Celebrating ‘Lookingglass Alice’

David Catlin is a founding Ensemble Member, actor, writer, director, and former Artistic Director of the Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, and, whose adaptations and productions, which include Moby Dick and The Little Prince, “has sculpted the Lookingglass aesthetic.” David discusses the origins of Lookingglass Alice and the art of combining multiple skillsets; how the show is reshaped to the specific skills of its cast members; how David’s less of a director and more of an air traffic controller; the challenge (and joy!) of creating theater that shatters boundaries and explores possibilities; a proposed title for a new reduced version of a Herman Melville classic; and how Lookingglass is one of several models of college kids forming a theater and making a go of it. (Length 23:57)

692. J. Nicole Brooks

Actor, director, and playwright J. Nicole Brooks is the author and director of Her Honor Jane Byrne, which looks at the moment in Chicago history when its first woman mayor moved into the Cabrini-Green housing projects. Just three nights after it had its official world premiere opening at Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre, the rest of the run was cancelled due to the restrictions being imposed around the world in the midst of this global pandemic. Brooks discusses how the play came together and how love letters to Chicago can be complicated; the value of Shakespearean echoes and wise fools; a fascination with corruption; shining light on haunted communities; getting laughs when you least expect them; decolonizing the space; losing revenue streams; surprising shout-outs to Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure; and the brilliance of writing a dark comedy about kings and queens and guillotines. (Length 22:03)

Episode 635. Department Of Curiosity

Andrew White, the Director of Community Engagement for Chicago’s Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre, talks about their newly-formed Department of Curiosity, which cultivates creativity, expands access, and transforms classrooms and communities while codifying and formalizing the fundamental instinct that fuels our work. Featuring the cultivation of new audiences and new theatre creators, building community coalitions, creating context around new programming, how artists can be of service, the difficulty of saying “I don’t know,” possible new titles for existing jobs and an expansion of imagination, and a special appearance from Rebecca Dumain, the program director of The Viola Project. Curiouser and curiouser! (Length 17:03)

Episode 501. Thaddeus And Slocum

”Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure is a great new comedy by Kevin Douglas having its world premiere at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in an amazing production directed by J. Nicole Brooks and Krissy Vanderwarker. Kevin talks about the inspiration for this new work and reflects about a misspent youth Read more…

Episode 461. Juggling For Jesus

”Before he was an actor, director, master carpenter, and Jeff Award-winning rigger, Isaac Schoepp (top left) performed as a juggler with the Fitz Family Ministries, touring the country with a company made up of his father, his mother, and his siblings. Isaac talks about how he and his family managed to Read more…

Episode 445. Filming Live Theatre

”Scott Silberstein is the Emmy-winning co-founder and executive producer of HMS Media, a leader in video production for live entertainment and creator of online content and broadcast specials. Scott discusses the challenges and goals of transferring theatrical content to flat screens, and reveals the vital exchange of dimensions, key distribution models, the difficulties Read more…

Episode 395. Being Child Actors

We’ve been called childish actors, but Caroline Heffernan and John Francis Babbo, are actual child actors, two members of the six-actor cast of the Lookingglass Theatre Company world premiere production of In The Garden: A Darwinian Love Story. Hear these two young professionals discuss navigating the relatively adult worlds of theatre and television, being wrangled, surviving surprisingly healthy environments, handling inappropriate language, dealing with showmances, and offering most excellent tips on how to avoid being obnoxious. (Length 16:39)

Episode 394. Characters Of Faith

”The character of Emma Darwin in In The Garden: A Darwinian Love Story (by Sara Gmitter) is that apparent rarity: a character of faith in a movie, play, or TV show who isn’t portrayed as a bully or a crazy zealot. Rebecca Spence (left, with Andy White), the actress who created the Read more…

Episode 393. Multi-Tasking Actors

Ah, the fun and sometimes the necessity of doing it all! Andy White, artistic director of Lookingglass Theatre Company, and Cindy Gold, Professor of Theatre and Head of Acting at Northwestern University, are both successful and award-winning actors who talk about the other jobs they’ve held and continue to hold. Read more…

Episode 391. The Director’s Job

”Jessica Thebus teaches Directing at Northwestern University and has directed classics and world premieres across the country at such theaters as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Huntington Theatre in Boston, the Kennedy Center, Steppenwolf, the Goodman, and Lookingglass Theatre, so she’s the perfect person to explain just what it is a Read more…

Episode 387. Lookingglass Theatre Company

”Phillip R. Smith, the Producing Artistic Director of the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company, talks about the core values that drive the work of this highly respected institution. Featuring the wisdom of grand adventures, multiple artistic directors, shared Edinburgh origins, stubborn trajectories, the power of never reaching the horizon, the Read more…

Episode 386. Big Theatre Week

”Last week was a very big week for the Reduced Shakespeare Company and its (you’ll pardon the expression) members. We set a Guinness World Record for Highest Theatrical Performance, we previewed and opened The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Austin Tichenor opened in the Lookingglass Theatre Read more…