The Illusion

Artistic Team

Scenic Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Sound Designer
Production Dramaturg
Magic 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.

COLLETTE POLLARD returns to Court Theatre where she last worked on The Illusion. Recent design credits include Odradek at The House Theatre, Harriet Jacobs at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, To Kill A Mockingbird at Steppenwolf Theatre, and A Streetcar Named Desire at Writers’ Theatre. Collette earned her MFA from Northwestern University. She is adjunct faculty and teaches at Columbia College. Collette is honored to be this years’ recipient of the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award.

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 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 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.

NICK KEENAN is delighted to return to Court Theatre after designing last season’s The Piano Lesson.  Designs include Goodman Theatre (Strange Interlude, assistant for Mirror), TUTA (The Wedding), Next (Return to Haifa, End Days), Rivendell (These Shining Lives), BackStage, Collaboraction,  Raven, Apple Tree, A Red Orchid, the Neo-Futurists, the side project, and New Leaf Theatre, where he is a company member.  Nick engineers sound at the Goodman, teaches at Northwestern’s Cherub program, and authors a blog ( discussing arts sustainability and technology in theater.

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.

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.

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.