Artistic Associates

Festival 56 is excited to announce a new, key group of artists who will be known as Artistic Associates. A Festival 56 Artistic Associate is a theatre artist who has an appreciation of the past, an enthusiasm for the present, and a dedication to the future of Festival 56. With this unique perspective, Artistic Associates will be a go to sounding board for the Artistic Directors in general decision making, season planning, fundraising initiatives, marketing, operations, hiring, long range planning, and more. This group is composed of artists from both sides of the footlights, and is a healthy blend of Festival 56 favorites as well as new faces who will bring a fresh perspective to this dynamic team.

Madison Kauffman

Madison Kauffman is over the moon to be back at her home away from home, THE FESTIVAL! Madison started her professional career at Festival 56 in 2014 and could not stay away. She was a company member from 2014-2019 and had the opportunity to perform in: Guys & Dolls (Adelaide), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania / Hyppolyta),The Addams Family (Morticia), Into the Woods (Jack’s Mom), The Drowsy Chaperone, Violet, Gypsy, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Oliver, & The Fantasticks..(just to name a few). She is a Chicago actress who has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Fiddler on the Roof), The Paramount Theatre (The Little Mermaid & The Secret of My Success) Windy City Playhouse (Southern Gothic), Chicago Shakespeare Theater (A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream), Kokandy Productions (Heathers the Musical). NYC & Regional Credits: A Taste of Things to Come (Broadway in Chicago), Rumors, & Mamma Mia (Ozark Actors Theatre), Numbers Nerds (NYMF), & Grease (Casa Manana). A BFA Musical Theatre and Digital Media Marketing graduate (Millikin University) and is proudly represented by Gray Talent Group. She is so excited to be an artistic associate with Festival 56 and can not wait to help continue bringing amazing artists and live theatre to the Princeton Community. Thank you for supporting live theatre and Festival 56!

Ali Strelchun

Ali Strelchun is celebrating her second season back at Festival 56 and she couldn’t be more excited for her return to Princeton. Most recently, Ali has been designing shows from her home in Kansas City, where she has been working as the Visual Designer for The Personal Marketing Company. After graduating with a BFA in Scene Design from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in 2019, Ali has moved cross-country three times and counting while working in scene shops and on freelance projects across the United States. Recent credits include Pippin and 9 to 5 at Providence College, Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story at Maples Repertory Theatre, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Couer at Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, and Love’s Labor’s Lost: The Musical at The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. She thanks her family, friends, fiancé Andrew (and their kittens) for their support in her pursuit of new opportunities and return to the stage.

Anna Grywalski

Grywalski is a costume designer and creator.  After receiving her MFA in Costume Design from UCLA, Anna met and befriended Jimmy Calitri and Tim Seib while designing at Festival 56.  This connection would lead to several future collaborations together! Anna spent several years designing costumes around the country before taking a teaching position at Casper College in Wyoming. She then went on to serve as Costume Director and Resident Designer at the University of Southern Maine, while also maintaining a healthy freelance career. She recently moved back to Ohio and is currently the Costume Shop Supervisor and Instructor of Costume Technology at Otterbein University.  Highlights of Anna’s designs include Twelfth Night, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Unlock’d at USM, Million Dollar Quartet (with Tim Seib) at Heritage Theatre Festival, The Last Five Years, The Niceties, and Refuge/Malja at Portland Stage, The Lord of the Flies and Something Rotten (with Jimmy Calitri) at Providence College, Fly Me to the Moon at The Public Theatre, and coordinating Kinky Boots at Maine State Music Theatre.  Next up is Bright Star at Otterbein University. Anna’s goal moving forward as an educator is to ensure an inclusive, constructive, body-positive costume shop where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome to learn.

Bonnie Griffin

Bonnie Griffin is a Rhode Island native who has lived the past 10 years in Kansas City, MO. In addition to acting professionally in theater nationally, she is a costume designer, written for the stage, sharpened her comedy skills by taking sketch writing classes with Second City, performed burlesque at The Folly Theater and is generally the go-to girl if there’s a creative emergency. Bonnie lives with her husband, Eric, their three cats and also a family of racoons who have lived in their chimney for five years.

Jenna Tremblay

Reilly graduated from Rhode Island College in 2006 with her B.A. in Musical Theatre. She received her M.A. from Lesley University for Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy in May 2020. She is in the Alternative Track program to acquire her Registered Drama Therapist designation. Currently, she is a Mental Health Clinician in CCS for Child & Family Services. Jenna works at Barrington Christian Academy as the Chair of the Performing Arts Department, a K-12 full-time teacher, and director/choreographer of middle and high school plays, musicals, and showcases. She also enjoys house managing for Rhode Island College and being a performer/producer at Ten31 Productions. She served as the General Manager of the White Heron Student Company at White Heron Theatre in Nantucket, MA, from 2020 – 2022. She performed and produced Polar Express for the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council in R.I She serves as a director and choreographer at Arts Alive! in Barrington, RI, and choreographer at Pilgrim High school in Warwick, RI for eight seasons. In 2007, she resided in Connecticut for eight years, working at Long Wharf Theatre in production, company management, development, and operations.

