RUSS_JPG_30633392-e1425598546891-700x745One of the most influential figures of sculpting Chicago theatre as we know as passed.  Russ Tutterrow, Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists, passed yesterday at the age of 68.  An excerpt from his bio is below listing all his accomplishments along with the careers of some our most current prominent playwrights they owe their career to Mr. Tutterow.   

Russ Tutterow has nurtured the art and careers of countless playwrights at Chicago Dramatists, where he has been Artistic Director since 1986. To honor his 25th year as Artistic Director and his contribution to the cultural life of Chicago, May Street (adjacent to Chicago Dramatists) was recently proclaimed “Russ Tutterow Way” by the City of Chicago.

Russ is the recipient of the 2005 League of Chicago Theatres Artistic Leadership Award for his “outstanding achievement in developing new plays and his long time contribution to Chicago theatre,” the 2007 Achievement in Theatre Award from the Illinois Theatre Association, and the 2010 Actors’ Equity Spirit Award for his commitment to non-traditional casting and diversity. At Chicago Dramatists, he has directed countless new play readings, and nurtured the art and careers of hundreds of playwrights, including Rebecca Gilman, Tina Fey, Sarah Ruhl, Keith Huff, Lydia R. Diamond, Tanya Saracho, Brett Neveu, Rick Cleveland, David Barr, and Roger Rueff, to name just a few. Recently, he directed Chicago Dramatists’ world premiere productions of the Jeff Award-winning hit, “A Steady Rain” by Keith Huff (which was subsequently produced on Broadway, starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman), “Blizzard ’67” by Jon Steinhagen, “Hickorydickory” by Marisa Wegrzyn, “Water” by Alice Austen (Jeff Award nomination for New Work), “Voyeurs de Venus” by Lydia R. Diamond (Jeff Award for New Work), “Heat” by Marsha Estell (Jeff Award nomination for New Work), and “Drawing War” by Brett Neveu.

Russ also has directed, managed or taught for such Chicago theatres as Goodman, Victory Gardens, Royal George, Mercury, Briar Street, Prop, Zebra Crossing, Igloo, and Cullen, Henaghan & Platt Productions, as well as Café LaMama Hollywood, and served on the 2005 First Look Council at Steppenwolf Theatre. Mr. Tutterow has held positions as Adjunct Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Wisconsin and Director of Theatre at Lake Forest College. He holds an M.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University and a B.A. in Theatre from Ball State University.

A memorial service is planned for summer.