Thursday, August 29, 2013

REVIEW: Profiles Season Opener In God's Hat Beautifully Brutal #review #theatre

Profiles is off to a roaring start for their 25th Anniversary Season.   We highly recommend In God's Hat.   Somehow playwright Rhett Rossi has managed to blur the lines between victim and victimizer to create a hilarious, thought provoking, and cringe inducing dark comedy.   I don't know whether the emphasis should fall more on dark or comedy because he manages to merge the most reprehensible members of society... little boy child molesters and God fearing, Aryan Nation white supremacists into one wickedly funny production.

Though there are a fare share of cringe inducing flashback monologues and sick ideological rants, this show is truly funny throughout.  We enjoyed the multifaceted characters who had sympathetic elements despite their gaping character flaws.   In God's Hat is a compelling look at extreme ideologies, and what humans do to survive unbearable situations.   There are myriad contradictions in every one of these complex human beings, and In God's Hat has enough drama and plot twists to keep you guessing. 

The tension, stage combat, and delivery do justice to this outstanding script   and Roy, Mitch and Arthur were disturbingly possible.   I'd love to see Early step up the psychotic a bit as the run progresses.   He needs to ride that creepy menace with just a veneer of polite.   Early was just a bit too affable, but Arthur pulled off the crazy with panache.  


Larry Neumann, Jr. as Mitch, Darrell W. Cox as Roy, and Bruce Cronander.

John Victor Allen, Darrell W. Cox  Larry Neumann, Jr.

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Brosilow
Files are named left to right with actor names.

The cast of In God's Hat features Co-Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox as Roy, Larry Neumann, Jr. as Mitch, John Victor Allen and Bruce Cronander.

The live musicians in their prison like mesh are a stand out, too.   This talented crew rocks the guitar, harmonica, fiddle, keyboards, percussion and more, to lend a bluesy ambience that goes well beyond just a backdrop to the action.

This is absolutely a mature audiences only show.   Leave the kids at home for this one.  

Darrell W. Cox as Roy, Larry Neumann, Jr. as Mitch

Profiles Theatre opens 25h Anniversary Season
with the Midwest premiere of
In God’s Hat by Rhett Rossi

Profiles Theatre opens its 25th Anniversary Season with the Midwest premiere of In God’s Hat by Rhett Rossi, directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. The production runs August 23 – October 13, 2013 at The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway

In God's Hat examines the extremes of humanity and the love of family as well the contempt for it. For nearly a decade, estranged brothers Roy and Mitch found themselves kept apart by prison bars and a nefarious history. On the day of Mitch's release, he is shocked to see Roy waiting for him, unsure of his intentions. Together they travel down a desolate road stopping at the only lodging around--a fleabag motel where confrontation and tension manifest themselves through darkly comical situations. In the end, the brothers must confront both the past and present, as some secrets are revealed and new ones must be kept.

Produced off-Broadway by the Apothecary Theatre Company, Rhett Rossi’s criticall- acclaimed play In God’s Hat received its world premiere in July 2010. His other plays include the one-man show Burnt, first performed by the Present Company Theatorium and From Red to Black, which received a reading at South Coast Rep and was runner up for the Laurents/Hatcher Prize. Rossi recently developed a pilot for HBO about minor league hockey.
Directed by Profiles Co-Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, the cast of In God's Hat features Co-Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox as Roy and Larry Neumann, Jr. as Mitch. Also featured are guest artists John Victor Allen and Bruce Cronander.

In God’s Hat explores familial bonds, crisis of faith and our interwoven destinies through it’s tough, hard-edged dialogue and dark humor,” says Jahraus. "Rossi’s play is the perfect way to kick off our 25th year of bringing exciting, visceral new works to Chicago.”

The designers for In God's Hat are Shaun Renfro (set), Mike Durst (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original live music), and Raquel Adorno (costumes). Profiles ensemble member Eric Burgher is the assistant director.

