American Blues Theater Announces 2012-2013 Season


Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside of American Blues Theater (ABT), Chicago's second oldest Equity ensemble, proudly announces the Ensemble's 27th season will take place at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.. For more information, visit

Illegal Use of Hands
Written by ABT Artistic Affiliate James Still
Directed by Sandy Shinner
August 31 - September 30
Opening/Press Night – Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Richard Christansen Theater,
2433 North Lincoln Ave.
Tickets: Previews: $19 Opening Night: $49 Run: $19 - $39
Previews are Friday, Aug. 31 and Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Regular Run Schedule is Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 5 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

In a small town where buzzards feast on a dead Chevy and the local Wal-Mart hires only college graduates, three men wait out the night in the company of a high school football trophy they have rescued from obscurity. It's a play that wants to be about revenge and glory and being a man-if only the characters could agree on what they can't remember.

James Still, a Pultizer Prize and Emmy nominated playwright, is an artistic affiliate of American Blues Theater. His award-winning plays have been produced at theaters throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Illegal use of Hands stars ABT Ensemble member Steve Key (Broadway tour of August: Osage County), ABT Artistic Affiliate Dennis Zacek (founding artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater) and Howie Johnson ("Ansel" in award-winning production of Killer Joe at Profiles Theater).

Sandy Shinner has been with Victory Gardens for more than 30 years where she currently serves as associate artistic director. With Dennis Zacek and Marcelle McVay, she was honored to accept the 2001 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre on behalf of the theater. Most recently, she produced the inaugural IGNITION Festival that launched The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz and Year Zero by Michael Golamco.

It's a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph!
Based on Frank Capra's film from a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern
Directed by ABT Ensemble Member Marty Higginbotham
November 23 – December 30, 2012
Opening/Press Night – Thursday November 29 at 7 p.m.
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, Zacek McVay Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Tickets: Previews: $19 Opening Night: $49 Run: $19 - $39
Previews are Friday, Nov, 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m.
Regular Run Schedule is Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 5 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

The director and ensemble that have treated Chicago to Clarence, George and the characters of Bedford Falls for more than a decade; once again take the audience back to a 1940's radio broadcast of Frank Capra's holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life complete with Foley sound effects, an original score and a cast of seven.

American Blues Theater is converting the 299-seat Zacek McVay Theater into a 99-seat intimate performance space decked out in holiday finery. It's a Wonderful Life features the return of the cast of 2011's sold-out hit: ABT Ensemble members Kevin Kelly, John Mohrlein, Gwendolyn Whiteside and Artistic Affiliates Dara Cameron, James Joseph, Michael Mahler and guest artist Shawn Goudie.

Marty Higginbotham, an ABT ensemble member who joined the American Blues family in 1991, directed the original full production of It's a Wonderful: A Live Radio Play in 2004 and continued to helm the production up to 2008, moving with the ensemble in 2009 to the Biograph. Higginbotham is also founder and president of The Stage Channel, a video Production Company serving the arts in Chicago and across the country since 2001.

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