Goodman Theatre To Celebrate The Life Of Robert Christen

Goodman Theatre To Celebrate The Life Of Robert Christen

Pictured (l to r) in the Goodman's 1977 world-premiere production of A Life in the Theatre are Joe Mantegna and Mike Nussbaum. Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre.

Goodman Theatre has announced that on May 13 it will hold a Celebration of Life for its longtime resident lighting designer, Robert Christen, who passed away at age 64 in March.

Christen was one of the most prolific live performance designers in the country with over 100 productions, spanning four decades at the Goodman Theatre. Besides lighting the annual production of A Christmas Carol since its original production in 1978, Christen lit over 30 premiere productions, including David Mamet’s American Buffalo in 1975 and A Life in the Theatre in 1977.  Scott McPherson’s Marvin’s Room in 1990 and 1993, Rebecca Gilman’s Spinning into Butter in 1999, and Chuck Smith’s production of Pullman Porter Blues are just a few samples of Christen’s extensive credits.

Christen was hired as Staging Electrician in 1972, and promoted to Master Electrician the next year. He held the title of Goodman’s Resident Lighting Designer/Lighting Supervisor from 1978 to 2014, mentoring generations of stage technicians and young designers.

 “Bob Christen was one of the most significant people in the history of the Goodman. In his brilliance as an artist combined with his acumen as a master electrician, he was essential to everything we have achieved over the past four decades.” said Executive Director Roche Schulfer. “His impact on theater, dance and music in Chicago and across the country is immeasurable. Most importantly, Bob was a great friend, tremendous colleague and wonderful person.”

The Goodman Theatre released a statement declaring that:

The May 13 celebration, held in the Albert Theatre from 4-6pm followed by a reception, is open to all. Call 312.443.3800 for more information. In recognition of Christen’s 42 years at the Goodman, the theater names the Albert Theatre light booth in his honor. Those wishing to individually commemorate Christen can make a gift to the Goodman’s Endowing Excellence Campaign, a major initiative that ensures the Goodman as a place for innovation and mentorship—two principles central to his legacy as a leading lighting designer in his field. To make a gift or for more information, please contact Amber Bel’cher at 312.443.3811 ext. 220 or [email protected].

For a full story and list of Christen's credits, visit Goodman Theatre's pressroom.


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.