Chicago actress Erin Myers dies at 41

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Chicago actress Erin Myers invariably left a vivid impression on stage and in real life.In 2014, as part of the cast of “All Our Tragic,” the Hypocrites’ marathon production based on all the existing Greek tragedies, she made her mark as part of the female chorus of three dubbed “the Odd Jobs,” who introduced major sequences with music played on accordion, guitar, banjo, flute and toy piano. Along with Lauren Vogel and Kate Carson-Groner, she did a terrific job singing everything from hymns and folk songs to opera.In the 2014 Signal Ensemble production of “Plainsong,” a stage adaptation of Kent Haruf’s bestselling 1999 novel about contemporary life in a town on the plains of eastern Colorado, she gave a stunning performance as Ella, the wife of a local schoolteacher, playing a woman deep in the throes of a depression who is unable to care for her two young children.Myers, 41, died Saturday afternoon in hospice at Prentice Women’s Hospital, after a short but brutal battle with colorectal cancer — an ordeal she wrote about on her blog with eloquence, honesty and determination. Her spirit emerges in all her posts.Sean Graney, who directed Myers in “All Our Tragic,” observed: “Erin was incredible. She was intelligent, kind, optimistic and sang with the voice of an angel. She invested so heavily in every friendship and project and was on stage only weeks ago, performing until the very end. Who else has that kind of passion? The world is a better place because Erin lived, and now it is a worse place because she is gone. I and countless others will terribly miss Erin Myers and her welcoming smile.”

Erin Myers (center) in the Hypocrites production of “All Our Tragic.”

Erin Myers (center) in the Hypocrites production of “All Our Tragic.”

Originally from Ohio, Myers earned her undergraduate degree from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and her MFA in acting from Kent State University. She also trained in Chicago with Black Box Acting Studio. She worked frequently with the Hypocrites, performing with the company since 2003, when she was in the cast of “Machinal.” Other Hypocrites productions included “Camille/La Traviata,””Death of a Salesman” and “Equus.” Additional credits include: “All Girl Frankenstein” (the Mammals, where she was a company member); “Brewed” (the Ruckus and Tympanic Theatre), “Accidental Rapture” (16th Street Theatre) and the Revolutionary War drama “Johnny Tremaine” at Lifeline Theatre, as well as shows with the Factory, Chicago Children’s Theatre and Redmoon.

Actress Erin Myers (seen her with Geoff Button) in the 2006 production of “Johnny Tremain.”

Actress Erin Myers (seen her with Geoff Button) in the 2006 production of “Johnny Tremain.”

In a Facebook posting, Myers’ husband, actor Rob McLean, wrote: “It breaks my heart to inform you that Erin passed away today [Saturday] at 5:02 p.m. She was a fighter and a warrior til the end, but when it came the end was calm, and peaceful, and she was surrounded by people who loved and cherished her. There were at least six people’s hands on her when she released her last breath. I am so relieved that her suffering is over, and am outraged that she was taken so soon.”Also on Facebook, actor Greg Hardian wrote: “I will remember the lady with the serene face that always had a hint of mischief dancing around the eyes. The dryly funny, super-talented, hyper-intelligent, yet low-key and down-to-earth person with whom I shared beers and shows and stories and laughs. She really was an extraordinary person, and she found the perfect match in another extraordinary person, Rob McLean. They had what everyone else is looking for.”“There have been birthdays, weddings, theater, canoes, other adventures, and many, many years,” said actress Mechelle Moe, who worked with Myers. “Most of all, there has been lots of love amongst many pals. What I want to say, in a not so polite manner, is that this is all so unfair. But we all know that already.”Myers is survived by her husband; her father, Skip; two younger siblings, Matt and Amanda, and her stepmother, Rita. Funeral services are pending. A memorial is being planned.

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