Showing posts with label Golden Boy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Golden Boy. Show all posts

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ACT OUT OPENING: Lay Me Down Softly by Seanachai Theatre Company

Seanachaí Theatre Company Presents U.S. Premiere of
By Billy Roche
Directed by Kevin Christopher Fox
April 23 – May 25, 2014

LayMeDown-4 (left to right) Michael Grant, Dan Waller, Jeff Christian and Matthew Isler

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we were quite impressed with Seanachai's production of The Seafarer and we're looking forward to what's next. There have been a plethora of boxing plays in the recent past. We saw Griffin Theatre's Golden Boy at Theater Wit back in February, and The Opponent at A Red Orchid, by local fav, Brett Neveu. The boxing ring size is conducive to shows and there's something about the pacing, blocking and rhythm that rings true for stage and sport alike. This time there's the added bonus of the Irish brogue and the quirky, multiculti back story!

Following its wildly successful production of the The SeafarerSeanachaí Theatre Company is pleased to continue its 2013-14 season with the U.S. premiere of Billy Roche’s drama LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY directed by Kevin Christopher Fox (Hughie). LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY plays April 23 – May 25, 2014 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago. Tickets are available at or by calling (866) 811-4111. 

We do dig Seanachaí Theatre Company's name and creative statement.  In case you're curious, Seanachaí is the Gaelic word for Storyteller. It was the duty of the Seanachaí to keep these stories alive. Seanachaí Theatre Company's mission is to create compelling productions and programs that focus energy on exceptional storytelling.  Check it out.

(left to right) Michael Grant, Jamie L. Young, Dan Waller, Matthew Isler and Jeff Christian

LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY features Seanachaí ensemble members Jeff ChristianMichael GrantCarolyn Klein and Dan Waller with Chicago actors Matthew Isler and Jamie L. Young.

Early 1960s. Delaney’s Traveling Roadshow tours the Irish countryside with bumper cars, bearded ladies, rifle ranges and the main attraction: the boxing ring. The Roadshow invites all comers to fight them to win a prize. Theo, the iron fisted patriarch, struggles to keep his crew in line and when his long abandoned daughter arrives, the patchwork family is thrown against the ropes.

(left to right) Dan Waller and Jamie L. Young in Seanachai Theatre Company’s U.S. Premiere of LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY by Billy Roche, directed by Kevin Christopher Fox.  All production photos by Emily Schwartz.

The production team for LAY ME DOWN SOFTLY includes: Joe Schermoly (scenic design), Beth Laske-Miller (costume design), Julian Pike (lighting design), Stephen Ptacek (sound design), Eva Breneman (dialect design) and John Tovar (fight choreographer).


Playwright: Billy Roche
Director: Kevin Christopher Fox
Cast: Seanachaí ensemble members Jeff Christian (Theo), Michael Grant (Peadar), Carolyn Klein (Lily) and Dan Waller (Junior) with Chicago actors Matthew Isler (Dean) and Jamie L. Young (Emer).

Location: The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee, Chicago
Dates: Preview: Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30 pm
Press performance: Thursday April 24 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Friday, April 25, 2014  – Sunday, May 25, 2014.
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: Previews $12. Regular run $26 Thursdays & Fridays; $30 Saturdays & Sundays. Seniors/students $5 off. Tickets are available at or by calling (866) 811-4111. Group discounts (8 or more) are available by calling (773) 878-3727.

