Profiles Theatre opens its 27th Season with the Midwest premiere of the acclaimed new play The Jacksonian by Beth Henley, directed by Artistic Director Joe Jahraus. The production runs August 27 – October 11, 2015 at Profiles Theatre’s The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway. Half price previews will be held August 21 - 26.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley’s eerie new play The Jacksonian transports audiences to Jackson, Mississippi, 1964. When his wife kicks him out, respectable dentist Bill Perch moves into the unsettling world of the seedy Jacksonian Motel. There, his downward spiral is punctuated by encounters with his teenage daughter, a gold-digging motel employee, a treacherous bartender and his now-estranged wife. Revolving around the night of a murder, The Jacksonian, brims with suspense and dark humor as the subversive becomes commonplace and the passage of time becomes hauntingly unpredictable.
In The Jacksonian, Beth Henley returns to the Southern Gothic storytelling that made her reputation with both critics and audiences. The darkly humorous play premiered at the Geffen Playhouse in February 2012 in a production directed by Tony Award winner Robert Falls with a cast featuring Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Amy Madigan and Bill Pullman. It later premiered in New York with the New Group in November 2013 with the same creative team. Beth Henley's best known plays include Crimes of the Heart, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and The Miss Firecracker Contest. Her screenplay for Crimes of the Heart was nominated for an Oscar as Best Adapted Screenplay.
Directed by Profiles Artistic Director Joe Jahraus, the cast of The Jacksonian features guest artists Betsy Bowman, Tim Curtis, Christian Isely, Juliana Liscio and Rachel Sledd.
"It’s an honor to bring this startling new work to Chicago audiences,” says Jahraus. “Filled with the Southen Gothic themes that established her career, Henley’s play is also very personal and reflective on such a turbulent period of our history. It’s a fascinating, disturbing and sometimes surreal experience as it crosses barriers of time and memory.”
BETH HENLEY (Playwright) was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Her plays have been produced internationally and translated into over ten languages. Her 1979 play Crimes of the Heart appeared on Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Her other plays include The Wake of Jamey Foster, The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, Abundance, Impossible Marriage, Family Week and Control Freaks. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre as well as South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ms. Henley’s film and television work includes the screenplays for her plays Crimes of the Heart (Oscar Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), The Miss Firecracker Contest, Nobody’s Fool, True Stories and “Survival Guides” with Budge Threlkeld for PBS. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, her other awards include: American Theatre Wing 1998 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Playwrighting; Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist for Crimes of the Heart and Ridiculous Fraud; Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award 2000; New York Stage and Film Honoree, 2007; ATHE Career Achievement Award, 2010. She also serves as Theatre Arts Presidential Professor at LMU, Los Angeles.
JOE JAHRAUS (Director) is an Artistic Director and founder of Profiles Theatre and most recently directed Profiles' Midwest premiere of Our New Girl by Nancy Harris, the Chicago premiere of The Other Place by Sharr White and the 20th Anniversary production of The Cryptogram by David Mamet. His other directing credits with Profiles include the Midwest Premieres of Gidion's Knot by Johnna Adams, In God's Hat by Rhett Rossi, The Dream of the Burning Boy by David West Read, Sweet and Sad by Richard Nelson, the American Premiere of In a Forest, Dark and Deep by Neil LaBute, the World premiere of Assisted Living by Deirdre O'Connor and 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. Joe 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. He directed the Jeff Award-winning Blackbird, Babylon Gardens, the Jeff Award-nominated Carnal Knowledge and Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Joe was the co-director of Profiles' productions of The Water Engine, The Twilight Zone: The Series and How the Other Half Loves.
The designers for The Jacksonian are Katie-Bell Springmann (set), Michael Rathbun (lights), Oliver Hickman (sound and original music) and Raquel Adorno (costumes). The assistant director is Jeff Gamlin and the stage manger is Miles Mabry.
The cast of The Jacksonian features guest artists Betsy Bowman, Tim Curtis, Christian Isely, Juliana Liscio and Rachel Sledd.
BETSY BOWMAN (Eva) is making her Chicago debut with Profiles Theatre. She recently moved from St. Louis, where some of her credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Pterodactyls with St. Louis Actors Studio, The Violet Hour with Max & Louie Productions, As You Like It, The Tempest and Coriolanus with St. Louis Shakespeare, Lovers with West End Players Guild, Almost, Maine with Citilites and Autobahn with RS Theatrics. Betsy is represented by Grossman & Jack and holds a BFA in Acting from Lindenwood University.
TIM CURTIS (Bill Perch) makes his Profiles Theatre debut with The Jacksonian. Regionally, he was seen in Our Town, directed by David Cromer, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA. Highlights of his Chicago credits include TWO with Terrible Theatre, Uncle Vanya with Strawdog, Grand Hysterie with Chicago Dramatists, Creditors with Rendition Theatre, Parlour Song with Steep Theatre, Our Town with the Hypocrites, Machinal (a reading) with Timeline, The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild: a Road Trip with Collaboraction and Perfect Mendacity for Steppenwolf’s 2008 First Look series. Other productions include appearances with Chicago Shakespeare (Shakespeare Rep.), Famous Door, Next Theatre, Pyewacket and the Journeymen. Tim has also served as director for many regional and Chicago based productions.
