Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's FIRST LOOK REPERTORY OF NEW WORK

Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents its 6th annual First Look Repertory of New Work-three developmental productions of new plays presented in rotating repertory playing October 27 - November 14, 2010 in Steppenwolf's Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St. The 2010 festival will also include three free readings by emerging playwrights presented November 5-7, 2010. Tickets for all productions and readings are currently available.

First Look 2010 Productions:

The Etiquette of Vigilance
A new play by Robert O'Hara
Directed by Timothy Douglas
Featuring ensemble member Alana Arenas with Alfred H. Wilson
Wednesday, October 27 - Sunday, November 14, 2010

Over 50 years have passed since Travis and his parents became the first black family to integrate Chicago's segregated Clybourne Park neighborhood. Now Lorraine, Travis's only daughter and the first in her family to attend college, is buckling under the pressure of her family's long deferred dream. In this contemporary reconsideration of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, O'Hara's poignant new play imagines what might have happened to the beleaguered Younger family-and asks us to consider the wounds still healing from the days of city-sanctioned segregation.

Robert O'Hara won the 2010 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for Antebellum, produced at the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. His Insurrection: Holding History received the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play in its world premiere at the New York Shakespeare Festival, which he also directed. His other widely produced works include Good Breeding, Brave Brood and American Maul. He also rewrote The Wiz for its revival at LaJolla Playhouse, directed by Des McAnuff.

Dramaturg: Rebecca Rugg

The Old Masters
A new play by Sam Marks
Directed by Daniel Aukin
Featuring Anne Adams, Natasha Lowe and Jay Whittaker.
Thursday, October 28 - Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ben Schmitt is an artist attempting to make peace with married life and impending fatherhood when Henry, his reclusive friend from childhood, suddenly disappears. When Henry's girlfriend Lara shows up with paintings he mysteriously left behind, Ben is compelled to hand the work over to a dealer. Before long, the art world hungrily latches onto Henry's paintings and his tragic life story. As Lara and Ben find themselves at the center of their missing friend's burgeoning fame, they begin to wonder: what about us?

Sam Marks' play The Joke premiered at Studio Dante under the direction of Sam Gold. His other New York productions include Nelson at Lion Theater at Theater Row directed by Kip Fagan, Which Wolf is Wolf at HERE and Craft at Flea Theater and HERE - both directed by Obie Award-winning director Robert O'Hara. He received his MFA from Brown University.

Dramaturg: Sarah Slight

The North Plan
A new play by Jason Wells
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Featuring Jennifer Engstrom, Tom Hickey, Timothy Edward Kane, Brian King, Dorcas Sowunmi and Will Zahrn
Friday, October 29 - Sunday, November 14, 2010

In the not-so-distant future, America is at the mercy of unchecked martial law after a massive government breakdown. Wells' dark comedy centers on Carlton Berg, a government employee imprisoned in a small-town Missouri jailhouse who claims to possess a giant database containing the names of every American citizen slated for persecution by the new regime. His only hope comes in the form of fellow inmate Tanya, an abrasive drunk driver, and Shonda, the jail's law-abiding administrative assistant.

Jason Wells' first play, Men of Tortuga, had a critically-acclaimed debut during First Look 2005 and went on to a successful run at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota and returned to Chicago for a production at Profiles Theatre. Jason's second play, Perfect Mendacity, debuted at First Look 2008 and also went on to its official world premiere at the Asolo.

Dramaturg: Joy Meads

The designers for First Look 2010 include Scott Neale (sets), Elizabeth Flauto (costumes), Marcus Doshi (lights) and Rick Sims (sound). The Stage Managers include Angela M. Adams (The Etiquette of Vigilance) Jonathan Nook (The North Plan) and Adam Ganderson (The Old Masters). Polly Carl is the Festival Producer, Whitney Dibo is the Program Assistant.

Performance schedule:
The 6th annual First Look Repertory of New Work plays Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Note: three-play marathons are available every Saturday and Sunday during the run. The complete First Look schedule is as follows:

The Etiquette of Vigilance The Old Masters The North Plan
Wednesday, 10/27 at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, 10/28 at 8:00 p.m. Friday, 10/29 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10/30 at 4:30 p.m. Saturday 10/30 at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, 10/30 at 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, 10/31 at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, 10/31 at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, 10/31 at 4:30 p.m.
Friday, 11/5 at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday,11/3 at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, 11/4 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11/6 at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, 11/6 at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 11/6 at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11/7 at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, 11/7 at 8:00 p.m. Sunday 11/7 at 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, 11/11 at 8:00 p.m. Friday, 11/12 at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, 11/10 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, 11/13 at 8:00 p.m. Saturday 11/13 at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, 11/13 at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday 11/14 at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, 11/14 at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, 11/14 at 8:00 p.m.

