Circle Mirror Transformation Plays Victory Gardens, Closes 4/10

Victory Gardens continues its 2010/11 Season with the Chicago premiere of Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker, directed by Dexter Bullard. The production closes April 10, 2011 at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park. The Press Openings are March 5 and 6, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. in the Richard Christiansen Theatre.

What do a flirty former actress, a pouty 16-year-old, a hippie husband and a divorced carpenter have in common? Very little, or at least that's what they think until they take a six week community acting class. In this hilarious and touching play we catch glimpses of the poignant drama that animates ordinary lives. Called an "absorbing, unblinking and sharply funny play" by the New York Times, Circle Mirror Transformation celebrates the subtle and surprising power of creativity.

"Circle Mirror Transformation is a perfect play for Victory Gardens Theater - Chicago's haven for masterful theatrical writing," says Bullard. "And Annie Baker's ability to write the ‘unsaid' is unmatched. With a delicate economy of words, her characters vibrate with truth, and the events of this gentle play shine with humanity. Rarely does a play speak with such force through such simplicity."

Circle Mirror Transformation premiered in New York at Playwrights Horizons, won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play and was voted one of the top ten plays of 2009 by The New York Times, Time Out New York, and The New Yorker. It was named one of the best plays of 2009-2010 in the latest edition of The Best Plays Theater Yearbook.

Circle Mirror Transformation features Rae Gray (Lauren), Steve Key (Schultz), Joe D. Lauck (James), Lori Myers (Theresa), and Carmen Roman (Marty).

Designers are Grant Sabin (set), Jesse Klug (lights), Tif Bullard (costumes) and Joe Fosco (sound). The stage manager is Rachel Robinson.
Dexter Bullard (Director) is currently directing The Big Meal at American Theater Company; he recently direcTed Craig Wright's Mistakes Were Made at Barrow Street Theatre in New York after directing the World Premiere at A Red Orchid Theatre with Michael Shannon in 2009. He previously worked with Wright on Lady at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre Off-Broadway and Grace at Northlight. Recent directing credits include Reverie with Second City at The Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, and Brett Neveu's Gas for Less at the Goodman Theatre. Previous A Red Orchid credits include Koltes' In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, Bob Adams' Place of Angels, Tracy Letts' Bug, and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. In 2004, Dexter was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction Off-Broadway for Bug at The Barrow Street Theater, as well as a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Director. In 1995 Dexter co-founded Plasticene Physical Theater, whose critically-acclaimed experimental works have been featured at The Steppenwolf Studio, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Storefront Theatre, Performing Arts Chicago, and in New York City. With Plasticene, he has directed and collaboratively created twelve original works including The Palmer Raids (2003) and One Fal$e Note (2006). Since 1996, Dexter has directed with The Second City, developing revues at E.T.C. and Detroit. For three years, he led a Second City National Touring Company to many destinations including Vienna and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston.
Rae Gray (Lauren) is delighted to be making her Victory Gardens debut. She most recently appeared as Claire in two hit runs of the Midwest premiere of Jailbait (Profiles Theatre and Profiles' Second Stage). Other credits include Summer People (Gift Theatre), Wedding Band (Steppenwolf Theatre), Meet Me in St. Louis (Drury Lane Oakbrook and Gateway Playhouse in New York), Inherit the Wind (Northlight Theatre), Oliver and State Fair (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), Sunday in the Park with George (Ravinia Festival w/ Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald), two seasons of A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Number the Stars (Apple Tree Theatre), State Fair and Christmas Story (Theatre at the Center), The Crucible (Jeff Citation Best Ensemble/Production) and Cry of Players (TimeLine Theater), and Freedom NY (Remy Bumppo/Teatro Vista). Rae is a freshman at the University of Chicago.

Steve Key (Schultz) is thrilled to work with Dexter again, and to be back at Victory Gardens so soon, having just closed Joel Drake Johnson's The Boys Room. Steve has performed at The Town Hall in Galway IRL, The Public and Geva in NY, The Ahmanson in LA and The Kennedy Center in DC. He's worked on many stages in Chicago including; Victory Gardens, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Remy Bumppo and Shattered Globe, where he was formerly the Artistic Director. Steve is an ensemble member with American Blues Theatre, where he performs and designs for the stage. Steve has received 5 Jeff Awards and 5 nominations for Principal and Supporting Actor and Ensemble (equity and non-equity). His film work includes: 1,000 Acres, Blackmail, Public Enemies, Salvaging, Three Days. TV: Chicago Code (episode airing in February on Fox), Law & Order - SVU, Family Practice.

Joseph D. Lauck (James) was last seen at Victory Gardens in Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice in the Fall of 2008. Other VG credits include Stickwife, Butler County, Wild Indian and Diesel Moon. This past summer Joe played Sir Osgood Fielding in the musical romp Sugar at Drury Lane Oakbrook, directed by Jim Corti.

Lori Myers (Theresa) was last seen as Mrs. Gibbs in David Cromer's New York and ChicaGo Productions of Our Town (The Hypocrites). Favorite roles include Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children (Vitalist Theatre; After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance), Adela Quested in A Passage to India, and The Fool and Cordelia in King Lear; Gertrude in The Hamlet (The Building Stage), and Xiang Xhang in Lee Breuer and Leslie Mohn's White Boned Demon (Kennedy Center). She has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Redmoon Theater, Next Theatre, and Bailiwick Repertory. London credits include Paula in Mrs. Klein, Aquilina in Venice Preserv'd (George Wood Theatre), and Marina Oswald in The Happiness Compartment (Oval House). Thank you, Dexter. Lori would like to dedicate her performance to the memory of the great Chicago actor Guy Adkins.

Carmen Roman (Marty) Carmen is thrilled to be back at Victory Gardens, where she previously performed in Glamour House directed by Sandy Shinner. Other Chicago credits include: Side Man (Steppenwolf Theatre, The Galway Festival, Galway, Ireland and The Melbourne Arts Festival, Australia) Wit, Black Snow, Brutality of Fact (Goodman Theatre), Master Class (Northlight Theater and Columbia Artists Tour) Carmen has been an American Blues Company member for 20 years where she most recently played in Tobacco Road in The Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens. National Tour: Angels in America (Off-Broadway): The Iphigenia Cycle (Theater for a New Audience from The Court Theatre, Chicago), The Mysteries (Classic Stage Company), Paradise (Gary Allen productions), Regional Theatre credits include: The Price (Syracuse Stage and Geva), The Importance of Being Earnest (Centerstage Baltimore), Lost in Yonkers (Coconut Grove, Walnut Street Theater) Film/Television credits include: Law and Order, and Savages with Phillip Seymore Hoffman and Laura Linney. Company Member: American Blues Theater, Circling the Drain. Awards/Honors: Sarah Siddons Award, Joseph Jefferson Awards for Master Class and Wit.
Full performance schedule and tickets
Previews of Circle Mirror Transformation are February 25-March 4, 2011: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm; and Sunday at 3 pm. Previews are $20-$40. The Press openings are Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, at 8:00 pm. Regular performances run through April 20, 2011: Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 4 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday at 3 pm. There will be matinees, instead of evening performances, on Wednesday, March 23 and Wednesday, April 6 at 2:00 pm. There are no performances March 2, 8 or 15. 2011. Regular performances are $20-$50.

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000 (tty: 773.871.0682), email tickets@victorygardens.org, or visit www.victorygardens.org. Ask the Box Office about student, senior, Access, 20 for $20, and rush discounts. For group discounts, call 773.549.5788

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