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Members of the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee
Click on a name to read the member's profile:



Emeritus Members



DAVID ALEX 

has had his award-winning plays staged in several cities.  He has received three grants from the Illinois Arts Council for Recognition in Playwriting and one from the Pilgrim Foundation. Recent productions include ADRIFT, ENDS, an African-American Theatre Festival Award Winner (Univ. of Louisville) at New Jersey Repertory Company; ONTO INFINITY at Waukegan's Bowen Park Theatre Company; and BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON at Chicago Playwrights' Center. Dramatic Publishing has published two of his plays. He has served as Secretary of the Chicago Alliance for Playwrights and the Illinois Theatre Association. Alex retired in 2003 from Hoffman Estates High School,where he taught mathematics, coached track, and directed the fall play. He occasionally conducts writing workshops for young authors.


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LEIGH ALLAN 

recently retired as Marketing Director of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. Previously; he held the same position with the Human Race Theatre of Dayton, Ohio. Leigh spent most of his professional life in broadcast and print media, as a news director, commentator, columnist and radio station owner/operator. He retired as Metro Columnist of the Dayton Daily News to move over to the theatre world. He occasionally wrote on theatre and related matters, and his interest in theatre goes back to his teens, when he was privileged to view such performances as Maggie Smith's starring debut (in "Mary, Mary" in London), Ingrid Bergman dominating "Captain Brassbound's Conversion", Marcelle Marceau walking against the wind in an ancient amphitheater in Cyprus, Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain and James Whitmore as Will Rogers, and even Edward Everett Horton as a butler (of course).

 


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CHARLES A. BERGLUND 
received his undergraduate degree in theatre from Northern Illinois University and a master's degree in theatre from Indiana. For over 30 years he was a high school Speech Arts Department Chair and Director of Theatre. He has been recognized as an educator and director by state and national organizations, and he has directed over 100 plays and musicals on the high school, community, college and university levels. Retired since 2001, he now acts, directs and teaches in many local venues University.
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OLEG BIERMAN 

is a long-time theater enthusiast and follower. Born in the Soviet Union, Oleg got exposure to Russian theater, and the Stanislavski theater system, from a very young age due to his parents. He participated in high school and local theater as a director and actor, while attending some of the best performances in the Russian theater scene.  After arriving to Chicago as a refugee from the Soviet Union in 1989, he immediately embraced Chicago theater, and continues to be a devoted enthusiast. He also is fortunate to have the opportunity to travel regularly to see theater in Moscow, London and New York. He appreciates the opportunity to contribute to further advancing Chicago theater nationally and internationally. Oleg works as an information technology management professional.

 


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CAROL ANN BLACK 
has been active in the theatrical and musical industry in the Chicago area for the past twenty-six years. Prior to her retirement, she served as Membership Services Coordinator at Actors' Equity Association where she was employed for sixteen years. Prior to joining the staff at AEA she was co-owner of Bands and Bows, a musical booking agency; prior to that she served as Office Manager and Booking Agent for the Franz Benteler Royal Strings Orchestra.
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DREW BLAU 

is a professional actor, arts administrator, and film coordinator with a degree in Theatre and Government & Politics from the University of Maryland.  Drew is currently the Location Coordinator for NBC's CHICAGO MED, and has been the MapMaker for numerous films and television series including Chi-raq, Shameless, Sense8, and Sinister 2.  Performing credits include: National Tours: Oliver! (Artful Dodger; 2004 Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nomination, NJ Star-Ledger), The Full Monty (Nathan Lukowski), The Will Rogers Follies (James Rogers); Regional: Woolly Mammoth: Fever/Dream; Goodspeed Opera House; Great Expectations, Babes in Arms; Hartford Stage: A Christmas Carol; Kennedy Center: Broadway Today with Stephen Schwartz and The Making of Ragtime.  Drew toured North America as the Company Manager of Buyer & Cellar starring Michael Urie, Assistant Company Manager of Disney's Beauty & the Beast, and has served as Production Liason on The Light in the Piazza National Tour and Love, Loss, and What I Wore at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago.  In addition, Drew has worked at the Katherine Thomas School in Rockville, MD as Drama and Music Teacher to children with learning disabilities, and supported the office of Congressman Rob Andrews (NJ-1) as a Congressional Intern.  With his better half, Kristina Blau, Drew has seen over a thousand productions in Chicago, London, Washington DC, and New York.  Drew is the Founder of a nonprofit, the Chicago Film Archive of Performance (C-FAP - www.c-fap.org).


