Polarity Ensemble Theatre to Debut NEVER THE BRIDESMAID, 2/26-4/7
Polarity Ensemble Theatre presents the world premiere of Never the Bridesmaid, a sweet, funny, life-affirming comedy by Chicago playwright Bill Jepsen. Directed by award-winning director Richard Shavzin, Never the Bridesmaid runs at the Polarity space at the Josephinum Academy, 1500 N. Bell St. in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, February 26 through April 7, 2013. Press night is Thursday, February 28 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale.
Maria and Anthony are twins who've been damaged by love. Widowed once and divorced twice, Maria longs for a relationship but feels the stigma of a "three-time loser." Dumped by his fiancé four years earlier, Anthony hasn't dated since. Each has a lot to say about the other's love life, but both are floundering in their own-while preparing for the 40th anniversary of their parents' perfect marriage. Will they find love with the willing partners that surround them? With a stellar cast, an award-winning director and a hilarious script, Never the Bridesmaid promises to be a great night out.
Bill Jepsen's last play, Cadillac, set all-time sales records at Chicago Dramatists in 2008, eclipsing even the premiere of Keith Huff's A Steady Rain. It also proved to be one of the most critically acclaimed shows of Chicago's 2008 winter season, being "Highly Recommended" by nearly all the critics and nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards including Best Original Work.
Recently Russ Tutterow, Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists said: "Chicago Dramatists produced Bill Jepsen's wonderful play Cadillac a few years ago, with great success. Bill writes accessible, thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable plays." He added: "Polarity Ensemble has earned a respected place in Chicago theatre for its development of new plays and playwrights over the years."
"The process of bringing Never the Bridesmaid to the stage exemplifies what I love about Polarity," said Artistic Director Richard Engling. "The script was delightful when we selected it for our 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. It has gone through two cycles of development that have made it that much better. Seeing the creative partnerships come together to perfect a home-grown piece of theatre art like this is a real inspiration. And then it's such a pleasure to bring the finished work to the audience."
Polarity has intensified its dedication to developing and producing new work by Chicago playwrights, launching 2012-2013 as a season of All New Plays All the Time, presenting two world premieres, increasing its development scheduling and continuing to expand its annual Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays.
Bill Jepsen is a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists. His play, Cadillac, debuted there in January of 2008 and was nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards including Best Original Work. Subsequent performances of Cadillac include productions at Theatre on the Lake, Bloomington Playwright's Project, Theatre of Western Springs and the Beverly Theatre Guild. Never the Bridesmaid was featured and developed in Polarity Theatre Ensemble's 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. Mr. Jepsen lives in Chicago with his wife Jennifer and their two children, Rosemary and Marty.
Richard Shavzin has collaborated with Bill Jepsen on developing Never the Bridesmaid for the past few years. New plays have been a passion throughout his career, and other world premiere credits include Marisa Wegrzyn's Ten Cent Night (Chicago Dramatists); Defamation, Tops or Bottoms, and Fallout (Canamac Productions); Beat The Jester and Slaphappy (Beat The Jester Productions); Changing Rainbows (Red Wolf Theatre); Klub Kokomo (PS Theatricals); and Studs Terkel's Race (adapted by Jamie Pachino) at Strawdog Theatre, where he was Artistic Director from 1993-1998. Also at Strawdog he won a Jeff for Direction for Burn This, and directed the Jeff Nominated productions of Criminal Hearts; Cat's-Paw; The Big Funk; A Mother, A Daughter and A Gun; Skeletons and Hurlyburly, which won Jeffs for Ensemble, Lead Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. Other credits include the Chicago premiere of Vick's Boy for American Theater Company (American Blues), Endangered for Stage Left's Leapfest, and the workshop production of the musical Any Someone At All at Second City's Skybox Theater. He is an Associate Artist at Chicago Dramatists and American Blues Theater. As Resident Director for Cinestory's First Read at Second City, Richard directed new screenplays by Groundhog Day author Danny Rubin (featuring Tim Kazurinsky), Jay Stapleton (featuring Martin Mull) and Big Night co-author Joe Tropiano. He was the Casting Director for Poya Pictures' Three Days (Chicago International Film Festival, 1998) and Love 101 (lead film, Chicago Alt. Film Festival, 1999); and Reigning Pictures' Lana's Rain (Best Actress, Milan Int'l Film Festival; Chicago Int'l Film Festival, 2002). Richard served on the Board of Directors of the League of Chicago Theatres from 1994-2000 and served two terms, one as chair, on the Theatre Peer Review Panel of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. He currently serves on the Central Regional Board of Directors of Actors Equity Association, and is a Vice-President of the Chicago local of SAG-AFTRA. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
The cast of Never the Bridesmaid includes: Kristin Danko, Daria Harper, Catherine Hermes, Nick Lake, Lindsey Pearlman, Brian Plocharczyk and Steve Pringle.
