American Theater Company Opens columbinus, 2/1

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American Theater Company Opens columbinus, 2/1

American Theater Company announces the world premiere of the revised version of columbinus, written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, with dramaturgy by Patricia Hersch, and conceived and directed by Artistic Director PJ Paparelli. The 2013 production will premiere material devised from recent interviews with survivors of the Columbine High School Shootings, families of victims and residents of Littleton, Colorado. The new material includes never-before-released information on the shooters and their families and first-hand accounts of both the Columbine and Aurora shootings. columbinus will run February 1 - March 10, 2013, at American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron St, Chicago, IL. Press opening is Wednesday, February 6, at 7:00 pm.

Littleton, Colorado. 1999. Two teenagers devastate a community and shock the country when they walk into their suburban high school and kill twelve students and one teacher. Based on interviews with teenagers across the country and survivors and community members in Littleton, this haunting drama takes a hard look at modern teenagers through the lens of the most infamous high school shooting in American history.

"Folks who didn't want to talk before because of lawsuits or their healing process, have now all opened up," said Paparelli about the recent interviews. "I was shocked at what I heard and I am glad that theater will be the vehicle to get this information out to the world."

Several survivors who are featured in the documentary play will travel to Chicago to work with the cast and attend Opening Night.

Paparelli continues, "The events in Newtown have saddened and, frankly, angered our entire company as well as those survivors from Columbine with whom we have been working with so closely on this project. While the nation mourns, a passionate dialogue has begun about the larger issues of gun control, mental health treatment, and ultimately, the unanswerable question of, "why?". Our interviewees in Colorado and our artistic team hope that columbinus will be forum for Chicagoans to further that dialogue, which is exactly why teenagers from Chicago Public School are at the center of that dialogue, as they work on the play in classrooms around the city."

Over 1000 ninth grade students in Chicago Public Schools English classes will have a first-hand experience with columbinus. Through ATC's American Mosaic program and in conjunction with the city-wide initiative to address violence in the schools, Now Is The Time, ATC teaching artists will collaborate with classroom teachers to lead students in a performance-based study of the play. Through American Mosaic, ATC hopes to strengthen reading competency and comprehension, spark interest in reading and lead and inspire meaningful conversation about solutions to violence.

columbinus features Matt Bausone (Freak/Eric Harris), Rob Fenton (Prep), Eric Folks (Loner/Dylan Klebold), Leah Karpel (Faith), Aaron J. Nelson (Jock), Kelly O'Sullivan (Perfect), Tyler Ravelson (AP), and Sadieh Rifai (Rebel).

The creative team for columbinus includes William Boles (Scenic Designer), Jesse Klug (Lighting Designer), Mac Vaughey (Associate Lighting Designer), Sally Dolembo (Costume Designer), Andre Pluess (Sound Designer) and Martin Desjardins (Original Sound Designer) and Mike Tutaj (Projection Designer). Michael Leibenluft is the Assistant Director, Rick Combs is the Technical Director, G. Max Maxin IV is the Properties Master, and Katie Klemme is the Stage Manager.

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