Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Faculty and Student Honored by Michael Merritt Design Awards May 13

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department faculty member and Tony Award-winning sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, a teacher in the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre Design and Technology, is the recipient of the 2024 Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration.

Fiksel is the second Columbia College Theatre Department teacher in a row to receive the Michael Merritt Award. As previously reported in this blog, Theatre Department faculty member Heather Gilbert, a Drama Desk Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated lighting designer, received the Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration in 2023.

Elly Burke

The Michael Merritt Award, a national award unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, has been presented annually since 1994 to outstanding professional theatrical designers. The Michael Merritt Awards program, administered by the Michael Merritt Awards and Endowment Fund, also recognizes and encourages the work of young professionals and students through a national design exposition and academic achievement prizes to promising theatrical design and technology students. One of these prizes, the John Murbach Columbia College Chicago Prize, is given annually to a graduating student in the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department’s Theatre Design and Technology program. The prize honors the memory of former Columbia College Theatre Department faculty member John Murbach, who died in 2001 at age 44. This year’s Murbach Prize will be presented to Columbia College alum Elly Burke ’24, a scenic and costume designer.

Michael Merritt

Michael Merritt

The Michael Merritt Awards honor the memory of former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department faculty member and Joseph Jefferson Award-winning stage and film designer Michael Merritt, noted for his set, lighting, and costume designs for Chicago’s Goodman, Steppenwolf, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Wisdom Bridge, National Jewish, and Chicago Shakespeare theatres as well as for Broadway and motion pictures. Merritt died in 1992 at the age of 47.

The 2024 Michael Merritt Awards will be presented on Monday, May 13, in a ceremony and exhibition at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, located at 800 E. Grand on Chicago’s Navy Pier. The event begins at 5 PM. For tickets and more information, click here.