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A Red Orchid Theatre announces its 25th Anniversary Season, including Evening at the Talk House by Wallace Shawn, directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray, and featuring Ensemble Members Lance Baker, Kirsten Fitzgerald and Natalie West; the World Premiere of Traitor, an adaption of Ibsen's Enemy of the People by Brett Neveu, directed by Ensemble Member Michael Shannon, and featuring Ensemble Members Dado, Larry Grimm, Danny McCarthy, Guy Van Swearingen and Natalie West, with lighting designed by Ensemble Member Mike Durst; and 33 to Nothing by Grant Varjas, featuring Ensemble Member Steve Haggard. In summer 2018 A Red Orchid will also present a bonus presentation of Victims of Duty by Eugene Ionesco, directed by Shira Piven, and featuring original cast members Michael Shannon and Guy Van Swearingen.
 
In addition to the company’s Chicago productions, A Red Orchid's 2013 production of Simpatico will open the season at the prestigious McCarter Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Simpatico will feature the original cast and creative team, directed by Dado and featuring Kristin Ellis, Jennifer Engstrom, Mierka Girten, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen and Doug Vickers, with designs by Grant Sabin, Christine Pascual, Mike Durst, Joe Court and stage manager by Christa van Baale. 
 
“Our 25th anniversary season is full of landmark events for A Red Orchid,” comments Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald. “In 2017-2018 we will see our first collaboration with an iconic playwright, our tenth world premiere with an ensemble member playwright, and a second collaboration with a local playwright. Ensemble is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re thrilled to present a 25th anniversary season packed with ensemble members both onstage and off. With an eye toward reaching out we are also over-the-moon to collaborate with Emily Mann and Debbie Bisno to bring A Red Orchid to the McCarter Center, as well as with Ike Holter, Tony Santiago and The Roustabouts in incubating new work right here at home."
 
A Red Orchid Theatre’s 2017-2018 Season includes:

Evening at the Talk House
by Wallace Shawn
Directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray
Featuring Ensemble Members Lance Baker, Kirsten Fitzgerald and Natalie West
October 5 - November 19, 2017
Previews: October 5 - 8, 2017
Red Night Opening: Friday, October 13, 2017 at 8pm
 
Remember when you felt you could do anything, when there was still nothing to fear? Evening at the Talk House is a reunion at your favorite club, where old friends cozy up, raise a glass and remember gentler times when culture had value and terror wasn't the every day. This ultra-dark comedy invites us all to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening night of Robert's under-appreciated masterpiece, Midnight in a Clearing with Moon and Stars.  Please come. We need each other. 
 
The World Premiere of
Traitor
an adaption of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People
by Brett Neveu
Directed by Ensemble Member Michael Shannon
Featuring Ensemble Members Dado, Larry Grimm, Danny McCarthy, Guy Van Swearingen and Natalie West, with lighting designed by ensemble member Mike Durst
January 11 - February 25, 2018
Previews: January 11 - 14, 2018
Red Night Opening: Friday, January 19, 2018 at 8pm
 
In this world premiere adaptation of Heinrich Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, a small, North Chicago suburb finds the town's restart button with an investment in a newly opened charter school. After issues with the school grounds are discovered by its head of sciences, Dr. Stock, a quest to inform and correct is met with support.  But suspicion and rancor mount as truths bubble to the surface.  A play that mirrors our vital, absurd and often hilarious political times.
 
33 to Nothing
by Grant Varjas
Featuring Ensemble Member Steve Haggard
April 12 - May 27, 2018
Previews: April 12 - 15, 2018
Red Night Opening: Friday, April 20, 2018 at 8pm
 
Taking place during a real-time band practice, 33 to Nothing is a play that rocks hard and breaks hearts.  Feeling the incessant call of adulthood, individuals begin to question their role in the ensemble. Ultimately begging the question: to break up or to build stronger?  An anthem of forgiveness, loyalty and resilience when your world is being torn by the seams.
 
Summer Bonus 
Victims of Duty 
by Eugene Ionesco
Directed by Shira Piven
Featuring original cast members Michael Shannon and Guy Van Swearingen 
July-August 2018
 
Much of the original 1995 team come together to revisit Ionesco's absurd masterpiece. Choubert, the archetypal bourgeois everyman, and his wife Madeleine are spending a quiet evening at home when the Detective arrives to enlist their help in finding the previous tenant.  A roller-coaster ride of high comedy and horrific tragedy as Choubert examines his past present and future in a quest to find out where Mallot could be hiding.
 
