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WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE ANNOUNCES CASTING FOR THIS
BY HOUSE OF CARDS’ SCRIBE MELISSA JAMES GIBSON
DIRECTED BY DEERFIELD NATIVE CARL MENNINGER
PREVIEWS BEGIN JUNE 15
Windy City Playhouse, Chicago’s most sophisticated new theater, presents the off-Broadway hit This, a tart “melanchomedy” centering on four educated, artistically inclined thirtysomething New Yorkers whose longtime friendship is tested by an act of infidelity. Writer, director and playwright Carl Menninger (a former Deerfield native) returns home from Washington, D.C. to direct this piercing, beautifully crafted new play for lovers of language by Melissa James Gibson. Previews for This begin Wednesday, June 15 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park.
Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park
Wednesday, June 15-Wednesday, June 22
Sunday, August 28
Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm
Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday: $25 (“House”) & $45 (“Top Shelf”)
Friday & Saturday: $35 & $55
Previews: $15 & $30
Call 773-891-8985; or visit http://windycityplayhouse.com/
The This cast includes Brian Grey (Jean-Pierre), Steve O’Connell (Tom), Tania Richard (Marrell), Amy Rubenstein (Jane), and Joe Zarrow (Alan), while its design team includes Katie-Bell Kenney (set), Kristy Leigh Hall (costumes), Jared Gooding (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound) and Jamie Karas (props).
On the cusp of leaving their thirties and entering middle age, Jane and her old college pals could use some laughs. But when the reminiscing reveals secrets, and among friendships she finds adultery, Jane must come to terms with the people she thought she loved and the woman she thought she knew. In order to become whole again, Jane finds herself asking what this is all about.
Brian Grey’s (Jean-Pierre) Chicago credits include: Othello and Pericles (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Wheel (Steppenwolf); The Oxford Roof Climber’s Rebellion (Jeff Award nomination, Caffeine Theatre); The Hyacinth Macaw (The Bridge); Closer (Spartan Theatre Company); Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Bud, Not Buddy, and The Houdini Box (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Heddatron (Sideshow Theatre/Steppenwolf Garage Rep); and Goodbye Cruel World (The Strange Tree Group). Mr. Grey trained at PCPA in Santa Maria, CA, and received his MFA from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Stephen O’Connell’s (Tom) Chicago credits include: An Issue of Blood (Victory Gardens); Dead Accounts (Jeff Award Nomination-Actor in a Principal Role, Step Up Productions); Henry V and Shakespeare's Greatest Hits! (Chicago Shakespeare); Amadeus (Jeff Award Nomination-Actor in a Principal Role, BoHo Theatre); The Killers Angels (Lifeline Theatre); Coriolanus (Jeff Award nomination–Actor in a Principal Role, The Hypocrites); Pygmalion (Stage Left Theatre, BoHo Theatre); Hostage Song (Signal Ensemble Theatre); and The Kid Thing (Chicago Dramatists, About Face Theatre); as well as productions with TimeLine Theatre Company, Red Tape Theatre, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Infusion Theatre Company, Theatre Wit, and BoHo Theatre, where he is an Artistic Affiliate. Steven is also a company member with Erasing The Distance, an arts organization that uses the power of performance to disarm stigma surrounding issues of mental health. Steve received his MFA in Acting from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Tania Richard (Marrell) made her Broadway debut in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of The Song of Jacob Zulu. Other credits include: Everyman and Nomathemba (Steppenwolf); two seasons of A Christmas Carol and understudying Disgraced (Goodman Theatre); Iphigenia at Aulis (The Court Theatre); understudying Doubt (Writers Theatre); Old Wine in New Bottles, Slaughterhouse 5, Cattle 0, Brother, Can You Spare Some Change?, and Studs Terkel’s Not Working (The Second City); the world premiere of Voyeurs de Venus (Black Theater Alliance Award nomination, Chicago Dramatists); The People’s Temple (American Theater Company); and Blues for an Alabama Sky and Valley Song (Drammy Award nomination, Portland Center Stage). Ms. Richard wrote and performed her solo show, Truth be Told, at Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre.
Amy Rubenstein (Jane) is originally from Chicago and graduated from Brandeis University’s Department of Theater, Magna Cum Laude. Upon graduation, she worked as an actress in Chicago, Los Angeles, and regional markets, earning her Actors Equity Association membership at the Human Race Theater Company in Dayton, Ohio. Favorite credits include: The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Long Beach Playhouse); We Just Moved in (The Complex); Steel Magnolias and Noon (Center Stage Theater); Macbeth (Fox Valley Shakespeare); and A Night Near the Sun (TinFish Theatre). TV/Film credits include: Cracking Up (Fox) and Nikki (The WB). Amy is the Artistic Director at Windy City Playhouse which has produced 5 productions since its launch in March of 2015, 4 of which were Jeff-recommended. Last season, Amy appeared as Jennie in the Jessica Thebus production of Chapter Two.
Joe Zarrow’s (Alan) favorite performances in Chicago include: Officer Don McMurchie in Buddy Cop 2 (Pavement Group); Edward Brennan in Sate & Madison: The Grid in The Chicago Landmark Project (Theatre Seven of Chicago); Schoolch in Bulrusher (Congo Square); Ezra Chater in Arcadia (New Leaf); Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sankofa); and Dad in Walk Two Moons (Adventure Stage). His play Principal Principle (Stage Left Theatre / Theatre Seven of Chicago, Jeff Nomination for Best New Work) is available from Dramatic Publishing, and in Chicago his plays have also been produced by Walkabout Theatre, LiveWire Chicago Theatre, Tympanic Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, and Collaboraction. Joe is a proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf. You can find out more about his work at joezarrow.com. Love to Mary and Solly.
Melissa James Gibson’s (Playwright) plays include What Rhymes with America; This; [sic]; Suitcase or, Those That Resemble Flies from a Distance; Brooklyn Bridge (with a song by Barbara Brousal) and Current Nobody. Her work has been produced and/or developed at Playwrights Horizons, Center Theatre Group, Soho Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, The Children’s Theatre Company, Steppenwolf, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Seattle Rep and the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab among others, regionally and internationally. Commissions: Atlantic Theater Company; Manhattan Theater Club (Sloan Foundation); Second Stage Theatre. Honors: OBIE Award; Guggenheim Fellowship; Steinberg Playwright Award; Kesselring Prize; Whiting Writers Award; Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights’ Fellowship; LILLY Award; Jerome Fellow; MacDowell Colony Fellow; NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist. MFA: Yale School of Drama; graduate of New Dramatists. Film: screenplay for Almost Christmas, starring Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd and Sally Hawkins, directed by Phil Morrison. TV: writer of Netflix’s House of Cards and the FX show, The Americans, created by Joe Weisberg.
Carl Menninger’s (Director) work in the theater spans writing, directing, and teaching. He holds a master’s degree from Emerson College and bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Musical Theatre at American University in Washington, D.C.; previously taught at The Berklee College of Music and Victory Gardens Theatre; and led the Deerfield High School Theater Department from 1994-2003. His directing credits include over 150 productions in Boston, Chicago, and Washington, and his original plays have been seen at American University and The Ganymede Fall Arts Festival. He is also co-author of Minding the Edge: Strategies for a Successful, Fulfilling Career as an Actor.
About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse, Chicago's newest not-for-profit Equity theater, aims to expand beyond the traditional theatergoing experience by offering audience members a night of high-quality entertainment with a full-service bar, in a lounge-like atmosphere. Windy City Playhouse premiered in March of 2015, with the inaugural production End Days. Lauded by audiences and critics alike, Windy City Playhouse promises to rock Chicago's theater scene.