By Deirdre O’Connor
Directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus
November 10, 2011 - March 18, 2012
Performing at The Second Stage,
3408 N. Sheffield
Profiles Theatre continues its 2011-2012 Season with the World premiere of ASSISTED LIVING by Deirdre O'Connor.
Anne Kelly needs help. She’s pushing 40 and still lives with her mother. Her deadbeat brother won’t even return her calls and the ancient family home seems to be falling down around her. When Levi, a sweet but dim-witted younger man, comes into her life, Anne begins to see the upside of not always being the grown up.
ASSISTED LIVING makes its World premiere at Profiles Theatre, its second production by Deirdre O’Connor follows last season’s long-running hit Jailbait. O’Connor, a 2008 Cherry Lane Project Fellow mentored by Michael Weller and a 2008 - 2009 Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow, graduated from Hampshire College and Columbia University's MFA Playwriting program where she received the John Golden Playwriting Award.
"I am thrilled to be premiering my play, Assisted Living, at Profiles Theatre," says playwright Deirdre O’Connor. “The script came out of my interest in exploring how our identities within our families are so different from our identities in the outside world. The artists at the Profiles Theatre deliver the kind of thoughtful, nuanced and funny work needed to bring this theme to life. I’m so glad to be collaborating again with this talented company.”
Directed by Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus (Fifty Words, Jailbait), the cast of ASSISTED LIVING features guest artist Stacy Stoltz (Cyrano at the House Theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire at Writers’ Theatre) as Anne along with John Byrnes (Waiting For Lefty with American Blues, This with Theater Wit) as her brother Jimmy. The cast also includes guest artists Jordan Stacey and Shannon Hollander.
ASSISTED LIVING was developed by Deirdre O’Connor at The Lark Play Development Center. Her play Jailbait had its World premiere at the Cherry Lane Theater’s Cherry Pit, followed by the Midwest premiere at Profiles Theatre in August 2010. Her other plays include: Hero (Naked Angels, Armed and Naked in America), The Death of May McAllister (Northeastern University), Penicillin (Naked Angels, The Mag 7), White Jesus (Naked Angels, Democracy Project), The Attic (St Ann's Warehouse, Labapalooza), and Wednesday, (Naked Angels, Fear). Deirdre was a 2008 Cherry Lane Mentor Project Fellow mentored by Michael Weller. She is a 2008-2009 Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow, a graduate of Hampshire College, and Columbia University 's MFA Playwriting program where she was the recipient of the John Golden Playwriting Award. Deirdre won an Emmy Award for her writing on “The Electric Company” on PBS. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, director Dave Dalton and their son, Dashiell.
Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus is the director of Assisted Living. He most recently directed Profiles’ Midwest premiere of Fifty Words by Michael Weller and the World premiere of Kid Sister by Will Kern. Previously, he directed the Midwest premieres of Jailbait by Deirdre O’Connor, The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute, Great Falls by Lee Blessing and The Thugs by Adam Bock. Joe also directed the Midwest premieres of Neil LaBute’s In a Dark Dark House, Some Girl(s) and Fat Pig, for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Director. Other directing credits for Profiles include the American premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen, the award-winning Midwest premiere of Blackbird by Adam Rapp, Babylon Gardens by Timothy Mason, The Water Engine and Sexual Perverstiy in Chicago by David Mamet, and the award-winning Midwest premiere of Carnal Knowledge by Jules Fieffer, among others.
The designers are David Ferguson (set), Bekki Lambrecht (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music), Erica Griese (costumes) and the stage manager is Fernando Alvarez.
The cast of ASSISTED LIVING features guest artists Stacy Stoltz as Anne and John Byrnes as her brother Jimmy.
STACY STOLTZ (Anne) most recently played Roxanne in CYRANO with the House Theatre of Chicago. She also performed in THE COMEDY OF ERRORS at Court Theatre and she played Stella in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Writers' Theatre, which earned her an Equity Jeff Nomination. Stacy is a company member with The Hypocrites and The House and some of her favorite shows with them include: OEDIPUS, OUR TOWN, MISS JULIE, 4.48 PSYCHOSIS, HATFIELD AND MCCOY, and DAVE DAVINCI SAVES THE UNIVERSE. She was seen Off – Broadway in THE FOURTH GRADERS PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE SUICIDE and her TV credit is CHICAGO CODE.
JOHN BYRNES (Jimmy) makes his Profiles debut with ASSISTED LIVING. Recent Chicago credits include SEASON'S GREETINGS at Northlight, WAITING FOR LEFTY for American Blues Theater, THIS with Theater Wit, PORT at Griffin Theatre, THIEVES LIKE US with House Theater, ALL MY SONS at Timeline and THE OVERWHELMING at Next Theatre. John is a company member of The Hypocrites where some favorite credits include THE HAIRY APE, OUR TOWN, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 4.48 PSYCHOSIS, MACHINAL and ARCADIA. Regional credits include work with Montana Shakespeare, the Huntington Theatre, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, New Rep and the Vineyard Playhouse. John also appeared in numerous television and radio commercials.
The cast also features guest artists Jordan Stacey as Levi and Shannon Hollander as Christina.
