History | Mission Statement | Executive Board | Directions

Since its founding in 2005, Purple Crayon Players has proudly mounted nine successful seasons and tours, with our tenth on the way. In this short time, we have established ourselves as both an integral member of the theater community on Northwestern’s campus and a quality service organization in the Evanston area. In our first year as a new group on campus with a unique mission we collaborated with the classics student theater group, Lovers & Madmen, to produce Aurand Harris's Robin Goodfellow, an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This production had a weekend of performances on campus, and toured to five schools. Since then we have built our season to include fall, winter, and spring main stage productions, a spring tour reaching hundreds of students throughout the Chicagoland community, and several additional special projects produced throughout the year. Purple Crayon Players is thrilled about how much we have grown in these nine years, and we are constantly trying to think of even more ways to bring quality theatre to young audiences.

Previous executive boards

Executive Director: Juanita Anderson
Artistic Director: Alison Mahoney
Production Manager: Lucy Ahlborn
Business Manager: Drew Guerra
Outreach Coordinator: Katherine Scott
Literary Manager: Lisa Wiznitzer
Marketing Director: Emily Wills
Education Directors: Khari Shelton, Nikki Rosengren, Izzy Garcia
Special Events: Nick Raef, Daphna Weinstock
Tour Managers: Rachel Leshin, Sally Lindel
Technical Director: Alex Goodman
Freshman Board Representatives: Delaney Burlingame, Allie Hagen

Executive Director: Jordan Johnson
Artistic Director: Ellen Abram
Production Manager: Melanie Gertzman
Business Manager: Lisa Wiznitzer
Outreach Coordinator: Katherine Scott
Literary Manager: Lucy Ahlborn
Marketing Director: Anna Marr
Education Directors: Amelia Hefferon, Alison Mahoney, Khari Shelton
Special Events: Ryan Duncan, Galya Loeb
Tour Managers: Juanita Andersen, Izzy Garcia
Technical Director: Alex Goodman
Freshmen Board Representatives: Drew Guerra, Nick Raef

Executive Director - Scott Schimizu
Artistic Director – Dana O'Brien
Production Manager – Louis Schermerhorn
Outreach Coordinator – Abby Schwarz
Business Manager – Melanie Gertzman
Marketing Director – Jordan Johnson
Literary Manager – Ellen Abram
Education Directors – Robyn Char, Alli Finn, Amelia Hefferon
Special Events Coordinators – Alex Young, Anna Marr
Tour Managers – Elizabeth Dauterman, Ryan Duncan
Technical Director – Alison Mahoney
Freshman Board Representatives – Katherine Scott, Lucy Ahlborn

Artistic Director – Jacob Watson
Production Manager – Jordan Puckett
Development Director – Ellen Abram
Outreach Coordinator – Mary Hungerford
Business Manager – Scott Shimizu
Marketing Director – Louis Schermerhorn
Literary Manager – Abby Zan Schwarz
Education Directors – Robyn Char, Alli Finn, Dana O'Brien
Special Events Coordinators – Alyssa Vera Ramos, Alex Young
Tour Managers – Amelia Hefferon, Jordan Johnson
Technical Director – Melanie Gertzman
Freshman Board Representatives – Brennan Suen, Nick Day

Artistic Director – Kelby Siddons
Production Manager – Jacob Watson
Business Manager – Jordan Puckett
Technical Director – Mary Hungerford
Marketing/PR – Allison Finn
Education Team – Annie Munch, Dana O'Brien, Elise Walter
Tour Managers – Robyn Char, Alex Young
Development/Outreach – Abby Schwarz
Special Events – Alyssa Vera Ramos, Scott Shimizu
Freshman Board Representatives – Ellen Abram, Louis Schermerhorn

Artistic Directors – Madeline Scheffler and Bryce Norbitz
Production Manager – Anna Perczak
Business Manager – Brynne Mancuso
Communications Director – Christine Ritchey
Tour Directors – Jacob Watson and Jordan Puckett
Publicity Chair – Kelby Siddons
Special Events Chairs – Lindsey Dorcus and Kristen Cragwall
Educational Committee – Elise Walter, James Butler, and Rachel Alba
Technical Director – Dan Wilson
Freshman Board Representatives – Scott Shimizu and Abby Zan Schwarz

Artistic Director – Adil Mansoor
Production Manager – Bryce Norbitz
Treasurer – Laila Alj
Communications Director – Kelsey Mesa
Tour Directors – Brynne Mancuso and Christine Ritchey
Publicity Chair – James Butler
Special Events Chairs – Lindsey Dorcus and Kelby Siddons
Educational Committee – Madeline Scheffler and Elise Walter
Fundraising Chair – Anna Perczak
Technical Director – Kae Nosbich
Freshman Board Representatives – Steve McQuown and Trevor Boehm

