The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Artistic Team

Music Director
Artistic Consultant
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Resident Dramaturg
Music Consultant
Movement Consultant
Production Stage Manager
Stage Manager

Photo of Charles Newell

CHARLES NEWELL was recently awarded the 2013 SDCF Zelda Fichandler Award, “which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in theatre.” Charlie has been Artistic Director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over 50 productions. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph Of Love, which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Charlie’s productions of Man of La Mancha and Caroline, Or Change have also won Best Production Jeffs. Other directorial highlights at Court include The MisanthropeTartuffe, Proof, Angels In America, An Iliad, Porgy & Bess, Three Tall Women,Titus Andronicus, Arcadia, Uncle Vanya, Raisin, The Glass Menagerie, Travesties, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Invention of Love, and Hamlet. Charlie has also directed at Goodman Theatre (Rock ‘N Roll), Guthrie Theater (The History Cycle, Cymbeline), Arena Stage, John Houseman’s The Acting Company (Staff Repertory Director), the California and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, Juilliard, and New York University. He has served on the Board of TCG, as well as on several panels for the NEA. Opera directing credits include Marc Blitzstein’s Regina (Lyric Opera of Chicago),Rigoletto (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Don Giovanni and The Jewel Box (Chicago Opera Theatre), and Carousel (Summer 2014, Glimmerglass Festival). Charlie was the recipient of the 1992 TCG Alan Schneider Director Award, and has been nominated for 16 Joseph Jefferson Director Awards, winning four times. In 2012, Charlie was honored by The League of Chicago Theatres with their Artistic Achievement Award.

Photo of Doug Peck

DOUG PECK is always thrilled to come home to Court Theatre. He is the winner of five Joseph Jefferson Awards (Porgy and Bess, Caroline, or Change, Carousel, Fiorello!, Man of La Mancha) and two After Dark Awards (Guys and Dolls, Hello, Again). Other favorite projects include Dreamgirls, Shenandoah, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, James Joyce’s “The Dead,” A Catered Affair, Hair, Grey Gardens, Oh, Coward!, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Raisin, Animal Crackers, and Mary Zimmerman’s acclaimed production of Candide. Peck can be heard on the recordings Bright Young People: The Songs of Noël Coward, Foiled Again Live, and Loving, Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein. He is a creative partner with Goodman Theatre, an artistic associate with Porchlight Music Theatre, and a faculty member of the National High School Institute of the Arts.  A proud Northwestern University graduate, Peck also trained at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and is married to actor Rob Lindley.

Photo of Ron OJ Parson

RON OJ PARSON is a native of Buffalo, New York and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theatre program. He is a co-founder and former artistic director of The Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago. Mr. Parson is a resident artist at Court Theatre. He has worked as an actor and director. Chicago directing credits include Chicago Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, eta Creative Arts Foundation, City Lit Theater, Writers’ Theatre, Urban Theater Company, and Congo Square Theatre Company. Regional credits include Virginia Stage Company, Portland Stage Company, Studio Arena Theatre, Roundabout Theatre, Wilshire Theatre, The Mechanic Theatre, CenterStage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory, St. Louis Black Repertory, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Geva Theatre, Signature Theatre, and Alliance Theatre. In Canada, he directed the world premiere of Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. Ron directed Blue (South Bend Civic Theatre), I Just Stopped by to See the Man (Alliance Theatre), and Jitney (South Coast Rep and Pasadena Playhouse). He is a proud member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA, and SDC. Visit

Photo of John Culbert

JOHN CULBERT recently designed Court Theatre’s productions of Angels in America, Invisible Man, and Porgy and Bess, Writer’s Theatre’s Sweet Charity, Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Romeo and Juliet, Timeline Theatre’s The Farnsworth Invention, Northlight Theatre’s Civil War Christmas, and Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Regina. He also designed Lookingglass Theatre’s Argonautika, Goodman Theatre’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and Mirror of the Invisible World, and Long Wharf Theatre’s Hughie. He has designed productions for the Singapore Repertory, Opera National du Rhin, Berkeley Rep, McCarter Theatre, and the Shakespeare Theatre. He serves as the dean of The Theatre School at DePaul University.


Photo of Jacqueline Firkins

JACQUELINE FIRKINS is pleased to return for her tenth season at Court Theatre. She also designed costumes for last season’s production of Invisible Man. Design work includes: sets and/or costumes for Victory Gardens Theater, TimeLine Theatre Company, House Theatre of Chicago, Marin Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Portland Center Stage, Goodman Theatre, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Stage Company, Westport Playhouse, Shakespeare & Company, Shakespeare Festival of Tulane, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Yale Repertory Theater, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Brave New Repertory, About Face Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Yale School of Drama, and Dorset Theatre Festival. Jacqueline is a recipient of a 2001 Princess Grace Award and teaches design at the University of British Columbia.

