CVPA Dean Paul Kassel to direct outdoor performances of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for Kane County Repertory Theatre

CVPA Dean Paul Kassel to direct outdoor performances of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for Kane County Repertory Theatre

Paul KasselKane Repertory Theatre, in partnership with the St. Charles Park District, presents a live outdoor production of the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet at the Historic Pavilion on the Fox River. The play, is directed by Northern Illinois University’s Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and Geneva resident, Paul Kassel. It premieres August 12 at 7 p.m. and runs through August with its last show at 2 p.m. on August 29. Tickets can be purchased here.

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a long feud between the Montague and Capulet families disrupts the city of Verona and causes tragic results. With a 17 person cast, Kane Repertory Theatre brings a contemporary edge to this world classic.

“The story of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is one of the most enduring tales in our world,” Kassel said. “It is a story of true love, a story of ancient conflicts between rivals; a story of what damage can be done in the name of family, loyalty, and unthinking passion. And as old as this story is, it is also current, and appears almost every day in the news across the world – it can even find its way into our own schools, neighborhoods, and homes.”

“Kane Rep’s staging of Romeo and Juliet honors an ancient tradition of storytelling, using simple means to express profound truths. Where a stick might become a sword, or a cap a crown, a lone figure a teeming crowd. When you join us for this beautiful play by the river, we invite you to do as Shakespeare said and allow us to ‘on your imaginary forces work.’”

Paul Kassel is a professional actor, director, writer, and theater educator. Paul worked Off Broadway, including a year in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom at the famous Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, and off-off Broadway, in regional theaters, and appeared in several films and television shows. Before moving to Illinois, Paul directed and performed with Halfmoon Theatre Company in Poughkeepsie, NY, for which he directed Is He Dead, Good People, and Almost, Maine. Other professional direction include God of Carnage (River City Repertory) and What Remains: Long Island Stories of 9/11 for Asylum Theatre Company, of which he was a founding member. A long time university professor, favorite college productions include, As You Like It, The Government Inspector, Lysistrata (which he adapted and co-wrote music) at Bradley University; A Shayna Maidel, A Doll House and The Rover (Stony Brook University), and A Flea in Her Ear, Babes in Arms, Measure for Measure and Macbeth (State University of New York at New Paltz).  He continues to act and direct professionally, most recently as the “Stage Manager” in Our Town, produced by the Kane Repertory Theatre Company.  Paul received his M.F.A. from Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Professional Actor Training. He is a proud member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA. Paul Kassel is Dean for the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts and a professor in the School of Theatre and Dance.

The cast of “Romeo and Juliet” includes Max Stewart (Romeo), Leiren Jackson (Juliet), Rosalind Hurwitz (Nurse), Al Hermann (Friar Laurence), Avery Fountain (Benvolio), Daniil Krimer (Mercutio), Joseph Metcalfe (Tybalt), Avery Bowne (Paris), Brian Koester (Lord Capulet), Mary Nigohosian (Lady Capulet), Joel Ottenheimer (Prince), Tom Ochocinski (Lord Montague), Anne Wrider (Lady Montague), and Reginald Hemphill, Vincent Juarez, Sophia Arnold, Jill Marlow (Ensemble), with Luke Harmon as the Stage Manager.


Kane Repertory Theatre, in partnership with the St. Charles Park District, presents a live outdoor production of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare directed by Paul Kassel. Regular run performances are Aug 12-13, 17-19, 25-27 at 7pm and Aug 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 Adults, (ages 19-59) $25 Seniors (ages 60+) $15 Students (ages 3-18). This play is recommended for all ages. For tickets or more information visit the box office online.

About Kane Repertory Theatre

Kane Repertory Theatre is a professional 501(c)(3) non-profit theater company located in St. Charles, Ill. By using visceral performance to explore values in America, Kane works to spark conversation, evoke empathy, and strengthen the community. Under the leadership of Executive Director Avery Bowne and Artistic Director Daniil Krimer, Kane Repertory Theatre strives to be one of the Midwest’s leading regional theaters through new play development, reimagining classics, and forming an ensemble of dynamic artists, while providing patrons of all ages with first-class theatre education and engaging new audiences through various outreach efforts.



Still time to sign up for summer online arts camps

Still time to sign up for summer online arts camps

The NIU Community School of the Arts is offering online summer camps for kids ages 11-19 (grades 6-12).

Have fun and make lifelong friends while exploring your love of performing and visual arts. Faculty, staff and alumni from the College of Visual and Performing Arts will help you experience life as an artist and meet mentors in the arts.


Theatre Arts Camp Junior (grades 6-9) and Senior (grades 9-12)

Experience theatre warmups, workshops, production rehearsals, a talent show ands a final online performance with NIU Theatre faculty member Kendra Holton and her amazing camp staff.


