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Mercury Theater Chicago Hosts Stephen Sondheim Panel After INTO THE WOODS Tonight

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Mercury Theater Chicago Hosts Stephen Sondheim Panel After INTO THE WOODS Tonight

Mercury Theater Chicago and The Hypocrites will feature Stephen Sondheim: The Man and The Music, a post-show talk back discussion on the renowned composer with Dr. Mark E. Lococo, Professor and Director of Theatre at Loyola University Chicago; Dr. Sarah Gabel, Chairperson for the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University Chicago; and Director Geoff Button, following the 8:00 p.m. performance of INTO THE WOODS tonight, February 7 at the Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Ave. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and the book by James Lapine, The Hypocrites bring their heightened and playful sense of theatricality to the musical INTO THE WOODS through March 30.

Dr. Mark E. Lococo has served as Director of Theatre at Loyola University Chicago for the past six years, during which time he has directed Urinetown, Measure for Measure, Pippin, As You Like It and Mnemonic on Loyola's stages. He also directed The Gifts of the Magi at the Porchlight Music Theatre, A Chorus Line at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre in September 2010 (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination for Best Director of a Musical), The Producers at Milwaukee's Skylight Theatre in November 2008, Wings at the Apple Tree Theatre in February 2009, and Once On This Island at Porchlight May 2009. He directed The Miser at the Northlight Theatre in 2007, for which he received a Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination for Best Director of a Play. In 2006, he directed Mountain for the Apple Tree Theatre, where he is an Artistic Associate. Previous productions there include: the Midwest premiere of Dessa Rose (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical), Uncle Vanya, the Chicago premiere of A Man of No Importance (winner of the 2004 After Dark Chicago Award for Best Production of a Musical), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Indian Ink, Syncopation, The Dresser, The Swan, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Waiting for Godot, and Sugar. Also in 2006 he directed The Elephant Man at the Peninsula Playhouse in Wisconsin.

Dr. Sarah Gabel is the Chairperson for the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. She teaches a variety of acting and directing classes as well as a Community-based Arts service learning class for the Multi-cultural Learning Living Community. She has served on a several university committees including Academic Council for the College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty Council, and the 2009-2014 Strategic Plan Steering Committee. She is a member of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans and the American Theatre Association for Higher Education. Dr. Gabel received her Ph.D. and M.A., Bowling Green State University| and her B.A., Albion College. Dr. Gabel has a strong interest in musical theatre, particularly the works of Stephen Sondheim. On the Loyola University Chicago Mullady stage, she has directed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Assassins, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, West Side Story and Little Women: The Musical.

Geoff Button (Director) is a longtime company member of The Hypocrites and directed their productions of Coriolanus, Desire Under the Elms and True West (Non-Equity Jeff Nominations - Best Play, Best Director). Around Chicago he's directed at Mary Arrchie (Harold Pinter's The Homecoming), Strawdog (State of the Union), Depaul University (I Am Bradley Manning by Sarah Gubbins), North Park University (Urinetown), and the Side Project (Sean Graney's Sugarward). Also an actor, he has performed in several Hypocrites' productions, including Woyzeck, Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses, Mud and Equus (Non-Equity Jeff - Best Actor). He studied directing in Northwestern University's MFA program, where he teaches in the music theater certificate program and directed The Who's Tommy and Spring Awakening.

INTO THE WOODS tells the epic fairytale of several Brothers Grimm characters including the Baker and his Wife who learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse. As they set off on a journey to break the curse, the couple encounters Jack of Beanstalk fame, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Cinderella and her suitors, and the Witch herself. While everyone's wish is granted, the consequences of their actions return to haunt them.

Winner of three Tony Awards including Best Score, Best Book and Best Actress in a Musical, INTO THE WOODS, opened in 1987 on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre where it ran for two record-breaking years. It also won the 1988 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, and the original cast recording won a Grammy Award. New York Daily News exclaimed INTO THE WOODS has a "Spellbinding score" that is "Witty enough to make old stories fresh for adults, lovely enough to enchant youngsters." New York Post raved that the musical is "Dazzling!" and "Refreshing!"

INTO THE WOODS stars Sarah Bockel (Cinderella/Rapunzel), Michael Brown (Rapunzel's Prince/Cinderella's Father), Hannah Dawe (Red/Stepsister), Joel Ewing (Baker), Kate Harris (Jack's Mother/Cinderella's Stepmother), Allison Hendrix (Baker's Wife), Hillary Marren (Witch/Granny), Aubrey McGrath (Jack/Steward), Blake Montgomery (Narrator/Mysterious Man) and Will Skrip (Cinderella's Prince/Wolf).

The musical is brought to vivid life on stage with a set designed by William Boles, lighting design by Heather Gilbert, costume design by Sally Dolembo, sound design by Joshua Horvath and choreography by Katie Spelman.

Founding Artistic Director Sean Graney* created The Hypocrites in 1997. It is currently run by Artistic Director Halena Kays* and Managing Director Megan Wildebour*. The Hypocrites are recognized as groundbreakers that defy the audience's expectations. The company has grown significantly in the past few years, receiving acclaim for productions at Steppenwolf Garage (Threepenny Opera and 4:48 Psychosis), Goodman Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, DCA Storefront and Chopin Theater. The company's smash-hit production of Our Town, directed by David Cromer, transferred in 2009 to Off-Broadway, Los Angeles and Boston. Pirates of Penzance has appeared at American Repertory Theatre twice and will enjoy another run at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2014. American Theatre Wing, best known as the creator of the Tony Awards, presented The Hypocrites with one of the 2013 National Theatre Company awards this year. The Tennessee Williams Project, also created by The Hypocrites, is currently running at the Chopin Theatre through March 2nd. For more information, please visit www.the-hypocrites.com.

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel-box in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of guests from the moment they arrive with valet service, dining at its adjoining restaurant, Deleece, and post-show libations at Cullen's Bar & Grill.

Under the leadership of Executive Director L. Walter Stearns, INTO THE WOODS is the first on four shows in the Mercury's 2014 season, and will be followed by the coming of age musical AVENUE Q, devilishly delightful THE ADDAMS FAMILY- THE MUSICAL and the return engagement of Chicago's holiday musical THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER. Single tickets are available starting at $29, a 3-show subscription starts at $75 and 3-show subscription plus THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER starts as low as $100.

INTO THE WOODS runs February 6 through March 30, 2014. The press opening is Tuesday, February 11. The performance schedule is: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Individual tickets range from $22-$59, and are available online at www.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

*=denotes The Hypocrites company member

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