Acclaimed stage director David Cromer HDR ’17, a former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department student and faculty member and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Columbia College, won a 2017 Obie Award on May 22 for his direction of The Band’s Visit, a new musical by playwright Itamar Moses and songwriter David Yazbek. The show, produced by the Atlantic Theater Company, also won an Obie Award for Musical Theater. It ran November 11, 2016-January 8, 2017, at the Linda Gross Theatre in New York, with a cast that included Katrina Lenk and Tony Shalhoub.
On May 24, the New York Times reported that the production will transfer to Broadway in the fall, with Cromer again directing. Performances of The Band’s Visit on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre will start on October 7, with opening night set for November 9.
The Obie Award judges panel for this season included former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department student Darius de Haas, an Obie Award-winning singer-actor who performed at this year’s ceremony.
As previously reported in this blog, Cromer gave the commencement address at the 2017 Columbia College Chicago graduation for students from the Theatre, Dance, Television, Audio Arts and Acoustics, and Creative Arts Therapies departments on Saturday, May 13, at the historic Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago. To see a video of Cromer’s commencement speech, click here.
Originally from the Chicago area and now based in New York, David Cromer has been associated with Columbia College Chicago since the fall of 1982, when he began as an Acting major in what was then the Theatre/Music Department. In the late 1980s, he returned to Columbia to study directing and returned again in the early ’90s to teach. While still a student, Cromer was afforded multiple opportunities to work professionally by the faculty of the college. When Cromer began directing plays professionally in Chicago, he continued the tradition of using Columbia as a major resource for new, energized, fearless talent. Cromer was also a part-time faculty member at Columbia for 15 years before he relocated to New York.
As a director, Cromer has been lauded for his innovative take on such classic American plays as Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, William Inge’s Picnic, and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, as well as his stewardship of critically acclaimed new works, including the musicals Adding Machine and The Band’s Visit. He has received multiple awards for his work as a director, including:
- Joseph Jefferson Awards (Chicago): for Director – Play (Angels in America, Parts I and II, 1998; The Price, Writers Theatre, 2002; The Cider House Rules: Part I and The Cider House Rules: Part II, 2003; Our Town, 2009);
- Obie Awards (Off-Broadway): for Director (Adding Machine, 2008; Our Town, 2009; The Band’s Visit, 2017);
- Lucille Lortel Awards (Off-Broadway): for Outstanding Director (Adding Machine, 2008 — the production also won the Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical; Our Town, 2009 — the production also won the Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival; When the Rain Stops Falling, 2010).