking her first ballet class. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Kady spent her childhood at the dance studio, studying ballet, jazz, contemporary, pas de deux, aerial arts, musical theater, and more. After performing professionally around the Portland metro area, she made the move to Southern California after booking a job at Disneyland.
Kady began her journey with One More Productions in 2018 performing in Hello, Dolly!, and she instantly fell in love with the OMP family. She is grateful for the opportunity to hone her craft by performing and choreographing, as well as exploring different skills off the stage. Kady is currently managing OMP’s website and is excited to grow her content management and digital marketing skills under the guidance of OMP staff.
Outside the theater you can find Kady working at Physica (physicaoc.com), practicing Pilates, or playing with her Boston Terrier.
Brian Bolanos is a native SoCal resident who loves to be involved in the arts. He's been a GEM resident for years now. His creativity comes naturally with a brush in hand and here at The GEM he makes sure everyone is picture perfect on or off stage. He has been the make-up stylist for Nicole Cassesso and Damien Lorton throughout Covid for their YouTube show, Cocktail Hour! His first big project was during The GEM's production of Beauty & the Beast in 2019. He has been sculpting countless faces and has continued to practice his craft thanks to One More Productions. He can style for any occasion; weddings, special events, Halloween, glamour, avant-garde or camera-ready. For more information follow him @brianbolanos_
Luis is the resident Costume Designer at The GEM Theater. He has always had a love for creative costuming, as he says, "it's the closest thing to making magic". He started his training in the art of Costume Design at MT. San Antonio Community College. He then went on to transfer to The University of California Santa Barbara, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Theater with an emphasis in Costume Design. One of Luis' favorite productions at UCSB was Cabaret, which was his first full musical production, and his last show worked as a student. Luis would like to thank his friends and family for their continued support. He would also like to thank One More Productions for believing in him, and allowing him to add his creativity to their team.