Profiles Theatre plans six productions for the 25th Anniversary Season alternating between its two venues, The Main Stage at 4139 N. Broadway and The Alley Stage at 4147 N. Broadway. Following In God’s Hat, the Midwest premiere of Wrecks by Neil LaBute debuts at The Alley Stage on October 3, 2013 featuring John Judd as Edward Carr. Also scheduled are Midwest premieres of the award-winning plays Cock by Mike Bartlett, Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams and Hunter Gatherers by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb along with Profiles’ acclaimed production of Hellcab by Will Kern, returning for the holiday season.

Tickets for In God’s Hat are $35 for Thursdays, $40 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are available by phone, (773) 549-1815, or online, Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 5:00 and 8:00 pm, Sundays at 7:00 p.m.

Darrell W. Cox as Roy, Larry Neumann, Jr. as Mitch


RHETT ROSSI (Playwright) premiered his critically-acclaimed play In God’s Hat off-Broadway with the Apothecary Theatre Company. His other plays include the one-man show Burnt with Present Company Theatorium and From Red to Black which received a reading at South Coast Rep and was runner up for the Laurents/Hatcher Prize. Rhett recently developed a pilot with HBO about minor league hockey. He lives in Brooklyn.

JOE JAHRAUS (Director) is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre. He most recently directed Profiles' Midwest Premieres of The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read and Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson, the American Premiere of In a Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute as well as Profiles' World Premiere of Assisted Living by Deirdre O'Connor. His other directing credits with Profiles include the Midwest Premieres of Fifty Words by Michael Weller, Jailbait by Deirdre O'Connor, The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute, Great Falls by Lee Blessing, The Thugs by Adam Bock and the World Premiere of Kid Sister by Will Kern. Joe directed the American Premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen and the long-running hit Fat Pig by Neil LaBute for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Director. Other directing credits for Profiles include the American Premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen, the award-winning Midwest Premiere of Blackbird by Adam Rapp, Babylon Gardens by Timothy Mason, The Water Engine and Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet, and the award-winning Midwest Premiere of Carnal Knowledge by Jules Fieffer, among others.

JOHN VICTOR ALLEN (Arthur) makes his Profiles Theatre debut with In God's Hat. He was most recently seen in Measure for Measure at the Goodman Theatre and Elephant’s Graveyard with Red Tape Theatre. Other productions include Five Flights with Immediate Theatre, Coup and Rotten Couch Potatoes with Gearworks Theatre and Indecent Proposals with Metropolis PAC. John was also seen in the independent feature film The Soul Gatherer as well as numerous appearances around Chicago's vibrant improv and sketch comedy scene with his award-winning sketch group The Dancing Pig from The Second City. 

DARRELL W. COX (Roy) is Co-Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre where he most recently appeared in Profiles' Midwest Premiere of The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read. Prior to that he was seen in Profiles' Midwest Premiere of Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson and Profiles' American Premiere of In a Forest Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute. Darrell received his fourth Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role for his performance as Joe Cooper in Profiles' production of Killer Joe by Tracy Letts. Darrell has appeared at Steppenwolf in the World Premiere of Men of Tortuga (where he originated the role of Taggart), the Midwest Premiere of Orange Flower Water (which traveled to the Galway Arts Festival), and the World Premiere of Wendall Greene. He has also been seen at the Goodman in The Shawl and Home as part of the David Mamet Festival, American Theatre Company's Speed the Plow and Oleanna as part of the Mamet Repertory, as well as Jim Jones in the Midwest Premiere of The People's Temple, and the World Premiere of Martin Furey's Shot at TimeLine, among others. He has won four Joseph Jefferson Awards for Principal Actor for his work in Profiles' productions of Killer Joe, Blackbird, Some Voices, and Eye of God. In addition, he has received two After Dark Awards for Outstanding Performance for Profiles' productions of Popcorn, and Carnal Knowledge. Darrell can currently be seen in a recurring role as Uncle Ray on "Chicago Fire" on NBC and appeared in the film "AB-" directed by Dan Klein and produced by The Gravity Collaborative, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. 

