Victory Gardens Theater to Stage World Premiere of THE GOSPEL OF LOVINGKINDNESS, 2/28-3/30

Victory Gardens Theater continues its season with the World Premiere of The Gospel of Lovingkindness by Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwright Marcus Gardley, directed by Artistic Director Chay Yew. The Gospel of Lovingkindness runs February 28 - March 30, 2014 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

The cast for The Gospel of Lovingkindness includes: Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Tosin Morohunfola, Ernest Perry, Jr. and Jacqueline Williams.

The creative team includes: Kevin Depinet (scenic), Samantha Jones (costumes), Lee Fiskness (lighting), Mikhail Fiksel (sound), Jesse Gaffney (props). Tina M. Jach is the stage manager and Jaret Landon is the music director.

"I grew up in Oakland, California, one of the most violent cities in America. It was impossible to deny the effect violence had on my life, my family, and my community. I've known too many people whose lives were cut short, and had my first personal experience with an attack before the age of ten. As I spend more time in Chicago, I remain surrounded by the violence I've witnessed my whole life. Every day, it seems I hear about a new shooting and a new victim, and I often feel powerless to do anything about it," says playwright Marcus Gardley.

Gardley continues, "The Gospel of Lovingkindness is my attempt to start a healing process in Chicago through the stage at Victory Gardens. This story was inspired by many experiences from my own life and from the tragedies that occur all too often in this city. These characters and their circumstances, while fictional, are composites of real-world people. Instead of telling one person's story, I've tried to tell them all at once. I hope that, in the end, this will be Chicago's story--relevant to all its residents. Perhaps, by sharing a play that explores a common experience, we can find communal healing."

One mother sees her son struggle to find his place in the world, and another sees her son live his dream. When these proud women meet, everything--their lives, their families, their city--is sent over the edge. As fervent and poetic as a gospel hymn, this drama about faith, family, and loss was inspired by true events.

MARCUS GARDLEY is a poet-playwright who was awarded the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels award for Mid-Career Playwright. His most recent play, Every Tongue Confess, premiered at Arena Stage starring Phylicia Rashad and directed by Kenny Leon. It was nominated for the Steinberg New Play Award, the Charles MacArthur Award and was a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. His musical, On The Levee, premiered last summer at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and was nominated for 11 Audelco Awards including outstanding playwright. Last spring, his play, And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, was produced at The Cutting Ball Theater and received the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination for outstanding new play and was extended twice. He has had six plays produced including dance of the holy ghost at Yale Repertory Theatre (now under a Broadway option,) (L)imitations of Life, at the Empty Space in Seattle, and like sun fallin' in the mouth at the National Black Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Award, a Kesselring Honor, the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Scholarship, and the ASCAP Cole Porter Award. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale Drama School and is a member of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild, and The Lark Play Development Center. He is a professor of Playwriting at Brown University.

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