New Season, Familiar Faces, Vol. I

It’s a new year, friends.

Ten new shows ready and waiting for us to jump in and get our hands dirty. It’s a great lineup, full of deformed fish people (Tempest), death by nursery rhyme (And Then There Were None), your retro iPod playlist (Respect), dancing gorillas (Cabaret)…and a ballet (Carousel). At this point in the process, I know about as much as you do about what these shows will look and sound like. One thing’s for sure, we have a solid bench of stage directors lined up who will put their mark on what we will see on opening night. Most of them are familiar names that you associate with many of our most successful productions, and some are new. Here is the team:

Jim Brigman, who earned a name for himself with the festival as a comic actor, returns to once again helm our free Shakepeare, The Tempest, after a successful directorial debut in 2010 with Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Lauran Stanis, who, along with Jim, was a member of the first season’s cast in 2004  and was both director and choreographer for last season’s Annie Get Your Gun, returns to us to work the same magic on RESPECT: The Musical Journey of Women.

Jimmy Calitri, who directed last year’s Songs For a New World, will turn his talents on bringing Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps to our stage.

Brad Raimondo, an MFA Directing candidate at The New School University, will make his debut with the festival directing Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (Ten Little Indians).

Laura Brigham, one of the festival’s most prolific actors and directors, will be directing Lend Me a Tenor, which played a short run in early 2005, and, after many requests from patrons, returns as a summer mainstage.

Tim Seib, the creative force behind our productions of The Wizard of OZ, A Doll’s House, Lucky Stiff and last season’s Proof, will bring his prodigious talents to the final blockbuster of the season, Cabaret.


And finally, I will once again indulge my love and admiration for the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein by taking on Carousel.

As I hinted at in the title for this post, there will be additional installments as our acting company comes into clearer focus. My plan is to keep you all abreast of the latest interesting news here at the festival so that you are well-informed by the time we reach curtain for Respect. Be sure to forward the link to the Festival 56 Blog on to anyone you know who follows the festival, and be sure to subscribe!

Also, be sure to check out our new website,, for more information about the upcoming season, including show dates and special events. We are excited to announce that the site will be offering online ticket sales by the time the box office opens at the end of April. Let us know what you think by commenting on our facebook page!

Glad to have you back for Season Nine! Mystery, Magic and Murder!


About festival56drama

Dexter Brigham is the Artistic Director of Festival 56, Illinois' largest summer theatre festival, located in Princeton, IL. Founded in 2004 by arts supporters in the community working with a group of theatre artists from New York City, Festival 56 now offers 10 mainstage productions each season in three venues. Our programming ranges from free outdoor Shakespeare in the park and productions like Ibsen's A Doll's House, Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie or Moises Kauffman's The Laramie Project to world premier productions of new musicals like Absolutely Anything (a musical adaptation of The Rivals) and familiar classics from Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein and many others. Visit for information about the current season!
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