Profiles Theatre's Midwest premiere of 'Great Falls'

Profiles Theatre continues 20th Anniversary Season
with the Midwest premiere of
Great Falls by Lee Blessing


The Profiles production marks only the second time this play has been produced.

Profiles Theatre continues its 20th Anniversary Season with the acclaimed new comedy-drama Great Falls by Lee Blessing, directed by Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. The production runs January 15 - March 1, 2009, at Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway. The press opening is Friday, January 16, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.

Great Falls follows a stepfather and teenage stepdaughter on a road trip across the American West. Mr. Blessing reveals the strained nature of their relationship as they attempt to make sense of who they are to one another now. The realities of their shattered connection unfold in this acclaimed new play.

Profiles' production will be the Midwest premiere of Great Falls. It received its World premiere at the 2008 Humana Festival of New American Plays and was a festival favorite. Profiles' production marks only the second production of this new play from one of the most accomplished writers in Modern American Theatre.
This is the third production of Profiles Theatre's 20th Anniversary Season following their acclaimed productions of Men of Tortuga by Jason Wells and The Thugs by Adam Bock. The next production will be the U.S. premiere of The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson.
Profiles' Artistic Director Joe Jahraus is the director for Great Falls. Recently, he directed Profiles' highly praised Midwest premiere of The Thugs by Adam Bock. Joe directed many of Profiles' critically acclaimed Neil LaBute plays including In a Dark Dark House, Some Girl(s) and Fat Pig. He also directed their American premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen and the Midwest Premiere of Profiles' award-winning hit production of Blackbird by Adam Rapp.

The cast of Great Falls features Profiles' ensemble member Darrell W. Cox as the stepfather. Allison Torem returns to Profiles as the stepdaughter. Last season, Allison appeared with Mr. Cox in Profiles' Midwest premiere In a Dark Dark House by Neil LaBute.
"We're thrilled to be producing our first play by such a highly praised and prolific playwright as Lee Blessing," says Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. "Great Falls is so touching, funny and beautifully written, it's quickly become my favorite work by Mr. Blessing. And after the wonderful chemistry they created for In a Dark Dark House, I can't imagine a better pairing for this story than Darrell and Allison."

The designers are Chelsea Meyers (set), Jessica Harpenau (lights), Darcy Elora Hofer (costumes), and Kevin O'Donnell (sound). The assistant director is Profiles company member Somer Benson and the stage manager is Nya Watkins.


Lee Blessing (playwright) is best known for his acclaimed play A Walk in the Woods, which has been seen on Broadway, London's West End and Moscow. Some of his other highly regarded plays include Going to St. Ives at Primary Stages, Thief River at Signature Theatre; Cobb at the Lucille Lortel Theater (and at The Old Globe in 1990); Chesapeake at Second Stage Theatre; Down The Road at Weissberger Theater Group at Atlantic Theater Company; and Eleemosynary at Manhattan Theatre Club. The Signature Theatre's 1992-93 season included Fortinbras, Lake Street Extension, Two Rooms and the world premiere of Patient A. He has had regional and world premieres at The Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Arena Stage, The Old Globe and ALLIANCE THEATRE among others, as well as numerous plays produced in England, France, Germany, Japan, Scandinavia and elsewhere worldwide. Additional plays include Oldtimers Game, Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, Independence, Riches, Black Sheep, Whores and Great Falls. His recent and upcoming world and regional premieres include Flag Day at Contemporary American Theater Festival, The Scottish Play at La Jolla Playhouse and The Winning Streak at George Street Playhouse. For television he wrote "Cooperstown" on TNT. Blessing's awards include Tony and Olivier nominations, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the American Theatre Critics Association Award for A Walk in the Woods; a Lucille Lortel Award nomination and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play for Going to St. Ives; a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play for Thief River; a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble for Cobb; a Great American Play Award for Independence, the Humanitas Award for "Cooperstown" and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Guggenheim, Bush, McKnight and Jerome Foundations. Blessing is the Head of the Graduate Playwriting Program at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.


Joe Jahraus (director) is the founder and artistic director of Profiles Theatre. Joe most recently directed Profiles' Midwest Premiere of Some Girl(s) by Neil LaBute. Prior to that, he directed the American Premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen and the Midwest Premiere of Fat Pig by Neil LaBute, for which he received a Jeff Citation Nomination for Outstanding Director. Other directing credits for Profiles include the award-winning Midwest Premiere of Blackbird by Adam Rapp, Babylon Gardens by Timothy Mason, The Water Engine and Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet, and the award-winning Midwest Premiere of Carnal Knowledge by Jules Fieffer, among others. As an actor, Joe recently appeared in Profiles Midwest premiere of Things We Said Today by Neil LaBute and he received an After Dark Award for Outstanding Ensemble for his performance in Merge as part of Profiles' Midwest Premiere of autobahn, also by Neil LaBute. Appearances in other Profiles' productions include The Glory of Living, Reparation, Noise, Wonder of the World, Snakebit, Jump to Cow Heaven, Some Voices, Dogs Barking, Popcorn, Stray Dogs, Eye of God, Paddywack, The Baby Dance, Geogrpahy of a Horse Dreamer, Glengarry Glen Ross, How the Other Half Loves, The Water Engine, Orphans and True West. Joe has designed numerous sets for Profiles including Stray Dogs, for which he received a 1999 Jeff Citation nomination for Set Design.


Darrell W. Cox (Stepfather) was most recently seen 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.

Allison Torem (Stepdaughter) returns to Profiles Theatre after making her professional acting debut in their production of In a Dark Dark House last season. She attends Whitney Young Magnet High School as a senior and most recently performed as Muriel in her school's production of Ah, Wilderness. She was in a short film at Colombia College and took classes at Prologue Theater and also The Entertainment Project, where she performed in Grease and Peter Pan.

Tickets for Great Falls are $25 for Thursdays and Sundays; $30 for Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are available by phone, (773) 549-1815, or online, 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.


Title: Great Falls
Playwright: Lee Blessing
Directed by: Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus
Featuring: Profiles ensemble members Darrell W. Cox. Alsofeaturing Allison Torem
Previews: January 9, 10, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.
January 11 at 7 p.m.
January 12, 13, 14 at 8:00 p.m.

Dates: Press opening: Friday, January 16, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.

Regular run: January 15-March 1, 2009
Thurs, Fri, Sat: 8:00 p.m.
Sun: 7:00 p.m.
Location:Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway
Parking is available for $6-$10 at 4100 N. Clarendon
(One block east of the theatre at the corner of Clarendon and Belle Plaine)

Ticket prices:Fridays and Saturdays, $30; Thursdays and Sundays, $25; Students and Senior Citizens receive a $5 discount on all performances; Group rates are available.

Box Office: Buy online at
or call (773) 549-1815


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