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LARRY TODD  COUSINEAU 

is a bookwriter and lyricist, whose most recent musical, 40 is the New 15 (with composer Cindy O'Connor), had a critically-acclaimed run at the NoHo Arts Center in Los Angeles, receiving Best New Musical award from Stagescene LA in 2010.  The developmental production of 40 is the New 15 received a 2010 GLAAD Media Award Nomination for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, and was chosen by Stephen Schwartz for the ASCAP/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop.Now and Then a Hero (with composer Jake Anthony) was part of the Missoula Colony Festival; and his musical drama, All That He Was (with composer Cindy O'Connor), at the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), earned Larry the Kennedy Center National Playwright's Award and the ACTF Musical Theater Award.  His historical-fiction musical, The Last Princess (with music by Allen Hong) was also featured in the Disney/ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop.  Larry is Assistant Artistic Director and lyric lab instructor for Midwest New Musicals.


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JUDITH  COXE 
is a member of Canadian Equity, and of ACTRA. She began performing with The Toronto Children Players. She was host of a television show for children for the CBC, and performed regularly for them in both radio and television drama. She did theater work at Hart House, University of Toronto, and was a repertory member of the Straw Hat Players and the Crest Theatre in Toronto. She taught first art history, then drawing and painting, in her 20 years as a Professor of Fine Art, and as a professional artist.
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JARRIN DAVIS 

Jarrin is a graduate of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln with a degree in Theater. Upon graduation, he was offered the position of Artistic Director at Omaha Center Stage where he worked for nine years. While there, his production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’ “ won first prize in the Toyama International Theater Festival, held in Toyama City, Japan, winning top honors from 66 other countries’ best performance entries. Davis was also named Best Director at this prestigious International Theater Festival. As playwright, his first play “Son of a Distant Moon” has received performances and very-loud accolades in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. During his two years in DC, he spent one as the Arts Reviewer for a Washington, DC weekly newspaper. Davis recently moved to Chicago where he continues writing, directing and loving Chicago local theater.


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GEORGE  DEMPSEY 
has been actively involved at the Theatre of Western Springs since 1972 as an actor, director, designer and Board of Governors member/Chairman. Prior to that he was a founding member of the Saigon Theatre and is a former member of the original board at Bailiwick Repertory. An avid Chicagoland theatregoer, George had been seeing an average of 65 productions per year before joining the Jeff Committee in 2005.
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RENEE CARGERMAN DOLEZAL 

Renee received her PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, won the Golden Apple Award for teaching, and is a producer, writer, and editor.  She taught English at NU, UIC, and Columbia College, and was the Placement Director for Student Teachers.   As an active champion of dramatic arts in city schools, Renee connected Steppenwolf, Stories on Stage, Court Theatre, CAN-TV, and NPR to her students and their personal narratives at Arts of Living, a Chicago School for pregnant teens.  She primarily works backstage but occasionally can be spotted as the shadow Extra on TV shows filmed in Chicago.  Besides Chicago Theatre, Renee is a life-long regular at the opera, especially the Lyric and MET, as well as European houses, and at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and the American Players Theatre in Wisconsin.

