I’ve been at Krannert Center for more than 20 years and work as a ticket office supervisor. I also work as a freelance American Sign Language/English interpreter and teacher. I had been in Champaign-Urbana for only two years when I started working here. I grew up in Michigan but have lived on both coasts, in Seattle and New York City. I love to travel, bicycle, work in my garden, and make art-collage and photography. I have two wonderful sons.
Before coming to Krannert Center 21 years ago, I was in the Purchasing Division at the U of I. As an account technician, I approve iBuy purchases; reconcile P-Card charges; add and approve Travel and Expense Management records; handle requisitions and purchase orders; create complimentary ticket usage reports; handle audits for performances; recount funds in money bags; count money in the Ticket Office safe; handle key and uniform deposits; and take care of change orders for the Ticket Office and for purchase orders. I’ve been riding motorcycles and working on cars since 1973. Once cars started having computers in them, I stopped working on them. I also love animals.
I am beginning my 23rd year here at Krannert Center. From August 1990 through the end of the 2000 season, I held the dual position of Events and School of Music Opera Program technical director. Since August 2000 to the present, because of an increased workload of shows through Events, I have been in the sole role of Events technical director. I am a native of South Bend, Indiana, and earned an AA degree in theatre at Miami-Dade Community College North Campus in 1974 and a BFA in technical theatre from Florida State University in Tallahassee in 1979. I did two stints of summer stock on Jekyll Island, Georgia, as part of my FSU program. I was hired to work in Rochester, New York, at the Eastman School of Music in 1979 as a scenic carpenter for the Opera Department and later became a member of IATSE Local 25. I worked at several different venues in the Rochester area throughout the 1980s, including as assistant facility manager at the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua. I took the job as production and facility manager at the Smith Opera House in Geneva, New York, in 1987 and worked there until accepting the job here at Krannert Center.
Since June 2004, I have worked for the U of I, becoming part of the Krannert Center Marketing team in April 2007 as a graphic designer specializing in print, web, and video communication. I have also worked on campus as a graphic designer for University Housing and a staff technology training instructor for CITES. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, my husband and I made Champaign our home after meeting in a U of I drawing class. We have three feline roommates—Smokie, Golly, and Titan. I also do volunteer work for Catsnap (Champaign Area Trap Spay/Neuter and Adoption Program)—did I mention I love cats?
After 10 years as catering manager here at Krannert Center, I eagerly anticipate the challenges my new position as food and beverage director will bring. When I’m not at work or cooking for my family and friends, you might find me riding my Harley Davidson around Champaign County.
Terri is the assistant production manager at Krannert Center as well as the co-chair of the Stage Management Program for the Department of Theatre. Originally from New York City, Terri was the production manager and production stage manager for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet prior to joining Krannert Center in 2007. She has stage managed for the Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and Maryland Stage Company and has toured with Ralph Lemon, Urban Tap, and American Repertory Ballet, among others. Terri has served as an adjunct professor at NYU, teaching theatre organization and management at the Tisch School, and earned her MFA in stage management at the Yale School of Drama.
I spent the first five years of my Krannert life in the Ticket Office. I have been the marketing services coordinator for 14 years now. My husband, Rick, and I have been married for 20 years and have a 12-year-old son. I’ve spent 14 hours on a motorcycle just because, danced when there’s no music, and screamed at stock car races. But my favorite pastime these days is chauffeuring our son, Troy, to his various sporting events and being a cheerleader.
Anne C. de Velder is an assistant professor on the Design, Technology, and Management faculty and is the costume shop manager. She has designed and/or built costumes for leading dance companies including the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the Stuttgart Ballet, Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. She served as the master tailor for the Cleveland Ballet for four seasons and for many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. She has also worked on costumes for films including Splash, Big, The Great Gatsby, Wall Street, Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hannah and Her Sisters, and New York Stories. In addition, Anne was the founder of the original costume collection for the New York State Council on the Arts. She has taught tailoring and costume technology at many colleges and universities, including the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus Clown College. Needless to say, she’s never been bored.
