Mary Kalesz came to Cricket Theatre Company as a parent. With two children in the program, she began working with Cricket on sets. As an interior designer and stager, this seemed a natural fit. What started as a few visuals for one production, became the job of designing full-scale sets for each summer season for the past six summers, as well as 4+ years designing for Seth Paine Elementary School. Side by side with Rita Washburn, her work has been seen in shows including Once on This Island, Once Upon a Mattress, Annie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins, A Year with Frog and Toad, James and the Giant Peach, The Wiz, Anything Goes, Urinetown, Elf Jr., The Lion King and Bring It On. Her love for Cricket Theatre Company and the passion it brings to young performers keeps her energy levels high and her search for the perfect way to tell the story constantly moving forward.
Rita Washburn is thrilled to join Cricket Theatre Company as one of the technical directors. Rita came to theater through her sons, who both have been in multiple Cricket productions. She had no previous theater experience but learned as she volunteered, growing from making showboards to her current role working alongside Mary Kalesz to bring the scenic designs from paper to stage. This includes coordinating the building, moving, loading and unloading of the sets between the workshop and the theater. When not building, painting or shopping at hardware or resale shops, Rita teaches at an elementary school in Mundelein. Rita has worked on shows including Oklahoma, Little Shop of Horrors, Once Upon a Mattress, Annie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins, A Year with Frog and Toad, James and the Giant Peach, The Wiz, Anything Goes, Urinetown, Elf Jr., The Lion King and Bring It On. Rita has a deep appreciation for the confidence and skills that blossom in the actors as they work on Cricket productions and is delighted to help create the sets that surround these talented actors.
Board of Directors
Our company was founded in 2013 as an Illinois NFP with the mission of creating a safe space for children to learn life skills through theatre. Below you will find our Founder and our Corporate Board of Directors. Each one of these Directors bring a special set of skills that is integral to our process. They were chosen for these skills as well as their dedication to our mission of making fine arts education available to children in our community.
Mary Beth Euker
Mary Beth Euker, one of the directors and founding members of Cricket Theatre Company is a director by night and lawyer by day. Her true love is theatre. She's been directing for over ten years, solely in the arena of children's theatre. She has co directed numerous shows including: A Year with Frog and Toad Kids, Elf Jr., Peter Pan Jr., Seussical Jr., The Drowsy Chaperone, Beauty and the Beast Jr., Little Shop of Horrors, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, and Oklahoma. She has also directed a straight drama, the Illinois premiere of "Wonder". She has also costumed a number of different shows. She has been in two productions of Woodstock Musical Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carol" as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Mrs. Cratchit and swing roles of Belle and Sally. She also was featured in the ensemble of Urinetown at Devonshire Theatre in Skokie. Mary Beth has also had the honor of serving as a theatre critic for the Northwest Herald newspaper. She hopes to continue to direct, produce and be on the stage for a long time.
Cricket Theatre Company is Bridget's passion project that she has pursued since its inception in 2013. She is not only a director for the Junior Company, but is also the web content manager, social media manager, and on the Board of Directors for Cricket. Before this, Bridget developed her love for theatre in school, community, and professional theatre productions for 18 years. She has used this experience to direct and choreograph 30+ productions, some highlights of which are: The Lion King Jr., Aladdin Jr., Anything Goes YPE, Cinderella G2K, and Mary Poppins Jr. Bridget recently acquired her BS in Elementary Education and will be adding her creative flair to a classroom soon! Bridget looks forward to using her theatre experiences outside of Cricket (Skyline Studios, Apachi Day Camp, Big City Day Camp, Trilogy Dance, ITheatrics Professional Development) to develop her directing style and continue her love for theatre each and every day
Debbie Miller is delighted to join Cricket Theatre Company as the Financial Director. A graduate of Northern Illinois University School of Business, Debbie has many years of financial experience in a range of different industries. When not working Debbie loves to volunteer in the community and over the past few years has found a love for the theatre community and especially Cricket. Most recently Debbie helped produce the musical Aladdin at Seth Paine Elementary School and continues to volunteer there in a production advisory role. Debbie has been involved in costuming several Cricket Theatre productions including Lion King, Anything Goes and A Year with Frog and Toad.