Created 25 years ago by Chicago theater artists to provide care for those in the theater community afflicted with AIDS-related illnesses, Season of Concern has raised tens of thousands of dollars from generous artists and theater patrons to benefit hundreds of people in the entertainment industry-actors, directors, designers, technicians, playwrights-who are experiencing health-related emergencies and medical issues.
Since 1987, Season of Concern has distributed over 2.5 million dollars to 35 different Chicago-based AIDS service organizations, including AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, Chicago Women's AIDS Project, and The Children's Place. These direct-care grant awards are distributed annually and support a variety of essential programs and services for those in the Chicago community in need.
In addition, Season of Concern's Biscotto-Miller Fund provides financial assistance to individuals in the Chicago theatre community who are experiencing a catastrophic illness or a health-related emergency or event, including but not limited to HIV/AIDS. The fund was created in 1985 to honor the memory of stage manager Tommy Biscotto and actor J. Pat Miller.
Lastly, Season of Concern gives sustaining support to the Chicago office of The Actors Fund, the national human services organization that helps entertainment and performing arts professionals in theatre, film, music, opera, television and dance through a broad spectrum of social, health, employment and housing programs that address their essential and critical needs. Funding provided by Season of Concern goes directly to the Chicago office of The Actors Fund Chicago, which oversees the entertainment community in Chicago and throughout the Midwest.
|Mike Checuga||Tom Chiola||Malcolm Ewen||Marcie McVay||Cree Rankin|
|Rondi Reed||Heather Schmucker||Steve Scott||Leslie Shook||Richard Turner|
Mike Checuga has lived in Chicago his entire life with his son Victor. He has been one of the top award-winning real estate agents for the last twenty years in Chicago. His true passions are being involved in Chicago theatre and causes that make a difference in people's life. He has volunteered and been involved with Maryville Academy, Children's Memorial Hospital, Catholic Charities, Special Olympics and many other non for profits.
Tom Chiola moved to Chicago during the summer of 1978 after growing up in Springfield and graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law. He worked for the Illinois Attorney General, was in private practice, and served as Chief Administrative Law Judge and General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. In November of 1994, Tom became the first openly gay candidate to be elected to office in the State of Illinois when he won his campaign for Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. While on the bench, Tom lobbied the Illinois Supreme Court for inclusion of "sexual orientation" in the nondiscrimination rules applicable to judges and lawyers in Illinois, which was finally accomplished in 2001. Tom was one of the founding members and was the first President of the Alliance of Illinois Judges which was formed by the gay and lesbian Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Tom helped organize the first pro bono project for people with AIDS in Chicago at the Howard Brown Clinic in 1986. Prior to his election, Tom was a fund-raiser for Open Hand Chicago (now Vital Bridges), a meals-on-wheels program for PWA's. Also prior to his election, Tom worked with a coalition of groups to lobby for inclusion of "sexual orientation" in the Illinois Human Rights Act. Tom worked closely with Equality Illinois and was a recommended candidate of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. After his retirement, Tom returned to lobbying, working on the successful passage of the Civil Unions bill.
Tom was inducted by Mayor Richard M. Daley into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1998. Tom used his position as Judge to educate students and others within the legal community and to act as a mentor for GLBT law students and young lawyers. Tom served on the Board of Directors of the Advocates for the Handicapped and was a volunteer attorney for the Legal Clinic for the Disabled.
Since retiring from the bench at the end of 2009, Tom has returned to the theatre. From high school through law school, Tom performed in summer musical theater in Springfield. As part of his "second chance," Tom has been fortunate to work with various theaters, including Bailiwick Chicago (F**king Men) and Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (Icarus), as well as performing in several short films.
He has been Race Director for the Proud to Run 10K/5K, ran the MSA 16" softball league and the LPL bowling league, and helped organize national tournaments in Chicago for volleyball, softball and bowling. Tom has also been an active participant in the Gay Games in Vancouver, New York, Chicago, and Cologne.
Tom has been with his partner, Drew Jemilo, since 1994. They live in the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago.
Malcolm Ewen is a past Chairperson of the Season of Concern Board on which he has served since 1990. A graduate of Amherst College, he is a former Trustee of the Actors' Fund of America, where he now serves on the National Board of Advisors. As a stage manager based in Chicago, he has been primarily associated with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he has worked for over twenty years, and the Goodman Theatre. He has worked for Steppenwolf on four continents and has taken three Steppenwolf shows to Broadway, including the Tony Award winning The Grapes of Wrath. Also on Broadway, he was the Production Stage Manager of Paul Simon's The Capeman. In recent Steppenwolf seasons he has stage managed such productions as The Diary of Anne Frank, Kafka on the Shore, after the quake, Cherry Orchard, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Man From Nebraska and Taking Care. In addition to stage managing, he has served Steppenwolf twice as Production Manager. Malcolm also serves on the Council of Actors' Equity Association representing stage managers in the central region of the United States. Every summer he returns to the Green Mountains of Vermont to direct at the Weston Playhouse.
