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Victory Gardens Theater Presents The Chicago Premiere Of Dominique Morisseau's PIPELINE

Victory Gardens Theater Presents The Chicago Premiere Of Dominique Morisseau's PIPELINE

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 44th season with the Chicago Premiere of Pipeline, written by 2018 MacArthur Fellow Dominique Morisseau and directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce. Pipeline runs February 1 March 3, 2019, with press performance on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Nya, a public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son, Omari, opportunities her students will never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? With profound compassion and poetry, Dominique Morisseau's (Skeleton Crew, Detroit '67, and the Broadway-bound Ain't Too Proud) Pipeline brings to light a powerful and important conversation about parenthood, the state of our public school system, and the prison pipeline that claims so many of our youth.

In the United States, the school-to-prison pipeline is the disproportionate tendency of minors and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to become incarcerated, because of harsh school and municipal policies," says Chay Yew, artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater. "In Dominique Morisseau's timely and powerful Pipeline, she explores an important conversation about the state of our public school system, parenthood, and the pipeline that claims so many of our youths of color. Speaking truth to power and using theater to create meaningful civic dialogue, Dominique tells stories of communities grappling with the ever evolving social, political and economic shifts that define them. I can't think of a more ideal artist who's in line with our fight for an equitable world than Dominique."

The cast of Pipeline includes Tyla Abercrumbie (Nya), Ronald L. Conner (Dun), Matthew Elam (Omari), Aurora Real de Asua (Jasmine), Mark Spates Smith (Xavier), and Janet Ulrich Brooks (Laurie).

The creative team includes Andrew Boyce (scenic design), Kristy Hall (costume design), Eric Southern (lighting design), Josh Schmidt (sound design), Eleanor Kahn (props design), Skyler Gray (dramaturg), Amanda Davis (production stage manager).

About the Artists

Dominique Morisseau (Playwright) is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie's (Premiere Stages). Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer's Group, Women's Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O'Neil Playwrights Conference. Her work has been commissioned by Steppenwolf Theater, Women's Project, South Coast Rep, People's Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series Shameless. Following its record breaking run at Berkeley Repertory Theatre last summer, her new musical Ain't Too Proud The Life and Times of The Temptations, is set to open at The Kennedy Center (Washington DC), The Ahmanson (Los Angeles), and The Princess of Whales Theater (Toronto) this season before going to Broadway Spring 2019. Awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), and the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship. She was named one of Variety's Women of Impact for 2017-18 and a recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant.

Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Director) Chicago-born veteran performer, director and educator, she has performed on stages across the country, Europe, and Mexico. She created the role of Elizabeth Sandry for Steppenwolf's historic Tony Award-winning production The Grapes of Wrath; most recently performed as Anne Mwarimba in Danai Gurira's Familiar at both Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C., and as Hillary in Lucas Hnath's Hillary and Clinton premiere at Victory Gardens; As Victory Garden's 2016 Gala Guest Co-Playwright, she penned The Billboard with husband Kerry James Marshall, directed their short play, and developed its video component. Last season directed Sandra Delgado's La Havana Madrid for Teatro Vista, which debuted at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre; traveled to the Miracle Center, then Goodman's Owen Theatre, and closed on Navy Pier's Lake Stage. Developed and directed Sandra Delgado's Para, Graciela and Milkweed by Misty DeBerry, both solo works. From 1995 to 2007, wrote/adapted and directed a dozen plays for Youth Drama Workshop, Goodman Theatre's summer enrichment program she co-founded and developed for 'tween-age and teen age residents of Bronzeville's Dearborn Homes. Mounted productions for Columbia College; University of Illinois-Chicago; Indiana University; and DePaul University. Received the Congo Square Spotlight Award (2018); League of Chicago Theatres Lifetime Achievement Award (2017); Robert Rauschenberg Residency (2015); 3Arts Award (2010); Yale Art Gallery residency (2013); Jane Addams Hull House Association's Woman of Valor Award (2010); Inaugural Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Women in the Arts and Media - Columbia College; and is included in Rushmore, the majestic Chicago Cultural Center mural by Kerry James Marshall (2017).

