Festival 56 announces new leadership

PRINCETON – Festival 56 launches its 15th season under the new leadership of Producing Artistic Director Tommy Iafrate and Princeton Theatre Group Board President Liana Hall.

Tommy Iafrate is a stage director, musical director, arts educator, and musician who serves as the director of musical theatre at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. He has been the Producing Artistic Director of the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, a professional summer-stock theater in Clinton, Iowa. He has also directed the world premieres of several musicals for young audiences, including “Cinderella, Too!” for Kaleidoscope Theatre, “The Awesomeness of Me” for Western Illinois University, and “Jack vs. Rapunze”l for Infinity Theatre Company. While at Infinity, Iafrate directed the Helen Hayes Award–recommended production of “Million Dollar Quartet” and “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.”

Iafrate is a member of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance, the Theatre Communications Guild, and an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He holds an MFA in Directing from Western Illinois University and a BA in both Musical Theatre and Physics from Rhode Island College.

“I am so excited to be a part of the Festival 56 family!” Iafrate says. “I have heard wonderful things about this company from so many artists that have passed through in the past. The variety of theater offerings at Festival 56 makes this company so special, and I look forward to continuing to explore what this company is capable of.”

The Princeton Theatre Group is the non-profit organization that produces Festival 56. Board President Liana Hall is a Princeton native who has been on a mission to expand fine arts in the community. She owns Designs By Liana Rae, a custom bridal and alterations studio, and the Princeton Arts Academy, a diverse arts education facility.

“In today’s fast-paced climate,” says Hall, “it is more important than ever to escape the everyday and soak up something magical. That’s exactly what the theater does for us and why I am excited to lead this Board of Directors and company into its 15th year of producing that magic, right here in Princeton, Illinois.”

Summer productions include A Year with Frog and Toad, The Addams Family, The MOMologues, Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Festival 56 also presents free Shakespeare in the Park during the month of July. This year’s play is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Season tickets and gift certificates are on sale at www.festival56.com or by calling the box office at (815) 879-5656.