Angela Gonsalves

As a child, Angela Gonsalves was introduced to the performing arts by a traveling children’s theatre.  From creative arts programs and workshops for various Schools, Clubs, Churches and Community Centers. She was last seen at Lake Wales Theater as Darla & The Nurse in The Tin Woman. Other roles include (Gloria) in  Boeing Boeing at Lakeland Theater; (Rose) in The 60’s  Project – Directed by Richard Maltby Jr. at Goodspeed;  (Belle) in Beauty and the Beast at Wheelock Family Theatre; (Maria) in The Sound of Music at Wheelock  Family Theatre; (Grace Farrell) in Annie, at Trinity Rep;  (Narrator) in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor  Dreamcoat at Theatre By The Sea; (Aida) in Aida at  Ogunquit Playhouse; (Ronette) in Little Shop of Horrors at Theatre by The Sea; (Mayzie LaBird) in Seussical at  Wheelock Family Theatre; (Fan/The Narrator) in Trinity  Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol; (Woman #1) in  Foothill’s production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now  Change; (Sister Mary Hubert) in Nunsense at Providence Performing Arts Center. Angela and her loving husband are proud parents of five blessed adult children. Her peaceful, empty nest is currently located in lovely Lakeland Florida.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is thrilled to be reinstated as an Artistic Associate with Festival 56. Sarah spent four glorious summers as part of the festival company from 2011-2014. “I believe Festival to be a truly special place, both in regard to its artistic pursuits as well as in the community that surrounds and supports its efforts. The Festival became a place where I could take chances as an artist and Princeton became a second home, for which I am forever grateful.” Since her time at the Festival Sarah spent three years on the Broadway National Tour of Mamma Mia! as Rosie, followed by two years with the Broadway National Tour of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA, as Madame. She went on to Play Betty in Trailer Park the Musical in Colorado then returned to New York City where she took on the role of Emma Goldman in Ragtime. After many delays due to the pandemic she made her Theatre Raleigh debut as Helen in Fun Home directed by festival favorite Tim Seib. In 2022 she was honored to be a part of TheatreNow’s Festival of Five Minute Musicals by New Composers performed in NYC. She was cast as Madame in a musical called RISE written by her colleague and dear friend Gabrielle Mirabella and Ernie Bird. During the summer of 2022 she was reunited again with three festival favorites when she played Donna in Mamma Mia! Alongside Madison Kauffman as Rosie, directed by Jennifer Hopkins and then played Chris Gorman in RUMORS, directed by Tim Seib. She closed out 2022 at the New Bedford Festival Theatre as Martha “the Megaphone” Watson in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, directed/choreographed by the brilliant Patrick O’Neill. “I am so happy to be a part of, what I know will be, an exciting future for the Festival and I look forward to reuniting with the Princeton community!

Jim Brigman

Jim Brigman was a company member for the inaugural season of Festival 56 kicking off the season as everyones favorite cross-dressing mechanical, Francis Flute, in A Midsummer Nights Dream. He continued on to perform for many summers to follow with favorite roles including Mercutio (Romeo & Juliet), Amos Hart(Chicago), Ali Hakim (Oklahoma!), Prince Dauntless (Once Upon A Mattress), Malvolio (The Twelfth Night), Earnest Worthing (The Importance of Being Earnest), John Smith (Run For Your Wife), his personal favorite, Miss Gultch/The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz) which he Co-Costumed Designed as well. His directing credits with Festival 56 include Loves Labour’s Lost, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, & The Fantasticks. His directing credits in NYC include solo cabarets starring Megan Kane (with guest artists: Diana DeGarmo, Nick Cartell, Jessica Vosk & Krysta Rodriguez) at 54Below & Byron StCyr at Don’t Tell Mamas. During the height of the pandemic, Jim teamed up with NY1 On-Stage Producer & friend, Frank DiLella, to create & serve as Producer-Creative Director for BROADWAY @ BRESLIN, a 4-night concert series featuring Broadway stars singing from the 2nd floor window of the vacatant & iconic Ace Hotel NYC (home of The Breslin Bar & Restaurant) to perform for an outdoor seated audience (literally) sitting on Broadway. The series featured Betsy Wolfe, Tony Award nominee Max VonEssen, Alysha Umphress & Tony Award winner Matt Doyle (whose B@B performance was featured on CNBC).  B@B Fun Fact #1: the lighting was designed by fellow 56er, Tim Seib.  B@B Fun Fact #2: we tied a rope around the performers waist & tied it to the safe in the hotel room so they wouldn’t fall out the window. The things we do for our art. Jim currently resides in West Harlem, NYC with his partner, Daniel, his two dogs, Joey & Duke.

