Gary Griffin (Director/Associate Artistic Director) in his tenure at Chicago Shakespeare Theater has directed A Flea in Her Ear, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, The Herbal Bed, Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet. Broadway directing credits include The Color Purple (11 Tony Nominations including Best Musical) and The Apple Tree (Tony Nomination Best Musical Revival). Mr. Griffin also directed the ongoing national tour of The Color Purple. Off Broadway credits include: The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English, The New Moon (Encores!) and Beautiful Thing. London credits include Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse (Olivier Award-Outstanding Musical Production and Olivier Award nomination for Best Director). His regional credits include work with the McCarter Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Signature Theatre and Hartford Stage. Chicago credits include work with Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Pegasus Players and Famous Door Theatre. He has received eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing.
Stephen Sondheim (Music and Lyrics) one of the most influential and accomplished composer/lyricists in Broadway history, was born in New York City and raised in New York and Pennsylvania. As a teenager he met Oscar Hammerstein II, who became Sondheim’s mentor. Sondheim graduated from Williams College, where he received the Hutchinson Prize for Music Composition. After graduation he studied music theory and composition with Milton Babbitt. He worked for a short time in the 1950s as a writer for the television show Topper. His first professional musical theatre job was as the songwriter for the unproduced musical Saturday Night. He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965), as well as additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Musicals for which he has written both music and lyrics include: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970–71 Tony Award Music and Best Lyrics), Follies (1971–72 Tony Award Score and New York Drama Critics Circle Award; revised in London, 1987), A Little Night Music (1973 Tony Award Score), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award), Sweeney Todd (1979 Tony Award Score), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984 New York Drama Critics Circle Award; 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Into the Woods (1987 Tony Award Score), Assassins (1991) and Passion (1994 Tony Award Score). He composed the songs for the television production Evening Primrose (1966), co-authored the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and provided incidental music for The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961) and Twigs (1971). Anthologies of his work include: Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me A Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983; originally presented as A Stephen Sondheim Evening) and Putting It Together (1993). He has written scores for the films Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981), and composed songs for the film Dick Tracy (1990 Academy Award for Best Song). He is on the Council of the Dramatist Guild, the national association of playwrights, composers and lyricists, having served as its president from 1973 until 1981, and in 1983 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990 he was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University. He was also recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993.
James Lapine (Book) also collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Sunday in the Park with George, a revised version of Merrily We Roll Along and, most recently, Passion. Mr. Lapine collaborated with William Finn on the musicals March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, which were later presented on Broadway as Falsettos. He has written and directed the plays Luck, Pluck and Virtue, Twelve Dreams, Table Settings, and adapted Gertrude Stein’s poem/play Photograph. He has also directed The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the New York Shakespeare Festival and directed the films Impromptu and Life with Mikey. His work has been recognized with Tony, Drama Desk Obie and NY Drama Critics Circle awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park with George.
Eugene Lee (Scenic Designer) makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut. Chicago credits include designs for: Wicked (Oriental Theater); The Pirate Queen (Cadillac Palace Theatre); Hughie and A Moon for the Misbegotten (Goodman Theatre). New York credits include: Sweeney Todd (original production, Uris Theatre); Showboat (Gershwin Theatre); Ragtime (Ford Center); Wicked (Gershwin Theatre); The Normal Heart, The Ruby Sunrise (Public Theater); A Number (NY Theatre Workshop); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Delacorte Theatre, Central Park). Awards include the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics’ Circle Award, Pell Award, American Theater Wing’s Design Award, Elliot Norton Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award. Mr. Lee is the recipient of three honorary doctorates, and was recently inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in NYC. Filmwork includes: Coppola’s Hammett, Huston’s Mr. North, and Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street. He has been the production designer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live since 1974.
Paul Tazewell (Costume Designer) returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where he designed for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Broadway credits include: The Color Purple (Tony Nomination); Hot Feet, Caroline, or Change, A Raisin in the Sun, Drowning Crow, Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk (Tony nomination); Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, On the Town, The Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm and Def Poetry Jam. Selected Off Broadway credits include: In the Heights, McReele, Flesh and Blood, Fame on 42nd Street, Boston Marriage and Harlem Song. For 18 years, he has worked for theater, dance and opera companies throughout the U.S. and internationally. Upcoming projects include the Broadway transfer of In the Heights, Romeo and Juliet, Caesar and Cleopatra (Stratford Festival of Canada), and Ray Charles, Live! He has received three Helen Hayes Awards, a Lucille Lortel Award, a Joseph Jefferson Award, an AUDELCO Award, a Princess Grace Fellowship, the Princess Grace Statue Award, and the Irene Sharaff Young Master Award.
