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
Sirius Coaching and Consulting Company
Jill was asked to join our Board of Directors to help expand marketing growth of the Festival. Her life-long involvement in the arts, combined with her business skills, and her non-profit board experience made her the perfect person to help guide the MSF. Her more than twenty-five years of board experience includes the Ann Arbor Art Center, Ars Musica, and Greenhills School. For twenty years Jill was the President and Creative Director of Blixt Associates, an award winning ad agency. She has been a teacher of creativity for the last seventeen years. (And yes, she is Mother to David and Mother-in-law to Janice.)
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.
Having the opportunity to interact with a number of the historians, journalists and other writers and editors of the books in these subjects was an invaluable privilege of the position of the book buyer.
Ann was a judge for multiple years in determining the finalists and winners of the Original Voices Book Award for Non-Fiction. She studied history and English literature at the University of Michigan and is a docent at its Kelsey Museum of Archaeology on the Ann Arbor campus. She serves as a program planner for the Michigan chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
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 writer, photographer, and teaching artist whose journalistic clients include Food & Wine, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and USA Today. Having trained in First Folio Shakespeare — with John Basil in New York, and Patrick Tucker in New York and London — 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.” That perception, and Seánan’s keenness to put it to work for the MSF, are tremendous assets to the Festival.
LARRY HALMAN, Vice-Chair / Secretary
Attorney At Law - Retired
Larry also serves on the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Board, is Executive Director of the
French American Student Exchange Program (F.A.S.E.P.) and a member of Recycling
Jackson Board. 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 / Principal
Jackson Lewis PC
Alexandra's practice includes both individual and corporate client matters in the automotive, technology and other industries, as well as internationally recognized universities and research institutions, with a particular focus on regulatory compliance and immigration policy. She is also currently an Adjunct Professor with the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law, teaching Immigration Law within the University's innovative "Law Firm Practice” curriculum. Alexandra is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (B.A.) and Columbia University School of Law (J.D.).
Alexandra lived in Jackson during high school and saw many wonderful performances at the Potter Center. Through the years, she has been an enthusiastic spectator, participant, and supporter of various organizations, including Troy’s community theater, Ridgedale Players, and Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. Alexandra feels that it is important to build relationships—with patrons, with donors, with other organizations that have the same mission. Theatres feel like home to their patrons, because patrons are invested in the future of the theatre, know they will see quality shows, and look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new ones. She hopes Michigan Shakespeare Festival can be that home to all of you!
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
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.