Photo Flash: ATRU Presents THE MISTRESS CYCLE

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU) is thrilled to present the downtownChicago premiere of Apple Tree Theatre's Jeff-nominated production "The Mistress Cycle," with music by Jenny Giering and lyrics by Beth Blatt.

For the first time in its storied history, the Auditorium Theatre willtransform its stage into an intimate 200-seat black box-style theater, with all audience members seated on-stage with the performers in a unique new theatrical experience.

Boasting an established 26-year history as one of the North Shore's premier performance venues, this is the first production Apple Tree Theatre will mount in Chicago's loop.

"The Mistress Cycle" will play the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress, July 22 - August 8, 2009. The press opening will be Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m."The Mistress Cycle" breaks the mold of the traditional book musical, instead offering audiences a "songcycle" that illuminates stories of passion, sacrifice and strength of spirit.

"The Mistress Cycle" explores thelives and loves of five notorious mistresses: Tess Walker, a contemporary Manhattan photographer; Anais Nin, the famed sexual adventurer of the early 20th century; Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henri IIof 16th century France; Lulu White, a turn-of-the-century New Orleans bordello Madame; and Ching, a 14-year-old concubine in 12th century China.

"The Auditorium Theatre is constantly developing new ways to expand our programming and provide our audiences with an exceptional theatrical experience," says ATRU Executive Director Brett Batterson. "We are always looking for a new ways to use our world-class stage, and we welcome this partnership with suchan accomplished off-loop theater company."

"We are delighted to have this opportunity to present our work in the historic and magnificent AuditoriumTheater," added Apple Tree Theatre Executive Director Mark Weston. "Apple Tree Theatre constantly strives to diversify our audience and we are thrilled to present in a new backyard, Chicago's loop."The ATRU has for several years been looking to partner with a Chicago-area theater to present a work onits stage in a more intimate configuration. "The Mistress Cycle" was chosen as the first piece to bepresented in such a format when Bob Wieseneck, who sits on the boards of both organizations, brought thesong cycle to the attention of Batterson.

Originally presented as a regional premiere in Apple Tree Theatre's 25 th anniversary 2007-2008 season, "The Mistress Cycle," garnered three Jeff nominations in Chicago including Best Revue. The production was also awarded the prestigious Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award in 2000 as well as the 2002-2003 Dramatists Guild Jonathan Larson Fellowship.

Developmental readings of the piece were produced by the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage Company and Theatreworks/Palo Alto's New Works Festival. "The Mistress Cycle,"was awarded the Director's Choice Award from the National Music Theatre Network at the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The writers are currently working on the new musical "Caraboo," with playwright Marsha Norman ("The Secret Garden," "The Color Purple")."The Mistress Cycle," was greeted with tremendous critical acclaim upon its Chicago debut. Chris Jonesin the Chicago Tribune called it "Truly Exquisite...beguiling and beautifully sung." In the Chicago Sun-Times, Mary Houlihan wrote "The Mistress Cycle is setting the stage ablaze.... there are moments that will take your breath away."Kurt Johns ("Iron," "Vincent In Brixton") repeats his Jeff Nominated direction of this piece with musical direction by Diana Lawrence ("Kama Sutra, the musical").

The cast features Charissa Armon (2007Jeff award nominee for Sarah in Porchlight's "Ragtime") as Tess Walker, Angela Ingersoll (2006 Jeff Nomineefor Martha in "The Secret Garden") returns to her Jeff Nominated role as Anais Nin, Karen MarieRichardson ("The Life" at Boho Rep, "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story") as Lulu White, Susie McMonagle(5 time Jeff nominee, Fantine in "Les Miserables" on Broadway, Donna Sheridan in National Tour of "Mamma Mia") returns to her role as Diane de Poitiers and Christine Bunuan (credits include "The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee" in Chicago and First National Tour, the world premiere ofSteppenwolf Theatre's "Kafka on the Shore") will join the cast as Ching.

The production crew includes Stage Management by Julia Zayas-Melendez, Lighting Design by David Ferguson, Set Design by Amy Jackson, Costume Design by Erin Fast, Props Design by Jesse Gaffney and Dan Pellant, and Original Sound Design by Steve Ptacek. The production is made possible thanks to the support of Robert and Suzanne Wieseneck.

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University presents Apple Tree Theatre's "The Mistress Cycle," July 22 - August 8, 2009. Tickets range in price from $15 for college students to $49 for general seats.

For tickets, visit the Auditorium Theatre box office at 50 E. Congress Parkway; call (800) 982-2787 (ARTS); or log on to ticketmaster.com. Discounts are available for ATRU and ATT subscribers and groups of 10+; call(312) 431-2357 for details. For general information, please visit auditoriumtheatre.org or www.appletreetheatre.com.

Photo credit Michael Brosilow


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