I started working for Krannert Center in December 2007. I am an account technician in the Business Office. I grew up in Tuscola and now live in Gifford. I am married and have three beautiful daughters. I enjoy just hanging out and spending time with family and friends.
Adriane Binky Donley is the properties director at Krannert Center as well as the chair of the Properties Design and Management Program for the Department of Theatre. Originally from Florida, Binky was most recently an assistant professor at Ithaca College heading the areas of props and scenic art. She has also worked as a prop master at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival and the University of Virginia. As a prop artisan, she has had the privilege to work at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Seaside Music Theatre, and Virginia Shakespeare Festival, among other venues. She has a BA from the University of South Florida and an MFA from North Carolina School of the Arts. This is her fourth year as a member of the Krannert Center family.
Born and raised in France, Nicole Faurant moved to the United States some 20 years ago and received an MFA in costume design from the University of Georgia at Athens. In France, she designed costumes for children’s movies, musicals, and plays. In the United States, she designed costumes for venues in Georgia, North Carolina, and Illinois. She also designed textiles for a French company based in Georgia. Her textile designs have been featured in leading trade magazines. She is currently the costume rental manager at Krannert Center and a clinical assistant professor of costume design for the Department of Theatre at the U of I.
I have been at Krannert Center since 1998, when I was hired to run the kitchen at Intermezzo during the day. When I first started it was very slow during the school year, but it has grown to a very busy and fun place to work. My food service career started in 1977 by working at the Round Barn Restaurant and then Domino’s Pizza. I also spent more than 20 years in the Illinois Army National Guard as a combat medic and later as a cook. I’m married to Beth and we have two small and beautiful children, Gracie and Curtis.
Whitney Havice is the assistant ticket services director. Whitney is also actively involved in several local theatre organizations in the Champaign-Urbana community as a performer and choreographer.
As the facility manager for Building Operations, I manage the night-shift attendants, order supplies for the department and the building, handle payroll and attendants’ work schedules . . . and lots of other things. Before I started at Krannert Center more than nine years ago, I worked as a crane operator doing refinery construction and maintenance and even worked on a farm. My favorite leisure activity is going to late-model dirt track races. My wife and I love to camp at various racetracks. My favorite track, by far, is Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, which is owned by Tony Stewart. We camp for a week in June there every year.
I joined the Krannert Center team in the fall of 2009, when I was hired into my current position as the director of business and operations. My primary responsibilities include overseeing the finance, human resource, and building operations of Krannert Center as well as acting as our liaison to FAA IT. I earned my bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2004 and my master’s degree in human resources in 2012. My husband and I live in a small town about 20 minutes south of Urbana with our two amazing children, Courtney and Carson, who keep us busy hopping from one sporting event to another.
Lisa has spent 20+ years in the entertainment industry and 12 of those years at Krannert Center. Before coming here, she was a freelance lighting designer and technician working in many venues around the country.
While I was en route to Krannert Center, my degree in music led me to educational, management, and performance-based work for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, WFMT Fine Arts Radio, WILL-FM, and the Arts and Lecture Series of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The people I’ve met along the way have inspired me with their ideas, passion, creativity, and dedication. Amidst the challenges of selecting and scheduling a diverse season of artistry with Director Mike Ross, I enjoy working through the details of contract execution, developing collaborative partnerships and initiatives that contextualize performance experiences and bring them to a wide-ranging public, and advocating for the power and positive impact of the arts in our lives.
