Full given name: Matthew William Panek
Where you were born/where you were raised: Chicago, IL
Your position within the Godspell production team? Director and set designer
What does that mean/what do you do? In charge of bringing our new modern-day, actor-musician, humanistic revival of Godspell to life with as much cohesive clarity as possible... with a ton of help from our amazing production staff.
What's surprised you most about Godspell's rehearsal process so far? Besides how quickly it passed, how incredibly freeing it's been to see and hear a 42-year-old musical in entirely new ways. Thanks to the cast's hard work, you won't recognize some of the show's most famous songs initially. That's so inspiring.
Something you're REALLY bad at: Putting away clean laundry and keeping my car uncluttered.
Current local show you have been recommending to friends: It was Lookingglass' recently shuttered Eastland, but I'm always encouraging people to check out Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at the Neo-Futurarium. Their plays, performances, and staging elements are consistently brilliant and heartbreaking. The Scene at iO Thursday night is also consistently phenomenal.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood: Something's got to be said for the place where I spend most of my free nights and money, so it's gotta be Lakeview. My current home turf of Andersonville/Edewater (I'monthecuspleavemealone!) is also relaxingly chill and offers wonderful food and drink options.
Favorite musical: Les Miserables started me off. It'll always have a special place.
Favorite play: Angels in America, The Pillowman, A Streetcar Named Desire
You personal idols: Bob Fosse, Sam Mendes, Stephen Sondheim, Tennessee Williams, Elia Kazan, Wes Anderson, Mel Brooks, John Doyle. All men? Odd.
MAC or PC? MACy lappy
Most played song on your iPod: Surprisingly, "I Found Love" by The Free Design. The key change gets me every time. A not-so-surprising #2 is Hunter Parrish's "Save the People."
Must-see TV show(s): Breaking Bad, The Simpsons, Community
Pop culture guilty pleasure: America's Got Talent, The Celebrity Apprentice, One Direction (swoon!)
Three favorite cities: Chicago, Paris, and New York. Amsterdam's a close 4th.
Three things you can't live without: My folks, music, laughter.
"I'll never understand why…": Glee got so bad. Like, so bad. It's unforgivable.
See William's (@mwilliampanek) stamp on The Brown Paper Box Co.'s production of GODSPELL September 20 - October 7, 2012 at Collaboraction Studio 300 in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 North Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. For tickets and additional information, visit brownpaperbox.org.
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