Nancy Steele Brokaw
Writer in Bloomington, Illinois
Nancy Steele Brokaw is playwright/journalist/writer.
Brokaw has had eight innovative children’s operas produced by Prairie Fire Theatre/Illinois Wesleyan University. Among them are The Sky Is Falling And I’m Not Even Kidding!, Who Stole B-Flat? and W.O.O.S.H! (Web of Opera Super Heroes!). They have toured to tens of thousands of Illinois school children over the last eight years and work has begun for the 2019 show. University of California-Merced also presents her operas to thousands of grade school students and will again in 2019.
Brokaw is again writing Theatre for Young Audience and “green shows” for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. In 2018 those included Double, Double, a story of Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln, Henry 1-2-3-4-5, and Will in the Bachelorette.
In May, 2014, Fort Worth Opera Frontiers showcased Fertile Ground, an original opera for which she wrote the libretto, a collaboration with composer David Vayo. Opera Plus called it "thorough and complex" and said it "immediately portrayed a gripping story."
Brokaw wrote the libretto Cleopatra and the Plastic Surgeon, which was performed at Illinois State University in 2016 and University of Toronto in 2017 with music by Austrian composer Nancy Van de Vate. Danielle Fisher composed a new score and it premiered in 2018 at University of North Texas and will be presented at ISU and at IWU in March 2019.
In 2017 and 2018 Brokaw wrote the new student orientation program for ISU, What It Means To Be A Redbird, performed for all incoming new students in August.
Brokaw is a longtime contributor to The Pantagraph and Illinois Wesleyan Magazine, as well as the author of the award winning middle-grade novel Leaving Emma, (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin).
The McLean County Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission hired Brokaw to co-author Lincoln’s in Town!
For 17 years, Brokaw has been resident playwright for Holiday Spectacular, Inc., writing three or more shows a year.
She wrote grade school adaptations of Mozart's Magic Flute and Marriage of Figaro, and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel for Illinois Wesleyan University productions.
She serves on the Board of Directors of IWU’s Associates Board, the Promise Council (removing barriers to learning in local schools), the Stevenson Lecture Series and is a member of Normal Rotary Club. She was recently a drummer for an older adult rock band.
Brokaw lives in Bloomington, Illinois.