As first reported by Chris Jones at the Trib, About Face is Chicago’s first theater company to go public with a full-blown recession-fed survival crisis, which includes postponing their spring show. The full press release follows.
About Face Theatre Shortens 2008/2009 Season, Postpones Spring Show
Theatre Launches Emergency Campaign to Stabilize Finances During Economic Downturn
CHICAGO- Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar and Managing Director Rick Dildine today announced the postponement of the spring 2009 world premiere production of “What Once We Felt,” a new play by Ann-Marie Healy to October-November 2009. Simultaneously, the About Face Theatre Board of Directors launched a national “FACE THE FUTURE” campaign to save the organization by raising $300,000.
“The recent economic downturn is having a devastating effect on the arts community nationwide and About Face is under intense financial strain,” says Metzgar. “We have taken bold action by cutting budget and programming, but it is not enough. About Face must survive in order to continue our important mission to present world-class theater about sexuality and gender to Chicago audiences and to support About Face Youth Theatre so that queer youth in our community can thrive as leaders and artists.”
The About Face Board of Directors and senior leadership are asking for immediate financial contributions in order to keep its doors open, staff paid, and youth theatre program intact.
“The Board of About Face remains confident that supporters around the country will join us in ensuring the future of this important cultural institution,” says About Face Theatre Board President William Michel.
Donations can be made at www.aboutfacetheatre.com, by calling (773)784-8565, or by mailing a check to the theatre at 1222 W. Wilson, 2nd Floor West, Chicago, IL 60640. Artistic contributions are encouraged as well, as About Face organizes a web-based video forum for creative response to our current economy and to the vitality of this organization in today’s society.
Currently, About Face Theatre is running its critically-acclaimed production of “Stupid Kids.” Directed by Bonnie Metzgar in collaboration with Megan Carney, the production features adult actors as well as current members and alums of About Face Youth Theatre. The Chicago Reader notes: “If this gutsy, high-energy show is a sign of what we can expect from About Face under Metzgar, the company’s future is bright.” “Stupid Kids” runs through March 8 in the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. Tickets are available at www.aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling 866-811-4111.
About Face Theatre plans to produce Healy’s “What Once We Felt” in the fall of 2009. The play, a provocative, terrifying and hilarious romp through the annals of genocide, suicide, infanticide and bad manners, will be directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. “What Once We Felt” was recently named a finalist for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
About Face Theatre is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity. Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 30 new plays by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.
Landmark world premieres include Doug Wright’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning “I Am My Own Wife”; Moisés Kaufman’s production of Tennessee Williams’ “One Arm” (a co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Tectonic Theatre Project); Mary Zimmerman’s “M. Proust”, and, with Lookingglass Theatre, the famed “Eleven Rooms of Proust” and “Clay” that went on to be performed at Lincoln Center and Center Theater Group; Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty’s “Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein” (a co-production with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Original Cast Album recorded by Jay Records); the multi-award winning musical “Winesburg, Ohio” by Eric Rosen, Andre Pluess, Ben Sussman and Jessica Thebus; and the cult hit “Pulp”, by Patricia Kane.
In addition to its award-winning mainstage performances, About Face is known nationally for its ground- breaking Youth Theatre, which creates critically acclaimed new work by and about LGBTQ youth and their allies. The Youth Theatre has performed on major stages across the country, and, through its outreach tour, changes the lives of thousands of young people each year. Building on the success of the youth theatre model, About Face recently launched its corporate outreach program to provide diversity training and onsite workshops to the corporate community. About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country and around the world.