Tom Ridgely has served as Producing Artistic Director of the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival since 2018. He is also a Drama Desk-nominated director who has developed or presented work at… Read More
Tom Ridgely has served as Producing Artistic Director of the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival since 2018. He is also a Drama Desk-nominated director who has developed or presented work at the Public Theater, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Red Bull and more. He’s worked with Tony nominees Sting, Sherie Rene Scott, Will Swenson, Kelli O’Hara, Bill Irwin and others, and his productions have won DFW Theater Critics Forum and ECNY Awards and been nominated for St. Louis Theatre Critics Circle, Connecticut Critics Circle and BroadwayWorld Connecticut Awards.
He came to St. Louis from Waterwell in New York City, the company he co-founded and led and as Artistic Director from 2002-2018. There he created and produced more than a dozen world-premieres and adaptations of classics that were nominated for three IT awards, a Drama Desk, a New York Magazine Culture Award and a Village Voice “Best of NYC”. Many involved innovative community partnerships, such as resurrecting the lost WWII-era Frank Loesser musicals, Blueprint Specials – featuring Broadway and military veterans and presented on board the former USS Intrepid aircraft carrier – and adapting and directing Waterwell’s dual-language (English/Farsi) version of Hamlet: designed and performed by a company largely of Middle Eastern and South Asian artists. As Artistic Director of Waterwell, he also oversaw the Waterwell Drama Program at the Professional Performing Arts School, one of the preeminent training grounds for young artists and innovators in the country, which offers daily, year-round, conservatory-style classes to more than 200 New York City public school students absolutely free of charge.
Since taking over the Festival, he has won a St. Louis Magazine A-List Award for “New Arts Leader” and overseen the Festival’s shift to developing and producing new work, which also won an A-List Award for “New Programming”. The Festival’s regional premiere of George Brant’s Into the Breeches won the Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production of a Comedy, and the collaboration he conceived between the Festival, Jazz St. Louis and Big Muddy Dance Company on a world-premiere adaptation of Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder won the Theatre Circle Award for Outstanding Musical as well as a St. Louis Arts Award for “Arts Collaboration”. His outdoor production of King Lear – starring Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner André DeShields, with an all-BIPOC cast – was the nation’s first major live theatrical event since the onset of Covid-19 and was named the “Best Live Theater” of 2021 by the Riverfront Times. The Festival’s new TourCo program he launched in 2021 is now the largest outdoor Shakespeare tour in the world. And the Confluence Regional Writers Project has commissioned over a dozen new plays from emerging playwrights in Missouri and Illinois since 2019, more than half of which have gone on to full productions at theaters around the country.
He also led the effort, alongside Aaron Williams of 4theVille, to prevent the closure of Sumner High School, the oldest black high school west of the Mississippi, and give it a new focus on Arts and Activism. The Sumner Recovery Plan won a LaunchCode Moonshot Award for “Collaboration”, an ACAC IDEA Award for “Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility” and a St. Louis Arts Award for “Art Collaboration”. It now offers daily in-school instruction in Dance, Drama, Fashion, Music and Visual Art to over 200 St. Louis public school students through an innovative public-private partnership with over a dozen local arts organizations.
Susan Rowe Jennings
Susan joined the Festival in 2019. Since returning to her hometown in 1995 Susan has had the pleasure of working for the Arts and Education Council as Vice President of… Read More
Susan joined the Festival in 2019. Since returning to her hometown in 1995 Susan has had the pleasure of working for the Arts and Education Council as Vice President of Administration and Grants and at the Saint Louis Art Museum in their Curatorial and Development departments. Prior to her return Susan worked for The Equitable in Chicago for their commercial real estate division and in New York City managing their corporate art collection and gallery. Her time spent at these institutions helped her develop strong internal and external client relations and a love of the arts. When Susan isn’t working, she and her husband can be found around town with family and friends taking in all that St. Louis has to offer.
Brett T. Schott
Brett Schott is a professional fundraiser in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been a leader of impact at St. Louis area institutions, including St. Louis College of Pharmacy (University of… Read More
Allie Magee joined the Festival as Marketing and Communications Manager in October 2018. Previously she spent six years in various Development and fundraising roles at NinePBS. Allie is from St…. Read More
Adam is an actor, director, producer and educator based in St. Louis for over a decade. He holds an MFA in directing from Baylor University, and a BFA and teaching… Read More
Adam is an actor, director, producer and educator based in St. Louis for over a decade. He holds an MFA in directing from Baylor University, and a BFA and teaching certification from Fontbonne University. As an actor, he has performed with over a dozen local professional companies including the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis as part of the Shakespeare in the Streets program in both New World and Blow, Winds. As a founding resident artist of Mustard Seed Theatre he worked in many capacities including helping produce and direct “Bosnian American: The Dance for Life,” a community-engaged project with the Bosnian community of St. Louis. In 2015, Flores acted as a local line producer for the “Every 28 Hour Plays” a collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the One-Minute Play Festival, and the St. Louis community in response to the Ferguson movement. He began as a theatre educator teaching in the Parkway School district. Later he was Assistant Professor of Theatre at Fontbonne University. He recently also was lead Teaching Artist for the Festival’s Shake 101 teaching residency for the past two years.
