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Signal Ensemble Theatre Announces "Six Degrees..." on 11/08, and "...Miss Jean Brodie" for 4/09

Artistic Directors Ronan Mara and Joseph Stearns announce the next two productions in Signal Ensemble Theatre's 2008-2009, sixth anniversary season, "Six Degrees of Separation" and "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," presenting a diverse slate which focuses on different individuals and their struggles with the pressures of society and the consequences of their choices. Both productions will be directed by Artistic Director Ronan Marra. 

Signal will open "Six Degrees of Separation" by John Guare on Monday, November 17, 2008, at 7 p.m. (previews on November 15 at 8 p.m., and November 16 at 7 p.m.).  The show will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m., through December 20.  There will be an added show on December 8 at 7 p.m., and no performance on Thanksgiving Day.

Press notes explain "Ouisa Kittredge read somewhere that "everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people."  When Paul, a young victim of a knife attack, seeks assistance at her family's upper-class New York home, she discovers how true that statement really is.  Claiming to be Sidney's Poitier's son, Paul connects to Ouisa and her husband Flan in a way not even their own children have.  But Paul may not be all he says he is, and his aggressive, far-reaching search for meaningful human contact creates a web of confusion and pain that - as Ouisa discovers - didn't start, nor end, within her family's walls.  A comic-tragedy loosely based on a true story, "Six Degrees of Separation," like a revolving Kandinsky, paints multiple sides on what drives and motivates us in the glare of money, greed, fame, lust and, finally, each other."  The production runs about 90 minutes with no intermission.

The cast includes company members Vincent Lonergan (Geoffrey), Simone Roos (Elizabeth) and Aaron Snook (Rick), with guest artists John Blick (Doug), Steven Camara (Detective), Tucker Curtis (Doorman/Policeman), Kevin D'Ambrosio (Hustler), Bryson Engelen (Paul), Katie Genualdi (Tess), Susie Griffith (Ouisa), Eric Lindahl (Trent), Joseph Mack (Dr. Fine), Tim Martin (Woody), Nick Mikula (Ben), Jon Steinhagen (Flan) , Dan Taube (Larkin), and Heather Townsend (Kitty).

The final show of Signal's season will be "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" by Jay Presson Allen, based on the novel by Muriel Spark, opening April 13, 2009, 7 p.m., running Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m., through May 16 (previews on April 11, 8 p.m., and April 12, 7 p.m.).

"Jean Brodie is in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders, and all of her pupils are the crème de le crème.  The Brodie Set, as her students at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls are famously known, hang on Miss Brodie's every word as she - with reckless abandon - dismisses the standard curriculum in favor of lessons in things that she most admires: subjects as wide-ranging as Giotto to Hitler to her own romances.  When Ms. Brodie begins an affair with one teacher to distract from her affair with another, and a false love letter falls into the wrong hands, the headmistress puts Miss Brodie under review.  Her considerable bombast is the only thing that saves her job, until a fatal error in guidance and the betrayal of her favorite student become more than Miss Jean Brodie can overcome ... even in her prime" describes press notes.  The show runs about two hours with one intermission.

"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" cast is ensemble members Simone Roos (Sandy), Aaron Snook (Lowther), and Joseph Stearns (Lloyd), with guest artists Patricia Austin (Jean Brodie), Jessica Bennett (Monica), Cynthia Blakewell (Mary), Annie DiMaria (student), Brigitte Ditmars (Mackay), Kasia Januszewski (student), Rachael Jenison (Jenny), Erin Myers (Sister Helena/Miss Campbell), Danielle O'Farrell (student), Eric Smith (Mr. Perry/Mr. McCready), and Angela Steffens (student).


Signal Ensemble was recently nominated for seven 2007-2008 non-Equity Jeff Awards - five for their production of "1776" - Production-Musical, Outstanding Director Ronan Marra, Costume Design Laura M. Dana - in addition to Philip Winston (Actor in a Principal Role Musical), and Vincent  Lonergan (Actor in a Supporting Role Musical).  Both Lonergan and Shawn Pfautsch were nominated as Actor in a Principal Role Play for "Old Wicked Songs" as well.  They received the award for Production-Musical.

Founded in 2003 by Ronan Marra, Christopher Prentice and Joseph Stearns, Signal Ensemble Theatre is known for its ensemble acting and producing a diverse slate of plays that range from classics to new works.  Signal uses the actor as the focal point to clearly execute the playwright's vision.

Signal Ensemble Theatre will continue performing their shows at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division Ave. in Chicago, which is accessible via the Division Blue Line Division stop, as well as #9, #70, and #56 busses.  Free parking is available at Holy Trinity Church (Division and Noble).  Signal returns to the downstairs space at the Chopin Theatre because of its flexibility, and appreciation for the continuing support received from owners Zygmunt Dyrkacz and Lela Headd.  Productions Plus is the exclusive sponsor of Signal's sixth season.

Single tickets for each production are $15 on Thursdays and Sundays; $20 on Fridays and Saturdays; and $10 for previews and industry members.  Student, senior and groups discounts are also available at the box office, at 773-347-1350 or

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