Raven Theatre Announces Cast of William Inge's A LOSS OF ROSES

Michael Menendian, Producing Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, has announced casting for A Loss of Roses, the infrequently produced drama by William Inge that premiered on Broadway in 1959 and launched the career of a young Warren Beatty. Raven's production will be the play's first professional staging in the Chicago area since early 1999. The Raven production will run on the company's West Stage from February 17 to April 2, 2016 under the direction of Raven Associate Artistic Director Cody Estle.

In Inge's drama, a widow and her 21-year-old son are getting by in a small Depression-era Kansas town when their old friend, a down-on-her-luck but attractive actress, moves in with the two. They learn that survival comes at a price and that moving on requires letting go. In his review of the play's 2014 off-Broadway revival, The Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout said "this nearly-lost classic by the author of Bus Stop and Picnic is a fine play that should never have slipped from sight."

Appearing as Lila, the actress whose visit changes the lives of her hosts, will be Eliza Stoughton. Stoughton recently performed as Sister James inDoubt at Writers Theatre and has also played key roles in Raven's Vieux Carré and Dividing the Estate. Kenny, the 21-year-old with whom Lila becomes involved, will be played by Sam Hubbard, who won raves for his performance in the title role of Raven's The Playboy of the Western Worldin 2014 and is currently appearing in The Long Christmas Ride Home at Strawdog. Abigail Boucher, who recently appeared as Donny in The Cryptogram at Profiles Theatre, has been cast as Kenny's mother Helen.

Also appearing in the cast will be Jeff-nominated Joel Reitsma (Raven'sVieux Carré), playing Lila's erstwhile boyfriend Ricky Powers; Antonio Zhiurinskas (Peter Van Daan in Writers' recent The Diary of Anne Frank) as Jelly Beamis, Lane Flores (About Face's Abraham Lincoln was a Faggot) as Ronny Cavendish, and Barbara Roeder Harris (Principal Principle at Stage Left/Theatre Seven and Plainsong at Signal Ensemble Theatre) as Madame Olga St. Valentine.

Estle's design team for A Loss of Roses will include Jeff-award winners Jeffrey D. Kmiec, set designer of Raven's 2015 Dividing the Estate and its upcoming The Old Friends; Greg Hofmann (lighting designer of The Who's Tommy at Paramount), and fight choreographer David Woolley (Jeff award for Raven's The Playboy of the Western World). Additional Jeff-nominated designers on the team include Alexia Rutherford (costumes) and Mary O'Dowd (properties and set dressing). Also on the production team are Spencer Diedrick (assistant director), Tara Malpass (stage manager), and Kelli Kovach (assistant stage manager).

William Inge (Author) is best known for his plays Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic (Pulitzer Prize winner), Bus Stop and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Inge was one of the first American dramatists to deal with the quality of life in the small towns of the Midwest, and he achieved notable success throughout the 1950s. Inge received an Oscar for his original screenplay Splendor in the Grass (1961), which starred Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood.

Cody Estle (Director) is Associate Artistic Director at Raven Theatre, where he has directed Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré, Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl and the world premiere ofDating Walter Dante. His other Chicago direction credits include Don't Go Gentle for Haven Theatre, Watch on the Rhine at The Artistic Home; Uncle Bob at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company and Hospitality Suite at Citadel Theatre Company. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Northlight Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Court Theatre, Writers Theatre, Next Theatre and Strawdog Theatre. Estle serves on the faculty of Cherubs at Northwestern University and is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

Two American masters to be represented at Raven Theatre this winter.

A Loss of Roses will be one of two lesser-known plays by American masters to be staged at Raven in winter 2016. Horton Foote's The Old Friends was written in the mid-1960s, but wasn't fully staged until September 2013, when New York City's Signature Theater Company staged its World Premiere. Warmly received by New York critics and audiences, that production directed by Michael Wilson was remounted at the Alley in Houston, Texas in August 2014. Raven's Midwest Premiere will be just the second full production of the piece since the Signature/Alley mounting.

The Old Friends will be the first of these two plays to open, with previews from January 27 - February 1 and the official opening on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. A Loss of Roses will have previews from February 17-21, with press performances Monday, February 22 and Tuesday, February 23. The two plays will be performed concurrently at Raven for six weeks - with The Old Friends running on Raven's East Stage through March 26, 2016 while A Loss of Roses plays on Raven's West Stage through April 2, 2016. Casting for The Old Friends, to be directed by Raven Co-founder/Co-Artistic Director Michael Menendian, was previously announced.

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