American Theater Company announces
the world premiere of
A documentary play on Chicago’s public housing
from the writer of columbinus
April 24–May 24, 2015
American Theater Company (ATC) announced today casting for the third world premiere in its 30th Anniversary season: The Project(s), a documentary play about the history of public housing in Chicago, April 24-May 24, 2015. Conceived, co-written and directed by ATC Artistic Director PJ Paparelli and co-written by Joshua Jaeger, The Project(s)’ ensemble cast includes Linda Bright Clay, Stephen Conrad Moore, Omar Evans, Kenn E. Head, Joslyn Jones, Penelope Walker, Anji White and Eunice Woods. Single tickets for The Project(s) range from $38-$48 and are now on sale at the ATC box office at 773-409-4125 or www.atcweb.org.
The Project(s) innovatively combines documentary theater with a cappella music, body percussion and stepping to create a provocative examination of the successes and failures of public housing that poses the question, “What is America’s responsibility to its poor?” From 2010 until 2014, Paparelli conducted over 100 interviews with scholars, historians, and former and current residents of Chicago’s public housing, including Cabrini-Green, Robert Taylor Homes, Wentworth Gardens and Ida B. Wells Homes. The Project(s) interweaves verbatim material with a cappella music, body percussion, and stepping with choreography by Jakari Sherman, artistic director of Washington, DC-based Step Afrika!, the nation’s only professional dance company devoted to stepping. Paparelli previously conceived, co-wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed documentary play columbinus that premiered its third act at ATC, toured to ArtsEmerson in Boston in 2013, and has been produced around the country and internationally.
The Project(s) received two development opportunities at the Orchard Project, a national new play development retreat in New York; a Jentel Artist Residency in Wyoming, and a MacArthur International Connections Fund grant, through which Paparelli travelled to the United Kingdom to workshop the play at Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Lyric Hammersmith in London, in addition to interviewing public housing residents and city officials in Scotland. ATC also partnered with Howard University in Washington, DC, for a five-week workshop integrating stepping and body percussion.
Performance schedule for The Project(s):
Previews: Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m.
Press opening: Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m.
Regular run: April 30 through May 24: Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.
The Project(s) was commissioned and developed by a generous grant from The Chicago Community Trust.
Additional grant support for The Project(s) was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Project(s) was developed through residencies with The Orchard Project; Jentel Artist Residency Program; Citizens Theatre Company, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheridan College & the Wyoming Theater Festival; and the Howard University Department of Theatre Arts.
PJ Paparelli (Director/Co-Writer/Artistic Director) is in his eighth season as Artistic Director of American Theater Company. He last directed ATC’s critically acclaimed world premiere of The Humans. Additional ATC directing credits include Hair, Sons of the Prophet, columbinus (Five Jeff Nominations), The Catholic Rep: Doubt & Agnes of God, The Original Grease (Jeff Award for Best Musical), Escape, The Amish Project, Distracted, Yeast Nation (the new musical from the writers of Urinetown), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Black & White Rep: True West (Caucasian & African American casts), and the regional premiere of Speech & Debate (Jeff Nomination). His ATC writing credits include columbinus and Every Year is This Year, which was co-written by Maria Irene Fornes for ATC’s The Silver Project.
Joshua Jaeger (Co-Writer) served as the 2012 Artistic Projects Fellow at American Theater Company. During that time, he co-produced the 10X10 and Big Shoulders festivals of new short plays, and sat on ATC's Literary Circle. He assisted in producing Steppenwolf Theatre Company's inaugural After Party, a multi-disciplinary late-night series presented in tandem with the annual Garage Rep. Joshua has dramaturged and assistant directed for TimeLine Theatre Company, Victory Gardens and Chicago Dramatists. Alongside his work in theatre, Joshua performs as a percussionist with the international touring artist Angel Olsen. His drumming may be heard on her current release, "Burn Your Fire for No Witness."
Linda Bright Clay (Ensemble) is a native Chicagoan with credits at Victory Gardens (Dame Lorraine), Goodman Theatre (Joe Turner's Come and Gone) and Chicago Theatre Company (Home), winning a Black Theatre Alliance award for best performance. She has also worked at the Madison Repertory Theatre (Having Our Say and Permanent Collection), and in a program piece with Writers Theatre (For My Brothers...). Film credits include Seven Psychopaths, Halfway, Just Married, The Night Before the Morning After and Original Gangstas. TV series work includes the local Emmy-nominated television special "Martin Luther King Suite." Local and national TV and voice-over commercials include Sears, U.S. Bank, United Healthcare, Crest and McDonald's. Linda obtained both her B.A. and M.A. in Theatre at Northern Illinois University, and co-directed the Black Theatre Workshop there for three years. She has also directed and assisted at various theaters, educational and social service institutions in the Chicagoland area.
