Here’s the press release from Victory Gardens:
VICTORY GARDENS ANNOUNCES 2009-2010 SEASON
37th season kicks off with two overlapping Ignition Festival premieres, one
in Victory Gardens’ new 2nd floor Studio Theatre, and ends with Kevin
Anderson and Francis Guinan in newest work by Joel Drake Johnson
CHICAGO, March 26, 2009 – Do Something New! Don’t miss the exciting new
play line-up at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, where there will
be no lack of activity in 2009-2010.
In fact, Chicago’s #1 producer of new work is ramping things up next season
with an ambitious seven play line-up, launching with one of the company’s
most daring new play development projects in 36 years – the next phase of
its Ignition Festival.
Last Spring, 120 new works were submitted from around the U.S. by
playwrights of color, under 40 years old, to Victory Gardens’ first-ever
national new play festival for emerging writers. Six finalists were
selected, workshopped and presented as staged readings in an incredibly well
received, weeklong festival this past Summer.
Now, two nearly simultaneous world premieres by young writers of increasing
national prominence – Year Zero by Michael Golamco, and The Elaborate
Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz – will kick off Victory Gardens’
Fueling more excitement about Ignition, Victory Gardens will make Year Zero
the debut production in its new, 120-seat 2nd floor Studio Theater,
currently under construction on the second floor of Chicago’s historic
Biograph Theater. The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity will be a
co-production with Teatro Vista.
Add rotating performance schedules, panel discussions, hot social events
like Spark Plug II, a “jewel box” of a new space, and the opportunity to
invite producing theaters to visit Chicago for a wider viewing of the
playwrights’ work promise to make Ignition a new play festival of national
Soon after Ignition, Victory Gardens’ smash hit holiday musical The Snow
Queen returns for her fourth season, followed in the new year by the Chicago
premiere of Blue Door, a Pulitzer-Prize nominated journey through four
generations of black history by award-winning playwright and actor Tanya
Barfield, a writer new to the Gardens.
Next come three new works from Victory Gardens’ own Playwrights Ensemble:
the Chicago premiere of Lonnie Carter’s acclaimed play The Lost Boys of
Sudan, James Sherman’s world premiere farce Jacob and Jack, and finally, the
debut of A Guide for the Perplexed by Joel Drake Johnson, author of Victory
Gardens’ 2007 smash hit Four Places. Adding star power to Victory Gardens’
season, A Guide for the Perplexed will boast the return to a Chicago stage
of acclaimed actor Kevin Anderson. Anderson’s fellow Steppenwolf ensemble
member, Francis Guinan, co-stars.
“In many ways this is our most ambitious season ever,” said Victory Gardens
Artistic Director Dennis Zacek. “It’s exciting that we have chosen to
present seven projects. We’re particularly thrilled to open next season
with not just one – but two – of our Ignition finalists, to launch our new
Studio Theater, and to have our longtime friend Kevin Anderson join us on
stage next season.”
Despite the current economy, Victory Gardens is not increasing ticket prices
in 2009-2010. “Instead,” said new Victory Gardens Executive Director Jan
Kallish, “we’re cutting costs, seeking new funding and collaborations to
support our exciting programmatic initiatives like Ignition, while raising
the bar on producing fresh, fully realized productions in our expanded
Biograph facility. Additionally, we’re incredibly excited about the launch
of our new Studio Theater, and the larger opportunities that support our
Five-, six- and seven-play subscriptions are on sale now, starting at only
$80. Flex Plans, two-year subscriptions, and value added packages including
Neighbors Night, Humanities Night, Pub Night, Access Project, and Family
Saturday are also available. Convenient parking, easy ticket exchanges,
exclusive invitations to special events, a free subscription to Victory
Magazine, and plenty of pre- and post-show deals at area bars and
restaurants are always part of the Victory Gardens package.
The Victory Gardens Biograph Theater is conveniently located at 2433 N.
Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. For
subscription information, call the Victory Gardens box office, (773)
871-3000 (tty: (773) 871-0682), email [email protected], or
Victory Gardens Theater’s 2009-2010 Season: A Closer Look
IGNITION FESTIVAL: EMERGING PLAYWRIGHTS OF COLOR
Making the leap straight to Victory Gardens 2009-2010 season, after wowing
audiences with staged readings at last summer’s Ignition Festival, are:
A world premiere
By Michael Golamco
September 11 – October 25, 2009
Press Opening Monday, September 21, 7:30 pm
Vuthy Vichea is a 16-year-old Cambodian American. He loves hip-hop and
Dungeons and Dragons. He is a weird kid in a place where weirdness can be
fatal: Long Beach, California. And since his best friend moved and his
mother died, the only person he can talk to is a human skull he keeps hidden
in a cookie jar.