Marcelle McVay has worked with VGT since its inception in 1974 as Business Manager, Development Director, and Managing Director. She has overseen the budget growth of the organization to its current $3 million level and was actively involved in the recent $11.8 million capital campaign to purchase and renovate Chicago's historic Biograph Theater as the theater's new mainstage home. Actively involved in promoting growth and unity for the Chicago theater community, she was a founding member of the League of Chicago Theaters and PACT (Producers Association of Chicago-Area Theaters) and acted as Chief Negotiator during the first two rounds of contract talks between PACT and Actors' Equity Association. She is currently on the Board of Season of Concern. She serves as an Illinois Arts Council panelist and has served in that capacity for the National Endowment for the Arts Theater Program and City Arts III. McVay was Co-Coordinator of Arts in the City School, a comprehensive arts integrated curriculum effort involving eight arts organizations (including VGT) at Lincoln Park High School for eight years and was instrumental in expanding that program to elementary neighborhood schools through Annenberg funding. She also served on the Advisory Committee for the development of the Chernin Arts Center, a model community arts center, and on an Arts & Business Council Committee that produced "Diversifying Chicago's Arts Audiences: A Progress Report." Among numerous awards which McVay has received on behalf of Victory Gardens Theater are the 2001 Regional Theatre Tony Award which McVay, Artistic Director Dennis Zacek and Associate Artistic Director Sandy Shinner accepted, Actors' Equity ‘s Rosetta Lenoire Award and the Columbia College Entrepreneurship Award.
Cree Rankin joined the Season of Concern board in September of 2008. He is a member of the artistic staff at Court Theatre as the Casting Director and the Artists-in-the-Schools Director. From 1991 through 1997, Cree was the Education Director at George Street Playhouse (GSP) in New Brunswick, NJ. At GSP, he was also the assistant director of the Touring Theatre which performed in schools all over New Jersey and in seven other states. He has worked as a teaching artist with New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Playwrights' Theatre of New Jersey, New York Public Schools Project Read program and from 1999-2003 he was a teaching artist with Urban Gateways of Chicago. As Casting Director at Court Theatre, he has coordinated and overseen the casting of 36 productions. He received his M.F.A. in directing from Tulane University.
Rondi Reed has been an Ensemble Member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company for 30 years, appearing in over 50 productions at her artistic home, and in Festival Productions for STC in Australia, Ireland, and the U.K.
Ms. Reed is a teacher and director in Chicago and has worked extensively in Regional Theatre as well as Broadway and Off-Broadway. She is the recipient of several awards for her work, most recently the TONY Award (Featured Actress) for her performance in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. Rondi was an original cast member of WICKED (Chicago) and went on to reprise her role in the current Broadway production. Ms. Reed has appeared in a variety of film and television projects, most recently, YOU DON'T KNOW JACK (HBO Films), directed by Barry Levinson and starring AL Pacino.
Heather Schmucker is the Producing Director for The American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University, a program that brings professional artists to Northwestern to develop new work and engages students in the development process. She is a board member and Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre, where she spent eight years on staff, most recently as Interim Executive Director during the company's transition to their new Artistic Director, Bonnie Metzgar. At About Face, she produced Clay by Matt Sax which opens Lincoln Center Theatre's new LCT3 initiative in New York this fall; Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein by the award-winning creators of Ragtime, Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati; M. Proust by Mary Zimmerman; I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright and directed by Moises Kaufman in its pre-New York production; the 30th anniversary revival of Execution of Justice by Emily Mann, directed by Gary Griffin; and seven years of ground-breaking About Face Youth Theatre productions. At About Face, Heather had the pleasure of collaborating with many of Chicago's leading cultural institutions including Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, The Goodman, Victory Gardens and the Museum of Contemporary Art. She produced Winesburg, Ohio's presentation at the National Alliance for Music Theatre Festival in New York, and she served as Assistant Director for Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses at Cincinatti Playhouse in the Park. In 2006, Heather produced the original cast album of Loving Repeating in collaboration with Stephen Flaherty and JAY Records. Heather is the recipient of the 2006 Jane Chambers Award from the Women & Theatre program of ATHE and she is a proud member of Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self Defense Center.
