American Blues Theater presents “Tobacco Road” by Jack Kirkland

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 “Tobacco Road” at Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, May 21- June 20

 
CHICAGO, IL – American Blues Theater, Chicago’s second oldest Equity ensemble company, continues its 2009-2010 season with “Tobacco Road” by Jack Kirkland, directed by Cecilie Keenan May 21- June 20. Press opening is Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. All performances take place in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. 
 
“Tobacco Road,” adapted by Kirkland from Eskine Caldwell’s 1932 novel, is the second-longest running drama in Broadway history having amassed 3,182 Broadway performances to its credit. When it subsequently toured the country, it was declared obscene in many places, including Chicago where it was closed down, but reopened after a lawsuit.
 
American Blues Theater is thrilled to revive this sharp, steamy, unrelenting, wickedly funny story in anticipation of the celebration of their 25th anniversary July 12, 2010. “Tobacco Road” examines the extreme lengths people will travel for survival.  In a rural shack in Georgia during the Great Depression, the dysfunctional and desperate Lester family faces eviction from their own land. The patriarch Jeeter struggles to keep his farm’s deed, feed his starving family and arrange suitable marriages for his children despite no money, no seeds and no foreseeable way out. The Lester family shows brutally honest truths and emotionally shocking decisions, both outrageously humorous and horrifying.
 
The cast for “Tobacco Road” features award-winning ABT Ensemble members Matthew Brumlow (Dude), Kate Buddeke (Sister Bessie), Dennis Cockrum (Jeeter), James Leaming (multiple roles), Suzanne Petri (Grandma), Carmen Roman (Ada) and Gwendolyn Whiteside (Ellie May); along with Laura Coover (Pearl) and James Joseph (Lov). Joining director Keenan on the artistic staff are ABT Ensemble members James Leaming (scenic and lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound design), and Lauri Dahl (dramaturg); ABT Artistic Affiliates Sarah Ross (costume and properties design), Marty Higginbotham (incidental music, choral director), Jaclyn Holsey (stage manager), Mercedes Rohlfs (assistant dramaturg), Steve Key (special effects) and Sarah Burnham and Brian Claggett (production support). Fight choreographer is Joe Foust.
 
Throughout the run of “Tobacco Road” American Blues Theater is proudly partnering with the Illinois Farmers’ Bureau, Lincoln Park High School Farmers’ Market, Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Smile Train. They will honor one family farm per performance, raise awareness for the LPHS Farmers’ Market, run a food drive, and sponsor a cleft-palate surgery and supplies.
 
American Blues Theater presents “Tobacco Road” May 21 – June 20 in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Previews are Friday, May 21 – Sunday, May 23. Press opening is Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m.  Performances are Thursdays at 8 p.m. (5/27, 7 p.m.), Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. (5/29, 6/5, 6/12, 6/19 only) and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are as follows:  previews, $20; press opening, $50; post opening, $32 for Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees, $40 for Friday and Saturday evenings.
 
Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 27 beginning at noon. For tickets or more information call the box office at 773-871-3000 or visit victorygardens.org.
 
American Blues Theater was founded in 1985. Between the years 1998-2009, the Ensemble was known as American Theater Company. In 2009, the Ensemble again embraced its original name, reforming as American Blues Theater. ABT is an Ensemble of inherently collaborative theater artists. Their mission is to re-envision great American classics and reach out to the Chicago theater community to create new work that reflects mid-western roots and celebrates the diverse American character. ABT dedicates each production to the working people of the region and partner with social service and community organizations. 
 
American Blues Theater celebrates their Ensemble’s 25th Anniversary on July 12, 2010.
 
“Tobacco Road” sponsors are the Bruce B. Boyd Foundation, the CME Foundation and The Grand Central. American Blues Theater is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit arts organization. For more information call 312-725-4ABT (312-725-4228) or visit americanbluestheater.com. 
 

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