Shakespeare in Delaware Park Staff

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.

Saul Elkin
Founder/Artistic Director

Dr. Saul Elkin is the Founder and Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Delaware Park which was established in 1976.He began his career as a child actor in New York City. In the years that have followed, he has acted in, or directed over 250 productions on and off Broadway, in films, in summer and regional theatres, and briefly on the soap opera “Edge of Night”. He holds a B.A. and an M.F.A. from Columbia and a Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University. He taught Theatre at the State University of NY at Buffalo beginning in l969 and served as Chair of the Department from l967-85, from l988-l99l, and was Interim Chair fall semester 2000. He was the first UB recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1995, his name was placed in the Western New York Theatre Hall of Fame. He was honored with the title of Distinguished Service Professor in 1996. In 1998, he was honored by the Arts Council as “Outstanding Individual Artist of the Year.” And this month he will be awarded the SPARK Life Time Achievement Award. He appears frequently as an actor in area theatres and is Co-Founder and Artistic Director for Jewish Repertory Theatre.

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 around the stage in Delaware Park, Norm couldn’t be happier to slide down the other side of the hill to join the SDP Staff. A proud member of AEA, Norm has a been a fixture on the buffalo Theatre scene for the past 38 years, serving the last 13 as Production/Stage Manager for The Kavinoky Theatre. Acting credits include: The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, Merry Wives…, As You Like It, 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 start 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. 

Gretchen has a passion for performance and education and she looks forward to bringing her knowledge and skills to the Buffalo community and beyond!

Teaching Artists

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.

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.