American Blues Theater's HANK WILLIAMS: LOST HIGHWAY Returns Tonight
Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and American Blues Theater, Chicago's second oldest Equity ensemble, are proud to announce the summer engagement of American Blues Theater's Hank Williams: Lost Highway, by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, directed byDamon Kiely, music director Malcolm Ruhl and starring Matthew Brumlow as "Hank Williams," July 25 - August 31 at the Greenhouse Theater Center's Downstage Mainstage Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Pink Previews, where tickets sales benefit the Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer research, are tonight, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29 Wednesdays - Fridays and $39 Saturdays and Sundays. The performance schedule is Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale March 31 at 773.404.7336 or americanbluestheater.com.
Hank Williams: Lost Highway opened August 30, 2013 to unanimous raves from critics and sold-out houses at the Greenhouse Theater Center. This summer the musical biography of one America's legendary singer-songwriters returns for a limited run. The tribute chronicles Williams' rise from humble beginnings in Louisiana to his triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry stage and becoming one of the great innovators of American music to his self-destruction at the age of twenty-nine. Hank Williams: Lost Highway includes more than 20 Williams' classics, including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Move It on Over," "Hey, Good Lookin'" and "Jambalaya."
In addition to Brumlow as "Williams," the production features American Blues Ensemble members Jim Leaming, "Fred 'Pap'"; Michael Mahler, "Jimmy" on electric guitar; Suzanne Petri, "Mama" and Austin Cook, "Hoss" on upright bass; Artistic Affiliate Dana Black, "Waitress" with guest artists Byron Willis, "Tee Tot;" Greg Hirte, "Leon" on fiddle; Cora Vander Broek, "Audrey" and John Foley, "Shag" on console steel."
The Hank Williams: Lost Highway production team includes American Blues Ensemble members Sarah E. Ross (costume design); Lauri Dahl(dramaturg); Artistic Affiliate Arianna Soloway (properties) with guest artists Nick Belley (lighting design); Jackie Penrod (co-scenic design); Rick Penrod (co-scenic design); Rick Sims (sound design); Ellen Willett (production manager) and Dana M. Nestrick (stage manager) .
American Blues Theater's TOWN HALLS
American Blues Theater offers a free opportunity for audiences and fans of the theater to learn more about the current presentation. All Town Halls are held immediately following that Sunday's 2:30 p.m. performance, August 3 - 24.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH FOR Hank Williams: Lost Highway
American Blues Theater is proud to continue Pink Previews for this production. Proceeds from preview performances are donated to the Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer research. In addition, American Blues Theater with its production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway raises public awareness of several organizations including Old Town School of Folk Music.
ABOUT RANDAL MYLER, playwright
Randal Myler has received two Tony Award-nominations (Best Musical/Best Book of a Musical) and a Drama Desk nomination (Best Musical Revue) for It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues, which ran at both Lincoln Center and Broadway's Ambassador Theatre. Love, Janis, Myler's musical biography of Janis Joplin, reached 700 performances at Eric Nederlander's Village Theater, where he also staged Dream A Little Dream: The Mamas and the Papas Musical with Denny Dougherty. Lost Highway received its premiere at the Tony Award-winning Denver Center Theatre Company and then moved to the Mark Taper Forum, the Old Globe and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Myler's recent projects include Touch The Names: Letters To The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, John Fante's 1933, the musical version of The Immigrant and the critically acclaimed Cuban-American play Union City, New Jersey, Where Are You?, starring Rosie Perez. His latest work (co-authored with Dan Wheetman) is Fire on the Mountain: The Music of the Coal Mines and he recently directed Betty Buckley in the new musical, Diner Stories at the Denver Center.
ABOUT MARK HARELIK, playwright
Mark Harelik moved to Los Angeles in 1987 where he co-wrote, with Randal Myler, Hank Williams: Lost Highway. He has appeared in the films Election, Jurassic Park III and For Your Consideration. Harelik also appeared in the Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza. Harelik's play, The Immigrant, also with Randal Myler, has been well received and adapted into a musical of the same name.
ABOUT DAMON KIELY, director
Damon Kiely is a professional director and writer, as well as a full time professor of directing and acting for DePaul's Theatre School. He has directed for Next Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theater, Chicago Dramatists and Route 66. The House Theatre of Chicago and the Theatre School produced his world premiere adaptation of Thieves Like Us. He served as the artistic director of American Theater Company (ATC) from 2002 to 2007. Directing credits at ATC include Oklahoma!(Nominated for six Jeff Awards including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical),The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Orpheus Descending, A View from the Bridge, Strictly Dishonorable, and The Hairy Ape. Prior to moving back to Chicago, Kiely produced, directed and taught in New York
City. In New York, he directed for the Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Ontological Theater, Adobe Theater Company, PS122, Ensemble Studio Theater and New Dramatists. He is a winner of the 2000-02 NEA/TCG Career Directing Program, the 2000 Drama League Fall Directing Program and the 1997 Princess Grace Award.
ABOUT MALCOLM RUHL, music director
Malcolm Ruhl's credits include A Christmas Carol (Mr. Keys), Ain't Misbehavin' (musical director), Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky(bass/accordion), all at the Goodman Theatre. Ruhl has been music director for numerous productions including Hairspray, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at Drury LaneTheatre; Eastland at Lookingglass Theatre; Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Oklahoma! (Jeff nomination) at ATC; Woody Guthrie's American Song (Jeff award), Blues in the Night (Jeff nomination) and Smoke on the Mountain at Northlight Theatre; Pump Boys and Dinettesat the Apollo and Forum Theatres(Jeff nomination); Grease at Theatre at the Center; big, the Musical and Big River at Apple Tree Theatre. Ruhl is the musical coordinator for Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theatre. Ruhl also appeared as "Jackson" in the Broadway production of Pump Boys and Dinettes and in the record-breaking run at Chicago's Apollo Theatre.
ABOUT MATTHEW BRUMLOW, "Hank Williams"
Chicago stage veteran Matthew Brumlow, a Northwestern graduate, starred in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of Nobody Lonesome For Me in 2011 where his portrayal of Hank Williams was critically acclaimed. He has twice been nominated for an Equity Jeff Award for his work as an actor in Chicago.
ABOUT AMERICAN BLUES THEATER
American Blues Theater is the premier American theater producing visceral theatrical works while engaging its audience in worthwhile missions of local service agencies. American Blues Theater illuminates the American ideas of freedom, equality, and opportunity in the plays produced and communities served.
The multi-generational and interdisciplined artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. The 39-member Ensemble has nearly 500 combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2014, they've individually received more than 126 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 20 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.
The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and William Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Austin Cook, Laura Coover, Lauri Dahl, Kristin DeiTos, Joe Foust, Tom Geraty, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Samantha Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Kelli Marino, Heather Meyers , John Mohrlein, Jim Ortlieb, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross and Gwendolyn Whiteside.
Hank Williams: Lost Highway, by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, directed by Damon Kiely, music director Malcolm Ruhl and starring Matthew Brumlow as "Hank Williams," July 25 - August 31, 2014, at the Greenhouse Theater Center's Downstairs Mainstage Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Pink Previews, where tickets sales benefit the Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer research, are Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday August 1 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29 Wednesdays - Fridays and $39 Saturdays and Sundays. The performance schedule is Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30 p.m.and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale March 31 at 773.404.7336 or americanbluestheater.com.