Cast Announced for Midwest Premiere of THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES

Raven Theatre Associate Artistic Director Cody Estle has announced a "blended family" of new and familiar Raven faces for the company's Midwest premiere of The Assembled Parties, which in 2013 earned a 2013 Tony® Award nomination for Best Play. The play by Richard Greenberg, author of Take Me Out, Three Days of Rain and many other plays, will open on Raven Theatre's East Stage under Estle's direction on Tuesday, January 31, following previews from January 25 - 30, 2017.

Greenberg's play follows the extended Bascov family over two family celebrations in their sprawling New York City upper west side apartment on two Christmas Days twenty years apart, in 1980 and 2000. At the earlier celebration, the family is filled with hope for the son they assume will one day become President of the United States. By the year 2000, they find that fate doesn't always play by the rules and their family looks much different than they had planned. Estle says, "This family is on the verge of great changes much as is the US, as the country anticipates the arrival of a new President."

Appearing for the first time at Raven will be Loretta Rezos (Distance at Strawdog, The Pitmen Painters at TimeLine). Rezos will play Julie Bascov, the former teen movie star who is hostess of the two gatherings. Her wealthy husband Ben will be played by Joe Mack (Desperate Dolls at Strawdog and The Gacy Play at Sideshow Theatre), who last appeared at Raven in the title role of The Play About My Dad. Ben's sister-in-law Faye, the role that earned a Best Actress Tony Award for Judith Light, will be Raven Theatre Co-Founding Artistic Director JoAnn Montemurro, veteran of many roles at the theatre - most recently The Old Friends, Dividing the Estate and her Jeff-nominated performance in Vieux Carré. The role of Mort, Faye's husband and Ben's brother, will be taken by Raven ensemble member Chuck Spencer.

In addition to Rezos, other actors new to Raven will include Christopher Peltier (Richard III at The Gift Theater, Peter and the Starcatcher at Illinois Shakespeare Festival) as Jeff, a holiday guest and friend of the Bascovs' son Scotty. Niko Kourtis (Angels in America at Kansas City Rep, directed by David Cromer; The Normal Heart at TimeLine) will play Scotty. Completing the cast are Marika Mashburn (Since I Suppose at Chicago Shakespeare and Season on the Line at House Theatre) as Faye and Mort's daughter Shelly and Leo Fain as Timmy.

The elegant and expansive mulit-room apartment of the Bascovs will be created for Raven's stage by Jeffrey D. Kmiec, a Jeff Award winner this year for the scenic deisgn of Drury Lane's Deathtrap. Kmiec's previous designs for Raven include Dividing the Estate, The Old Friends and A Loss of Roses. Eight-time nominee (and winner for BoHo's The Glorious Ones) Theresa Ham is deisgning costumes. Completing the design team are Nick Belley (lighting designer) and Eric Backus (sound design). The production team will include Michael Conroy (asisstant director), Jason K. Martin (dialect specialist), Stephen Johnson (dramaturg), Tara Malpass (stage manager), Conor Clark (technical director), Rebecca Cagney (assistant stage manager), Diane D. Fairchild and Marissa Geocaris (master electricians) and Eileen Rozycki (scenic artist).

Cody Estle (director) is Associate Artistic Director at Raven Theatre Company, where his directing credits include A Loss of Roses, Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré, (named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Year's Best in 2014), Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl and Dating Walter Dante. Elsewhere he has directed Scarcity at Redtwist Theatre; The Seagull and Watch on the Rhine at The Artistic Home; Don't Go Gentle at Haven Theatre; Uncle Bob at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company and Hospitality Suite at Citadel Theatre. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Court Theatre, Writers Theatre, Next Theatre and Strawdog Theatre. Estle is an associate member of SDC and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.
Richard Greenberg (playwright) has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off-Broadway in New York City and eight at the South Coast Repertory Theatre of Costa Mesa, California, including The Violet Hour, Everett Beekin, and Hurrah at Last. Greenberg is perhaps best known for his 2003 Tony Award winning play, Take Me Out about the conflicts that arise after a Major League Baseball player nonchalantly announces to the media that he is gay. Along with Take Me Out, Greenberg's plays include The Dazzle, The American Plan, Life Under Water, and The Author's Voice. His adaptation of August Strindberg's Dance of Death ran on Broadway in 2002, starring Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren and David Strathairn. He received the George Oppenheimer Award, presented by Newsday in 1985 for The Bloodletters, produced Off-Off Broadway while he was at Yale. He the first winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a playwright in mid-career in 1998.

In 2013, Greenberg worked on three shows: on Broadway, an adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Assembled Parties and the book for the musical Far From Heaven which opened in June 2013 at Playwrights Horizons. His play Our Mother's Brief Affair premiered at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, Costa Mesa, California in April 2009 and was produced on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club. His play The Babylon Line premiered Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on November 10, 2016 in a production directed by Terry Kinney.

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