Rick Boynton, an actor and casting director in Chicago, is expected to be named artistic director of Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, according to sources in the Windy City theatre community.
Boynton will replace artistic director Dyanne Earley in 2001. The popular arena theatre's 2001 season is expected to be announced in the coming weeks by Earley and producer Terry James. There has been no official announcement yet of Boynton coming aboard the award-winning subscription house known for presenting new and classic musicals. His hiring is an open secret in the theatre community in Chicago.
Boynton is a two-time Jeff Award-winning actor (A Flea in Her Ear at Drury Lane Oakbrook, 1776 at the Marriott), who is the associate artistic director and casting director at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier. Boynton, who is on his late 30s, acted in Marriott's stagings of And the World Goes' Round, Grover's Corners and Ms. Cinderella.
Boynton will join the Marriott in early 2001 and work with Earley and James until summer, when Earley departs.
The theatre has the second largest musical theatre subscribership in the country and brings 400,000 people into Lincolnshire every year, according to the web site. Producer James replaced longtime producer Kary M. Walker earlier this year. Artistic director Earley, a member of the MLT staff since 1977, received Joseph Jefferson (Jeff) nominations for directing My Fair Lady, The First and Windy City. She has also directed Marriott's Oliver!, Camelot, Cabaret, 70 Girls 70, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Little Shop of Horrors, Oklahoma!, The Music Man, The New Yorkers, How to Succeed in Business... and several of Marriott's Theatre for Young Audience productions.
It was Walker who instituted the Marriott Theatre subscription drive in 1981 and changed the venue from a showcase for TV stars in non-musical plays to a stage for ensemble-oriented commercial musicals designed to draw a big audience. The theatre was built in 1975 as part of the larger Marriott resort. Originally the theatre was known as Drury Lane Theatre North.
In the past 20 years, the Marriott has staged the first major regional production of Baby, staged by Richard Maltby Jr., the world premiere of the Our Town musical known as Grover's Corners, and premieres of Startime, Give My Regards to Broadway, Ms. Cinderella, Maury Yeston's History Loves Company, Annie Warbucks, Phantom of the Country Palace, Matador and Peggy Sue Got Married.
Reworked versions of Houdini, The Goodbye Girl, The New Yorkers and Queen of the Stardust Ballroom also found voice there, and Windy City had its American premiere there.
The 2000 season, which began in January, includes Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Pirates of Penzance, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Evita and The King and I.
-- By Kenneth Jones