Best Theater Director (2011)

John Collins

Some directors might be content to keep churning out familiar hits. Some directors, after nearly two decades of work, likely deserve a rest on their considerable laurels. Some directors aren't John Collins. Collins and Elevator Repair Service, the group he directs, recently staged Gatz, the seven-hour retelling of every word of The Great Gatsby, and followed it with a buoyant, bibulous take on Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises: The Select. Both shows combine ERS's penchant for antic physicality and goofy sound effects with poignant narrative. You might expect Collins to continue on in this track, but instead he has promised that for his next project, he'll do something the company has barely attempted in its 20-year history: He will find a pre-existing play script, and he will stage it. Collins named his company Elevator Repair Service after a high school aptitude test indicated he should pursue a rewarding career as a lift repairman. That career might have taken him straight to the top, but Off-Broadway audiences should be grateful that he keeps scaling dramatic heights instead.


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