World Premiere of Steve Spencer's PUSH BUTTON MURDER Begins Next Month at the side project
the side project will kick off the New Year with the World Premiere of Steve Spencer's dark comedy, Push Button Murder. Spencer, the author of 2007 blackbox hit Another Day in the Empire, continues his biting, sarcastic and caustic humor with his play which starts previews January 8, 2015. The play marks his first at the side project. It's director Ronan Marra's side project debut as well.In Spencer's political satire, Becky and Roy, working deep inside the Military Industrial Complex, have access to our information and our coordinates, and have licenses to kill. Push Button Murder is the darkest of comedies about revolution, drones, extra-governmental operations, mass surveillance and other things you probably shouldn't worry about. Ronan Marra, a co-founder and the Co-Artistic Director of Signal Ensemble Theatre, will direct Spencer's edgily funny new play. Marra says, "Exploring the psychological impact their job has on Becky and Roy is the main grab for me, but the fact that it's all wrapped in a truly funny, firecracker script meant a lot as well. Steve's approached this piece from a place of great anger, but managed to make it hilarious." Steve J. Spencer is a Resident Playwright with Chicago Dramatists and was co-founder and Resident Playwright of Chicago's Black Sheep Productions. Their production of his play Another Day in the Empire was named one of the best shows of 2007 by Time Out Chicago and New City. His play Camp Freedom! was developed as part of the DCA's Incubator Series before its world premiere with Black Sheep in 2009. His plays Our Kind of Violence and The News All the Time were featured in Stage Left's LeapFests 7 and 8. He's had readings and productions at the Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, American Blues Theater and the Artistic Home. Ronan Marra is a Chicago-based director and playwright. He is a co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Signal Ensemble Theatre. Directing credits with Signal include The Next Thing, This is War by Hannah Moscovitch, Lascivious Something by Sheila Callaghan, Successors by Jon Steinhagen, Hostage Song by Clay McLeod Chapman and Kyle Jarrow, East of Berlin and The Russian Play by Hannah Moscovitch, Aces by Jon Steinhagen, Aftermath, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, 1776 (Jeff Award - Best Production, Musical, Jeff Nomination - Best Director), Seascape, Waiting for Godot, Landslide (two Jeff Award nominations), Much Ado About Nothing, Learning to Fly and more. Playwriting credits with the company include the book for The Next Thing (music and lyrics by Jon Steinhagen), Motion, Aftermath, Landslide (Jeff Nomination - New Work) and Learning to Fly. Ronan's plays have been produced or workshopped in Chicago, NYC, LA and Cleveland. He is a 2012 finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award (Motion) and recipient of the 2006 Illinois Arts Council Finalist Award in Scriptworks (Landslide). New City named him one of the "Fifty People Who Really Perform in Chicago" in 2012. The cast of Push Button Murder will include the side project company members Meredith Lyons (Hello Failure, It Comes In, Joan's Laughter; as well as The Iron Stag King at The House, The Glory of Living at Profiles), Derek Garza (Mike and Seth), Amy Johnson (People We Know, Hello Failure, The Bird Sanctuary); and Andrew Bailes (What to Listen For; also Best Beloved: The Just So Stories at Strawdog), Ben Veatch (Salome), and Kasia Januszewski, who makes her side project debut. The production team is Roxie Kooi (stage manager), Ashley Woods (set design), Mike Smith (lighting design), Carla Hamilton (costume design), Stephen Gawrit (sound design) and Holly McCauley (properties design).