DENNIS ZACEK, Artistic Director
Mr. Zacek has held the position of artistic director for 30 years, and recently accepted the Actor's Equity Association's (AEA) Spirit Recognition Award. The Spirit Award is given to institutions that "have made non-traditional casting a way of life." He also received the 2005 Jeff Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chicago Equity Theatre. He, his wife Marcelle McVay, and the theater are co-recipients of the 2001 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre. He is also the recipient of the 2004 Artistic Leadership Award from the League of Chicago Theatres. Mr. Zacek and Ms. McVay received the 1999 Rosetta Lenoire Award from Actors’ Equity and the 1998 Sidney R. Yates Arts Advocacy Award from the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation.
He has directed more than 250 productions in his career, including, most recently, the Chicago premiere of Blackbird by David Harrower, the world premiere of Jeffrey Sweet’s Class Dismissed, James Sherman’s Relatively Close, the Midwest premiere of A Park in Our House by Nilo Cruz, the world premieres of Cynical Weathers by Douglas Post, Denmark by Charles Smith, the inaugural production at Victory Gardens’ new home at the Biograph, Symmetry by David Field, The Family Gold by Annie Reiner, Affluenza! and The Old Man’s Friend by James Sherman, Unspoken Prayers by Claudia Allen, The Action Against Sol Schumann and Flyovers by Jeffrey Sweet, and others.
Additional projects include Marisha Chamberlain’s Scheherazade (National Winner of the FDG/CBS competition), John Olive’s Clara’s Play (production and direction award, Academy of TheaterArtists and Friends), and James Sherman’s Mr. 80% (direction award, Academy of Theater Artists and Friends). Mr. Zacek directed Arthur Cantor’s production of James Sherman’s Beau Jest at the Lambs Theater in New York, where it holds the record as the longest-running show in the history of the theater. Other New York credits include Lonnie Carter’s The Sovereign State of Boogedy Boogedy, presented by Woody King’s New Federal Theater, and Charles Smith’s Jelly Belly, which was produced by the New Federal Theater. Mr. Zacek is a professor emeritus of Loyola University and was included in 2005 in Utne magazine’s first-ever list of “Artists Who Will Shake the World.”