Tom hails from Minnesota and has completed degrees at Southern Methodist University and the University of Minnesota. He has been the technical director at Krannert Center and an assistant professor in the University of Illinois Department of Theatre since 1989 and currently chairs the Department of Theatre Scenic Technology Curriculum. Tom has worked for a variety of performing arts organizations, including Fort Worth Ballet, TW Designs (a commercial production company), and the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. Since beginning his academic career in 1984, he has taught lighting and technology at universities in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois. Currently he teaches graduate coursework in fluid power, motors and motor control, health and safety, and technical management. He has been a primary and secondary investigator on the research projects “Application of Industrial Motion Control Systems to Moving Theatrical Scenery” and “Application of Industrial Fluid Power Systems to Theatrical Scenery.” He is very active with the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), serving in numerous elected positions at the national and regional levels. Notably he served for three years as the commissioner for the Technical Production Commission and as the vice commissioner/exhibits project manager for the US entry for the 2007 Prague Quadrennial. He has presented numerous workshops and seminars at USITT national and regional conferences, Illinois Theatre Association conferences, and regional festivals of the American College Theatre Festival.
Elina Kotlyar is one of Krannert Center’s event coordinators and is part of a team that oversees the logistics and production elements of the Marquee season, School of Music concerts, and facility rental events. She is a UI alumna, holding an MFA in theatre (stage management). She is also a pediatric speech language pathologist. When not at Krannert Center, Elina volunteers at Crisis Nursery and stage manages the Champaign Urbana Ballet productions. Elina grew up in Kiev in the Ukraine (Soviet Union) and loves to travel and explore the world.
Emily Laugesen began her work with Krannert Center in 2009. As coordinator for the Youth Series, she participates in artist selection, curriculum materials development, and ticket order processing and loves the energy that children and young adults bring to Krannert Center on performance days. Emily is also an active member of the Krannert Center engagement team, which extends the reach of our touring artists and resident productions beyond the stage through master classes, workshops, lectures, seminars, and smaller-scale performances both within the University of Illinois and throughout the community. Born and raised in Indiana, Emily feels at home in the Illinois prairie but has also enjoyed living in St. Louis and New York as she completed degrees in comparative literature, Italian, and musicology/music theory.
Bridget Lee-Calfas has been at Krannert Center since 2006, when she relocated from sunny North Carolina to once again face the frozen (yet still beloved) plains of her native state. As the primary media correspondent for the Center, Bridget is thrilled to share the numerous performances, initiatives, and ongoing projects of the Center with our community through managing media relations, assisting with the marketing and patron relations efforts, and participating in the strong public engagement campaign that is central to Krannert Center’s mission. Prior positions include director of marketing and development for the Temple Theatre in Sanford, North Carolina; theatre manager for Harper College in Palatine, Illinois; and roles in marketing, programming, and event planning for the U of I, Yale University, and other nonprofit organizations.
Verda Beth Martell is the opera technical director/associate technical director for Krannert Center and an assistant professor of theatre at the U of I. Beth is an active member of USITT, for which she has presented a number of workshops, including the Physics of Theatre series with her research partner (and husband) Eric Martell. She currently serves as vice-commissioner for programming for the Technical Production Commission and sits on the board of the Midwest Section. Beth holds an MFA in theatre technology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has worked extensively at such theatres as Steppenwolf, Light Opera Works, and Victory Gardens in Chicago, as well as the Santa Fe Opera and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A.
Rebecca McBride is the senior associate director of Krannert Center and an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre at the U of I. Since earning her MBA and BS degrees from the U of I, she has been committed to applying her leadership, management, and strategic planning skills to the nonprofit arena. During her 20-year tenure at Krannert Center, Rebecca has been recognized for her leading role in developing groundbreaking public engagement and marketing initiatives, her sustainability advocacy, and her leadership in reimagining and developing the Center’s capacity to support new work.
I joined the staff in March 1992, and my primary responsibility is to support and promote the image and mission of Krannert Center and the College of Fine and Applied Arts through graphic design. My educational background is in ceramic sculpture and modern art history, and before coming here I co-owned a graphic design studio in Central Illinois. I played classical guitar for more than 15 years and used to live aboard a sailboat. At one time I had aspired to become a professional chef (vegetarian, of course!). Someday I hope to learn to tap dance.
