EmmaDead Writers Theatre Collective presents Jim Schneider’s staging of the Chicago premiere of Michael Bloom’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” at on The Pro mainstage theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. April 18-May 25. Previews run April 18-20; For tickets, call the Stage 773 box office at 773-327.5252 or visit

Austen’s Emma is a precocious, accomplished and spoiled young woman. Convinced she will never marry, she fancies herself to be naturally gifted in matchmaking and makes it her mission to find a suitor for Harriet Smith, her amiable friend of a lower social standing.  As Emma becomes involved in the romantic lives of those around her, suspicion, intrigue and misunderstandings ensue before Emma herself finds love. Austen’s novel was published in 1815 and is considered by many to be Austen’s best work.

Michael Bloom’s adaptation of Austen’s comedy of manners debuted at Cleveland Play House in 2010 to rave reviews and captures the effervescent spirit of the 1996 Academy Award-winning feature film starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer says “’Emma’ easily will win your heart,” and Pittsburgh’s City Paper says “Hats off to Michael Bloom for his adaptation of Austen’s classic.”

“Dead Writers Theatre Collective prides itself on presenting theater with premier production values and the highest caliber of period authenticity,” says Dead Writers Theater Collective Artistic Director Schneider. “For ‘Emma,’ audiences will see sets replete with antique furnishings and properties, and rich period-perfect costumes developed by our top-notch design team from their extensive research into 19th Century England. Against that background, the talented cast will add period-appropriate poise, music and dance to elicit the delightful ethos of the era and ultimately transport audiences to Austen’s world.”

The cast for “Emma” features Heather Chrisler (Emma Woodhouse), Jerry Bloom (Mr. Woodhouse), Ben Muller* (Mr. George Nightly), Hillary Sigale* (Harriet Smith), Brandon Johnson* (Frank Churchill), Megan DeLay (Jane Fairfax), Lorelei Sturm (Mrs. Weston), Brad Davidson (Mr. Weston), Kevin Sheehan (Phillip Elton), Maeghan Looney (Augusta Elton), Sara Minton* (Miss Bates), Joyce Saxon (Mrs. Bates), Nick Bonges (Robert Martin) and Jerico Bleu, Kamron Palmer, William Czerwoinka and Andrea Young (Servants).

The design team for Jane Austen’s “Emma” includes Jim Schneider* (Direction), Mady Newfield and Tammy Ravitts-Bretcher (Choreography), Moon Jung Kim (Set Design), Patti Roeder* (Costume Design), Linda Bugielski (Lighting Design), Jeffrey Levin (Sound Design/Original Composition). Production dramaturg is Jeffrey Nigro. Stage manager is Kari Warfield)*; assistant stage managers are Angela Guest and Krista Ulbricht.

Michael Bloom (Adaptor) is a director, writer and teacher whose productions have been seen at many of the major theaters throughout the United States and Japan. He is currently director of Cleveland Play House where directing credits include his adaptation of “Emma,” Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” Lee Blessing’s adaptation of Thorton Wilder’s “Heaven’s My Destination,” Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” John Strand’s “Lincolnesque” and David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole.” He has also directed productions at American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Old Globe Theatre, South Coast Rep, Seattle Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre and the Sundance Playwrights’ Institute. His off-Broadway production of Donald Margulies “Sight Unseen” garnered three 1992 Obie Awards (Best New American Play, Best Performance-Actor, Best Performance-Actress) and he received a 1992 Drama Desk nomination for direction. Bloom has been associate artistic director at the Hartman Theatre Company, associate director at American Repertory Theatre and co-founder of Actors Repertory of Texas. He has taught at New York University, Harvard University, University of Texas, and Scripps College. His articles have appeared in American Theatre Magazine and The New York Times; and his book “Thinking Like a Director” was published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux in 2001.

Jim Schneider* (Director/Dead Writers Theatre Collective Artistic Director) most recently directed the professional world premiere of Adam Pasen’s “Tea With Edie & Fitz” and Dead Writers’ debut production of Noel Coward’s “The Vortex.” Previously, he directed the critically acclaimed, Jeff Recommended productions of Clare Booth Luce’s “The Women,” Philip Barry’s “The Philadelphia Story,” Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever,” Design for Living and “An Ideal Husband,” all at Circle Theatre. His staging of “An Ideal Husband” was hailed by the Chicago Tribune as one of the best five productions for 2007 and by the Chicago Sun-Times as one of the best 10 plays of the season. His production of “Design for Living” was selected by the Chicago Sun-Times as one of the best top 10 productions for 2005 and received an After Dark Award for Best Costume Design. To date Schneider’s productions have garnered a total of five Jeff Recommendations and 11 Jeff Nominations, winning two for Best Costume Design. His 2010 production of “The Philadelphia Story” won three Broadway World Awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Revival of a Classic) and “Tea with Eddie & Fitz” recently won the Broadway World Award for Best New Play of 2013. Originally from Houston, Texas, Schneider founded Houston’s Horizon’s Showcase Theatre where he premiered Horton Foote’s “Courtship” with the assistance of Foote, produced and directed Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” and “The American Dream” (with the assistance of Albee) among others. Schneider holds an M.F.A. from University of Houston.

  • Denotes Dead Writers Theatre Collective Member Dead Writers Theatre Collective presents Jim Schneider’s staging of the Chicago premiere of Michael Bloom’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” at on The Pro mainstage theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. April 18-May 25. Press opening is Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Seating is general admission. Ticket prices are $40 ($25 for students and seniors). For tickets call the Stage 773 box office at 773-327.5252 or visit

Dead Writers Theatre Collective seeks to transport audiences into the original world of the play through extensively studied period appropriate settings, props and costumes.  This strict attention to detail and high level of aesthetics is a hallmark of the Collective.

The Collective, under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Schneider and Managing Director Bob Douglas, is a Chicago-based 501(c)3 non-profit arts collective comprised of directors, designers, actors and playwrights and educators with a mission is to produce works either by or about dead writers. Past productions have included Noel Coward’s “The Vortex,” Adam Pasen “Tea with Eddie &  Fitz,” (winner of the Broadway World Award for Best New Play of 2013) and Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan.”

Dead Writers Theatre Collective productions are supported in part by The Pauls Foundation,The Barre Seid and Barbara Landis Foundation and the John R. Halligan Charitable Fund. For more information about Dead Writers Theater Collective visit or call 773.305.8221.