Individual tickets to First Look Repertory of New Work cost $20 per performance. A First Look Pass to all three plays is available for $45. Tickets are available at www.steppenwolf.org or by calling Audience Services at 312-335-1650. To reserve tickets for the First Look free readings, contact Audiences Services at 312-335-1650.

First Look 2010 Free Readings:

The Kid Thing
A new play by Sarah Gubbins
Directed by Joanie Schultz
Featuring Sean Cooper, Park Krausen, Kelli Simpkins, Wendi Weber and Sarah Welborn.
Friday, November 5, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.

Lesbian couples Lee & Darcy and Nate & Margot are the closest of friends - that is, until a dinner party announcement brings major change. It's all fun and games until someone mentions "the kid thing" in this new play about attraction, maternal instinct and parenthood.

Sarah Gubbins is a Chicago playwright whose play Fair Use was developed and produced during First Look 2008. Her plays have also been read or developed at The Public Theater, About Face Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Next Theatre Company and Collaboraction.

4,000 Miles
A new play by Amy Herzog
Directed by Matthew Miller
Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.
Featuring Rob Fenton, Deanna Myers, Kathleen Romond and Mary Ann Thebus.

After losing his best friend, 20-something Leo seeks refuge in his feisty 91-year old grandmother's New York City apartment. A sharp-witted play about becoming unstuck, 4,000 Miles examines how we move forward in today's world-when we're not, or don't want to be, part of the mainstream.

Amy Herzog's After the Revolution is being produced at Williamstown during summer 2010 and she recently completed commissions for the Yale Repertory Theatre and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She received the 2008 Helen Merrill Award for Aspiring Playwrights.

Bethany
A new play by Laura Marks
Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker
Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 12:00 p.m.
Featuring Brenda Barrie, Mica Cole, Julie Ganey, Levi Holloway, Lia Mortensen and David Pasquesi.

Crystal, a single mom who works at a struggling car dealership, will do anything to get her life back together. A timely meditation on recession-era morality, Bethany explores the lengths to which we'll go for both family and finances.

Laura Marks' previously produced works include Unbound and Hypothesis, both at Prospect Theater Company. She is also a member of The Public Theater's 2010 Emerging Writers Group and will be entering Juilliard's playwriting program.

Note: all readings will take places in Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.

First Look also includes First Look 101, a unique three-month experience from September 25 - November 14, 2010 that takes enrolled participants on a backstage journey through all aspects of the new play development process - from the first rehearsal to the final performance. The program is open to anyone interested in the process of creating new plays. First Look 101 costs $100 ($75 for students with valid ID) and includes access to all First Look 101 events, plus tickets to all three First Look Repertory productions. Enrollment is currently closed.

The mission of First Look Repertory of New Work is to develop plays for future production at Steppenwolf and other theaters across the country. Since its inception in The Garage, nine of the fifteen plays presented during First Look's first five seasons have enjoyed subsequent world premieres at other theaters, including: Sarah Gubbins' Fair Use produced at Actors' Express in Atlanta; Jason Wells' Perfect Mendacity produced at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida; Wells' Men of Tortuga also at Asolo (followed by a second production at Profiles Theater in Chicago); Butcher of Baraboo by Marisa Wegrzyn produced by 2econd Stage Theatre in New York; 100 Saints You Should Know by Kate Fodor produced by Playwrights Horizons in New York; Spare Change by Mia McCullough produced by Stage Left Theatre in Chicago; Gary by Melinda Lopez produced by Boston Playwrights' Theatre in Massachusetts; and When The Messenger is Hot by Laura Eason produced by 59E59 Theaters in New York. Eason's Sex with Strangers, produced in last year's First Look Rep, will be part of Steppenwolf's upcoming 2010-2011 season.

The Garage is dedicated to new plays, new artists and new audiences. It provides artists the opportunity to present their work with the scale, space and resources it merits. For audiences, it creates another opportunity to build a multigenerational conversation about the new, provocative work emerging from Chicago's diverse and vibrant theatre scene. The Garage offers programming featuring new voices for the American theater - directors, writers, designers and actors.

Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting new American plays at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and for their sponsorship of the First Look Repertory of New Work.

Steppenwolf is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available for every performance.

Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and playwrights, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships and contributing new works to the national canon. The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of 43 artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting and textual adaptation. For additional information, visit www.steppenwolf.org, www.facebook.com/SteppenwolfTheatre and www.twitter.com/SteppenwolfThtr.

Photo credit: Photo by Brian McConkey

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