Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre’s 2018 Company


Christy Arington
Director/Buckingham (
Henry VIII)

Christy is proud to return with LST to beautiful Benzie county for her 12th summer. Last season she appeared as Elizabeth (Richard III) and Antonia (Twelfth Night)  and directed  She has been seen as Gertrude (Hamlet), Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Calpurnia in Julius Ceasar, The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and Mistress Quickly in Henry V (just to name a few). She also directed Much Ado About Nothing in 201, Macbeth in 2010 and Alls Well That Ends Well in 2008, and is the educational director and casting director for LST.  Recently in Chicago she appeared in The Life of Death  with Wild Claw and as Stubbs in The Mammals’ All Girl Moby Dick.  She has worked with many Chicago Theatre companies, including Seanachai Theatre Company, Wing and Groove, Tri Arts, Strawdog Theatre Company, and The Factory. Having earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Performance from The University of Georgia, Christy has been a teacher for several years both on the collegiate and high school levels. In 2001, she was honored with the Mark Twain Comedic Acting award at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.


Jeff Christian
Producing Director
Cromwell (Henry VIII)                                                     Director/Adapter/Guy (50 Minute Hamlet)

Jeff is a founding member of Lakeside Shakespeare and directed the inaugural production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream — as well as writing the music and playing Bottom, Oberon and Theseus. Other credits with LST include:  The Winter’s Tale (Polixenes), The Rivals(director), Cymbeline (Iachimo/Belarius), The Taming of the Shrew (2015, Grumio), Richard III (Richard), Twelfth Night (2014, Sea Captain/Priest), Romeo & Juliet (2013, director), The Comedy of Errors (Dromio of Syracuse), Hamlet (Claudius), Much Ado About Nothing (Leonato), Macbeth (Macduff), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2011, Egeus/Snug), As You Like It (director, original music), King Lear (Kent), Love’s Labours Lost (director), Henry V (Chorus/Fluellen/King of France/Ambassador of France), Henry IV (Falstaff), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Falstaff), Julius Caesar (Brutus), Twelfth Night (Malvolio), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (director, Proteus) and Romeo & Juliet (2002, Lord Capulet). Jeff was the Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Project of Chicago for eight seasons, adapting and directing some 20 plays and playing such roles as Iago, Richard III, Brutus, Mercutio, Caliban, Ajax, Proteus and Hamlet (in his two-person adaptation, 50 Minute Hamlet). Jeff has acted and directed on stage in Chicago and throughout the country, and is a member of Irish Theatre of Chicago, and directs for the Roosevelt University Theatre Conservatory. Film and television work includes Batman Begins, Chicago PD, Witches’ Night, The Express, The Poker House, Pickman’s Muse, Helix, Happy Hour, Cyrus, Good People and Showtime’s Shameless. He also writes and directs for production companies, plays in the band Ingenious Whittler, teaches directing in Cinema Art and Science at Columbia College (where he received the Excellence in Teaching Award), and has kissed the Stanley Cup.


Daniel D. Drake
Production Stage Manager/Company Manager

Daniel is thrilled to be working on his second season with the incredible individuals at Lakeside Shakespeare as the Production Stage Manager and Company Manager! Daniel is currently the Production and Facilities Coordinator for Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts as well as a freelance Stage, Production, and Company Manager in Chicago. Selected previous productions include: Mame (Light Opera Works), Susannah and The Tender Land (Northwestern Opera), Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre); Pygmalion (Oak Park Festival Theatre); The Plough & The Stars, The 39 Steps, Middletown and Cabaret (Roosevelt University, CCPA); The Life and Death of Madam Barker (Red Tape Theatre); Metamorphoses, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and Still Alice (LookingglassTheatre); The Iceman Cometh, RED, and A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre). Danielspent four seasons with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival as the company manager and member of stage management. Daniel is also the Executive Director and Production Manager for the Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts, an organization founded to produce and support artists of all ages in Chicago.

Pete Dully
Production Manager/Technical Director

Pete Dully is excited and grateful to be a part of Lakeside Theatre and to get to work in, with, and for the Benzie area community. Pete does all things theatre production and works at Columbia College Chicago, managing theatre and event venues. Pete is also a company member of Steep Theatre Company in Chicago, IL. Favorite Lighting design credits include: Posh, The Life (and Sort of Death) of Eric Argyle, The Knowledge, Luther, Lakeboat (Steep Theatre), Zastrozzi The Master of Discipline (the Division Theatre), and The Maids (Writer’s Theatre).


