Meet the Team


Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts:

Screenshot 2018-04-22 13.28.17.jpg

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.

dan d drake.jpg

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


Bitter Jester Music Festival:

Christy_Maggie Instagram Headshot.png

Christy Knapp
Director of Audience Services
Bitter Jester Music Festival

Christy Knapp is volunteer team member of the Bitter Jester Music Festival focusing on audience relations. An educator by trade, Christy is a teacher at Bartlett Academy of Math, Science, and High Technology in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program. Behind-the-scenes, Christy also helps coordinate and organize the Bitter Jester Music Fest as well as overseeing the audience raffles. Her daughter, Maggie, volunteers for the festival during the summers as well.

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

Matt Birnholz.jpg

Dr. Matt Birnholz
The Comic Thread

Mark Sheahen.jpg

Nurse Mark Sheahen
Technical Director/Stage Manager
The Comic Thread

Charles Turck.jpg

Dr. Charles Turck
The Comic Thread

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