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Jessica Hutchinson
Artistic Director
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Eleanor Hyde
Managing Director
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Marsha Harman
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Marni Keenan
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Nick Keenan
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Jared Moore
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Michelle Lilly O'Brien
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Josh Sobel
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Cara Clifford
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Madeline Long
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Rachel Sypniewski
Artistic Associate

Amanda Frechette
Artistic Associate


Producing Ensemble

Jessica Hutchinson
Artistic Director

Since June 2007, Jessica has served as Artistic Director for New Leaf Theatre. Other credits include LiveWire Chicago Theatre (Hideous Progeny at the DCA Storefront), BackStage Theatre Company (Orange Flower Water), Mary Arrchie (Abbie Hoffman Died for our Sins), Caffeine Theatre (Antigone Coffeehouse) and Goodman Theatre (assistant to the director - The Crowd You're In With), along with readings for Around the Coyote, Theatre Seven of Chicago, and the Goodman. Jessica is the Director of Outreach for University Theater at the University of Chicago, a proud staff member of the League of Chicago Theatres, and an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.


Eleanor Hyde
Managing Director

Eleanor is a theatre producer and artist constantly searching for the new normal. Passionate about reinventing the models by which art is created and shared she is currently engaged in writing and exploring how small and informal performance companies can maintain vital art making practices. She has worked with theatre companies large and small including Lookingglass Theatre Company, The Hangar Theatre (Ithaca, NY) and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She is a graduate of DePaul University and Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Arts Leadership Program (MFA) and Sarah Lawrence College.


Marsha Harman

Marsha loves acting with New Leaf more than just about anything. She serves as the company's Business Manager, works on grant proposals, and very occasionally takes on the role of dramaturg or music director. She's performed with WNEP and Griffin Theatres in Chicago, and spent several summers with the Bakerloo Theatre Project, a classical theatre company in upstate New York. Marsha holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Drew University, and an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from The Catholic University of America.


Marni Keenan

Marni has served New Leaf as a stage manager, set and props designer, scenic artist, and is our current production manager and box office manager. She has worked as a scenic artist and props designer for several Chicago theatres, including TimeLine, Raven, and Pegasus Players. She has taught design for the National High School Institute ("Cherubs") at Northwestern University. Marni also freelances as a production manager and graphic designer, creating websites, virtual portfolios, and promotional material for storefront theaters and other artists. In her free time, she is a bookbinder, letterpress printer, illustrator, and photographer. Marni received her BFA in Theatre Design/Technology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.


Nick Keenan

Nick serves as New Leaf's marketing director, resident sound designer, and webmaster. His over 100 sound design credits in the Chicago area include work with Court, Next, Chicago Dramatists, Peninsula Players, Dog & Pony, the side project, TUTA, the Neo-Futurists, Remy Bumppo, Metropolis, Raven, Apple Tree, Rivendell, Greasy Joan & Co., A Red Orchid, and assistant designs at the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, and Milwaukee Shakespeare. Nick has been a faculty member at the National High School Institute ("Cherubs") at Northwestern University since 2003 and served as a sound engineer at the Goodman Theatre for seven years. Nick's online innovation projects for theater include the national job search page Backstagejobs.com, the Chicago Theater Database, and his blog, Theater for the Future. Nick is also a web project manager and programmer for the creative firm Marshall Creative, which is owned and operated by theatrical professionals with the philosophy that high-quality dramatic storytelling, improvisational techniques and design can be the key to agile communications in any corporate or non-profit market. Nick earned a B.A. in Theater from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Jared Moore

Jared is an accomplished lighting designer who has lit more than 100 shows in Chicago - in a variety of genres. Jared is also resident designer/artistic associate with the Hypocrites and Nomi LaMad Dance Inc, and has
designed for Redmoon, Noble Fool, ATC, Bailiwick Repertory, Porchlight, The Side Project, Metropolis, City Lit, Circle, White Horse, Theo Ubique, Infamous Commonwealth, Pyewacket, L'Opera Piccola, Adventure Stage, Backstage, & the Chicago Academy for the Arts. His work has earned four Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Lighting Design, as well as several After Dark Awards. Jared holds a B.F.A. in Theatre and Design from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia.


Michelle Lilly

Michelle has stage managed and designed scenery for several New Leaf shows, and has also worked with the side project, Stage Left, Lifeline, and Griffin. Michelle spent a season as a teaching artist in Lifeline's educational outreach program, and works full-time as the Technical Assistant in the scenery department at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She also designs scenery downstate at the Springfield Muni, where she has done several musicals over the past few years. Michelle holds a B.A. in Theatre and English from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.


Staff & Board

Josh Sobel
Literary Manager

Josh has had the privilege of working in Chicago with A Red Orchid Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, and The Pavement Group at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA. He holds a BA in Theatre with Honors in Directing from Oberlin College, and is an alumnus of the National Theater Institute (NTI) at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Josh serves as the Associate Director of the O'Neill's summer NTI program, "Theatermakers."`


Cara Clifford
Front of House Manager

Cara is also a staff member of About Face Theatre, where she plans events and writes grants for the development department. Recently she co-founded Ag47, an arts program for middle school and high school girls in the Chicago neighborhood of Logan Square. Cara is also busy at work producing Leaves of Grass, a one-night only nude choral reading of Walt Whitman's poetry at Links Hall in October 2010. As an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, Cara studied Classical Studies and was a proud member of the U of C's acclaimed improv and sketch comedy group Off-Off Campus.


Madeline Long
Public Relations Manager

Madeline is an actor, publicist, producer and overall theater enthusiast. She is a collective member with LiveWire Chicago Theatre, and has performed with the company in several shows, most recently Hideous Progeny. She has also performed with Shattered Globe Theatre, Eclipse Theatre, the side project theatre co. and Backstage Theatre, among others. As a publicist, Madeline represents several theater, dance and arts companies in Chicago, and is excited to join New Leaf's staff. She received her B.A. from Boston College and studied at the British American Drama Academy's Oxford program.


Rachel M. Sypniewski
Artistic Associate

Rachel loves working with New Leaf Theatre and always appreciates their constant drive to create thoughtfully and with purpose. Ms. Sypniewski has designed over 70 shows in the Chicago storefront theatre community. Some of her favorites include Frankenstein in Love and American Notes with Will Act For Food, Siskel and Ebert Save Chicago and RenFaire: A Fist Full of Ducats with the Factory, Solid Gold Cadillac and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Open Eye, The Grapes of Wrath, The Kentucky Cycle and Resort 76 with Infamous Commonwealth, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with St. Patrick’s High School. She is a company member of Infamous Commonwealth, and a stage manager for Quade Productions. Her recent and upcoming designs include, Ten Unknowns (April 2010) with Will Act For Food and League of Awesome (July 2010) with the Factory.


Amanda Frechette
Stage Manager
Artistic Associate

Amanda has worked as a stage manager for New Leaf since August of 2008, becoming an artistic associate in January of 2009. Since then she has worked on at least one (sometimes two) shows with them every season. Amanda has also stage managed for a number of theatres in Chicago including Bruised Orange, Theatre-Hikes, Halcyon Theatre, the side project and Red Tape. She has earned a BA in Theatre from Plymouth State University with an option in Acting and Design & Technology.


Anne Sheridan Smith
Board President








New Leaf Theatre | 2045 N. Lincoln Park West Chicago, IL 60614