Theater on the Lake Announces New Co-Artistic Curators in Celebration of its Upcoming 60th Season


110613_theater_on_the_lake-585x391The Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake: The Chicago Summer Theater Festival at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan, will celebrate its 60th anniversary in June 2012. To mark the occasion and in an effort to foster greater involvement with the local performing arts community, Theater on the Lake is inviting leaders representing a cross section of Chicago’s diverse theater scene to serve as artistic curators. Michael Patrick Thornton, artistic director and co-founder of The Gift Theatre Company and actor on ABC’s Private Practice, and Meghan Beals McCarthy, associate artistic director at Chicago Dramatists, will serve as the new co-artistic curators for the 2012 season.

Theater on the Lake will continue to showcase eight artistically diverse Chicago theater companies for eight weeks during the summer. In addition to the performances featuring the best of the local theater scene, pre- or post-show entertainment is being considered as well as talkbacks with the co-artistic curators. The schedule will be announced in spring 2012.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this inaugural season featuring two artistic curators,” said Michael Patrick Thornton. “I’m looking forward to working with the team, highlighting our city’s rich pool of talented theater artists and explaining the selection process.”

Meghan Beals McCarthy added, “We are planning an exciting season and invite the culturally curious to join us at Theater on the Lake. It is a truly unique experience that combines the best of two worlds: Chicago’s beautiful lakefront and its unparalleled theatrical tradition.”

For the past six seasons, Hallie Gordon, director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, has served as artistic director of Theater on the Lake. She was instrumental in the leadership transition and in laying the groundwork for two new curators to be selected annually through an application process with the Chicago Park District.

“I am pleased to pass the baton on to such creative and capable hands,” said Gordon. “The aim is to revitalize Theater on the Lake with both its main and ancillary programming and to welcome the next generation of artists and audiences to the space with this fresh approach.”

About the Co-Artistic Curators

Michael Patrick Thornton can be seen as Dr. Gabriel Fife on ABC’s Private Practice. Artistic director and co-founder of The Gift Theatre Company, he was most recently seen onstage in the Midwest premiere of Middletown at Steppenwolf. He also recently directed Night & Her Stars for The Gift, as well as My Kind of Town for Steppenwolf’s First Look Festival and Of Mice and Men at Steppenwolf. Other directing credits include the world premieres of Sean Graney’s IS N UR B1UDS7REEM… and Mark Harvey Levine’s LA 8AM for Collaboraction’s Sketchbook festival. Thornton was assistant director on Steppenwolf’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning August: Osage County. A Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor, he was most recently honored with a Jeff nomination for his performance in Gift’s world premiere of Suicide, Incorporated, currently receiving a New York production.

Meghan Beals McCarthy is the associate artistic director for Chicago Dramatists. Previously, she served as literary manager and resident dramaturg at Northlight Theatre, as project assistant for the first three seasons of the First Look Repertory of New Work at Steppenwolf, and as interim artistic director for Caffeine Theatre. Before Chicago, she was the artistic associate at the Pearl Theatre Company, a classical theatre company in New York City. As a director, she has had the pleasure of working with such Chicago companies as Goodman, Steppenwolf, Northlight, Collaboraction, Pavement Group, Stage Left and Theatre Seven in addition to New York companies the Women’s Project, Abingdon Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Pearl.

About Theater on the Lake

Constructed in 1920, the Theater on the Lake building was originally a recuperation ward for babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases. During World War II, the structure was then used as a USO Center. After the war, the Chicago Park District used the venue for then-popular barn dances. In 1952, it was converted into the Theater on the Lake performance venue and showcased productions staged by the Park District’s many community theater organizations. In 1996, the programming evolved into its current format, and the Chicago Park District began inviting professional theater companies to remount their best works.

In summer 2010, a historically accurate restoration of the low masonry walls surrounding the perimeter terraces was completed at Theater on the Lake. Work was made possible due to federal funding secured by former congressman Rahm Emanuel.

For more information about the Chicago Park District call (312) 742-PLAY.

    Contact Phone: 312.742.7529
    Publication Date: 12/20/11


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