Meet Our Team

Board of Directors


President – Rosa Alina Pizzi, Phillips Lytle LLP
Vice President – Emily Pinti, Charter School for Applied Technologies
Secretary – Alexandria N. Rowen, Hodgson Russ LLP
Treasurer – Mary Young, Lumsden McCormick


Kristin M. Anderson, Beechwood Continuing Care
Bobbie Chase, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios
Andalyn Courtney, Crowley Webb
Ryan Erwin, Accessium Group
Peter Heffley
William K. Kennedy, Esq., Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC
Robert Maefs, Argyle Technology
Denise Mlynarick, M&T Bank


Saul Elkin

*non-voting member

Artistic Panel

Our Artistic Panel is a group of volunteer artists, audience members and community leaders charged with the task of selecting productions for our annual festival season. Members meet each spring to review play submissions from directors across the region, selecting two finalists for the main stage production the following year. Visit our Play Submission page for more information on the selection process and RFP.


Monish Bhattacharyya
Chris Casto
Thembi Duncan
Rebecca Elkin
Kyle LoConti
Patrick Tharp
Kristin Tripp-Kelley
Michael Tritto, Jr.


Lisa Ludwig
Executive Director

Lisa Ludwig is the Executive Director of Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) where she has been a key player with the organization since 2006. Under her leadership, the theatre company has increased its fundraising capabilities and expanded its educational mission.

In addition to her work with SDP, Ludwig helped provide leadership for Curtain Up! the annual celebration of theater in WNY for 13 years, as chair, co-chair and publicity chair. She served as President of the Theatre District Association in Buffalo, secretary of the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo, a board member for the Erie County Arts & Cultural Advisory Board as well as serving on the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Red-C panel.

As an actress, Ludwig lived and worked in NYC and toured nationally for several years before returning to WNY in 1990. As a director she has worked both locally and at the Highlands playhouse in North Carolina. Since her return, she has appeared on virtually every professional stage in Buffalo and has also worked as a director and producer. She has been recognized with multiple Artvoice Artie awards for the excellence of her work, and co-hosted the event for over 15 years, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for AIDS related charities in Erie County. Ludwig’s accomplishments also include time as a morning radio show host for Q102 and guest hosts on various television shows.  

Dedicated to helping young people realize their potential through the arts, Ludwig recently retired after 26 years as drama club director/advisor at Iroquois High School in Elma but is entering her 20th year as Operetta Director at Amherst High School, both in Erie County. She has also served as an educator for the Arts Education Institute and directed at several other area high schools and Universities.

Sean Crawford
Director of Development & Operations

A native of Buffalo, NY, Sean first joined Shakespeare in Delaware Park in July 2019. Prior to his appointment, he served as the childhood education chair, as well as, the marketing coordinator of Community Music School of Buffalo, where he is remains on faculty as a woodwind instructor. An avid proponent of building sustainable and accessible arts programs, Sean has served on the Board of Locust Street Art, a free visual arts school located in the historic Fruit Belt Neighborhood since 2017. In 2021, he served as a panelist for Art Services, Inc.’s NYSCA SCR Community Arts Grant and A.R.T/NY’s Creative Opportunity Fund.

Sean holds bachelor’s degrees in music education (certified K-12) and Clarinet Performance and is currently enrolled in SUNY at Buffalo’s MBA program. Additional accreditations include the National Association of Certified Mediators, BoardSource Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consultants and Cornell University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Building a Diverse Workforce Certification. In 2022, Sean was awarded a fellowship through Cullen Foundation of Buffalo, NY.

Norman Sham
Production and Outreach Associate

After many years of cavorting on the stage in Delaware Park, Norm has slid down the other side, splinter free, and is happy to be a part of the SDP staff. A proud member of AEA, Norm has been a fixture on the Buffalo theatre scene for the past 38 years. Before joining SDP, Norm was Production/Stage Manager/Actor for over 13 seasons and 79 productions for the Kavinoky Theatre, under Artistic Director and Founder David Lamb. Acting credits include: As You Like It, The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, Merry Wives…, Much Ado…, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (SDP), Zooma Zooma, Urinetown, A New Brain, The Spitfire Grill, Rocky Horror, Sweeney Todd…, Dancing in the Dark, (MusicalFare!), Brooklyn Boy (Jewish Rep), Don’t Touch That Dial (Milwaukee Rep). The Producers, August: Osage County, 12 Angry Men, A Funny Thing…, Man of LaMancha, Cuckoo’s Nest, Guys & Dolls (Kavinoky). Norm has won the Artvoice Theatre Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for the years 1996 (Man of LaMancha) and 1999 (Guys & Dolls). He also won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play in 2002 as Marty for the BET. In real life Norm is happily married to his favorite scene partner, on or off the stage, the beautiful and talented Debbie Pappas.

Gretchen Didio
Office & Education Manager

A new resident of Buffalo, NY, Gretchen is joining the Shakespeare in Delaware Park staff as Office & Education Manager. After performing on the hill a few times, she is excited to be working behind the scenes in this position. She is an alumnus of SUNY Fredonia with a BFA in Musical Theatre where she graduated summa cum laude. Since then, she has been living all over the northeast performing and teaching theatre and dance. Most recently she worked at The Performing Arts Connection in Sudbury, MA as a Theatre and Dance Instructor, Director, and Choreographer.  She also worked as a Teaching Artist for the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, NY and at Exploration Summer Inc. at Yale University. Since being hired at SDP, Gretchen has participated in Arts for Learning’s Master Teaching Artist Training Program. Gretchen has a passion for performance and education and she looks forward to bringing her knowledge and skills to the Buffalo community and beyond! When she’s not in the SDP office, you can find her performing on stage or spending time with her husband, Brendan, and their playful pup Ophelia.

