Who’s who on Riverfront Theatre Company Board

Editor’s note: The following bios were provided by the Riverfront Theatre Company.

The Board of Directors of the Riverfront Theatre Company

Mark Kann, President


Mark has been a resident of the Rockford area since 1983, having graduated in 1982 from the University of Wisconsin. For the past 21 years, he has enjoyed his career in the IT field as a database applications developer. Mark also has several years of experience in the community theatre field, serving 13 years with Pec Playhouse Theatre in Pecatonica, Ill. He has served there in many capacities from 1994 to the present, including several years as president, treasurer, and publicity and promotions director. His theatre production experience includes directing, production management, set design, and music direction, as well as acting in many productions for both Pec Playhouse and other area venues, including New American Theater.

Michael Stanton Kelly, Vice President


Born and raised in Rockford, Mike helped New American Theater build the building at 118 N. Main St. After several productions in the new space, Mike left to finish his education. He received an AA from Rock Valley College, where he studied theater and worked at Starlight Theatre. Mike received a BA in acting from Western Illinois University, and kept going. He then earned an MA in dramaturgy from Bowling Green State University, and an MFA in directing from Western Illinois University. Mike has concentrated professionally on stage management, and has been a member of Actors Equity Association since 1996.

Mike has worked in several capacities at NAT & elsewhere. He has built sets at NAT, Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Bowling Green State University, Starlight Theater, and Hononegah High School. He has stage managed at New American Theatre, The Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis, Portland Stage Company (Portland, Me.), The Public Theater (Lewiston, Me.), Penobscot Theater Company (Bangor, Me), and Mad Horse Theatre Company (Portland, Me.). Mike also has an expertise in stage combat, and has taught workshops for Highland College, The Illinois Children’s Theater Association, The Illinois High School Theater Association, and the Massachusetts Community Theater Association. He has also directed fights for Pec Playhouse, Boylan High School, Western Illinois University, New American Theater, and RVC’s Studio Theater. Mike has appeared as an actor/combatant in several shows, including The Legend of Daniel Boone, Coriolanus, The Grapes of Wrath, Romeo & Juliet, and Of Mice and Men, to name a few. Mike has appeared onstage in more than 100 productions, and has worked in other capacities on more than 200 others.

Alan Williams, Vice President


Alan was taught to sew when he was 5, but it wasn’t until he signed up for his first drama class in college that he realized what an impact it would have on his life. After graduation, Alan began his professional career as the assistant customer for the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, near Asheville, N.C. For the next seven seasons, he was the costume shop manager and resident costume designer for SART. During this time, Alan also worked as a resident costume designer for the theater department at Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, N.C. Alan received his graduate training in costume and scenic design at the University of Mississippi, and during the summer breaks, also worked as the assistant costume designer at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival In Boulder, Colo. His internship was at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater as the assistant costume designer for Henry IV, and upon graduation, Alan was invited back to CSF to design the show Queen Margaret. Alan moved to Rockford in August of 1999 to begin working at New American Theater, and in his 7 ½ seasons there, Alan designed 37 shows and collaborated on at least a dozen more. Between NAT shows, Alan designed several shows in Chicago at both the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre and Boxer Rebellion Ensemble Theater, and in Rockford for Ellis Academy’s production of Alice in Wonderland. Alan is excited to be part of the Riverfront Theatre Company as it returns quality professional theater to downtown Rockford.

Jayne Neagle, Treasurer

Jayne Neagle is the former vice president of Life is Now, where she developed the leading licensed sales and facilitation distributorship for Bob Proctor’s Life Success Productions while managing international sales and marketing campaigns. Previous to this, Jayne spent five years at Ameritech in Chicago and was the recipient of the Presidential Award for outstanding business service. A resident of Boone county, Jayne now enjoys raising a large family there. She has worked with many charitable organizations in various positions including camp director and program director for the Trailways Girl Scouts Council and is committed to making arts education programs easily accessible to all children.

Myrtie Davis

Born and raised in Rockford, Myrtie graduated from Rockford West High in 1980. During her junior high and high school days, she was involved with the early years of New American Theater’s Young American Theater troupe. During this time, she was involved with the move from the shared Charlotte’s Web space to the old Limestone space. After graduating from Culver-Stockton College with a BA in theater, English, and secondary education with a minor in music, Myrtie returned to Rockford and worked for New American Theater as properties master for the 1986-87 season. She was again involved with moving the theater from the Limestone space to the 119 N. Main space. Myrtie is employed with the State of Illinois for the Department of Human Services. She has always been involved with theater in some capacity for the past 35 years. Involvements include: Run Crew for New American Theater, Artist’s Ensemble, and Rockford Dance Company; stage manager for Legal Follies and Rockford Dance Company’s Nutcracker.