Sharp, funny, and packing an emotional wallop, Year Zero is about being
chased across an ocean by death, standing firm, and confronting it head on.
An Ignition Festival standout, Year Zero subsequently won the Pacific
Century Playwriting Competition at East-West Players, and is a finalist at
the O’Neill Playwrights Conference. This touching family drama promises to
be wonderful pick for Victory Gardens’ first world premiere in its intimate
new 2nd floor Studio Theater.
THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by Eddie Torres
A co-production with Teatro Vista
September 25 – November 1, 2009
Press Opening Monday, October 5, 7:30 pm
Macedonio Guerra is a middle rank pro wrestler who may have discovered his
ticket to the big time: an impossibly charismatic, hip-hop-influenced
Indian kid from Brooklyn. Their boss has the perfect concept for their
in-ring alter egos: pair them as a team of terrorists.
Diaz’ smart, comic look at pro wrestling, geopolitics, and refrigerator
crispers is a theatrical smack down of dazzling hip-hop language (some of it
strong). In addition to generating major buzz at Ignition, Chad was a
finalist for the 2008 O’Neill Playwrights Conference, has since won Arizona
Theater Company’s National Latino Playwriting Award. Diaz is also a recent
addition to Teatro Vista, as one of the company’s newest resident
THE SNOW QUEEN
By Hans Christian Andersen
Originally adapted by Michael Smith, Frank Galati and Blair Thomas
Directed by Jim Corti
November 27-December 27, 2009
Press Opening Monday, November 20, 7:30 pm
Hold on tight, The Snow Queen is sledding back for her fourth consecutive
season as Chicago’s #1 alternative to traditional holiday musicals.
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved winter tale about a boy lost in
the cold, and the girl who won’t give up until she finds him, Victory
Gardens’ The Snow Queen is the rare family musical that sings to children,
and speaks to adults. Clever, evocative puppetry, warm storytelling, a live
band, and Michael Smith’s chillingly beautiful score combine for “a terrific
holiday show in a great theater” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “the nicest present
we’ve gotten for the holidays” (Time Out Chicago). Expect a few new touches
when director Jim Corti takes the The Snow Queen’s directorial reins in
The Snow Queen is supported in part by the Motorola Foundation.
A Chicago premiere
By Tanya Barfield
Directed by Andrea J. Dymond
January 22 – February 28, 2010
Press Opening Monday, February 1, 7:30 pm
Imagine being haunted by four generations of ancestors, all during one
sleepless night. That’s the plight of Lewis, a middle-aged, divorced, black
math professor forced to confront the insistent ghosts of his
great-grandfather, his younger brother and others entwined in his life.
Encompassing more than a century of history on a very personal level, Blue
Door is fueled by poetic riffs that define the past, and pose “sharp
questions and counter-questions on contemporary black identity” (Los
Tanya Barfield, a voice new to Victory Gardens, has had her plays presented
a Playswrights Horizons, Arena Stage, The Royal Court, New York Theatre
Workshop, Seattle Rep, Hartford Stage, The Guthrie Lab, and New York Stage &
Film. A graduate of Julliard’s Playwriting Program, Barfield’s plays
include Dent, The Quick, 121° West, Pecan Tan, and The Houdini Act.
Blue Door is supported in part by the Sara Lee Foundation.
THE LOST BOYS OF SUDAN
A Chicago premiere
By Ensemble member Lonnie Carter
Directed by Jim Corti
March 19-April 25, 2010
Press Opening Sunday, March 28, 7:30 pm*
*Note: Opening is shifted to Sunday, March 28 in recognition of Passover.
A.I. Josh, T-Mac Sam and K-Gar Ollie all meet in the worst way: fleeing the
horrors of war. And as they team up on a perilous journey to a refugee camp,
they exchange heroic survival stories, song and even laughter.
Thus begins an extraordinary passage that eventually takes three boys of the
Dinka tribe to, of all places – Fargo, North Dakota – where encounters with
drought, crocodiles and guerrillas are replaced with malls, video games, and
Skittles. If you can’t imagine being a continent, a culture, a language away
from home, join these three boys who couldn’t either – at first.
