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Dani Snyder-Young

Dani Snyder-Young is a Chicago-based dramaturg, director, and critic. Her artistic work focuses primarily on political theatre, community based performance, new play development, and adaptations of classical texts for diverse audiences, which dovetails with her scholarly work on applied and community-based theatre. Dani is the author of Theatre of Good Intentions: Challenges and Hopes for Theatre and Social Change (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and an artist-in-residence with Halcyon Theatre. She is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University, where she runs the BA Theatre Arts program. Dani holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MA and PhD from New York University.

“The most gorgeous group of f*ck ups” in Airline Highway at Steppenwolf
Essay

“The most gorgeous group of f*ck ups” in Airline Highway at Steppenwolf

3 February 2015

Airline Highway is about community. D’Amour focuses the play not on their pain, but on their joy and celebration of a life fully lived, using the “living funeral” as a landscape to highlight her nuanced characters and their complex relationships.

Photo from Forgotten Future: The Education Project.
Broken Public Schools and Community Dialogue at Collaboraction
Essay

Broken Public Schools and Community Dialogue at Collaboraction

4 December 2014

Based on interviews with local teachers and students about the current educational climate, Forgotten Futures creates space for discussion of the dysfunction plaguing Chicago Public Schools.

Photo from Native Son.
Trauma and Agency in Native Son at the Court Theatre
Essay

Trauma and Agency in Native Son at the Court Theatre

4 November 2014

At this historic moment in which it is still quite dangerous to be a black man in the United States, Native Son offers an important provocation. For all the world has changed since 1939, the production asks us to take a good hard look at what has not.

Photo from All Our Tragic.
Twelve Hours of Epic Tragedy with The Hypocrites
Essay

Twelve Hours of Epic Tragedy with The Hypocrites

9 October 2014

"All Our Tragic," adapted and directed by Sean Graney and produced by The Hypocrites at the Den Theatre in Chicago, features all thirty-two surviving Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides compiled into a single twelve-hour epic. It includes seven intermissions of varying lengths and a vegan feast of Mediterranean food is served throughout. The result is rather like a contemporary version of a Dionysian festival.

Photo from Much Ado About Nothing.
Neighborhood Shakespeare in Chicago’s North Side Parks
Essay

Neighborhood Shakespeare in Chicago’s North Side Parks

23 September 2014

Dani Snyder-Young covers audience behavior and experiences at park performances of Shakespeare in Chicago.

Photo from The Dance of Death.
Love and Torture in Conor McPherson’s The Dance of Death
Essay

Love and Torture in Conor McPherson’s The Dance of Death

14 August 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about Conor McPherson’s new version of August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death, at the Writers Theatre.

Photo from Generation Sex.
Generation Y Feminism at Teatro Luna
Essay

Generation Y Feminism at Teatro Luna

15 July 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about Generation Sex, a devised piece from Teatro Luna looking at misogyny, violence, Latina identities, modern femininity, and more.

A person waving out of a window.
Community Building with the Chicago Home Theater Festival
Essay

Community Building with the Chicago Home Theater Festival

24 June 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about the 2014 Chicago Home Theater Festival, which places participatory performances inside private homes.

Exemplary Youth Theater in Albany Park Theatre Project’s God’s Work
Essay

Exemplary Youth Theater in Albany Park Theatre Project’s God’s Work

6 May 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about the Chicago-based Albany Park Theatre Project, a youth theatre ensemble. She reviews APTP's 2014 remounted production of God's Work, at the Goodman Theatre.

Making a Statement about Diversity at the Humana Festival of New American Plays
Essay

Making a Statement about Diversity at the Humana Festival of New American Plays

18 April 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about the intentional diversity she witnessed in five of the 2014 Humana Festival productions.

Race & Real Estate in Next Theatre’s Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge
Essay

Race & Real Estate in Next Theatre’s Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge

25 March 2014

Dani Snyder-Young reviews the (now closed) Next Theatre Company production of Kirsten Greenidge’s Luck of the Irish in the context of Evanston, Illinois

Photo from Rasheeda Speaking.
“Post-Racial” Tensions in Rivendell's Rasheeda Speaking
Essay

“Post-Racial” Tensions in Rivendell's Rasheeda Speaking

27 February 2014

Dani Snyder-Young looks at the world premiere of Joel Drake Johnson’s Rasheeda Speaking, and reflects on seeing a play about race, with a mostly white audience. 

Photo from Winter Pageant.
Winter Pageant at Redmoon
Essay

Winter Pageant at Redmoon

23 January 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about Winter Pageant, a collaborative spectacle piece created by the (now closedRedmoom in Chicago.

Photo from Paulus.
Dangerous inclusivity in Silk Road Rising’s Paulus
Essay

Dangerous inclusivity in Silk Road Rising’s Paulus

11 December 2013

Dani Snyder-Young reviews Silk Road Rising's world premiere of Motti Lerner's Paulus, and explores the modern ramifications for a play about religious inclusivity in Israel.

Image from Broken Fences.
Gentrification and the American Dream
Essay

Gentrification and the American Dream

14 November 2013

Dani Snyder-Young reviews Steven Simoncic’s Broken Fences at 16th Street Theater, and highlights the play's message... and how audiences have failed to recieve it.

Photo from Annie Bosh.
Adolescence, Privilege, and Racial Identity in Annie Bosh is Missing
Essay

Adolescence, Privilege, and Racial Identity in Annie Bosh is Missing

17 September 2013

Dani Snyder-Young reviews Janine Nabers' Annie Bosh is Missing at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Photo from The Jungle Book.
Race Representation in The Jungle Book
Essay

Race Representation in The Jungle Book

13 August 2013

A look into how director Mary Zimmerman brought The Jungle Book, steeped in racial contexts of British Colonization and 1960s America, to today’s conversation of what has and hasn’t changed.

Photo from Miss Neo.
The Neo-Futurists' The Miss Neo Pageant
Essay

The Neo-Futurists' The Miss Neo Pageant

27 June 2013

Dani Snyder-Young writes about The Miss Neo Pageant, and how - even though the ideas presented permeate much of the media about women - we still struggle with the ideas of female competition, jealousy, and distrust.

The Happiest Song Plays Last at The Goodman Theatre, Chicago
Essay

The Happiest Song Plays Last at The Goodman Theatre, Chicago

21 May 2013

Dani Snyder-Young discusses The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegría Hudes, and asks: how do we invite diverse audiences into this exploration?

Cry Old Kingdom
Essay

Cry Old Kingdom

23 April 2013

Jeff Augustin’s Cry Old Kingdom takes place in Haiti, 1964 during François "Papa Doc" Duvalier's reigme. Dani Snyder-Young reviews the 2013 Humana Festival production with an eye towards its theme of sacrifice, and the actor-audience power dynamic.