Ron OJ Parson has had a banner year. A few weeks ago, he received the 2022 Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and today, he was recognized as the Chicago Tribune‘s Chicagoan of the Year for Theatre!
Ron OJ Parson’s contributions to the Chicago theatre community are innumerable. As Resident Artist at Court, he has played a central role in what redefining classic theatre is and can be, in part through the Spotlight Reading Series.
The goal of the Spotlight Reading Series is to introduce more Chicagoans to rarely-produced playwrights of color and their work, and Ron OJ Parson curated the series for years. The Spotlight Reading Series builds community connections beyond our mainstage productions with neighborhood-based cultural institutions, nonprofits, and civic groups who often host our readings, and all performances are free and open to the public.
Whether it be through the Spotlight Reading Series or his keen directorial eye, Ron’s impact is profound. In fact, Chicago Tribune‘s Chris Jones described Ron’s recent production of Two Trains Running as: “a live-wire revival at Court Theatre, the Hyde Park theater that just happened to win the Tony Award for excellence in regional theater around that time. Parson has been associate artist at Court for years and has done more than any other single individual to remind all of the South Side of Chicago that it has a world-class theater in its midst.”
Ron most recently directed Court Theatre’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Other past productions include Two Trains Running, Fences, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, and Jitney by August Wilson; The Mountaintop by Katori Hall; and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, among many others. Ron is the former co-founder and artistic director of the Onyx Theatre Ensemble, and co-founder of the Beyond the Stage Theatre Project. He is also a company member of TimeLine Theatre, and associate artist at Writers Theatre and Teatro Vista.
While he describes himself as simply “a Chicago director and actor,” we think Ron is much more. He’s a visionary. He’s a warm and generous presence, both inside and outside of the rehearsal room. And now, he’s the Chicagoan of the Year for Theater.
We are incredibly fortunate that Ron OJ Parson is Resident Artist at Court Theatre. Please join us in celebrating Ron, and wishing him a heartfelt congratulations!