 

 


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GILLIAN DOWNEY 

 returning Jeff Committee member December 1, 2014


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REGINALD  EDMUND 

Edmund is the Managing Curating Producer of Black Lives, Black Words International Project and is a resident playwright of Chicago Dramatists. He was previously a Many Voices Fellow Playwright from 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Originally from Houston, Texas, he served Artistic Director for the Silver House Theatre. He received his B.F.A. in Theatre-Performance from Texas Southern University, and his M.F.A. in playwriting at Ohio University under the guidance of Charles Smith. His plays, all part of his nine-play series The City of the Bayou Collection, were developed at esteemed theaters including The Ensemble Theatre of Houston, Silver House Theatre, Penumbra Theatre Company, the Playwrights’ Center, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Moving Arts, Karamu House, Pangea World Theater, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the Texas State University Black and Latino Playwrights Conference


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DOREEN  FEITELBERG  
holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Witwatersrand University in South Africa, and qualifications in speech and drama teaching from the University of South Africa and Trinity College London. In Johannesburg she ran a large private studio and taught in both the drama and communication departments of the university. She has acted, directed and judged drama festivals and speech examinations. She holds the position of Life Vice President of the South African Guild of Speech and Drama Teachers, and was on the executive board of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa. Currently she is a private tutor in voice, acting and effective speaking skills and is involved in presentations of stories on stage. She is a faculty member of the Theatre School at Columbia College.
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DAINA GIESLER 

has a Masters degree in Theater from New York University and a BA in Choreography from Columbia College. She studied abroad with the Greenwich Theatre in England and recently was the Artistic Director and founder of Oswego Playhouse in the Fox Valley.  Currently, she is a guest director at Steele Beam Theatre.  Previously, while Artistic Director at Theatre Charlotte in North Carolina she taught theatre and directed at University of NC.  Previous directing positions include University of St Francis in Joliet, Triton College, Theatre of Western Springs, and as owner and director of Dainamite Studios,inc she brought theatre and dance to River Forest.  Having traveled around the world and seen theatre globally...Chicago is an amazing theatre city!

 


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JOHN D. GLOVER 

a native of Dayton, Ohio, has been an actor and director in Indiana and Ohio regional theaters for many years.  He served as the Director of the Purdue University Theater Company from 1988 to 1993, and in 1989, he had the honor of directing the grand opening of the Theater at the Center in Munster, Indiana.  In addition to the university setting, John has directed for several community theaters across Chicagoland and northwest Indiana.  A long time resident of Chicago, John is an avid fan and patron of Chicago theater.


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DERIC GOCHENAUER 
Coming from the east cost in 2008 to further his comedy career in Chicago, Deric has been proud to act, sing, dance, direct, critiqque, video edit, graphic design, and set build for dozens of this city's finest theatres.  Currently, Deric works as the House Manager as well as a tour guide for The Chicago Theatre located at State and Lake.
 

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ALVIN GOLDFARB 

served as President of Western Illinois University from 2002 until his retirement in 2011.  Dr. Goldfarb also spent 25 years at Illinois State University where he served as Provost and Academic Vice President, Dean of Fine Arts, Chair of Theatre, Managing Director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Professor of Theatre.  Dr. Goldfarb has coauthored two leading textbooks, with Edwin Wilson retired theatre critic of the Wall Street Journal, and coedited Theatrical Performance During the Holocaust.  He has published many articles and reviews and has received alumni awards from Hunter College, where he received his master's degree, and from the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he received his Ph.D.  Dr. Goldfarb has also served on the Illinois Arts Council.


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JOHN A. GOLDSTEIN  
is a partner with the St. Louis-based law firm of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., specializing in commercial real estate and lending law. He received his A.B. (magna cum laude) in Mathematics and Art History from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa; and he earned his J.D. from Northwestern University. John is a life master in bridge and in actively involved with District 13 of the American Contract Bridge League. As an impassioned traveler, he has visited all seven continents. John has served on several equity theater boards in the Chicago area and is an impassioned supporter of the arts. 
 

