Columbia College Chicago Theatre and Dance Alums Honored in Chicago Reader’s ‘Best of Chicago 2020’ Poll

Congratulations to the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department and Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago alumni whose work was celebrated in the 2020 Arts & Culture poll in the Chicago Reader‘s annual “Best of Chicago” issue dated March 17, 2021. The poll winners are selected through an online vote by readers of the Reader, which is Chicago’s premier alternative publication.

Anna D. Shapiro

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, whose artistic director is Columbia College Chicago alum Anna D. Shapiro ’90, HDR ’15, was named “Best Established Theatre,” as it has been several times in previous “Best Of Chicago” polls in the Reader. Shapiro, who stepped into the position of Steppenwolf’s artistic director in September 2015, graduated from Columbia College in 1990 and then received an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Columbia College when she spoke at the college’s commencement for Theatre Department graduates in May 2015. She was a featured speaker at Columbia College’s first-ever Theatre Alumni Reunion in 2018, and has been a Steppenwolf ensemble member since 2005. The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department has long and deep ties to Steppenwolf; many of its faculty and alumni have worked there onstage and behind the scenes, and the department’s late longtime chair, Sheldon Patinkin, was a mentor to Shapiro and many other members of the internationally acclaimed ensemble.

Cody Estle (Photo: Joe Mazza)

Raven Theatre, whose artistic director is Columbia alum is Cody Estle ’11, was named “Best Off-Loop Theatre.” As previously reported in this blog, Estle, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, became Raven’s artistic director in 2017 after serving as its associate artistic director.

Claire Chrzan

Also in the poll, Columbia College alum Claire Chrzan ’11, a graduate of Columbia’s Theatre Design program, was named “Best Theatre Designer.”



(Illustration by Jason Wyatt Frederick)