THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD to Begin Previews 2/4 at Raven Theatre

THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD to Begin Previews 2/4 at Raven Theatre

Raven Theatre will present THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, by J.M. Synge, and directed by Michael Menedian. The show will begin previews on Feb. 4, and continue through Feb. 9, with ticket prices at $22. Opening night is set for Feb. 10, and the show wil run through April 5, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm Tickets $36, $15 for students, teachers and military personnel, $5 discount for seniors

Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre; additional street parking is available Raven Theatre is handicapped accessible Tickets/information: www.raventheatre.com or 773-338-2177

What happens when a handsome young stranger swaggers into a small pub in rural Ireland, telling grand tales and boasting of dark deeds? The men admire him and the women adore him! But he soon meets his match with a feisty, beautiful barmaid. This dark, comedic masterpiece still packs the same punch as when it was originally produced at Dublin's Abbey Theatre in 1907.

Starring in the title role will be Sam Hubbard, who was praised as Stanley Jerome in Raven's Brighton Beach Memoirs last spring and has performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Strawdog Theatre among other credits. Raven ensemble member Jen Short, who appeared in Raven'sThe Trip to Bountiful,The Big Knife, Bus Stop and numerous other Raven productions, will play Christy's main love interest, Pegeen Mike. Completing the play's love triangle as the Widow Quin will be Sarah Hayes, a Jeff nominee for her Aldonza in Theo Ubique'sMan of La Mancha.

For their production of this landmark of modern drama, Raven will bring to its East stage a windswept rural Irish pub created by Jeff Award-nominated set designer Andrei Onegin, authentic early 20th Century Irish garb in costumes by Alaina Moore and everyday country utensils via props and set dressing designed by Mary O'Dowd. An original musical score by Leif Olsen will accompany the play's darkly comic action, and Joe Court will design the sound score.

Director Michael Menendian says he was drawn to the piece by the parallels of its setting in a remote rural area of western Ireland around 1900 to the American "wild west." "Like our frontier of the late 19th Century, this part of Ireland was rather lawless The law was talked about in these isolated communities, but law enforcement officers were rarely actually seen. As a result, norms of acceptable behavior evolved in a way quite removed from the accepted norms of the cities. Those who could defend themselves by any means necessary were respected. Stories of brave, often violent actions traveled quickly by word of mouth across the countryside, and frequently became exaggerated in the retelling."

The complete cast is Matt Bartholomew (Michael James), Conor Clark (Bellman, Peasant), Graham Emmons (Shawn Keough), Leah Frires (Susan Brady), Larry Garner (Old Mahon), Sarah Hayes (Widow Quin), Darren Hill (Jimmy Farrell), Sam Hubbard (Christy Mahon), Dean La Prairie (Philly Cullen), Martha Reddick (Honor Blake), Jen Short (Pegeen Mike), Lindsay Tornquist (Sara Tansey).

The creative team includes Cathy Darrow (stage manager), Andrei Onegin (set designer/technical director), Mary O'Dowd and JoAnn Montemurro (props/set dressing), Kurt Ottinger (lighting designer) Alaina Moore (costume designer), Joe Court (sound designer), Leif Olsen (original score), Conor Clark (assistant stage manager), Kristen Abhalter, Zhanna Albertini (scenic artists), Justin Castellano (master electrician), David Woolley (fight choreographer), Jason Martin (dialect coach), Deborah Blumenthal (dramaturgy).

Tickets and information are available at www.raventheatre.com or 773-338-2177.

Michael Menendian (Director), is a co-founding member and Producing Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, where he has directed and produced scores of productions since 1983. He has also written many of Raven's Children's Theatre productions, including Aesop's Fables,The Duck, The Bird and The Pea! and Patchwork USA!

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