Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Teacher’s Lighting Design for New Off-Broadway Show ‘Dead Outlaw’ Featured on ‘Theater Wow’

Heather Gilbert

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department faculty member Heather Gilbert is featured in an article posted April 12 in the Substack blog Theater Wow. The focus of the interview – “A Million Lovely Moments: Dead Outlaw‘s Lighting Designer Heather Gilbert,” by blogger Jim McDermott – is Gilbert’s work as lighting designer for the acclaimed off-Broadway production Dead Outlaw, which closes April 14 at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. As previously reported in this blog, Dead Outlaw was directed by former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department student and faculty member and Columbia College Honorary Degree recipient David Cromer HDR ’17, who won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for The Band’s Visit. Cromer and Gilbert have collaborated as director and designer on multiple productions in Chicago and New York as well as regionally. As previously reported in this blog, Gilbert, a teacher in the Columbia College Theatre Department’s Theatre Design and Technology program, won the 2020 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play for her lighting design for the drama The Sound Inside, also directed by Cromer.

Andrew Durand (with microphone) in the off-Broadway production “Dead Outlaw.”

Asked by McDermott, “What are the things you most value in a lighting design?,” Gilbert responded: “Strong partnerships, actually. My amazing associates . . . sharing the dedication to what the vision of the design is and making it work. I like having people who want to talk about the why’s and how’s. You can make an incredible design with two clip lights and a flashlight and a power strip. And I have. But you can’t make strong design without people helping make it happen. From the director and designers to the electricians installing the show to the stage managers and the crew (I could write a sonnet to our crew, I tell you) and the actors–everyone working together on the same team. That’s what you need to make good design and good theatre.”

To read the full interview with Gilbert, click here.