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Chicago, IL - The Ruckus Theater is making some noise by producing a world-premiere musical during its second season in Chicago: Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir, book by Aaron Dean, music by Jason Rico, lyrics by Aaron Dean and Jason Rico, directed by Tympanic Theatre Artistic Director Daniel Caffrey. Led by an ensemble cast of twelve, Escape… is a coming-of-age story in the tradition of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Chocolate War and, most closely, Stand By Me. Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir—workshopped by The Ruckus in June 2010—is performed at The Side Project Theatre (1439 W Jarvis Ave) January 6 – 30, 2010 (opening night is January 7). Performances are Thursday – Sunday at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 and go on sale October 11 at RuckusTheater.org or by phone at 773.769.RCKS (7257).
 
The Ruckus’ first musical, Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir sends us on a perilous journey with a group of boys on the verge of adulthood. While the boys are not unlike those you might meet on a Chicago street corner today, the world in which they exist is more akin to that of the Brothers Grimm. To our intrepid young escapees, the Tatzelwürm is nearly as terrifying as their heartless choirmaster, the Witch as mysterious as the first pangs of love and lust and the sweet smell of freedom as lovely as a beautiful young face. Escape… combines the fantastical with the all-too familiar and the result is a painfully honest, surprising, affecting and seriously funny portrayal of the pain and beauty of adolescence and the beginnings of sexual awakening. If that weren’t enough, there’s a sadistic groundskeeper, a hallucinogenic mountain-dwelling invertebrate, shape-shifters, kidnappers and more testicular humor than you can shake a stick at. 
 
Aaron Dean (Book & Lyrics) is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he studied theater and dabbled in Sociology and History. He has worked as a screenwriter, actor, nanny, janitor, musician, salesman, groundskeeper, canvasser for Greenpeace, baker, dishwasher, little league concession guy, tutor, cook, playwright, has unloaded many, many semi-trucks and co-hosted shows displaying patio furniture. His work as a playwright has been produced by The Ruckus and Brain Surgeon Theater.
 
Jason Rico (Music & Lyrics) is an American composer of instrumental, vocal and theater music. He has created a body of work in multiple genres including symphonic, wind ensemble, choral, art song, chamber music and opera. Jason studied composition with Michael Schelle at Butler University and with Andrey Kasparov and Adolphus Hailstork at Old Dominion University. His compositions have been praised for their complex and truly American style. His ability to pair the musical line with text was highlighted in his work “This Land of Heroes” for chorus, assorted instruments and electronics, for which he was awarded the Old Dominion University Honors Grant. He also received several other awards for his “Viola Concerto,” “Three American Elegies” and the song cycle “Nature Is Never Spent.” Jason is currently Music Director for Quixotic, a sketch comedy troupe based in Chicago. Escape from the Haltsburg Boys’ Choir is his first musical.
Director Daniel Caffrey is the Artistic Director of Tympanic Theatre Company, which he founded in 2006 after moving to Chicago. He has directed for Tympanic, iO, the side project, and is thrilled to be back with The Ruckus after directing his own short play Pogo for Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It in 2009. As a playwright, his work has been produced by ARFTCO, Chicago Dramatists, Dramatis Personae, Dream Theatre, Hobo Junction, Infusion Theatre, MOB Productions, The Rough House, Tympanic and WildClaw. He occasionally acts and is a Staff Writer for the music publication Consequence Of Sound consequenceofsound.net.
 
The Ruckus – Spring 2011 at The Side Project Theatre
 
SU SESSIZ (CALM WATER)
by Timo Aker | directed by Katie Canavan
A workshop. March 2011
 
Istanbul, 2006. In a city centuries old, a young man grapples with what it means to be American, and to be other. Help The Ruckus make Su Sessiz (Calm Water) with this 2010/2011 workshop by company member Timo Aker.
 
15 MINUTES 
developed by the Company; by Mitch Vermeersch and Aaron Dean
directed by Allison Shoemaker 
May/June 2011
 
In 15 Minutes, there are the Knowns and the Not-Knowns, and there is everyone in between. In a city built of glass and steel, cables and cameras, six people are about to meet a very strange man with some very strange ideas. There are rules, and there are risks, and there is something very strange about this World’s Fair—but if you listen to him you could become one of the six most famous people alive.
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