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THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Celebrated Its 125th Performance 3/2

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, presented by Fellowship for the Performing Arts at The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, will celebrate its 125th performance and sixth smash hit month at the theater on March 2. The production is the biggest hit ever to play at The Mercury Theater, having entertained over 25,000 theatergoers during its Chicago run. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which originally opened in October, has since extended on multiple occasions from its original six-week run and will continue an open run due to overwhelming popularity. The play also enjoyed sold-out runs in New York and Washington, D.C.

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is a funny and provocative theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis' brilliant novel that explores the theme of spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view. Adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Fiske and Max McLean, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which runs 90 minutes without intermission, is set in an office in hell. The engaging play follows a senior devil, Screwtape, and his secretary, Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on how to "undermine faith and prevent the formation of virtues" in a young man who has just converted to Christianity. As Screwtape ridicules Wormwood and devilishly dictates his letters to Toadpipe, the fantastical creature transforms into laughingly recognizable figures with whimsical movement and wordless wit.
Well known Chicago actor Peter Kevoian, who appeared as the Wizard in the Chicago company of Wicked, recently replaced Max McLean in the starring role in THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune called Kevoian "One of the Top 10 Actors to Watch in 2007." Accompanying Kevioan on stage is Aislinn J. Mulligan as Toadpipe. Mulligan's recent credits include Burn This, Tattoo Girl, Cowboy Mouth, & Mad Forest. She is a graduate of Northwestern University & The School at Steppenwolf. Mulligan was a nationally competitive gymnast in England, before moving to Chicago and can be seen as an Aerialist and Acrobat with the Midnight Circus, Actors Gymnasium, and at Aloft Aerial Dance. This unique training makes her perfectly suited for playing the physically challenging role of Toadpipe.

Critics have raved that the show is "Very smart...richly rewarding...exuberant theatricality!," (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune), "Sizzling entertainment...the intellectual temperature as surely shot up...wonderfully clever. Sensational!," (Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times), "A first rate production...Terribly entertaining... Screwtape boils over with wit" (Jayne Blanchard, The Washington Times), a "Hell of a good time...imaginative theatricality...wonderful performances" (Frank Scheck, New York Post), "Sly, funny, handsomely produced" (Celia Wren, Washington Post) and "A thought-provoking, engaging, entertaining, intelligent, bitingly satirical and funny exploration of profound issues of right and wrong," (Daniel Kelley, NYTheatre.com.)
When first published in 1942. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS brought immediate fame to C.S. Lewis, a little known Oxford don whose field of study was Medieval English and literature. Over the past sixty-five years its wit and wisdom have made it one of his most widely read and influential works. One of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day, C.S. Lewis was a Fellow and Tutor of English literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.

His major contributions in literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract millions of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include: The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, and Mere Christianity.

The initial production of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS opened at Theatre 315 in New York City in January 2006 for a limited three-week run. Due to popular demand it ran for eleven sold-out weeks. After building on its success it reopened in the fall of 2007 at the Theatre at St. Clement's for another twelve sold-out weeks to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. In April 2008 it transferred to The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. for a five week run. Again it played to sold out and standing room-only audiences.

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is directed by Jeffrey Fiske. Scenic design is by Cameron Anderson, costumes are by Michael Bevins, lighting by Tyler Micoleau, and sound is by Bart Fasbender. For more biographical or production information, visit www.ScrewtapeOnStage.com.

The performance schedule for THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets range in price from $29.00 to $48.50. Tickets are available by calling The Mercury Theater Box Office at 773.325.1700, TicketMaster at 312.902.1500, or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Discounted tickets for students and groups of 10 or more are also available. For groups of 15 or more, please call 773.477.7666. The Mercury Theatre's convenient location gives audience members one-stop entertainment and various shopping and dining venues including Cullen's Bar & Grill, the restaurant connected to the theater.


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