A Red Orchid Theatre to Present MUD BLUE SKY, 4/9-5/25

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A Red Orchid Theatre to Present MUD BLUE SKY, 4/9-5/25

A Red Orchid Theatre presents the Chicago Premiere of Mud Blue Sky written by Marisa Wegrzyn and directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray. The production will feature AROT Ensemble Members Natalie West, Mierka Girten and Kirsten Fitzgerald, and will run April 9 - May 25, 2014 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. Press Opening is Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

A high school pot dealer abandons his prom night to crash the hotel room reunion between three flight attendants (all old enough to be his mother). Booze is poured, herb is smoked, the room blurs and futures, careers, and kindness snap sharply into focus. We suggest that you keep your seat belt fastened throughout the performance, as you are certain to experience turbulence. Local Playwright Marisa Wegrzyn's profoundly compassionate and fiercely witty play makes its Chicago Premiere.

"Mud Blue Sky is both fierce and compassionate," comments Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald. "I find these two qualities at the core of Marisa's work and am thrilled to be collaborating with her and with my fellow Orchids to bring it to Chicago. The previous work we have all done together allows us to challenge each other and the play all the more."

Mud Blue Sky features Ensemble Members Kirsten Fitzgerald (Angie), Mierka Girten (Sam) and Natalie West (Beth), with Matt Farabee (Jonathan). Fitzgerald, Girten and West were last seen together at A Red Orchid together in the Company's smash-hit production of Abigail's Party, also directed by Shade Murray. West, Fitzgerald and Murray also collaborated on Wegrzyn's Butcher of Baraboo in 2012.

The creative team for Mud Blue Sky includes Jackie Penrod (scenic), Ensemble Member Karen Kawa (costumes), Ensemble Member Mike Durst (lighting), Brando Triantafillou (sound), Corinne Bass (props), Stephanie Heller (stage manager), Jessie Roth (assistant director) and Brian Sauer (technical director).

Marisa Wegrzyn (playwright) Productions include The Butcher of Baraboo (A Red Orchid Theatre & Steppenwolf Theatre's First Look Rep); Diversey Harbor; Killing Women; The Chicago Landmark Project: State & Madison; The Grid (Theatre Seven); Hickorydickory; Ten Cent Night (Chicago Dramatists); Psalms of a Questionable Nature (Rivendell Theatre).Her plays have been produced Off Broadway at Second Stage, at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, Moxie Theatre (San Diego), The Road Theatre (Los Angeles), CENTERSTAGE Baltimore. She's been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre. Chicago Reader named her Best Playwright in the 2008 "Best of Chicago" issue, and she received the 2009 Wendy Wasserstein Playwriting Prize. She was a writer for the TV drama "Mind Games" on ABC, a contributor to The Paper Machete Live Magazine, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and a founding company member of Theatre Seven of Chicago.

Shade Murray (Director) directed Annie Baker's The Aliens and Nick Jones' Trevor at A Red Orchid as well as The Butcher of Baraboo, Abigail's Party (Jeff Nomination, Director) and Kimberly Akimbo. He recently had the pleasure of directing Annie Bosh is Missing for Steppenwolf Theatre's First Look. Other credits include End Days at Next Theatre, The Chosen (Jeff Nomination, Director), The Subject Was Roses at Writers' Theatre, Fatty Arbuckle... at Second City, The Petrified Forest, The Good Soul of Szechuan, R.U.R., Marathon '33 (Jeff and After Dark Awards, ensemble), Detective Story (Jeff Award, Production, Director, Ensemble), WRLS #5, and Our Country's Good at Strawdog Theatre, Stupid Kids (Jeff Nomination, Director), Some Explicit Polaroids, Santaland Diaries, Never Swim Alone at Roadworks as well as productions at the MCA, Shattered Globe, About Face, Colbalt, Shakespeare's Motley Crew, Timberlake Playhouse and dance theatre in collaboration with MK and Birgitta Victorson. Shade is an MFA candidate in directing at Northwestern University, an associate artist with A Red Orchid and Strawdog Theatre Companies and has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Act One Studios, National Louis University, National High School Institute, Piven Workshop and the Actor's Gym.

Matt Farabee (Jonathan) Chicago credits include: punkplay (Steppenwolf Garage); Skylight (Court Theater); MilkMilkLemonade (Pavement Group); Elizabeth Rex (Chicago Shakespeare); Tigers Be Still (Theater Wit); The Shadow Over Innsmouth(WildClaw Theatre); The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Eclipse Theatre Company). Off Broadway: A Bright New Boise (Partial Comfort). Regional: Lord of the Flies; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Round House Theatre). He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kirsten Fitzgerald (Angie) is a member of the Artistic Ensemble at A Red Orchid and the current Artistic Director. Her performances here at home include The Butcher of Baraboo, The New Electric Ballroom, Abigail's Party, The Sea Horse [Jeff Award], Pumpgirl, Weapon of Mass Impact, Mr. Bundy, The Killer and more. Other Chicago credits include Appropriate (Victory Gardens), Clybourne Park, The Elephant Man, and A Streetcar Named Desire (Steppenwolf Theatre); Major Barbara (Remy Bumppo); Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage (Defiant Theatre); A Moon for the Misbegotten (Circle Theatre) in addition to work with Next, Goodman, Shattered Globe, Famous Door, Plasticene and the Utah Shakespeare Festival among others. Kirsten teaches acting at DePaul University and Columbia College. She can be seen on TV right now in Sirens (USA- Thursdays 9:00c) and has worked on Chicago Fire (NBC), ER (NBC) and Underemployed (MTV).

MIERKA GIRTEN (Sam) was last seen in Trevor and in Simpatico at A Red Orchid Theatre where she is an ensemble member. Off-Broadway, she was seen in Mistakes Were Made with Michael Shannon and Sam Deutsch, after doing the world premiere right here at home. Also at A Red Orchid: Abigail's Party, Weapon of Mass Impact, The Meek, Kimberly Akimbo and The Treatment. Other Chicago credits include: her one woman show With or Without Wings, The Walls at Rivendell Theatre Company, A View From The Bridge at ATC, The Book Of Liz with Roadworks, The Danube, Edmond, Marat Sade and A Blood Wedding with The Hypocrites, Into The Woods at Porchlight, Marathon 33 and Subterranean Love Story at Strawdog Theatre, in addition to work with Appletree, Circle Theatre, Livebait, Illinois Theatre Center, Provision, and Cobalt Ensemble. Mierka toured the country in The Secret Garden and has been heard nationally, as an announcer and jingle singer on many radio and television commercials. Film credits include: The Manson Family, The Lake at Evening and The Drunk. Mierka is the founder of The Mookie Jam Foundation, benefiting artists with Multiple Sclerosis - because she is a daily warrior against the disease. Perseverance furthers.

Natalie West (Beth) is a member of the ensemble at A Red Orchid. She most recently appeared in Sons of the Prophet at American Theatre Company. Previous productions include Side Man (Steppenwolf), The Man Who Came to Dinner (Steppenwolf and The Barbican in London), House and Garden (Goodman), How I Learned to Drive (Northlight), God of Hell (Next), The Guys (Piven), and several shows with Remains Theatre where she was an ensemble member for many years. Natalie was a regular on the television show Roseanne as Crystal. Films include Nate and Margaret, Poker House, Life Sentence and Bushwhacked. Natalie is the recipient of three Jeff Awards for supporting actress for Butcher of Baraboo and Abigail's Party at A Red Orchid and Life and Limb at Wisdom Bridge. She holds a MSW from Loyola University Chicago and a BA in Theatre from Indiana University. She also attended Webber Douglas Drama Academy in London.

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