Artistic Leaders and Staff

Michael Sommers
Michael has worked in professional theater for 30 years and is recognized as one of the country’s most versatile and ingenious theater artists. An Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Sommers is a two-time Bush Fellowship recipient and a 2004 McKnight Theatre Fellow. In 2008 he was awarded a Ford Fellowship and in 2009 he was recognized with the Bush Enduring Vision Award. His signature work is produced at Open Eye — including A Prelude to Faust, Elijah's Wake, andThe Holiday Pageant. He has traveled internationally, teaching and performing in China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic and Mexico.

“[Michael Sommers’] work is so visually stunning. He has such a balance between playfulness and a dark and individualistic sensibility.”
– Philip Bither, Senior Curator of Performing Arts, Walker Art Center  

Susan Haas
Executive Artistic Director/Founder
Susan has worked within and outside of the arts community in the Twin Cities for 30 years. Educated in theater at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she has steered the company since 2000. Haas is the visionary behind The Driveway Tour, Toy Theatre After Dark, the It's Women's Work series, and the showcase of artists on the Open Eye stage. She was also the driving force for the establishment of the company’s permanent home in its beautifully restored 110-year-old historical storefront in south Minneapolis.

Joel Sass
Associate Producer
Joel has directed three productions at Open Eye—the Ivey Award-winning Nothing is Something (2015), Kevin Kling’s Greatest Hits and Juicy Bits (2016), and The Red Shoes (2017), which he also conceived, wrote, and designed. He has worked as a stage director, designer, and adapter in Minneapolis since 1990, specializing in the creation of new work for the stage and devising imaginative reinterpretations of classic plays. As Associate Producer, Joel will work with Open Eye Executive Artistic Director/Founder Susan Haas to design and manage the theatre’s eclectic programming as well as oversee daily operations for the company.

Sean Healey
Resident Sound Designer

Salima Seale
Production Stage Manager

Brandon Sisneroz
Technical Director

Peter Rusk
Interim Driveway Tour Services Manager

Michael Murnane
Resident Lighting Designer

Carolyn Van Nelson
Finance Manager

Maria Bianchi
Audience Services Manager

Amy Danielson
Marketing Consultant