HIT THE WALL Returns to Chicago, Running 4/22-6/29 at Greenhouse Theater
The recount of the Stonewall Riots, "Hit the Wall," originally produced by The Inconvenience, will return to Chicago with the majority of its original ensemble cast and artistic team in a triumphant remount presented by the Chicago Commercial Collective, running April 22 to June 29 at the Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. Tickets ($20 - $55) are on sale now. The press performance will be Wednesday, April 30, at 8 p.m.
"Hit the Wall," written by Ike Holter and directed by Eric Hoff, transports audiences to the Stonewall Riots in New York's Greenwich Village on June 27-28, 1969, when a routine police raid on an underground gay hotspot became a foundational moment for the modern gay rights movement. Featuring a howling live rock band that evokes the era's proto-punk music and fast-paced, sharp dialogue, the vivid theatrical re-imagination focuses on ten unlikely revolutionaries, each claiming in turn "I was there."
First presented as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Garage Rep, "Hit the Wall" was extended twice, with tickets selling out within hours every time they went on sale, and attracted celebrities and other luminaries including Mayor Rahm Emanuel to its audience. Hailing the production as "a piece of young, raw, impassioned Chicago theater" and a "must-see", Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune said "it feels like a scene, a party, a kind of interactive historical happening with a punch." Hedy Weiss of the Sun-Times said, "this show may very well be the most authentic evocation ever of New York's counter-culture scene in Greenwich Village in the late 1960s."
Within a year, the show was launched in New York City, where the Village Voice called the 2013 off-Broadway run at New York's Barrow Street Theatre "an explosive extravaganza!" and the New York Times described it as "fierce and funny."
"The original production of 'Hit the Wall' was an instantaneous smash, thanks to its innovative take on a seismic event and an incredible ensemble," said Chicago Commercial Collective Producer Brian Loevner. "In this landmark year for gay rights in Illinois, this play underlining the origins of the movement seems especially relevant. That said, the production deserves to be seen by all audiences who appreciate remarkable theater"
The stellar ensemble cast includes Walter Briggs (cop), Manny Buckley (Carson), Daniel Desmarais (Newbie), Desmond Gray (Mika), Shannon Matesky (Roberta), Layne Manzer (A-Gay) and Mary Williamson (Madeline). The band features John Cicora, Josh Lambert and Ryan Murphy. Set design is by John Holt, with lighting by Jeff Glass and sound by Joe Court and Matt Chapman. Coral Gable is designing the costumes. Choreography is by Erin Kilmurray and fights are staged by Ryan Bourque.
"Hit the Wall" will be performed at the Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Previews run April 22, 23, and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 26 at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Following the opening night performance on Wednesday, April 30, at 8 p.m., shows will run May 1 - June 29 on Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $20 - $55, with 20 for $20 rush tickets available for each performance and 20% off for groups of 10 or more. They are on sale now at greenhousetheater.org, 773.404.7336 or at the Greenhouse Theater Box Office (open 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays and 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays).