The Artistic Home's REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT Extends Two Weeks
The Artistic Home's Jeff Award-recommended and critically acclaimed production of Rod Serling's REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT will be extended for two additional weeks due to popular demand. The drama opened to rave reviews on February 17 and will now close on Sunday, April 14 rather than Sunday, March 31. The CHICAGO READER called it "a knockout," saying Mark Pracht, who plays the aging prizefighter of the title, " turns in a remarkable performance as the declining 'punchy' Mountain McClintock." Mary Shen Barnidge, writing for TotalTheater.com called Pracht's work "a star-making performance." Bill Esler of BuzzCenterStage.com said, "Requiem for a Heavyweight is a great show, and a theatrical event."
REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, which had not been seen in the Chicago area for many years, was originally written as a play, but first became a landmark live television drama of the "golden age" starring Jack Palance as a punch-drunk fighter long past his prime. It was the second episode of the legendary live drama series "Playhouse 90," and aired in October 1956. A theatrical feature film version starring Anthony Quinn was released in 1962. The stage version was first produced on Broadway in 1985 and was last staged professionally in Chicago in 2008.
Ensemble member and company co-founder John Mossman, coming off a Jeff Award nomination for HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE and rave reviews for his direction of HerStory Theater's MONGER, directs. Leading Mossman's cast as the titular heavyweight "Mountain" McClintock is company member Mark Pracht, who appeared last year in the title role of City Lit Theater's PROMETHEUS BOUND, in which he spent two hours nightly tethered to a mountain as the god punished by Zeus. With The Artistic Home, Pracht has most recently appeared in ROCK 'N' ROLL and THE SCHOOL FOR LIES. Mountain McClintock's manager Maish Resnick is played by Patrick Thornton, most recently seen in CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and FOR PETER PAN ON HER 70TH BIRTHDAY with Shattered Globe Theatre. Ensemble member Annie Hogan, who played opposite Pracht in THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, appears as Mountain's love interest Grace. Todd Wojcik, another veteran of THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, is Mountain's loyal trainer Army.
Also in the cast are ensemble members Reid Coker (Leo "The Lion Hearted" Loomis), John LaFlamboy (Perelli), David Vogel (Max Greeny), and Laura Coleman (Golda); along with guest artists Ernest Henton (Morrell), Ron Russell (Packy / Thug / Fighter 3), Sean Harklerode (Charlie / Policeman), Charlie Blumenthal (The Kid / Photographer), Mike Rogalski (Doctor / Fighter 2), and Christian Colucci (Fighter 1 / Thug 1).
Mossman says, "We're excited to re-create in our 40-seat theatre the intimacy and intensity it initially had as a live television drama. REQUIEM provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at the toxic capitalism that twists the American Dream and allows us to sell ourselves down the river by believing our own violent lies." His production team includes Kevin Hagan (Scenic Design), Zachery Wagner (Costume Design), Petter Wahlback (Sound Design), Collin Helou (Lighting Design), Kevin Rolfs (Properties Design), Idilia Copertino (Assistant Director), Sara Ann Dickey (Stage Manager), Alyssa Balogh (Assistant Stage Manager), Mark Bracken (Production Manager), Kristin Collins (Casting Director), Susan Gosdick (Dialect Coach), Fight/Boxing Choreography (John Mossman), and Boxing Coach/Technical Advisor (Rich Holton). Kathy Scambiatterra and Kayla Adams are producers
Rod Serling (playwright) One of the most famous writers of television's "golden age," Serling won his first Emmy at age 31, for writing the TV drama PATTERNS. Serling's second Emmy win came a year later, with the 1956 production of REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, starring Jack Palance. After tiring of frequent battles with the television networks' over censorship of his realistic dramas, Serling turned from realism to the sci-fi fantasy genre. He created the iconic series THE TWILIGHT ZONE, for which he was the on-camera host as well as writer of nearly half its 156 episodes. THE TWILIGHT ZONE ran until 1964 and garnered Serling his third Emmy. Serling's feature film screenplay credits include PLANET OF THE APES and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. After a stint of screenwriting, he returned to television writing in 1970. Serling spent his later career hosting and writing many of the episodes of Rod Serling'S NIGHT GALLERY and teaching screenwriting at Ithaca College. Over the course of his career, Serling wrote an estimated 252 scripts and won a total of six Emmys. He died in 1975 at age 50.
John Mossman (director) is co-founder of The Artistic Home, where he in 2018 earned a Jeff award nomination for Performer in a Principal Role - Play for his work as Uncle Peck in The Artistic Home's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE. Later last year he earned raves for his hard-hitting direction of HerStory Theater's drama of the sex trafficking in Chicago, MONGER. In 2017 he directed the Artistic Home's BY THE BOG OF CATS. Also for The Artistic Home, he adapted and directed the world premiere of Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar nominated screenplay THE GODDESS, for which he received an equity Jeff Award for New Adaptation, directed the Jeff Nominated JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL; MARISOL, and the acclaimed revival of William Inge's NATURAL AFFECTION. Other productions include LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, the revival of Clifford Odets's CLASH BY NIGHT, as well as Beth Henley's THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST and RIDERS TO THE SEA by J.M. Synge. He directed THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN for Seanachai Theater, for which he was named one of the top Directors of 2011 by WBEZ, and JULIUS CAESAR for Lakeside Shakespeare Theater. Also a filmmaker, he directed the award winning feature film INTO THE WAKE and has written and directed several short films that have won top awards at numerous international film festivals, including the Artistic Home-produced SPACEMAN DAN'S 243RD FLIGHT. He directed the short films DRAGGAGE and JELL-OHH LADY, featured in the American Cinematheque Series at LA's Egyptian Theater, for which he received the Best Director of 2002 award at the Midwest Independent Film Fest. Documentaries include THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS CRAZY, which received a Telly and a Voice Award for its portrayal of teenagers struggling with mental illness.
He has also played Leontes in THE WINTERS TALE and O'Trigger in THE RIVALS at Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre. He has appeared in the Artistic Home production of MACBETH, Shannon in NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, as ATTICUS FINCH at Oak Park Festival Theatre's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, in the Steppenwolf production of THE MARCH. at Seanachai Ensemble's IN PIGEON HOUSE, and in the title role at Provision Theater's JACOB, as well as The Artistic Home productions of TROUBLE IN MIND, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, in the title role of MODIGLIANI, and as MACBETH at Lakeside Shakespeare Theater. He appeared in The Artistic Home's critically acclaimed productions of PEER GYNT in the role of Peer, for which he received an equity Jeff Nomination.
Photo by Joe Mazza, Brave Lux Photography.