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Profiles Theatre Continues Its 21st Season With KILLER JOE 1/8/2010

Profiles Theatre continues its 2009-2010 Season with Killer Joe by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts, directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder. The production runs January 8- February 28, 2010, at Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway. The press opening is Thursday, January 14, 2010, at 8:00 p.m.

Killer Joe focuses on the Smith family, a greedy, vindictive clan of Texans who hatch a plan to murder their estranged matriarch to cash in on her insurance policy. Unable to bring themselves to do the deed, they hire Killer Joe Cooper, a full-time cop and part-time contract killer. Once he steps into their trailer, their simple plan quickly spirals out of control.

Written in 1991, the play premiered at the Next Lab Theater in Chicago two years later and was then presented at the 29th Street Rep in NYC. Since then, Killer Joe has been performed in at least 15 countries in 12 different languages. It won top honors at the Edinburgh, Scotland, Fringe Theater Festival in 1994, then played to sellout audiences at London's The Buck and West Theater during a four-month run in which it won the Time Out Award as the Best Play of 1995. Tracy Letts was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play for August: Osage County.

The cast of Killer Joe features Profiles' ensemble members Darrell W. Cox (The Mercy Seat, Graceland, Great Falls) as Killer Joe Cooper and Somer Benson (Graceland, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, The Thugs) as Sharla. The cast also includes Kevin Bigley as Chris, Howie Johnson as Ansel and Claire Wellin as Dottie, all making their Profiles debut.

"Following Tracy's recent Broadway success and the Pulitzer, now is the perfect time to take audiences back to the savagely funny and often startling world of his first play," says Profiles' Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. "It's a perfect match for us as Killer Joe captures the type of tough, uncompromising and provocative theatre that put Profiles on the map."

The designers are Sotirios Livaditis (set), Jessica Harpenau (lights), Darcy McGill (costumes), and Kevin O'Donnell (sound and original music). The assistant director is Jeremy Lee Cudd and the stage manager is Mary Ellen Rieck.

Killer Joe is the next production of Profiles Theatre's 21st season, following the Midwest premiere of The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute and the extended run of Ellen Fairey's Graceland, which concluded its world premiere at Profiles in December. The season will conclude with the Midwest premiere of Body Awareness by Annie Baker, opening in April 2010.

The production contains graphic violence, nudity and strong adult content, no one under seventeen will be admitted.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Tracy Letts (playwright) is the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. His acclaimed play SUPERIOR DONUTS premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2008 and is currently playing on Broadway at New York's Music Box Theatre. KILLER JOE, written in 1991, has been performed in at least 15 countries in 12 different languages. His play BUG has played in New York, Chicago and London. He is also the author of a recent adaptation of Anton Chekhov's THREE SISTERS and MAN FROM NEBRASKA, which premiered at Steppenwolf in 2003. Tracy has been an ensemble member at Steppenwolf since 2002 and performed in such productions as BETRAYAL, THE PILLOWMAN, LAST OF THE BOYS, THE PAIN AND THE ITCH, GLENGARRY GLen Ross (also in Dublin and Toronto), and the upcoming production of AMERICAN BUFFALO. He has appeared on television in "The District," "Profiler," "Prison Break," "The Drew Carey Show," "Seinfeld" and "Home Improvement." Film appearances include "Guinevere", "U.S. Marshals" and "Chicago Cab."

Rick Snyder (director), a Steppenwolf ensemble member, returns to Profiles after directing the acclaimed production of MEN OF TORTUGA last season. He recently directed ART at Steppenwolf, MAURITIUS at Northlight Theatre, THE LION IN WINTER at Writers' Theatre, THE ACTOR at the Goodman Theatre and ARISTOCRATA at Strawdog Theatre. He has also directed BETRAYAL at Steppenwolf, JOLLY and THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE JEWS at the Goodman, ST. SCARLET at ATC, BUS STOP at Writers' Theatre and LAST OF THE BOYS at Steppenwolf. Other directing credits at Steppenwolf include TAVERN STORY, THINGS BEING WHAT THEY ARE, ORANGE FLOWER WATER (which traveled to the Galway Arts Festival), and THE FALL TO EARTH. As an actor, Rick recently appeared in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY and THE UNMENTIONABLES at Steppenwolf Theatre as well as MAN FROM NEBRASKA and I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER. Other Steppenwolf Theatre productions include WEDDING BAND, TIME OF YOUR LIFE, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST in London and on Broadway, and SIDEMAN in Galway, Ireland. David Copperfield, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, MOLLY SWEENEY, PICASSO AT THE LAPINE AGILE, the Tony Award-winning GRAPES OF WRATH, THE ROAD TO NIRVANA, and A WALF IN THE WOODS. He has appeared at the Goodman Theatre in AS YOU LIKE IT, DOWN THE SHORE and as Ebenezer Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. At Northlight Theatre he appeared in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and THE REAR COLUMN. Television credits include CRIME STORY, FIRST STEPS, LADY BLUE, LEGACY OF LIES, THE WOMAN WHO LOVED ELVIS, OVEREXPOSED, and guest starring roles on EARLY EDITION, PROFILER, CHICAGO HOPE, ANGEL STREET, THE UNTOUCHABLES, MISSING PERSONS, and MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN. Rick has appeared in the films MEET THE APPLEGATES, THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, ALIEN NATION MILLENIUM, THE NET starring Sandra Bullock, WHITEBOYS, and SOUL SURVIVORS. He appeared as agent Frank Burrows in U.S. MARSHALS and recently appeared in THE HUMAN STAIN. Rick has taught acting classes at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, as well as advanced acting class at Northwestern University and DePaul. He currently teaches Directing 1 at Columbia College in Chicago. Rick has been a member of the Steppenwolf ensemble since 1983, and an instructor for The School at Steppenwolf and Associate Artist at Steppenwolf for the last ten years.

