Meet the Artists

The Addams Family Cast

(click image to see artist bio)

The Addams FamilyCreative Team


L. WALTER STEARNS (Director) As Executive Director of Mercury Theater Chicago, Walter is a champion for Chicago artists and productions and has overseen the physical and cultural revival of a beautiful theatre. He has directed over 30 musicals including his Jeff-Award nominated productions of Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum-The Circus Musical, The Christmas Schooner, Nine the Musical, Ragtime, Gypsy, The Secret Garden, Sweeney Todd, Company, A New Brain, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along and Falsettos. Walter has received the Jeff Award, After Dark Awards,BroadwayWorld Award, the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (for his support of Season of Concern), the first Guy Adkins award for his contributions to the art of musical theatre and the Franny Award as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

EUGENE DIZON (Musical Director) has been musical directing for over two decades garnering 6 Jeff Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Amadeus, Company, Into the Woods and Merrily We Roll Along), 14 Jeff nominations (most recently for Mercury Theater Chicago’s production of A Grand Night For Singing), 4 After Dark Awards (Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, A New Brain, and Merrily We Roll Along), a BroadwayWorld Award for Avenue Q and a BroadwayWorld nomination for Mercury’s The Color Purple. Other favorite theatrical experiences include The Christmas Schooner, Barnum (Mercury Theater Chicago); Falsettos, Candide, Pacific Overtures, Nine the Musical (Porchlight); Starting Here, Starting Now (Theo Ubique); The Pajama Game and Songs for a New World (Columbia College). Eugene is honored to have been inducted into the Chicago Filipino Hall of Fame. Eugene has produced 2 “Season of Carols” CD’s which featured some of the brightest talent in Chicago theater today, for which Season of Concern awarded him the Larry Sloan Advocate Award (2013).  Currently the Business Manager at the Mercury, he has worked for Navteq, HFR, Jenner and Block, and Hunter Douglas, among others.

BRENDA DIDIER (Choreographer) is thrilled to return to the Mercury and collaborate with Walter, Eugene and Andrew once again! Recent Mercury credits include The Christmas Schooner (2011-2014), Barnum, and The Color Purple.  Ms. Didier has received multiple Jeff Awards in both direction and choreography, After Dark Awards, Chicago BroadwayWorld Awards, The National Youth Theatre Award and many others. Her greatest joy is the collaboration and fellowship between actors, designers, creative teams and the audiences. Ms. Didier is the owner and artistic director of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance in its 17th successful season. Ms. Didier has directed/choreographed musicals, industrials, special events, Cirque Shanghai for 5 seasons at Navy Pier's Skyline stage, the 2011 national commercial "T-Mobile's Home for the Holidays", Leo Burnett's Leo on Ice at the Chicago Theatre, Shedd Aquarium's Fantasea, Kenny Rogers’ Christmas Tour and numerous projects here in Chicago and around the globe. Much love to Michael and my mom!

BOB KNUTH (Scenic Design) is very happy to be back at Mercury Theater Chicago after designing The Color Purple last season. Bob has been nominated for 15 Jeff Awards and received two for Scenic Design for his work at Circle Theatre. Bob is also a Jeff Award nominated director, winning for Enchanted April and Steel Magnolias. Jeff Nominations for Little Women, Philadelphia Story, Hay Fever, An Ideal Husband, The Women, Stone Cold Dead Serious, Meet Me in St. Louis, Analytical Engine, Design For Living, The Life, Triumph Of Love and The Secret Garden (Jeff Award winner for Production, nominated for Direction & Scenic Design). During the day, Bob is the Art Director for The Second City (Chicago, LA, Toronto) and UP Comedy Club.

