Writers’ Theatre was founded in 1992 by Michael Halberstam and Marilyn Campbell and began performing in a bookstore in Glencoe. It opened a second venue in 2003, but deliberately chose a small space to keep the characteristic intimacy of their first space. The theatre now operates out of two venues, and has over 5,700 subscribers and a $3.5 million operating budget. Writers’ has operated in the black for 18 seasons, and plays to an average 91 percent audience capacity. The theater has received nine Joseph Jefferson awards and 12 After Dark Awards.
“In 1992, Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Artistic Associate Marilyn Campbell founded Writers’ Theatre to create an environment where the written word and the nurturing of artists were the foundation of all productions. Its first venue was discovered through a mutual friend who knew that the owners of a newly opened bookstore in Glencoe were looking to develop play readings and workshops in their store. The limited space available in the bookstore became Writers’ Theatre and gave way to a new aesthetic that has been a company hallmark ever since—intimacy.
“Very quickly, Writers’ Theatre became a welcome addition to the already vibrant Chicago arts community, garnering significant critical acclaim and quickly establishing a reputation for itself as a home for world-class art and artists. As a result, its first seasons were marked with unprecedented growth. While continuing to produce at the bookstore and in an effort to accommodate its growing audiences, Writers’ Theatre opened a second performance space in 2003—the theater housed in the Woman’s Library Club of Glencoe. This inviting 108-seat performance space offers the company’s trademark level of intimacy and allows a new scale of production, while affording the opportunity to expand audiences, programming and educational outreach. In 2007, Writers’ Theatre debuted nationally with its New York premiere of the acclaimed production “CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.” In its history, Writers’ Theatre has offered more than 81 productions, including 14 world premieres.”
Production history available here.
“Writers’ Theatre was founded in 1992 to explore productions in which the word on the page and the artists that bring the word to life hold primary importance. Central to this mission are three important core values: valuing text, both classic and contemporary, as the fundamental source of inspiration; creating deliberately intimate performances where audiences are face to face with powerful stories; and honoring the time and commitment of our artists by remaining at the forefront of industry compensation. With a reputation for consistent artistic excellence, innovative educational programming and strong ties to our community, Writers’ Theatre has built an award-winning repertoire and today, serves as a vital and highly-regarded company in the Chicago theatre community.”
Leadership (Past and Present)
Michael Halberstam is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Writers’ Theatre, where he has directed “Love & Lunacy,” “A Play on Words,” “Dear Master,” “Not About Heroes” (starring Nicholas Pennell), “Diary of a Madman,” “My Own Stranger,” “Marriage & Bears,” “Blake,” “Memoir,” “Private Lives,” “Look Back in Anger,” “Candida,” “Fallen Angels,” “Nixon’s Nixon,” “Spite for Spite,” “The Father,” “A Phoenix Too Frequent,” “Rough Crossing,” “Crime and Punishment,” “Benefactors,” “The Doctor’s Dilemma,” “Seagull,” “The Uneasy Chair,” “The Duchess of Malfi,” “Othello,” “The Savannah Disputation,” “A Minister’s Wife” and most recently “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” He spent two-and-a-half years teaching Shakespeare at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Elsewhere he directed “Pledge of Allegiance” (American Theatre Company), “The Gamester” (Northlight Theatre), “A Man for All Seasons” (Peninsula Players Theatre), “Hamlet” (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), “Candida” (Jean Cocteau Repertory in New York City, NY) and “Ten Little Indians” (Drury Lane Oakbrook), a highly acclaimed revival of “Crime And Punishment,” which Writers’ Theatre produced Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theatres in New York. Halberstam has received awards for excellence in theatre management and artistic achievement from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council and the Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts. Most recently, Halberstam was awarded 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts land scape through singular creativity and artistry in theatre.
Kathryn M. Lipuma joined Writers’ Theatre as its Executive Director in March 2007 after nine seasons with the award-winning Signature Theatre Company in New York where she was Executive Director. At Signature, she produced 28 productions including award-winning revivals of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” and Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This” and worked with such acclaimed writers as Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Romulus Linney, Paula Vogel, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson. During her tenure, the organization enjoyed consistent growth and recognition. Among its numerous awards and accolades was recognition as Outstanding National Theatre of the Year and the launch of Signature Theatre Company’s successful $15 Ticket Program, which has become a national model for subsidized ticket programming. Prior to her time at Signature, she spent six years with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Lipuma has consulted with not-for-profit theatres, hosted fundraising seminars for development professionals from across the country and has been a guest lecturer on arts management in the graduate programs at New York University, Marymount Manhattan College and Northwestern University. She has served on numerous arts and funding panels, including the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Philadelphia Theatre Institute for the Pew Charitable Trust, the Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Lipuma currently serves on the Board of Directors of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Productions of Note
The Price (2002): Production – Play
To see all reviews and other coverage, click here.
Artists of Note
J.R. Lederle: Lighting Design – Large, Turn of the Screw (2008)
Kate Buckley: Director – Play, To The Green Fields Beyond (2005)
Michael Montenegro: Other (Puppet Design), The Puppetmaster of Lodz (2007)
Penny Slusher: Actress in a Supporting Role – Play, Another Part of the Forest (2007)
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Where They Perform
Writers’ Theatre performs in two spaces in Glencoe, one in a bookstore, one in the Women’s Library Club of Glencoe. They are distinguished from each other as 664 Vernon Avenue and 325 Tudor Court on the website. The Tudor Court space is a fully equipped, 108-seat performance venue.
“The Real Thing” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Michael Halberstam
“The Caretaker” by Harold Pinter, directed by Ron OJ Parson
“Hesperia” by Randall Colburn, directed by Stuart Carden
“A Little Night Music” by Stephen Sondheim, directed by William Brown
“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, directed by Michael Halberstam
“The Letters” by John W. Lowell, directed by Kimberly Senior
“Sweet Charity” conceived by Bob Fosse, book by Neil Simon, Music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Produced for the Broadway stage by Fryer, Carr and Harris, directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam
“Yellow Moon” by David Greig, directed by Stuart Carden
“The Liar” by David Ives, directed by William Brown
Full season announcement here.
Box Office: 847-242-6000
Tickets range up to $60
Discounts available on their Twitter feed the day of performances
325 Tudor Court (Women’s Library Club)
Glencoe, IL 60022
664 Vernon Avenue (Books on Vernon)
Glencoe, IL 60022
Unless otherwise noted, all biographies and quotations are from the theater’s website.