Incubator
Also in 2017 A Red Orchid's Incubator hosts The Roustabouts inaugural production/pop-up. Founded by Ike Holter and Tony Santiago, The Roustabouts are responsible for Ike Holter's Stay Lit at Oracle and Steppenwolf theatres, and the Winehouse concert at Oracle. They will produce a new play by Ike Holter as part of A Red Orchid's Incubator series. Cast, production team and plot information are under wraps, but the project will premiere before the end of the year.
 
Ticket Information
A Red Orchid continues the FLASHPASS. As always, FLASHPASS holders get reserved seats, ticket and date flexibility, no-fee ticket exchanges, discounts for friends & family tickets, and early access to events such as readings, panel discussions, and more. The Three-show FLASHPASS is $80 and includes one ticket to each of the 3 shows in our 25th Season, excluding Press Opening and Red Nights. The Three-show Red Night FLASHPASS is $150 and includes a ticket to each of the 3 show's Red Night Opening and post-show reception with the cast and creative team.  The Preview Saver FLASHPASS is $50 and includes one ticket to a preview performance of each of the 3 shows in our 25th season. Add a ticket for the Summer Bonus, Victims of Duty, to any FLASHPASS at the time of purchase.  
 
Flashpasses may be purchased from the Box Office at 1531 N. Wells Street, Monday through Friday from 12 pm to 5 pm, by telephone during office hours by dialing (312) 943-8722, or online at www.aredorchidtheatre.org. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.
 
With our 25th season of ambitious and powerful storytelling, we are thrilled to announce the launch of A Red Orchid Theatre’s Red League.  At $1k or more, The Red League represents a donor community of our most committed and impactful cultural investors. Every profound and shocking moment on our stage is made possible through their critical annual contributions. Their philanthropic leadership fosters the development of raw and relevant work, creates a platform for our talented ensemble to reach new audiences, and ensures that A Red Orchid Theatre remains a source for honest, compassionate, and aesthetically rigorous theatre.
 
About A Red Orchid
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored this year with a 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 24 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories. In addition to its professional season, the company is also committed to an OrKids (youth) project and hosts The Incubator (providing artists with space and time to explore new work, new forms and new artistic collaborations).
 
A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

A Red Orchid Theatre concludes its 2016-2017 Season with the Chicago premiere of 3C, written by David Adjmi and directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray. The production runs April 20 – June 4, 2017, at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. The press opening is Monday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Inspired by 70’s sitcoms and the political incorrectness of "jiggle television," 3C is a hilarious and horrifying look at identity and what lies beneath the homogeneous perky veneer. Brad lands in L.A. to start a new life. A wild night of partying finds him passed out in Connie and Linda’s kitchen and the three strike a deal that raises the suspicions of the landlords. Complications spiral out of control, taking the show from farce to something... unexpected. 

 “We could use a good laugh, an out-loud, roll-on-the floor, cringe-worthy, ugly-cry laugh,” notes Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald.  “3C certainly brings that to the room along with much, much more. I am beyond thrilled to get to know David and for our artists and audiences alike to mine the deepest and darkest of identity questions both personal and public. Director Shade Murray has a knack for finding the hilarity in the darkest of interactions. I cannot wait to have them in the same room exploring and sharing the world and words with all.”  

The cast of 3C includes Ensemble Members Jennifer Engstrom (Mrs. Wicker), Lawrence Grimm (Mr. Wicker) and Steve Haggard (Terry), with Christina Gorman (Linda), Nick Mikula (Brad) and Sigrid Sutter (Connie).

The creative team includes Sarah Fabian (Set Designer), Myron Elliott (Costume Designer), Rachel Levy (Lighting Designer), Brando Triantafillou (Sound Designer), Lydia Hanchett (Props Designer) and Jon Martinez (Choreography). The Production Stage Manager is Christa van Baale.