BRUCE CRONANDER (Early) is working for the first time at Profiles Theatre. A recent transplant from Los Angeles, and originally from San Francisco, he has enjoyed becoming part of the thriving theatre community in Chicago. Since his arrival he has performed in Anna Christi with the Rendition Theatre and Outward Bound at the JPAC theatre in Cicero. Favorite roles in Los Angeles include the Reverend Chasuble in The Importance of Being Ernest and Lt. Calley in In the Heart of America. Roles in the San Francisco area include Camping with Henry and Tom at Theatreworks, A Few Good Men and Six Degrees of Separation. Film roles include XXX:State of the Union with William Defoe, Prom-troversy with Jane Lynch and Living the Dream with Sean Young. Television roles include Arrested Development and A&E Biography Series: Eisenhower.

LARRY NEUMANN, JR. (Mitch) makes his Profiles Theatre debut with In God's Hat. Mr. Neumann has been seen in over 70 productions in his career, primarily in his hometown of Chicago where audiences have seen Larry recently at the Goodman Theatre in Robert Falls The Iceman Cometh with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy and earlier at Lookingglass Theatre in Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting as baseball icon Branch Rickey. Larry has also worked with Lookingglass previously in The Richard Nickel Story (title role), & Austin in The Shaggs. Mr. Neumann has received Jeff awards for performances in Moon for the Misbegotten at First Folio as Phil Hogan, Dr. Larch in Famous Door’s epic two-part production of Cider House Rules, and for his portrayal of the Dali Lama in Hitting For The Cycle, also with Famous Door.  Other Chicago favorites include Madness of Edgar Allen Poe (First Folio); Puppetmaster of Ludz (Writer’s Theatre); and Underneath The Lintel (Noble Fool). He has appeared regionally at Milwaukee Rep., Madison Rep. and Kansas City Rep.  Film credits: Merry Gentleman, Stranger Than Fiction, Stir of Echoes. A native Chicagoan, he lives with wife Sandy and their cats in Ravenswood Manor. Larry is a member of Actors’ Equity.


Title:                 In God’s Hat
            Playwright:        by Rhett Rossi
Directed by:      Rick Snyder
                                   Regular Run:                August 29 – October 13, 2013

Schedule:         Thurs., Fri.:                  8:00 p.m. 
                        Saturday:                     5:00 p.m. and 8:00p.m. (no 5pm show August 31)
Sunday:                       7:00 p.m.

Location:          Profiles Theatre, The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway
                        Parking is available for $14 - $20 at 4100 N. Clarendon
(One block east of the theatre at the corner of Clarendon and Belle Plaine)

Ticket prices:   
Regular Run:    Thursdays are $35, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are $40; Students and Senior Citizens receive a $5 discount on all performances; Group rates are available.
Box Office:       Buy online at
or call (773) 549-1815


Darrell W. Cox as Roy, Larry Neumann, Jr. as Mitch and Bruce Cronander.


Profiles Theatre, founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, joined shortly thereafter by Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox, was formed as an actor-driven theatre ensemble dedicated to creating provocative and emotionally truthful productions. Passionate about shaping an original vision for new works, they focused on performing World, American and Midwest premieres as well as rarely performed plays. Critically-acclaimed hits, such as BLACKBIRD, FAT PIG, GRACELAND and the multiple Jeff Award-winning KILLER JOE, established Profiles as a destination for challenging and edgy theatre. Their unique collaboration with playwright Neil LaBute led the ensemble to perform an entire season of his plays in 2007-2008. Now a Resident Artist at Profiles, LaBute remains an unequivocal artistic influence on the ensemble.

After performing at 4147 North Broadway for more than two decades, Profiles acquired an adjacent theatre at 4139 North Broadway in 2012. Profiles’ new theatre, The Main Stage, with its larger seating capacity, increased performance space and higher ceilings, accommodates more ambitious and technically demanding productions. Their long-time venue, renamed The Alley Stage, continues as the home for plays strengthened by a more intimate staging. Driven by an undiminished appetite for creating honest and resonant theatre, Profiles still seeks to present work that illuminates the determination and resiliency of the human spirit.

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