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JODY  GREENSPAN  
is a higher education consultant and a national and state political campaign consultant. She was formerly the Senior Assistant Dean at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She majored in theater and psychology at Smith College, Northampton, MA. She also holds a J.D. degree from Boston College Law School. Jody has studied theater administration and production at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and at the University in London, as well as entertainment law and theater management at Boston University School of Law. She also has worked summer stock at the Lake Region Playhouse in Guilford, NH, and at the Charles Playhouse in Boston, MA. Jody worked as a theater researcher and writer at Theatre Quarterly, a theatrical critical magazine published in London. She loves theater and is proud to be a member of the Jeff Awards Committee.
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SUSAN  HAIMES  

A past chair of the Jeff Committee, Susan has been involved in Chicago theater for about 40 years, has directed over 30 productions, and has produced more than that, mostly on the North Shore. She was a board member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in its beginning years. Formerly a drama teacher, Susan is the past president and co-founder of Highland Park Players. 


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ROBERT  HAUSER 

was born and raised in Chicago, attending St. Patrick’s High School and the University of Illinois with a degree in history.  He is an attorney specializing in civil and criminal litigation and he received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.  He and his wife have traveled all over the world.  Bob has been or is involved with many not for profit organizations, including NICASA, Lambs Farm, National Association for Down Syndrome, Center for Independent Futures and the Ted Fund. He also serves the University of Illinois as a member of the Illinois Foundation, the Chancellor’s Circle, the Friends of History Board and the Alumni Awards Committee. Actively involved in theatre, Bob has attended and supported various Chicago theatres over many years, and looks forward to serving with the prestigious group of Jeff Committee members.


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RICHARD  HESLER  
is a Professor Emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University, where he taught acting and served as Director of Theater. A graduate of the University of Iowa theatre program, he trained professionally at the Game Theatre with Viola Spolin and Paul Sills, co-founded The Unity, an acting company, was on the board of Pegasus, and was artistic director of the Barry Street Loft Theatre, an early off-Loop theatre. He has staged more than 100 plays for university and off-Loop theatre audiences and was formerly a member of Actors' Equity.
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DIANE  HIRES  
served as administrator, fine arts department chair, and choral director at Downers Grove High Schools during her 37-year career. She chaired the District 99 music department, honored as the Outstanding Total Music Department in Illinois by the IL Music Educators Association. In addition to conducting choirs and ensembles, Diane served as music director for many high school and community theatre musicals. She received the Harold Decker Award for outstanding contributions to choral music from the IL-American Choral Directors Association and was awarded the Mary E. Hoffman Award for outstanding teaching from IMEA. The State Board of Education and Downers Grove District 99 honored Diane with the "Those Who Excel" Award. Currently, Ms. Hires directs the 65-voice Chancel Choir at the First United Methodist Church in Downers Grove and serves as a guest director, clinician, and accompanist.

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MARTHA J. HUDAK 

Martha Hudak of MJ Hudak Consultants specializes in change management for technology implementations and marketing communications for Fortune 500 companies. Her theatre related experiences include general manager for Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and board member and benefit chair for Chicago Dramatists. As an avocation, she has studied playwriting, music, dance and acting and has been on-stage and back-stage in community theatre productions, gridiron shows and sang with choirs as an alto. She holds master and bachelor degrees in journalism and communications with a minor in speech broadcasting.  On the side, she likes doing voice over work.  


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MASAHIRO  KASAI 

was born and grew up in Japan, where he had occasional contact with both traditional Japanese and western arts.  He came to the United States at the age of 18 to pursue a university education, where exposure to a wide array of films, theater, music and the visual arts started to give a shape to his general curiosity about art.  Throughout his long career as a student, this interest continued. Many evenings were spent going to theater and musical performances, and much time was spent in museums. In addition, he took numerous university courses in theater, art history, film and music.  Upon completion of his doctorate twelve years ago, he settled in Chicago, where the passion for art has turned into a means for exploring humanity.  He spends most of his spare time in theaters, and by day he works as the director of the testing program at Northeastern University.  