CHRISTIAN ISELY (Fred) is appearing with Profiles Theatre for the first time. His previous Chicago credits include Confederates in the Attic with City Lit, A Christmas Carol Abridged with the Dream Theatre Company and Fahrenheit 451 and The Aurora Project with Otherworld Theatre. His film and television work includes Writers at the Edge, Off Par and A Piece of Cake.
JULIANA LISCIO (Rosy Perch) is making her Profiles Theatre debut. She was most recently seen in the Midwest premiere of Take Me Back with The Poor Theatre. In May, Juliana graduated from Niles West High School, where she appeared in productions of She Kills Monsters, On the Razzle, Avenue Q: School Edition and Shrek the Musical. Juliana is currently a freshman theatre major at Loyola University Chicago.
RACHEL SLEDD (Susan) is making her debut with Profiles Theatre. Most recently she appeared in The Rose Tattoo with Shattered Globe. Other Chicago credits include How to be Sawed in Half at The Athenaeum Theatre and The Balcony at the Chopin. Her New York credits include Last Dance at Manhattan Theatre Club, Diana of Dobson’s at Mint Theater Company, Baptism by Fire at Studio Dante, Sleepwalker at 78th Street Theatre Lab, and several credits with Division 13 Productions, with whom she was a founding member. Rachel’s regional credits include A Dream Play at Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Shape of Things at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Our Town at Delaware Theatre Company, Friends Like These at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cymbeline at Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Rachel’s directing credits include After and 9 Circles for the Loop Players at Harold Washington College. Recent film credits include The Bride of Frankie and Happy Snow Day, Franny. TV credits include Third Watch (NBC) and The Artist (Showtime). Rachel teaches theatre at Harold Washington College and received an M.F.A. from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program.
“The piece is structured as a whodunit, but whereas most pot-boilers merely use their cultural backdrop as urbane atmosphere, THE JACKSONIAN interacts with Jackson, circa 1964, far more politically, suggesting that the crime at the heart of the motel is merely one manifestation of the racist poison in the city water supply. The production features a notably sophisticated two-story design from Katie-Bell Springmann — a clash of 1960s motel-cool with sleazy Southern parochialism — and more than a few stirring moments of fevered comic drama that benefit from the intimate setting. Tim Curtis captures his tooth doctor's pathetic attempts at retaining dignity while living in a motel on a permanent basis. The cast creates a colorful array of Jacksonians seeking refuge of one kind or another. It’s a very interesting and complicated play that hasn't been seen in Chicago before!”
-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“***1/2 Highly Recommended! This eerie drama has a great ensemble, lovely staging and all the Southern twang you could possibly want. Joe Jahraus’ direction is spot on. The production masters Henley’s vices and virtues very well and creates an eerie environment that seems perpetually on the side of a cliff, waiting to tumble into oblivion. Tim Curtis particularly walks the line between enthusiasm and insanity perfectly with great comedic timing. Betsy Bowman is up to the challenge and brings Eva to life in all her maniacal glory. Her hotel chum, Fred, is played damn well by Christian Isely!”
-Bellisant Corcoran-Mathe, CHICAGO STAGE STANDARD
“Nothing can really prepare audiences for the bizarrely fascinating, twisted, darkly humorous story that’s unfolding at Profiles Theatre. Joe Jahraus’ intriguing production resides in a land somewhere between film noir and an adult comic book. It’s a dark, unsettling piece that Beth Henley has created, now enjoying its Midwest premiere. The five-member ensemble is strong, particularly Tim Curtis, in his highly energized portrayal of Bill Perch. Juliana Liscio makes an auspicious debut as Rosy, the innocent teenager who’s also wise beyond her years. This quirky play, with its darkly comic elements, springs back and forth between ominous, Southern Gothic storytelling and no-nonsense, spirited realism. This murder mystery, laced with sex and violence, depicts a world filled with greed, prejudice and desperation. It’s not a world where most of us would want to live, but a short, voyeuristic visit can be fascinating!”
-Colin Douglas, CHICAGO THEATRE REVIEW
“Beth Henley's The Jacksonian is a bit of noir and a bit of Southern Gothic decay. Joe Jahraus' direction is paced right and moves the action easily among the three settings in this 90-minute production. Tim Curtis provides a strong performance as the drug-addled dentist Bill Perch and Juliana Liscio as his daughter, Rosy, gives a touching performance!”
-Nancy Bishop, GAPERS BLOCK
Profiles is once again offering its popular FLEX PASS to offer big savings on the exciting new shows for the 2015-2016 Season: THE JACKSONIAN by Beth Henley, HELLCAB by Will Kern, two separate programs of VICES & VIRTUES by Neil LaBute, JERUSALEM by Jez Butterworth and THE VILLAGE BIKE by Penelope Skinner. Get a 5 Ticket Pass for $125 or get a 10 Ticket Pass for $200. Save up to $150 off the price at the door and the passes are good for any performance. Tickets can be used in any combination of quantity and date for any production throughout the season with advance reservations by calling the box office at 773-549-1815. Hurry, the new FLEX PASSES will only be available through August 31, 2015.
Our intimate theatre, located just north of Wrigleyville, is conveniently located one block west of Lake Shore Drive, the Red Line at the Sheridan El stop, and numerous bus routes.