Lonnie Carter is the fabulously inventive author of such VGT hits as The
Romance of Magno Rubio and Wheatley. Pulse of the Twin Cities hailed The
Lost Boys of Sudan, presented in 2007 at Minneapolis’ acclaimed Children’s
Theatre Company, “irreverently spirited in the author’s telltale, madcap
style of political and social commentary…bottom line, it’s brilliant.” In
addition to brilliant, Lost Boys is also the second Victory Gardens project
this season for director Jim Corti.
JACOB AND JACK
A world premiere
By Ensemble member James Sherman
Directed by Dennis Zacek
May 14 – June 20, 2010
Press opening Monday, May 24, 7:30 pm
Jack Shore, a well-known television personality, is appearing for one night
only in a tribute to his grandfather, Jacob Shemerinsky, great star of the
Backstage, in his dressing room, Jack confronts his challenges as an actor
and as a husband to his co-starring wife.
Meanwhile, 75 years in the past, Jack’s grandfather Jacob is having problems
of his own.
A true farce echoing Sherman’s smash hits Beau Jest, Jest a Second and
Affluenza!, Jacob and Jack has actors doubling as characters past and
present for a dizzying display of life in the theatre.
Jacob and Jack will be supported in part by a grant from the Seigle Family
A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
A world premiere
By Ensemble member Joel Drake Johnson
Directed by Sandy Shinner
Starring Kevin Anderson and Francis Guinan
July 9-August 23, 2010
Kevin Anderson returns for a rare Chicago appearance in A Guide for the
Perplexed, the newest play by Ensemble member Joel Drake Johnson, author of
Victory Gardens’ 2007 smash hit Four Places.
Anderson plays Doug, a newly released petty criminal, forced to take
reluctant residence with his sister’s husband, their teenage son, and a tank
of tropical fish.
The rehabilitation process, both absurdly funny and heartbreakingly sad, is
by no means limited to the ex-con. When Doug’s female pen pal arrives in
hot pursuit bearing strange gifts, the play cuts deep into the characters’
mutual feelings of pain, guilt, and fear. Yet hints of a tenuous recovery
make Johnson’s newest play both hopeful and very real.
Star of stage and screen, Kevin Anderson is a Chicago theater original,
perhaps most fondly remembered for his performances in Orphans both at
Steppenwolf and on film. In A Guide for the Perplexed, Anderson stars
opposite fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member Francis Guinan.
About Victory Gardens Theater
One of Chicago’s most respected Off-Loop theaters, Victory Gardens is
primarily devoted to new work, and since its founding in 1974, has produced
more world premiere mainstage productions than any other Chicago theater.
The company emphasizes the work of Chicago writers and its own 14-member
Playwrights Ensemble, a relationship that helped Victory Gardens receive the
2001 Tony Award for Regional Theatre for “displaying a continuous level of
artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theater nationally.”
In 2006, Victory Gardens celebrated the grand opening of its new home, the
state-of-the-art Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.
In Fall 2009, the company launches its new 120-seat Studio Theatre upstairs
at the Biograph.
Upcoming 2008-2009 productions include the world premiere of Jeffrey Sweet’s
Class Dismissed, March 20-April 26; the Chicago premiere of Aditi Brennan
Kapil’s Love Person, May 15-June 14, and the Chicago premiere of David
Harrower’s Blackbird, starring William L. Petersen and Mattie Hawkinson,
July 3-August 9. For tickets, call the Victory Gardens box office –
773.871.3000 – or visit victorygardens.org.
Working with a $3.1 million annual budget in 2008/09, Victory Gardens
continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the
guidance of Artistic Director Dennis Zacek, Executive Director Jan Kallish,
Associate Artistic Director Sandy Shinner, Board President Jeffrey Rappin, a
dedicated staff and board, as well as the support of its loyal subscribers.
Victory Gardens Theater is supported by the Illinois Arts Council (IAC), a
stage agency, and is partially supported by a CityArts Program 4 Grant from
the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Major funders include the Wallace Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Chicago
Community Trust, Joyce Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, USG, Ford Foundation, Kraft Foods, Lloyd
A. Fry Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Alphawood Foundation,
Arie & Ida Crown Memorial, Illinois Tool Works, Prince Charitable Trusts,
Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Exelon Corporation, Mayer &
Morris Kaplan Family Foundation, Pick Fund, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation,
Wrightwood Neighbors Association, and Boeing Company.
For complete information, visit victorygardens.org.