About the Artists

David Adjmi (Playwright) was called "virtuosic" by the New York Times, one of the "best and most original theatre artists of a generation" by Vogue, and one of the Top Ten in Culture by The New Yorker magazine. 3C received its world premiere at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (with Rising Phoenix and Piece by Piece Productions) in June 2012, and was dubbed "revelatory" by the Times and “the most divisive and controversial play of the season” by the New York Post. 3C was selected as one of the top ten plays of 2012 by the Post, Time Out New York and the Advocate.  His other plays include Marie Antoinette (A.R.T. & Yale Rep, Soho Rep, Steppenwolf, Woolly Mammoth and more), Elective Affinities (Royal Shakespeare Company, Soho Rep with Rising Phoenix & Piece by Piece Productions), Stunning (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), The Evildoers (Sundance, Yale Repertory Theatre), Caligula (Soho Rep Studio Series), and Strange Attractors (Empty Space).  David was awarded a Mellon Foundation Playwrights Residency, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writers’ Award, the Kesselring Prize for Drama, the Steinberg Playwright Award (the “Mimi”), McKnight and Jerome fellowships, the Helen Merrill Award, the Marian Seldes-Garson Kanin Fellowship, the Fadiman Prize and the Bush Artists Fellowship, among others.  A collection of David’s work, Stunning and Other Plays, is published by TCG, and his work is included in The Methuen Drama Book of New American Plays. His memoir SAVE US, SUPERMAN! is forthcoming from HarperCollins as is a second collection of plays entitled 1789 / 1978.

Shade Murray (Director) is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theater, where he has directed the world premieres of Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Ike Holter’s Sender, as well as productions of Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky and The Butcher of Baraboo, Annie Baker’s The Aliens, Nick Jones’ Trevor, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire.  He also performed in the A Red Orchid production of The Mutilated.  Other directing credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The House Theater, Steep Theater, Second City, Writers’ Theater and elsewhere.  Shade is a lecturer at University of Chicago and teaches at DePaul University and Actors’ Studio Chicago.

Jennifer Engstrom (Mrs. Wicker) returns to A Red Orchid Theatre in 3C. An ensemble member since 2003, Jennifer was most recently seen in AROT's The Mutilated, garnering a Jeff nomination for Outstanding Actress. Other Orchid productions include: Eric LaRue, The Fastest Clock in The Universe, The Hothouse, Weapons of Mass Impact, Fatboy, and Simpatico. Other credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of A Streetcar named Virginia Woolf (Writers Theatre); Sweet Bird Of Youth (The Goodman Theatre); One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The North Plan (Steppenwolf Theatre); Skygirls (Northlight); The Incident, Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been... (Next Theatre); MacBeth (Notre Dame Shakespeare); Angels In America (Kansas City Rep).  This summer Jennifer will fill in for the mighty Amy Morton in Steppenwolf's Hir. Jennifer will be seen in the upcoming film Slice starring Chance The Rapper.

Christina Gorman (Linda) is an actor and fight choreographer, originally from the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York. Chicago acting credits include: Men Should Weep (Jeff Award for Best Production-Play) and Stage Door for Griffin Theatre; The Bottle Tree (Stage Left Theatre); Making God Laugh (Fox Valley Rep); Leading Ladies (Buffalo Theatre Ensemble); The Thin Man (City Lit); and The Tall Girls, In the Heat of the Night, The Grown Up, The Rose Tattoo, Our Country's Good, Happy Now, and Romeo and Juliet for Shattered Globe Theatre, where she is an ensemble member.

Lawrence Grimm (Mr. Wicker) is back at A Red Orchid where some of his favorite and more recent shows include Trevor (Jeff Nomination), Solstice, In a Garden, Pumpgirl, Abigail’s Party, The Meek, The Physicists, Mr. Kolpert, Caine-Mutiny Court Martial, In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, and Born Guilty. Other recent Chicago credits: King Charles III and The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), 2666 (Goodman Theatre), My Name is Asher Lev (Timeline Theatre), In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Victory Gardens), Maple and Vine, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next Theatre), Orlando (Court Theatre),  King Lear, Two by Pinter (Piven Theater Workshop), The Balcony (New Crime), Apocalyptic Butterflies, Sketchbook, (Collaboraction), The Glass Menagerie (Raven Theatre – Jeff Award), The Brothers Karamazov, 1984, The Naked King (Lookingglass), I Never Sang for My Father, Wolf Lullaby (Steppenwolf). Film: Welcome to Me, Perfect Manhattan, Cicero in Winter and the upcoming Captive State. Television: Chicago PD, Chicago Med.