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JULIE M. KOERNER 

started her theater life as a dancer in high school, then later on in college at Loyola University where she became a troupe member in Loyola’s brief lived Dance Theatre Workshop under the direction of Corey Nagel.  While Julie’s vocation is law, her avocation has always been theater and the arts, and she has been involved in multiple aspects of theater for over 20 years, including performing, producing, directing, and stagecraft in over 50 productions, both large and small, both in the suburbs and Chicago.  Julie is also a ‘lifelong’ student of music and the arts having taken classes at Old Town School of Folk Music, Act One, and Victory Gardens, and learning from all of the talented people that she has the good fortune to watch and work with on the boards.  

 


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DAVID LIESSE  
is a retired teacher and school administrator. His background in theater includes teaching at both the high school and college levels. He has also directed, produced, and acted. David is a former president of the Saints, Chicago's Volunteers for the Performing Arts; and as former chair of the Non-Equity Wing, has produced Jeff Non-Equity Awards shows.
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STEVE MALONE 

has performed in more than 85 productions over 40+ years throughout the Chicagoland Area. He founded Lake Forest Theatre in 2016, and was Managing Director of Citadel Theater (Equity) 2014-2015. He has served as a Board Member for Citadel and Big Noise (Winnetka) Theater (Non Equity) for seven years.  As a Commercial and Residential Real Estate Broker/Manager, Steve has negotiated many of the theatrical leases for touring companies as well as housing for their Artists.



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JEFFREY M. MARKS 
an active trial attorney, has continued as an actor, singer, dancer, musician and theatre technical director, despite his busy legal career. He also counsels and represents artists and theatres. He is a volunteer for Lawyers for the Creative Arts and other arts organizations, chairs a Fine Arts Commission, and produces and hosts a Cable TV Fine Arts series. Throughout the year he also performs with the Chicago Bar Association's political parody revues (The Bar Show/Christmas Spirits), appears in "industrials", and sings with the political comedy/jazz quartet The Acappellants. He is married to director Stevi Marks. Jeff is a past Equity Chair, and is currently Chair of Media and Marketing of the Jeff Awards Committee.
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ROBERTA  MORRIS 

Lifelong Chicagoland native Roberta Morris earned degrees in English Language and Literature from the University of Illlinois and the University of Chicago before teaching English, Speech, and Journalism in the Chicago Public schools, Chicago City Colleges and Loyola University.  Later she worked as editor of educational publications before shifting into the business world and a 25-year career as Marketing Director for several international packaging companies.  A devotee of theater since high school, Roberta has acted in, directed, produced, stage mothered, and provided an enthusiastic audience for the marvelous drama produced in our city. 


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ROBERT J. NYE 
a former Jeff Committee chairman, is an attorney, professor of law, and distance education director and consultant to the intellectual property law center at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Mr. Nye's involvement with the performing arts in Chicago has included counseling members of the arts community, guiding students interested in entertainment law and intellectual property law, acting in video projects of the American and Chicago Bar Associations, and performing in a number of Chicago Bar Association Christmas Spirits shows
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NICK OBIS 

has been In love with theatre since his mom took him to see The Wind in the Willows at Chicago Playworks when he was six. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English at the University of Dayton and reviewed books and theatre for Dayton City Paper and The Vincent Brothers Review.   His move to Chicago several years ago has set the stage for increased passion for theater, and he brings great enthusiasm to The Jeff Committee.

 


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ERROL PEARLMAN 
received his degree in Music from DePaul University. Pianist, singer, composer and director, he taught stage singing at Loyola University and the Goodman Theatre School of Drama, where he also wrote original scores for their Children's Theatre. He co-founded Center Stage Theatre Arts and the Chicagoland Theatrical Troupe, and produced and directed productions in and around Chicago. He has written musicals produced at the Theatre Building, Chicago Jewish Theatre, University of Wisconsin, National College of Education, Southwest Texas University, The Roxy, and the Hungry Eye Theatre in New York. The retired Fine Arts Department chairman, choral and theatre director of a Chicago High School, he is currently involved in vocal coaching, musical directing and composing a new musical.
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PAULETTE A. PETRETTI 
is a partner with the Chicago law firm of Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd., where she concentrates in labor and employment law and litigation. She has been a member of the Jeff Committee since 1992; she is currently the Vice Chair and previously served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer and Criteria Chair. Prior to law school, Petretti was a theatre teacher, actress and director in the Midwest and New York City and remains a member of Actor's Equity Association (AEA) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
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JOHN (JACK) GRANT- PHILLIPS  