FRANCES MAGGIO U.S.A.A.(Costume Design) is very pleased to be returning to Mercury Theater Chicago after designing The Color Purple, which she received a Jeff nomination.  She has designed for many theaters in Chicago and parts abroad. Past productions include The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (Remy Bumppo), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Raven), Gee’s Bend (Northlight), All My Sons (Milwaukee Rep), The Medium (Chicago Opera Theater), Do I Hear a Waltz? (Theater at The Center), and Chimneys (The Mystery Writer’s Festival of Kentucky). Frances is the head of the Costume Design program at Columbia College where she teaches Costume Design and Theater History and has designed over 30 productions.

MIKE ROSS (Sound Design) works as an audio consultant, designer, engineer, and system technician for a variety of clients and venues around Chicago.  Previous sound designs for Mercury Theater Chicago include Avenue Q, The Color Purple, Barnum, A Grand Night For Singing and The Christmas Schooner (2011 thru 2014).  Other recent Chicago productions include designs for Let’s Misbehave (Fox Valley Rep), Smokey Joe’s Café (Royal George Theatre), 50 Shades! The Musical (Chicago & National Tour), Operetta’s Greatest Hits (Light Opera Works), and Route 66 (Paramount Theatre), as well as engineering several productions at Marriott Theatre. Mike also serves as the audio head for Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theatre and for a variety of corporate events for the MillerCoors Company around the country.  Mike holds a BFA in Sound Design from DePaul University.  For more information visit mikerossonline.net.

MICHAEL KAISH (Assistant Musical Director/Conductor/Keyboard 1) is excited to be making his Mercury debut! He is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where he was the lead orchestrator for two Waa-Mu shows, and music directed a number of productions, including The Pirates of Penzance, Next to Normal, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Company.  Chicago credits include Sweeney Todd (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Jungle Book (Goodman Theatre), and Sense and Sensibility (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre).  He also wrote new orchestrations for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Into the Woods.  Upcoming projects include The Secret Garden at Court Theatre and The Sound of Music at BrightSide Theatre in Naperville.

KRISTI J. MARTENS* (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be back at Mercury Theater Chicago with The Addams Family after having the honor of being the PSM for Avenue Q and The Color Purple.  Some other theaters that she has worked at: Drury Lane Theater (Oakbrook Terrace),  Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Royal George Theater, Drury Lane Evergreen Park, Drury Lane Water Tower, Fox Valley Repertory, Oak Park Festival Theater, Fulton Opera House (Lancaster, PA), Theater At the Center (Munster, IN), Carousel Dinner Playhouse (Akron, OH), Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX).  A proud Equity member for over 25 years, Kristi started stage managing with children’s theater.    Enjoy!

DANIEL J. HANSON* (Assistant Stage Manager) is happy to return to Mercury Theater Chicago where he previously worked on Avenue Q and The Color Purple. Other Chicago stage management credits include Pippin and The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company); It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (American Theater Company); and Christmas on the Air (Provision Theater). A few favorite stage management credits include A Year with Frog and Toad and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (Children's Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN); To Kill a Mockingbird, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Park Square Theatre, St. Paul, MN); Queens of Burlesque (The History Theatre, St. Paul, MN); and Menopause the Musical (The Lab Theatre, Minneapolis, MN). Dan received his MFA in Stage Management from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

NEIL TOBIN (Magic Consultant) After bringing mystery to Barnum last season, Neil Tobin is honored to be back at the Mercury. He is the creator of the solo show, Supernatural Chicago, which ran for 10 years of weekly performances at Castle nightclub. Neil has advised exhibits for the Chicago History Museum and the Elmhurst Historical Society, been profiled in Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Tribune, and has performed on broadcasts for The Travel Channel, The Biography Channel, WBEZ-FM, and WGN-TV (opposite Oscar nominee Gary Sinise). He can be seen on the DVD release of the thriller, White Noise, heard on CD narrating Peter and the Werewolf with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and found performing at corporate and private events nationwide. Neil serves on the Board of Directors for the Psychic Entertainers Association, and is the recipient of a Presidential Citation from the Society of American Magicians. Details at NecromancerEvents.com.