Musical Theatre Senior, Pre-Professional
Artistic Director and Owner of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, Ms. Brenda Didier is also an accomplished director and choreographer. She has received 31 Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, the “Jeff’s”, receiving 7 Jeff Awards in Direction and 7 Jeff Awards in Choreography. Ms. Didier is also the recipient of the 2018 Guy Adkins Award for the advancement of Musical Theatre in Chicago, 2 After Dark Awards, 2 Choreography Awards from the Society of Theatre Artists and Friends, the National Youth Theatre Award, Chicago Broadway World’s fan favorite 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 Choreography Award, 2016 Director Award and has been listed in the Chicago Sun Times Top 5 for Musical Theatre Choreography in 2009, 2010, 2014 & 2017. Ms. Didier and the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance were honored to be featured in the national dance magazine Dance Studio Life’s January 2012 issue promoting live music in the classroom alongside prestigious university, conservatory and professional dance programs. Ms. Didier brings her professional experience to the academy and surrounds the students with a diverse, talented and passionate staff. She hopes each student leaves LAD with an inspiring, educational and memorable experience and realizes their dream that anything is possible.
Ms. Didier made her TV Choreography debut in December 2011 with the National TV Commercial, T-Mobile’s “Home for the Holidays”, directed by Emmy nominee Alphonso Gomez-Rejon (“Glee”, “American Horror Story”) with Darek Wolski (“Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Alice in Wonderland” ) Director of Photography at the helm. She worked alongside Cheri Steinkellner, Emmy Award winning writer of “Cheers”, “Family Ties”, “Jeffersons”, etc. on her new musical “Hello! My Baby” as part of Music Theatre International’s student pilot production at Bradford Theatre Arts.
Ms. Didier began dancing at age 8, dancing professionally at age 16 and teaching and choreographing at age 24. She was a member of both the University of Illinois Illinettes and DePaul University’s cheerleading squad. She danced lead roles in numerous musicals, theme parks & industrials often serving as the dance captain at various theatres and venues including Light Opera Works, Drury Lane Theatres, Theatre at the Center, the Fireside Theatre, Skylight Opera Theatre, Six Flags Great America, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia and many others.
In 1999 she founded the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance at 300 Village Green in Lincolnshire and expanded to its current location in 2011.
Ms. Didier received her training (receiving many talent scholarships) in all styles of dance from Elizabeth Campbell, Bentley Stone, Walter Camryn and studied on a full dance scholarship at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana.
As a dance educator, she has over 30 years experience in the areas of ballet, jazz, pointe, and musical theatre. Ms. Didier has served as a guest teacher/choreographer at Columbia College, The University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin/Parkside, Carthage College and Northwestern University.
At the high school level, Ms. Didier has choreographed 4 mainstage shows for the International Thespian Festival- all MTI world premiere student editions on behalf of Bradford Theatre Arts: “Aida”, “Rent”, “Hello! My Baby” and the National High School cast of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, which earned her and LAD tap teacher Christie Kerr the 2007 National Youth Theatre Award for Best Choreography.
She has served as a technique coach for Stevenson High School’s Varsity Patriettes and choreographed Stevenson High School’s 2009 production of “Les Miserables” for the Theatre Department.
As a freelance choreographer/director, credits include directing the 41st, 42nd, 43rd & 44th Non-Equity Jeff Awards at the Park West & the Athenaeum Theatre, The Miss Illinois Pageant, the Kenny Rogers Christmas Tour, Mayor Richard Daley’s Millenium campaign for the City of Chicago, Second City, The State Street Thanksgiving Day Parade, the One Minute Play Festival at Victory Gardens, mainstage shows and parades for Six Flags and Busch Gardens theme parks, industrials including the 2012 hit “Leo On Ice” for Leo Burnett Worldwide Advertising Company and over 80 musicals. She traveled to China to choreograph Cirque Shanghai, on behalf of International Special Attractions. The productions played to sold out houses at Navy Pier’s Skyline Stage the summers of 2007-2011 and followed with engagements at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, Harrah’s in Las Vegas and The New Victory Theatre in New York’s Broadway District.
Ms. Didier’s work has been seen at The Chicago Theatre, The Royal George Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Stage 773, Victory Gardens, Theatre Wit, Silk Road Rising, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, The Apollo, Mercury Theater Chicago, The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Bailiwick Chicago, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Emerald City Theatre, Teatro Vista, The House of Blues, Theatre on the Lake, Stage Left, City Lit, Second City, the Park West and includes 3 World Premieres, 5 Chicago Premieres and 1 American Premiere. Ms. Didier is honored to have worked alongside national and international directors including Tony Award winner David Cromer (Director- “The Band’s Visit”), Chuck Smith, Steve Scott, Devanand Janki, Sylvia Hase, Dwight Jordan, Maio Maio Chen, David Zak, Walter Stearns, Michael Weber, Ricardo Guitterez, Mark Lococco, Rob Lindley, Fred Anzevino and artists with Broadway, Film, TV and recording credits including Kenny Rogers and Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung.
Ms. Didier is most proud of her students, the academy’s charity efforts to help others in need and the LAD Scholarship Program.