has been a working professional actor and director for over thirty years. He earned an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama , where he was the John Schubert Memorial Scholar in Directing. He has directed over 400 stage plays, acted in over 200 roles onstage and over 75 roles in film, commercials and television. His work has been seen in most major theatre festivals in the world including Avigon, the Betif Festival in Belgrade, Tel Aviv, Edinburgh, the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival and the first New York City Festival of the Arts. As a director and producer, Jack has participated in developing over forty original works. He has been an educator and lecturer at Harvard University, Yale Drama School, American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, Gonzaga University and the Leslie University Graduate School of Education. Jack is included in both Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. He is currently Artistic Director of the Theatre of Western Springs and a Past President of the American Association of Community Theatre. He recently received the Art Cole Award from the American Association of Community Theatre for his lifetime contribution to community theatre.


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DEBORAH POOL 

An educational consultant and creative director, with experience in research and product development, Deborah brings her passion for theater to the Jeff Committee.


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MERRIL  PRAGER 
was born in New York, grew up in Evanston and has been a lifelong fan of theater. She has served on the Board of Trustees of Northlight Theatre since 2003. In her professional life, she has a consulting practice providing finance and accounting services to not-for-profit organizations. She also serves on the boards of North Suburban United Way and Acts of Kindness Cabaret, whose mission is promoting cabaret music while helping not-for-profit organizations raise money for their good causes and passing along random acts of kindness.
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JERRY  PROFFIT  
earned a master's degree in theater from Northwestern University, directed high school theater for 32 years, and is now the Administrator of the Fast Track Master's in Directing Program at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. He has been recognized by both state and national theater organizations for his contributions to educational theater and has served as adjudicator at regional and international festivals.
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PEMON RAMI 

has been involved in theatre, television, films, music concerts, documentaries and multimedia productions since the late 1960’s.   From 1968 through ‘70, Rami was Associate Director of the South Side Center for the Performing Arts; in ‘71 and '72, he was director of the Kuumba Workshop; and from ‘73 to ‘79, he was Artistic/Managing Director of the Lamont Zeno Theatre. Mr. Rami also served as Managing/Artistic Director for the Phoenix Black Theatre Troupe, and General Manager for Marla Gibbs Crossroads National Education and Entertainment Complex, Los Angeles.  The first African American film casting director in Chicago, he provided talent for classic feature films and television movies; and produced  “Of Boys and Men,” released by Warner Brothers, starring Angela Bassett and Robert Townsend. Recently he produced “93 Days” shot in Nigeria starring Danny Glover and Nigerian actress Bimbo Akintola.  Mr. Rami has been an award-winning producer and director of plays, films and documentary projects across the U.S. as well as in Haiti, Trinidad, Nigeria and Salvador da Bahia Brazil.  Among his awards: he served as a 2012/2013 Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar; was one of the Chicago Defender’s 50 Men of Excellence; and is in the Wendell Phillips High School Hall of Fame! Mr. Rami was a panel member of the "Table of Brotherhood Tour,” in preparation of the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.  He has received awards from the American Advertising Federation, International Television Association, the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP (for Best Theatre Director), Proclamation from the Los Angeles City Council, Key to the City of Detroit and the Life Time Achievement Award from the Chicago African American Arts Alliance.

 


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JOHN  RANDLE  
received a B.F.A. degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.A. in interdisciplinary arts from Columbia College. He has designed and built sets for Interplay, Healthworks, the Von Heideke Ballet Company and the NeoFuturists.
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THOMAS SAPP 

Originally from Ohio, Tom has lived in Chicago for twenty years and has been a fan of Chicago theater for just as long.  A World Languages teacher of French at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, he also is a lead mentor for the junior honors program which focuses on the Arts and Contemporary American and International Plays.  His undergraduate degree is from the University of Notre Dame, and he has master’s degrees from Yale University and Loyola University Chicago.  When not in Chicago, Tom is in New York City, London, and other parts of the world seeing all types of dramatic and musical performances from big and small companies.  He has participated in theater himself, but he prefers to experience theater from the seats as an audience member and theater enthusiast.