Steve Scott is the Associate Producer of the Goodman Theatre, where he has overseen over 150 productions since 1987; he was also recently made a member of the Goodman's Artistic Collective. His Goodman directing credits include Blind Date for the recent Horton Foote Festival, Rabbit Hole, Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock and No One Will Be Immune for the David Mamet Festival, Dinner with Friends, Wit, the world premiere of Tom Mula's Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, A Midsummer Night's Dream (co-directed with Michael Maggio), and four seasons of A Christmas Carol. Other recent directing credits include Frozen for the Next Theatre Company; A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Ontario; The Teapot Scandals of 1923 and Falsettos for Porchlight Theatre; Communicating Doors for Buffalo Theatre Ensemble; Dealer's Choice for Shattered Globe; Stones in His Pockets at Apple Tree Theatre; Josephine Tonight for Theatre Building Chicago; God's Country and Judgment at Nuremberg for the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University's College of Performing Arts, where he is a faculty member; Rebecca Gilman's Boy Gets Girl, Lanford Wilson's "The Moonshot Tapes" and Keith Reddin's Big Time for Eclipse Theatre; and the world premiere of Tom Mula and Steve Rashid's W! for Theatre Wit. He has directed productions for a variety of other local and regional theatre companies, including Lifeline, National Jewish Theatre, Theater at the Center, Organic Touchstone, and the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. Mr. Scott has served on advisory panels for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Charitable Trust/Philadelphia Theatre Initiative; and currently serves as an NEA site evaluator, a board member for Season of Concern, and a member of the Jeff Committee's Artistic and Technical Team. He is an artistic associate of the About Face, Eclipse, and CollaborAction companies and one of six resident directors for WBEZ's Stories on Stage; he is also a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Chicago. Mr. Scott is the recipient of an After Dark Award, five Jeff nominations, and the Illinois Theatre Association Award of Honor; as an actor, he most recently appeared in the Next Theatre's production of Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...? (Jeff Award for Outstanding Ensemble).
Leslie Shook has worked as the theatre manager for The Theatre School at DePaul University since 1982 and served as founding head of the BFA Theatre Management program in the Theatre Studies department from 1990-2010. She is responsible for front-of-house operations, educational outreach, subscriber services, access services, rental contacts and developing audiences of more than 45,000 people each season for Chicago Playworks, The Theatre School Showcase, New Directors Series and New Playwrights Series. She is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres where she chairs the Access Task Force, Arts Alliance Illinois, Chicago Cultural Network, Arts Engagement Exchange (AEE) Advisory Committee, Theatre Communications Group and DePaul University's Faculty/Staff Scholarship Committee.
Leslie is a charter member of the board of directors of Season of Concern, the Chicago theatre community's fund for providing direct care for people living with AIDS and HIV and people in the arts community who have experienced an emergency and need assistance, where she chairs the Board Governance Committee. She is on the leadership council for Bodies of Work, now part of the University of Illinois at Chicago: the 2006 Chicago Festival of Disability Arts and Culture in April 2006 and future festivals. In 2007 and 2011, she was nominated for the Deaf Illinois Award as Best Hearing Advocate. She has participated in National Disability Mentoring Day since 2002, the annual event sponsored by the City of Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. Leslie moderated a panel at the AEE Learning Circle entitled "Campus Connections: Engaging College Students in the Arts" on August 19, 2010. In past years, she served on the DePaul Advisory Board for Students with Disabilities, DART/DePaul University AIDS/HIV Resource Team, Chicago International Film Festival Black Perspectives committee and Safe Zone Training.
In March 2002, Leslie sponsored the first theatre management intensive trip to New York City for Theatre School students, continued this initiative in 2004, 2007 and 2009. She received the DePaul University Staff Recognition Award in June 2001 for her work as Silent Auction Chair for the 2001 Theatre School Awards for Excellence in the Arts Gala and in May 2004 for her work on Theatre School newsletters and educational outreach publications. She completed DePaul University's Management Certificate Program, Diversity Employee Certificate Program, and was the moderator for the 1998 League of Chicago Theatres Community Retreat panel, "The Season Continues: Living with AIDS in the New Millennium." She attended the League of Chicago Theatres' Effective Management Strategies for Theatre Leaders workshop in 2011. Leslie studies voice with Mark Elliott at The Theatre School, was a member of the DePaul University Community Chorus for four years, and has enjoyed singing our national anthem on many occasions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as an audience member at Ravinia Festival and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in Millennium Park.
With a background of more than 20 years experience in organized philanthropy, Richard Turner is currently the Manager of Corporate Contributions for Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. Previously he has been with The Chicago Community Trust as Director of Development and Communications and The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust as Director and Senior Program Officer. He has also served as Executive Director for Funders Concerned About AIDS, a New York based national organization working to mobilize philanthropic leadership and resources for HIV/AIDS services, research, and advocacy. He was a founding member of the Funders Concerned About AIDS and served as national president before becoming Executive Director. He has also been with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Company Manager and Associate Director of Public Relations and with WTTW/Channel 11 as Director of Information Services and Advertising. He is a past vice chair of the Donors Forum of Chicago, past national president of Communications Network in Philanthropy, and a former vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois. He is the immediate past chairman of the board of the Chicago Academy for the Arts.
Turner is also a former president of the board of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and a former member of the national board of the Human Rights Campaign and a former member of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt national board of directors. In 1990 he received the Chicago House Founders Award and that same year was named Gay Chicago Magazine's "Man of the Year." In 1991, he was selected for the inaugural class of inductees into the City of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. In 1998, he received the Chicago chapter NAMES Project "Individual of the Year Award." In 2004, he received the Association of Fundraising Professionals Professional Grantor Award and the Chicago House Coming Home Award. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a master's degree from Arizona State University.
Season of Concern
8 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 601
Chicago, IL 60603