Anni Poppen, Krannert Center graphic designer by day and . . . uh, secret agent for an undercover espionage ninja pirate book club by night? (Too much info?) I’ve been here since February 2008 and enjoy the constant feeling of being backstage for a big performance. My background in design started at Parkland College. Set free, I started my own business (won a couple of awards for company identity), merged it with SURFACE 51 (awesome marketing company in town), and decided to try something new . . . so here I am! When not designing, I like to keep busy with cooking or reading or spending time with loved ones—at least that’s what I’ll tell you so you don’t catch on to my top secret book club. Favorite words: “spelunking” and “ennui” (probably not in the same sentence). Favorite book: Italo Calvino’s Baron of the Trees. Current tunes: Tegan and Sarah. I don’t like coconut.
I got connected with Krannert Center through my grad assistant position as a stage manager while finishing my master’s degree in vocal performance. Prior to that, I was in Orange County, California, where I finished my second bachelor’s degree—this one was in music with an emphasis in vocal performance. My first bachelor’s degree, which was in business administration, I received from the Universidade São Francisco in Brazil, where I’m originally from. I usually say that I’m a fake Brazilian because I can’t dance, I love winter (hate summer), and I can’t play soccer!! But I love Brazil and I love F-1 racing (in Brazil, it’s like NASCAR is here), so I guess I’m Brazilian after all! My love for this job as events coordinator comes from the constant connection and interaction with artists from all over the world. That makes life much more interesting.
I grew up in nearby Hoopeston and received a degree in marketing from the University of Illinois in 2000. Growing up attending Krannert Center events, I developed a great respect for the work that the Center does for Champaign-Urbana and the international arts community. While working toward my MBA in arts administration from Illinois State, I worked as the producing director for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. I also currently teach acting, film, and theatre appreciation classes at Parkland Community College, and I volunteer as an actor, director, sound designer, and producer at many local theatres. I started working here as the ticket services director in 2008 and am proud to be part of the Krannert Center family.
Since joining Krannert Center in 2004, Karen has had the opportunity to work with artists Mikel Rouse, Bebe Miller, Ralph Lemon, Karole Armitage, Anne Bogart, and The Builders Association. Previously she served as the production stage manager at the Yale Repertory Theatre and was on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama, where she had the pleasure of working with directors Stan Wojewodski Jr., Bill Rauch, Daniel Fish, Liz Diamond, Mark Rucker, and Joseph Chaikin, among others. Prior to her work at Yale, Karen worked in Seattle as the production stage manager at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, where she collaborated with directors Dan Sullivan and Doug Hughes, as well as playwrights Neil Simon, Wendy Wasserstein, John Patrick Shanley, Tim Blake Nelson, and Jeffrey Hatcher. She also worked extensively with Seattle Opera, most notably on Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Andrea Chénier with Ben Heppner. Karen received her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and also serves as the director of LEVEL21 at Krannert Center.
I began my time at Krannert Center in 1987 as a student employee—and I’m still happily working! As the assistant director for marketing and patron services, I focus on staff management, the collaborative development and implementation of a variety of initiatives for audience growth, and oversight of advertising and graphic design. I hold not one but two degrees (and I’m at work on a third!) in euphonium performance from the U of I, and, among other things, I enjoy gardening and distracting my border collie with whatever means of bribery is at hand so that he stays out of my garden.
Mike Ross became the sixth director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in 1997. He came to the Center from the Miller Theatre at Columbia University in New York City, which under his direction was recognized by The New Yorker as “the city’s hottest hotbed of innovative programming.” Deeply committed to embracing the art of the past as well as the art of our time across disciplines, aesthetic sensibilities, and cultural legacies, Mike views the Center as a potent blending of classroom, laboratory, and public square. He is an active board member of numerous local, state, and national arts organizations, including the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the American Arts Alliance, and the Illinois Arts Alliance. He was also recently appointed to the Illinois Humanities Council Board of Directors and was made the chair of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Executive Board. He attributes his experience as a professional classical, jazz, and rock musician and his interest in the literary and visual arts and broader cultural history as major influences on the creative and collaborative nature of his work in arts administration.
