TWS names Steppenwolf’s Snyder new artistic director

Rick Snyder, a longtime Steppenwolf ensemble member

CHICAGO THEATER often prides itself on is the way that established artists work with smaller companies. The announcement that David Cromer will be returning to town to direct Jonathan Larson’s Rent for American Theater Company next summer got a lot of buzz.

But longtime Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Rick Snyder has quietly assumed the role of artistic director at the venerable suburban community company, Theatre of Western Springs.

Snyder, a Wheaton resident, who directed Bill Jepsen’s Cadillac for TWS in 2010, takes the reins from Kurt Naebig and will direct George Bernard Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple in Western Springs in April.
THE GOODMAN has a new board chair: Ruth Ann Gillis of Exelon Corp. replaces outgoing chair Patricia Cox. Gillis, who is also on the board of Lyric Opera, brings both financial acumen and commitment to the arts to her new position.
CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER continues its commitment to working abroad by joining 37 international companies in the “Globe to Globe” festival at – wait for it – Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, held as a prequel with the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Each of Shakespeare’s plays will be presented in a different language over six weeks, beginning on April 23 (the Bard’s birthday). CST’s contribution is the Q Brothers’ Othello: The Remix, which gives an American hip-hop spin to the Moor and Desdemona’s doomed passion. The Bros. Q previously created Funk It Up About Nothin’ and The Bomb-itty of Errors.
IF YOU CAN’T HOP A PLANE to London for a theater excursion, take a trip to Evanston instead. The Theatre and Interpretation Center of Northwestern University presents National Theatre Live, large-screen showings of productions from the National Theatre. The first in the series, One Man, Two Guvnors, a version of The Servant of Two Masters set in 1963 soon-to-be-swinging-England, screens at 7 p.m. October 4. Tickets are $20 at 847/491-7282.
OR IF YOU WONDER about what it means to be an American in these politically fraught times, you’re not alone. Coya Paz’s The Americans inaugurates the new Arts Center Logan Square-Avondale in the Hairpin Lofts, 2810 N. Milwaukee. Paz, founder and former co-artistic director for Teatro Luna, asked strangers on the street what being American means to them.

The results of her documentary performance piece run this Friday, September 30, through October 8. Tickets are $15 advance, pay-what-you-will at the door, and information/reservations are at available here.
names Barbara Lhota and Claudia Barnett as the recipients of this year’s “Downstage Left” playwriting residencies, designed to create production-ready scripts. Lhota’s Warped follows two Chicago cops whose decision to give a ride home to a drunk young woman leads to Rashomon-like conflicting narratives.

Barnett’s Witches Vanish uses “the weird sisters” from Macbeth as guides to stories of women throughout history who have “disappeared,” including Soviet dissidents and the victims of the current femicide in Ciudad de Juarez, Mexico.
FINALLY, FACETS MULTI-MEDIA strikes a blow for human rights this weekend in the aftermath of the arrest of six Iranian filmmakers on Sept. 17. A petition requesting the release of the six is online.

They were accused by the Iranian government of being British spies after a documentary about Ayatollah Ali Khameini aired on BBC – though none of the filmmakers has any connection to the documentary or the BBC. On Sunday, Oct. 2, a special screening of a film banned in Iran will be held at 11 a.m. (the title will be announced at the screening), with a discussion afterward.

Admission is free, but reservations are requested at
Kerry Reid is a freelance theater critic and arts journalist. Her work appears regularly in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader. Please send news items to