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News & Events



The Theatre School will be providing free costume, prop, wig, and makeup repairs all weekend, and admissions liaisons will be on hand to answer any questions about any of our BFA or MFA programs.

The Theatre School will be hosting several meet and greets and book signings with cosplayers and influencers in the C2E2 community.

There will also be a number of free hands-on demos offered by both students, faculty, and cosplay guests on topics like Worbla, EVA foam textures, chainmail, leather tooling, FX makeup, and wig ventilation.

More information to come once the official C2E2 schedule is released.​

​To learn more about C2E2, visit ​​the C2E2 website​.






Photo by Marlee Feacher.
Photo by Marlee Feacher.


Tarell Alvin McCraney. Photo by Jeff Lorch
Tarell Alvin McCraney. Photo by Jeff Lorch

​Chicago Live: The Arts

A Conversation with Tarell Alvin McCraney (BFA, Acting, '03)


Tarell Alvin McCraney is an award-winning writer, producer and actor and he is the current Artistic Director of Geffen Playhouse.

Tarell is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University’s BFA Acting program and the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick.

His script In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the basis for the Oscar-winning film Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins, for which McCraney and Jenkins won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Tarell wrote the film High Flying Bird which premiered on Netflix directed by Steven Soderbergh. His plays include MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT, The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy, Head of Passes, Wig Out!, and Choir Boy which was nominated for four Tony Awards. McCraney is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Award, and a USA Artist Award.

He was recently Co-Chair of Playwriting at the David Geffen School of Drama, where he remains on faculty. He is an associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company, London, an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre Chicago; and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects as well as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.​

Friday, February 23 | 1:00 PM | Watts Theatre








The Theatre School X New CIty
The Theatre School X New CIty

LaTeshia Ellerson
LaTeshia Ellerson

Michelle Lopez-Rios (Photo by Jeff Carrion/DePaul University)
Michelle Lopez-Rios (Photo by Jeff Carrion/DePaul University)

In this conversation, Michelle Lopez-Rios​ chats with Newsline about diversity in the arts, its importance for young audiences, and what the Hispanic Serving Institution designation at DePaul would mean for the broader campus community. Read the full story in Newsline​​​.​


Merle Reskin
Merle Reskin

​It is with deep sadness that we share the news that long-time Theatre School benefactor, Merle Reskin, has passed away at the age of 93. Merle was born November 20, 1929, and was a native Chicagoan. Her passion for drama began at the Latin School of Girls in Chicago and she then attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She had extensive appearances on a variety of television and radio shows in New York and Chicago and performed in the Broadway production of “South Pacific” as Ensign Janet McGregor, a role she played for 2 years. After her marriage to her late husband, Harold Reskin, a Chicago-area real estate entrepreneur, the couple became generous patrons of the arts.​​

Merle and her husband Harold have long been loyal supporters of The Theatre School. Merle served on the Theatre School Advisory Council and for many years also served on the Awards for Excellence in the Arts gala committee. In 1988, Mr. Reskin pledged his support for DePaul’s purchase of the historic Blackstone theatre when it was in danger of being torn down. In November 1992, on her birthday, the Blackstone was officially renamed to honor and celebrate Merle. Read a copy of the d​edication book from the event​.


In 2011, The Theatre School broke ground on new facilities on the Lincoln Park campus, and the Reskins’ generosity towards the school continued. The lobby space that is the heart of many Theatre School activities, is named in Merle and Harold’s honor.

Dean Emeritus, John Culbert said, “Merle Reskin lives on through her generous support of the Theatre School at DePaul University. While the school has some tangible buildings and spaces that Merle made possible, her real lasting impact is the empowerment of past, current, and future generations of students to follow her lead in believing that theatre is critical to the success of our culture. The facilities she provided made it possible for them to apply their creativity and hone their skills in professional settings. These beautiful spaces demonstrated that the art of the theatre is respected and valued, thus inspiring all who entered. Merle also generously contributed directly to student scholarships, enabling those who would otherwise not be able to add their voice to the theatre profession.”

Merle supported many institutions beyond just The Theatre School. Steppenwolf Theatre also has a named space, the Merle Reskin Garage Theatre. Additionally, she also supported Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Writers’ Theatre, among others. Merle was an integral part of Chicago theatre community we know today.

“While we all miss Merle’s presence, her quick wit, her laugh, and her sharp curiosity there is great joy in knowing that she continues, into the future, to empower theatre artists who will help us all understand what it means to be human,” said Culbert. Dean Martine Kei Green-Rogers said, “It is clear Merle Reskin was a powerhouse of a woman. Although I never had the opportunity to meet her, it is evident from the legacy she leaves behind that she was an artist who loved other artists and wanted to care for the next generation of theatre artists.”

We mourn the loss of an artist, a philanthropist and true patron of the arts in Chicago. A shiva and memorial service was held on Sunday, November 5th. Sign the guest book. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Merle’s memory may be made to a charity of your choice.