 


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CHRISTOPHER SCHROEDER 

is an award-winning researcher who has published books, book chapters, articles, reviews, and others, and he holds a PhD with distinction in rhetoric, linguistics, and U.S. American literatures. He is currently a Professor in the English Department and an affiliated faculty with the Global Studies Program at Northeastern Illinois University.

 


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STEPHEN P. SCHROEDER 

holds a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre Arts Minor) from California State University, Chico and a Masters of Arts (Performance Studies emphasis) from California State University, Northridge. As a Professor of Speech Communication and former Director of Forensics at College of DuPage, Steve has coached numerous national championship teams and award-winning readers theatres. Steve was also a faculty member with the Institute for Readers Theatre and Bristol Academy of Performing Arts. Steve is also an award-winning actor and director, working with both professional and community theaters across Chicagoland. Steve spent 13 seasons acting and directing at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, where he is perhaps best known for playing the Lord Mayor of Bristol.

 


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ALLEN  SCHWARTZ  
has been an enthusiast, supporter and fan of Chicago theatre since its rise in the early 1970s. A world traveler, he has also sampled theatre all over the globe. In addition, he is an Architectural Tour guide and believes that with its architectural and theatrical gems, Chicago is indeed a Wonderland.
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JAMES  SEVERNS  
returned to Chicago after retiring as chairperson of the theatre department at Truman State University in Missouri. Since returning home, he has continued teaching and working in theatre. A graduate of Purdue, Indiana, and Iowa, he also did graduate work at Bristol University, England. He has worked in educational and professional theatre as a director, designer, actor and writer in the United States and Britain. He is a member of Actors Equity and several academic theatre societies.
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MICHAEL SHAPIRO 

did his undergraduate work at the University of Rochester and graduate work at Columbia University.  For over 40 years, he taught Shakespeare, dramatic literature and other courses as a member of the English department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with time out for visiting positions at Cornell, Reading (England) and Donjin (Taiwan).  An active scholar in his field, he published two books, as well as numerous articles, reviews, and notes.  He was cofounder and artistic director of the Revels Players (an amateur troupe devoted to early English drama), cofounder and director of a program in Jewish studies, and an affiliate of the Theater Department,  He also did occasional theater reviews for the university radio station, directed plays at his synogogue, and served as dramaturg for a production of The Merchant of Venice (a play he continues to work on).  Since 2008,  when Michael and his wife moved to the South Loop,  he has been a full-time visiting professor at Loyola.  

 


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JAMES SHERMAN 

is the author of the plays Magic Time, The God of Isaac, Mr. 80%, The Escape Artist, Beau Jest, This Old Man Came Rolling Home, Jest A Second!, Romance in D, From Door to Door, The Old Man’s Friend, Affluenza!, Half and Half, Relatively Close, and Jacob and Jack.  In 2006, James wrote and directed the movie of his play, BEAU JEST, starring Lainie Kazan, Seymour Cassel, and Robyn Cohen.     James has an M.F.A. in Theatre from Brandeis University and an M.A in Library and Information Science from Dominican University. He was a founding member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.  Currently teaching playwriting and Improvisation at Columbia College of Chicago and DePaul University, he has taught Playwriting and Acting at The Second City Training Center, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, and Victory Gardens Theater.  He was a visiting professor for the spring ’01 semester in Seoul, South Korea at the Korean National University of the Arts.  He has led workshops in Improvisation at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA.  James has been the recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ragdale Foundation, The Byrdcliff Art Colony, and Yaddo. 


