John Rea – Artistic Director and Writer/Director – graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and a Teaching Certificate (K-12). He also received an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. He was the director of Discovery Division for youth at the Walnut Street Theatre from 1995-99. He was the Literary Manager/Dramaturg for Philadelphia Theatre Company from 1997-99. For the past 25 years he has overseen all MacGuffin productions and teaches a variety of classes there. He has directed several film projects for MacGuffin including: More Than Anything (2018), Clueless, After Midnight Scream for Monty Python’s Ghostbusting Brother, Getting Out and Chasing the MacGuffin (documentary), Happy Birthday and A Real Kiss. He has composed music to many shows including Arcadia and The Women of Argos. As a playwright/composer/lyricist he has written The Skeleton Woman, Mak and the Shepherds, Cinderella Story, More Than Anything, The Three Trees, As I Do (Playwriting Award, Cleveland Public Theatre), The Lost, The Cruel Sister, A Place Called Up, The Tale of Orpheus, Mischief Manor, Dodger, The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, The Fiery Furnace, Eden, The Witches, Wendy’s Story, Jonah and the Big Fish and Vito, The Snakes of Fangore (Jackie White Memorial Prize, 3rd place), The 13 Clocks, The Bees, and Sorceress. He has taught music and drama in the Philadelphia School District and the Delaware County School District. Next up: directing Legally Blonde this summer and writing a new musical for youth called, The Mayor’s Shoes.
Jen Jaynes – Associate Artistic Director, Director – is a graduate from Kutztown University (2007) with a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Performance and an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. Following her undergraduate studies, she apprenticed with Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem, PA. There she studied clown, Le Coque, and creating original ensemble works. Jen is an active performer with Without a Cue Productions (15+ years), an interactive theatre company for which she has written shows, performed directed, and was the Director of Business Development. In 2009, she helped start up High Dramma, Philadelphia’s premier sketch comedy group, for which she throughly enjoyed acting and writing. At MacGuffin, she has directed several productions such as Wicked, Legally Blonde Jr, Annie Jr, High School Musical, Shrek the Musical Jr., Descendants and High School Musical 2. She also directs MacGuffin’s comedy improv troupe, This Side Up. She lives in Manayunk with her husband Brandon, step-son Oliver, one-eyed cat Buzz, two parakeets, and a school of 30+ guppies. Up next: Jen directs She Kills Monsters which opens February 2024!
Liz Fredette – Director in Residence, Director, Choreographer – has been involved in theatre, in some way or another, since 1986 when she had the leading role in her 1st grade play. Twenty-plus years later, she’s still here! Liz attended Sarah Lawrence College where she earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Education, with a focus on theatre education and acting. Liz has been working with John and MacGuffin since 2003, where she has functioned as: Associate Artistic Director. Director; Assistant Director; Choreographer; Stage Manager; Costume, Set, and Props Designer; and Instructor. She is the resident choreographer for MacGuffin’s cabaret troupe The Singin’ Bohemians and co-director of The Mechanicals Acting Troupe. She has directed and choreographed shows at many schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, including: The Philadelphia School, Germantown Friends School, Chester Arthur Elementary, and Greenfield Elementary School. Over the years, she has worked with several theatres and theatre outreach programs in Philadelphia and New York, including Arden Theatre Company and Lunchbox Theatre Outreach (2003 Arts Award, Education for Outreach Theatre Program; 2003 Sarah Lawrence College Community Service Award). Liz is also the Administrative Manager at Lombard Swim Club where she has worked in some capacity since she was 16 years old, and founded and still directs Poolside Players, a summer drama program. Next up? Directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream this Spring
Brian Cowden– Fight Choreographer and Instructor
Emma Ditnes – Instructor
Tina Lynch – Choreographer and Instructor
Adrienne Maitland-Laguda – Choreographer
Joey Schulman– Director and Instructor
Caleb Tracy – Choreographer
MacGuffin Board of Directors
Jane Allsopp, President
Kristin McKenna, Treasurer
Meredith Brandt, Secretary