Casting is set for the World Premiere of the Tech-Noir Comedy Ask Aunt Susan by Seth Bockley, running May 24 – June 22 in the Owen Theatre

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Henry Wishcamper directs the cast of five, including Marc Grapey, Jennie Moreau, Meghan Reardon, Robyn Scott and Alex Stage as Aunt Susan

CHICAGO, IL -  Casting is complete for Playwright-in-Residence Seth Bockley’s irreverent new comedy, Ask Aunt Susan, the final production of the Goodman’s 2013/2014 Season in the Owen Theatre. Loosely based on Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts, Ask Aunt Susan is a no-holds-barred examination of anonymity, authenticity and the unwieldiness of the wild, wild web. Bockley wrote the play in 2010, during his time in the Goodman Playwrights Unit—a year-long program designed to support and develop new works—and further developed it in the 2011/2012 New Stages Festival. Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper directs the world-premiere production featuring an ensemble cast, many of whom worked with Bockley in the initial development stages: Alex Stage, who currently appears in Bockley’s production of hamlet is dead. no gravity at Red Tape Theatre, portrays the title character of Aunt Susan; Marc Grapey as Steve; Meghan Reardon as Betty; Jennie Moreau as Lydia; and newcomer Robyn Scott as Jill. The design team includes Kevin Depinet (set), Richard Woodbury (sound), Alison Siple (costumes), Keith Parham (lights) and Mike Tutaj (projections). Kimberly Osgood is the production stage manager. Headshots and bio information can be found in the Press Room. Ask Aunt Susan runs May 24 – June 22 in the Owen Theatre (opening night is Monday, June 2). Tickets ($10-$40; subject to change) are on sale now and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Bank of America is the Owen Season Sponsor. Edelman Worldwide is the Corporate Sponsor Partner. Baxter and Blue Cross Blue Shield are Contributing Sponsors.

“Ask Aunt Susan is a kind of satire of the early Internet startups, where cultish celebrity self-help meets good old-fashioned American greed,” said Bockley, a Chicago-based playwright, director and performer and 2009 Ofner Prize winner.  “I’m thrilled to be working again with Alex Stage, Marc Grapey, Jennie Moreau and Megan Reardon in roles they have come to define in my imagination, as well as a newcomer, the hilarious Robyn Scott.”

Ask Aunt Susan introduces Aunt Susan, a twenty-something man who moonlights as an online advice guru. When his column, “Ask Aunt Susan,” becomes the web’s hottest spot for self-help, Aunt Susan’s boss, Steve, a reckless funder, begins to rake in the profits from women’s everyday woes. But as the online reputation mushrooms, so does “Aunt Susan’s” web of deceit—and soon the phenomenon is much bigger than anyone could have imagined.

The “ever quirky” (Chicago Sun-Times) Seth Bockley‘s plays include February House, a collaboration with lyricist and composer Gabriel Kahane which premiered at The Public Theater (2012), and was hailed as “funny and quick, but also has something on its mind,” (Entertainment Weekly); The Elephant & The Whale (with Redmoon and Chicago Children’s Theatre); 2666, adapted with Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls from the novel by Roberto Bolaño; adaptations of George Saunders’ short stories CommComm (commissioned by the Goodman and further developed by New York’s Page 73 Productions) and Jon, which won the 2008 Equity Jeff Citation for Best New Adaptation; The Twins Would Like To Say for Dog & Pony Theatre Co.; and Laika’s Coffin and Winter Pageant 2010 for Redmoon, where he spent two years as a directing apprentice through Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations program. Directing credits include Ewald Palmetshofer’s hamlet is dead. no gravity at Red Tape Theatre; Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story at Victory Gardens Theater; Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) for Clubbed Thumb (NYC); Jon and Jason Grote’s 1001 for Collaboraction; numerous Redmoon events and spectacles; and the clown play Guerra, developed with Devon de Mayo and Mexico City-based troupe La Piara.

Henry Wishcamper (Director) is an Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre, where he recently directed the critically acclaimed  36th annual production of A Christmas Carol. Previous Goodman credits include Other Desert Cities, his own adaptation of Animal Crackers (Jeff nomination) and Talking Pictures. New York directing credits include Spirit Control at Manhattan Theatre Club; Graceland at LCT3; Port Authority at Atlantic Theater Company; Elvis People at New World Stages; The Polish Play at Katharsis Theater Company; and Pullman Car Hiawatha at Keen Company (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play). Regional theater and other directing credits include Animal Crackers at Williamstown Theatre Festival; the American premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Birds at the Guthrie Theater; Engaging Shaw and The Mystery of Irma Vep at The Old Globe; Art at Barrington Stage Company; The Seafarer and Speech & Debate at TheaterWorks; and The Good Thief at Portland Stage Company. He has served as the assistant director of the Broadway productions of August: Osage County and Shining City. His adaptation of Animal Crackers has been produced by Baltimore Center Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Lyric Stage Company. Wishcamper is the artistic director of Katharsis Theater Company and was previously the artistic director of the Maine Summer Dramatic Institute (MSDI) in Portland, Maine. While there, he founded Shakespeare in Deering Oaks Park, a free Shakespeare festival in Portland’s primary public park featuring students from MSDI’s education program. He is a Drama League directing fellow and a graduate of Yale University. Wishcamper is set to direct The Dance of Death at Writers Theatre, April 1 – July 20, 2014.

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