THE TASTEMAKER AWARD Jacqueline Russell
How great is this woman in her role as artistic director of Chicago Children’s Theatre? So many ways to measure. Earlier this year, her company premiered a musical adaptation of The Houdini Box—just as the Scorsese film Hugo rocketed author/illustrator Brian Selznick to greater fame. Jackie and Me, a 2011 play about ballplayer Jackie Robinson she commissioned, is being picked up by other children’s theaters around the country. Russell has an uncanny sense of what works—no easy feat when your audiences range so widely in ages and tastes. She figures out how to program something for everyone, then taps Chicago’s best theater artists to fulfill her vision. CCT’s upcoming season unfolds in its new home in the Ruth Page Center, and some shows will also travel north to Skokie and south to Beverly. Clearly, Russell’s on the move. (chicagochildrenstheatre.org).