Columbia Faculty Member Nominated for Tony Award

Heather Gilbert Heather Gilbert, Photo: Phil Dembinski
Faculty member Heather Gilbert nominated for a Tony Award for her lighting design work

Heather Gilbert, Associate Professor of Theatre at Columbia College Chicago, has been nominated for a Tony Award for her lighting design work in The Sound Inside, her Broadway debut.

Gilbert recalls her experience working on The Sound Inside saying “I got noticed for a quiet, beautiful play that I love—I love Adam Rapp's writing, I loved creating with David Cromer and the brilliant designers on the show. It was an honor to lead the lighting team on the play including Connor Sale, our student who was my intern on Team Lights. And to light Mary-Louise Parker? I'm still awed by her talent, and our work together was a highlight in my career.”

“This is the highest accolade in our field. Heather's design for the Broadway production of The Sound Inside was absolutely breathtaking. I had the privilege of traveling to New York to see the show, and it's one of those productions you never forget,” says Carin Silkaitis, Columbia College Chicago Theatre Chair. “We are so proud of Heather! What an incredible model for her students. She is practicing what she preaches. Watching her achieve this kind of success is so wonderful, and we couldn't be happier for her!”

Gilbert joins the ranks of other Columbia College Chicago faculty members and alumni who have been nominated for a Tony including Anna D. Shapiro ’90 and former Columbia student, faculty member, and honorary degree recipient David Cromer ’17, both of whom went on to win the award in past years. Cromer was also nominated for a Tony Award in the category of Best Direction of a Play for his work in the same play Gilbert is nominated for, The Sound Inside.

Recently, Gilbert was honored with a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play and was also named an Honoree for Best Lighting Design in a Play or Musical by the Outer Critics Circle for her work on The Sound Inside.

“In 2020, this crazy year where the entire live entertainment industry has been shut down, and I see so many of my friends and collaborators—including many from this show—unemployed, with a government that refuses to create aid for them and for the arts, this honor is a complicated marriage of emotions ranging from joy and honor to outrage and frustration,” says Gilbert. “But today I celebrated with my gorgeous students, and I felt a million miles tall. And that is everything I want in the world.”



Daisy Franco
Communications Manager