Longtime local publicist Noreen Heron Zautcke issued a press release a few minutes ago that announced the split of most of ATC’s ensemble from newish artistic director PJ Paparelli. They plan to re-form under the original name, American Blues Theatre, and are searching for a space and working on an as-yet-unnamed first production, expected for 2010. Chris Jones reported on the story this morning here, but here’s Zautcke’s release. We’ll add ATC’s release/response if we get it.
ENSEMBLE MEMBERS ANNOUNCE DEPARTURE FROM AMERICAN THEATER COMPANY,
REVIVE AMERICAN BLUES THEATRE
Chicago, IL – Twenty-three members of American Theater Company ensemble today announced that they are no longer a part of the American Theater Company organization. Chicago’s second oldest ensemble based company is continuing on as American Blues Theatre, which was founded in 1985. The newly formed organization will present two productions in 2010 in celebration of their 25th season as an ensemble.
“Over 25 years, we have produced over 75 award winning shows, over 20 World and Chicago premieres, and our ensemble members collectively have won numerous Jeff Awards. However, at this time we are experiencing major administrative and artistic differences. We feel that we need to be an organization that creates a fearless and collaborative working environment for ourselves and for the Chicago artistic community,” said ensemble member and former Artistic Director Carmen Roman.
“We are tremendously grateful to our long time patrons, subscribers and donors and we look forward to their participation as we move forward,” said Kate Buddeke, an ensemble member for 22 years.
“For anyone who has never seen this ensemble of actors when they worked under the company name “American Blues”, this isn’t going to be merely a name change. It will be a revelation,” said founding member and Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning writer Rick Cleveland.
Individuals supporting this departure include founding members Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and William Payne; former Artistic Directors Carmen Roman (two-time Jeff Award and Sarah Siddons winner), Kate Buddeke (four-time Jeff Award winner and numerous Broadway credits), and Stef Tovar (Jeff Award Winner) and returning member Tom Geraty. Also supporting the departure are ensemble members Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow (Jeff Award nominee), Casey Campbell (Jeff Award nominee), Dennis Cockrum (recently on Broadway in FROST/NIXON and TV and film veteran), Lauri Dahl, Cheryl Graeff, Kevin R. Kelly, Ed Kross, Heather Meyers, John Mohrlein (Jeff Award nominee), Jim Ortlieb (currently on Broadway in GUYS AND DOLLS), Suzanne Petri, Tania Richard, Editha Rosario, John Sterchi (Jeff Award nominee) and Gwendolyn Whiteside (Jeff Award nominee).
This ensemble of artists began collaboration in 1985 with a production of DOG MAN’S LAST STAND and went on to produce such acclaimed productions as BAD MOON, THE HAIRY APE, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, STALAG 17, KEELY & DU, A STONECARVER, AMERICAN BUFFALO, DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS and OKLAHOMA.