(left to right) Dan WallerCarolyn KleinMichael Grant and Jamie L. Young 

About the Playwright
Billy Roche’s first novel, Tumbling Down, was published by Wolfhound Press in 1986 (revised version published by Tassel Publications in 2008).  His first stage play, A Handful Of Stars, was staged at The Bush Theatre in 1988, followed by Poor Beast In the Rain in 1990. Belfry completed this powerful trilogy at the Bush Theatre.  All three plays, directed by Robin LeFevre, became known as The Wexford Trilogy and were performed in their entirety at The Bush, the Peacock and the Theatre Royal, Wexford.  Later, The Wexford Trilogy was filmed for the BBC, directed by the late and great Stuart Burge.  Roche’s fourth play, Amphibians, was commissioned by the R.S.C. and performed at the Barbican, followed by The Cavalcaders at The Peacock and Royal Court, London. He wrote the screenplay for Trojan Eddie, which was directed by Gillies MacKinnon and starred Stephen Rea and Richard Harris.  Trojan Eddie won the Best Film Award at The San Sebastian Film Festival in 1996.  His sixth play, On Such As We, was performed at the Peacock in 2001, directed by Wilson Milam and starring Brendan Gleeson. Tales From Rainwater Pond, his collection of short stories, was published by Pillar Press in 2006.  Lay Me Down Softly, his seventh play, was originally performed at the Peacock Theatre in 2008, directed by Wilson Milam.  Billy has been Writer-In-Residence at the Bush and Writer-In-Association at Druid and the Abbey Theatre.  The Eclipse, a film that was co-written with Conor McPherson, won IFTA awards for Best Screenplay and Best Film.  The film is inspired by Billy’s short story Table Manners (from the Tales From Rainwater Pond collection). In 2013, his short novella The Diary Of Maynard Perdu was published by 

About the Director
Kevin Christopher Fox is an actor and director based in ChicagoWith Seanachai, he directed Hughie with Brad Armacost and Jeff Duhigg last season – and last century he played Manus in David Cromer's production of Translations. Chicago directing credits include Accidental Rapture and Pull of the Moon (16th Street Theater), Widowers' Houses and Androcles and the Lion (ShawChicago), St. Crispin's Day (Strawdog), Arms and the Man and Betrayal (Oak Park Festival), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Gift Theatre Company), Beggars in the House of Plenty (Mary-Arrchie), Widowers' Houses (TimeLine), Patient No. 1 (WNEP)and his debut Buicks (Precious Mettle). At TheatreSquared (Fayetteville, AK) he directed world premieres of Sundown Town by Kevin Cohea and, this past fall, The Spiritualist by Robert Fordalong with Fall of the House, and a youth production of Macbeth, as well as numerous development projects for Arkansas New Play Festival. Recently he adapted and directed Macbeth (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Shakespeare in the Schools), he served as co-director for the remount of Nick Sandys' Chamber Opera Chicago production of Persuasion, and toured with it to England, Chicago and New York. This last winter, he directed two projects for the William Inge Festival and Center for the Arts in Independence, KS. This coming summer, he will direct the world premiere of The Gun Show by EM Lewis for 16th Street Theater.

About Seanachaí Theatre Company
The mission of Seanachaí Theatre Company is to return theatre to this origin - by creating compelling productions and programs that focus the energy of artists towards the common goal of exceptional storytelling. To achieve this end, Seanachaí Theatre Company strives to provide an atmosphere where all theatre artists – actors, playwrights, directors and designers – have the support and assurance to collaborate openly.

Seanachaí Theatre Company is supported in part by The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Charles River Associates, the Illinois Arts Council and The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs: City Arts Program. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

ACT OUT OPENING: Griffin Theatre's Golden Boy at Theater Wit

Tonight we'll be back at Theater Wit, one of our favorite multistage spaces in the city.  Check back shortly for our full review.

Griffin Theatre Company Presents Revival of
By Clifford Odets
Directed by Jonathan Berry
Through April 6, 2014

Griffin Theatre Company is pleased to present a revival of Clifford Odets’ Tony Award-nominated drama of life, in and outside the boxing ring, GOLDEN BOY, directed by ensemble member Jonathan Berry, playing February 15 – April 6, 2014 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available at, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150.  

Featuring Nate Santana in the title role, GOLDEN BOY’s 15-member ensemble cast also includes Jerry Bloom, David Cady Jr., John Connolly, Laura Lapidus, Jason Lindner, Morgan Maher, Niall McGinty, Connor McNamara, Johnny Moran, Nina O'Keefe, Paul Popp, Mark Pracht, David Prete and Norm Woodel

Clifford Odets’ masterpiece of American drama is set in the gritty world of prize fighting. Joe Bonaparte is a young gifted violinist, who defies his family and gives up a career as a classical musician for a chance at immortality in the boxing ring. GOLDEN BOY is a blistering and powerful look at fame and fortune corrupted, and the seductive promise of the American dream.  

