Dado has been an actor and director in both Chicago and Los Angeles for almost 20 years. In that time, she has directed a fine mix of world, US, midwest and west coast premieres, as well as established plays.
She is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid's ensemble and will have directed Brett Neveu's (also an ensemble member) world premiere of "Megacosm" there by January of 2012. In Los Angeles, Dado was privileged to have directed Neveu's west coast premiere of "American Dead" for Rogue Machines inaugural season. This production received a Garland Award for Best Actor in a lead role for Mark St. Amant. In Los Angeles she also directed the wildly controversial but anxiously well received "Mercury Fur" by Philip Ridley. This production marks Dado's third Philip Ridley production, and he is absolutely one of her favorite writers for the theater. Ridley's uncanny knack for exploiting the intersect of beautiful child like humanity side by side with unabated brutality in even the darkest of dark hours never fails to appeal to Dado's raw sensibilities. Variety Magazine review: "During civilization's final descent into barbarism, says Philip Ridley's 2005 U.K. hit "Mercury Fur," the powerful will indulge their most insane fantasies, while the rest of us try to maintain a little dignity as we cater to them. The young Needtheater company's stunning, superb production at the Imagined Life Theater drags us into a circle of hell while affirming the indomitability of humanity's best instincts, even when apocalypse is now. " and "Helmer Dado, a seasoned Chicago hand like many Needtheater principals, exquisitely balances the characters' emotional oases with the violence constantly threatening to blast up from the corridors. When it finally does, character, dialogue and physical business are masterfully orchestrated."
In Los Angeles, Dado also directed Death and The Maiden for Skypilot and The Credeaux Canvas for Expatriate Productions.
Her last work at A Red Orchid before "Megacosm" was Craig Wright's "The Unseen" in 2009. Chicago Tribune on "The Unseen": "Not only does Dado create a very clever and intense theatrical environment—the prisoners are in cheese-wedge cells, separated by the point—but this director clearly understands that the key to this drama is not the politically charged evocation of torture, but the focus on how people try to cope with life’s horrors, whatever their type and scale. As you watch, your head starts going to how you would deal with life shut away in a cell.
Examiner Review of "The Unseen"
In 2008 she directed Noah Haidle’s “Two Echoes” for the First Stages Series atThe Goodman, and she is also the recipient of The Goodman Theatre’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship. She also directed Chicago’s 2007 production of BOLD’s “Birth”, by Karen Brody at the Vittum.
In 2007, she directed “Alice In Bed by Susan Sontag at Trapdoor theatre. She also received an After Dark Award for her outstanding direction of the US premiere of “Huddersfield” (by Ugljesa Sajtinac) for TUTA at Victory Gardens.
She frequents theaters like A Red Orchid and Shattered Globe quite often. Her 2006 production of Harold Pinter’s “The Hothouse” (A Red Orchid) was extremely well received by critics and audience alike. At A Red Orchid she also staged “The Seahorse” by Ed Moore, “The Fastest Clock in the Universe” by Philip Ridley, and “The Grey Zone” by Tim Blake Nelson, all to much critical acclaim. For Shattered Globe she directed “Coyote On A Fence” (Midwestern premiere) which moved to an extended run at the Storefront Theater. In collaboration with Shattered Globe and Victory Gardens she directed “High Life” (Midwestern premiere). For Steppenwolf Arts Exchange she directed “Fahrenheit 451”. World premieres include Ben Byer’s “Take it Deep” (aKa Theatre Collective), “Thanatos” (aKa Theater Collective and National Pasttime) and Michael Hannen’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s “The Possessed”, co produced by aKa, Prop Thtr, and National Pastime. Other productions include “Hellcab” for Famous Door , “Pitchfork Disney” (by Philip Ridley also) for Trapdoor. Dado received a Jeff Citation for her direction of “Tracers” at Mary-Arrchie Theatre.
Dado founded the theater school at Emerald City Theater Company where she served as Director of Education for three years as well as artistic associate. She has directed several shows for ECTC, the most recent being “A Nutcracker Christmas” by Ralph Covert (Ralph’s World) and G. Riley Mills, as well as the wildly successful “Where the Wild Things Are”, both world premieres.