Troy West and More to Star in BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO at Lookingglass Theatre; Full Cast Announced!

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Continuing its 25th Anniversary Season, Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman. Tickets are now on sale for the production, running January 30 – March 17, 2013 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. The Press Opening is Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Two US Marines and an Iraqi translator are thrust into a world of greed, mystery and betrayal after an encounter with a now-deceased but still very pissed-off tiger. The streets of war-torn Baghdad are filled with ghosts, riddles and wry humor in Rajiv Joseph's groundbreaking play that explores the power and perils of human nature.

"As an army brat, born while my dad was in Vietnam, as the aunt of a 21-year-old nephew who recently had a tour in Afghanistan, and as the sister of a humanitarian worker who is often a first responder in war torn areas, I've wondered why I haven't gravitated to this subject matter before as an artist. Maybe I was waiting to read Rajiv Joseph's brilliant play, comments Heidi Stillman. "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is raw, edgy, provocative, darkly funny and timely. It's about the war in Iraq; it's about war as an act of human-or animal-nature, the repercussions of war, the displacement of war, and the existence of God."

The cast features Troy West (Tiger), JJ Phillips (Kev), Walter Owen Briggs (Tom), Anish Jethmalani (Musa), Kareem Bandealy (Iraqi Man, Uday), Amy J. Carle (Iraqi Woman, Leper) and Atra Asdou (Hadai, Iraqi Teenager).

Heidi Stillman (Director/Artistic Director of New Work/Ensemble Member) co-created/directed Cascabel with Rick Bayless and Tony Hernandez. Other Lookingglass writing/directing credits include The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, Trust with David Schwimmer, Hephaestus with Tony Hernandez at the Goodman, The Brothers Karamazov, Hard Times (5 Jeff Awards, also traveled to the Arden in Philadelphia), and The Master and Margarita (with David Catlin). Directing credits at Lookingglass include The Wooden Breeks (by Glen Berger), and Hillbilly Antigone (book, music and lyrics by Rick Sims). She also recently staged Laura Eason's Around the World in 80 Days at Kansas City Rep and Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep. Other Lookingglass adaptation credits include The Old Curiosity Shop co-written with Ray Fox and Laura Eason (Jeff Award), and The Baron in the Trees with Larry DiStasi. She was last seen on stage in The Arabian Nights. Heidi was awarded the 2010 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment for The Brothers Karamazov.

Atra Asdou (Hadia, Iraqi Teenager) is making her Lookingglass Theatre debut. Former Chicago theatre credits include Writers' Theatre, The Goodman, Silk Road Rising, Victory Gardens, American Theatre Company, and most recently, The Gift. Film credits include Johnson, Night Lights, and Follow the Leader. Atra is represented by Gray Talent Group Chicago.

Kareem Bandealy (Uday) appeared previously at Lookingglass in Peter Pan and The Last Act of Lilka Kadison. Chicago credits include Rock 'N' Roll, Gas For Less, King Lear (Goodman Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edward II, Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Illusion (Court Theatre), Hamlet, The Caretaker, Heartbreak House (Writers' Theatre), The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo), It's a Wonderful Life, Oklahoma! (American Theater Company, ensemble member), Our Enemies, Back of the Throat,10 Acrobats (Silk Road Rising, associate artist), and Wedding Play (About Face). Regional credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Three Musketeers, The Tempest (Illinois Shakespeare), Love's Labour's Lost (Notre Dame Shakespeare), Stuff Happens, Julius Caesar (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical), and four seasons at Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Film credits include The Merry Gentleman (Michael Keaton, director). In 2011, he received a 3Arts Artist Award. He will be seen next in Blood and Gifts at TimeLine.

Walter Owen Briggs (Tom) is making his Lookingglass debut with Bengal. Recent credits include Glass Menagerie (Mary-Arrchie), The Iron Stag King (The House), Romeo & Juliet (The Hypocrites), and Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf and TOTL). Walter is a founding member of The Inconvenience Artistic Syndicate, and is an ensemble member with The Hypocrites. He has worked with: A Red Orchid Theatre, Steep Theater, Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Children's Theater, and About Face, among others. Film credits include Possessions and Older Children. Walter earned his BFA from the CCPA at Roosevelt University.

