To date, Larry Neumann Jr. has performed in over 70 theatrical productions, mostly in Chicago, at some thirty-two different theatres. He has appeared in many feature films and several outstanding shorts. Larry’s more recent performances have included some of his most highly-praised work. 2012 saw Larry portray Ed Mosher in the outstanding production of THE ICEMAN COMETH at the Goodman Theatre under the direction of Robert Falls. More than 42,000 subscribers and ticket buyers were able to experience this monumental work dubbed “one of the most significant productions in Chicago theatre history” by the Chicago Tribune. This rarely performed masterpiece was brought to life night after night for 50 sold out performances and earned Chicago’s 2012 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Production and Ensemble among others. As Bob Ewell in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (2010) [1] with Steppenwolf Theater, a role he first brought to life with Collaboraction in their 2002 production, critics claimed Larry brought such an intensity to his performance that “the audience literally gasps.” Cast as Phil Hogan in Eugene O’Neill’s MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, with First Folio Theatre, Larry earned his third Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role-2009. Another memorable performance with First Folio was THE MADNESS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (2006/2007) where Larry’s Poe was such an acclaimed hit that it led to a remount. Prior to that, in his fifth collaboration with director David Cromer in Itamar Moses’ CELEBRITY ROW (2008) at American Theatre, Larry’s Ted Kaczynski was described as “...a performance of genius....”

Larry is a native Chicagoan, the eldest son of Pat and Larry Sr., born September 30th, 1959. He grew up on the "south side's" "east side" at 101st and L (where they ran out of street names and started using the alphabet). He attended St. Francis De Salle's grammar school until his parents moved the family to South Holland, a southern suburb of Chicago, in 1969. It was in his sophomore year at Thornwood High School that Larry first encountered theatre. He soon became a fixture on Thornwood's stage (e.g., risers in the cafeteria). Larry also competed in the IHSA Speech program where he took first place in Dramatic Duet Acting and 3rd place in Humorous Duet Acting in the State competition his senior year in 1977. Larry credits his teacher Pat Wozny for nurturing and mentoring his life long connection to theatre.

Larry was the first in his extended family to attend college. At Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois where his first role was Alan Strang in EQUUS.[2] Larry pursued his commitment to theatre by enrolling in the B.F.A. program with an emphasis on acting. In the 2nd semester of his junior year, Larry interned for six months at American Place Theatre in New York City under its Artistic Director, Wynn Handman. While in New York, Larry was privileged to study under Uta Hagen. Returning to I.W.U. with a fresh and a more practical perspective on his chosen career, he graduated in the spring of 1981.

Like most recent college grads, Larry began his theatre career assisting in an established theatre. In his case, he assisted the established Illinois Theatre Center in Park Forest, the only Equity house in the far south suburbs, managed by Steve and Etel Billig. At ITC, Larry industriously applied all he had learned, both at school and from his NYC internship, for the two years he worked with Steve and Etel. Larry quickly discovered that running a theatre needed much more than what was taught at school.

Around 1985, Larry was approached by several IWU classmates to create their own theatre company in Chicago. Blind Parrot Theatre was born, the name alluding to their desire not to “blindly parrot” other theatre companies. BPT garnered both critical and audience acclaim for its exploration of Absurdist and Avant Garde theatre. Productions included A HELL OF A MESS by Ionesco, EASTER by August Strindberg, and ARTAUD AT RODEZ, by Charles Marowitz. It was for his breakthrough performance as Antonin Artaud that Larry received his first Joseph Jefferson Citation Nomination-1986. Blind Parrot took up residence at the 430 W. Erie Building in 1987. Carving a multi-use theatre out of this raw industrial space, Blind Parrot established itself as one of Chicago’s premiere storefront theatres with such productions as GOGOL: A MYSTERY PLAY, BLOODY POETRY, and OEDIPUS: A REQUIEM, an original adaptation of the Oedipus cycle by then-Artistic Director, David Perkins, featuring Larry as Oedipus. After three years as Blind Parrot’s Managing Director and performing in over ten of its productions, Larry felt it was time to move on to other theatres and other challenges.

In the early 90s Larry became involved with New Crime Productions led by John Cusack. He performed in his first professional Shakespeare production as Iago, opposite David Barr as Othello for Chicago Shakespeare, and Larry began a decades-long relationship with Live Bait Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, and directors David Cromer and Gary Griffin. He was part of Remains Theatre Ensemble’s landmark THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY TRIAL, which ran for six months. 1992 was the year Larry was cast in the Goodman Theatre’s production of THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH and joined Actor’s Equity Association and became a proud union member.

Larry joined his second “theatre family”, Famous Door Theatre, in 1995, as an ensemble member and as its managing director, a position Larry held for over five years. He stepped down from the managing director post in 2000, and was an ensemble member until Famous Door closed in 2005, after 17 years. It was as a Famous Door Theatre company member that Larry received his first Jefferson Award for Actor In A Revue 1996 and the After Dark Award-1997, both for his performance as the Dalai Lama in HITTING FOR THE CYCLE [3] (1996/1997). 1997 was special to Larry in another more important way, as well. Larry married Sandy Borglum, an actress Larry met five years previous when she came to see a mutual friend perform at the Goodman Theatre. That mutual friend, Lisa Tejero, officiated at their wedding ceremony, only after Larry promised they would marry before he shaved his head again to reprise his Dali Lama. Larry was part of the production THE LIVING, the 1997 Jefferson Award winner for Production, as well as GHETTO, the 2000 Jefferson Award winner, also for Production. Larry took a turn as “the Cabbie” in HELLCAB, the late night play penned by Will Kern, which ran for over ten years and toured to Singapore. In the
2003 season, he portrayed Dr. Wilbur Larch in THE CIDER HOUSE RULES PART I & PART II [4] , for which he received his second Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role-2003. In Richard Christiansen’s book, “A Theatre of Our Own”, Christiansen states: “The Cider House Rules...brought off-Loop production to a new peak of excellence in its ensemble performance and its invention-within-economy production design.”

