Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Alum Joins Lyric Opera of Chicago as Graphic Design Specialist

Jake Fruend

Congratulations to Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Jake Fruend ’13, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program. He’s joining the internationally acclaimed Lyric Opera of Chicago as a full-time staff Graphic Design Specialist. “I’ll handle graphics projects for marketing, development, education (“Lyric Unlimited”), and wherever else they’re needed,” Fruend told this blog. “I’ll also be helping to implement Lyric’s branding across the company. . . . [And] I’ll be able to coordinate and manage a number of freelancers.”

A St. Louis native who moved to Chicago in 2009 to study Theatre at Columbia College, Fruend has previously served as marketing manager of Raven Theatre, a highly regarded non-Equity theatre company led by Columbia College alum Cody Estle ’11, also a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program. Fruend has worked extensively in Chicago theatre as both a director and a graphic designer with such troupes as Raven, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, Nothing Without a Company, Jackalope Theatre, Northlight Theatre, About Face Theatre, Mercy Street Theatre, and the Neo-Futurists.

Since its founding in 1954, the Lyric Opera of Chicago — recognized as one of the world’s great opera companies — has always distinguished itself by presenting the finest international singers, conductors, directors, and designers in classic and less-familiar operatic repertoire and in world-premiere productions. The company’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great art and opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to the Chicago region and the nation, and to advance opera’s development by producing and performing consistently world-class opera, with a balanced repertoire encompassing core classics, less-known masterpieces, and new works; creating a diverse, innovative, wide-ranging program of community engagement and education activities that reaches the widest possible public; and developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

In 2012, Lyric’s general director Anthony Freud launched “Lyric Unlimited,” a long-term, evolving initiative that encompasses company activities that are not part of Lyric’s mainstage opera season. “Lyric Unlimited” focuses on introducing new audiences to opera, developing programming for young people, collaborating with community organizations, and commissioning and presenting new works and exploring new formats. On average, 100,000 people experience “Lyric Unlimited” programming each season.


James Sherman in "The Ben Hecht show"