NU prof earns two Tony bids for her play ‘Metamorphoses’

Becky Bowman

Speech Prof. Mary Zimmerman’s play “Metamorphoses,” based on Ovid’s poems, received a Tony Award nomination for best play Monday, leading the list of four Northwestern professors and alumni receiving nominations for their work in theater.

Zimmerman, a performance studies professor, also received a nomination for directing “Metamorphoses,” which premiered on Broadway March 4.

Daniel Ostling, who earned his master of fine arts degree from Speech in 1996, was nominated for scenic design in the production.

The play’s nominations just confirm Zimmerman’s theatrical talent, said Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations.

“The Tony nomination is a recognition of what those of us at NU already knew – that Professor Zimmerman is truly an exceptional person, an exceptional talent,” he said. “(Her nomination) is a very special event.”

Zimmerman and Ostling are joined by two NU alumni nominated for best featured actor in a musical: Brian d’Arcy James, Speech ’90, for “Sweet Smell of Success,” and Gregg Edleman, Speech ’80, for “Into the Woods.”

“Metamorphoses” first was produced at NU’s Barber Theatre in 1997 under the name “Six Myths.” It moved to Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Co. and then toured venues outside off-Broadway, in addition to runs in Berkeley, Calif., Los Angeles and Seattle, Cubbage said.

Three of the original cast members from the Barber Theatre production – Louise Lamson, Erik Lochtefeld and Chris Kipiniak, all Speech ’96 graduates – have been with the production ever since. Ostling designed the original sets for “Six Myths” as well as those for the current Broadway production, said Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins, Speech director of communications.

Three other alumni also are involved with the play: Anjali Bhimani, Speech ’96, and Doug Hara, Speech ’95, who have been with the play since its stint at Lookingglass; and Raymond Fox, Speech ’89, who joined the production in New York.

Zimmerman, who earned three academic degrees at NU, helped found Lookingglass Theatre Co. in 1988 with seven other NU students including actor David Schwimmer. She received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” in 1998.