Raven Theatre names Cody Estle its new artistic director

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Cody Estle, the new artistic director of Raven Theatre. | Joe Mazza - Brave Lux

Cody Estle is hardly a new face at Raven Theatre. He has been associated with the company for nine years and for the past three years has served as its associate artistic director. Over the years he has staged such productions at Raven as “Dating Walter Dante,” “Boy Gets Girl,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Good Boys and True,” “Vieux Carré,” “Dividing the Estate,” “A Loss of Roses,” and “The Assembled Parties.” And he will helm the world premiere of Philip Dawkins’ “The Gentleman Caller” in Spring 2018.

On Monday, Raven’s board of directors named Estle the new artistic director of Raven Theatre, making him the first person to run the theater in the wake of the retirement of the husband-and-wife team of founders and co-artistic directors Michael Menendian and JoAnn Montemurro.

According to a prepared statement from board president Walter Pophin, Cody brings to the job “superb artistic skills, a wealth of relationships within the Chicago theater community, an intimate knowledge of the theater’s long history, as well as an unmatched enthusiasm for theater’s ability to tell the important stories of our times and of our communities.”

In addition to his work at Raven, Estle has directed shows for Northlight Theatre, First Floor Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, The Artistic Home, Haven Theatre and Mary-Arrchie Theatre, with the Chicago premiere of “Five Mile Lake” coming up at Shattered Globe Theatre. He was an artistic sssistant at Northlight, a directing associate at Goodspeed Musicals, and taught on the faculty of Cherubs at Northwestern University. Cody also has been an assistant director at Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre and Marriott Theatre.

Raven’s current hit, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy” — expertly directed by Menendian — runs through Nov. 12. For details, visit www.raventheatre.com.

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