Tyla Abercrumbie (Nya) Ariadne's Thread (Victory Gardens). Chicago Credits; Paradise Blue and In Darfur (Timeline), East Texas Hot Links (Writers), Gem of the Ocean, Piano Lesson, Flying West (Court Theatre), Detroit '67 (Northlight), Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Regional Credits; All The Way, Good People, Clybourne Park, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, You Can't Take It With You, Matchmaker, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Grapes of Wrath (Asolo Repertory), Intimate Apparel (Milwaukee Rep), In The Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Radio Golf (Pittsburgh Public), Piano Lesson (Portland Stage Company), Jitney (St. Louis Black Repertory), A Raisin In the Sun (Studio Arena) and many others. TV credits. Proven Innocent , The Chi seasons 1 and 2, Easy, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Empire, Shrink, and others. Film credits; Animator, Unexpected, Poker House. Tyla holds a BA in theatre from Columbia College. She is a company member with Timeline Theatre and the recipient of the Timeline Theatre Playwrights Collective two year residency. She's also a proud member of Actors Equity.

Ronald L. Conner (Dun) Victory Gardens debut. Regional: Father Comes Home from the Wars, A View from the Bridge (Goodman), Jitney, Small Oak Tree Runs Red, King Hedley II (Congo Square, Ensemble Member), The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, First Breeze of Summer (Court Theatre), SS: Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Whipping Man, The Mountaintop, Joe Turner's Come and Gone (St. Louis Black Rep), Two Trains Running (Geva Theatre of Rochester), Gem of the Ocean (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati), Fences (New Harmony Theatre). Film: Chasing the Blues, The Secret Santa, The Layover, Captive State, The Book of Leah, Vendors. Television: The Chi, Southside, Empire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Sirens, APB, Mind Games.

Matthew Elam (Omari) Victory Gardens debut. Native Son, Wig Out!, Lord of the Flies (DePaul Theatre School). Local: Late Company (Cor). Film & TV: Chicago PD. Web Series: Good Genes.

Aurora Real de Asua (Jasmine) Victory Gardens debut. Regional: The Wolves (Goodman), Dracula, You On the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Firebirds Take the Field (Rivendell), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Metropolis Center for Performing Arts). Film & TV: As With Knives and Skin, Working Man. BA from Northwestern University.

Mark Spates Smith (Xavier) Victory Gardens debut. How Long Will I Cry (Steppenwolf), The Lake Effect (Silk Road), Hoodoo Love (Collective). Film & TV: Empire, Chicago PD, Black Lighting, The Chi.

Janet Ulrich Brooks (Laurie) Native Gardens, Failure: A Love Story, Jacob & Jack (Victory Gardens), Master Class, The Audience, Bakersfield Mist, The How and The Why, 33 Variations, A Walk In The Woods, All My Sons, and others (TimeLine Theatre Company Member), Plantation (Lookingglass), 2666, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Seagull, A True History of the Johnstown Flood, Teddy Ferrara (Goodman), The Lady With All The Answers (Theatre At The Center), By The Water, 10 Chimneys (Northlight), Cat on Hot Tin Roof, Crazy for You (Drury Lane). Regional: Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Woolly Mammoth, DC). Film & TV: Divergent, Conviction, One Small Hitch, Fools, Polish Bar, Market Value, Proven Innocent, Sense8, Chicago Justice, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Boss, Playboy Club.

Full Performance Schedule:

Previews for Pipeline are February 1-7, 2019. Previews are $20-45. The Press opening is Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:30pm. Regular performances run February 9 March 3, 2019: Tuesday Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm. Regular performances are $27-$60.

ASL Interpreted Performance: Friday, February 15 at 7:30pm

Word for Word (open captioning): Friday, February 15 at 7:30pm, Saturday, February 16 at 3:00pm and Wednesday, February 20 at 2:00pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, February 15 at 7:30pm (Touch tour at 6:00pm), Sunday, February 24 at 3:00pm (Touch tour at 1:30pm)

Performances are at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park Neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000, email, or visit Ask the Box Office about discounts for students, seniors, and those with access needs. Groups of 10 or more, call 773.634.9862 for discounted rates.

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