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TAMARA SIMS 

has been an avid theatre lover since the 4th grade when she played Lucy in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown."  She has been a strong ambassador for the Chicago Theatre Community and enjoys spending her free time at a matinee or a Pinter play.  Tamara and her husband Jay own the award winning companies Something 2 Dance 2 DJ Entertainment and Elegant Event Lighting in Schaumburg.  Her passion for theatre is only exceeded by the passion she has for her business and life partner, Jay.  Tamara is graduate of Loyola University.


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CAROL SOUTHARD 

has a Master’s degree in Nursing Administration and despite always wanting to be a stage actress, she instead became a nurse and for the past 28 years has been a pioneer in the field of tobacco cessation. Carol is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is a Tobacco Cessation Consultant for Chicago area hospitals. She has published articles, chapters for text books, and does get “on stage” by presenting workshops and seminars for health professionals as well as for community groups on tobacco cessation throughout the nation.  Carol won the 2012 American Lung Association and Koop Foundation Unsung Heroes in Tobacco Control award – the first nurse and the first woman to have ever received this award.  Carol is passionate about the theater and has been an avid aficionado virtually her entire life.

 


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ESTELLE SPECTOR 

By turns a performer, choreographer, director, producer, and teacher, Estelle has taught at Columbia College, the Theatre School at DePaul, Goodman School of Drama, Loyola University and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  She is the wife of retired Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist Fred Spector.  She currently is a member of the Lincoln Park Village.


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NATALIE  VAN STRAATEN 

studied dramatic literature while earning her B.A. in English at the University of Michigan and later studied theater criticism at Northwestern University. Her professional life has been as writer/editor/columnist focusing on arts subjects. She also has served as a juror/judge/curator for numerous art exhibits, and she has led panels as a moderator on various arts issues. Founding publisher of Chicago Gallery News (1982), Natalie also held a position concurrently as executive director of the Chicago Art Dealers Association (1987-2007).


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ALEXIS  WALLACE 

holds a BA in Speech and Drama Education from Oliver Nazarene and a Masters in Speech and Theatre Arts from Bradley University.  She is a retired high school educator, teacher and administrator.  She directed high school plays and musicals and was a coach for Individual Events serving on the SCOTIE Commission.  Alexis is an avid theatre attendee not only in Chicago but also around the country and for several years in Canada and England.  She continues to promote theater in schools and in underserved communities.  She also continues to take higher education classes in Literature and Theater. 


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NANCY  WOODRUFF  
holds a BA in Speech Education and an MA in Liberal Studies. Besides having the pleasure of enriching high school students in her Speech, English, and Theatre classes with her love of theatre, she was Technical Director at York High School in Elmhurst for over 50 productions. After serving on the board of the Illinois High School Theatre Festival for a number of years, she was honored to be the Festival Director in 2000. Besides serving on the Boards of suburban theatre companies, she has worked as a freelance technician for theatre companies throughout the Chicago area, including Marriott Lincolnshire and Light Opera Works. Her retirement in 2002 afforded the wonderful opportunity of joining the Jeff Committee
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PATRICIA J. WOZNY 

is a retired high school teacher and administrator in the areas of Speech, Theater and English.   Having received a Masters Degree in Theater from Illinois State University, she directed state award winning plays, group interpretations and musicals in south suburban high schools, as well as acted and directed in community theater.  She remains active in both speech and theater at Downers Grove South High School, and is honored to serve as the Chairperson for the Illinois High School State Drama and Group Interpretation Contest. Additionally, she volunteers as an interpreter for the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.  An enthusiastic Chicago play attendee, she also travels throughout the country to view professional and regional theater. 


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Emeritus Members

JOAN  KALOUSTIAN
 served two terms as Jeff Committee chair, and as chair of the Equity wing, she produced the 1993 Jeff Silver Anniversary gala as well as several other Jeff Awards ceremonies. She has served on the board of directors of Classic American Theatre and co-produced a number of its staged readings. Joan has a BA in liberal arts from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in Marketing from Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Management. When not in the theatre, she is Vice President and Senior Marketing Strategist for The Citigroup Private Bank.
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