Illinois Theatre Professors Creating New Work


MY CASE IS ALTERED: a devised piece.

“...an exploration of the transgressive nature of the artist in society-i.e.-how does a black girl from the Midwest wreak havoc on Shakespeare? How does she get the world to see the 'totality' of her?, not just the repressive/confining roles society feels comfortable squishing her into. how does she enact the width and breadth of her 'SELF' through the works of one of the greatest artists the world has known, and whose very modern day interpretations belie her worth and very existence? how does she 'shift the paradigm' or learn to live happily/productively, outside of it?”

Read more: Illinois Theatre Professors Creating New Work

Daniel Sullivan Directs New David Auburn Play


Swanlund Professor Daniel Sullivan

Tony Award-winning director and Swanlund professor Daniel Sullivan will direct David Auburn's new play, Lost Lake, in an Illinois Theatre production set to open February 5 for a seven performance run.

This inaugural year of The Sullivan Project, curated by Prof. Sullivan, features the superb talents of Jake Weber (Hogan) and Opal Alladin (Veronica). The characters become acquainted when Veronica seeks respite from her urban existence in a vacation cabin owned by Hogan. Auburn's play charts the journey of this uneasy friendship.

David Auburn

Playwright David Auburn

“We’re honored and very excited to have Dave Auburn take a first look at his play in production here at Illinois Theatre,” Prof. Sullivan said. “I would love to see the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign become a destination for the best writers in the country—and Dave is certainly at the top of my list.”

An earlier collaboration between Auburn and Prof. Sullivan, the production off and on Broadway of Proof, resulted in Tony Awards for both of them and a Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Auburn.


Jake Weber                                          Opal Alladin

Professor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, producer of the project and Head of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said, “this is just the latest example of how Illinois Theatre nurtures creative work at the highest level, even as we provide our students with tangible access to the professional process of new-play production.”

The creative team includes scenic designer Professor J. Michael Griggs, costume designer Professor Emeritus James Berton Harris, lighting designer Professor Robert Perry, and sound designer Bradford Chapin, an MFA graduate of Level 21 training at Illinois.

The Sullivan Project is generously funded by the Swanlund Endowment, the Anda Fund, the Dasha Epstein New Production Fund, and Friends of Illinois Theatre.

Michael Halberstam "Theater Chicagoan of 2013"


Congratulations to BFA almunus Michael Halberstam! From Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune Dec. 27th, 2013:

"Michael Halberstam, the co-founder and artistic director of Writers Theatre in Glencoe, is ambitious, likable and determined. That trifecta of qualities, rarer than you might think in artistic directors of non-profit theaters, goes a long way toward explaining how Writers raised $23 million during 2013 (as of last week) — sufficient money to permanently change the face both of Chicago-area theater and the village of Glencoe."

Read More: Theater Chicagoan of 2013

Season 2013-2014

Illinois Theatre Announces the 2013-2014 Season:

Nine Parts of Desire by Heather Raffo (Directed by Heather Raffo) [Closed]

The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Directed by Robert G. Anderson) [Closed]

Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris (Directed by Lisa Gaye Dixon) [Closed]

Lost Lake, a new play by David Auburn (Directed by Daniel Sullivan) [Closed]

O Beautiful by Theresa Rebeck (Directed by Gina Rattan) [April 3–13, 2014]

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (Directed by Kathleen F. Conlin) [April 10–19, 2014]


Illinois Theatre Series | Make Plans

Illinois Theatre Hosts Broadway Team

Susan Blackwell and company

Susan Blackwell distributes new material to performers

Photo: John Dixon/The News-Gazette

Illinois Theatre, in association with the Center for Advanced Studies, the School of Music, the Department of Dance, and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts hosted a two-week residency of the creative team behind the Off Broadway and Broadway musicals: [title of show] and NOW. HERE. THIS.

Jeff Bowen (music and lyrics), Hunter Bell and Susan Blackwell (book), Michael Berresse (direction), Larry Pressgrove (arrangements and musical direction) worked on campus in the Krannert Center Opera Rehearsal Room. Rehearsals were open and visitors were invited to observe the team working with students from Illinois Theatre and Music as they fine-tuned their latest musical, NOW. HERE. THIS., for international release.

A standing-room-only performance of NOW. HERE. THIS. was given to overwhelming acclaim in the Opera Rehearsal Room (level 2 of Krannert Center) on August 29.

The creative team spoke about their process in a presentation titled: DEVELOPING A NEW MUSICAL: NOW. HERE. THIS. at the end of their residency.

Illinois Theatre plans more such collaborations on campus and with top artists in the theatre. Stay tuned.

Read more at: The News-Gazette: "Artists have taken show on the road"