Artist Bio

The Next Theatre Company

(Bio as of June 2001)

The Next Theatre Company was established as a not-for-profit theater in 1981 by Harri­et Spizziri and Brian Finn with the firm belief that the art of theater can promote social awareness and provoke social change. Dedicated to presenting a diverse and daring body of work, The Next The­atre has created award-winning productions of pre­mieres as well as bold interpretations of the classics. Few companies can boast of such a star­tling debut as The Next’s 1981 production of Nigel Williams’ Class Enemy, which won four Joseph Jefferson Citations and put the company squarely on the Chicago theater map. The company’s 1986 production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart is illustrative of the company’s commitment to raising sociopolitical awareness. One of the first plays to tackle the AIDS crisis in America, The Normal Heart was a milestone in Next’s artistic history. It garnered seven Jeff Award nominations, winning four, including the award for most out­standing production. In all, The Next Theatre has won more than 40 Joseph Jefferson Citations and Awards for outstanding achievement, along with considerable critical acclaim and a continuing rep­utation as one of Chicago’s most innovative the­aters. Among many highlights: Dexter Bullard’s direction of Bouncers; Eric Simonson’s direction of Bang the Drum Slowly and Coriolanus; Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe (a world premiere, which went on to successful runs in London and New York); Tom Szentgyorgyi’s A Family Man (winner of the1995 Jeff Citation for outstanding new play); Keith Red­din’s Almost Blue; Steve Pickering’s adaptations of Clive Barker’s History of the Devil and William Gibson’s Burning Chrome; and Kate Buckley’s ac­claimed productions of Macbeth, Cardenio, Are You Now or Have You Ever Been…? and Among the Thugs. With Robert Scogin (managing direc­tor), Kate Buckley (artistic director), and Stephanie Tackett (business manager) at it’s helm, The Next Theatre ends its 20th anniversary season with a wealth of experience, strong vision, and plans for an exciting future.