Profiles Theatre continues its 2012-2013 Season with Midwest Premiere of The Dream of Burning Boy by David West Read, directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. The Jeff Recommended production has new performance dates and is now playing through April 28, 2013 at Profiles Theatre’s Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway.
Since the sudden death of his favorite student, high-school teacher Larry Morrow has been falling asleep at his desk and dreaming. Steve, the school's guidance counselor, hangs inspirational posters designed to help everyone "process their emotions” while the student's sister and friends find little solace in their schoolwork. The Dream of the Burning Boy is a bittersweet story of choices made, opportunities lost, and finding the strength to move on.
The Dream of the Burning Boy received its World premiere in March 2011 as part of Roundabout Underground, Roundabout Theatre's initiative to nurture new plays by emerging writers. Playwright David West Read, a native of Toronto, currently resides as a Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School, and a recent graduate of the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. The Dream of the Burning Boy was developed at the 2010 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Mr. Read currently works on a commission for South Coast Repertory.
Directed by Profiles Co-Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, the cast of The Dream of the Burning Boy features Co-Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox as Larry and Profiles ensemble member Eric Burgher as Steve. Also featured are guest artists Marilyn Bass, Sarah Chalcroft, Joel Collins, Vic Kuligoski and Alaina Stacey.
“The Dream of the Burning Boy was my first fully-produced play in New York, and I am thrilled to be making my Midwest premiere with the same play just two years later,” says playwright David West Read. “Profiles Theatre has been home to many great plays and playwrights in recent years, and with this company at the helm, I am confident that my work is in very good hands.”
DAVID WEST READ is a New York-based playwright and screenwriter. His romantic comedy The Performers received its World premiere on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre in the fall of 2012, starring Henry Winkler, Alicia Silverstone, Cheyenne Jackson, and Ari Graynor. In addition to The Dream of the Burning Boy (O’Neill Theater Conference, Roundabout Underground; John Gassner Award nomination, Drama League Award nomination), David's other plays include The Dark Pines(Cape Cod Theatre Project) and Happy Face (Pacific Playwrights Conference). He has been commissioned to write plays for Roundabout Theatre Company, Burnt Umber Productions (both upcoming), and South Coast Repertory, as well as screenplays for B-Spoke Entertainment and Bunce Media. David is a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at The Juilliard School and the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a native of Toronto, Canada.
Joe Jahraus (Director) is the founder and Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre. He most recently directed Profiles' Midwest Premiere of Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson, the American Premiere of In a Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute as well as Profiles' World Premiere of Assisted Living by Deirdre O'Connor. Joe's other directing credits with Profiles include the Midwest Premieres of Fifty Words by Michael Weller, Jailbait by Deirdre O'Connor, The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute, Great Falls by Lee Blessing, The Thugs by Adam Bock and the World Premiere of Kid Sister by Will Kern. He directed the American Premiere of Apple by Vern Thiessen and the long-running hit Fat Pig by Neil LaBute for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Director. Joe directed the Jeff Award winning Blackbird, Babylon Gardens, the Jeff Award nominated Carnal Knowledge and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. He was the co-director of Profiles' productions of The Water Engine, The Twilight Zone: The Series and How the Other Half Loves. Joe has designed numerous sets for Profiles including Stray Dogs, for which he received a 1999 Jeff Award nomination for Set Design.
The designers for The Dream of the Burning Boy are Shaun Renfro (set), Mike Durst (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music), and Raquel Adorno (costumes). Harmony France serves as assistant director.
The cast of THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY features Profiles ensemble members Darrell W. Cox in the role of Larry with Profiles ensemble member Eric Burgher as Steve.
ERIC BURGHER (Steve) was most recently seen in Profiles’ Midwest Premiere of Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson, as well as Profiles’ Midwest Premiere of Bachelorette by Leslye Headland. Prior to that he appeared in Profiles’ Midwest Premiere of A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh, for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Supporting Actor. Eric also appeared in the World Premiere of A Beautiful Spell by Greg Kalleres, with Rare Terra Theatre at the Royal George. Other appearances at Profiles include Jailbait, Fat Pig, Graceland, This is How It Goes, Body Awareness, Kid Sister, “Land of the Dead” as part of Profiles’ Midwest Premiere of LaBute shorts, Things We Said Today, autobahn, The Glory of Living, The Radiant Abyss and Noise. Eric is an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia College Chicago where he teaches acting.
DARRELL W. COX (Larry) is Co-Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre where he most recently appeared in the Midwest Premiere of Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson and the American Premiere of In a Forest Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute. Darrell received his fourth Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role for his performance as Joe Cooper in Profiles’ production of Killer Joe by Tracy Letts. He has appeared at Steppenwolf in the World Premiere of Men of Tortuga (where he originated the role of Taggart), the Midwest Premiere of Orange Flower Water (which traveled to the Galway Arts Festival), and the World Premiere of Wendall Greene. He has also been seen at the Goodman in The Shawl and Home as part of the David Mamet Festival, American Theatre Company’s Speed the Plow and Oleanna as part of the Mamet Repertory, as well as Jim Jones in the Midwest Premiere of The People’s Temple, and the World Premiere of Martin Furey’s Shot at TimeLine, among others. In addition to Killer Joe, Darrell received Joseph Jefferson Awards for Principal Actor for his work in Profiles’ productions of Blackbird, Some Voices, and Eye of God. He has also received two After Dark Awards for Outstanding Performance for Profiles’ productions of Popcorn, and Carnal Knowledge. Darrell can currently be seen in Chicago Fire on NBC in the recurring role of Uncle Ray.
The production also features guest artists Marilyn Bass, Sarah Chalcroft, Joel Collins, Vic Kuligoski and Alaina Stacey.