Steve Haggard (Terry) was last seen at A Red Orchid in Sender and The Mutilated. He has been an ensemble member since 2007. Other Orchid shows include Accidentally Like A Martyr, The Aliens, Kimberly Akimbo and The Mandrake. Chicago credits: Tribes (Steppenwolf); Funnyman and Season’s Greetings (Northlight); Doubt, Old Glory, The Subject Was Roses and Our Town (Writers); Wasteland (Timeline); King Lear, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare). Regional Credits: R+ G are Dead, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Tempest, Hay Fever, Comedy of Errors and Ah Wilderness (American Players Theatre), Almost Maine (Milwaukee Repertory) and Fallen Angels (Indiana Repertory). Steve is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. 

Nick Mikula (Brad) makes his A Red Orchid Theatre debut. Other credits include Warped, Joe Egg, All's Well that Ends Well, LeapFest's And Eat it Too (Stage Left Theatre) Luther (U/S Steep Theatre), The Brig, Cherrywood (Mary-Arrchie), The Improv Play (Infusion), Map of Virtue (Cor) The Dining Room, The Man Who Was Thursday (New Leaf), 44 Ways (Redtwist) SS! A Midsummer Nights Dream (U/S Chicago Shakespeare), Six Degrees of Separation (Signal), Macbeth (Greasy Joan), W;T (Gift), ROAD (Ka-Tet), Pretty Penny, Half Shut (Right Brain),  Paper City Phoenix (Tympanic Theatre), Radio Silence, Ping-Pong, The Gas Heart (The Nine), and 20%. Improv Credits include Octavarius and Sam Hill. Film credits include the web series Under Covers.

Sigrid Sutter (Connie) makes her debut at A Red Orchid Theatre. In Chicago, she’s worked with Northlight Theatre, Steep Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, Teatro Vista, Sideshow Theatre, Back Room Shakespeare Project, and others. Her film credits include Colma: The Musical and Strange Culture; her television credits include Chicago Justice and Ellen. She is represented by Actors Talent Group. 

Fact Sheet/ 3C

Title: 3C

Written by: David Adjmi

Directed by: Ensemble Member Shade Murray

Featuring: Ensemble Members Jennifer Engstrom, Larry Grimm and Steve Haggard with Christina Gorman, Nick Mikula,and Sigrid Sutter.

 

Dates:              

Previews: April 20 – 23, 2017

Red Night Opening: Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Regular Run: April 29 – June 4, 2017 

Schedule:        

Thursdays: 8:00 p.m.

Fridays: 8:00 p.m.

Saturdays: 8:00 p.m.         

Sundays: 3:00 p.m. (except April 23).

Location: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.

Tickets: $15-$25 previews, $30-$35 regular run.  ($30 Thurs, $35 Fri, Sat, Sun)

Box Office: Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online www.aredorchidtheatre.org

 

About A Red Orchid

A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored this year with a 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 23 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories. In addition to its professional season, the company also produces an annual OrKids (youth) project and hosts The Incubator (providing artists with space and time to explore new work, new forms and new artistic collaborations).

 

A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Accidentally, Like A Martyr is a witty comedy drama now playing at A Red Orchid Theatre that packs a punch with its humor and charm but also with its intrigue. Taking place in a seedy gay bar on Manhattan's lower east side we meet a colorful group of regulars, are dosed with whimsical bar chat and are soon thrust into a compelling story that builds one's curiosity plenty as the show continues.

The set is cozy as the audience is seated around a fully functioning bar and often gets the feeling they too are patrons. Decorative Christmas lights are strung throughout and a vintage jukebox sits to one end. It's easy to lose oneself in the atmosphere alone and, once immersed with the character's variety of personalities, feel as though we are bonded with each.

Manned with a strong cast, we are exposed to some dynamite performances including Layne Manzer's as "Brendan" whose tough exterior can only shield his vulnerabilities for so long. Manzer showed a great range of versatility and raw intensity and is certainly someone to keep an eye on in the theatre scene. Steve Haggard also gave a stellar performance as "Mark" the grief-stricken lover desperately searching for a taste of the past. Accidentally, Like A Martyr also contains several terrific veteran  performers including Troy West, Doug Vickers and David Cerda, the mastermind behind Hell in a Handbag Productions, one of Chicago's funniest theatre companies.

Ensemble member Shade Murray directs this Chicago premiere wonderfully written by Grant James Varjas. This is a touching story of friendship, survival and soul searching. Accidentally, Like A Martyr is playing at A Red Orchid Theatre located at 1531 N Wells through March 1st. For tickets and/or more information visit www.aredorchidtheatre.org or call (312) 943-8722.  

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