Raven Theatre Company Slates Audience Engagement Events for THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES

A series of five audience engagement events for Raven Theatre's Midwest premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Assembled Parties has been announced by the company.

The talks and talkbacks will be conducted following Sunday matinees from February 19 through March 19. Sunday performances are at 3 pm, with talkbacks immediately following at approximately 5:30 pm.

Dr. Michelle Nickerson (pictured, left)
Sunday, February 26
"American Politics in 1980 and 2000"

Dr. Michelle Nickerson, Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Nickerson's research and teaching focuses on United States political, social, and urban history. In a question-and-answer format following the performance, she will address the political and social context surrounding the presidential elections of 1980 and 2000 which form the back drop for the two acts of The Assembled Parties.

Jeff Ginsberg
Sunday, March 5
"Richard Greenberg and the American Jewish Theatre"

Jeff Ginsberg, an actor, director and educator and the coordinator of the Acting program of the Theater Department of Columbia College Chicago and former co-artistic director of the National Jewish Theater.

Richard Greenberg is one of the most successful and prolific Jewish-American writers of our time. Many of his plays: Eastern Standard, The American Plan, Everett Beekin and Our Mother's Brief Affair along with The Assembled Parties, feature Jewish characters; Ginsberg will additionally explore how Greenberg's cultural role as a New York City Jew generally informs Greenberg's writing.

Sundays, February 19, March 12 & 19: Post-show discussion of The Assembled Parties with Assistant Director Michael Conroy.

The Assembled Parties, by Richard Greenberg, author of Take Me Out, Three Days of Rain and many other plays, opened in its Midwest Premiere on Raven Theatre's East Stage under Cody Estle's direction on Tuesday, January 31, following previews from January 25 - 30, 2017.

In 2013, the play earned a 2013 Tony Award nomination for Best Play as well as nominations for the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

Greenberg's play follows the extended Bascov family over two family celebrations in their sprawling New York City upper west side apartment on two Christmas Days twenty years apart, in 1980 and 2000. At the earlier celebration, the family is filled with hope for the son they assume will one day become President of the United States. By the year 2000, they find that fate doesn't always play by the rules and their family looks much different than they had planned.

Estle says, "This family is on the verge of great changes much as is the US, as the country anticipates the arrival of a new President."


Richard Greenberg (playwright) has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off-Broadway in New York City and eight at the South Coast Repertory Theatre of Costa Mesa, California, including The Violet Hour, Everett Beekin, and Hurrah at Last. Greenberg is perhaps best known for his 2003 Tony Award winning play, Take Me Out about the conflicts that arise after a Major League Baseball player nonchalantly announces to the media that he is gay. Along with Take Me Out, Greenberg's plays include The Dazzle, The American Plan, Life Under Water, and The Author's Voice. His adaptation of August Strindberg's Dance of Death ran on Broadway in 2002, starring Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren and David Strathairn. He received the George Oppenheimer Award, presented by Newsday in 1985 for The Bloodletters, produced Off-Off Broadway while he was at Yale. He the first winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a playwright in mid-career in 1998.

In 2013, Greenberg worked on three shows: on Broadway, an adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Assembled Parties and the book for the musical Far From Heaven which opened in June 2013 at Playwrights Horizons. His play Our Mother's Brief Affair premiered at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, Costa Mesa, California in April 2009 and was produced on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club. His play The Babylon Line premiered Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on November 10, 2016 in a production directed by Terry Kinney.

Michelle Nickerson is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of History at Loyola University Chicago. She teaches courses on the history of women and gender, U.S. politics, social movements, cities and suburbs, and the Department's Ramonat Seminar.

After graduating from Yale with her Ph.D. and completing a fellowship at the Huntington Library, Nickerson taught for five years at University of Texas at Dallas before joining the faculty at Loyola in 2011. In 2012 she published Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right (Princeton University Press),which documents the grassroots activism of conservative women in Cold War Los Angeles and explores the impact of that activism on the emerging American right. This work led to her interest in regional and metropolitan political-economic development, which she examines in a volume of essays, co-edited with historian Darren Dochuk called Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Place, Space, and Region (University of Pennsylvania Press). Nickerson is currently studying the Camden 28, a Catholic anti-war group of the Vietnam era apprehended, brought to trial, and acquitted after raiding a draft board office in 1971.

Jeff Ginsberg is an actor, director and educator. He is an Associate Professor and the coordinator of the Acting program of the Theater Department of Columbia College Chicago. As co-artistic director of the National Jewish Theater from 1992-1996, he supervised, directed or acted in over twenty classics, as well as Chicago and world premieres. He was also co-artistic director of the Immediate Theater Company where he directed Joseph Jefferson recognized productions of Seduced, Two Small Bodies, Apocalyptic Butterflies and Ragged Dick.

He has taught at The School at Steppenwolf, Northwestern University's 'Cherub' Program, The Actor's Center, and Center Theater's Training Program and at Columbia College Chicago where he has directed over 30 productions of classic and contemporary work. Jeff received a Presidential Scholar in the Arts Teaching Award and has twice been nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Award from Columbia College. He has recently trained with the Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA and LISPA in London, Paola Coletto in Italy and Ruth Zaporah in Montreal. He is a graduate of Boston University's School of the Arts and the Yale School of Drama.

For more information, visit www.raventheatre.com or call 773-338-2177. All performances take place on Raven's East Stage 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville), Chicago, IL.

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