Julie Rundell has been the assistant properties director at Krannert Center since 1990. She was the first student at the North Carolina School of the Arts—and possibly the first in the nation—to receive a degree in props. She’s worked in theatres in Michigan, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, as well as Illinois (both downstate and Chicago). She is an active member of her field’s professional organization, S*P*A*M (Society of Props Artisan Managers). Her favorite thing is hanging out with her son, Asher, and she also enjoys reading, cooking, and riding her bike. Every year she participates in a 274-mile/3-day fundraising bike ride to support HIV/AIDS services.
I came to the U of I in 1988 as a music student, and in 1995 I joined the Krannert Center staff, first in the Ticket Office and later in the computer office. In 2011, I became an IT coordinator in the new College of Fine and Applied Arts centralized IT department.
I work as the engagement director at Krannert Center and am often focused on cultural, community, and youth engagement. My role is to extend the impact of Krannert Center specifically and the role of the arts more broadly. To accomplish this, I manage and participate in a number of projects and activities with schools, local organizations, and other university departments. I have local, national, and international interests and serve primarily as a connector and point of access to both Krannert Center and the College of Fine and Applied Arts. I am most concerned and committed to engagement projects that unite diverse audiences, address significant and meaningful issues, and accomplish substantive change. I am currently involved in a poverty eradication sister city project with Urbana and Zomba, Malawi; an African studies via arts and technology program with a local elementary school; a rural bridge-building project in China; and several local community and economic development initiatives. I believe that the arts have enormous transformative potential and that those energies, like chi, can be gathered, cultivated, and directed toward important human accomplishments.
I’ve been in the Business Office at Krannert Center for 17 years. I was born in Semarang, Indonesia, and have lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Dayton, Ohio; Kent, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Cambridge, England; Berkeley, California; and, of course, Champaign-Urbana. I have two children, three step-children, and grandchildren and step-grandchildren who range in age from 20 months to 18 years. I'm looking forward to retirement to enjoy spending time with our grandchildren, reading, people watching, and traveling (especially anywhere in the tropics—I desperately need the sunshine!!).
Michael Williams, lighting director, has been here for the last 16 years. Michael has been the primary lighting designer for Dance at Illinois’ annual Festival Dance concert since coming to Krannert Center. Before coming here, he served as the master electrician at Cornell University’s Theatre Arts Complex, where he taught lighting design and designed the lighting for many of the university’s drama and dance department productions. Prior to being at Cornell, Michael was the master electrician for the St. Louis Black Repertory Company for its opening season in the Grandel Theatre. While with that company, he designed the lighting for The Meeting. Michael holds an MFA in lighting design from the U of I and a BM and an MM in vocal performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
As the outreach director, I work with an amazing group of individuals, our volunteers! Our Krannert Center Community Volunteers usher daytime and evening performances as well as staff special events throughout the season! As an advisor for the Krannert Center Student Association, I have the pleasure of working with one of the oldest registered student organizations on campus that was established in 1969 to unite the Center, campus, and community by celebrating the power of the arts. In addition, I coordinate special presentations about Krannert Center events to a variety of community groups and campus organizations through information fairs, expos, and promotion of our groups sales program.
Nick Zazal is Krannert Center’s event director and is responsible for overseeing the logistics and production elements of the Marquee season, School of Music concerts and recitals, and facility rental events. He is a two-time UI alum, having a BFA in theatre (stage management) and an MS in recreation, sports, and tourism (sports management). Other gigs have included time with the Wildwood Festival (Little Rock), the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (Boulder), and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven). Nick also serves on the planning committee for the Illinois Marathon and on the board of directors of the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a member of the International Association of Assembly Managers and lives in Urbana with his wife, Sallie, and their cats.