Amy J. Carle (Iraqi Woman) has previously at Lookingglass in Peter Pan (A Play) and Trust. Other work in Chicago includes The Book Thief, Animals Out of Paper, Sex With Strangers and Hedda Gabler (Steppenwolf Theatre); Season's Greetings (Northlight Theatre); Orlando (Court Theatre); The Sins of Sor Juana, Rock 'N' Roll, Desire Under the Elms (The Goodman Theatre); Refuge (CollaborAction, Jeff nom.); SubUrbia, The Lights (Jeff nom.), Ecstasy, WAS, The Planets (RoadWorks Productions). She appeared in the Off Broadway National Tour of The Vagina Monologues. Regional credits include Fully Committed and The Diary of Anne Frank (Madison Repertory Theatre); Morning Star (Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Television credits include "Boss" (STARZ), "Chicago Code" (FOX), "Law & Order" (NBC), and "The Guiding Light" (CBS).

Anish Jethmalani (Musa) returns to Lookingglass Theatre where he previously appeared in Sita Ram and Around the World in 80 Days. His other stage credits include include Wit and several seasons of A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre; Titus Andronicus, Mary Stuart, The Invention of Love and Life's a Dream at Court Theatre; Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Homeland Security at Victory Gardens Theater; Citizens of the World at Steppenwolf Theatre; The Caretaker and To the Green Fields Beyond at Writers' Theatre; Omnium Gatherum, Return to Haifa and The Millionairess at Next Theatre Company; Twelfth Night at First Folio Theatre; Indian Ink and The Sign of the Four at Apple Tree Theatre; Merchant of Venice at Silk Road Rising and The Age of Cynicism or Karaoke Night at The Hog at Chicago Dramatists. He is an ensemble member of Eclipse Theatre Company. Regionally, he appeared in Henry VIII and Much Ado About Nothing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and his television credits include "Boss" on Starz, "Leverage" on TNT and "Early Edition" on CBS.

JJ Phillips (Kev) is making his Lookingglass debut. He most recently appeared in Griffin Theatre's Punk Rock (Jeff Award), directed by Jonathon Berry. Other Theater credits include Treasure Island, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (First Stage Theater). TV and Film credits include "Chicago Fire" (NBC), and the short-film "Green" (Tribeca Film Academy). He studied at the School at Steppenwolf, and under Daniel Cantor at Northwestern University.

Troy West (Tiger/Artistic Associate) has appeared with Lookingglass in Old Curiosity Shop, George, The Great Fire, Great Men of Science, Hard Times, The Idiot, The Wooden Breeks; with Steppenwolf, the original productions of Picasso at the Lapin Agile (also NY, SF and LA) and August: Osage County (also Broadway, London and Australia) and The Berlin Circle, among others; with A Red Orchid Theatre, The Grey Zone, The Physicists and Bug (also off-Broadway) among others. Other Chicago credits include Goodman, Chicago Dramatists, Remains, Roadworks, Famous Door, among others. Movies include "The Dilemma," "Hellcab," and "Advantage: Weinberg." TV credits include "Pursuit of Happiness," "Nash Bridges," "Unusual Phenomena," and "Early Edition."

Previews run January 30, 2013 – February 8, 2013, with the press opening set for Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7:30 PM. The regular run continues February 10- March 17, 2013, playing Tuesdays: 7:30 p.m. (2/12, 2/26, and 3/12 only); Wednesdays: 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays: 3:00 p.m. (2/21 and 3/7 only); 7:30 p.m.; Fridays: 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays: 3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m; and Sundays: 3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m. at the Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.

Prices: Previews are $28 - $38. Regular Run is $36 - $70. Target Saturday Matinees offer a limited number of buy one, get one free tickets which are available to all 3:00 p.m. Saturday matinees. This program is made possible with the generous support of Target, working with Lookingglass to make the arts accessible to all. A limited number of student tickets are available the day of the show for $20 with valid student ID. Groups of 10 or more patrons save up to 20%. Call the box office for details. Buy online at www.lookingglasstheatre.org, or by phone at (312) 337-0665. The Lookingglass box office is located at Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave.

Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. 2011-2012 marks the company's 25th anniversary season. Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. Lookingglass has staged 58 world premieres at 23 venues across Chicago, and garnered 52 Joseph Jefferson Awards and Citations.

Work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., and St. Louis. Lookingglass original scripts have been produced across the United States.

The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago's landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003. In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.

Lookingglass Theatre Company continues to expand its artistic, financial and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Andrew White, Executive Director Rachel Kraft, Producing Artistic Director Philip R. Smith, Artistic Director of New Work Heidi Stillman, a 22-member artistic ensemble, 15 artistic associates, 11 production affiliates, an administrative staff and a dedicated board of directors led by Chairman Richard Ditton of Incredible Technologies and President Joe Brady of Jones Lang LaSalle. 

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