Gary Griffin (Director/Associate Artistic Director) in his tenure at Chicago Shakespeare Theater has directed Amadeus, Passion, 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 for Best Musical Revival). Off Broadway credits include: Saved (Playwrights Horizons); The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English, The New Moon (Encores); and Beautiful Thing (Cherry Lane Theatre). Tour credits include the national tour of The Color Purple. London credits include Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production and Olivier Award nomination for Best Director). Regional credits include work with: The Old Globe, McCarter Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Signature Theatre and Hartford Stage. His Chicago credits with Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Writers' Theatre, The Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Pegasus Players and Famous Door Theatre have earned him eight Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing.
This year Mr. Griffin made his directing debut at Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where he gained critical acclaim for West Side Story, as well as at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he directed The Merry Widow and will return in the 2010-2011 season with a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.
Noël Coward (Playwright) was born in 1899 in Teddington, South London. Coward made his professional stage debut at the age of 11, saw his first play produced at 17, and reached London's West End as both writer and actor at the age of 20. Coward gained critical acclaim and personal celebrity in 1924 with the sensation caused by his play The Vortex. Over the next two decades he achieved fame through a string of revues, songs and plays, including some that have entered the standard repertory—Hay Fever (1925), Fallen Angels (1925), Private Lives (1930), Design for Living (1933), Tonight at 8:30 (1936), Blithe Spirit (1941) and Present Laughter (1943). He was also the screenwriter on a number of movies, most notably Brief Encounter and Best Picture Academy Award-winner In Which We Serve. Coward was knighted in 1970, received a Tony Award for distinguished achievement in the theater in 1971, and died at his home in Bermuda in 1973.
Neil Patel (Scenic Designer) returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where his credits include Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure. Broadway credits include: [title of show], Oleanna, Sideman, Ring of Fire and ‘Night Mother. Off-Broadway credits include work with: Zipper, Variety Arts Theater, Second Stage, MCC Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, MTC, Vineyard Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, New York Shakespeare Festival. Other credits include work at the Guthrie Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and work with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company of which he is a member. Opera credits include work at the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and Nikikai Opera in Tokyo. Other credits include The Treatment (TV; production design), and Shadowland (Pilobolus Dance). He is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Award, EDDY Awards, Drama Desk Nominations, and two OBIE awards for sustained excellence. www.neilpateldesign.com
Paul Tazewell (Costume Design) returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Broadway credits include: Memphis, Guys and Dolls, The Color Purple, Hot Feet, In The Heights, Caroline, or Change, A Raisin in the Sun, Drowning Crow, Def Poetry Jam, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, Fascinating Rhythm, On the Town, and Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. Off Broadway credits include: Ruined, The Wiz, Purlie, Lil' Abner, Flesh and Blood, Once Around the City, and Dinah Was. Mr. Tazewell has designed extensively across the country and internationally for theater, opera, dance, and film. He has been nominated for the Tony Award three times (In the Heights, The Color Purple, and Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk), has received four Helen Hayes Awards, two AUDELCO Awards, both the Princess Grace Fellowship and Princess Grace Statue Award, and numerous other regional awards for his work.
Robert Wierzel (Lighting Designer) returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where his credits include: Richard III, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, Troilus and Cressida, The Merchant of Venice, King John, The Moliere Comedies, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. Broadway credits include the new musical Fela! directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones and David Copperfield’s Dreams and Nightmares. Other New York Credits include productions at Roundabout Theatre Company, New York Shakespeare Festival and Signature Theatre Company. Regional credits include productions with: Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, and Berkeley Repertory, among many others. Opera credits include: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theatre and opera companies across North America, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Wierzel holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and serves on the faculty at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (Sound Designers) return to Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Their Broadway credits include: music, composition and sound for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Speed of Darkness; music for My Thing of Love; and sound for Superior Donuts, reasons to be pretty, A Year with Frog and Toad, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Hollywood Arms, King Hedley II, Buried Child, The Song of Jacob Zulu and The Grapes of Wrath. Off Broadway credits include: music or sound for Ruined, After Ashley, Boy Gets Girl, Red, Space, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Jitney and Marvin's Room. They have created music and sound for theaters throughout America, often with the Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as internationally with The Comedy Theatre (London's West End), The Barbican Center, National Theatre (Great Britain), The Cameri Theatre (Tel Aviv), The Subaru Acting Company (Japan) and festivals in Toronto, Dublin, Galway, Perth and Sydney.
Melissa Veal (Wig and Makeup Designer) has designed wigs and makeup at Chicago Shakespeare for over 35 productions, including: Richard III, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Amadeus, The Comedy of Errors, Othello, Passion, Troilus and Cressida, The Three Musketeers, Hamlet, A Flea in Her Ear, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (at CST and on tour to Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon), Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 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 as wig supervisor for The School for Scandal. She worked with the Stratford Festival for 10 seasons, where she received four Tyrone Guthrie Awards, including the Jack Hutt Humanitarian Award. Other Canadian credits include work with Canadian Stage Company, Tarragon Theatre, Mirvish Productions and The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. Ms. Veal was the recipient of the 2007 Hurkes Award for Artisans and Technicians.
Chuck Coyl (Fight Director) makes his Chicago Shakespeare Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Fight Direction for: August: Osage County, Superior Donuts and The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Gas For Less and Magnolia (Goodman Theatre); and Porgy and Bess, Carmen and Tosca (Lyric Opera of Chicago). He recently completed work as a stunt player on the feature film Eyeborgs. He has been a stunt coordinator for television episodes of Moments in Time (History Channel) and True Crime Authors (Discovery Channel).
Jill Walmsley Zager (Dialect Coach) makes her Chicago Shakespeare Theater debut. Chicago credits include: My Fair Lady, Light in the Piazza, Bowery Boys, Little Women, A Christmas Carol (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre); A World Set Free (Steppenwolf Theatre); Grand Hotel (Drury Lane Water Tower); and Sign of the Four (Apple Tree Theatre). Regional credits include: HMS Pinafore, Room Service, On Golden Pond (Utah Shakespearean Festival); and Talley's Folly (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre). Film coaching credits include: The Game of Their Lives (Crusader); and Life Lottery (Door 44). A graduate of the Central School of Speech and Drama (London) and Northwestern University Ms. Zager is currently the co-Head of Voice and Dialects and Company coach at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.