Steve Scott: A Life in the Theater

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Goodman Producer Steve Scott

The 2016/2017 Season concludes with Ah, Wilderness!, and marks a bittersweet moment for the Goodman Theatre family: director Steve Scott steps down from his long-held position as the theater’s Producer. Scott has called the Goodman his artistic home for nearly four decades, when he joined the staff as Director of Educational Programs. Other than a brief period (1984–1986) when he left to work at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Latin School of Chicago, Scott has been a Goodman mainstay—moving from education to the artistic department, eventually serving as Producer. In this capacity, he oversees every aspect of the Goodman’s productions, supervises and mentors staff, and offers wise counsel on such diverse efforts as fundraising, marketing, education and outreach. Scott rarely forgets a name, a face or a production, and holds 37 years of Goodman memories.

Scott began working at the Goodman at its former home—a smaller space with limited technological capacities, located behind the Art Institute of Chicago—when many of its greatest achievements were to come. The theater had not yet earned its Tony Award or its designation by Time magazine as America’s “Best Regional Theater,” nor had it quite gained the national and international reputation as a place where new plays thrive and classics are brilliantly re-imagined. Scott played an integral role in shaping the Goodman’s growth; from overseeing its expanding artistic staff to negotiating the transition into its current home at 170 N. Dearborn in 2000, he has been a guiding force for the Goodman through growing pains and triumphs. In addition to his invaluable contributions off the stage, Scott has directed Goodman productions ranging from madcap comedies (Dinner with Friends and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) to heart-wrenching dramas (Wit and Rabbit Hole). He earned his first Goodman directing credit 28 years ago, with the 1989 production of A Christmas Carol, and would return to direct several more engagements of the annual production over the next three decades. In 2007, he officially became a member of the Goodman’s Artistic Collective, a group of distinguished and diverse artists who shape the theater’s creative direction and select plays for each season.

He meanwhile built a reputation in the broader Chicago theater community as one of its most prolific directors, amassing credits at theaters of all budget levels, including Eclipse Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, Silk Road Rising and many more. His work as a longtime professor at Roosevelt University, as well as his subtle, caring mentorship of theater artists—including those long out of school have earned him a reputation as a theatrical sage.

After this season, he will no longer report for his daily duties as Producer at the Goodman, but Scott will remain an active member of the Artistic Collective, and continue to direct and teach throughout the city. Everyone at the Goodman will miss his keen artistic sensibilities, his shrewd diplomacy, his vast knowledge and his ability to find the humor and lightness in any drama—on stage or off.