Paul Miller(Lighting Designer) returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where his past credits include: A Flea in Her Ear and Sunday in the Park with George. Other Chicago credits include: Philosophy of the World (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Hunting Cockroaches (Wisdom Bridge Theatre Company); American Dreams (Victory Gardens Theater); Hamburger Twins (Briar Street Theatre); Sugar Babies and La Cage aux Folles (Candlelight Dinner Theatre). His Broadway design credits include: Lone Star Love, Legally Blonde, Freshly Squeezed and Laughing Room Only, and as associate/ assistant designer for Company, Three Days of Rain, Sweeney Todd, Little Women, Hairspray, The Producers, Life x3, The Music Man, The Price, Saturday Night Fever, The Civil War, On the Town, The Sound of Music and Titanic. Regional credits include designs for: Riverside Theatre, Diablo Light Opera, Baystreet Theatre, Goodspeed, and Paper Mill Playhouse. Television credits include specials for Clairol on Broadway (A&E), New Year’s Eve in Time’s Square (past eight years), and Broadway Under the Stars (CBS).
James Savage (Sound Designer) is head of the sound department at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where his sound design credits include: Passion, How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?, Hamlet, A Flea in Her Ear, The Princess and the Pea, Seussical the Musical, Peter Pan, A Little Night Music, Much Ado About Nothing and work on other CST productions since November 2002. He has served as the lead mix engineer with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Regional design credits include sound design for Sondheim’s Saturday Night and assistant sound design for Hot Mikado (University of Cincinnati—College Conservatory of Music).
Melissa Veal (Wigs and Makeup) Chicago Shakespeare Theater design credits include: Passion, Cymbeline, Troilus and Cressida, The Three Musketeers, Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Hamlet, Hecuba, A Flea in Her Ear, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (at CST and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon), Much Ado About Nothing, Short Shakespeare! Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure, The Merry Wives of Windsor, King John, The Molière Comedies, A Little Night Music, Rose Rage: Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 and 3 (at CST and The Duke on 42nd Street), The Taming of the Shrew, and wig supervisor for The School for Scandal. Canadian credits include: 10 seasons with the Stratford Festival, where she was the recipient of four Tyrone Guthrie Awards, including the Jack Hutt Humanitarian Award, Canadian Stage Company, Canadian Opera Company, Tarragon Theatre, Mirvish Productions and long-time association with The Grand Theatre in London.
Donald Byrd(Choreographer) makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut, following his work with director Gary Griffin choreographing the Broadway run and national tour of The Color Purple. Mr. Byrd is currently the artistic director of Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle and previously was the artistic director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically acclaimed and highly regarded contemporary dance company based in New York that toured extensively both nationally and internationally. He is perhaps best known for his reworking of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker into The Harlem Nutcracker, which received critical acclaim and toured nationally for five years. He has choreographed for numerous stage productions and dance companies, including work at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, San Francisco Opera and New York City Opera, as well as collaborations with contemporary theater artists Anna Deavere Smith and Peter Sellars and jazz great Max Roach. In 1992 he received the Bessie Award for The Minstrel Show and was a 2006 Tony Award nominee for The Color Purple.
Rob Berman (Musical Director) makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut. Mr. Berman was recently named music director of the acclaimed Encores! series at New York City Center, where he recently arranged and conducted Stairway to Paradise starring Kristin Chenoweth. On Broadway, he has conducted The Apple Tree, The Pajama Game and Wonderful Town. He music directed Stephen Sondheim’s Opening Doors at Zankel Hall and won a Helen Hayes Award for his music direction of Sunday in the Park with George for the Kennedy Center’s Sondheim Celebration. Mr. Berman serves as music supervisor for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and he is the music director of the Kennedy Center Honors Orchestra. Previous Chicago credits include conducting Floyd Collins at the Goodman Theatre.
Bob Mason (Casting Director) is in his eighth season as casting director at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where his classical credits cover more than two-thirds of Shakespeare’s canon, including 12 productions with Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. Other CST productions of note include a quartet of Stephen Sondheim musicals (Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music, and Passion) directed by Gary Griffin, as well as Rose Rage: Henry VI Parts 1, 2 & 3 (director Edward Hall) and The Molière Comedies (director Brian Bedford). Additional Chicago casting credits include: the Sondheim/ Hal Prince premiere of Bounce (Goodman Theatre and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts); The Good War, The Immigrant (Northlight Theatre); The Boys Are Comin’ Home, Asphalt Beach (Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project); and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Royal George Cabaret). Prior to casting, Bob enjoyed a 15-year career as a Jeff Award-winning Chicago actor and singer and has been a visiting educator for the School at Steppenwolf and Northwestern University.
Rick Boynton (Creative Producer) oversees CST’s New Classics program, in addition to focusing on current and future artistic planning and production. The former Artistic Director of The Marriott Theatre from 2000-2005, Mr. Boynton returned to CST where he had previously been the Casting Director and Associate Artistic Director for five years. A multiple Jeff Award-winning actor, he was Camille in the 2006 production of A Flea in Her Ear (Jeff Award, After Dark Award) and has starred in numerous shows in Chicago and across the United States. As Casting Director and Associate at Jane Alderman Casting, his projects included: the television series Early Edition, Missing Persons, The Untouchables and ER; numerous films such as While You Were Sleeping and Hoodlum, as well as casting for many national tours. He has lectured at his alma mater, Northwestern University, and is Vice-President on the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.