The Lincoln Center’s 2012 revival of Golden Boy garnered eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival. Initially produced on Broadway in 1937, Odets’ hit was made into the 1939 film of the same name, starring William Holden in his breakout role. Golden Boy received its second Broadway revival in 1952.

The production team for GOLDEN BOY includes: Dan Stratton (set design), Mieka Van der Ploeg (costume design), Rebecca Barrett (lighting design) and Rick Sims (sound design), Amanda Herrmann and Christopher Neville (props design), Joe Schermoly (production manager/assistant director) and Jon Ravenscroft (stage manager). 


Playwright:  Clifford Odets
Director:  Jonathan Berry
Cast:  Nate Santana (Joe) with Jerry Bloom (Carp), David Cady Jr. (Mickey), John Connolly (Roxy), Laura Lapidus (Anna), Jason Lindner (Tokio), Morgan Maher (Siggie), Niall McGinty (Frank/Sam), Connor McNamara (Pepper), Johnny Moran (Lewis/Barker), Nina O'Keefe (Lorna), Paul Popp (Drake/Driscoll), Mark Pracht (Moody), David Prete (Eddie) and Norm Woodel (Bonaparte).

Location:  Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Regular run: Thursday, February 27 – Sunday, April 6, 2014
Curtain Times:  Thursdays & Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets:  Regular run $33. Students/seniors $28. Tickets are available at, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150.

About the Playwright
Clifford Odets is an American playwright, screenwriter and director. His other stage works include Waiting for Lefty, Awake and Sing!, Till the Day I Die, Paradise Lost, I Can't Sleep, Sarah Bernhardt (radio) The Silent Partner, Rocket to the Moon, Night Music, Clash by Night, The Russian People, The Big Knife, The Country Girl and The Flowering Peach.  His screenwriting credits include The General Died at Dawn, Golden Boy, None but the Lonely Heart, Humoresque, Notorious, Deadline at Dawn, Clash by Night, The Big Knife, The Country Girl, Sweet Smell of Success, The Story on Page One and Wild in the Country.

About the Director
Jonathan Berry has been working with The Griffin since 1998, first as an actor in Shake Your Groove Thing, Romeo and Juliet, Loving Little Egypt and Stairs to the Roof and then as a director, with productions includings: Miller/Tysen’s The Burnt Part Boys, Sheik/Sater’s Spring Awakening, the North American premieres of Simon Stephens Punk Rock (Jeff award–Director, Lead Actor and Ensemble) Port, and On the Shore of the Wide World, Stephen Sondheim’s Company, William Inge’s Picnic, JB Priestely’s Time and the Conways (Jeff nomination– director/ensemble), Sidney Kingsley’s Dead End, Brendan Behan’s The Hostage and R.C. Sheriff’s Journey’s End. He is an Artistic Associate at Steep, where his productions include: John Donnelly’s The Knowledge, David Eldridge’s Festen, Deirdre Kinahan’s Moment, Howard Korder’s The Hollow Lands and Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Steppenwolf productions include the SYA production of A Separate Peace, and the world premiere of Melinda Lopez’s Gary, as well as the staged reading of Suicide, Incorporated. Goodman Theatre: The World of Extreme Happiness, and The Solid Sand Below.  Roundabout (NY) Suicide, Incorporated. Other work includes: Gift Theatre: the world premiers of both Andrew Hinderaker’s Dirty and Suicide, Incorporated, Chicago Dramatists: I am Going to Change the World, Remy Bumppo: The Marriage of Figaro, Theatre Mir: Bond’s The Sea and Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, Lifeline Theater: The Piano Tuner (After Dark Award–Best Production). Jonathan pursued his MFA in directing from Northwestern University. He has taught acting, directing,and viewpoints at University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Act One Studios, Columbia College and The School at Steppenwolf.

About Griffin Theatre Company
Established in 1988 and celebrating its 25th season, the mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.

The Griffin Theatre Company is partially supported by grants from a City Arts Program II grant through the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

For additional information, visit

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