Red Theatre Chairs
Red Theatre Chairs

"Decentering Doom: A Word from Chicago Theatre" was written by Elsa Hiltner and Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel (BFA Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism '17/Adjunct) and was published in American Theatre. The article focuses on priorities for the future of theatre and features conversations with Zachary Crewse (BFA Stage Management '21), Azar Kazemi (MFA Directing '11/Adjunct), Katrina Dion (BFA Theatre Arts '14/Adjunct), and Tara Mallen (Adjunct).​

Contact:
Emily DeBold | Manager of Public Relations | emily.debold@depaul.edu |

​Join Rachel Shteir, The Theatre School's head of Dramaturgy and Criticism, and College of Communication faculty member Carolyn Bronstein in a conversation about Shteir's latest book, Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter (Yale Jewish Lives/Yale University Press). 

Wednesday, Sept. 27th | 6p-7:30p 
Room 414 | Arts and Letters, 2315 N. Kenmore Ave​.

Signed books will be available for purchase after the reading. 

Betty Friedan (1921-2006) wrote The Feminine Mystique and co-founded the National Organization for Women. She fought for many other issues and organizations in women's justice. ​

Rachel Shteir's Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter (Yale Jewish Lives/Yale University Press) is the first comprehensive biography of Friedan in over 20 years. Rachel is the author of three previous books and many articles, essays, and reviews for magazines and newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She is the founder and head of the Dramaturgy and Criticism Program at the Theatre School at DePaul University.

Carolyn Bronstein is the Vincent de Paul Professor of Communication and Media Studies in the College of Communication, DePaul University. Her books include Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986 and Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representation in the 1970s. 

Contact:
Emily DeBold | Manager of Public Relations | emily.debold@depaul.edu |

Tarell Alvin McCraney (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
Tarell Alvin McCraney (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Dean Martine Kei Green-Rogers
Dean Martine Kei Green-Rogers

The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) members voted The Theatre School at DePaul University's Dean Martine Kei Green-Rogers President-Elect of the ATHE. Dean Green-Rogers' election was announced at the group's national conference, "Building from the Rubble: Centering Care," in Austin, Texas. Green-Rogers will serve as President-Elect of the ATHE until 2025. She will then serve as President of the ATHE until 2027.

Dean Martine Kei Green-Rogers comments, "I have been a member of ATHE longer than I can remember and after several years of running, or serving for, non-profit service organizations in our field (including LMDA, ATHE, ASTR, and others), I am excited about the prospect of leading ATHE. I am hoping to lead with the wisdom of my past experiences, the guidance of my current work as a Dean, and the heart of an advocate for those of us in higher education who study and/or make art in this time of uncertainty."

Other 2023 ATHE Elected Officials include Concordia University's Bryan Moore (Vice President for Advocacy), BMCC/CUNY's Karl O'Brian Williams (Vice President for Awards), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Kirsten Pullen (Vice President-Elect for Conference 2025), William & Mary's Omiyẹmi (Artisia) Green (Vice President for Professional Development), Florida International University's Brian Valencia (Member-at-Large for Operations), Utah State University's Amanda Dawson (Member-at-Large for Outreach), and New York Historical Society's Kelly Aliano (Member-at-Large for Focus Groups).

About the ATHE: Founded in 1986, the ATHE is a nonprofit advocate for the field of theater and performance in higher education. Serving the interests of its diverse individual and organizational members, the group is an intellectual and artistic center for producing new knowledge about theater and performance-related disciplines. For more information, visit athe.org.

Contact:
Emily DeBold | Manager of Public Relations & Special Events | edebold1@depaul.edu | (773) 325-7398

Coya Paz receives award from Joan Lipkin,the ATHE awards committee co-chair.
Coya Paz receives award from Joan Lipkin,the ATHE awards committee co-chair.

​The Theatre School's Coya Paz is the recipient of the 2023 Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Award for Innovations in Institutional Leadership. On Friday, August 4, 2023, Coya was recognized for her leadership in community-based theatre and civic engagement at the group's national conference, “Building from the Rub​​ble: Centering Care," in Austin, Texas.

​​The ATHE comments, “Coya positions the work of​ community-making, resiliency building, and mentorship as art forms themselves that are insep​arable from the public-facing performance work. Coya has spent her life centering other people's work and voices. With this award, ATHE has the exquisite opportunity to center hers."​​​

Coya is a writer, director, scholar, and arts administrator with a deep commitment to racial and economic equity in the arts. She currently serves as an Associate Professor at The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she is the Dean for Curriculum and Instruction. She is also the Director of Strategy for Free Street Theater​, a nonprofit focused on creating affordable, inclusive, and innovative theatre in communities across Chicago.​​​

​ATHE's Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre and Civic Engagement honors an individual or theatre company that has demonstrated sustained commitment and a significant impact in the field for a minimum of ten years. Other 2023 honorees include Washington University's Ron Himes, the founder and producing director of The St. Louis Black Rep; and the nonprofit Donkey Saddle Projects.

