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Raven Theatre Presents BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY, Now thru 6/30

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Raven Theatre closes the 2011-2012 season with, Bang the Drum Slowly, directed by Michael Menendian. Opening is tonight, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, with a reception sponsored by the Fireside Restaurant following in Raven's lobby. Tickets and information are available at www.raventheatre.com or 773-338-2177.
 
Set in the honorable days of baseball before free agency brought on enormous contracts and doping scandals, Mark Harris' drama follows a super star pitcher from New York and his friendship with a struggling third-string catcher from the country. Bang the Drum Slowly depicts the intense bond that grows between two lives intertwined by chance and kept together by loyalty.
 
Director Michael Menendian states, "As the son of an immigrant family, I first adopted baseball as my direct identity to American life. I've always felt that if you want to understand America, you should understand baseball. Much like how a baseball team succeeds or fails as an ensemble of players committed to a central purpose, the same can be said of theatre and the commitment to a work of art."
 
Mark Harris was a novelist, journalist, and educator who found his voice discussing death and tragedy through a humorous and everyday vernacular. Bang the Drum Slowly was the second of a quartet of novels about baseball players; the others being The Southpaw, A Ticket for a Seamstitch, and It Looked Like For Ever. The most well known of the quartet, Bang the Drum Slowly, was adapted for a television anthology series, a major motion picture, and a stage production.
 
Eric Simonson is a playwright and adaptor whose work has been produced in Japan and throughout the United States at theaters including Steppenwolf, The Huntington Theatre Company, L.A. Theatre Works, City Theatre of Pittsburgh, The Kennedy Center, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Arizona Theatre Company, Madison Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Crossroads Theatre Company. His adaptation of Moby Dick at Milwaukee Repertory was chosen as one of Time Magazine's top ten productions of 2002. Also an accomplished theatre, film and opera director, he has received six Tony Award nominations, an Academy Award, and a Princess Grace Statue Award.
 
Director Michael Menendian is a founding member and the Producing Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, where he has directed and designed sets for many productions, earning numerous Joseph Jefferson and After Dark awards. He recently received a 2010 Jeff nomination for his direction of Raven's Death of a Salesman. Other productions include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hedda Gabler, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, The Night of the Iguana, Dancing at Lughnasa, Golden Boy, Marvin's Room, A Streetcar Named Desire, A View from the Bridge, and Glengarry Glen Ross.
 
The cast of Bang the Drum Slowly includes: Nicholas Bailey (Piney Woods, Aleck Olson) who has performed with Strangeloop Theatre, Inconceivable Theatre and BoHo; Carthy Dixon (Perry Simpson, Lionel) who returns to Raven Theatre after appearing in Twelve Angry Men and Assistant Directing Radio Golf; Kevin Duvall (Bruce Pearson) who is a founding member of the Alluvium Group and of the sketch comedy group Awesomonster; Rudy Galvan ("Ugly" Jones) who is a company member at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. and has also performed with Steep Theatre; Jeff Taylor (Sid Goldman, Doc Loftus) who has performed with Appetite Theatre, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy Theater, and Rubicon Theatre Project; Jason Love (Robert Diego, Hotel Doctor) who has worked with Happy Vertigo Theatre, Quest Theatre, Provision Theatre and Appetite Theatre; Jonathan Nichols (Joe Jaros, Mr. Pearson, Det. Rogers) who was previously seen in the Raven Theatre production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Book of Days; Jen Short (Holly Wiggins, Patricia Moors) who was recently seen in Raven's Bus Stop and has stage managed several Raven productions; Mario Solis (George Gonzales) who has performed with the Lyric Opera and iO Chicago; Michael Stegall (Henry "Author" Wiggins) who was recently seen in Raven's Bus Stop and has also performed with Artist's Ensemble; Dan Toot ("Horse" Bird, Bradley Lord) who has performed with First Folio Theatre, the side project, Theatre Hikes and The State Theatre; Tim Walsh ("Dutch" Schnell) who has performed with Next Theatre, MadKap Productions and Theater D; Joshua J. Volkers ("Goose" Williams, Dr. Clark) who has performed with Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Lookingglass, Dog and Pony Theatre and Mortar Theatre Company; Antoine Pierre Whitfield (Jonah Brooks) who was recently seen in the Raven productions of Dating Walter Dante, Bus Stop and Radio Golf; and Kristen Williams (Mrs. Pearson, Katie, Lawyer) who has performed in several Raven productions including Death of a Salesman, Hedda Gabler, Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
 
The Bang the Drum Slowly staff includes: Andrei Onegin (Set Designer/Technical Director), Kate Murphy (Costume Designer), Kurt Ottinger (Lighting Designer), Mary O'Dowd (Properties Designer), Peter Storms (Sound Designer), David Woolley (Fight Choreographer), Justin Castellano (Master Electrician), and Amanda Rozmiarek (Scenic Artist). Jason Huysman serves as Assistant Director and Kiley Morgan serves as stage manager.

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