May 7, 1946 – May 4, 2015
For nearly three decades, Russ nurtured the development and careers of hundreds of playwrights and other theatre artists in his role as Artistic Director at Chicago Dramatists, where he served since 1986. After graduating with a B.A. in Theatre from Ball State University, and an M.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University, Russ went on to direct, manage, and teach at such notable Chicago theatres as the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, The Royal George, Mercury, Briar Street, Prop, Zebra Crossing, Igloo, and Cullen, and Henaghan & Platt Productions. He also spent time at Café LaMama Hollywood, served on the 2005 First Look Council at Steppenwolf Theatre, and held positions as Adjunct Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Wisconsin and Director of Theatre at Lake Forest College. In 2005, he received the Chicago Theatres Artistic Leadership Award for his "outstanding achievement in developing new plays and his longtime contribution to Chicago theatre." He also received the 2007 Achievement in Theatre Award from the Illinois Theatre Association, and in 2010 he received the Actors' Equity Spirit Award for his commitment to non-traditional casting and diversity. To honor his 25th year as Chicago Dramatists’ Artistic Director and his contribution to the cultural life of Chicago, the City of Chicago proclaimed May Street (adjacent to Chicago Dramatists) as "Russ Tutterow Way." At Chicago Dramatists, Russ directed hundreds of new play readings and nurtured the careers of hundreds of playwrights, including Rebecca Gilman, Tina Fey, Sarah Ruhl, Keith Huff, Lydia R. Diamond, Tanya Saracho, Brett Neveu, Rick Cleveland, David Barr, and Roger Rueff, to name a few. He directed Chicago Dramatists' world premiere productions of the Jeff Award-winning hit, "A Steady Rain" by Keith Huff (which was subsequently produced on Broadway starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman), "Blizzard ’67" by Jon Steinhagen, "Hickorydickory" by Marisa Wegrzyn, "Water" by Alice Austen (Jeff Award nomination for New Work), "Voyeurs de Venus" by Lydia R. Diamond (Jeff Award for New Work), “Heat” by Marsha Estell (Jeff Award nomination for New Work), "Drawing War" by Brett Neveu, and "Grande Hysterie" by Roger Rueff. Russ is survived by his beloved cats Cosmo and Ginger and the vast network of theater artists whose lives he touched and whom he came to treasure as his family.