Photo of Brian H. Scott

BRIAN H. SCOTT (Lighting Design) is a SITI Company member and has designed lighting for Who Do You Think You Are, Radio Macbeth, Hotel Cassiopeia, systems/layers, Death and the Ploughman, bobrauschenbergamerica, War of the Worlds - The Radio Play, and the Midsummer Night’s Dream touring production. He has designed lights for Hamlet at Classic Stage Company; The Darkling for American Opera Projects; The Importance of Being Earnest at the Arena Stage; Marina: A Captive Spirit with American Opera Projects; Twisted Olivia with members of the Ridiculous Theatre Company;  Showpeople with Anne Bogart @ Exit ART; Macbeth (scenic and lighting design), The Laramie Project; Death of A Salesman in Baton Rouge, LA; and Get Your War On; The Match; Cherrywood, How Late It Was How Late (Production Design); Requiem for Tesla, El Parasio, Big Love and Lipstick Traces with Austin Theatre Company the Rude Mechs.

Photo of Joshua Horvath

JOSHUA HORVATH Court credits include: Water by the Spoonful, Seven Guitars, Tartuffe, James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Jitney, Angels in America, Invisible Man, Spunk, Porgy and Bess, The Illusion, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Wait Until Dark, Caroline, or Change, The First Breeze of Summer, Carousel, Titus Andronicus, Arcadia, Flyin’ West, Raisin, Lettice and Lovage, Fences, Man of La Mancha, Endgame, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Guys and Dolls, and The Romance Cycle. Regional: The Kennedy Center, The Lincoln Center, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Centerstage, The Alliance, Milwaukee Rep, Madison Rep, Kansas City Rep, Center Theatre Group, Illinois Shakespeare, Great River Shakespeare, and California Shakespeare. Chicago: Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Writer’s Theatre, Lookingglass, About Face, Northlight, Next, TimeLine, Lifeline, A Red Orchid, and The House. Mr. Horvath teaches sound design for theatre and film at Northwestern University, is an artistic associate of Lookingglass, a collaborative partner of the Goodman Theatre, a Company Member at House Theatre of Chicago, and has one LA Ovation Award and four Joseph Jefferson awards.

Photo of Drew Dir

DREW DIR is the Resident Artist at Court Theatre, where he oversees dramaturgy and literary management. Production highlights include Orlando, The Comedy of Errors, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Illusion, Porgy and Bess, An Iliad, and Angels in America. He is also co-Artistic Director of Manual Cinema, a Chicago-based shadow puppetry company, whose productions include Ada/Ava and Lula del Ray. Drew is a lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago, where he co-teaches History and Theory of Drama with Professor David Bevington.

MARTINE KEI GREEN-ROGERS is currently a Raymond C. Morales Postdoctoral Fellow in Theatre at the University of Utah. Her dramaturgical credits include: Nothing Personal at Plan-B Theatre, the Classical Theatre Company’s productions of Uncle Vanya, Antigone, Candida, Ghosts, Tartuffe, and Shylock, The Jew of Venice; productions of The Mountaintop, Home, and Porgy and Bess at Court Theatre; The Clean House at CATCO; Comedy of Errors (Feb 2014), To Kill A Mockingbird, The African Company Presents Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Fences at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; 10 Perfect and The Curious Walk of the Salamander as part of the 2006 and 2007 Madison Repertory Theatre’s New Play Festival; and A Thousand Words as part of the 2008 WI Wrights New Play Festival.

Photo of Travis Jackson

TRAVIS JACKSON (Music Consultant) is an ethnomusicologist whose work centers on jazz, rock, and recording technology.  His theoretical interests include urban geography, race/culture and identity, ethnographic method, performance and aesthetics.  He is author of Blowin' the Blues Way: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene (California, forthcoming) as well as articles on topics ranging from the intersection of jazz and poetic performance to the interpretation of meaning in rock.  His current work focuses on the effective attachment of musicians and listeners to recording labels.

Photo of Chuck Bontrager

CHUCK BONTRAGER (Violin/Viola) has been a regular in the Chicago-area freelance community for almost fifteen years. He performs regularly with the Lake Forest Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffrey Ballet Orchestra, New Millennium Orchestra, and the occasional Broadway in Chicago production. This April he performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a mandolinist both locally and on their New York tour in their concert production of Verdi's Otello. His work with electric violins in rock and classical settings earned him an adjunct appointment at Columbia College in 2010, and he also teaches violin, viola, chamber music, and rock n' roll at the Merit School of Music.


Photo of Christian Dillingham

CHRISTIAN DILLINGHAM (Bass) has enjoyed a diverse and rewarding career since moving to Chicago.  Mr. Dillingham is an active orchestral and chamber musician, and a member of Chicago Sinfonietta, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and the New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago.  He has also performed with Camarata Chicago, the Elgin and Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, and is a former member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.  An avid jazz musician, he was formerly a member of the house band at the historic Velvet Lounge.  Mr. Dillingham holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Youngstown State University and a Master's degree from Duquesne University, both majoring in music performance.  His teachers include Jeff Turner, Micah Howard, Tony Leonardi, Jeff Grubbs, and Peter Lloyd.

