Inside the Mind of Director David Cromer

The veteran theater pro shares what movies, inspires, and distracts him

David Cromer

Veteran theatre director David Cromer has drawn acclaim for his stagings of classic American dramas, including a 2009 production of Our Town that went from the basement of the Chopin Theatre to a long Off Broadway run. This month, Cromer makes his Goodman directorial debut with Tennessee Williams’s Sweet Bird of Youth. (The show, starring Diane Lane and Finn Wittrock, starts September 15; for info, goodmantheatre.org.) Here, he shares what moves, inspires, and distracts him.
 

'Sweet Bird of Youth' by Tennessee Williams

WHY SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH
“I love what it says in terms of time’s passage—age and youth and death and letting go. I’m at the tail end of middle age. [He’s 47.] Being older makes the parts of it that are about age perhaps more profound.”

 

A trash bag

HOW CHICAGO > NEW YORK
“There are no alleys in New York, which means the garbage is on the street. In Chicago, there’s grass everywhere. It’s so much quieter and everything smells better.”

 

ON THE DVR
Doctor Who (the Matt Smith run) and House Hunters International. The plays I do are so sad and so harsh, I like to watch something silly.”

 

A scene from 'Smash'

NOT ON THE DVR
Smash [NBC’S drama about the making of a Broadway musical]. I saw a little bit and thought, It’s why doctors don’t watch ER. It has so little relationship with what the process actually is like that it’s strange to see it.”

 

ON MY DIRECTORIAL BUCKET LIST . . .
The Orphans’ Home Cycle by Horton Foote. It’s an epic story of a guy who grew up unhappy and finds a way to scratch out some happiness for himself.”

 

Photography: (garbage bag) ansonsaw/istockphoto; (Sweet Bird cover) courtesy of New Directions Publishing; (Smash) NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; (Cromer) courtesy of The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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