Strawdog Theatre Company

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Founded in 1988, Strawdog Theater Company champions core values of Community, Ensemble, Challenge, Genuine Connection. Entering its 28th Season in 2015-2016, Strawdog has presented over 100 productions, offered years of late night variety performances, and has continued to expand its programming including offsite fully accessible performances partnered with Victory Garden's Access Project. With two performance spaces (a 73-seat black box and 50-seat cabaret), this 36 member ensemble theater continues to be one of the leading storefront theaters of Chicago. Strawdog is located in North Lakeview at 3829 N. Broadway.


The whole wide world in a little black box.

Strawdog Theatre Company is committed to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach, offering Chicago the premiere storefront theatre experience. Strawdog develops new work, re-imagines classic plays, explores new fusions of music and theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers the unexpected to our audience. Strawdog provides a home for our celebrated ensemble to work and play with the most sought after artists in Chicago theatre along with the best new talents in the city.

2015-2016 - Season 28[edit]

  • In a Word
    • by Lauren Yee
    • directed by Jess McLeod
  • D.O.A.
    • by from the script by Russell Rouse & Clarence Greene
    • directed and adapted by Elizabeth Lovelady
  • Once in a Lifetime
    • by George S. Kauffman and Moss Hart
    • directed by Damon Kiely


Lawrence Novikoff and Paul Engelhardt founded Strawdog Theatre Company in 1988 after performing together in a production of Euripides’s Helen. Strawdog was intended to be a home for a company of actors drawn to a gritty, realistic theater style. The group took their name from Sam Peckinpah’s movie "Straw Dogs" and was founded with the commitment to the ensemble approach, which remains the backbone of Strawdog today [1]. From its inaugural production of Five of Us by Len Jenkin to the most recent production of St. Crispin's Day, Strawdog Theatre has not only survived, it has flourished.

In 2000, the Company went through a period of restructuring. Many ensemble members left the Company and new members were recruited. This personnel change led to a shift in leadership and focus for the ensemble. Jennifer Avery and Michael Dailey took over as Co-Artistic Directors. They added many new ensemble members of varying disciplines, restructured the administration of the Company and gradually moved its focus from gritty kitchen sink dramas to a wider range of styles that embraced a true commitment to ensemble - based productions.

In August 2003, the Company hired Nic Dimond, a former ensemble member, to helm the Company as Artistic Director. Dimond has refined the way the Company runs and strengthened the Board of Directors. He has continued to push the ensemble in new and challenging artistic directions, including the creation of original material, the use of live music and elevating the design elements to match the acting sophistication inside the ensemble. [2]

Strawdog first garnered national attention when Terry Teachout ("America's Theatre Critic") of The Wall Street Journal named Aristocrats one of the best shows of 2007.[1] The next year, Teachout once again lauded Strawdog for their production of RUR, a rarely seen parable about robots and technology.[2]

Production history[edit]

2003-2004 - Season 16[edit]

2004-2005 - Season 17[edit]

  • Wireless 2
    • directed by Gregor Mortis
  • Puntila and His Man Matti
  • Wireless 3
    • directed by James Anthony Zoccoli
  • Impossible Marriage
  • The True Ballad of Fall's Blessings
    • by Hank Boland
    • directed by Nic Dimond

2005-2006 - Season 18[edit]

2006-2007 - Season 19[edit]

  • Three Sisters
    • by Anton Chekhov
    • directed by Kimberly Senior
    • remount at Theatre on the Lake
  • Marathon '33
  • Radio Theatre 6
    • by Hank Boland
    • directed by Jennifer Avery
  • A Lie of the Mind
  • Radio Theatre 7
    • by Michael Dailey
    • directed by Amanda Delheimer

2007-2008 - Season 20[edit]

2008-2009 - Season 21[edit]

  • RUR
  • Cherry Orchard
  • Red Noses
    • by Peter Barnes
    • directed by Matt Hawkins

2009-2010 - Season 22[edit]

  • St. Crispin's Day
  • Uncle Vanya
  • Good Soul of Szechuan
    • by Bertold Brecht
    • directed by Shade Murray

2010-2011 - Season 23[edit]

  • Red Noses (Remounted)
    • by Peter Barnes
    • directed by Matt Hawkins
  • State of the Union
  • Master and Margarita
  • Conquest of the Southpole
    • by Manfred Karge
    • directed by Kimberly Senior

2011-2012 - Season 24[edit]

  • Old Times
    • by Harold Pinter
    • directed by Kimberly Senior
  • Petrified Forest
  • The Duchess of Malfi

2012-2013 - Season 25[edit]

  • Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom
    • by Harold Pinter
    • directed by Joanie Schultz
  • Improbable Frequency
    • Book & Lyrics by Arthur Riordan
    • Music by Bell Helicopter
  • Big Love



Old Town
After Dark Awards

  • Outstanding Musical
  • Outstanding Original Song/Score
    • Misha Fiksel
  • Outstanding Performance in a Musical or Review
    • Kat McDonnell

Lie of the Mind
Joseph Jefferson Awards, Non-Equity Wing

  • Incidental Music
    • Misha Fiksel & Gregor Mortis


Marathon '33
Joseph Jefferson Awards, Non-Equity Wing

  • Outstanding Ensemble


Three Sisters

Joseph Jefferson Awards, Non-Equity Wing

  • Best Adaptation
    • Curt Columbus
  • Best Scenic Design
    • Brian Sidney Bembridge

After Dark Awards

  • Best Overall Technical
  • Best Production

Board of directors[edit]

  • Meaghan Clayton
  • Thomas Linguanti
  • Camille McLeod
  • Jennifer Nelson
  • Seth Rickard
  • Chelsea Wilson
  • Patrick Zubrod

Artistic Associates[edit]

  • Matt Hawkins


  • Aly Renee Amidei
  • Hank Boland
  • Nicole Bloomsmith
  • Brittany Dee Bodley
  • Mike Dailey
  • Scott Danielson
  • Anita Deely
  • Paul Fagen
  • John Ferrick
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Sarah Goeden
  • Carmine Grisola
  • Kyle Hamman
  • Heath Hays
  • Shannon Hoag
  • Sam Hubbard
  • Jordan Kardasz
  • John Kelly
  • Anderson Lawfer
  • Sean Mallary
  • Kat McDonnell
  • Mike Mroch
  • Janice O'Neill
  • Michaela Petro
  • John Henry Roberts
  • Jamie Vann


  1. ^ Teachout, Terry (2007-12-28). "Discovering the World Beyond Broadway". Wall Street Journal. 
  2. ^ Teachout, Terry (2008-10-03). "A Noisy 'Seagull,' a Remarkable 'R.U.R.'". Wall Street Journal.