Teaching Artists

Brendan Didio

Brendan Didio is currently an MFA Acting candidate at D’Youville University in partnership with The Kavinoky Theatre. In Buffalo, he has had the opportunity to play onstage and off with several companies including Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Irish Classical Theatre Co., and The Kavinoky Theatre. Brendan has studied and trained with professionals from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London as well as The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He also spent a year in Boston where he studied, worked, and played with Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Lanes Coven Theatre, and the Gamm Theatre. When he’s not in a classroom or a theater, Brendan can be found eating pizza, playing with his dog, or spending time with his wonderful wife.

Rebecca Elkin

Rebecca Elkin recently returned to her hometown of Buffalo after 15 years in New York City. She is a New York State Licensed Creative Arts therapist with a masters degree in Drama Therapy from NYU and a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University. While obtaining her BFA, Rebecca studied abroad in London and trained at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. She has incorporated Shakespeare and theatre into her teaching and therapeutic interventions with children and families in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, with teenagers in the Brooklyn public school system, abroad in India with teachers and students, with young people identifying as LGBTQIA+, as a guest teaching artist with local theatre summer camps, with justice-involved and incarcerated persons, and with people with developmental disabilities and on the Autism spectrum, among others. Currently Rebecca works in private practice as a therapist. She has also had the great joy of performing as an actor with Shakespeare in Delaware Park for 11 productions as well as with other local theatres. As someone who was personally shaped by Shakespeare in Delaware Park as a young person (really, since birth), she is excited to have the opportunity to bring the transformative power of Shakespeare and the special magic of this festival to a new generation of Buffalo’s young people. Rebecca is also thrilled at the potential to share the healing and self revelatory potential of Shakespeare and drama therapy with a wide range of local populations.

Sue McCormack

Sue McCormack is a teacher and an actress. She teaches 9th and 10th grade English at Cheektowaga Central High School. She is also a Teaching Artist with SDP, Theatre of Youth, and Second Generation. Sue has an MFA in Acting from the New School for Drama in New York City and a BA in Theater from Buffalo State. She’s performed most recently in The Bard is in Our Yard with Shakespeare in Delaware Park and Oregon Trail at Alleyway Theatre. 

Gabriella McKinley

Gabriella Jean McKinley graduated with honors from Buffalo State College as the President’s Medal for Outstanding Student recipient and commencement speaker. Gabriella received her B.A in Theater, minor in Legal Studies, and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Theater. Throughout her undergraduate career, Gabriella studied story-based kinesthetic learning with application in local Buffalo schools. Gabriella has been featured in shows locally at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, the Kavinoky Theater, MusicalFare Theater, and Torn Space Theater. She’s previously worked with The Broadway League as a Programming Assistant and as a Company Management intern with “HAMILTON: The Angelica Tour.” Gabriella has a passion for working with underserved populations, including previously incarcerated persons, and hopes to develop Shakespeare-based programming in service of these groups.

Alyssa Strang

Alyssa Strang, a Buffalo native and self professed theater kid, is so excited to be joining SPD.  After obtaining her undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education with a minor in Theater at SUNY Geneseo, she moved to New York City with her husband. Alyssa had the honor of being a founding faculty member at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School where she taught middle school remedial reading and social studies as well as piloting the drama program. While in NYC, Alyssa earned her masters degree in Literacy from Columbia’s Teachers College. She moved back to Buffalo in 2014 where she has spent most of her time raising her 2 kids, Jonah and Eve.  Alyssa is thrilled to be combining her two passions in life, theater and teaching, to enrich the arts education across schools in Western New York.

Phoebe Wright

Phoebe Wright was and raised in Fairfield, CT.  She is an actor, teaching artist and freelance writer who spent the last six years living and working in NYC and now calls Buffalo home with her husband and Australian Shepherd. She was last seen in Shakespeare in Delaware Park’s touring production of  ‘The Bard’s in Your Yard!’ Other credits: The Siegel (Jordan, The Lightbulb Project ), Hairspray! (Tracy, Whitney Players), CyranA (Cyrana de Bergerac, Niagara University Theatre), Into the Woods (Little Red, Niagara University Theatre), A Commedia Christmas Carol (Mrs. Cratchit, Niagara University Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Julia, Theatre Under the Stars), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena/Bottom, Theatre Under the Stars), Much Ado About Nothing (Leonata, White Plains Performing Arts Center), Taming of the Shrew (Widow, u/s Tranio, Connecticut Free Shakespeare) Marty’d Signs: A Titus Andronicus Adaptation (Lucius Andronicus, Hudson Shakespeare Company), It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Lana Sherwood, The Producer’s Club). BFA, Niagara University.

Rachel Lasda Zeller

Rachel Lasda Zeller has devoted over 40 years of her life to theatre arts with endeavors that include performance, stage management, direction, teaching, and learning. Most recently, she has directed and produced musicals at St. Andrew’s Country Day School, including Shrek the Musical, Jr., Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr., Aladdin, Jr., and other one-act adaptations of classical plays.  She also teaches STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts & mathematics) to preschool and elementary students at St. Andrew’s. Prior to her teaching career, Rachel served as stage manager for many award-winning productions with the Subversive Theatre Collective, ALT Theatre and the New Phoenix theatre as well as with Mission: Improvable Buffalo.  Rachel received her B.A. in Theatre from the University at Buffalo. In addition to being a Drama Nerd, she loves karaoke, tiny crochet projects, and spending time with her husband, two daughters, her dog, her cat and her bearded dragon.