Cleopatra: Field Museum, 2001

I first learned of the exhibition that was to become Cleopatra: from History to Myth in a meeting at the Field Museum with a representative from the diver Franck Goddio.  He showed our team some photos taken in the harbor of Alexandria.

Historians had long known that there was much of ancient Alexandria that was under the waters of the modern day harbor, but until 1992 all access to the ruins was blocked by the Egyptian military.  Goddio and his team were the first modern-day surveyors of the submerged royal quarters of the Ptolemies–the last dynasty of pharaohs to rule Egypt.  What they found there shed a tremendous amount of light on the Ptolemaic Dynasty’s most famous daughter: Cleopatra VII.

Here are some of the photos from the exhibition at the Field Museum.  The artifacts were first shown in the Palazzo Ruspoli and hosted by the Fondazione Memmo; from there, they traveled to the British Museum and the workplace of the head curator for the exhibition, Susan Walker.  Ours was the final stop; we devoted almost 10,000 square feet to the display of over 130 artifacts.

The exhibition was a huge success.  The team working on it (graphic designer Dirk Urban, content developer Barbara Ceiga, projection and multimedia specialist Steve Villano, production supervisor Nel Featherling, project manager David Foster) was one of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.

The Great Fire: 2011

Lookingglass Theatre just celebrated their 25th birthday.  It’s been my privilege to watch the company grow from a bunch of hard working, talented Northwestern University Theater graduates to adults, friends, colleagues, and the finest bunch of theater professionals I’m ever likely to know.

Of the bunch, I consider none closer than my good friend John Musial.  This is his fourth iteration of The Great Fire; at least, the fourth I’ve been involved with.  There may have been more along the way.  John is one of the most tireless artistic forces I know; confident, thoughtful, and deeply committed to his work in a way that I find rare.

John directed this version, with care and attention, in Lookingglass’ current home: The Pumping Station. He brought back many of the original cast and designers for this new production; each rehearsal felt like a reunion.  As usual, the rest of the Lookingglass crew put in 110% to make this show everything it could be.

If you ask me, the privilege to tell the tale of The Great Chicago Fire in one of the buildings that survived it is a very great one indeed.  My thanks to all at Lookingglass for the opportunity.

Lookingglass also very kindly asked me to talk on camera about the design process.  I’m happy they grabbed this video–it’s got some really great shots of the set model.



A Brett Neveu world premiere at Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre.  This was an amazing show.  From start to finish, all the artists involved pursued the making of this world with all their might.  The results were spectacular–due in no small part to the indefatigable spirit of director Dado Gyure.  She gave the show the engine it needed.

Enjoy the photos.  It was a great joy to make this one; no shop, no crew, just our hand tools, the theater, and Walter Briggs.  Thanks, man!

This show opened some time within a very cold January 2012, sold out nearly every show, and saw a nice extension.  Hedy Weiss reviewed it favorably and fairly, and Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune was ebullient.