The Highland Park Players (or HPP) is a non-profit organization with the purpose of enriching, educating, and entertaining our community by providing area residents the opportunity to attend and participate in a superior theatre experience.
The non-profit organization was founded in 1988 by Susan Haimes, Lois Israel, and Donna Lubow. The vision of the Board of Directors is to provide an accessible, hands-on theatre for the city of Highland Park. The Highland Park Players has been a stepping stone for actors to go onto renowned regional theatres, Off-Broadway, Broadway, and even international singing fame.
The Highland Park Players, an affiliate of the Park District, meet once a quarter and the Board of Directors consists entirely of volunteers. HPP’s season is a two show season of a fall musical, children’s musical, along with workshops, and, when resources allow, a summer show. When available, all activities are held in Highland Park facilities.
The Highland Park Players has had the good fortune of producing some of the most recognizable shows in theatre history. In 2013, the organization was recognized with two BroadwayWorld Chicago awards for their production of Cats.
It is a source of pride that over the course of the last decade, Highland Park Players has become one of the most respected community theatres on the North Shore. HPP has learned the art of theatre, had great fun, remembered wonderful stories, and in the process fulfilled our mission: providing high quality theatre to our patrons, involving the community.
HPP has been featured all across the media from ABC7, WGN-TV, WGN Radio, WCIU, and a multitude of print and online publications.
To offer up an insight on how the Highland Park Players are run, we want to introduce you to three of the board members. All three of these individuals, along with the other 12 members, provide their own voice and exemplary contributions — not only for the board, but for each and every production.
Bradley A. Rose, President of the Highland Park Players since 2001.
Bradley A. Rose started with the Highland Park Players in 1996 when he was cast as a ‘Pirate’ in their production of Peter Pan. He joined the board in 1997 and became Board President in November, 2001. Over the years, Bradley has performed in over a dozen productions on the HPP stage, and this past fall, MAMMA MIA! marked the 25th show he has Produced for the company. By day, Bradley is the SVP of Game Development for Everi, leading a top-notch Game Studio in Chicago, the creators of the uber popular Shark Week slot machine. In 2002 Bradley met his wife, Hannah, in the HPP show Big The Musical, and they now have two kids who never miss a HPP show! Bradley constantly works with the HPP Board on pushing the envelope for amazing theatrical productions. Whether it’s renting flying equipment to make actors fly on stage, or mounting a production of Avenue Q, he never wants HPP to steer away from shows, concepts, or workshops that pose tough challenges. “Take the risk or lose the chance!”
David Shaw, Vice President and founding board member
David Shaw, and his wife Myrna, are both founding board members who have seen the Highland Park Players grow and mature throughout the years. He has taken great pleasure in contributing to the Players’ transition from its first awkward on-stage attempt 33 years ago, to an experienced, quality theater group, respected as one of the top community theatres in the area, and even the state. David has been featured as a performer in numerous HPP productions, and has more recently stepped into the role of producer, with credits including, The Pajama Game, On The Town, and MAMMA MIA!. Professionally, he is a practicing real estate attorney specializing in land use matters.
Jacob Cohen, PR & Marketing Director
Jacob Cohen joined the board in 2012, focusing on Public Relations. Being on the board of directors has helped Jacob, a self-taught Public Relations specialist, obtain much exposure in the community. Jacob’s work has brought him to some of the most renowned PR agencies in the Chicago area, but truly owes his success to the work started when joining the Highland Park Players. Jacob is a performer by trade. He has been on the HPP stage over the last nine years in a multitude of roles and has served as the publicist for nearly all the shows (mainstage and TYA) since joining the board. Jacob is pleased to help bring a local and professional style theatre to the local and statewide spotlight!
“2020 Board of Directors: President, Bradley A. Rose, Vice President, David Shaw and Ira Rosenthal, Secretary, Carol Lee Wax, Treasurer, Sean Blitzstein, Jacob Cohen, Henry Gessner, Naomi Hershman, Marty Karlin, Lisa Panizo, Peter Rasey, Scott Schwartz, Myrna Shaw, Mike Weaver, and Holly Weis.”
To find out more about the Highland Park Players, you can go to www.highlandparkplayers.com
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Photo credit: Highland Park Players