Stephen Conrad Moore (Ensemble) is a native of Kansas City, MO, currently living and working in New York City. Recent NY premieres include ANTHEM: An Original Musical at the NY International Fringe Festival, Ni**er/Fa**ot at the HERE Arts Center, and Ajax in Ajax in Iraq with the Flux Theatre Ensemble. Other NY credits include: Bone Orchard Theatre Company, The Civilians, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Columbia Stages, Company Cypher, Full Stop Collective, The Lark Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Works, The Playwright’s Theatre, Red Fern Theatre and Working Man's Clothes. Regional credits: Arizona Theatre Company, The Ensemble Company for the Performing Arts, Hope Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, O'Neill Theatre Center, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre in D.C., Virginia Stage Company, Yale Repertory Theatre. Internationally, he appeared in a festival of The Lion King in Hong Kong. Film and TV credits: Margaret (dir. Kenneth Lonergan), Wedding Daze (dir. Michael Ian Black), The Painting, Yield and Sesame Street. Mr. Moore is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Omar Evans (Ensemble) was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He studied acting and received his BFA from Marymount Manhattan College, and is a member of Theater for a New Generation. Omar’s theater credits include Freefall, Bombity of Errors, Pvt. Wars, Corner Wars; television credits include Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: SVU, Third Watch; film credits include Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power, Explicit Ills, Blackout and Light and the Sufferer.
Kenn E. Head (Ensemble) returns to American Theater Company. He is a veteran of the Chicago theater scene and was last seen as Sissy NaNa in Airline Highway at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he has appeared in numerous other productions. Additional Chicago credits include: Fish Men and The Convert (Goodman Theatre); Spunk and the critically acclaimed Invisible Man (Court Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Lost Boys of Sudan (Victory Gardens Theater); The Overwhelming (Next Theater); and Seven Guitars (Congo Square Theatre) where they garnered the coveted Jeff Award for Ensemble as well as Best Play. He has also worked at Yale Repertory Theatre. Television credits include ER and Early Edition as well as various commercials.
Joslyn Jones (Ensemble) has previously appeared in: The Delany Sisters: The First Hundred Years (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); Once On This Island (Marriott Lincolnshire); 12 Ophelias (Trap Door); Weekend (TimeLine Theatre); Bourbon At The Border (Eclipse Theatre); Escape (Live Bait); Flyin’ West and Raisin (Court Theatre); Spunk (Court Theatre’s Artist in School Program); Bee-Luther-Hatchee (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Fabulation: Or, the Re-Education of Undine (Next Theatre); Relevant Hearsay (MPACCT: Theater on the Lake); Bee-Luther-Hatchee and Smokey Joe's Café (Open Door Repertory); Meshuggah Nuns! (Chicago Jewish Theatre); The Kurt Weil Revue: Songs of Darkness and Light (Theo Ubique); To Kill A Mockingbird (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre). She is a graduate of the 2002 Class of The School at Steppenwolf. Understudy credits: Head of Passes and Carter’s Way (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens Biograph); and Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Goodman Theatre).
Penelope Walker (Ensemble) most recently worked with Erasing the Distance theater company in Will You Stand Up? She has appeared in the last 10 seasons of A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre. Other Goodman credits include The Story, Crowns and Wit. She has also worked at Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Next Theatre Company, Ma'at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Chicago Theatre Company. She created and has performed her solo piece How I Jack Master Funked the Sugar in My Knee Caps! across Chicago. Regional credits include Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage and the Alley Theatre. Film and television credits include Severed Ties, Something Better Somewhere Else and Boss.
AnJi White (Ensemble) returns to American Theater Company, where she last appeared in RENT. Recently she was seen in Collaboraction's remount of Forgotten Future as Felicia Tate. Other Chicago credits include Mud, River, Stone (Eclipse Theatre), ITHAKA (Infusion Theatre) and Soul Samurai (Infusion Theatre). She’s understudied for Timeline's production of A Raisin in the Sun, Clybourne Park (Steppenwolf Theatre); and Regina Taylor's Trinity River Plays (Goodman Theatre).
Eunice Woods (Ensemble) makes her American Theater Company debut. She is a proud Acting Ensemble member of Barrel of Monkeys. Other Chicago acting credits include: Dessa Rose (Bailiwick Chicago); Hey! Dancin'! Hey! Musical (The Factory Theater); The True History...of Julia Pastrana (Tympanic Theatre Company); Raskol (Vintage Theater Collective); Miami Nice (Gorilla Tango Theatre); and The Rose Parade (Body Project Ensemble & VOTC). She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University.
About American Theater Company
American Theater Company (ATC) challenges and inspires its community by exploring stories that ask the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" ATC’s Ensemble includes Patrick Andrews, Kareem Bandealy, Jaime Castañeda, Kelly O’Sullivan, Tyler Ravelson, and Sadieh Rifai.
American Theater Company is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, and the Shubert Foundation.