Remembering Greg Kandel

by Northlight Theatre

In the mid 1970s an MFA grad student at Northwestern University named Greg Kandel decided to start a LORT theatre on the North Shore of Chicago for his graduate project. He wisely reached out to Blair Brown, Joyce Sloan, Tasha Deutch, Esther Sax, and Evelyn Salk, among others, to form a core of support for the fledgling (then-named) Evanston Theatre Company. He also approached Frank Galati and Mike Nussbaum, highly respected artists in Chicago, to bring their considerable talents to set the artistic agenda for the new company. It was a bold and aggressive move preceding the founding of Steppenwolf and following the first season of Victory Gardens. Greg’s eye for talent and tireless vision founded what would become Northlight Theatre which is approaching 50 years of growth and achievement, whose work has spread far and wide from regional theatres to New York, internationally, and even to film.

Greg went on to found Management Consultants for the Arts along with Len Alexander, one of the first and certainly leading consultancies for cultural institutions in America. An inspiring lecturer at Yale and keen eye for talent, Greg forged a path that gave opportunities to so many of the American Theatre’s leaders over 4 decades. I would not be here at Northlight had it not for his support, including me in Northlight’s first “ensemble” along with Judith Ivey who whispered my name in his ear.

We at Northlight are grateful for his energy and vision, which helped the growth of regional theatre in America and in his quiet unassuming way was a pillar of the art form.

Our Ghost Light is lit for Greg Kandel, and our condolences to Louise his wife and son Dan.

-BJ Jones, Artistic Director