Founded in 2018 by Denise Hoeflich and Ted James, Compass Theatre was created with the goal to optimize professional performance and leadership opportunities for the diverse array of array of artists in Chicago.
By remaining non-ensemble based, Compass Theatre maximizes casting opportunities for Chicago based actors to work in a Professional Equity Setting.
Compass Theatre aims to launch or further careers in artistic leadership for the diverse community of artists in Chicago. We accomplish this by offering artistic leadership positions at Compass with designated term limits. Those who serve as artistic leaders at Compass gain invaluable collaborative working skills including season planning, fiscal responsibility and working with a Board of Directors at a Professional Equity Theatre. Those persons then take these skills and experiences and expand their careers, perhaps opening doors that were previously closed.
We are committed to only performing in smaller venues. This allows us to focus on its goal to optimize opportunities for others rather than growing for its own namesake.
Compass Theatre is committed to the standards and practices of Not In Our House. Learn more by visiting their website.
Board and Administration
JANE FORESTER Director
Dr. Jane Forester, joined Allied Benefits Systems, Inc. in 2012 as Allied’s Medical Director. Allied is a national healthcare solutions company founded in 1980. Allied is the largest, independent third-party administrator in the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a Master’s degree from The University of California, Berkeley and earned her Medical Degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency in Family Practice at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Il. Dr. Forester practiced medicine in the private sector for many years before joining Allied. Dr. Forester has been involved in many volunteer positions through the medical community and through her children’s schools and extra-curricular activities.
DENISE HOEFLICH Board President/Executive Director/Founder
Denise Hoeflich is a working actor in Chicago and a graduate of the Conservatory at BlackBox Acting. Denise holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from the New England School of law. Denise practiced law as a litigator in Illinois for many years before working full time as an actor in Chicago. In addition to serving as executive director of Compass Theatre, Denise currently serves on the grant committee for the Evergreen Invitational. Evergreen Invitational is a not-for-profit that, in partnership with The Woman's Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, funds initiatives that primarily support women in programs that are historically underfunded. Denise previously served as Board President of Halcyon Theatre in Chicago. Other philanthropic leadership roles have included positions with the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Soul of a Powerful Woman (Black Ensemble Theatre), Have Dreams (non-profit supporting programming for autistic children and young adults), FIDF (Friends of the Israel Defense), and the Glencoe Junior High Project.
JULIE LEVINE Secretary
Julie Levine currently works for a non-for-profit college access program, The Schuler Program, which sends first generation, low-income students to select private liberal arts colleges. She has a background in social work, receiving her BA from the University of Michigan and her MA in Social Work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. Earlier in her career, Julie spent many years as a social worker in the Chicago Public School system, where she worked with students ranging in age from 8 to 18. Julie also spent many years on the Auxiliary Board of Planned Parenthood where she served in many roles, from member at large to vice-president to co-president. In the years when Julie’s children were young, she spent several years volunteering for the PTO at the elementary school serving in various capacities, including multiple committee chairs as well as vice president.
LESA RIZZOLO Treasurer
Lesa Rizzolo is the Owner of L.A. Rizzolo Architects. She started her North Shore firm over 25 years ago and she focuses her work on residential projects - small and large. She combines her knowledge of design and building, with her passion for preservation, creating a full range of services in the housing industry. Lesa received her B.S. in Architecture from the University of Illinois, and is Registered Architect in the States of Illinois and Wisconsin. Lesa also owns Keeping Pace, a company that specializes in organizing and managing homes. Lesa has been a resident in Chicago for the last 35 years, and an active participant and leader on various Village and School Boards. Previous Professional Board positions include: Chairman – Glencoe Historic Preservation Commission-2005-2010, Glencoe Historic Preservation Commission-2001-2010, Member of the Glencoe Planning Commission-2007-2010, Founding member of the Glencoe Contextual Design Review Commission 2005-2008, and the Sacred Heart Church – Building and Grounds Commission-2010-2014.Other Board positions include Board of Directors Compass Theatre, Halcyon Theatre Board, New Trier Fine Arts Board, and the Glencoe Jr High Project. Lesa has been involved, along with providing Pro Bono architectural work for Beacon Place (Waukegan), Lydia House (Chicago), and Sacred Heart Church (Winnetka).
FELICE ROSE Director
Felice Rose is a Commercial Real Estate Attorney at Schiff Hardin LLP, an AmLaw 200 Law firm located in Chicago. Felice has spent more than 25 years representing national commercial developers, landlords, tenants and public companies, privately held companies and high net worth individuals. She is direct, responsive, innovative and a deal-maker. Felice also takes an active role in guiding the future of Schiff Hardin. She is a member of the Diversity Committee and chaired the Gender Diversity Subcommittee for seven years. Felice received her B.A., from University of Michigan and her J.D. from University of Illinois College of Law. Felice once played Rosie in “Bye Bye Birdie” in 7th Grade and thereafter, in the best interests of the audience, decided to support theater in a different way post production … She’s now an avid theater-goer.
CAITLIN BODY Director
Caitlin Body has been a stage manager since 2014 and turned equity in 2019. She grew up in a small town in Iowa and is happy to be in Chicago. Compass Theatre was where she got her card and since then been working consistently with Equity theaters until COVID hit. She is a founding member of Stage Managers of Color – Chicago to help stage managers of color be heard and have a place to go to meet other stage managers of color. She has done over 20 productions all around Chicago. Some of her favorites are La Havana Madrid with Teatro Vista, Sketchbook with Collaboraction, and the MLK Project with Writers Theatre. Other Chicago shows include: What We're Up Against (Compass Theatre); The Comedy of Errors, Andares (Chicago Shakespeare) Forgotten Future, Gender Breakdown, Connected, Encounter, Blue Island, Peacebook (Collaboraction); For Her as a Piano (Pegasus Theatre); Wild Duck (Halcyon Theatre); Julia De Burgos: Child of Water (Urban Theater Company); Pen the Musical (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival). FILM: production manager for Heath Takes a Trip. EDUCATION: BFA in theatre arts, The Theatre School at DePaul University. She hopes once COVID is over she can go back to work and keep her career going.
Robert Salazar Director
Robert Salazar is a content creator based in Chicago. His 2020 portfolio includes writing jokes for the Onion, directing a sitcom for the US Government, and co-creating "Waltzer TV," a freewheeling variety show that "tours" the country showcasing artists from different cities + Chicago's own best acts. His past credits include video and writing work for p3 Mediaworks, Good Evening with Pat Whalen, and Family Bridges/Lazos de Famila, where Robert currently serves as the Senior Content Producer. Robert holds a BA in Theatre and Comparative American Studies from Oberlin College. As you might guess, he is proud to build on what that education got started.