BEST DIRECTOR - 2003
Eye of the Storm Theatre artistic director Casey Stangl has been busy, both at her home base and with several high-profile moonlighting gigs. Late last year, she guided Nathan Keepers to a charming performance in the Jungle Theater's hit comedy Fully Committed. The role required Keepers to play a harried receptionist at a trendy Manhattan restaurant, along with a score of haughty, clueless, imperious, or just generally obnoxious co-workers and potential clients. His fluid execution of the technically demanding part was especially impressive for such a young actor, and Stangl coached him to find just the right mix of humor and introspection in the light script. Immediately following that job, she helmed the Minnesota Opera's January production of Bellini's Norma, a much grander undertaking, but one she was equally well-equipped to tackle. The currently running Dinner with Friends again demonstrates Stangl's way of bringing out the best in actors and scripts. The show's quartet of players work together in such symbiotic harmony, you really believe they've been friends for most of their adult lives, and the pain wrought by their domestic struggles is similarly convincing. We can look forward to Stangl's flexible talents being applied to Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, opening at the Guthrie Lab on May 21 and featuring such local luminaries as Isabell Monk O'Connor, Sally Wingert, and Suzanne Warmanen.