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American Blues Theater to Host 2017 RIPPED: THE LIVING NEWSPAPER FESTIVAL

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American Blues Theater, Chicago's second oldest Equity Ensemble, under the continued leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, hosts 2017 Ripped: The Living Newspaper Festival on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

The annual festival features 10 original pieces reflecting current cultural events. All proceeds benefit American Blues Theater's arts education program, The Lincoln Project in Chicago Public Schools, which serves 2,000 students.

Tickets are $12 and include the performances and refreshments. Reservations can be made by calling (773) 654-3103 or visiting www.americanbluestheater.com. Doors open at 6:00pm, performances begin at 7:00pm at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont, Chicago.

Since 2009, American Blues Theater has produced sixteen editions of Ripped, utilizing more than 500 artists. Based on the 1930s WPA-era program that brought Orson Welles, Arthur Miller, and Clifford Odets into public attention, American Blues presents short plays ripped from today's headlines.

The annual festival cultivates new material and allows audiences to discuss topical issues together. American Blues Theater provides community service and raises awareness through creative collaborations. The following organizations have been supported by RIPPED events since its inception in 2009: AgrAbility, Chicago Public Schools, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Farm Bureau, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, University of Chicago's Urban Education Teachers Program, and Open Books.

The lineup for the 2017 Ripped: The Living Newspaper Festival includes:

Family Separation*
written by Chicago Public School students
directed by Elyse Dolan^

*This script received the 2017 The Lincoln Project Award from American Blues Theater. Nearly 2,000 students participate in American Blues's arts education program The Lincoln Project and submit short plays. One winner and four finalists were selected this school year. The winning script receives a workshop and the script is presented by professional artists. All classrooms receive parties.

Not Quite
written and performed by Ada Cheng
excerpt from Unveiled
written and performed by Rohina Malik^

Gabe
written by Avi Roque
directed by Diana Raiselis

Rex
written by Shannon Pritchard
directed by Ian Paul Custer^

Ashes to Ashes
written by Darren Canady^
directed by Carmen Roman^

All My Relatives
written by Virginia Wiles
directed by Heather Meyers^

Debt
written by Caridad Svich
directed by Cecilie Keenan

Next Generation News
written by Gwendolyn Whiteside^
directed by Tyson Carter^

During the Course of Normal Activities
written by Jon Steinhagen
directed by Spenser Davis

Actors participating in the 2017 Ripped: The Living Newspaper Festival include - Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Kate Buddeke^, Ada Cheng, Jazmin Corona, Theo Germaine, Gabriel Faith Howard, Rohina Malik^, Almanya Narula, Avi Roque, and many more.

Winner of the American Theatre Wing's prestigious 2016 National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. The 37-member Ensemble has 530+ combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2016, the theater and artists received 186 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 31 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.

The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and WilLiam Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Darren Canady, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Austin Cook, Laura Coover, Ian Paul Custer, Lauri Dahl, Joe Foust, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Heather Meyers, John Mohrlein, Christopher J. Neville, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross, and Gwendolyn Whiteside.


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