ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 3 - May/June

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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H e might currently split his time between New York and Los Angeles, but David Schwimmer, Northwestern alumnus and Lookingglass Theatre cofounder, has never really left Chicago behind, still keeping a place in Greektown, regularly appearing at Lookingglass events, and, in 2010, returning to adapt and direct Trust. Now, in the finale of the theater's 25th season, Schwimmer is back to helm the world premiere of the Chicago-set Big Lake Big City. In an exclusive interview with playwright Keith Huff, the former Friends star waxes nostalgic about Lookingglass's early days, discusses his passion for directing, and shares the reasons why Chicago still feels like home. some reason I took a job—I think it was at the Omni Suites Hotel on Wacker—running the hotel business center. What was great about the job was that it was deserted; hardly anyone would use the business center. So I had all the time in the world to just write, and basically I was being paid by the Omni to write the play of The Jungle. Then all of us would meet later after our day jobs, and we'd rehearse at Resurrection Church right off Belmont. We were doing it for the passion and our belief in the play and in the company, and it was the first production that really put us on the map in Chicago. Studs Terkel showed up one night, and that developed into a friendship and led to me adapting and directing his book Race15 years later; it was the first time we met John Mahoney and some members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which became Keith Huff: You're directing Big Lake Big City at Lookingglass. Why bother coming back to Chicago? David Schwimmer: You know what? That's a good question. I'm going to rethink everything. [Laughs] Like you, I have a huge love of live theater. I've always found it to be a great playground. It's a huge opportunity for me to work with you and with a new group of actors on a new play. Those three things really, really excite me and offer great challenges, and I like a challenge. Most of all, I like doing so with Lookingglass for the past 25 years. KH: We have a great team of people who are also nice. And smart. DS: It helps that they're not just smart but also nice, so it's actually fun to discuss, debate, and challenge one another. There's no ego in the room. It's always about the work: How can we make this better, clearer, more moving, more interesting, more provocative? How can we elevate the material? It's not always the case where the most important thing and what should be on everyone's mind is how to make this better. There are so many agendas, so much politics in other parts of the industry. What's so refreshing and why I keep coming back to Lookingglass is that everyone is here to serve what is best for the play. It's quite pure. KH: What are some of your favorite productions throughout Lookingglass history? DS: Maybe it's nostalgic, but some of my favorite memories are those of the first couple of years of the company—a time in my life where I had absolutely nothing to lose, and all of us were just taking incredible risks. One was a play I had adapted from The Jungleby Upton Sinclair and directed. A lot of us were waiting tables, but for Navy suit, Ralph Lauren Black Label ($1,895). 750 N. Michigan Ave., 312-280-1655; ralph Striped-collar polo, Burberry ($225). 633 N. Michigan Ave., 312-787-2500; burberry. com. Shadow socks, Falke ($30). Saks Fifth Avenue, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-6500; Loafers, Fratelli Rossetti ($600). 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-799-5211; MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 100-103_MA_FEAT_CoverStory_MayJune13.indd 101 101 4/16/13 10:24 AM

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