Guy Adkins, Leading Chicago Stage Actor, Dies at 41

Obituaries   Guy Adkins, Leading Chicago Stage Actor, Dies at 41
Guy Adkins, who over the past decade rose to become one of the Chicago theatre scene's most visible and most popular actors, died May 12 in his West Andersonville apartment after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 41.
Guy Adkins
Guy Adkins Photo by Robin Wilner

Mr. Adkins' work filled Chicago stages over the past decade and was typically met with wide praise. He was equally adept at plays and musicals. He essayed classic roles with local companies, as when he played Hamlet at the Court Theatre in 2002, and leading parts in Chicago stagings of recent New York successes, starring as Leo Bloom in The Producers at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, in 2007.

Mr. Adkins was a local Midwesterner who rarely strayed from his home turf. He was born in Lansing, MI, and raised in Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and arrived in Chicago in the early 1990s. He got work almost immediately.

He worked at Chicago's leading theatres, including the Goodman Theatre, where he played in Floyd Collins and Arcadia; and the Steppenwolf Theatre, where he appeared in The Time of Your Life, and often worked with director Tina Landau. "I've never worked with anyone like Guy," Landau told the Chicago Tribune. "He was my muse. He acted like he lived the last year of his life. With consummate grace and light."

Among his other significant credits were Oklahoma! Windy City and A Funny Thing Happened... at the Marriott; Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; the title role in Pericles and Twelfth Night and The Invention of Love at the Court; Hello Again and The Secret Garden at Apple Tree Theatre; and Away at Northlight.

He starred in the world premieres of the musicals The Return of Martin Guerre and The Visit, both at the Goodman, and acted with Molly Ringwald in the national tour of the recent revival of Sweet Charity. Occasionally, he journeyed east. The New York Times called him "outrageously talented" for his turn at Puck in a Landau-directed A Midsummer Night's Dream at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey. He actually won three. Mr. Adkins was nominated ten times for Chicago theatre's Jeff Awards, winning three: supporting actor awards in 1994 for the Marriott Theatre's Oklahoma!, in 1999 for the Goodman Theatre's Floyd Collins and in 2002 for Writers' Theatre's Misalliance.

Adkins is survived by his longtime partner Sean Allan Krill, his parents and three sisters. Funeral services are to be private, but a memorial is in the planning stages.

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