Staff

Current Staff

Michael Menendian

Producing Artistic Director

Michael is a co-founding member of Raven Theatre, where he has directed and designed many of the productions. Some of his favorite shows include: A TEXAS TRILOGY, THE CRUCIBLE, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (Jeff Nomination, Outstanding Production), MARVIN’S ROOM, TALKIN’ BASEBALL, GOLDEN BOY (Jeff Nomination, Outstanding Production), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Jeff-Award, Outstanding Production), A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (Jeff-Award, Outstanding Production), DANCING AT LUGHNASA (Jeff Nomination, Outstanding Production), and most recently, THE SEA GULL, THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (Jeff Award, Scenic Design), LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR, and JESUS HOPPED THE ‘A’ TRAIN. He has earned multiple Joseph Jefferson and After Dark awards for direction, and design. Along with his directing and design credits, he has, on occasion, performed on stage. Along with JoAnn Montemurro, Mr. Menendian received a 2007/2008 Jeff Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chicago Theatre.

JoAnn Montemurro

Co-Artistic Director

JoAnn co-founded the Raven Theatre with Michael Menendian in 1983. JoAnn has been acting with the company from the beginning. She has enjoyed playing such major roles as Martha in WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? and Amanda in THE GLASS MENAGERIE. She has done costumes for several productions including GOLDEN BOY, A FEW GOOD MEN, THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK, and HEDDA GABLER. This season, JoAnn will appear in Raven’s season opener THE BIG KNIFE, directed by Michael Menendian and BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS directed by Cody Estle. She is also designing costumes for THE BIG KNIFE and A SOLDIER'S STORY. JoAnn is a graduate of the Goodman School of Drama.

Mechelle Moe

Director of Education

Mechelle Moe is a founding member of The Hypocrites, and has appeared on many stages throughout Chicago. She most recently appeared in TimeLine's Jeff nominated production of Not Enough Air as well as their productions of Children's Hour and Paradise Lost. In 2003, Mechelle was awarded a Joseph Jefferson Citation and After Dark Award for her performance in Sophie Treadwell's Machinal. She also works as a teaching artist for Lookingglass, Court, Raven and Lifeline theaters.

Kelli Strickland

Executive Director

Kelli Strickland has been named Raven Theatre's new Executive Director. Strickland assumed her position in June 2013 shortly after completing the Devos Fellowship in Executive Arts Leadership at the Kennedy Center. The highly prestigious Devos Fellowship accepts ten arts leaders each year to take part in an immersive program in arts management strategy designed to prepare mid-career arts managers for executive positions in today’s complex arts environment. Hosted at the nation’s cultural center and one of the largest and most dynamic performing arts institutions, the Fellowship offers a structured blend of academic training, hands-on work experience, independent and collective learning opportunities, and personalized mentoring.

Prior to her time at the Kennedy Center, Kelli served as Raven’s Director of Education and was on faculty at Loyola University in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. She has a twenty year career in Chicago theatre as an actress, an educator, a writer and an arts administrator.

Christa van Baale

Publicist

Christa van Baale has handled media relations for several theatre and dance companies in Chicago including Raven Theatre, The Neo-Futurists, Walkabout Theatre and Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. Also a member of Actors' Equity Association, Christa has stage managed productions with companies including A Red Orchid Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Defiant Theatre (RIP), Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Artistic Home, and Blindfaith Theatre. Christa holds an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

John Weagly

Operations Manager

John has been rattling around Chicago theater box offices for the last fifteen years. Besides being the former Operations Manager for Organic Theater, he's also helped out at Mary-Arrchie, Bailiwick, Goodman and several small companies that have come and gone. As a playwright, he's had plays produced by Strawdog Theatre, Second City, Circle Theater, Artistic Home, Bailiwick, CollaborAction and numerous other companies around the world. As a fiction writer he's been published in multiple languages and won multiple awards.

Susan Lieberman

Literary Manager

Susan Lieberman has been involved in theatre for many years as a playwright, journalist, marketer and script consultant. She began her career as a production assistant for experimental director Charles Marowitz at London's Open Space Theatre and later worked for producer Thelma Holt at The Round House. In New York, she spent five years as Associate Editor of Theatre Crafts magazine before returning to Chicago. A Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Susan won a Jeff Citation for New Work, as well as nominations for regional Emmy and Jeff Awards. Her plays have been produced by Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, Theatre Building Chicago, Visions & Voices Theatre Company, 20% Company, American Theatre Company's Bridge Outreach Program and elsewhere throughout the U.S. and in Israel.