A Red Orchid Theatre

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A Red Orchid Theatre
Formation 1993
Type Theatre group
Purpose Storefront Theatre
Location
Artistic director(s)
Kirsten Fitzgerald
Notable members

Michael Shannon

Natalie West
Website aredorchidtheatre.org

A Red Orchid Theatre is an ensemble based theatre company located in the Old Town district of Chicago and was founded in 1993 by Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen III, and Lawrence Grimm.[1] Kirsten Fitzgerald, a long-time ensemble member, has helmed the company as Artistic Director since 2008.[2]

Mission[edit]

"A Red Orchid Theatre is an ensemble of artists dedicated to the proliferation of live theatre in the modern world. We believe that theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit and approach our work with a palpable sense of social compassion, aesthetic rigor, and honesty. By presenting new plays from all over the world and by reviving insightful works from the past that bear new relevance today, we aim to seek out and build new audiences for the modern stage."[3]

Notable Productions[edit]

Notable productions include a revival of Sam Shepard's Simpatico,[4] Eugène Ionesco's The Killer,[5] and John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. Notable world premieres include Tracy Letts' Bug and Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made. A Red Orchid is also known for an experimental 1996 production of Arthur Kopit's The Questioning of Nick starring Nick Offerman, Michael Shannon, and Guy Van Swearingen that was performed three times in succession with the actors switching roles each time.[6][7]

In the summer of 2014, the company took its premiere production of The Opponent by ensemble member Brett Neveu to New York's 59E59 Theaters with the original cast (ensemble members Guy Van Swearingen and Kamal Angelo Bolden), director (ensemble member Karen Kessler) and designers (Joey Wade, Myron Elliott, Joe Court, John Tovar and ensemble member Mike Durst).[8]

Ensemble Members[edit]

A Red Orchid Theatre's artistic ensemble is composed of actors, designers, directors, and playwrights.

  • Brett Neveu
  • dado
  • Danny McCarthy
  • Doug Vickers
  • Guy Van Swearingen
  • Jennifer Engstrom
  • Joseph Fosco
  • Kamal Angelo Bolden
  • Karen Kawa
  • Karen Kessler
  • Kirsten Fitzgerald
  • Lance Baker
  • Larry Grimm
  • Michael Shannon
  • Mierka Girten
  • Mike Durst
  • Natalie West
  • Shade Murray
  • Steve Haggard

Awards and nominations[edit]

MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions[edit]

In 2016, A Red Orchid Theatre became the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation's MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions. This MacArthur Award included a $200,000 grant to be used to "establish a cash reserve and implement its audience development plan that includes new marketing and audience engagement strategies."[9]

Joseph Jefferson Awards[10][edit]

Non-Equity[edit]

Year Work Category Artist Result
1997 Canus Lunis Baloonis Ensemble Nominated
New Work Christian Stolte Won

Equity[edit]

Year Work Category Artist Result
1999 The Cut Scenic Design Stephanie Nelson Won
Sound Design Joseph Fosco Nominated
2000 Mr. Bundy Actress in a Supporting Role Kirsten Fitzgerald Nominated
2002 Bug Actor in a Principal Role Michael Shannon Nominated
Actress in a Principal Role Kate Buddeke Nominated
Sound Design Joseph Fosco Nominated
2006 The Sea Horse Actor in a Principal Role - Play Guy Van Swearingen III Nominated
Actress in a Principal Role - Play Kirsten Fitzgerald Won
Scenic Design Grant Sabin Nominated
Kimberly Akimbo Actor in a Supporting Role - Play Steve Haggard Nominated
2008 Fatboy Costume Design - Midsize Karen Kawa Nominated
2009 Pumpgirl Actress in a Principal Role - Play Kirsten Fitzgerald Nominated
The Unseen Lighting Design - Midsize Matthew Gawryk Nominated
Sound Design - Midsize Joe Court Nominated
2010 Abigail's Party Production Play - Midsize Nominated
Ensemble Nominated
Director - Play Shade Murray Nominated
Actress in a Principal Role - Play Kirsten Fitzgerald Nominated
Actress in a Supporting Role - Play Natalie West Won
Mistakes Were Made New Work Craig Wright Nominated
Actor in a Principal Role Michael Shannon Nominated
2011 The New Electric Ballroom Sound Design - Midsize Joseph Fosco Nominated
2012 The Butcher of Baraboo Actress in a Supporting Role - Play Natalie West Won
Megacosm Projections/ Media Design Seth Henrikson & Oddmachine Nominated
2013 In A Garden Actor in a Principal Role - Play Rom Barkhordar Nominated
Simpatico Production Play - Midsize Nominated
Actor in a Principal Role - Play Michael Shannon Won
Actor in a Principal Role - Play Guy Van Swearingen III Nominated
The Opponent Actor in a Principal Role - Play Kamal Angelo Bolden Nominated
Fight / Movement Direction John Tovar Won
2014 Trevor Actor in a Principal Role - Play Lawrence Grimm Nominated
2015 Accidentally Like A Martyr Scenic Design - Midsize John Holt Won
2016 Pilgrim's Progress Production Play - Midsize Nominated
The Mutilated Production Play - Midsize Nominated
Actress in a Principal Role - Play Jennifer Engstrom Nominated
Original Music in a Play Brando Triantafillou Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History". A Red Orchid Theatre. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  2. ^ Zacher, Scotty. "A Red Orchid Theatre's new Artistic Director: Kirsten Fitzgerald". Chicago Theater Beat. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "AROT's Mission". A Red Orchid Theatre. A Red Orchid Theatre. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Simpatico at A Red Orchid Theatre". Theatre in Chicago. Theatre in Chicago. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Green, Nick (February 26, 1998). "Perfectly Puzzling". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  6. ^ Barnidge, Mary Shen (February 29, 1996). "The Questioning of Nick, The Questioning of Nick, & The Questioning of Nick (Again)". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  7. ^ Ruby, Jeff. "The Delicious Life of Nick Offerman". Chicago. Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  8. ^ TOILING IN THE TRENCHES RED ORCHID THEATRE STRIVES TO BLOOM THROUGH ADVERSITY
  9. ^ "MACARTHUR AWARD FOR CREATIVE & EFFECTIVE INSTITUTIONS / MEET THE 2016 RECIPIENTS A Red Orchid Theatre". MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "The Joseph Jefferson Awards". Retrieved 4 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°54′36″N 87°38′04″W / 41.9100°N 87.6345°W / 41.9100; -87.6345