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Before Grad School, MSLCE Student Started a Production Company

By Jacob Nelson

Daniel Dvorkin’s creative career started earlier than most. In 2008, he began a production company called Two Lights Theatre Company with Rebecca Leifman when the two were studying theatre at DePaul University in Chicago.

Seven years later, Two Lights is still cranking out shows.

“When we started it I never had an idea in my head, ‘Oh, I’m starting a theater company,’” Dvorkin explained. “It was more, ‘Oh, we have this project, we needed a name and an organization to put the project under.’”

The process was slow while Dvorkin and Leifman were still in school, but once they graduated they got more serious about turning Two Lights into a successful theatre company.

“When we graduated hit the ground running,” Dvorkin said.

Dvorkin took an interdisciplinary approach to Two Lights and the shows it put on.

He would install art galleries and installations in the lobby outside of the performances in an attempt to blend visual art and theatre. These art installations would also be used to build awareness of productions before they opened and then while they were running.

“We got really tired of the traditional Chicago theatre model of raising ten thousand dollars in three months then opening the show the following month then all the sudden it’s over,” Dvorkin said. His approach instead put a premium on community building to garner support for the shows Two Lights put on.

Though Dvorkin studied acting in school and clearly has quite a bit of theatre experience under his belt, his true passion is television. He’s hopeful that MSLCE will help him jump into a career in television production.

“I’m interested in a career as a show runner,” he said. “I love television way too much.”

Dvorkin’s affection for television stems from its ability to tell a nuanced story over the course of many episodes or seasons. Unsurprisingly, he’s a big fan of J.J. Abrams and the show “Lost.”

“I love the format of television, the longevity of the process, the investment in the story you’re telling,” Dvorkin said.

Ideally, Dvorkin would work as a show runner, because he loves overseeing a team and learning how different people and different roles can come together to create one cohesive piece of art.

“Being able to listen to your team and decipher how each of them should be working together… that’s something that I love doing,” Dvorkin said, “that’s something that’s just in my blood.”