2006-2007 Artistic Director – Ross Knorr
Production Manager – Adil Mansoor
Treasurer – Laila Alj
Secretary – Katie McGroarty
Tour Director – Kelsey Mesa
Publicity Chairs – Lindsey Dorcus and Bryce Norbitz
Special Events and Fundraising Coordinators – Melissa Zimmerman and Anna Perczak
Educational Directors – Erik Kaiko and Madeline Sheffler
Outreach Coordinators – Brynne Mancuso and Christine Ritchey
Freshman Board Representative – Kelby Siddons

Artistic Director – Ross Knorr
Production Manager – Adil Mansoor
Treasurer – Laila Alj
Educational Director – Erik Kaiko
Outreach Coordinator – Melissa Zimmerman

Past seasons

- This is Not a Pipe Dream by Barry Kornhauser--Fall Mainstage
- Mother Hicks by Susan Zeder--Winter Mainstage / Spring Tour
- Theatre Stands With Autism Spring Special Project
-PLAYground:4th Annual Festival of Fresh Works -Spring Project
     - Smartest Girl in the World by Miriam Gonzales
     - Girls Who Wear Glasses by Anne Negri
     - Pablo and Pedro by Dr. Brian Warren

- The Wrestling Season by Laurie Brooks– Fall Mainstage
- Le Ballon Rouge adapted by Jeff Glass, Trina McGee– Winter Project
- Doors by Suzan Zeder– Winter Mainstage / Spring Tour
- Luna by Ramon Esquivel– Spring Project
- PLAYground: 3rd Annual Festival of Fresh Works - Spring Project
     - Of Mice & Manhattan by Barry Kornhauser
     - Selective Cartoons by Emma Caywood
     - With Two Wings by Anne Negri

- Holes by Louis Sachar– Fall musical
- The Phantom Tollbooth adapted by Susan Nanus – Winter mainstage and spring tour
- PLAYground: 2nd Annual Festival of Fresh Works - Spring project
     - Nasty/Nocturnal by Ramon Esquivel
     - The Creator by Jessica Puller
     - Tales Between the Threads by D.W. Gregory
- Calvin & Hobbes - Spring project, adapted from the comic strip by Bill Watterson, by Alex Tey and Jake Polluck.

- Honk! by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles – Fall musical
- The Pinballs by Aurand Harris – Winter mainstage and spring tour
- PLAYground: 1st Annual Festival of Fresh Works - Spring project
     - There's an Eyeball in my Soup by Ric Averill
     - Jesse & Grace by Sandra Fenichel Asher
     - Time Pieces by Drew Chappell
- Shelebration! - Spring project, devised by Bryce Norbitz & ensemble

- Still Life with Iris by Steven Dietz – Fall mainstage
- Salt & Pepper by José Cruz Gonzalez– Winter mainstage and spring tour
- Finding Home – Spring special project, devised by Stephanie Kent & middle school students

- Ezigbo: The Spirit Child by Max Bush – Fall mainstage
- The Velveteen Rabbit adapted by Scott Davidson – Winter mainstage and spring tour

- Robin Goodfellow by Aurand Harris– Winter mainstage and spring tour


Alumni updates

Katie Adams (Fall Mainstage Producer 2008) has a job stage managing for Steep Theatre Company in August-October 2010.

Brandon Cloyd (Fall Mainstage Director 2007) is a member of Barrel of Monkeys, which teaches Chicago-area youth in creative drama workshops then adapts their stories for performance. You can catch Brandon in BOM's show "That's Weird, Grandma!" Monday nights at the Neofuturarium. See barrelofmonkeys.org for details.

Kristen Cragwell (Special Events 2008-2009) is a first grade teacher in the Las Vegas Valley through Teach for America. She uses theatre and creative drama in the classroom almost every day to engage kids and get them excited about learning. 

Lindsey Dorcus (Publicity 2006-2007, Special Events 2007-2009) is living in Chicago and working as an actor, aerialist, and teaching artist.  She teaches circus arts with the Skokie Park District and Acrofabulous Circus and she has performed with The Building Stage, Strawdog Theatre, Theatre Zarko, and Redmoon. Purple Crayon Players was one of her favorite things about Northwestern, and she is constantly amazed by the high quality work they continue to do!  