Barbara Figgins
Old Lady (
Henry VIII)

Barbara is making her Lakeside debut. She is an ensemble member with Irish Theatre of Chicago where she most recently appeared in a Jeff-nominated one-woman show My Brilliant Divorce. Other ITC credits include In Pigeon House, The Shadow of a Gunman, Dancing at Lughnasa, Our Father, Scenes from the Big Picture, WAR and Bold Girls. Other credits: White Lillie-Anne in Barbecue (Strawdog Theatre at Steppenwolf); Ellie in Scapegoat: Or Why the Devil Always Loved Us (New Colony); Pam in Exit Strategy (Jackalope Theatre); Miss Tesman in Hedda Gabler (Writers Theatre); The Awake (First Floor Theatre); Polina in n The Seagull (The Artistic Home); Richard III (Oak Park Festival Theatre); The History Boys (Timeline, Jeff Award Best Ensemble), Cherrywood (Mary Arrchie).




Mario Guzman
Surrey (
Henry VIII)

Mario Guzman is elated and overjoyed to return, not only for his second season of Lakeside Shakes, but to the beautiful town of Frankfort and all of its lovely inhabitants.
It cannot be overstated how fulfilling the support from this community is. We proudly present this work as a service to you, your family and all our mutual friends. As an actor, there is no greater honor! So thank you, thank you, thank you to all who come to watch, my wonderful friends at Lakeside and of course my parents who keep me dreaming when times get tough. 



Michael Holding
King Henry (Henry VIII)

Michael is thrilled to be back with Lakeside Shakespeare where he was last seen in The Rivals and The Winter’s Tale. Chicago credits include: Truth and Reconciliation (Sideshow Theatre Company), Posh (Steep Theatre, Jeff Award Winner Best Ensemble), Really Really (Interrobang Theatre), Shining City (Irish Theatre of Chicago), The Diviners (Organic Theater Company), The Merchant of Venice and The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe (First Folio). Regionally he appeared as Leo in 4000 Miles (Theatresquared). Film/TV credits include Chicago Med(NBC) and the indie film Finn and the Sea of Noise. Many thanks to his mom for her help and support throughout.

McKenzie Graham-Howard
Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII)

McKenzie is a recent graduate from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She is thrilled to join the 2018 season in Henry VIII. When she’s not acting, she can be found drinking too much espresso and yelling at her cats.


Patrick TJ Kelly
Cranmer (Henry VIII)

Patrick returns to Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre, where his previous credits include: Coriolanus, The Merchant of Venice, Speak the Speech, The Rivals, & The Winter’s Tale. Back in Chicago, Patrick may have been seen in, Pillars of the Community (Strawdog Theatre Co.), The Revengers Tragedy (Shakespeare Project of Chicago), or VR Sorry (Post Meridian). Patrick graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, and is represented by Stewart Talent.

laidlawElizabeth Laidlaw
Founding Artistic Director                                    Co-director (Henry VIII

Elizabeth Laidlaw (co-director, HENRY VIII) is the Artistic Director and Founder of Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre (LST), producing or co-producing every season. Onstage with LST she has appeared as the title role in CORIOLANUS, Nerissa (THE MERCHANT OF VENICE,) Hermione (THE WINTER’S TALE,) Kate (THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, 2015), Caius Lucius (CYMBELINE) The Prince, (ROMEO AND JULIET 2013,) The Courtesan (THE COMEDY OF ERRORS,) Laertes (HAMLET), Beatrice (MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING), Lady Macbeth (MACBETH), Hippolyta/Starveling (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, 2011), General (KING LEAR), Jaques (AS YOU LIKE IT,) Helena (ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, Viola (TWELFTH NIGHT), Marc Antony (JULIUS CAESAR), Mercurio (ROMEO AND JULIET 2004), Silvia (THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA), Titania/Hippolyta (MND, 2003), and various roles in HENRY V, HENRY IV, and THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. She directed THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (2008) and ROMEO AND JULIET (2004), and co-directed the inaugural 2003 production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.

Ms. Laidlaw has worked in Chicago Theatre professionally since 1993, appearing at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Writer’s Theatre, Court Theatre, About Face, The Next, Strawdog and many, many others. Her regional credits include THE THREE MUSKETEERS and THE CRUCIBLE with Indiana Repetory Theatre, A SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS and MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION (Irish Classical Theatre Company, Buffalo NY) and THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge MA.) Film credits include the features, HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, INTO THE WAKE (directed by LST member John Mossman), EASTERN COLLEGE, DIMENSION, and THREE DAYS. Television includes CHICAGO PD and CRISIS (NBC), BETRAYAL (ABC), and BOSS (Starz), THE CHICAGO CODE (FOX). She co-produces and stars in the dramedy web-series THE HAVEN, due for internet release in autumn 2018. Her voice can be heard narrating Hard Earned, a documentary produced by Kartemquin Films for Al-Jazeera America, and in numerous television commercials, audiobooks, and video games. She received her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and completed post-graduate Shakespeare studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art of London, UK. Over the years she has taught theatre at elementary, high school, and collegiate levels, including directing and producing the Frankfort, MI Jr/Sr High Drama Club in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2006. As always, she thanks her son, Owen, for cheerfully going along with all of this. In March of 2018, Ms. Laidlaw was cast in a series regular role as Officer Vic Renna on THE RED LINE, a new drama series for Warner Bros and CBS television, produced by Ava DuVernay and Greg Berlanti. Production for the series will begin in August of 2018, with an anticipate premiere date in January of 2019.