Photo of Nick Moran

NICK MORAN (Woodwinds) was born and raised around Detroit, MI and studied classical woodwind performance at Western Michigan University. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Macomb Symphony Orchestra and has been a member of over fifty pit orchestras. Nick has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Lawrence Welk Orchestra and Nelson Riddle Orchestra as well as having performed as a freelance musician with Lou Rawls, Mel Torme, Wayne Newton, James Moody, Aretha Franklin, Joey DeFrancesco, Phil Woods, Houston Pearson, The Temptations, The O'Jays and many others. This is his first time performing at the Court Theatre and he is thrilled to be involved with such a fantastic production.


Photo of Stephen Orejudos

STEPHEN OREJUDOS (Trumpet/Flugelhorn) is in demand as both a performer and teacher throughout the Midwest.  He currently holds positions as Principal Trumpet with the Milwaukee Ballet, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonic/DuPage Opera Theater and the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra.   In addition, Mr. Orejudos appears regularly with the Milwaukee Symphony and Omaha Symphony, as well as the New Milennium and Kenosha Symphony orchestras.  Previously, Mr. Orejudos has held positions with the Wichita Symphony, Opera in the Ozarks,  and the Ohio Light Opera orchestras.  He has also performed with the Northwest Indiana Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Racine Symphony ,  DaCornetto Opera, L’Opera Piccola,  Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra.  As an instructor, Mr. Orejudos has over ten years of experience as a private teacher and clinician.  He has studios throughout the Chicago and Milwaukee areas, and is on faculty at the Merit School of Music in Chicago.  Mr. Orejudos holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, and a Master of Music degree from Wichita State University.   His teachers are Larry Knopp, Judith Saxton, Matt Lee, Kevin Hartman, Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer. 


Photo of Brent Roman

BRENT ROMAN (Percussion) is a percussionist, composer, recording artist, instructor, and dance accompanist. Over the past several years, Brent Roman could be seen by audiences around the globe, performing as an artist with the world-renowned entertainment company Cirque du Soleil (CDS). Serving as percussionist, drum captain, featured soloist, and character, Brent performed on the touring shows of Alegria (Grammy nominated, and best selling CDS album in history) and Dralion (Emmy Award winner and top grossing touring CDS show). Prior to his career with CDS, this Chicago-based artist worked and collaborated with a multitude of professional companies including Lookingglass Theatre Company, Silverguy Entertainment, Redmoon Theater,and Trinity Irish Dance Company. While at Lookingglass Theatre Company, Brent performed in Sita Ram and Hephaestus. Brent is also a founding member of the punk-funk-gypsy-marching band, Mucca Pazza. Brent Roman is an endorsed artist with LP – Latin Percussion. For more info, visit



Photo of Cristin Carole


CRISTIN CAROLE, a native Chicagoan and classically trained dancer, has performed professionally at Mo Ming, Links Hall, the Athenaeum Theatre, Mandel Hall, the Auditorium Theatre and with Lyric Opera. She has also choreographed for various organizations and venues in Chicago and the Bahamas including their National Dance Company. After several years working as a Dance Educator, in both public and private schools, Cristin became interested in the possibilities of arts integration in education and earned a Master of Arts degree in Teaching from Columbia College. As an Arts Integration Specialist, Cristin has been a faculty member of the City Colleges of Chicago, The College of the Bahamas, and is presently faculty of Columbia College Chicago’s Graduate Program in Arts Education. In 2005, Cristin joined the Education and Community Engagement staff of the Joffrey Ballet as a Teaching Artist and Curriculum Development Consultant. In addition to her work with the Joffrey, Cristin recently founded A.S.H.E. (Art Supports Holistic Education) which provides consulting services for granting institutions, schools, and teaching artists interested in Arts Education. In her spare time, Cristin shares her love of theater arts with children through productions at the Dusable Museum by The People’s Jazz Theatre and The Children’s Theatre Center of Milwaukee.


SARA GAMMAGE is delighted to return to Court Theatre. Credits here include Flyin’ West, What the Butler Saw, The First Breeze of Summer, Wait Until Dark, The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Illusion, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Home, Orlando, Porgy and Bess, Spunk, An Iliad, Invisible Man, Jitney and The Misanthrope. Other credits include productions with Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Greenhouse Theater, Theatre at the Center, Marriot Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, and Redmoon Theater. She spent several seasons at Peninsula Players Theatre in Door Country, WI; credits there include A Little Night Music, Comic Potential, Wait Until Dark, Is He Dead?, Rumors, and The Lady’s Not for Burning. Sara is a proud graduate of Northwestern University.

WILLIAM COLLINS is in his eighth season with Court Theatre. William has worked at The Goodman Theatre (Other Desert Cities, Rock N’ Roll, Vigils, and Blue Surge), Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County Wisconsin (Chicago, Murder On The Nile, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventureand Around the World in 80 Days), Paramount Theatre (My Fair Lady), Drury Lane Theatre (Sugar), The Chicago Humanities Festival, Redmoon Theater, About Face Theatre, and The Guthrie Theatre.