Michael Patrick Thornton Returns to The Gift Theatre in THINNER THAN WATER; Full Casting Announced!

The Gift Theatre Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton announces the Chicago premiere of Thinner Than Water written by Melissa Ross and directed by The Gift ensemble member John Gawlik (2013 Jeff Award winner for When the Rain Stops Falling at Circle Theatre). The production marks Thornton's return to The Gift main stage since ensemble member Andrew Hinderaker's Jeff Nominated Dirty in 2012. Thornton recently appeared in Les Waters' production of Our Town at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Thornton joins guest artists Donna McGough (last seen in Coriolanus with The Hypocrites) and Darci Nalepa (Dirty) and fellow Gift ensemble members Brittany Burch (The Lonesome West), Paul D'Addario (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Gabriel Franken (Broadsword), Lynda Newton (Absolute Hell) and Jay Worthington (Vigils).

Thinner Than Water previews run March 27 - March 30 at the Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Opening night is Monday, March 31. The show runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through May 25. Single tickets, $20-$35, are available at www.thegifttheatre.org or by calling the box office at 773-283-7071. Subscriptions to the entire 2014 season start at $75.00.

Thinner than Water, Melissa Ross' raw and wicked dramedy about fighting through the thick-and-thin of family follows three estranged half-siblings who are forced to confront their differences during their father's illness. Renee, the responsible older sister, struggles to keep her marriage from falling apart. Middle brother Gary is deeply committed to smoking weed in his comic book store. Cassie, the youngest, cycles through jobs and relationships. As their father's health deteriorates, each individual must come to a shared definition of family.Thinner than Water is a captivating and highly relatable tale told in The Gift's signature style of great ensemble acting in an intimate space.

"Thinner than Water is a definitive ensemble play for The Gift," said Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton. "Melissa is a brave, heartfelt, and exacting writer, and we're honored to host her Chicago premiere of Thinner Than Water, which was originally produced by our colleagues at LAByrinth Theater Company in New York."

Melissa Ross' additional plays include You Are Here, Do Something Pretty, A Life Extra Ordinary, The Allies and Nice Girl. Thinner Than Water was originally produced by LAByrinth Theater Company and is included in the anthology "New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2011" by Smith and Kraus. Melissa has had readings and workshops with The Amoralists, The Cherry Lane Theater, Dorset Theater Festival, The Juilliard School, Labyrinth Theater Company, LCT3, Manhattan Theater Club, Montana Rep, New York Stage and Film, The New Group, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and The Pacific Playwrights Festival. She has had commissions from South Coast Repertory and Manhattan Theater Club. Melissa is a graduate of Bennington College, was a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School, and is a two-time recipient of the Le Comte Du Nouy Award. She is a proud member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and Labyrinth Theater Company.

The Gift Theatre is dedicated to telling great stories on stage with honesty and simplicity. Previous productions include: TEN 2014; Broadsword, Mine, Vigils, TEN 2013; Natural Gas' Jugband Christmas; Dirty; Oh, The Humanity (and other exclamations); Fact & Fiction; Absolute Hell; TEN; Cloud 9; Northwest Highway; Night and Her Stars; Get Behind Me, Santa!; Lonesome West; Suicide, Inc.; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Almost, Maine; Santa's Great American Depression Holiday Show! (2009 & 2010); Summer People; The Ruby Sunrise; Talk Radio; Stop/Kiss; Natural Gas; Streamers; Wit ;The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; White People; Three Sisters; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Blithe Spirit; 365 Days/365 Plays; The Halloween Show; Long Day's Journey Into Night; The Glass Menagerie (Remount: Theatre on the Lake); The Good Thief; The Clearing; Hurlyburly; The Glass Menagerie; The Pavilion; A Young Man In Pieces; Language of Angels; 6; County Fair; The Countess; Alcatraz (Abbie Hoffman Festival); Orestes 2.0; Boys' Life. The theater also sponsors the giftED Ensemble, a rigorous two-year afterschool course for creative and motivated high school students on Chicago's Northwest side, and the literary program/Salon Series giftLIT.

The 2014 Season began in January with TEN, The Gift's annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and associate artistic director Paul D'Addario. Following Melissa Ross's Thinner Than Water (March 27-May 25),director Jonathan Berry (Dirty) returns for The Gift's first Shakespeare production Othello, which runs July 10-August 24 and is dramaturged by Shakespeare scholar Michael Petersen, PhD. The season closes with the Chicago premiere of Laura Marks' new dramaBethany, directed by Marti Lyons, September 25-November 23. Subscriptions for the entire 2014 season, which includes two Chicago premieres, are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night "Natural Gas" improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at http://thegifttheatre.org/ or call 773-283-7071.

The Gift Theatre is conveniently located at 4802 N. Milwaukee in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood, and is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, the Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenue buses and the Kennedy Expressway. For more information about The Gift Theatre's productions and programs, visit www.thegifttheatre.org.

Photo Credit: The Silverman Group

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