The production team includes: Richard Shavzin (Director), Bill Jepsen (Playwright), Richard Engling (Artistic Director), Charles C. Palia, Jr. (Set Design), Benjamin L. White (Lighting Design), Andrew Dallas (Sound Design), Brenda Winstead (Costume Design), Vivian Knouse (Props Design), Dustin Pettegrew (Technical Director), Jamie Crothers (Stage Manager), Rosie Newton (Assistant Director), Andrea DeLonis (Assistant Stage Manager), Cathleen Ann (Graphic Designer).
Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a professionally diverse group of artists who strive to advance the state of Chicago theater for both local and international audiences by developing new works and bringing new life to the classics through live performance, workshops, and publishing. For more information, visit www.petheatre.com.
Previews for Never the Bridesmaid are February 26 and 27 at 8 p.m.; press opening is Thursday, February 28 at 8 p.m.; gala premiere night is Friday, March 1 at 8 p.m. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through April 7. A post-show discussion will take place after the Sunday, March 10th performance.
Tickets $19 for general admission; $15 for seniors; $10 for students with valid I.D. Tickets are $10 for previews (February 26 and 27) and $35 for Gala Premiere Night (March 1 - no senior or student discounts). All tickets are available by calling 800-838-3006 or online at www.petheatre.com. Doors open and box office ticket sales are available at the theatre one half hour before curtain.
Additional discounts may be available for groups of 8 or more and industry professionals.
Kristin Danko (Kathleen) trained with iO, The Annoyance, and Profiles Theatre. Past performances include The Dame in Co-ed Prison Sluts, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense 2. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Daria Harper (Doris) moved to Chicago in fall of 2011. Her recent Chicago credits include the role of Marthy in Anna Christie with Rendition Theatre, Lady Pernelle in Tartuffe at Boho Theatre, Cindy in her original one woman piece, Devil in the Dirt at Redtwist theatre, Gertie in Fuddy Meers with Ka-Tet Theatre and understudying the roles of Katherine and Gertie for Timeline theatre's production of 33 Variations. She has a BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in acting from the University of Virginia. She also is an Alexander Technique teacher and directs a teacher certification program in Chicago.
Catherine Hermes (Therese) returns to Polarity as an artistic associate, having previously appeared in its production of Tom Jones. She has worked with Redmoon, First Folio Shakespeare Festival, Idle Muse, PRIDE Films and Plays, Chicago Mammals, the Women's Theatre Alliance of Chicago, and Azusa Productions. She is a teaching artist with Li'l Buds Theatre Company and lives in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Nick Lake (Anthony) is a company member with Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Favorite roles include Henry (Henry V, PTE), Aguecheek (Twelfth Night, City Lit), Schmendrick (The Last Unicorn, PTE), Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures Underground, City Lit) and Benjamin (FRAT, The New Colony). This spring he will be playing Sherlock Holmes in Promethean's production of A Study in Scarlet, directed by Paul Edwards. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Lindsey Pearlman (Maria) has also worked with Stage Left Theatre, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Mary Arrchie Theatre Company, The Gift Theatre Company, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Theatre Wit, Noble Fool Theatricals, Northlight Theatre, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Lindsey is a company member of Catharsis Productions, with whom she tours the United States performing SEX SIGNALS. She is a graduate of Chicago's Second City Conservatory Program and lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Brian Plocharczyk (Brian) is an ensemble member at Stage Left Theatre, where he has played roles such as Stephen Bellamy in Farragut North and Justin Hammond in After Ashley, both of which earned Brian Jeff Nominations for Actor in a Principle Role. Brian has also performed with Raven Theatre, First Folio, Chicago Shakespeare, City Lit, Theatre at The Center, Oak Park Village Players, Mortar Theatre and many more. Brian starred in the short film OMG by Revision Entertainment, which recently garnered him a nomination for Best Actor at the Pan Pacific Film Fest and recently won a Platinum Remi award for excellence at the World-Fest Houston. Brian is also a voice-over actor, commercial actor, stage combat and stunt performer, as well as a karate instructor. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Steve Pringle (Elmer) Chicago Theater credits: Annie (Paramount Theatre), Ten Chimneys (Northlight Theatre), The Pitmen Painters (Timeline Theatre), Faith Healer (Buffalo Theater Ensemble), Madness of King George , Taming of the Shrew, Richard III (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Without a Parachute (Pasta Fazool Players); The Passion of Dracula (First Folio Theater). Regional Theater: The Rainmaker (Guthrie Theater); Arms and the Man, Custer, The Farm (Actors Theater of St. Paul, founding member); Mousetrap, Pajama Tops (Old Log Theater); Guys and Dolls, Robber Bridegroom, On Golden Pond (Chanhassen Dinner Theater). Film credits: That Was Then, This Is Now. Television credits: Quincy (CBS); The Police, (PBS). Recipient of the Edwin Booth Award from the American College Theater Festival, by The Players' Club of New York, 1970. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Margo Chervony (Understudy) most recently acted in New Suit Theatre's production of Emma, and originated the role of Alex in the world premiere of A Girl's Guide to Coffee of Eric Coble's Alexandra Trilogy with Actors' Summit in Akron, Ohio. Margo has additionally acted with Theatre Mir and Chicago Fusion Theatre in Chicago, and regionally with Cleveland Public Theatre (Fever/Dream), Cleveland Shakespeare Festival (Othello, Love's Labour's Lost), and the Riverside Shakespeare Theatre (Richard III). She will be performing in Strangeloop Theatre's all-female production of The Robbers at The Side Project later this spring and is a proud graduate of Case Western Reserve University's undergraduate theatre program. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Richard Engling (Artistic Director) is an actor, director, playwright, novelist and musician. His books have been published by Penguin/Putnam and Polarity Ensemble Theatre Press. He played drums with a jazz quartet for ten years. With Polarity, he directed Absolute Macbeth and The Good Harvest and adapted and appeared in Antigone. He wrote and directed Ghost Watch and appeared in Hamlet, The Rivals, Peer Gynt and Tom Jones. He has degrees in Theatre and Creative Writing, works as a freelance writer, and has performed with Keyhole Theatre, ShakespeareInc, Chicago Actors Ensemble, the IO and others.
