Moving north: A theater director’s odyssey

My newest article on is about a theater director who moved to Chicago from Charlotte, NC, to find a more challenging and dynamic theater scene.  As you may know, I have a strong North Carolina connection. I’ve been there many times to spend time with my son, his beautiful lawyer wife and their two darling cherubs. I’ve spent  time mostly in Greensboro but also in Winston-Salem, Durham, Raleigh and Charlotte. I know a little about the arts scene in Charlotte from my time with the giant law firm that has an office there. And I’ve been to a whole bunch of Bruce Springsteen concerts in North Carolina since 2002. (Greensboro is one of my favorite places to see Bruce; the audiences there are great!)

jimyost BareBones2I met Jim Yost, the director, when I attended his current production, Orange Flower Water, at the Raven Theatre a few weeks ago.  (The play is a co-production of Jim’s company, Barebones Theatre Group, with his new Chicago company, Interrobang Theatre Project.) You can see a link to my review on the right.  I thought his move to Chicago from Charlotte might make an interesting feature for Gapers Block, the website about everything Chicago.  So Jim and I had a good conversation recently in my office away from my home office, a Panera Cafe, and the story, in interview form, went up today.

It’s been years since I recorded an interview, transcribed it and turned it into a story. (I did that a lot earlier in my career.) It’s not a quick process, as any writer will tell you. But it’s a rewarding one — and getting the subject’s voice and style just right in the interview is important.

So here’s the story of Jim Yost and his move north to Chicago.  His closing remark, which I didn’t put in the story? “I really love Chicago, except for the winter.” I told him he would get used to it. That’s why stores sell mittens, earmuffs, scarves and big puffy jackets.

(Photo courtesy of Interrobang Theatre Project.)