Kawika Kelly

Kawika graduated from Patricia Stevens Fashion College in San Diego, Ca. in 1982, and so far has more than two years of college majoring in graphic arts and dance. She started her theater career at New American Theater at the end of their 33rd season as a backstage crew member and started sewing costumes for New American Theater’s 34th season’s Alice and costume assistant for season 35’s Sherlock’s Last Case and Oliver. Kawika has also authored a column for Rockford’s The Paper publication on local bands and in 1991 created and published the California Rock Patrol Newsletter in San Diego and Los Angeles areas on local and up-and-coming bands. She was involved in the San Diego Lapidary Society for three years and in 1995 and 1996 worked for the popular Music Foundation Forum in Los Angeles, till their closing.

Richard Swanson

At age 58, Richard is a lifelong resident of Rockford. He is married to wife Anita, and they have four children, Ryan, Joel, Marissa and Angela. Three of them are involved in the Arts: Ryan, a professional jazz sax player; Joel, a fine artist usually in oils, and Marissa, a most recent Actor’s Equity addition currently living in Chicago. Richard has been a senior consultant with Rockford Consulting and Brokerage since 1986, and has been a licensed insurance producer in the state of Illinois since 1974. In addition to being theatre advocates and living vicariously through their children, Richard and Anita were involved with the Rockford Civic Theatre from the early ’70s until the theatre’s end in the ’80s. During this time, he did many things including building sets, selling ads, acting and a variety of other duties. Richard also served on the board of directors in several capacities, including president for the last six years of the theatre’s existence. He was also involved as an

actor in several productions in the early Starlight Theatre days at Rock Valley College.

Peter S. Zammuto

Peter has been associated with local theatre for the better part of 35 years. His theater staff positions include past president, business manager, and publicity manager for Rockford Civic Theatre. Peter has acted in productions for Rockford Civic Theatre, New American Theater, Rockford College, Rock Valley College, and Chuck Hoenes Productions at the Clock Tower Resort. Peter has directed some local shows for the Prairie State Legal Follies. He also wrote and directed musical revues for The Happening for the Holy Family Church. Most recently Peter wrote and directed a musical revue for Patriots Gateway Center. Peter feels his biggest theatrical accomplishment was Pete Zammuto Productions, a musical revue company that he produced, wrote, and directed, for a number of years.

Special Advisers

Bill Beard

With more than 50 years of theatrical experience, Bill is a highly valued adviser to this organization. Bill has been active in theatre on all levels, academic, community, professional and commercial most of his life. He was a professor of theatre for more than 25 years, primarily in the New England states and in Sussex, England. He developed full academic theatre major programs for three different colleges, taught theatre literature, history, stage and theatre management, but specialized in the teaching of acting and directing. He directed more than 150 productions here in the U.S. and abroad. Bill served on the national boards of the American Theatre Association for six years and on state and regional boards of arts organizations nationwide. He was an adjudicator for the American College Theatre Festival for some 12 years. His own shows were chosen for Regional Festivals of the ACTF five different years. Bill has personally trained such well-known performers as Geena Davis (TV & film), John Shea (film, TV & Broadway, and with whom he was featured in Rolling Stone magazine), and Carol Burnett (while a student at UCLA). He has spent 30 years as a theatre critic in New Hampshire, Maine, California, Wisconsin and Illinois and writes theatre reviews for several stateline newspapers.

Josh Burton

Josh has spent the better part of his life in professional theatre, having performed in on- and off-Broadway in New York, and across the country in one-man shows he developed and as a performer in a number of regional theatre companies. Originally from the Rockford area, Josh returned to perform in more than 18 productions at New American Theater, then founded his own theatre company, New Court Theatre, on the campus at Beloit College. Josh travels several times each year to Chicago for additional work in voice-overs and commercials. His television appearances include CBS’s Early Edition and the daytime dramas The Doctors and The Guiding Light in New York. Josh lives in Roscoe with his wife Virginia, daughter Ivy and black Lab Dharma.

Angie Kelly

Angie has spent the past 30 years as an accountant/controller in area businesses in transportation and construction industries. She is currently employed at Northern Illinois Terrazzo & Tile Co. Angie has a B.S.in accounting and business administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Having held officer positions on many boards in the area, we are pleased to have Angie as an adviser. Currently, she is the chairman of St. Peter Cathedral Pastoral Council and treasurer of the Rockford Deanery Council of Catholic Women. Angie has recently completed serving as treasurer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Northern Illinois.

from the May 30-June 5, 2007, issue

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