Erik Kaiko (Educational Director 2005-2007) is living in Chicago and has been pursuing acting since graduating.  Since then, he has had the opportunity to work with a bunch of great theatres (such as Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Marriott Theatre, Noble Fool, and Silk Road Theatre Project, to name a few), and has continued to do lots of work with children and students.  

Ross Knorr (Artistic Director 2005-2007) taught at the middle school level for the first three years out of college - two years as an English teacher with Teach For America in Houston, and then one more year as a math teacher at a charter school in Brooklyn called Achievement First. Now, he works for Actor's Equity in New York City and is planning on applying to business school next year. He and another Purple Crayon alum, Bryce Norbitz, plan to move in together in October!

Brynne Mancuso (Outreach Coordinator 2006-2007, Tour Director 2007-2008, Business Manager 2008-2009) is working for an education nonprofit called Urban Students Empowered (US Empowered for short) as the Development Manager and is in charge of grant writing, special event planning, and fundraising madness in general. You can check out their website for more specifics (www.usempowered.org), but basically they are a college preparation and persistence program working to make college possible for low-income students in underperforming Chicago high schools.

Adil Mansoor (Production Manager 2005-2007, Artistic Director 2007-2008) has been the Artist-in-Residence programming coordinator at Urban Gateways since he graduated in 2008.  He is also an artist and educator engaging in conversations around identity politics through collectively devised theatre.  Recently he directed Sherwood Anderson's Triumph of the Egg for Prolougue Theatre Company and curated the Freak Musuem with Girly-Q productions.  Next up, Adil is headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to work with City High Charter School as a Transitions Manager (College Adviser).  And of course in PCP style, he will be working on the after school drama program!  

Kate McGroarty (Secretary 2006-2007) is a Chicago based theatre artist who has spent the past two years performing, teaching, writing and directing. Favorite projects include directing and choreographing North Shore Country Day School's production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", writing and performing "Conversations in Transit", a short play about Chicago's public transit system and performing in Griffin Theatre's nationally recognized production of "Stage Door". She spends her free time writing in her blog (sassyrabbit.blogspot.com), making up new games (Urban Mini-golf and Adjective Adventure Day are favorites) and cooking lots of delicious vegan, gluten-free food.

Kelsey Mesa (Tour Director 2006-2007, Communications Director 2007-2008) works as a National Partnerships Program Assistant at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Bryce Norbitz (Publicity 2006-2007, Production Manager 2007-2008, Artistic Director 2008-2009) worked as the Intern to the Exeuctive Director at The Public Theater from May-September 2010. She is producing (and co-wrote) a Fringe Festival show this August, entitled Jurassic Parq:The Broadway Musical, the classic tale from the dinosaur's perspective. She is also producing a month long festival of the arts at The Brooklyn Lyceum in Oct/Nov.  She has produced during the past year at The Cell Theatre, Heart Surta (by alum Harry Einhorn) and Anchor Woman (by alums Jeremy Bloom & Brian Rady). 

Christine Ritchey (Outreach Coordinator 2006-2007, Tour Director 2007-2008, Communications Director 2008-2009) just finished her Master's in Learning Disabilities from NU, and will br working at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka as the Middle School Learning Specialist.

Madeline Scheffler (Education Director, 2006-2008, Artistic Director, 2008-2009) joined Teach for America after graduating from Northwestern. She moved to New York City and is now teaching in Bedford Stuyvesant at Excellence Boys Charter School, part of the Uncommon Charter School Network. She is looking forward to being a Lead Teacher in her second year of teaching, which will mean more responsibility over her 29 Kindergarten boys. Madeline is also pursuing a Master's Degree in Elementary Education at Hunter College. Though she may be a few states away from Purple Crayon, she still considers herself a Purple Crayon Player and is so proud of their amazing accomplishments!!

Kelby Siddons (FBR, 2006-2007, Special Events 2007-2008, Publicity Chair 2008-2009, Artistic Director 2009-2010) is teaching a playwriting class and directing As You Like It at Episcopal High School of Jacksonville, FL this fall. She is also the playwright of the Milwaukee Repertory’s SLAMMED.

Robin Willis (Fall Mainstage Director 2008) was a presenter at the American Alliance of Theatre and Education's 2008 Atlanta conference for her project devising with and for youth. She is now working with youth in Africa.

Melissa Zimmerman (Outreach 2005-2006, Special Events/Fundraising 2006-2007) lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she is pursuing an acting career. She is a member of AEA and AFTRA. Working with youth continues to be part of her life as a Bar Mitzvah tutor and teacher at various synagogues. You can stay updated about her career at melissazimmerman.net.