DARK OF THE MOON Opens New American Folk Theatre's Second Season, Now thru 6/29

DARK OF THE MOON Opens New American Folk Theatre's Second Season, Now thru 6/29

New American Folk Theatre begins its 2014 season with Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson and William Berney. The play, directed by Anthony Whitaker and Jamal Howard, runs June 7 through June 29 (previews tonight, June 6) at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622. Press Opening Performances are June 7 at 7:30 p.m. and June 8 at 6 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit newamericanfolktheatre.org or darkofthemoon.brownpapertickets.com

Originally written in 1939 and set in the isolating Appalachian Mountains, Dark of the Moon is a 'legend with music' about a witch boy who falls in love with a human girl. Based on a version of the British folk ballad, "Barbara Allen," Dark of the Moon will be presented by a cast of actor/musicians accompanied by a powerful collection of American folk music. The tragedy will open New American Folk Theatre's second season, The Season of the Witch.

"It's a play that isn't done frequently because of its size," explains Anthony Whitaker, Artistic director and Cofounder of NAFT. "Dark of the Moon has a 'chorus' the size of Oklahoma and is more commonly done in an academic setting or outdoor drama. We have combined some characters and reduced our cast to 14-- we have created a much more intimate production. Being a southerner from this same part of the Carolinas, I wanted to remove the 'Hee-Haw' elements of the play and make it real and honest."

The cast for Dark of the Moon features Suzanne Bracken (Mrs. Summey), Aaron Cammack (Hank Gudger), Grant Drager (Fair Witch & Floyd Allen), Colin Fewell (Preacher Haggler), Sarah Gise (Barbara Allen), Charlie Irving (Dark Witch & Miss Metcalf), Caitlin Jackson (Edna Summey), Kirk Jackson (Marvin Hudges), Jeff Kurysz (John), Josh Mattingly (Mr. Allen), Tobi Mattingly (Mrs. Allen), Amber Lee Olivier (The Conjurwoman & Mrs. Bergen), Anthony Whitaker (The Conjurman & Smelicue), and Rich Wotkun (Mr. Summey).

Preview performance is Friday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. Dark of the Moon opens on Saturday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. The show runs Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 29, 2014.

Dark of the Moon will run approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes including one intermission.

Tickets are $15. Group rates for groups of 10 or more are also available. Tickets are available at the door or online. To purchase tickets visit Brown Paper Tickets at darkofthemoon.brownpapertickets.com or visit newamericanfolktheatre.org for more information.

The Den Theatre is located at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd floor (near the corner of Paulina and Milwaukee, Wicker Park), Chicago. CTA El stops nearby at Division (Blue Line). CTA busses #9-Ashland, #56-Milwaukee, #70-Division, and #72-North also stop nearby. There is metered street parking on Milwaukee Avenue as well as neighborhood parking. The Den Theatre is on the 2nd floor with no elevator access.

The production staff for Dark of the Moon includes Carrie Campana (Costume Designer), Sara Carranza (Stage Manager), Oriana Dentici (Lighting Designer), Jamal Howard (Director/Production Manager), Amber Lee Olivier (Set Designer), and Anthony Whitaker (Director/Musical Director).

Anthony Whitaker (Director/Musical Director, Dark of the Moon; Artistic Director, New American Folk Theatre) grew up in Greenville, SC, where, he began performing at age 10. Whitaker performed with the Greenville Little Theatre, The Warehouse Theatre, The Greenville Fine Arts Center, South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and the Singing Christmas Tree. Since leaving South Carolina, he has performed in Atlanta (Center Stage Atlanta and Georgia State University), The Lost Colony in Manteo, NC, The Golden Apple Dinner Theatres in Sarasota and Venice, Florida and many venues in Chicago (The Royal George, Emerald City, Beverly Arts Center, Theatre on the Lake). In addition to performing, Anthony teaches elementary and junior high music in the public and Catholic School systems, and directs productions for various south side schools and the Beverly Arts Center. Anthony wrote, directed, and performed in New American Folk Theatre's debut production, Two from the Trailer Court: Dirty Girl and Salome Goes All the Way! and wrote and directed the musical, The Marvelous Land of Oz.

Jamal Howard (Director, Dark of the Moon; Managing Director of New American Folk Theatre) is originally from San Jose, Calif. Jamal grew up performing and training in musical theatre since the age of eight with Children's Musical Theatre San Jose (CMTSJ), Peninsula Youth Theatre, and Bellarmine College Preparatory. Jamal graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Theatre and Advertising/Public Relations. There he made his directorial debut with Wonder of the World. He directs, choreographs, and creates new musicals for grade schools on Chicago's South Side as well as teaches jazz/hip-hop dance classes after school. Jamal is a proud Associate Company Member at Quest Theatre Ensemble. Directing and choreography credits include Once on This Island, Cats, Hairspray!, and Little Shop of Horrors. Jamal also choreographed and performed in New American Folk Theatre's debut production, Two From the Trailer Court: Dirty Girl and Salome Goes All the Way! and the original musical The Marvelous Land of Oz. He recently choreographed Quest's original musical, A Christmas Wish.

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