Meet Our Staff

  • Crystal Lisbon
    Crystal Lisbon
    Artistic Director, Director: Peter and the Starcatcher
  • Christopher Gempp
    Christopher Gempp
    Children's Camp Director
  • Danica Carlson
    Danica Carlson
    Director- Always, Patsy Cline
  • Danielle Howard
    Danielle Howard
    Director, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Kelli Leigh-Ann Connors
    Kelli Leigh-Ann Connors
    Director/Choreographer Mamma Mia

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Crystal Lisbon
Artistic Director, Director: Peter and the Starcatcher

Crystal Lisbon (Artistic Director/Director, Peter and the Starcatcher) Crystal has been a part of Hackmatack Playhouse since 1997, appearing in productions of Dial M for Murder, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Boeing Boeing , Leading Ladies, Godspell, Wait Until Dark, The King and I, Oklahoma!, The Foreigner, Tommy, and Carousel, among many others. Her choreography has been seen at the barn in The Music Man, The Sound of Music (2013 & 2000), Godspell, The King and I, and Oklahoma! (2012 & 2001). She directed and choreographed The Fantasticks for the barn in 2017, On the Town in 2016, and West Side Story for Hackmatack’s 2015 season. Crystal holds a B.A. in Theater/Performance from The University of Vermont, where she graduated with honors. She has trained with The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon, Shakespeare and Company, and The Friches Theatre Urbain in Paris, training in the Lecqoc technique. Crystal has also toured the U.S. with The Diary of Anne Frank, and worked with The Manhattan Children’s Theater, along with additional regional and touring credits. Over the past 8 years she has been working extensively in Boston as an actor, choreographer, and dialect coach. She has performed in productions of Closer (IRNE nomination Best Play, Best Ensemble), Learn to Be Latina, Blackadder II, Gasping, Act a Lady, The Gingerbread Lady, and The Laramie Project. She has served as dialect coach for Top Girls, Jack the Ripper, And Neither Have I Wings to Fly, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, and Rooms: A Rock Romance. Locally she has been seen as an actor in All in the Timing, Metamorphoses, Arcadia, Into the Woods, and Dead Man’s Cellphone. Crystal is a classically trained ballet dancer, studying with The Seacoast Ballet Company, The Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, Bradford College Dance Company, Portland Ballet, and Anna Myer Dancers. Along with her Hackmatack credits, she has choreographed productions of Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls, Much Ado About Nothing…With a Twist, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Paint Me a Picture, excerpts from The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and various other individual dance pieces. She has previously served as the Production Manager for Great Bay Academy of Dance, and is the former Director of Dance for Camp CenterStage. In her “off season” from Hackmatack she is a ballet instructor at Joy of Dance, and an Elementary School Librarian.

Christopher Gempp
Children's Camp Director

Christopher is an elementary music teacher by day and is excited to be back again at Hackmatack Playhouse, in his second summer as Children’s Camp Director. You may have previously seen him on stage at Hackmatack as Hucklebee in The Fantasticks, The King in Once Upon a Mattress, along with the ensemble of many other shows, such as Les Miserables, Hairspray, Spamalot, and Music Man. He recently directed Little Mermaid Jr., and 9 to 5 at Garrison Players, where he serves on the board of directors and director of Youth Education. He has also run the summer camp at Garrison Players for the past 5 summers. His favorite roles have included Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest, Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol and Pete and Lendall in Almost Maine.

 

Danica Carlson
Director- Always, Patsy Cline

Danica Carlson (Director- Always, Patsy Cline) Internationally sold recording artist Danica Carlson is thrilled to be back for a fourth time for the opening show of the Hackmatack Theater’s season! You may remember seeing Danica in “Unnecessary Farce” as the delightfully dopey detective Billy Dwyer, and three years ago in the role of Belinda in “Noises Off” and after directing the show “Lend Me a Tenor” last summer, Danica could not be more excited to be directing “Always, Patsy Cline!” Danica has appeared in over 275 film, radio, voice-over and live stage performances since the age of five. She has directed, choreographed and costumed over three dozen shows through out New Hampshire and Maine, and has been a scenic charge (set painter) for over a decade. Danica has been nominated for 2 New Hampshire Theater Awards and 8 Spotlight on the Arts Awards all for Best Actress, of which she won in 2015 for her portrayal of Lady MacBeth at The Rochester Opera House. In addition to owning her own production company, Back Alley Productions, with co-founder Joi Smith, Danica spent a month performing at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 with her comedy troop Darwin’s Waiting Room, of which she has been a member since 2007. Danica is currently the Resident Director and Production Manager for the 2019/2020 theater season at The Rochester Opera House and is the Director of The Rochester Performance and Arts Center. She would like to thank Michael and Crystal for the opportunity to be at the barn for another summer, and to thank all of you for supporting the arts!

Danielle Howard
Director, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Danielle Howard (Director, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) is pleased to be returning to the barn for a third consecutive season after directing The Bridges of Madison County last summer, and She Loves Me in 2017. Danielle has worked at theatres around the country, including Indiana Repertory Theatre, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, and Shadowland Theatre.  Local directing credits include: Jane Eyre: A Musical Drama, Driving Miss Daisy, Little Women, Titanic, and South Pacific at Seacoast Repertory Theatre; A Christmas Carol with Prescott Park Arts Festival; Enchanted April, Lettice and Lovage, and The Spitfire Grill at ACT ONE, and Shrek the Musical and The Glass Menagerie at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport.  Danielle has taught theatre courses at UNH, Great Bay Community College, and Northern Essex Community College. When she’s not directing or teaching, she can be found at the Cocheco Valley Humane Society where she has been a dedicated volunteer for more than five years. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.  Special thanks to John, her longtime collaborator in theatre and life (ATIAAATIH!).

Kelli Leigh-Ann Connors
Director/Choreographer Mamma Mia

Kelli Leigh-Ann Connors (Director/Choreographer Mamma Mia) is a freelance theatre artist who has enjoyed a forty year career in the performing arts with a multitude of roles and awards to her credit. As an actor Kelli holds the distinction of having played the title role in Evita for 5 different regional theatres. As a director Kelli has more than 85 major theatre works to her credit. She has received a multitude of Spotlight nominations and is the recipient of the Best Director Award for her production of Annie at the Rochester Opera House as well as the proud recipient of the Kids Free to Grow Award given by the York County Child Abuse and Protection Agency for her work with abuse prevention theatre. Kelli feels blessed to be employed in a job where she is able to express herself creatively in many different ways. She is a performing member of Power Play, an applied theatre company who travels the country, a theatre educator in the Gifted and Talented Program for MSAD 60, and a published author of three plays through Eldridge Publishing. Audiences may remember Kelli’s return to Hackmatack two summers ago as M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias or last summer as Julia in Lend me a Tenor. This season marks Kelli’s return to Hackmatack as a director/choreographer with the popular hit musical, Mama Mia.