We'd love to introduce you to our Board of Directors- a group of passionate leaders who volunteer their time, talent, and treasure to the growth and oversite of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival.
The MSF is always looking for candidates to be a part of our Board and other specialized committees.
If you are interested in being a part of our Board or volunteering your expertise for a specialty committee, please contact our office at GM@michiganshakespearefestival.com to set up a meeting with our Board Overseer, Jill Blixt.
MSF BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JILL BLIXT, Chair
Creative Director, Blixt Associates - Retired
Years on Board: 6
Jill is a creativity teacher with decades of experience in marketing, advertising and nonprofit leadership. For twenty years Jill was the President and Creative Director of Blixt Associates, an award-winning ad agency. Her life-long involvement in the arts, combined with her business skills, her marketing expertise, and her non-profit board experience make her an asset to MSF. Her more than twenty-five years of board experience includes the Ann Arbor Art Center and Greenhills School. She has been a teacher of creativity for the last twenty years. .
(And yes, she is Mother to David and Mother-in-law to Janice.)
Secretary, Book Buyer, Borders, Retired
Years on Board: 3
Ann Cassidy spent her career as a book buyer for two major retail book chains founded in Michigan: The Little Professor Book Co. and Borders Group, Inc. For the majority of her tenure at Borders she specialized in the subject areas of history and classical and medieval studies, and was responsible for purchasing, merchandising and marketing the selection of books stocked and promoted at the stores. Ann has attended performances of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival for two decades and has found volunteering for the MSF to be such a rich and rewarding experience that she encourages the active participation of other enthusiastic patrons and lovers of theatre.
Coordinator of Sales and Promotions with 106.9 HOME.fm
Tom has over 22 years of broadcast/marketing experience and has been actively involved in both regional and local community theaters. In his current position as Coordinator of Sales and Promotions with 106.9 HOME.fm, Tom works will regional business and organizations to help create effective marketing strategies.
Tom grew up in Monroe, MI where he gained a love of theater through local stage productions. After graduating Spring Arbor University, Tom continued to be actively participating in theatre productions, as well as serving on several community theatre boards throughout Michigan.
Tom looks forward to being a part of the future and direction of MSF and the commitment to inspire and entertain diverse audiences with high quality classical productions.
Freelance Journalist, Photographer, and Teaching Artist
Years on Board: 1
Seánan brings a unique perspective and blend of experiences to the Festival. Seánan’s goal is to enhance the MSF’s social media presence, and to raise its profile through press, academic, and theatrical outreach. As a gender-fluid, dyslexic, dyspraxic person on the autism spectrum, Seánan brings an element of diversity to the board. Seánan writes, “My wiring means I perceive things differently: the world, stories, bridges, and connections.”
Executive Director of PARC-Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex
Years on Board: 0.5
Gail Grieger has been the Executive Director of PARC-Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex since 2016. PARC is a non-profit cultural destination located in a 1917 historic former school, and home to over 30 arts, education and recreation organizations. She a licensed attorney by the State Bar of Michigan since 1992, with experience in non-profit legal services, civil rights litigation, municipal law, and business law. A twenty-five-year resident of Plymouth, Gail has strong ties to the community, including 3 years serving on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra, co-owning and managing a non-profit fitness business from 2013-2019, and volunteering as a Girl Scout Leader and parent volunteer in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools for over ten years.
LARRY HALMAN, Vice-Chair / Secretary
Attorney At Law - Retired
Years on Board: 5
Larry also serves on the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Board, and is a Board Member of the Girls Scouts Heart of Michigan. He is also a member of the Jackson Symphony Endowment Committee. The Board benefits from his hands-on involvement in frequent projects, as well and his historical perspective of the Festival and the Jackson community.
ALEXANDRA LACOMBE, Treasurer
Attorney / Partner of the Detroit Office of Jackson Lewis
Years on Board: 5
Alexandra is Partner of the Detroit office of Jackson Lewis, a leading labor and employment law firm. She is also currently an Adjunct Professor with the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. Alexandra is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University School of Law. Alexandra has been an enthusiastic spectator, participant, and supporter of various theatre organizations, including Troy’s Ridgedale Players, and Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. Alexandra feels that it is important to build relationships—with patrons, with donors, and with other organizations that have the same mission.
English Professor, Pennsylvania State University, Retired
Years on Board: 3
Dr. Peggy Russo is a retired, assistant professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto. She is co-editor (with Paul Finkelman) of Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown (Ohio U. Press, 2005) and has published articles in such journals as Shakespeare Bulletin, The Southern Literary Journal, Journal of American Culture, Shakespeare and the Classroom, and Selected Papers of the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference.
Her experience in academic and community theater includes acting, producing and directing; her experience in professional theater includes seven years as a dramaturge and six years as a member of the board of directors of Totem Pole Playhouse, a professional, summer, repertory theater in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania.
DR. SUSAN SHELANGOSKIE
Professor and Chair of English at Lourdes University
Years on Board: 1
Susan teaches a variety of writing and literature courses; Shakespeare and Studies in Drama are particular favorites. Dr. Shelangoskie's scholarly work focuses on Victorian literature, technology, and culture, and her articles on the social conversations and fiction about the telegraph and photography has appeared in outlets such as the Journal of Victorian Culture, LIT (Literature Interpretation Theory), and Nineteenth Century Contexts.
Her chapter "'Nerves of the Empire': Submarine Telegraph Travel Narratives as Imperial Adventures" has been published in the collection Britain and the Narration of Travel (Ashgate, 2016), and her article "Rethinking Propriety in the Age of Instantaneous Photography: E.W. Hornung's Camera Fiend" will appear in a forthcoming issue of Victorian Literature and Culture.
Dr. Shelangoskie has been a longtime fan and supporter of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, and she hopes to use her interest and expertise to promote this valuable community resource.