Charles C. Palia, Jr. (Set Designer) is a retired teacher of Theatre, Speech and English. Currently, he is on the Polarity Board of Directors and is the Resident Technical Director. Charles has a B.S. degree from I.S.U. in Communications, an M.A. in Theatre Arts and an M.A. in Educational Administration from N.I.U. He is a free-lance designer and a former member of United Scenic Artists. For Polarity he has designed Kabulitis, Ghost Watch, and The Society of Adventurous Women, which he also wrote. He provided technical direction for Long Day's Journey into Night. Charles also plays lead guitar in the classic rock group "Union Jack" and bugle in the Chicago Royal Airs Drum and Bugle Corps. He lives in Lisle, Illinois.
Brenda Winstead (Costume Designer) Chicago area credits include 42nd Street, Little Shop of Horrors, Guys and Dolls, The Wiz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Man of La Mancha, Crazy for You, Leading Ladies, The Producers, Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof (Theatre at the Center), The Price (Shattered Globe), Oliver! (Light Opera Works), The Chicago Landmark Project, Cooperstown, and The Water Engine (Theatre Seven). Regional Credits include Born Yesterday, Rumors, and Mousetrap (Peninsula Players), All Shook Up, and High School Musical (Forestburgh Playhouse), Mother Courage and her Children and Waiting for Godot (Connecticut Repertory Theatre) and Carousel (Sierra Repertory Theatre). Brenda has an MFA from the University of Connecticut and is a company member of Theatre Seven of Chicago. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Benjamin L. White, USA† (Lighting Designer) is principal consultant for Oak Park-based White Light Design, Inc. Mr. White's early work in RI and graduate studies at UW-Madison, has yielded an expertise ranging from architectural consulting to live industrial shows, exhibits, theatre, dance, and TV production. Projects include designs for 10 S. LaSalle, Chicago Board of Trade, 1 S. Wacker, Willow Creek Community Church, Ravinia orchestra pavilion, Rick Bayless' Topolobomba restaurant and numerous high-end residences. In addition, Mr. White has designed in Hong Kong, live international teleconferences from Broadway, London and Boston. Mr. White cherishes the ongoing collaboration with director Richard Shavzin (recently Jakes Women, Slaphappy, Beat The Jester, and Ten Cent Night. Other theatre credits include original musicals for Off-Broadway and the Broadway-based dance company, American Dance Machine. †He is a member of United Scenic Artists, the Union of Professional Designers and Artists for the Entertainment Industry, and lives in Oak Park, Illinois.
Vivian Knouse (Props Designer) has worked with the Organic Theatre Company, Shattered Globe theatre company, and the Factory theater company. Vivian was a 2012 intern with the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and studied at the Moscow Art Theatre in 2009. She holds her BFA from Northern Illinois University, where she graduated with honors in 2011. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Andrew Dallas (Sound Designer) is an artistic associate with Polarity Ensemble Theatre and provided sound design for its productions of Tom Jones, Kabulitis and Peer Gynt. Andrew's other sound designs include The First and Last Musical on Mars, Macbeth, Swordswomen of San Gimignano, Predator: The Musical and Point Break Live! He is a graduate of the Audio Art & Acoustics department at Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Live Sound Reinforcement. When he is not working in the theatre, Andrew also freelances as a roadie and live sound engineer as well as a recording engineer.
Jamie Crothers (Stage Manager) recently graduated from Bethel College with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. She is excited to begin her career in Stage Management with Polarity Ensemble Theatre. She hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Rosie Newton (Assistant Director) is a Chicago actor and playwright. She was featured as 'Sister' in Late Nite Catechism for thirteen years, both in Chicago and on the national tour. She has been in various Chicago Productions with American Theatre Company, Strawdog Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre for Young Audiences and Babes with Blades. She was last seen in Teatro Vista's production of Our Lady of the Underpass. Two of her plays, Baby Jesus Goes on Strike and The Clue in the Christmas Stocking (A Nancy Drew parody) have been produced by A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company.