Whitney Morse and Britni Tozzi Lead Pride Films and Plays' THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, Beg. Tonight

Whitney Morse and Britni Tozzi lead the cast of PFP's The Children's Hour, directed by Derek Bertelsen* and running tonight, January 9 - February 9, 2014 at Collaboraction.

Director Derek Bertelsen* today announced that casting has been completed for the PFP Production of Lilliian Hellman's classic story of love and lies, The Children's Hour.

Britni Tozzi plays Karen Wright, and Whitney Morse is Martha Dobie, with Nora Lisa Ulrey as Mary Tilford.

PFP Ensemble Members featured are Nelson Rodriguez* as Dr. Joseph Cardin, Michelle McKenzie-Voigt* as Mrs. Lily Mortar, and Joan McGrath* as Mrs. Amelia Tilford.

Others in the cast are Nathalie Mendez (Rosalie), Zoquera Milburn (Peggy), Brittany Bookbinder(Catherine), Tasheena Migayi (Evenlyn), Katrina Kiss (Helen), Ashley Darger (Lois), Ella Mouria Seet (Agatha) and Bryan Renaud (Grocery Boy).

Whitney Morse is excited to make her Pride Films & Plays debut. Her Chicago credits include The Turn of the Screw, Unnecessary Farce and The Merchant of Venice (First Folio Theater), I Carry Your Heart (Prologue Theatre Company - DCA Incubator Series), Little Women(Theatre-Hikes,) iGhost (Theatre Building Chicago,)
Accomplice (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center), and God On Broadway (Theatre Building Chicago.) New York Credits:Hold Music (The Culture Project) Love's Labour's Lost (Dir. Andrei Serban) and Three Sister's (Dir. Andrei Serban.) M.F.A Acting Columbia University.

Britni Tozzi has performed throughout Chicago with companies such as Mary-Arrchie Theatre, The Hypocrites, Strawdog Theatre, Circle Theatre, and Signal Ensemble, to name a few. She has also appeared in national and regional commercials. Britni graduated valedictorian from Columbia College Chicago and currently runs a non-profit for children in Africa.

Written in 1934, The Children's Hour is based on a true story, and was originally banned in Chicago and not seen here until the 1950s. Karen and Martha are two school teachers who are on the verge of personal and professional success. Karen is engaged to be married to Joe, and the small boarding school she and Martha founded is on the verge of financial stability. However, when one student is disciplined, she makes a statement which is repeatedly endlessly, and everything changes.

The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman will run at Collaboraction (Pentagon Theater),, 1579 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. Previews: Thursday and Friday, January 9 and 10 at 7:30pm. Press performance/opening: Saturday, January 11 at 7:30pm. Regular run: Thursday through Sunday, January 9 through February 9, 2014. Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews $15. Opening $30. Regular Run: Thursdays $25; Friday, Saturdays,and Sundays $30. Students and seniors: $5 off all performances. Industry: $10 during previews. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com, in person one hour prior to show times (availability permitting) or by calling 1 800 838 3006.

About the Playwright: Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans on June 20, 1905. She moved to New York with her family in 1910. After studying at both New York University and Columbia University, Hellman dropped out of school and worked as a book reviewer for the New York Herald Tribune.

In 1930, she moved to Hollywood and became a script reader for MGM, where she became involved in the social and political scene. There, she met writer Dashiell Hammett and began a close relationship with him that lasted almost 30 years.

Hammett urged her to write a play based (1939)on "The Great Drumsheugh Case," in which a student at a boarding school accused two teachers of being lesbians. The result, The Children's Hour (1934), was a huge success on Broadway and ran for 691 performances. Her play The Little Foxes
was another success, and she received an Academy Awardnomination for her screenplay for the film adaptation.

She published several plays throughout the 1940s and 1950s, including Another Part Of The Forest (1946), The Autumn Garden (1951), and the anti-fascist plays Watch On The Rhine (1941) and The Searching Wind (1944). She wrote the libretto for Leonard Bernstein's adaptation ofCandide (1956), which won a Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as The Lark (1955),Toys In The Attic (1960), andMy Mother, My Father And Me(1963). She died in 1984.

About Pride Films and Plays: Pride Films and Plays fosters excellence in writing for the stage and screen with LGBT themes by linking an international network of writers to our Artistic Ensemble in Chicago and professionals working in the field internationally. Using stories with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters or themes, Pride Films and Plays develops human stories that speak for the community and is essential viewing for all audiences.

PFP's contests - the Great Gay Play Contest, Women's Work (for works by women with lesbian characters or themes) and the Great Gay Screenplay Contest - reach their conclusion during Festival Weekends of readings and workshops sponsored by Center on Halsted. Writers from around the world have worked with PFP's Artistic Ensemble in extensive rehearsals and performances of "enhanced staged readings" which include movement, blocking, and technical elements.

PFP's fully staged productions include reinvigorated classics, Chicago premieres, and world premieres of scripts that have been developed in the contests. The 2011 Great Gay Play Contest winner, Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Urueta, has had multiple regional productions, and the 2012 winner At The Flash by Sean Chandler and David Leeper was Jeff-recommended in Chicago and recently concluded a successful run in Los Angeles. Under A Rainbow Flag by Leo Schwartz, a finalist in last year's contest, had its premiere this spring and won the Jeff Award for Best New Work and Best Musical Production, and Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead by Martin Casella recently concluded its world premiere run in the 150-seat Thrust Theater at Stage 773.

PFP's previous classical productions have included 20thanniversary productions of David Drake's The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing.

For more information on contests or productions, visit www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

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