Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard Dean Christiansen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1931 in Berwyn, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Richard now lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Richard Christiansen has been an arts journalist for more than forty years, covering theater, dance, film, the visual arts, and a variety of arts and entertainment subjects in Chicago, the nation, and abroad. He began his career in 1956 as a reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago and moved to the Chicago Daily News a year later. In 1978, he joined the Chicago Tribune as its critic-at-large, arts and entertainment editor, and, finally, chief critic and senior writer, a post he held until his retirement in 2002


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

A Theater of Our Own: A History and a Memoir of 1,001 Nights in Chicago
ISBN: 0810120410

Northwestern University Press. 2004

Winner of the Illinois State Historical Society Book Award for Superior Achievement

A Theater of Our Own is a fascinating, fast-paced, and fact-filled chronicle of Chicago's legendary theater scene by the long-time chief critic for the Chicago Tribune. Who produced the first stage adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz" in 1902-nearly forty years before the movie classic? What entertainment juggernaut began in a converted Chinese laundry on Wells Street in 1959? Where did Louis (Studs) Terkel make his stage debut? When did the original production of "Grease" open at Kingston Mines Theater? Richard Christiansen, former chief critic for the Chicago Tribune, answers these and many more questions about the rich role of the theater in Chicago, from its earliest days in 1837 to its present state as a diverse community of artists with international stature.

In A Theater of Our Own, he draws upon his exclusive interviews, insights, and memories gathered over a period of more than forty years of reviewing the arts. This history and memoir traces the evolution of the Chicago theater scene from small theaters to major institutions such as the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Goodman Theater, and The Second City. Along the way, Richard Christiansen relates his behind-the-scenes conversations with some of Chicago's most acclaimed writers, directors, and actors--David Mamet, Frank Galati, Mary Zimmerman, John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf, Harold Ramis, Gary Sinise, and Joe Mantegna--all a part of Chicago's theater renaissance from the 1970s onward. To this day, Chicago remains a city known for its imaginative, innovative, and influential theaters and artists. A Theater of Our Own, a valuable contribution to the history of theater, is a book written for anyone who enjoys the theater and its people as well as the story of Chicago.