JORDAN STACEY (Levi) was most recently seen as Lysander in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with LaSalle Street Theater as well as their productions of MEASURE FOR MEASURE and THE TEMPEST. Previous Chicago credits include THE BUZZ THAT IS THE BUZZ, written and directed by Beau O’Reilly for the Curious Theatre Branch and SIGN OF RAIN with Whiskey Rebellion at Prop Thtr. Jordan is a graduate of Cornell College’s theater program where he performed in DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, ARABIAN NIGHTS, and as Brazilian starfish musician in emerging playwright Jen Silverman’s AKARUI. Jordan has also appeared in the short films BEFORE I MET YOU, GADFLY, and NIGHTWALKER.
SHANNON HOLLANDER (Christina) was last seen touring Montana as Viola in Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ production of TWELFTH NIGHT. Chicago credits include: STREET SCENE with National Pastime Theatre, AND TIME RUNS ON with Shapeshifters, THE BASTARDS OF YOUNG with Tympanic Theatre, and HESPERIA with Hangar 9 Theatre. She can next be seen in the independent films The WHITE BOX and THE WOMAN A THE WINDOW. Shannon is a very proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and is represented by Paonessa Talent.
“Highly Recommended! A very compelling new play from an exceptionally talented writer with a quartet of exceptionally honest and exquisitely cast actors. ASSISTED LIVING is a closely observed, character-driven, fully realized and profoundly moving little drama. In Joe Jahraus' fast-moving yet frequently tender production, Anne is played with a deft mix of defiance and sadness by Stacy Stoltz, Jordan Stacey is a young actor very adept at holding his character on the edge, Layne Manzer is wholly believable and Shannon Hollander is terrific!”
-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“Highly Recommended! With ASSISTED LIVING, Deirdre O’Connor confirms her unique gift for capturing the quirks of human behavior and the stresses of contemporary life. Keenly observant, yet empathetic, O’Connor has a most winning way of combining truth, humor and heart. In director Joe Jahraus’ ideally tuned world premiere production by Profiles Theatre, Stacy Stoltz is an excellent, very natural actress, Layne Manzer nails his character to perfection, Shannon Hollander is glowing and understated, and Jordan Stacey is totally charming!”
-Hedy Weiss, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
“Highly Recommended! As fractured, peculiar and difficult as this family is, they all ultimately have each other’s backs in this drama of family forgiveness. Director Joe Jahraus gets wonderful performances out of all four actors, particularly Stacy Stoltz as Anne and Layne Manzer as Jimmy, the feckless brother. Both of them bring enormous depth to the development that the characters need to make. A real surprise!”
-Kelly Kleiman, WBEZ
“Recommended! The vagaries of family are sharply delineated in Deirdre O’Connor’s affecting new play. Stacy Stoltz brings tremendous nuance to the way Anne’s crushing sense of obligation serves double duty as shelter from living her own life, while Layne Manzer strikes honest notes as the man-child struggling under the weight of parental expectations and disappointments.”
-Kris Vire, TIMEOUT CHICAGO
“Highly Recommended! Deirdre O’Connor subtly amasses more and more problems under this single roof, and yet the play isn’t a weepy. Plenty of awkward moments are hilarious, thanks to the sharp direction by Joe Jahraus and his level-headed cast. Profiles took a risk by showing a softer side here, and it paid off!”
-Neal Ryan Shaw, NEW CITY
“Highly Recommended! Profiles Theatre, renowned for hard-hitting drama, now demonstrates its prowess with ASSISTED LIVING, lending to the Kellys' progress a forthright candor deftly impeding any propensity toward cloying caricature. Under Joe Jahraus' direction, the quartet of Stacy Stoltz, Layne Manzer, Jordan Stacey and Shannon Hollander deliver sensitive, unmannered performances devoid of actorly swagger!”
-Mary Shen Barnidge, WINDY CITY TIMES
“Recommended! In this affectionately rendered world premiere, Joe Jahraus’ cast, confidently shaped by the director, are awesomely right from moment to moment in O’Connor’s domestic charmer. It’s fascinating to watch how four flawed people somehow counteract heir mistakes just by coming together to create a second family and a new kind of “assisted living.”
-Lawrence Bommer, CHICAGO STAGE STYLE
“Highly Recommended! Connoisseurs of sensitive acting orchestrated by insightful and sure-handed directing will get a lot of pleasure from this production. Joe Jahraus directs the play with an understated intelligence, pinpoint casting and superior performances. Stacy Stoltz is perfect as Anne and Shannon Hollander is a total charmer!”
-Dan Zeff, COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
"Highly Recommended! ASSISTED LIVING is a stunning look at how lives can be affected by those we live with or rely on. Each character in this sharply written, perfectly acted production becomes renewed with more purpose in life and the ability to rely on others. Anne is brilliantly portrayed by Stacy Stoltz, Jimmy is deftly handled by Layne Manzer and Levi is marvelously played by Jordan Stacey. Great story-telling, entertaining and yet, with a message that is of importance to all of us!”
-Alan Bresloff, AROUND THE TOWN CHICAGO
*Jeff Award for Deirdre O'Connor - Best New Work
*Jeff Nomination for Stacy Stoltz - Best Actress in a Principal Role
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