Joanna Melville
Costume Designer (
Henry VIII)

Joanna returns for her eighth season with Lakeside Shakespeare, and was the costume designer of last season’s The Merchant of Venice.



Phillips_Kelsey Headshot webKelsey Phillips
Lovell (Henry VIII)                                                                 Gal (50 Minute Hamlet)

Kelsey is excited to return to Frankfort, MI for her fifth season with Lakeside Shakespeare Theater. She previously appeared in LST’s The Merchant of Venice, Coriolanus, The Rivals, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet, and The Comedy of Errors. Other selected credits include By the Bog of Cats (The Artistic Home) Much Ado About Nothing, Top Girls (The Arc Theatre), Duck & Cover (Prologue Theatre), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Robin Hood (The Windy City Players). Regional credits include Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coriolanus, and Tartuffe (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey). She has also choreographed multiple children’s productions for Spotlight Youth Theatre. Kelsey holds a BFA in Acting from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Jillian Rafa
Norfolk (Henry VIII)

Jillian Rafa is so excited to be back for her 9th season with Lakeside! Previous LST credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor(Hostess/Simple), Henry IV( Bardolph/Vernon), Taming of the Shrew ‘07 (Bianca), Loves Labours Lost(Moth), Henry V(Chorus/Montjoy), King Lear(Cordelia), As You Like It(Audrey/LeBeau), Hamlet(Guildenstern), Much Ado About Nothing(Hero), Romeo and Juliet(Juliet), Comedy Of Errors(Emilia), Richard III(Lady Anne), Twelfth Night(Fabian), The Rivals(Julia), A Winters Tale(Clown).
A Chicago native, Jillian holds a BA in Acting from Ball State University and is currently working on a second Bachelor’s in ASL/English Interpreting at Columbia College Chicago.

Siddartha Rajan
Gardiner (Henry VIII)

Siddhartha Rajan is estatic to be back in Frankfort with Lakeside Shakespeare. He appeared in both THE RIVALS and A WINTER’S TALE with Lakeside two years ago. Back in Chicago, Siddhartha has been busy acting in classical works such as MECHANT ON VENICE (Rasaka Theatre) and contemporary plays like FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH (Haven Theatre). His recent film credits include EASY on Netflix and SNUGGLR a webseries. Siddhartha would like to thank his family for being where he is today.


Tatyana Sampson
Surveyor to Buckingham (Henry VIII)

Taty is happy to join LST.

Noah Simon
Cardinal Wolsey (Henry VIII)

This is Noah’s 6th season with LST and he is so happy to return to one of his most favorite places. Past roles with LST include: Shylock (Merchant of Venice), Dogberry (Much Ado About Nothing), Bottom (Midsummer Night’s Dream), Gravedigger (Hamlet), and Sir Anthony Absolute (The Rivals) among others. Noah has been performing in and around the Chicago area for 25 years and is a proud member of both the stage actor’s union (AEA) and the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG/AFTRA). He has taught theatre classes at Columbia College, Depaul University, UIC and is currently an adjunct professor at Aurora University. He now lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with his wife Kelli. He has his BA in Theatre from Butler University and his MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at Depaul University.

Danni Smith
Queen Katharine (Henry VIII)

Danni is so happy to be back at Lakeside where she previously appeared in Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors, Richard III, and Twelfth Night. She has had the pleasure of working with many Chicagoland companies including Victory Gardens, Marriott, ATC, Paramount, TATC, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Firebrand, Theo Ubique, Bailiwick, BoHo, Steppenwolf Garage, and The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. “Big love and thanks to Martin for always having my back. Thank you to Jeff, Christy, and Elizabeth for inviting me to magical Michigan again!”

Danny Taylor
Education Director                                                Cardinal Campeius (Henry VIII)                    

Danny is thrilled to be returning to Lakeside for a sixth season! Previous roles with Lakeside include Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Witch, MacBeth; Balthazar, Much Ado About Nothing and Osric/Player Queen, Hamlet; Paris, Romeo and Juliet; Angelo, The Comedy of Errors; Gremio/Widow, The Taming of the Shrew; and Andrew Aguecheek, Twelfth Night. In addition to performing with Lakeside, Danny helps lead the educational workshops each summer and throughout the year. Regional acting credits include: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company; Utah Shakespeare Festival; Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. Chicago credits include: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Cor Theatre, The New Colony, Signal Ensemble Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Emerald City Theatre & Griffin Theatre. Thank you Benzie County for making us feel at home during the summer months, in which we can share the joy of Shakespeare!



Interns:  Eve Beiting, Sam Buzzel, Rachel Colby, Hannah Glass-Chapman, Tucker Hubbard, Quinn Jonas, Thomas Karunas, Ella Shriner, Lucy Straubel, Mairead Thistle