Chekhov International Theatre Festival

Biographies

Hamilton Clancy (artistic director/producer) founder and current artistic  director, now in his  16th year of leading  the  Drilling  Company and with them has led Shakespeare in the Parking  Lot for over a  decade.. 2015 producer: Two Gentlemen of Verona (TDC’s  Bryant  Park Shakespeare), As You Like It (Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, Romeo and Juliet BPS), MacBeth SitPL, Taming of  the  Shrew (BPS) this summer in Manhattan with  TDC’s Bryant Park  Shakespeare and The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare in the Parking Lot .2014: directed the  inaugural Bryant Park Shakespeare production of Hamlet, as well as critically acclaimed  productions of Twelfth Night and Othello: produced the world  premiere of C. Denby Swanson’s, The  Norwegians which  ran for 168  performances Off-Broadway. Actor Film and TV: (upcoming) Spielberg’s BRIDGE OF  SPIES (2015), THE BETTER ANGELS, Coen Brothers’ BURN AFTER READING, AMERICAN GANGSTER, and EXTREMELY  LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE Hamilton can be seen currently in his series regular work as Kowalski in ORANGE IS THE NEW  BLACK on Netflix. His television credits include GOTHAM, ALPHA HOUSE, THE LEFTOVERS, CROSSBONES, LAW AND ORDER  CRIMINAL INTENT, THIRD WATCH, LIFE ON MARS, THE UNUSUALS, DAYS OF OUR LIVES. He is  fortunate to be husband of Karen Kitz-Clancy and father of  Joseph Clancy.


Rudy Marconi (President) is the First Selectman of Ridgefield, Connecticut. He was first elected to the office in 1999, and is currently serving his fifth term. Born and raised in Ridgefield, Mr. Marconi attended the Nichols College of Business Administration where he earned his Bachelors of Business Administration. Mr. Marconi is a strong supporter of the arts, and has served as President of the Chekhov International Theatre Festival since its inception in 2009.


Abby Walker is a drama specialist with experience in several artistic disciplines. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts at Sarah Lawrence College, she worked in graphic design and advertising. She taught performing arts for seventeen years at The Montessori School in Wilton, Connecticut, where she directed numerous productions in classical theater including Shakespeare, Roman comedies, and Greek tragedies. She has written and produced over sixty original plays and adaptations for children. Additionally, she trained with Hanya Holm at Colorado College, was certified in David Darling’s Musicianship Leadership program, and has exhibited her work at the Silvermine School of Art. She is a founding member of the Talmadge Hill Choir and is currently employed by the K.E.Y.S. program in Bridgeport, where she teaches cello and performing arts. She has trained under Lisa Dalton and Will Kilroy (NMCA) in the Michael Chekhov method.  As one of the festival founders, Abby has served on the board for over seven years mostly in the role of festival administrator and describes herself as a Johannes fac totem.


Suzanne Benton (International Liaison) is a widely recognized sculptor, mask maker/performance artist, printmaker, painter, lecturer, and workshop leader. Her multi-faceted art has been featured in over 150 solo shows and is represented in museum and private collections worldwide. Believing that the purpose of art is to explore humanity and that art comes alive when it relates to people’s lives, her work draws on multi-cultural themes and often engages participation with others. By drawing upon diverse themes steeped in myth, ritual, and archetype, and sharing her artwork in 30 countries East and West, Benton’s art has become a bridge between cultures. A former Fulbright Scholar, the artist has received numerous grants and artist residencies. Author of The Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles, Ms. Benton is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and Feminists Who Changed America. suzannebentonartist.com


Lenka Pichlíková – Burke (Festival Dramaturg) Lenka is an American actress of Czech descent, the seventh generation of her family to appear onstage since the 18th century. Her great-uncle was the noted national actor, Ladislav Pešek. While in Czechoslovakia, she performed on stage in many theatres, played in twelve films, and created over 40 television roles, rising to the rank of Advanced Master Artist. In addition to performing as a speaking actress, she was also involved professionally in classic pantomime. Since the 1980s she has resided in the United States, where she has performed onstage in speaking for more than 25 years. Since 1988, she has been a member of the Actors' Equity Association, the union which represents professional actors. In 2006 she was named the "Best Mime" of Fairfield County, Connecticut. She teaches performing arts, dramatic literature, and cultural history, and translates plays.


Jeffery Albanesi was born and raised in Ridgefield where he attended public school. He graduated from Emerson College with a major in advertising and public relations and a minor in performing arts. After 20 years of metropolitan life in Manhattan, he returned to bucolic Ridgefield in 2009 where he still resides. He is an account executive for Argento Vivo Sterling Silver in New York City. His greatest interest is the local arts scene and he has become a well-known attendee to events in Ridgefield and its surrounding towns. He is very active in social media and creates excitement for art shows and performances he attends. Jeffery is a long standing Chekhov Festival supporter and brings his networking, enthusiasm and devotion to our board.


Nancy Ponturo is a professional actor who last performed in "Almost Maine" and "Love Letters" at New Pond Farm in Redding. For the past fourteen years she has been the Artistic Director of Summer Shakespeare at New Pond Farm. She has directed at the American Globe Theatre and The Dramatists Guild in NYC as well as The Rich Forum and The Ridgefield Theater Barn in CT. Nancy has directed plays for Joel Barlow High School and Weston High School as well as "Poetry in Motion" at the Wilton Library.


Katie Diamond is a singer, actor, director, and teacher. Her Broadway and tour credits include: Lorraine in Jersey Boys, The Pirate Queen (understudy for Stephanie J. Block), White Christmas, and the Wedding Banquet. Her favorite regional performing credits include: Lily in the Secret Garden, Ado Annie in Oklahoma, Rosemary in How to Succeed in Business and Estella in Great Expectations. Katie has released two solo albums: Original Passion and her Children’s album, Down by the Riverside. She has been teaching voice, acting, and musical performance to kids and teens for over fifteen years. She is a certified Music Together teacher, and currently enjoys teaching her class, Little Spinners, to tots in Ridgefield, CT. After graduating with a bachelor of music in vocal performance from New England Conservatory of Music, Katie lived and worked in Seattle before moving to New York City in 2005. In 2014 she relocated to Ridgefield with her husband, Bill Diamond,  and their three children. Along with her professional partner Dan Levine, she is the founder and Executive Producer of Act of Connecticut, a contemporary theatre company based in Ridgefield. 


Marisa DelMonaco​, therapist, has a BA, a  LMT and is certified in nutritional therapy and emotion code. Additionally she is a graduate of the Institute for Integrated Nutrition.  She has studied holistic health for many years encompassing meditation, relaxation and personal growth work.  Nutrition and wellness are a focus of her life and studies. She graduated from the Florida School of Massage and is a licensed Massage Therapist. Ms. DelMonaco has been an enthusiastic attendant to the Chekhov International Theatre Festival and fundraiser for the last eight years. Her previous board work includes six years service on the board of the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School in Newtown, Connecticut. She first served as secretary and then treasurer, and spent additional years helping in a fundraising role. A Redding resident for the past eleven years, Marisa is a mother of two and enjoys cooking, hiking, painting, dancing, cross country skiing and maintains a meditation and yoga practice. She and her husband David Schoenberg run their practice -- Mountain Therapeutics -- a wellness center in Redding.


Linda Krulwich is a long-time resident of Ridgefield and a retired mathematics/science teacher, who enjoys the arts and feels strongly that the arts are an integral part of education. Since the moment she learned about the Chekhov Festival, she and her husband have been attendees and supporters.