Eli joined the Festival as Development Manager in January 2023. Previously, he served as Grants and Programs Specialist for the Arts and Education Council and as the National Body Donor… Read More
Eli joined the Festival as Development Manager in January 2023. Previously, he served as Grants and Programs Specialist for the Arts and Education Council and as the National Body Donor Program’s Human Resources and Program Coordinator. Eli relocated to St. Louis from Austin, Texas, in October 2018. In his time away from work, he is usually writing short fiction or collaborating on a local theatre or music project. Otherwise, he can often be found at home with a book or at a concert around town.
Charlie Tatum is an Atlanta native with St. Louis roots. Since returning home in 2018, her creative passions have led her to projects in virtual media, visual arts, exhibition building… Read More
Charlie Tatum is an Atlanta native with St. Louis roots. Since returning home in 2018, her creative passions have led her to projects in virtual media, visual arts, exhibition building and digital design. She has been named a Community Ambassador for the United Way of St. Louis and holds a strong devotion to non-profit work. Her background studies in Justice and Communications at Georgia Southern University have married with her artistic talents to help establish the organization, Painted Black; a group dedicated to connecting local black artists to resources and commissioned art opportunities. Painted Black was selected as the Arts Innovator for the 2022 St. Louis Arts Awards.
Deanna Jent is a Professor of Theatre at Fontbonne University. Her play Falling won the Kevin Kline award for Best New Play of 2011 and was nominated for a Drama Desk Best… Read More
Deanna Jent is a Professor of Theatre at Fontbonne University. Her play Falling won the Kevin Kline award for Best New Play of 2011 and was nominated for a Drama Desk Best Play award following its Off-Broadway run in 2012. Falling is published by Dramatists Play Service and continues to be produced nationally and internationally. Her adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces have been performed at theatres around the country. Other plays include Bosnian/American: The Dance For Life, Imaginary Jesus and Six. Sisters. She was the artistic director of Mustard Seed Theatre company from 2007-2019, and has directed for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, New Jewish Theatre, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Touring Company, The Orange Girls and ACT Inc. She was named “Best Director of a Musical by the St. Louis Theatre Circle for Mustard Seed Theatre’s productions of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and Godspell. She has a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and a PhD from Northwestern University.
Board of Directors
Brian Hayden, President, Collaborative Strategies, Inc.
Immediate Past Chair
Ed Macias, Provost Emeritus, Washington University in St. Louis
Henry S. Webber – Principal, Urban Impact Advisors
Pam Trapp, Community Volunteer
Monica J. Allen – Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, Washington University
Meredith Boggess – Vice President of Experience and Engagement, John O’Leary Live Inspire
Stacy Clay – Sr. Vice President, Midwest Metro Retail Leader/Director of Community Affairs, First Bank
Alison Ferring – Community Volunteer
Tracie Gregory Goffe – Vice President and Trust Administrator, Midwest Trust Company
James Hardin – Vice President, JP Morgan Chase
Jessica L. Holzer – Retired, Managing Director, Citigroup
Erik Karanik – Control Executive, Wells Fargo – Wealth & Investment Management
Ruth Lederman – Vice President of Resource Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis
Jon Lewis – CEO & Co-Founder, Evolution St. Louis
Sandra R. Mesker – RedKey Realty Leaders St Louis
Carla Miller – Teacher, Clayton School District
Mary Morgan – Community Volunteer
Odester Morais-Saunders – Community Volunteer
John Nickel – President, Switch
Vanessa Okwuraiwe – Principal, Edward Jones
Thomas F. Schlafly – Thompson Coburn LLP; Co-Founder & Co-Chairman of the Board, The Saint Louis Brewery
Dr. Sherman Silber – Director, Infertility Center of St. Louis
Julie Thomas Sward, Partner, Moneta
Mark P. Taylor – Distinguished Professor of Finance, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis
Ed Timm – President/CEO, Mobius Therapeutics
Henry Warshaw – CEO, Virtual Realty Enterprises, LLC
Michael Weisbrod – Senior Gift Planning Officer, Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri
Crosby Kemper III
Founding Managing Director