A memorial event for Susan Gregg will be held at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts (130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves) on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 4 pm. The event is free and open to the public, as friends and colleagues from St. Louis and across the nation gather to share memories of Ms. Gregg's life and work.
Among the scheduled speakers at the event are longtime friends, co-workers and collaborators, including actors Darrie Lawrence and John Rensenhouse, scenic designer John Ezell, playwright Carter W. Lewis and physician Dr. Stephen Lefrak.
For more information about this event or to sign a virtual remembrance book that will be shared with Ms. Gregg's family, visit www.repstl.org/susan.
Susan Gregg served as Associate Artistic Director and dramaturg for The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) for more than 21 years until her death in July at age 65.
After helming two productions at The Rep as a freelance director, Ms. Gregg joined the theatre's artistic staff in February 1988 at the invitation of Artistic Director Steven Woolf, who was particularly impressed with her skill at developing new works.
"Susan excelled at working with playwrights to nurture new plays," says Woolf. "She thrived on the challenge of helping realize new work. I knew I wanted her here to help infuse the theatre's repertory with new plays and new ideas, to speak to and to challenge the St. Louis community."
During her tenure at The Rep, Ms. Gregg directed more than 30 productions. Her favorites included A Number (nominated for several Kevin Kline awards), Yellowman, Ten Little Indians, The Drawer Boy, The Royal Family, Side Man, Wit, Three Tall Women, Off the Ice, Black Coffee, An Enemy of the People, Woman in Mind, The Swan, Show and Tell, The Matchmaker, The Woman in Black and The Clean House.
Ms. Gregg also directed two world premiere musicals at The Rep, Barbara Field and Hiram Titus' The Skinflint (from Moliere's The Miser) and Young Rube, a whimsical musical biography of Rube Goldberg, adapted from a play by George W. George by John Pielmeier with music and lyrics by Matthew Selman.
Her final directing assignment for The Rep was the February 2009 production of William Gibson's The Miracle Worker, which played to sold-out houses and was hailed by critics as one of the St. Louis theatre season's best plays.
While directing the production of Margaret Edson's Wit at The Rep, Ms. Gregg found a willing audience in the doctors and medical students at St. Louis' Barnes-Jewish Hospital. In collaboration with Dr. Stephen Lefrak, she taught a class in plays about medical issues at Washington University's School of Medicine and staged readings of Wit for their students several times over the last 10 years to help stimulate discussion of how doctors can be more sensitive to their patients dealing with terminal diseases.
One of Ms. Gregg's proudest accomplishments was the development of WiseWrite, a collaboration between The Rep and Springboard. Now in its 14th year, the program is focused on fifth-grade students in underserved St. Louis area schools who learn playwriting skills from artist-educators during the school year then come to the theatre to see their work produced by professional actors and advanced acting students. Although overtly an arts education effort, Ms. Gregg often contended the personal esteem and the citizenship skills WiseWrite students developed during the course of the program were the most vital.
Prior to joining The Rep, Ms. Gregg was director-in-residence and, later, director of script development and marketing for New Dramatists in New York City. She spent most of her career directing or dramaturging new plays throughout the United States, including at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; at MidWest PlayLabs in Minneapolis, Minnesota; at the prestigious Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Connecticut; at the Humana Festival in Louisville, Kentucky; and at the The Gathering at Bigfork, Montana.
In other regional, stock and university theatres, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Asolo Theatre Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Capital Repertory Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, University of Missouri-Kansas City Theatre and Colorado Shakespeare Festival, she directed A Delicate Balance, The Merchant of Venice, On the Verge, Painting Churches, Food From Trash, Fallen Angels, Sleuth, Blithe Spirit, The Wonderful Tower of Humbert Lavoignet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Illusion and a host of others.