Before he created QLab, one of the most widespread and highly praised pieces of theatrical software out there, Christopher Ashworth was an actor who dreamed of a full-time career on stage.
Dawn Gray represents many of the city’s most recognizable acting talents, responsible in part for getting Chicago actors into roles in movies such as The Dark Knight, television series like Prison Break and numerous high-profile stage productions at home and abroad. Known for her hands-on, personal approach to representation, we asked Dawn about her career, her take on the local industry, and the common pitfalls of actors looking to move into on-camera work.
For many theatre artists, the role of a critic is perpetually bipolar: They’re either the ever-dissatisfied foil or the angel from on high, in either case wielding the power to make or break a show or company in 250 words or less.
In our limited experience at Theatre Seven, I think I've found the most difficult challenge is achieving a balance between planning for growth and success and realizing that you've never done this before, and haven't the faintest idea of how things are going to go. We created Theatre Seven believing, as I still do, that the reason so many companies fail is that they look at their first production as the finish line, gearing all their operation around just "getting the first one off the ground." Then, once that's over, they seem to come to a dead stop for a while. I have no idea how true that is, but operating under that assumption has helped us incorporate a vision for the future in everything we do, even with the awareness that we're not quite sure where we're headed.