Meet Our Team

Board of Directors

Officers

President – Rosa Alina Pizzi, Phillips Lytle LLP
Vice President – Andalyn Courtney, Crowley Webb
Secretary – Alexandria N. Rowen, Hodgson Russ LLP
Treasurer – Mary Young, Lumsden McCormick

Directors

Kristin M. Anderson, Beechwood Continuing Care
Bobbie Chase
Leah Daniel, African American Cultural Center
Ryan Erwin, Accessium Group
Gail Evans
Jess French, Habitat for Humanity
Peter Heffley
Katie Howe, Moog Inc.
William K. Kennedy, Esq., Rupp Pfalzgraf LLC
Robert Maefs, Argyle Technology
Denise Mlynarick, M&T Bank

Founder*

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.

Panelists

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

Staff

Lisa Ludwig
Executive Director

Lisa Ludwig has served as the dedicated Executive Director of Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) since 2006, contributing significantly to the organization. Her visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in enhancing the theatre company’s fundraising capabilities and advancing its educational mission.

In addition to her role at SDP, Ludwig has been actively involved in Curtain Up!, the annual celebration of theater in Western New York, for over 14 years. Currently, she serves as the co-chair of the Theatre District Association in Buffalo (and has held the position of past President). Ludwig has also extended her influence as a past board member of the County Executive transition team, the Erie County Arts & Cultural Advisory Board, and as a participant in the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Red-C panel. In 2022, she was honored with the Woman of Influence Award from Business First.

With a background as an actor and director, Ludwig honed her craft in New York City and embarked on national tours before returning to Western New York in 1990. In recent years, she has showcased her talents locally and at the Highlands Playhouse in North Carolina. Ludwig has graced virtually every professional stage in Buffalo, leaving her mark as a director and producer, earning multiple Artvoice Artie awards. For many years, she co-hosted this event that contributed substantially to fundraising for AIDS-related charities in Erie County. Ludwig’s achievements also include a stint as a morning radio show host for Q102 (The Rob and Lisa Show), along with guest appearances on various television and radio shows. In 2020, Lisa starred in the award-winning locally produced film MOTHER’S DAY.

Committed to empowering young individuals through the arts, Ludwig has served as the Drama director/advisor at many high schools, including Iroquois and Sacred Heart Academy. Currently in her 23rd year as the Operetta Director at Amherst High School, she has made significant contributions as an educator for the Arts Education Institute and as a director at several local universities.

In 2021, she fulfilled a lifelong dream by obtaining a Cosmetology degree, and in her spare time, she happily coifs hair for the residents at Canterbury Woods. Above all, Lisa treasures her roles as a mother to Cydney and Griffin and as a devoted “dog mom” to Miss Judy GARLAND and Mr. Mickey ROONEY.

Brendan Didio
Business Development Manager

Brendan Didio hails from Central New York, but for several years now, Buffalo has been his home.  He is currently finishing his MFA at D’Youville University in partnership with The Kavinoky Theatre.  He also serves as an adjunct instructor at The University at Buffalo.  After graduating with his BFA in Theater Performance from Niagara University, Brendan joined the SDP team as a Community Outreach and Administrative Associate.  He then served as SDP’s Education Coordinator until moving to Boston where he apprenticed with Commonwealth Shakespeare Co. and worked with Lanes Coven Theatre and the Gamm Theatre.  Brendan is thrilled to now be joining the SDP team as the new Business Development Manager.  In Buffalo, Brendan has had the opportunity to play onstage and off with several companies including SDP, Irish Classical Theatre Co., Theatre of Youth, MusicalFare, 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.  When he’s not in the theater, the classroom, or working behind the scenes, Brendan can be found eating pizza, playing with his dog, or spending time with his wonderful wife.

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
Education & Office Manager

Gretchen is an actress and educator originally from Kingston, NY. She got her first professional acting job as a Witch in Macbeth with SDP in 2017 which is also the summer she met her now husband, Brendan! In addition to Macbeth, Gretchen has been seen on the Hill in Love’s Labour’s Lost (Lady Maria) & Measure for Measure (Isabella). Other favorite acting credits include Legally Blonde (Elle Woods) & Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Cynthia Weil) with MusicalFare, Romance/Romance (Barb) with O’Connell & Co., Rent (Alexi Darling) & Romeo and Juliet (Balthasar/Sampson) with Redhouse, and The Taming of the Shrew (Katherine) with Sh!t Faced Shakespeare in Boston.

Gretchen earned her BFA in Musical Theatre at Fredonia State University 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 & Wellesley College. After years of exploring other cities, she is happy to have landed back in Buffalo and with SDP. Since being hired full time as the Education & Office Manager, Gretchen has participated in Arts for Learning’s Master Teaching Artist Training Program and is a 2024-25 Cullen Fellowship Award recipient. 

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 on stage, reading a book, or spending time with her wonderful husband 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., Theatre of Youth, MusicalFare, 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.

Katie Osborn

Katie Osborn is a Buffalo born, classically trained actor and theatre educator who specializes in
Shakespeare. After graduating with a BFA in Theatre Performance from University at Buffalo, Katie
pursued acting in NYC and worked as an actor and teaching artist with Hudson Shakespeare and South
Brooklyn Shakespeare companies. In 2017, Katie was awarded with a Lincoln Center Scholars Theatre
Education Fellowship and while obtaining Masters in K-12 Theatre Education at Hunter College, taught
in Title 1 schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan. While teaching, Katie applied her Masters research which
focused on developing curriculum that utilizes Shakespeare to enhance students’ literacy and cultivate
empathy. In addition to teaching K-12 students theatre, Katie also served as an Auxiliary Program
Manager at the Berkeley Carroll Lower School, and has taught virtual and in-person workshops for
college students and adults. Katie is thrilled to be working with Shakespeare in Delaware Park and bring
her passion for Shakespeare and theatre education to the communities of WNY.

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.