Friday, March 27, 2015

OPENING: The World Premiere of An Issue of Blood at Victory Gardens #Chicago #Theatre

Victory Gardens Theater presents
An Issue of Blood 
By Ensemble Playwright Marcus Gardley, 
Directed by Chay Yew

ChiIL Live Shows will be there for opening night, and we're greatly anticipating this world premiere. Check back with us after April 10th for our full review. In the meantime, save the dates, and we recommend ordering your tickets well in advance. Aside from consistently compelling content and extraordinary performances, Victory Gardens also does an excellent job of engaging the community with talk backs after every performance and a a slew of special events and presentations on topic, that run in conjunction with the show. Check out those listings below.

Victory Gardens Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Chris Mannelli, presents the World Premiere of An Issue of Blood by Ensemble Playwright Marcus Gardley, directed by Chay Yew. An Issue of Blood was penned by Gardley in response to recent events and social injustices. An Issue of Blood runs April 3 – May 3, 2015 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

“While working on a new draft of A Wonder in My Soul in December, Marcus felt the need to respond to recent events and the current national conversation on race, class and identity and was urged by many to express the complex feelings of his community. When he reached out to me with this conundrum, I told him to follow his instincts and write a new play addressing his concerns," comments Victory Gardens’ Artistic Director Chay Yew. "As a theatre that creates and produces socially relevant plays, it is important that we respond to the times with our art and support our artists. And I'm glad Marcus is leading us in this vital national conversation." 

It’s 1676 in Virginia – a time when class, not color, defined an American’s destiny. Historic figure and wealthy landowner Negro Mary believes a vile curse has been cast upon her family and land. But her plans to break the curse are thwarted by a secret wedding, an interracial love triangle, and a crime of passion. Can Mary cheat fate and change the course of history? Or will their lives end in division and destruction? In An Issue of Blood, Marcus Gardley (The Gospel of Lovingkindness) and Chay Yew look to a pivotal moment in our collective past to understand how we arrived in our tumultuous present.

Previews: April 3 – April 9, 2015
Regular run: April 11 – May 3, 2015

Schedule: Tuesdays: 10:30 am (April 14 & 21); 7:30 pm (no shows April 14 & 21)
Wednesdays: 2:00 pm (April 22 only); 7:30 pm (no show April 22)
Thursdays: 7:30 pm (no show April 30)
Fridays: 7:30 pm 
Saturdays: 4:00 pm (April 18 & 25, May 2 only); 7:30pm
Sundays: 3:00 pm

Location: Victory Gardens Biograph Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, 
in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood
Tickets: Previews:  $15 - $40 
Regular run: $15 - $60
Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.

Full performance schedule
Previews of An Issue of Blood are April 3 - 9, 2015: Tuesday–Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Previews are $15-$40. Regular performances run April 11 – May 3, 2015: Tuesday at 10:30am (April 14 and 21 only) 7:30 pm (except April 14 and 21); Wednesdays 2:00 pm (April 22 only); 7:30 pm (no show April 22); Thursdays at 7:30 pm (no show April 30); Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 4 pm (April 18 & 25, May 2 only); Sunday at 3 pm. Regular performances are $15-$60.

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph 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 student tickets ($15), senior, Access, $20 under 30, and rush discounts.  For group discounts, call 773.328.2143.

Accessible Performances
ASL Interpreted performance: Friday, May 1 at 7:30pm

Word for Word (Open Captioning): Wednesday, April 22 at 2:00pm, Friday, May 1 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, May 2 at 4:00pm

Audio Description: Friday, April 24 at 7:30pm (Touch tour at 6:00pm), Sunday, May 2 at 3:00pm (Touch Tour at 1:30pm)

A full and updated schedule of special events, post-show discussions and presentations centered on performances of An Issue of Blood is available at 
All events are free unless otherwise noted, and a reservation is preferred. To RSVP, call 773.871.3000 or visit the Victory Gardens website. 

Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring the themes and issues within Victory Gardens' Productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions.

Post-show discussions with members of the artistic team will follow every performance of AN ISSUE OF BLOOD (unless otherwise noted)

Fri April 3rd, 2015 | Following a performance of Sideshow Theatre Company’s Antigonick
In Victory Gardens’ An Issue of Blood and in Sideshow’s Antigonick, issues of racial inequality are brought to life through dynamic historical lenses. How can Greek tragedies and the stories of America’s first slaves bridge the gap between our past and present? In partnership with Sideshow’s Side Series, join this post-show conversation with Human Rights Advocate Keisa Reynolds (We Charge Genocide) and participants of Victory Gardens’ We Must Breathe as we open old wounds to uncover new ways of healing.  

Town Hall | Sun April 5th, 2015
Cries of “I can’t breathe” and #BlackLivesMatter have shed harsh light on our country’s struggle with race, discrimination, and police brutality. Systems of oppression and racial inequity date as far back as colonial America - before Ferguson, before Selma, even before slavery.  What do we do with a system we’ve inherited? Join us for a performance of Marcus Gardley’s historical drama, then stick around for this crucial town hall conversation as we unearth our roots and discover new ways of moving forward.

Pre Show Spoken Word Performance Series | April 7th, 11th, 16th, 18th, and 24th, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.
Last December, you heard them slam at We Must Breathe - an evening of performance pieces created in the wake of the national outcry stemming from the deaths and verdicts of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless others. Now, select poets return to Victory Gardens to continue the conversation in the best way they know how—through their art. Join us for select pre-show performances in the lobby as these spoken word artists take the mic and share their truths.

