Raven Theatre open season with Tennessee Williams


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


by Tennessee Williams, directed by Michael Menendian

Previews: Tuesday, October 12 through Saturday, October 16 at 8:00 p.m.
Opening Night: Sunday, October 17, at 7:00 p.m.

Performances continue through December 19 (No performance November 25):
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

All performances take place on Raven Theatre’s East Stage, 6157 N. Clark

Tickets are $20 (previews), $40 on opening nights and $30 all other performances
($5 discount for students/seniors, group discounts also available)

Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre; additional street parking is available.  Raven Theatre is handicapped accessible

Tickets/information: www.raventheatre.com or 773-338-2177

Raven Theatre opens the 2010-2011 season with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Michael Menendian.Opening is Sunday, October 17, at 7:00 p.m. at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, with a reception following in the Raven lobby. Tickets and information are available at www.raventheatre.com  or 773-338-2177.

Heat, liquor, and mendacity combine in Raven Theatre’s sultry season opener, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The Pollitt family gathers on Big Daddy’s birthday after discovering the wealthy patriarch’s health has taken a turn for the worst. As family members vie for Big Daddy’s affections to ensure their financial security, cracks in this desperate display of family devotion quickly surface. At the heart of the argument is the worthiness of the youngest son Brick and his wife, Maggie. Having recently lost his best friend, Skipper, to suicide after rejecting his romantic advances, Brick is left with an overwhelming guilt. His reactionary and destructive behavior mixed with Maggie’s desperation for marital intimacy creates a tension that comes scandalously close to utter ruin. Brick’s physical and emotional crutches prevent him from getting close to her, but Maggie’s stubborn devotion refuses to let him go.

Director, Michael Menendian, states:

Brick is distraught with guilt for not supporting a friend in need and it has marred all other relationships in his life. This guilt, coupled with personal and societal views of homosexuality play key roles in driving the tension in this play. Although the societal view of homosexuality has greatly changed since it was written, people are still being persecuted for just being honest with themselves.”

Tennessee Williams was an award winning playwright, whose accolades include one Tony Award, four New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes. Often using people and situations from his own life as inspiration for his characters and plot lines, Williams tackled many controversial and personal topics including homosexuality, depression and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Known as a master of American drama, Williams’ prolific nature led to the penning of many plays, novels, short stories and a screenplay.

Director Michael Menendian is a founding member and the Producing Artistic Director of Raven Theatre, where he has directed and designed sets for many productions, earning numerous Joseph Jefferson and After Dark awards. He recently received a 2010 Jeff nomination for his direction of Raven’s Death of a Salesman. His other productions include The Odd Couple, Hedda Gabler, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, The Night of the Iguana, The Sea Gull, American Buffalo, Dancing at Lughnasa, Golden Boy, Marvin’s Room, A Streetcar Named Desire, A View from the Bridge, and Glengarry Glen Ross.

The Pollitt family is portrayed by Liz Fletcher (Maggie) who is a Raven ensemble member of 13 years and recently appeared in The Odd Couple and received Jeff Citations for her work in A Streetcar Named Desire and Golden Boy; Jason Huysman (Brick) who last appeared in Raven’s production of Death of a Salesman and has also worked with Steppenwolf, Trap Door and Greasy Joan; Jon Steinhagen (Big Daddy) who recently appeared in Raven’s productions of The Odd Couple and Hedda Gabler and is a multiple Jeff Award winning actor, writer and musical director; JoAnn Montemurro (Big Momma) who is the Co-Artistic Director of Raven Theatre and was recently seen in Death of a Salesman and Hedda Gabler; Eleanor Katz (Mae) who is making her Raven Theatre debut and has also worked with Babes with Blades; Greg Caldwell (Gooper) who is a Raven ensemble member who recently appeared in The Odd Couple and Death of a Salesman; Mike Boone (Reverend Tooker) whose previous Raven credits include A Clean Well-Lighted Place, The Room, Talk to Me Like the Rain, and You Can’t Take it With You; andJonathan Nichols (Dr. Baugh) who appeared in Raven’s production of Book of Days and has also worked with Circle Theatre, City Lit, and Eclipse Theatre.

The design staff includes: Ray Toler (Set Designer); Andrei Onegin (Technical Director); Kelly Dailey (Scenic Artist); Christine Ferriter (Lighting Designer); Mina Hyun-Ok Hong (Costume Designer); Katherine M. Chavez (Sound Designer) and Mary O’Dowd (Props) and Leif Olsen (Composer). Jen Short serves as stage manager and Justin Castellano serves as Asst. Stage Manager.

Raven Theatre

Founded in 1983, Raven Theatre is dedicated to breathing new life into American classics and exploring other works that illuminate the American experience, with occasional forays into world classics. In addition to its regular season, Raven produces a Workshop Series of new and experimental productions, as well as an Educational Outreach program, including teaching partnerships with various Chicago Public Schools, summer youth classes and original children’s shows performed at Raven Theatre.

Raven Theatre Company is funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, Polk Bros. Foundation, Yates-Feldman Foundation, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, , The Field Foundation, The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation, The Alphawood Foundation, The Arts Engagement Exchange through The Chicago Community Trust, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, S & C Electric Company, The Department of Cultural Affairs, CityArtsII, a city agency, The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development through The Chicago Community Trust and The Kinder Morgan Foundation.

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