Bailiwick Chicago Stages DESSA ROSE at Victory Gardens, Now thru 4/5
Bailiwick Chicago will launch its 2013-14 season with the Chicago premiere of the thrilling musical drama DESSA ROSE by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the Tony Award-winning team behind Ragtime, Once on This Island and Seussical!, directed by Artistic Director Lili-Anne Brown with music direction by Collective Member James Morehead. DESSA ROSE plays today, March 6 - April 5, 2014 at the Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available at www.victorygardens.org, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in-person at the Victory Gardens Box Office. The press performance is Sunday, March 9 at 7 pm.
Leading the cast of DESSA ROSE are Sydney Charles as Dessa Rose (The Color Purple, The Mercury Theatre; Smokey Joe's Café, Theo Ubique) and Collective Member Harmony France as Ruth (Violet, Bailiwick Chicago-Jeff nomination; Tell Me on A Sunday, Bailiwick Repertory) with special guest artist Jayson "JC" Brooks as Nathan (Passing Strange, Bailiwick Chicago-Jeff nomination). The production also features Brigitte Ditmars, Gilbert Domally, Jasondra Johnson, Jaymes Osbourne, Steven Perkins, Pavi Proczko, David Schlumpf, Sasha Smith and Eunice Woods.
DESSA ROSE is a stirring musical drama based on the noted novel by Sherley Anne Williams. Told as an oral history and related by two women, Ruth and Dessa Rose, this powerful tale of an unlikely friendship takes place in 1847, 14 years before the outbreak of the American Civil War.
Based on both fact and fiction, the musical weaves together the stories of two legendary women, one white and one black, who struggled for different kinds of freedom in an era defined by men. Ruth Sutton is a white woman abandoned by her husband and living on an isolated farm. Dessa Rose is an escaped slave on the run from a bloody slave rebellion, with a newborn infant to protect, who seeks refuge with Ruth. Hidden in this Alabama backwater, the two women's uneasy alliance ultimately transcends any racial barriers as they find the strength to confront the world on their own terms. Their dangerous journey to freedom and self-realization makes for a musical that is by turns comic, tragic, uplifting and inspiring.
The production team for DESSA ROSE includes Megan Truscott (scenic designer), Samantha Jones (costume designer), Brian Hoehne (lighting designer), Patrick Bley (sound designer), Mary-Catherine Mikalayunas (stage manager) and Danny Bernardo (assistant director/dramaturg).
The 2013-14 Season marks Bailiwick Chicago's participation in Victory Gardens Theater's inaugural Resident Theater Program.