Larry Sloan, an influential figure in the development of Chicago’s busy off-Loop theater industry, died Jan. 18 in Chicago of complications from AIDS. He was 35.
For a total of seven years, during two separate tenures, Sloan served as the first artistic director of the adventurous Remains Theater and its acting ensemble. While at the helm of the Remains organization, Sloan produced and/or directed more than 25 productions, including widely acclaimed mountings of “Puntila and His Hired Man,” “Big Time,” “American Buffalo” and “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial.”
Sloan was a firm believer in the showbiz component of theater and, when pressed, lamented that too much of the serious theater in Chicago wasn’t being presented with the flair he favored. “Larry had an amazing entrepreneurial producing mind,” said Remains artistic director Neel Keller, “and he understood what made events in the theater truly theatrical.”
Sloan was born in Boston and graduated from Northwestern U. in 1981. He went to work at Chicago’s prestigious Goodman Theater after graduation, eventually becoming associate director under artistic director Gregory Mosher. In 1986 he was named artistic director of Remains, and he served there for the better part of seven years, except in 1989, when he became an associate director of Lincoln Center Theater, which Mosher then headed.
In 1993, Sloan stepped down from his Remains post to become the first full-time executive director of Season of Concern, a project initiated by Actors’ Equity and the League of Chicago Theaters to raise funds for AIDS patients. He organized a number of benefits and other special events that brought in more than $500,000.
Last November, the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee presented a special Jeff Award to Sloan for his unceasing efforts on behalf of Season of Concern.
Sloan is survived by his parents, Irving and Celia, and a brother, Robert. A memorial service will be held Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Steppenwolf Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Donations to Season of Concern, 203 N. Wabash, Suite 1700, Chicago, 60601.