Photo Flash: First Look at THE PROJECT(S) at American Theater Company
American Theater Company (ATC) presents the third world premiere in its 30th Anniversary season: The Project(s), a documentary play about the history of public housing in Chicago, now through May 24, 2015. Conceived, co-written and directed by ATC Artistic Director PJ Paparelli and co-written by Joshua Jaeger, The Project(s)' ensemble cast includes Linda Bright Clay, Stephen Conrad Moore, Omar Evans, Kenn E. Head, Joslyn Jones, Penelope Walker, Anji White and Eunice Woods. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!
Special community performances of The Project(s) will be presented in the Cabrini-Green and Wentworth Gardens neighborhoods this month. Free and open to the public, these performances will be held at Edward Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts on May 17 at 6 p.m. and Wentworth Gardens Field house on May 24 at 5 p.m. Seating for both performances will be available on a first come, first served basis.
The Project(s) innovatively combines documentary theater with a cappella music, body percussion and stepping to create a provocative examination of thesuccesses and failures of public housing that poses the question, "What is America's responsibility to its poor?" From 2010 until 2014, Paparelli conducted over 100 interviews with scholars, historians, and former and current residents of Chicago's public housing, including Cabrini-Green, Robert Taylor Homes, Wentworth Gardens and Ida B. Wells Homes.
The Project(s) interweaves verbatim material with a cappella music, body percussion, and stepping with choreography by Jakari Sherman, artistic director of Washington, DC-based Step Afrika!, the nation's only professional dance company devoted to stepping. Paparelli previously conceived, co-wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed documentary play columbinus that premiered its third act at ATC, toured to ArtsEmerson in Boston in 2013, and has been produced around the country and internationally.
The Project(s) received two development opportunities at the Orchard Project, a national new play development retreat in New York; a Jentel Artist Residencyin Wyoming, and a MacArthur International Connections Fund grant, through which Paparelli travelled to the United Kingdom to workshop the play at Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Lyric Hammersmith in London, in addition to interviewing public housing residents and city officials in Scotland. ATC also partnered with Howard University in Washington, DC, for a five-week workshop integrating stepping and body percussion.
Single tickets for The Project(s) range from $43-$48 and are now on sale at the ATC box office at 773-409-4125 or www.atcweb.org. A select number of free tickets are available at each performance for all former and current public housing residents. Interested residents can call ATC at 773-409-4125 for more details.
Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow
Eunice Woods (right) and the ensemble
Penelope Walker (right) and the ensemble