Memorial Planned for Brad Nelson Winters, Slain Chicago Director, Sept. 29; His Troupe's Show Goes On

News   Memorial Planned for Brad Nelson Winters, Slain Chicago Director, Sept. 29; His Troupe's Show Goes On A celebration of the life of Brad Nelson Winters, the late artistic director of Terrapin Theatre in Chicago, will be held 6:30-10 PM Sept. 29 at Steppenwolf Theatre.
Brad Nelson Winters.
Brad Nelson Winters.

Winters was found murdered in August, leaving members of his small professional troupe — and a wider community of Windy City theatre artists — stricken.

Steppenwolf is at 1650 N. Halsted. Doors open to the public at 6:30 PM, and a presentation will begin at 7 PM, hosted by Terrapin managing director Jimmy Freund.

The evening will consist of several speakers, a video tribute, a special salute from the Terrapin ensemble, some songs, a moment of silence, and a "memorial smoke break." The hour-long tribute will be followed by food, drink and an open mike in the lobby, with the evening ending about 10 PM. For more info on this memorial event, call (312) 464-1345.

Cards for Winters' family and contributions to the Brad Nelson Winters Memorial Fund (in lieu of flowers) can be delivered at this event, or sent to Terrapin Theatre/Brad Nelson Winters Memorial Fund, 444 N. Wabash, No. 410, Chicago, IL, 60611.

The show Winters was cast in at the time of his death, Kevin Crowley's dark comedy disgruntled employees, will go on in his honor, opening at the Athenaeum on Oct. 25 and running through Nov. 23. In addition to the theatre community wake, the disgruntled employees show 8 PM Nov. 1 will also be a Brad Nelson Winters Memorial Fund fundraiser, with all proceeds that evening going to that charity.

The Athenaeum Theatre Studio One is at 2936 N. Southport in Chicago.

Following the tragic death of Winters, on Aug. 19, Terrapin decided to forge ahead with this production, moving the opening two weeks (from Oct. 12 to Oct. 25), and re-casting ensemble member Steve Emily in Winters' original role of Mr. Barcroft. "The ensemble and board decided that there would be no better tribute to Brad's leadership and passion than to nurture this new work and deliver it to the audiences for whom Brad cared so much," according to a statement from the company.

About Terrapin's decision to go ahead with this production, managing director Freund said, "It is sad in this current civilization that violence has become such a backdrop of our lives. I am sure that someone much wiser than myself once said 'there is very little room in our minds for much else besides what is in conflict with the completion of our daily lives.' Violence happens. We hope that by being a good person, calling our moms and brushing our teeth twice a day, we may avoid the pressure of having to deal with violence in our society. disgruntled employees not only makes us look into the face of senseless violence, it gives us a point of reference other than 'the victim is of the 500 block of West Belden' or some such. It is a strong will that can face up to the horror and even find the courage to poke fun at it. If we do not allow ourselves to laugh, even when it may be inappropriate, then we do not allow ourselves the chance to heal. And we think Brad would want that for us . . . as much as we want him to know how much he meant to us, and how much we will always love him."

disgruntled employees (the title is in lowercase) is set in a remote outpost of the U.S. Postal Service. "Gus wants a promotion and is willing to die for it," according to production notes. "Alex wants Valentine and is not afraid to cry for it. Valentine wants a baby and bakes a cheese pie for it. Mr. Barcroft didn't do anything except hire Lubbock Czar, a mysterious drifter who will either kill them all or set them free."