Mars Opera Development Team Bios

Book, Lyrics, and Music by:
AZooNY (Richard Rinehart)

Production Adviser:
Theresa Benyo

Illustrations by:
Joshua Peters

Outerstellar 3D Modeling:

Eric Mindek
Interstellar Bit Pusher:

Paul Catalano
Text Editing:

Paulette Ziegfeld

Published by Back To The Beat Music

Theresa Benyo is a nuclear physicist at the NASA Glenn Research Center and has 28 years of theater expertise in Northeast Ohio. For Mars Opera, she has provided invaluable advice as well as demo voice-over work for the video and audio demos.

Theresa started her directing career in 2016 with a production of End Days, which merged her love of science and theater and garnered her an “Excellence in Directing” award at the 2016 Northeast Regional OCTA (Ohio Community Theater Association) Festival and Best Director award at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (CVLT). Some of her other directing projects include Time Flies; Words, Words, Words; and the riveting radio play War of the Worlds. In 2014, Theresa received training from OCTA and annually judges OCTA theater festivals all around Ohio. Onstage credits include roles as Emma Parker in Bonnie and Clyde, Frau Schrader in The Sound of Music, and the Baroness in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for which she was nominated in the “Best Supporting Actress in a Musical” category at CVLT in 2016. Additionally, she played Annelle in Steel Magnolias at the Aurora Community Theatre (ACT), where the cast received an “Excellence in Ensemble” award at the 1998 OCTA State Conference.

Josh Peters is an illustrator and graphic designer from West Jefferson, Ohio. He has worked with such clients as Hasbro, the Chicago Cubs, and Image Comics. Currently he is an art director at Just Funky where he creates licensed merchandise. When he isn’t there, Josh volunteers his time with the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association as the soccer commissioner and a coach. He’s also working on his first comic book.

Paulette Ziegfeld worked as a professional technical writer for several contractor companies at the NASA Glenn Research Center for over 21 years until her retirement. She occasionally edits/copy edits academic books and papers, proposals, and resumes for family and friends. She has had a lifelong interest in the theater, especially musical theater.

By day Rich “AZooNY” Rinehart is a manager of Computational Sciences and Emerging Technologies for BQMI at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. By night he spends his time as a singer/songwriter, composer, producer, and multimedia specialist.

AZooNY in Glasgow

A scene in Glasgow from the AZooNY “Shed My Night” video

Musically, he has composed three symphonies, numerous soundtracks for video, and has released two Alternative Rock CD’s of original music, the most recent being Nuts under the artist name “AZooNY.

Rich is also president of the Grammy Award Winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony (and GM for NEOSonicFest, a new music festival) and is on the Board of Cleveland’s Verb Ballets, Cleveland’s leading contemporary dance company.


Dreaming of home, Dreeson sings “Shed My Night” while in flight to Mars
Verb Ballets tossing scripts in NUTS video

Verb Ballets in the AZooNY “Nuts” video production

In his current Mars Opera project, Rich inserts new technology into the show’s production, an element sure to capture tech-savvy and young audiences. “I want to keep the technology demands on the production staff to a minimum, but it does require a high-tech awareness not usually found in traditional theater.”

AZooNY Nuts CDA love for science and the arts combined with a good dose of comical wit has fostered the creation of his Mars Opera. “I’ve got it all: dance, science, social media, symphonic and rock-n-roll music, space aliens, and all in a light-hearted and wacky comical presentation.”

Despite the title it’s really not an opera at all but a play with music. And a wacky presentation it is, somewhat in the Loony Tunes/British comical wit style. “To be clear though, I’m not doing this for pure entertainment.  I have a motive.  I wish to have folks think about some of our challenges, and come together. Laughter is the secret sauce, science and fantasy the hook, and drama and music the emotional glue.” .

“Well, it’s not a blast to use like a Bucky-Ball-Battering-Bat. Or a Quantum modulator paddle that is both here and there at the same time. Or even an iStaff with a Galactical service coverage plan. It’s a gun that defies all relative relatively models and picks up steam, or whatever else is actually out there, within the 5th dimension.” –Ballo