Meet the Team


Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts:

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Nicolas DeGrazia
Artistic Director

Nicolas DeGrazia is a six-time Emmy award-winning writer, producer, and director.  He is the co-founder and Creative Director of Bitter Jester Studios, a television/web content production company with clients including Nike, United Airlines, the American Medical Association, the US Postal Service, and Ravinia.  Nicolas is also a James Beard Award nominee, a sketch comedian with The Comic Thread (Best Group: LA Comedy Festival, Audience Choice: Chicago Fringe Fest), has a sandwich named after him(!), and is the Founder and Producer of the Bitter Jester Music Festival, which he also Co-Emcees.

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Daniel D. Drake
Executive Director

Daniel began his tenure with the Battle of the Bands when he was the Production Manager for the 2010 Battle of the Bands Grand Finale. He instantly fell in love with the event and continued acting as Production and Stage Manager for the event until 2016 when he founded The Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts with Nic, when he became the Executive Director for the Foundation. Daniel continues his role as Production Manager for the Music Festival. Daniel is a freelance Stage Manager and Production Manager for live theatre in Chicago and additional information can be found at


The Comic Thread Sketch Comedy Troupe & The Purple Shirts Live Short Story Readings:

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Dr. Matt Birnholz
The Comic Thread

Bio Coming Soon...

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Nurse Mark Sheahen
Technical Director/Stage Manager
The Comic Thread

Bio Coming Soon...

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Dr. Charles Turck
The Comic Thread

Bio Coming Soon...

Bitter Jester Music Festival:


Aaron Cody
Assistant Production Manager
Bitter Jeter Music Festival

Aaron Cody is a former competitor and current team member of Bitter Jester Music Festival. In 2015 he returned to volunteer and has since been brought on as Assistant Production Manager. He is dedicated to sharing the many opportunities afforded to him as a young music student with emerging artists. Aaron continues to study and share his joy of music through his roles in arts administration and music education.

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Christy Knapp
Raffle Manager / Office Guru
Bitter Jeter Music Festival

Bio Coming Soon...

Interested in joining our team? Click here to send us an email!