Wednesday Night Out | Wed April 8th, 2015
6:30pm cocktail get together at Victory Gardens | Special Afterwords following performance
Racial tension in Chicago’s queer neighborhoods is on the rise. Claims of “racism” and “white boys’ town” have surfaced more and more in the last decade. How do queer people of color find solace in deeply segregated Chicago?  In partnership with Center on Halsted, enjoy pre-show cocktails and free appetizers from Fiesta Mexicana, then stick around for this timely post-show conversation.

Special Afterwords | Thurs April 9th, 2015
When Victory Gardens announced a change in the season from A Wonder in My Soul to An Issue of Blood, it was born out of playwright Marcus Gardley’s need to respond to the recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless others. A historical drama set in the late 1600’s, An Issue of Blood critically examines our history to understand our present. Join Marcus Gardley (playwrights ensemble member) and Chay Yew (artistic director) as they discuss themes, ideas, and the new play process of bringing An Issue of Blood to life.

Pre-show Performance | Special Afterwords | Thurs April 30th, 2015 | 6:30 p.m.
Though race and privilege on college campuses are often considered taboo topics, every college and university faces them. From misperceptions to underrepresentation, students of color are sometimes forced to navigate institutions that may not always protect them. Grab a pop and free pizza and watch young local artists respond at a pre-show performance, then stay for a special Afterwords conversation investigating race & privilege on college campuses. 

Encuentros | Fri April 17th, 2015
6:30pm cocktail get together at Victory Gardens | Special Afterwords following performance
All around the country, undocumented Mexican immigrants are working as indentured servants to ensure their place in America. Whether they’re cleaning houses or building them, the pay is less than adequate and the conditions are even worse. With no legal rights and nowhere to turn, how can these workers ensure their safety and survival? Come early for pre-show cocktails and free appetizers from Fiesta Mexicana, and stay for this special Afterwords conversation that hits close to home.

Staged Reading | Mon April 20th, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Delve further into the mythical worlds of Marcus Gardley at this staged reading of … And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi. Presented in association with Congo Square Theater, this 2010 hit is a riff on a familiar Greek tale. Set on the banks of the Mississippi River during the Civil War, a lynched African American man named Damascus is immediately resurrected as a woman named Demeter. With only three days to find her daughter Po'em, she must transmit her song before she has to return to death. 

Special Afterwords | Wed April 23rd, 2015
Since September 11, 2001, the rate of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States has quintupled. In 2015 alone, three Muslim American students were shot in the head in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; an Arab American man was brutally attacked by two white men at a supermarket in Dearborn, Michigan; police in Austin, Texas arrested a man for threatening to bomb an Islamic center - and the list goes on and on. In a culture of prejudice and fear against Muslim Americans, how do we hold each other accountable for shattering the stigma? Engage in this special Afterwords conversation shedding light on one of the most widely misunderstood communities in America. 

Special Afterwords | Friday April 24th, 2015
The issue of immigration in America is complex - at best. Though immigration itself can be traced as far back as Irish and African indentured servants in colonial America, the vast majority of South Asian immigrants didn't come to the US until after 1970. With Mexican immigration most commonly in the limelight - how can we illuminate the stories of South Asians? What other stories aren't being told? Following the performance, join us for this special Afterwords conversation shedding light to immigration in the South Asian community. 

Staged Reading | Mon April 27th, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Last season’s hit by Marcus Gardley returns to the Victory Gardens stage for one night only! After Emanuel is murdered for his new pair of Air Jordans, his mother, Mary, rebuilds her life in the Bronzeville neighborhood she calls home. As fervent and poetic as a gospel hymn, this potent drama about faith, family and loss was inspired by true events. Join us as we celebrate the launch of the Gospel tour, which continues this May  with performances in Pilsen at the National Museum of Mexican Art (in partnership with JDEF Peace Project), and at a local Englewood high school auditorium (in partnership with iGrow Chicago).

Special Afterwords | Tue April 28th, 2015
Earlier this month, the Jewish community celebrated Passover - an eight-day festival commemorating the emancipation of the Israeli slaves in ancient Egypt. What does it mean to celebrate this holiday in America, a country with deep roots in slavery? How has a history of oppression shaped American and Jewish culture?  Join us for this timeless post-show conversation addressing old wounds and new waves. 

Pre-show Performance | Special Afterwords | Thurs April 30th, 2015 | 6:30 p.m.
Though race and privilege on college campuses are often considered taboo topics, every college and university faces them. From misperceptions to underrepresentation, students of color are sometimes forced to navigate institutions that may not always protect them. Grab a pop and free pizza and watch young local artists respond at a pre-show performance, then stay for a special Afterwords conversation investigating race & privilege on college campuses. 

Season Sponsors:        Diane and Steve Miller
Lead Production 
Sponsor: The Joyce Foundation
Production Sponsors: The Pendexter Family; Jeff Rappin and Penny Brown; Betty Bradshaw, Harold and The Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
Student Matinee Sponsors: Exelon, AllState
Travel Sponsor: Southwest Airlines
Marcus Gardley is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Artists in Residence at Victory Gardens Theater.

About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Christopher Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.  

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

In 2012, Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens,  Follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, The Leo S. Guthman Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, Allstate Insurance, Berghoff Catering, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Conant Family Foundation, Exelon, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, The Fry Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council (a state agency),  Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, James S. Kemper Foundation, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, Negaunee Foundation, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Seabury Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Whole Foods and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association.

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