Regionally Larry has just returned from Milwaukee Repertory Theatre where he played Mr. Dussel the dentist in a riveting THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK under the direction of K J Sanchez. Larry has traveled to Kansas City Rep Theatre to perform in THE FRONT PAGE [5](2003), and ROOM SERVICE (2006). He brought Rembrandt to life in Tina Howe’s world-premiere of REMBRANDT’S GIFT (2005) at Wisconsin’s Madison Repertory Theatre. In the years since Famous Door dissolved, Larry has pursued work with other prominent Chicago theatres.

Writers’ Theatre, under Artistic Director, Michael Halberstam, has long been considered one of Chicago’s premiere theatres, and Larry’s portrayal of Samuel Finkelbaum in THE PUPPETMASTER OF LODZ [7] (2007), directed by Jimmy McDermott, stands out as one of his most challenging and most rewarding performances to date. An extended run of six months followed its opening in Highland Park and another nomination for Actor in a Principal Role-2007.

At Lookingglass Theatre, Larry has been featured in three highly-praised productions now: MR. RICKEY CALLS A MEETING (2012) in which he brought Branch Rickey to life again. THE SHAGGS: PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD (2004), in which he played the lead role of Austin Wiggen, and in THEY ALL FALL DOWN: THE RICHARD NICKEL STORY [8] (2001), in the title role of Richard Nickel. Larry received some of the best notices of his career for his work in NICKEL. Larry was also invited to be the voice of Richard Nickel in Jay Shefsky’s filmed documentary of Richard Nickel, as part of the WTTW Chicago Stories Series, which premiered on January 14, 2002.

Larry worked with Next Theatre in ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE (2002), and with A Red Orchid Theatre in Philip Ridley’s THE FASTEST CLOCK IN THE UNIVERSE [9] (2004), directed by Dado. At Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park, Larry played a peg-legged villain in the Sherlock Holmes story THE SIGN OF THE FOUR (2003). It was also at Apple Tree Theatre that he played Stanley in Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (2001). Summer 2001, alongside his wife, Sandy Borglum, he performed in DISCIPLE, an original, Chicago- and world-premiere, two-person show. Produced by Walkabout Theatre, it opened to excited reviews and garnered much attention from the press for their husband-and-wife casting. Larry teamed with Walkabout again for THE COAST OF CHICAGO (2006), adapted by Laura Eason, from Stuart Dybek’s book of short stories. Lookingglass Theatre co-produced. COAST was directed by Gary Zabinski, a friend and colleague from Illinois Wesleyan. Gary also directed Larry in a one-man show, JUDGEMENT (1995), by Barry Collins. In 2005, Larry tackled another one-man show, the beautiful and brilliant UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL [10] (2005), by Glen Berger and directed by John Gawlik, at Fox Valley Repertory, another extended run production that garnered strong mention for Larry’s ability to command a stage, as well as weave a strong yet heart-breaking story.

Other Chicago Theatre credits include:
  • Court Theatre’s 2001 Repertory Productions of TWELFTH NIGHT , with Larry cast as Feste; and as Radish in Trevor Griffith’s PIANO. Larry also appeared as Jowett in Court’s Fall 2000 production of Tom Stoppard’s INVENTION OF LOVE;
  • Christopher Durang’s BETTY’S SUMMER VACATION (2001) and Phyllis Nagy’s DISAPPEARED (1999), both with Roadworks; and
  • THE ANGELS OF LEMNOS at Chicago Dramatists, where his homeless “Girtie” earned him a nomination for Supporting Actor-1998.

Larry’s work in feature films began in 1999 with STIR OF ECHOES, starring Kevin Bacon, which became an instant paranormal classic. In 2001, he co-stared with Jennifer Tilly in RELATIVE EVIL, directed by Tanya Wexler. JUST VISITING (2006), starring Christina Applegate, and LET’S GO TO PRISON (2006), directed by Bob Odenkirk, soon followed. Larry has played a homeless guy in Jeff Garlin’s I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH. He reprised his homeless guy in STRANGER THAN FICTION, with Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal, directed by Mark Forester. In THE MERRY GENTLEMAN (2008), he was Michael Keaton’s tailor, with Keaton also directing the film, and he was brutally beaten by Sean Bean in CASH (2010).

Television credits have included Jimmy Bagwell in PRISON BREAK; a detective in WALKER, TEXAS RANGER; Adolph Hitler in THE UNTOUCHABLES, and a schizophrenic sister-strangler on AMERICA’S MOST WANTED.

Since 2002 Larry and Sandy and their current three cats, Wrybbunz, Wolfie and Sneakers live in Chicago’s northwest Ravenswood Manor in a classic “Chicago 2-flat” where Larry has discovered he has his grandpa Clarence’s green thumb.

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