About the ATHE: Founded in 1986, the ATHE is a nonprofit advocate for the field of theater and performance in higher education. Serving the interests of its diverse individual and organizational members, the group is an intellectual and artistic center for producing new knowledge about theater and performance-related disciplines. For more information, visit athe.org.​​

Contact:
Emily DeBold | Manager of Public Relations & Special Events | edebold1@depaul.edu | (773) 325-7938

Theatre industry leaders and editors of "Contemporary Black Theatre and Performance: Acts of Rebellion, Activism, and Solidarity" Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Khalid Y. Long, and DeRon S. Williams will be welcomed to The Understudy for a book signing on Monday, July 31st. The event will run from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and seating is limited. Interested parties can RSVP here.

Theatre School Alumni Adam Todd Crawford (BFA Acting, 2020) and Danny Fender (BFA Stage Management, 2019) opened the doors of The Understudy, Andersonville's new theatre bookstore and cafe, in March of this year. Join them in welcoming three editors of "Contemporary Black Theatre and Performance." Signed copies will be available for purchase at the event. The Theatre School would also like to recognize adjunct faculty members Willa Taylor and Quenna Barrett, who are featured in the publication.​

Contact:
Emily DeBold | Manager of Public Relations & Special Events | edebold1@depaul.edu | (773) 325-7938

Photo by Madi Ellis
Photo by Madi Ellis

The Theatre School is pleased to announce Jeremy Ohringer as the recipient of the 2023 Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre. Jeremy will begin writing a play for families and young audiences that tells the story of a fifth grader Ben Isaac who discovers a note that sends him on an incredible adventure around the city of Chicago. From meeting the giant pacific octopus at the Shedd Aquarium to digging up pieces of Chicago's history in Jackson Park, Ben will take young audiences on a journey to some of Chicago's landmark locations.

The Theatre School Dean Martine Kei Green-Rogers comments, “The Theatre School strives to challenge, entertain, and stimulate the imagination of families and young audiences through the commission and production of new plays. We are excited to commission Jeremy for this new, innovative work that reflects our audience's experience in an urban, contemporary, and multi-racial environment."

Ohringer comments, “I have always wanted to write a play for young people. Before I attended graduate school, I worked as a teaching artist for folks from 4 to 16 years old. While my focus is now with college-age students, I find that I am still incorporating activities and perspectives I used with younger folks. When I consider why this might be, I immediately think of my own reason I go to the theatre: wonder."

Jeremy embraces wonder and theatricality in his writing, drawing inspiration from his experience seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream at Lincoln Park Zoo as a child. 

“From seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream by the Lincoln Park Zoo in 1996 to this moment, I am chasing the full-body experience of wonder that theatre is so adept at cultivating. It was theatre, in part, that gave me hope as a young queer kid. Through theatre, I could ask big questions while finding a sense of community, and in some cases, empowerment. I believe in the power of theatrical experiences to empower young people without being patronizing or didactic. I still remember how challenging I found A Midsummer Night's Dream in that park. I also remember how inspired I was and how included I felt."

Jeremy currently serves as an assistant professor at North Central College and as an adjunct professor at The Theatre School at DePaul University. He will develop his play over the next year with input from The Cunningham Commission Committee, composed of Theatre School faculty members Coya PazJeff Mills, and Michelle Lopez-Rios

The Cunningham Commission

The Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre was established at The Theatre School to honor the memory of the Rev. Donald Cunningham, a Chicago priest, playwright, and lover of theatre. The purpose of the commission is to encourage the writing of dramatic works for young audiences that affirm the centrality of religion, broadly defined, and the human quest for meaning, truth, and community. Playwrights from the Chicagoland area and alumni of The Theatre School are eligible to apply.

"Each year, we receive incredible proposals. It is always an incredibly difficult decision. It has been joyous to produce two Cunningham Commissions in the last two seasons." said Lopez-Rios, the artistic director of Chicago Playworks.

The 2022 Cunningham Commission was awarded to Theatre School alumna, Lavina Jadhwani (BFA Directing, 2015). Jadhwani's play, The Secret Garden, is a textually faithful adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel that re-imagines the Craven and Lennox families as Indian and was a semi-finalist for the 2022 National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill.

Chicago Playworks

The Theatre School intends to produce the plays created through this commission in its highly celebrated Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences series. Founded as the Goodman Children's Theatre in 1925 and recognized as a pioneer of theatre for families, Chicago Playworks welcomes more than 25,000 students and families to its productions each season. Once completed, Jeremy Ohringer's new play will be considered for The Theatre School's 2024-2025 season.​

Contact:
Emily DeBold | Manager of Public Relations & Special Events | edebold1@depaul.edu | (773) 325-7938