Chicago—Goodman Theatre announces Jess McLeod as the recipient of the 2016/2017 Michael Maggio Fellowship for Chicago-based directors. In this capacity, McLeod will assist on a Goodman production—from early research and design through the casting and rehearsal process to the opening—and contribute as part of the Goodman’s artistic team. The Fellowship was established to honor the memory of Associate Artistic Director Michael Maggio (1951 – 2000). Previous Maggio Fellows include Vanessa Stalling (2015/2016), Marti Lyons (2014/2015), Erica Weiss (2013/2014), Jimmy McDermott (2012/2013), Anna Bahow (2011/2012), Joanie Schultz (2009/2010), Anthony Moseley (2007/2008), Dado (2006/2007), Ann Filmer (2005/2006), Mignon McPherson-Nance (2003/2004) and Lynn Ann Bernatowicz (2002/2003).
“Now is the time for theater to speak up about Chicago and the country at large, loudly and with a true plurality of voices,” said Jess McLeod, whose recent and upcoming projects include Lyric Unlimited’s inaugural Chicago Voices program and a condensed version of P.J. Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger’s The Project(s) that will tour Chicago Public Schools in a partnership between the National Public Housing Museum and American Theater Company. “As a director dedicated to holding the megaphone, I’m thrilled to spend a year immersed in the artistic life of the Goodman, a theater proud to engage in the American conversation on civic, national and global levels.”
McLeod is a Chicago-based director and teacher specializing in new American stories. Chicago credits include: Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On and The Wedding Singer (Haven Theatre); Kumovi and For Your Art: portrait of a young blu artist (Chicago Voices/Lyric Opera of Chicago), Lauren Yee’s in a word (Strawdog Theatre), Shawn Pfautsch’s Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago); Kevin Coval’s L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens); Venus (Steppenwolf Next Up!); Emily Schwartz’s Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play (Strange Tree Group); and Babes In Arms (Porchlight Revisits); Kin (Griffin); The Pajama Game, Fugitive Songs, Zanna, Don’t! (The Music Theatre Company). Workshops: The Goodman, American Theater Company, Steep Theatre, Stage Left, American Music Theatre Project. Director of Programming, The New York Musical Theatre Festival (2005-08M.F.A., Northwestern University. Upcoming: Marry Me A Little (Porchlight Music Theatre). In addition to her theater credits, McLeod is also a Teaching Artist at Storycatchers Theatre and Program Manager for the annual “Louder Than a Bomb” (LTAB) youth poetry festival, hosted by Young Chicago Authors. The festival attracts more than 1,000 participants from 120 schools and community organizations.
About Goodman Theatre
Called America’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has won international recognition for its artists, productions and programs, and is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago. Founded in 1925 by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth (an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s), Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards (including “Outstanding Regional Theatre” in 1992), nearly 160 Joseph Jefferson Awards and more. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman’s artistic priorities include new plays (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past 30 years), reimagined classics (including Falls’ nationally and internationally celebrated productions of Death of a Salesman, Long’s Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy), culturally specific work, musical theater (26 major productions in 20 years, including 10 world premieres) and international collaborations. Diversity and inclusion have been primary cornerstones of the Goodman’s mission for 30 years; over the past decade, 68% of the Goodman’s 35 world premieres were authored by women and/or playwrights of color, and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Each year the Goodman’s numerous education and community engagement programs—including the innovative Student Subscription Series, now in its 30th year—serve thousands of students, teachers, life-long learners and special constituencies. In addition, for nearly four decades the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago.
Goodman Theatre’s leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Swati Mehta is Women’s Board President and Gordon C.C. Liao is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.