SOMER BENSON (Sharla) is an ensemble member of Profiles Theatre and was most recently seen as Anna in Profiles' World Premiere of GRACELAND by Ellen Fairey. Prior to that, she was seen as Lisa in the U.S. premiere of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISSOCIA by Anthony Neilson, and as Diane in Profiles' Midwest Premiere of THE THUGS by Adam Bock. She was also seen as Steph in a reading of REASONS TO BE PRETTY, part of Profiles' AN EVENING WITH Neil LaBute: LIVE AND IN PERSON. Prior to that, she was seen in "Coax" as part of Profiles' Midwest premiere of THINGS WE SAID TODAY by Neil LaBute. Some of her other favorite productions include PROOF, COLLECTED STORIES and COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN. Somer is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (CA), studied at Waubonsee Community College with Dr. Maria Bakalis and has also studied at Profiles Theatre.

KEVIN BIGLEY (Chris), making his debut at Profiles, most recently played George Bailey in ATC's tour cast of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Other past credits include Henry in Muse of Fire's HENRY V, Ross in MACBETH at the Athenaeum, Achilles in IPHIGENIA 2.0 at The Greenhouse Theater, and Grotto Good in STILL LIFE WITH IRIS at the Merle Reskin. Kevin is currently understudying at Steppenwolf for Finny in SEPARATE PEACE, directed by Jon Berry. In June, Kevin graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University with his BFA in Acting.

DARRELL W. COX (Killer Joe Cooper) is an ensemble member and Associate Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre. He was most recently seen as Ben in Profiles' Midwest Premiere of THE MERCY SEAT by Neil LaBute, and as Joe in Profiles' World Premiere of GRACELAND by Ellen Fairey. Prior to that, he was seen as the stepfather in Profiles' Midwest Premiere of GREAT FALLS by Lee Blessing, as well as Taggart in Profiles' first full Chicago production of MEN OF TORTUGA. Prior to that, he was seen in the Chicago Premiere of Leigh Fondakowski's THE PEOPLE'S TEMPLE at American Theatre Company as Jim Jones and Stephan Jones. He has been seen at Steppenwolf in the World Premiere of MEN OF TORTUGA (where he originated the role of Taggart), the Midwest Premiere of ORANGE FLOWER WATER (which traveled to the Galway Arts Festival), and the World Premiere of WENDALL GREENE. Darrell has also appeared at the Goodman in THE SHAWL and HOME as part of the David Mamet Festival and the World Premiere of MARTIN FUREY'S SHOT at TimeLine Theatre, among others. He has received three Jeff Awards for Principal Actor for his performances in Profiles' productions of BLACKBIRD, SOME VOICES and EYE OF GOD. In addition, he has received two After Dark Awards for Outstanding Performance for his work in Profiles' POPCORN and CARNAL KNOWLEDGE. Other recent performances at Profiles include IN A DARK DARK HOUSE, APPLE, FAT PIG and THE GLORY OF LIVING.

Howie Johnson (Ansel) was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. He has performed at Eclipse, Pegasus Players, Illinois Theatre, Mary-Arrchie, Buffalo Theatre, Trapdoor, Second City Skybox, EP Theatre, and Boxer Rebellion. He also toured with LEAVING IOWA for almost two years. He is a proud company member of SiNNERMAN Ensemble where he was last seen in IVANOV this fall. He can be seen in a a number of independent films as well as THE EXPRESS with Dennis Quaid and THE INFORMANT with Matt Damon. He's also been on the small screen as Lt. Zuelke on ER and Lukacz on PRISON BREAK.

CLAIRE WELLIN (Dottie) is an actor, singer, songwriter and dancer and recently moved to Chicago. Previously in Chicago she has performed her own work in the Beast Women Winter Cabaret Series and in CHAD MORTON'S TV CHRISTMAS MIRACLE at the Village Players. Other roles include Ophelia in HAMLET, Joan of Arc in THE LARK, Dainty June in GYPSY, Rosamund in THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM, The Medium/Aunt Monica in SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE, Miss Dorothy in THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, Peppermint Patty in SNOOPY, Luisa in THE FANTASTICKS and PETER PAN. Claire is also a violinist and jazz singer, and has performed original music with The Disappearance of Franklin. She graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University, Mankato and most recently studied at The American University of Rome.

Tickets for Killer Joe are $30 for Thursdays and $35 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are available by phone, (773) 549-1815, or online, www.profilestheatre.org. Performances are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

Profiles Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company founded in 1988 by five Eastern Illinois University alumni and has since been continually producing plays. Profiles brings new works to Chicago that illuminate the determination and resiliency of the human spirit. The company produces World, US and Midwest Premieres by new playwrights, as well as established writers whose work has been seen across the country and around the world. Profiles is particularly drawn to playwrights with a unique narrative style and use of language and the company takes pride in carefully selecting scripts that combine integrity with risk. Profiles Theatre is committed to producing plays that tell a story in a captivating way with productions that complement the ensemble and speak to its audience.



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