MARILYN BASS (Chelsea) is making her first appearance at Profiles Theatre. She was most recently seen in Voices in the Dark at Fury Theatre Company and Wolf at Brikenbrak Theatre Project. Marilyn received her training at Piven Theatre Workshop, the Actors Training Center and Profiles Theatre's Advanced Scene Study Intensive. Marilyn will soon be appearing in a BMO Harris Bank commercial and will be reprising her role in a film adaptation of Voices in the Dark shooting this Spring. Marilyn is a freshman theatre major at Loyola University Chicago.
SARAH CHALCROFT (Andrea) is making both her Profiles Theatre and Chicago debut having recently relocated from London. Her UK credits include Purgatorio at The Chocolate Factory; 4:48 Psychosis for Stonecrabs Theatre; Queen Margaret, The Merchant of Venice, Lear, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, The Tempest and As You Like It for Bard in the Botanics, Glagsow; R & J and Infinite Variety for Cumbernauld Theatre, Scotland; Hedda Gabler with Theatre Babel; Blind Mouth Singing and Transmissions for Birmingham Rep; Vivienne Grout’s Adventure In Another Metropolis for Sparkledark Theatre which toured venues around Scotland and appeared in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; The Vagina Monologues for Cottiers Theatre; Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night, Hamlet and As You Like It for British Touring Shakespeare. She also appeared in Taggart, for Scottish Television.
JOEL COLLINS (Kyle) is making his Profiles debut. His past credits include Woyzeck at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Xanadu with the District Theatre, and the World premiere of Honor at Columbia College Chicago. Joel is a BFA theatre performance major at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
VIC KULIGOSKI (Dane) returns to Profiles after appearing in their World premiere production of Graceland by Ellen Fairey. Vic is from the Chicago area and attends Columbia College Chicago majoring in theatre. Most recently, he has performed at Columbia College in their production of Columbinus and Spotlight Theatre’s production of Talk Radio. This past summer, Vic appeared in the independent film, Maydays. Vic also enjoys playing the guitar.
ALAINA STACEY (Rachel) is joining Profiles Theatre for her first professional production. She is a senior at Whitney Young High School and has been participating in theater since her freshman year, appearing in productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Women and Wallace, Jugger’s Rain, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, as well as working backstage for several school productions. In addition to acting, Alaina is also a singer and songwriter involved with many groups around the city, performing at various venues such as Schuba’s Tavern and Uncommon Ground. Alaina’s parents and three brothers have given her unflinching support throughout her musical and theatrical endeavors.
“THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY is an affecting new play from a young and talented New York-based writer named David West Read now in its first Midwest production at the Profiles Theatre. With striking veracity and sensitivity, Read's play chronicles how grief plays out in the American school system with its various tried-and-tested systems of crisis counselors, group therapy, memorials and special dispensations. Alaina Stacey is excellent as her wholly credible character!”
-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“Recommended! THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY bursts with emotion as it deals with failure and grief and captures adolescent voices at once comic and crushing. Under director Joe Jahraus, four hugely impressive young actors join several veterans. Sweet, funny and true, it makes you want to hear more from this playwright!”
-Hedy Weiss, CHICAGO SUN TIMES
“Recommended! As the English teacher, Darrell W. Cox offers a vivid portrait of a man stuck in himself. Joel Collins is fun to watch as a charmingly feckless friend of Dane's, and Alaina Stacey is full-out formidable as Dane's profoundly pissed-off sister!”
-Tony Adler, CHICAGO READER
“Highly Recommended! Profiles Theatre's new production THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY examines the impact of grief on a small high school. Its examination of the grief industry, with its counselors and "trauma leave" and "processing," make the dead person almost an accessory to those left behind. In Artistic Director Joe Jahraus's fine production, David West Read's absolutely flawless ear engages us with its very real-looking and -sounding characters. Eric Burgher is outstanding as always!”
-Kelly Kleiman, WBEZ
“Highly Recommended! THE DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY, playwright David West Read’s painfully honest look at loss and the secret chambers of heartache, is enjoying an all-too-brief run at Profiles Theatre with Darrell W. Cox in a performance of ironic eloquence as the teacher who cannot speak his heart. Marilyn Bass brings a palpable aura of caring to the deceased boy’s girlfriend and Eric Burgher plays Steve with bubbly sweetness and fetchingly awkward charm!”
-Lawrence Johnson, CHICAGO ON THE AISLE
"Recommended! The teenagers imbue their dialogue with the unmistakable authenticity of adolescent confusion at their first encounter with death - in particular, Alaina Stacey (a senior at Whitney Young High School) as the ambivalent Rachel, whose stubborn bravado in the face of mixed feelings over her brother's memory makes us want to assure her that loss will come easier with experience."
-Mary Shen Barnidge, WINDY CITY TIMES
“Recommended! In only 80 taut minutes in this Midwest debut staged by Joe Jahraus, playwright David West Read displays a convincing range of reactions to the sudden death of a teenager. Darrell W. Cox’ quiet anguish and Alaina Stacey’s adolescent indignation chart the extremes in a play that delivers an impressive cross-section of wide-ranging bereavement!”
-Lawrence Bommer, CHICAGO THEATER BEAT
“Highly Recommended! This is an intense, occasionally comic play that packs a terrific wallop. Joe Jahraus directs with a pinpoint regard for the shifting emotional temperature of the action and Darrell W. Cox is splendid as a man dealing with the loss of his student. The cast is excellent!”
-Dan Zeff, CHICAGOLAND THEATER REVIEWS
“Recommended! DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY is an evocative work buoyed by some great performances. Read has an ear for authentic dialogue that is also adept at revealing character quickly. Darrell W. Cox is reliably excellent and anyone who’s experienced loss will see a little something of themselves here!”
-Clint May, CHICAGOCRITIC.COM
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