Esteemed Chicago Director Michael Maggio Dead at 49

News   Esteemed Chicago Director Michael Maggio Dead at 49 Michael Maggio, the accomplished Chicago-based stage director and associate artistic director of The Goodman Theatre, died Aug. 19 of complications from post-transplant lymphoma after surviving a 1991 bilateral lung transplant, according to The Goodman Theatre.

Michael Maggio, the accomplished Chicago-based stage director and associate artistic director of The Goodman Theatre, died Aug. 19 of complications from post-transplant lymphoma after surviving a 1991 bilateral lung transplant, according to The Goodman Theatre.

Mr. Maggio's death stunned members of the Chicago artistic community, including students and faculty at the Theatre School of DePaul University, where he was dean. Mr. Maggio's next New York City project was to be the Manhattan Theatre Club staging of Rebecca Gilman's Boy Gets Girl and he was set to stage the world premiere of Gilman's The Great Baseball Strike of '94 at the Goodman's new theatre in Chicago.

Mr. Maggio was one of the three men -- including director Frank Galati and Goodman artistic director Robert Falls -- who brought The Goodman into prominence. He was named associate artistic director there in 1987.

Falls told the Chicago Tribune's critic, Robert Christiansen, "He could do everything. He could go from comedy to tragedy, dramas to musicals, from Anton Chekhov to Stephen Sondheim. He could take any play and make it a roaring hit."

Playwright Keith Reddin, who had six of his new works directed by Mr. Maggio, told the Tribune: "Michael had a big vision, which made him especially good with new works. He urged playwrights to let their imaginations loose." Among Mr. Maggio's many Chicago-area credits are the premiere of the musical version of Arthur Kopit's Wings at The Goodman Studio; the premiere of Keith Reddin's All the Rage for The Goodman Mainstage; the premiere of Reddin's Brutality of Fact in The Goodman Studio; the premiere musical, Another Midsummer Night at The Goodman; the premiere of Reddin's Black Snow for The Goodman; Reddin's Life During Wartime for Center Theater; Reddin's Highest Standard of Living for Remains Theatre; the premiere revue, A Sondheim Suite, for Northlight Theatre, and many more. He won Joseph Jefferson Awards for his direction of A Little Night Music, Black Snow and Wings. He was artistic director of Northlight Theatre, in Skokie, IL, 1984-87.

He also staged productions at The Theatre School at DePaul, including The Perpetual Patient, The Grapes of Wrath, The Beaux Stratagem and more. His work was seen through the U.S., in some of the most prestigious regional theatres, including The Cleveland Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, New York Shakespeare Festival (Titus Andronicus im 1989), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Guthrie Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. He directed the Broadway play, My Thing of Love, by Alexandra Gersten, in 1995. It premiered in the Windy City. He also staged a new musical, Elmer Gantry, at Ford's Theater, in Washington DC.

Mr. Maggio was born in Chicago and educated at the University of Arizona, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in theatre.

Services will be Aug. 22 at 10:30 AM in the chapel of Montclair-Lucania Funeral Home followed by burial at Mount Carmel Cemetery, in Hillside, IL. Visitation is scheduled for 3-9:30 PM Aug. 21, at Montclair-Lucania, 6901 W. Belmont.

Mr. Maggio is survived by his wife, Rachel Kraft; his parents, Carlo and Genevieve Maggio; son Ben Maggio; sister Donna Will; and in-laws.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Mr. Maggio fought to overcome the disease), The Goodman Theatre, or Theatre School at DePaul.

A public memorial service is expected at The Goodman at a later date.

-- By Kenneth Jones