Jennifer Hopkins

Jennifer J. Hopkins A native Nebraskan, Jennifer grew up in the national competitive dance world and later received her BFA in Musical Theatre from the Webster Conservatory of Performing Arts in St. Louis. After the conservatory Jennifer moved to New York where she was an assistant to legendary master of jazz dance, Frank Hatchett. She was a guest instructor at Broadway Dance Center as well as a performer with both the Nina Winthrop Dancers and Genesis Dance Company. She later danced with Handcart Dance Company for two years. In addition to her dance pursuits Jennifer performed in many off–broadway productions as well as New York Fringe before touring with Chamber Theatre Productions. Wanting to reground and cement her skills as an actor (not to mention her love of Shakespeare) Jennifer was accepted to and received her MFA with The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University. While at ACA, Jennifer qualified as an Advanced Actor Combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). She achieved recommended status in Knife, Unarmed, and Quaterstaff; also passing certification for Rapier/Dagger, Sword and Buckler, and Broadsword. Now making her home in DC, Jennifer has been seen in WSC Avant
Bard’s production of Sam Shepard’s Tooth of Crime, as the Woman in Blue, in Longacre Lea’s production of Goldfish Thinking, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Richard III. Helen Hayes Recommended © productions include Maria, with Taffety Punk in Twelfth Night, the lead role of Marion Froude in Biography for American Century Theatre, Constellation Theatre’s Love of the Nightingale, and Aaron Posner’s Romeo and Juliet at the Folger. Whether its performing as a back-up dancer to MC Hammer, teaching Henry V on the beaches of Normandy for The Berridge Conservatory, visiting as a guest professor to Webster Conservatory, or choreographing and directing at Festival 56; Jennifer commits her full spirit to every project. Dedication, a strong work ethic, absolute passion for the arts, and secret pools of energy are what make her an undeniable force.

Marc Bitler

Identifying as a Creative Professional; Marc has found work in professional theater across the country, arts education, and non-profit arts development & fundraising. His education and training is rooted in classical theatre and musical theatre from DeSales University (BA), The British American Drama Academy (Certificate), and Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory (MFA). His various training has enabled him to transfer skills from theater to the corporate world in teaching public speaking, as well as private coaching and advising actors of all ages. Marc is committed to the power of the arts to educate our society in empathy and compassion to create a better world. Currently, Marc is a development coordinator with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, helping provide quality music education to over 10,000 students across Chicagoland.

Molly Garrison

Molly Garrison is a Chicago based stage manager and lighting designer. Having worked two summers with Festival 56, Molly considers it her creative home away from home. In 2018 she worked as the stage Manager for A Year with Frog and Toad and Momologues and an ASM for Addams Family. This past summer she worked as the lighting deisgner for Million Dollar Quartet and Significant Other. She has a BA in theatre from Truman State Univeristy and can’t wait for what the next 20 years of Festival brings. She thanks her family, friends, and wife for the support of her dream of doing theatre for a living.

Frank Monier

Frank Monier is a Bureau County native now based in NYC. He has a longstanding history at Festival 56 as an actor (A Year with Frog and Toad, Peter and the Starcatcher, Mary Poppins), the Box Office Manager, and the Co-Artistic Director in the 2022 summer season. Frank currently works as the Producing Assistant under Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman working on Broadway shows such as Ain’t Too Proud and The Who’s TOMMY. He is thankful for all the support from everyone back in Walnut, Princeton, and Festival 56!

Daniel James Canaday

Daniel James Canaday, a multifaceted artist and storyteller, has been in a polyamorous relationship with the stage for over thirty years. A child of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era, he learned to hone the craft of pretend at an early age – focusing his interests on writing, acting, directing, and design. Growing up in this archaic time came with the benefit of funding for the arts in public schools, which he took full advantage of; a proud graduate of Sacramento High School’s long forgotten Visual and Performing Arts Center. In pursuit of a career in print journalism, he moved to southern California where he fumbled his way through college and into a life upon the wicked stage – making his professional debut originating the role of Aaron in 24 Hours at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood. He has subsequently performed in nearly every state in the country, partaking in a wide variety of unconventional performance art along the way; from strutting the runways of southeast asia, to singing arias down Venetian canals, to tap dancing on the Polar Express, to opening at the Bollywood Awards, to narrating an award winning audiobook, to soloing at the White House. He made his Off-Broadway debut in Sgouros & Bell’s Phantom of the Opera, as the standby for both the Phantom and Raoul, foreshadowing years of waiting in the wings to go on at a moment’s notice – including Julian Marsh in the Broadway National Tour of 42nd Street, and Henry Higgins in the National Tour of Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of My Fair Lady. In 2011, he was honored with a New York Innovative Theatre Award nomination for his performance as Ebenezor Scrooge in the Off-Broadway production of A Christmas Carol, a show he returned to the following year in Darren Lee Cole’s adaptation at Teatro Jaco in Costa Rica, this time as Jacob Marley. As a writer, his growing canon can be seen on stage and screen, including Texas Shakespeare Festival’s recent production of The Hog Princess and the online sketch series Goat Scream Sonata. Mr. Canaday first performed on the Festival stage in the fall of 2011 as Mitch in Tuesdays With Morrie and the Professor in All the Great Books: Abridged. He returned the following summer in The Tempest (Sebastian), Carousel (Billy), Lend Me a Tenor (Saunders), and Cabaret (the Emcee). He is proud to serve as an Artistic Associate and an advocate for the arts in the Princeton community. His furniture resides in Manhattan.


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Festival 56
316 S. Main Street
Princeton, Illinois 61356