Staff and Board of Directors

Kal Poole

Managing Director

Kal began his theatre career at Grandstreet when he was five years old and learned most everything he knows from theatre school. A proud recipient of the Wib and Esther M. Harrer Memorial Scholarship, Kal went on to The University of Idaho for a BFA in Acting. He worked for three years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he earned his Actor’s Equity card and spent time in several regional theaters before graduate school. At The Ohio State University he earned an MFA in Acting and the Creation of New Work. In 2007 he co-founded Whistling in the Dark Theatre Co. in Columbus, Ohio where he served as Managing Director. Kal joined the Ohio State Theatre Department faculty in 2009 and spent three years teaching at OSU Marion before returning to Montana. Since 2012 Kal has served as Managing Director of Grandstreet. He has the best job on the planet and is thrilled to be home.


Jeff Downing

Artistic Director

Jeff is originally from Chillicothe, Ohio and received a BFA in Theater Design and Production from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Jeff has been directing, teaching, and designing professionally since 2003. Some of his directorial credits include Into the Woods, A New Brain, Zanna Don’t!, Urinetown, Grand Hotel, Seussical, The Laramie Project, A Man of No Importance, Pippin, Marvin’s Room, and Captain Louie. He has written two original musicals for PGT with collaborator Barry James; Once Upon a Time and Toby and Walter. At Grandstreet, Jeff has directed The Secret Garden and Lucky Stiff. He has played some of his favorite roles on the Grandstreet stage, including the Baker in Into the Woods, Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Chip in Spelling Bee and Man One in Songs For a New World. Jeff has served as Artistic Director at Grandstreet since 2102.


Marianne Adams

Director of Education

Marianne received her BFA in Theatre Arts from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Marianne has directed many mainstage productions for Grandstreet, most recently Elf JrTarzan, Rock of Ages, A Christmas Carol, Oklahoma, The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee, Big River, Ragtime, and Songs for a New World . She teaches acting classes for the Theatre School (greatest kids in town). She has also worked as a mentor and artist-in-residence in the Helena Public Schools and surrounding areas.

Marianne was the 2015 Runner-up for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award presented by The Broadway League and Carnegie Mellon University at The Tony Awards. She is also a Freddie G. Fellowship award recipient for 2018.


Paige O’Neill

Technical Director

Paige is from the Pacific Northwest, most recently Missoula, and holds a BFA in Technical Theatre from the University of Montana.  Paige is thrilled to be the new Technical Director at Grandstreet Theatre.  Previous theatrical credits for Technical Direction include Arsenic and Old Lace at Fort Peck Summer Theatre and Barefoot in the Park for the Montana Repertory Theatre.  She has also been a tour actor and director with Missoula Children’s Theatre.  Paige would like to thank Denise Ness, Gary O’Neill and Lilly Olson.


Jackie Hanson-Felber

Box Office Manager, Administrative Assistant

Jackie Hanson-Felber is a hometown girl, whose love of theatre was developed very early on with a performance at Grandstreet of ‘Bridge to Terabithia’. She has done volunteer stage work for Gypsy and Honk. She also did Theatre throughout High School, both at Capital and Helena High. She is over the moon to join the Grandstreet family as the new Box Office Manger/ Administrative Assistant!

When she’s out of the Box Office she enjoys her other full time job as a mom to three amazing kids, cooking, painting, gardening, shopping with her mom and mining for sapphires with her wonderful husband.


Dee Smith

Project Manager

Dee found his way to Grandstreet Theatre in 2004 after graduating from Carroll College with a B.A. in Acting, Directing and Design Technology.  Dee worked on many shows during this time including: acting in Deathtrap, Love, Sex, and the I.R.S., and I Hate Hamlet. He directed a number of shows such as: The Glass Menagerie, Frankenstein, Arsenic and Old Lace and Greetings, and It’s a Wonderful Life. He also designed and worked on many shows.  Dee found his way to Idaho State University where he earned his Masters degree in Performing Arts.  Since his return to Helena, Dee has been very busy at Grandstreet. He acts, directs, designs light and sound, and works on fundraising projects in his free time.


Karen Hicks

Finance Manager

Karen joined the Grandstreet family in 2015 as the Finance Manager bringing absolutely no artistic skills, but she can at least keep the books straight! Karen graduated from the University of Montana with a B.S. in Business and Accounting and then moved to Helena. Karen retired from Heritage Propane in 2013 as its Vice President of Finance and Administration after working there for over 25 years. Karen now spends her time working part-time at Grandstreet, is currently on the Board at St. Peter’s Health and on its Finance Committee, on the Board at First Security Bank of Helena and is the financial accountant/treasurer for Saint John’s Lutheran Church. Karen and her husband Garry are avid supporters of the Helena Arts Community, but especially partial to Grandstreet. Their children’s involvement in Grandstreet’s Theatre School Program introduced them to Grandstreet 20 years ago and they have been involved ever since.


Theatre School Faculty

Retta Leaphart

Retta Leaphart holds a BA in Acting and Directing (Middlebury College) and an MFA in Theater  (Sarah Lawrence College). Retta is the Education Coordinator for the Myrna Loy Center and an Artistic Consultant for Trusty Sidekick Theatre Company. She has taught for the New Victory Theater, Disney Theatrical Group, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Sitka Fine Arts Camp. Retta directed Sense and Sensibility, The Giver, Speech and Debate, Our Town and Still Life with Iris at Grandstreet Theatre.

Martha Sprague

Martha has a Theatre from Arizona State University. Recent Grandstreet credits include directing Madagascar JR. and Mrs. Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. She has been a full time Grandstreet Theatre school instructor for over 25 years.

Molly Somerville

Hailing from the Hi-Line (Shelby), Molly is happy to call Helena home. She received her degree in theatre from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. After graduation she spent a year touring the state of South Dakota with Dakota Players. Molly spent 5 years in Chicago where she performed with Oracle Theatre and worked with Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop. She is excited to be a part of the Grandstreet community and, when not teaching or performing, can be found creating online educational content for associations and playing her biggest role yet – Mom!

Board of Directors

Grandstreet Theatre is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. We are steered by a superb Board of Directors, and are always grateful for their advice and guidance.

2019-20 Board of Directors

Box Office: (406) 447-1574

Business Office: (406) 442-4270

Monday-Friday Noon to 5 PM

325 North Park Helena, MT