Laura Sturm

Actor | Director | Teacher

Laura Sturm is a theatre artist based in Chicago, Illinois

DIRECTOR

Laura has directed several projects in Chicago including the Organic Theater Company’s Jeff Recommended production of Sarah Ruhl’s MELANCHOLY PLAY. While not actually a musical, this show included devised pieces, movement, singing, and even choreography and received a Jeff Nomination for Best Original Score. Laura also directed the musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! at Quest Theatre Ensemble, the world premiere of Chicago playwright Barbara Lhota's Phantom Pain with Organic, Sheridan’s 18th century romp, The Rivals, the world-premieres of the zoo musical Tuxedo Love and the sci-fi existential comedy Ephemera, as well as multiple fully executed staged readings (set/lights/costumes/music/sound) including Twelfth Night, Lauren Gunderson’s I and You and Sarah Ruhl’s Late, A Cowboy Song. She also is a private acting and movement coach in Chicago, even serving as the Movement Director on an episode of Fox’s TV Show The Exorcist.

Glass City Films

EPHEMERA, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, with Kaelan Strouse and Kim Boler. Photo: Jackie Jasperson

EPHEMERA, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, with Kaelan Strouse and Kim Boler. Photo: Jackie Jasperson

HIGHLIGHTS

MELANCHOLY PLAY - ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY - SPRING 2019

by Sarah Ruhl

Pictures: Anna Gelman

“This new production of one of Sarah Ruhl’s first plays is enchanting … In Laura Sturm’s simple, stylish, creatively inventive production, the manner with which she guides her actors, contrasting melodrama with realism, is everything. This director understands how the play’s surrealism can be emphasized by such diversity and Ms. Sturm makes the most of her choices. The play breathes with the gentle winds of the season, and makes the perfect entertaining diversion for a warm, Spring evening. Highly Recommended.” Chicago Theatre Review, Colin Douglas

“Find that emotion you’ve been missing in the delightful Melancholy Play … In this exceptionally delightful production, Ruhl’s conceptual comedic tone is lovingly presented. Each quirky character is thoughtfully drawn by a cast that most certainly, like me, love Ruhl’s wry view of the human condition. Watching them is like seeing a cast spawned from characters by Edward Gory and Jules Pfeiffer… Every cast member turned in memorable performances … I highly recommend Melancholy Play.” Buzz Center Stage, Bill Esler

“An Almond Joy That’s Deliciously Nutty … Filled with so much joy and style, Organic Theater’s production of Sara Ruhl’s first major play is being given a new staging at the Greenhouse Theater Center. Under the astute direction of Laura Sturm, this play with music overflows in a wash of emotion, melodrama and whimsy” Chicago Theatre Review, Colin Douglas

“Director Laura Sturm's production for Organic Theater Company features live, somber mood-setting cello music by Michaela Voit and some legitimately laugh-out-loud dialogue, particularly between (Alys) Dickerson and (Rachael) Soglin. During exchanges in which Tilly's version of small talk wears down and hypnotizes a bystander for the first time, notably in a great, show-defining haircut scene, the actors showcase the sharp, hyperspecific comedic impulse Ruhl's play seems to be aiming for.” The Reader, Dan Jakes

“Ms. Sturm’s stunning new vision, while not exactly a musical, incorporates a background score of prerecorded piano music, enhanced by a live cellist, who’s positioned upstage within a suspended picture frame. This musical element adds a great deal to the play, providing emotional cues for the characters and inciting moments of interaction between the musician and the other five actors … Laura Sturm’s engaging and imaginative production makes the surreal become real. She’s carefully guided her cast to explore their individual freedom, in which they can embrace and cultivate the play’s melodrama. This greatly enhances the absurdist elements of the script. Ms. Sturm’s’cast is excellent.” Chicago Theatre Review, Colin Douglas


I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE - QUEST THEATRE ENSEMBLE - FALL 2017

Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro, Music by Jimmy Roberts 

Pictures: Rob Karlic

"The production at the free-of-charge Quest Theatre Ensemble has so much to recommend it, including a cast that oozes charm and knows its way around both a song and a scene" ... "Director Laura Sturm keeps alternating tunes and skits moving at assembly-line pace, a necessity in a show as frothy as this one." New City Chicago, Hugh Iglarsh

"Quest Theatre Ensemble’s ‘…Love…Perfect…Change’ is Chicagoland’s highest value-added musical" ... "its current staging of Joe DiPietro‘s (book/lyrics) and Jimmy Roberts‘ (music) lovingly funny relationship vignette production, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, is simply the best professional theatre value anywhere within 1,000 miles of its venue at Andersonville’s The Blue Theatre." ... "Director Laura Sturm‘s terrific casting of four excellent, professional singer/actors" ... "The greatest nit with …Love…Perfect…Change is that the show that ran in New York from 1996 until 2008 feels a bit dated. To be sure, Sturm worked against that, including cell phones, scenes with same-sex couples and references to Uber, Lyft, fidget spinners, Alexa and other new century devices." ... "Quest’s production holds its own with professional companies in the city and suburbs. ...Enjoy this  …Love…Perfect…Change; it’s the best value-added show around." Chicagoland Musical Theatre, Barry Reszel

"Director Laura Sturm's vocally strong four-person cast ... Liz Jarmer, Gavin Donnellan, Christian Aldridge, and Alys Dickerson make the most of the ... comedy." the Reader, Dan Jakes


PHANTOM PAIN - ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY - Winter 2017

by Barbara Lhota (World Premiere)

Photos: John Lee Jennings

The "characters are free of cliche—no wonder the actors in this world-premiere Organic Theater production, directed by Laura Sturm, seem to be having a blast. Their passion and energy provide the extra fuel that makes this quiet, intensely introspective tale so compelling." the Reader, Jack Helbig

"Under Laura Sturm's direction, however, a well-rehearsed ensemble ... render the author's agenda sufficiently conversational to keep our curiosity piqued for this world premiere." Windy City Times, Mary Shen Barnidge

"Pamela White-Raines shines as the level-headed lovable Angela with the power to turn into a commanding force when tensions run high. A lovely refreshing performance amid a whirlpool of perspectives. While the three childhood friends have their reunion, quick-fire flashbacks happen extremely often ... The acting in these particular segments was fluid from flashback to present and deserves commending." Chicago Stage Standard, Mary Crylen

"Sullivan transforms Meg from what could have been a throwaway character into an intelligent observer. Herceg is believable as the awkward, closeted teenage Marnie and her adult counterpart, now out of the closet but still finding her place in the world. And White-Raines’ Angela is strong and smart, a woman who could have been beaten down daily but has the steely resolve to keep going."  Chicago Theatre Beat, Lauren Whalen


EPHEMERA - POLARITY ENSEMBLE THEATRE

by Bryce Wissel (World Premiere)

designed by lewis lain

Jonas Grey, Kaelan Strouse, Charley Jordan (Kim Boler, Bob Wilson) Photo: Jackie Jasperson

Jonas Grey, Kaelan Strouse, Charley Jordan (Kim Boler, Bob Wilson) Photo: Jackie Jasperson

“A cheeseball homage to sci-fi pulp that derives a lot of charm from the cast and strong staging … Director Sturm wraps it in lively staging that fills the theater with action.” Ryan Dolley, Time Out Chicago

“Directed by Laura Sturm, Ephemera does that delicate dance of riffing on well-worn and outlandish tropes from sci-fi, creates a few new ones on its own, while nodding to the obvious drawbacks of a life suspended in space… Sturm’s cast is spot-on in pace, timing and delivery—a factor made all the more exacting by the production’s technical elements.”  Paige Listerud, Chicago Theater Blog


I AND YOU - OAKTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

by Lauren Gunderson (staged reading - full costumes/set/props/lights/sounds)

image - i and you.jpg

LATE: A COWBOY SONG - OAKTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE

by Sarah Ruhl (staged reading - full costumes/set/props/lights/sound)

Late, A Cowboy Song Graphic.jpeg