Visual Arts Camp

Meet talented high school artists and work directly with NIU alumni artists and arts educators to improve foundational design skills, explore new media and methods, learn to prepare a college portfolio and more.


NIU Jazz Camp

Work with NIU jazz faculty Geof Bradfield, Bobby Broom and others to improve understanding of jazz music and history and polish performance and improvisational skills on your instrument.

Register today for Summer in the Arts camps in music, theatre and art online.

First-Generation Huskie Daniil Krimer, grows Kane Repertory Theatre

First-Generation Huskie Daniil Krimer, grows Kane Repertory Theatre

When Daniil Krimer graduated with his M.F.A. in acting in 2019, he had no way of knowing the kinds of changes that were on the horizon.

When he founded the Kane Repertory Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois, in 2019 and became its artistic director, he had no idea that the world—and particularly the theater arts world—would grind to a halt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic soon after. But through creative adaptation, Krimer and his partner, Managing Director Avery Bowne, M.F.A. ’19, have found new and impressive ways to deliver fine theater to audiences during this unprecedented time.

“My job as artistic director is one that is often sporadic and doesn’t have a set schedule,” Krimer said. “It usually involves Avery and I, starting the day with a phone call, talking through everything that has to be done for the day. Some days that includes being on the phone with agents, sometimes that’s reading a bunch of new plays, and sometimes that is putting together marketing and press release materials.”

But in a new virtual world, the work of an artistic director has had to be even more reactive and flexible than ever.

“There is such a long way to go, but I do think Avery and I did something which was deemed impossible by most performing arts organizations—we grew during COVID,” he said. “We were able to innovate ways to grow the size of our network, audience reach, and donors, all during this awful period of COVID-19. I think that is definitely an accomplishment.”

Attracting up-and-coming playwrights and Oscar-nominated stars has been one way Krimer and his company have maintained success during a challenging time.

Running from April 10-May 2, the Kane Repertory Theatre hosted the world premiere online production of Hammaad Chaudry’s “Security. The cast included Academy Award and three-time Golden Globe nominee Eric Roberts, as Homeland Security agent Brian, playing opposite Harsh J. Gagoomal’s Riaz. When 17-year-old Riaz arrives from Britain to the United States for the first time and is stopped at the airport by a Homeland Security officer named Brian, the experience changes his life forever. Thirteen years later, a grown up Riaz returns to the United States, hunts down Brian at his home, and now interrogates him, returning the favor.

The online production was a blend of film and theatre. Green screens and professional film set-ups will be sent to the cast in their individual locations, and with  the work of a top-notch video editor, the final production will look and feel as if both actors are sharing the same space.

Krimer credits NIU with helping him build his acting skills as well as his ability to ignite passion for the arts in others, even in the face of adversity.

“One of my favorite memories from my time at NIU is teaching the THEA 110 Acting Fundamentals for the non-major students,” he said. “I got to teach acting to a lot of non-majors, and it was always so exciting to inspire passion for the art form to someone who registered for the class just to get a general education credit out of the way.”

Krimer went to graduate school because he wanted to be in control of his craft as an actor.

“I wanted my craft to be tangible, offering strong performances with consistency,” he said. “NIU provided me with the classes and learning opportunities to develop that skill. It really was in some ways the perfect place for me to grow. I don’t know that there is another M.F.A. acting program in the country that would have resonated with me the way NIU did.”

Krimer is clear that he chose to attend NIU because of Patricia Skarbinski, the head of the University’s M.F.A. acting program.

“After I interviewed with her and took a workshop with her in New York City back in 2016, I knew NIU was the school for me,” he said. ”Patricia Skarbinski is more than a teacher. She is a guru. I learned so much from her I don’t know where to start. She and a handful of other professors taught me the craft of acting, and I left school being confident that you could give me any play, TV or film script or commercial copy, and I would be bring that text to life. What those professors did for me is no small feat.”

Krimer also said his graduate school allowed him to form deep bonds with his classmates, which proved to be a great beginning for the theater.

“Considering I spent all three years of graduate school with the same 15 people, a majority of the classmates I graduated with are my dear friends,” Krimer said. “Starting a theater company with my classmate, Avery, grew from this foundation. The reason we are compatible professionally is because our time in graduate school together has instilled a deep understanding of one another’s artistic, entrepreneurial and societal sensibilities.”

So, after such surprise success, what is Krimer’s advice to other actors who may be discouraged in their careers by this difficult moment in history?

“Do not put yourself in a box. Do not live your life thinking there is a ceiling for your future,” he said. “So many people create boundaries for themselves without letting themselves actually take risks. Challenge yourself to apply for that scholarship or fellowship that you think you might not be worthy of. Challenge yourself to reach out to one of your industry idols and try to set up a meeting. We only have one shot at this thing called life, and every opportunity you don’t take a chance on is an opportunity wasted.”