Organic Theater Company Concludes Successful 2009 Season

The Organic Theater Company has finished its 2009 spring season at the Greenhouse Theatre Center in Chicago's Lincoln Park. The figures are not all in, but it's clear that the audience attendance has doubled since 2008.

NIU presence at the Organic Theater is incredibly strong, and includes Director of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance Alex Gelman serving as Producing Artistic Director of the Organic, as well as NIU School of Theatre and Dance faculty members Terrence McClellan, Melanie Parks, NIU alumni as actors, lighting designer, and stage manager, an NIU music alum as sound designer, and a number of current NIU students serving as interns.

All great theatre training programs around the world are either attached to working theatres or have theatre companies grow out their midst. Konstantin Stanislavsky, the inventor of the famed method and founder of the Moscow Art Theatre believed that the most effective way to practice theatre and training was through a triumvirate: “School-Studio-Theatre.” This was the effort that the great John Houseman undertook when he was asked to establish the Drama Division at the famed Juilliard School. The result was the Acting Company which gave us Kevin Kline, Patty LuPone, David Ogden Stiers, and many other luminaries of the American Stage and Screen.

With this in mind it was, in the opinion of its faculty, essential that the internationally recognized theatre program at NIU have a similar relationship with a theatre company. In response to this need Alexander Gelman, director of the SOTD, accepted an offer to become the Producing Artistic Director of the Organic Theater Company, one of Chicago’s venerable companies, whose famous alumni include Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, Dennis Farina, Meshach Taylor and many others. Following Stanislavsky’s practice he invited a number of alumni of the School (actors, designers, and a stage manager) to join him in this endeavor.

The Organic Theater Company works as a permanent company of like-minded artists who share a training and an aesthetic. They create a body of work which they maintain and hone over the course of a number of years. To keep up with the Organic, please visit their website.

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