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Eric Rosen

36, Edgewater 

Real-life roles: Writer, director, About Face Theatre artistic director 
Starring in: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Life experience doesn’t count for course credit? Rosen grew up on the East Coast and moved to the Midwest for one thing: the chance to study theatre under Frank Galati, the Tony-winning director and Northwestern professor. “His adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath changed my life,” Rosen says. “It was exactly what I wanted to learn how to do.” The University of North Carolina grad began his doctoral work at Northwestern but, three years later, made another big move: founding a theatre troupe with a high-art approach to gender and sexuality. “I was supposed to write my dissertation,” recalls Rosen, who ultimately did receive his Ph.D. “Instead, I started a theatre company.”

Send Eric an e-mail

Favorite movie hero? Owen Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums, Robert Downey Jr. in Home for the Holidays, and Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club.

Name one embarrassing thing you hide when guests are coming over: I have this stuffed animal from my childhood. It’s a teddy bear dressed up like William Shakespeare, named William Shakesbear.

What’s your power outfit? A pinstriped gray sport coat, my Third Coast Surf Shop T-shirt with a skull and crossbones, a pair of jeans I got at Jake, and some sneakers. That’s what I wear if I want to be cool at a theatre opening.

Do you have any tattoos? I’m totally squeamish about the concept. I have a paralyzing fear of needles.

Fill in the blanks: I’d rather have a significant other who obsesses over reality television than who knows the nightly schedules of activities at gay bars.

In a dream world, who would you write like? William Faulkner. Dance like? Prince. Cook like? Bobby Flay. And sing like? Jeff Tweedy.

What do you do every day? Always read the New York Times Web site and talk to my sister, Jill, on the phone.

Most quotable movie line? “Have fun stormin’ da castle,” from The Princess Bride.

Last movie that made you cry? Pan’s Labyrinth.

Most recommended book? William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

Who are you a secret groupie for? Jennifer Garner: she’s precious.

What’s your go-to homemade meal? Chicken brats on the grill and grilled vegetables from my garden in Michigan.

When you’re alone, who do you play air guitar to? I’m a big Wilco fan, so I strum along.

Fill in the blanks: Vacations are for hiking, not beachcombing.

How long is too long to spend looking for a parking spot? Three to five minutes. I hate it.

You pull a Ferris Bueller and call in sick on a beautiful July day. What do you do? Have the perfect Michigan day: go to the beach; work in the garden; drive around in my Jeep with the top down; go to one of the local wineries; get some cheese, bread, and wine; and have a picnic.

What Chicago neighborhoods have you lived in? Andersonville and Edgewater. I’m partial to Edgewater for its calm and isolation, and the fact that I can get anywhere I want in 15 minutes. Plus, it’s closer to the Evanston movie theatre.

Teacher’s pet or class clown? Teacher’s pet.

What did you think you’d be when you grew up? A professor of theatre.

Name one thing you have in your house from your childhood: I have a Coke bottle commemorating North Carolina’s victory over Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA basketball tournament. The Coke is still in it.

Describe the state of your closet: I’m sloppy but not dirty. I have trouble getting stuff off the floor.

How much is too much to pay for jeans? $150.

What’s in your pockets right now? My wallet, a pen, some change, and, strangely, a piece of blue sea glass from a play set.

Have you ever collected anything? I don’t have the concentration for it.

Last time you jumped up and cheered? During the North Carolina game, where they made it to the final eight of the NCAA tournament.

Last time you told a lie? I don’t think I’ve told one today. I’m sure I told some yesterday.

Last time you Googled yourself? Within the last month. Honestly, it’s a professional obligation to know what people are saying, and also because I get Googled fairly frequently. I check to make sure there isn’t anything bad on there, especially when the first page comes up.

Worst advice you’ve been given? “Always have a backup plan.” Sometimes you just have to go ahead without a plan and jump in.

If you could give someone a talking-to, who would it be? That hideous Ann Coulter.

What do you do when a server at a restaurant brings you a horrible dish? I send it back. I don’t want to sit there and be mad through the whole meal.

What time is your alarm clock set for? Seven-fifteen a.m. But I wake up at 7:15 whether it’s set or not.

And how many times do you hit the snooze button? Never.

Dive bar or nightclub? Dive bar.

Drinks before 5 p.m.: always, sometimes, never? Whenever appropriate.

What’s your remedy for a tough day? Ketel One martini, up; bleu cheese olives; no vermouth.

How do you show someone you’re not interested? I don’t make eye contact. I’ll say, “So great to meet you,” and look away.

What did you do on your best date? Went to the Bunny Hutch and played miniature golf on a perfect spring night.

Where would you like to get engaged? On the beach in Michigan, near my house.

What makes someone a Chicagoan? Indifference to cold and a lack of pretense.

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