American Blues Theater

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
American Blues Theater
Formation 1985
Type Theatre group
Location
  • Chicago
Artistic director(s)
Gwendolyn Whiteside
Website http://www.americanbluestheater.com/

American Blues Theater is an American theater.

Winner of American Theatre Wing’s prestigious 2016 National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

American Blues provide community service for many not-for-profits, such as the Lynn Sage Foundation, Chicago Public Schools, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Farm Bureau, Misericordia, PAWS Chicago, and the USO. Since 2009, they’ve held food & book drives, distributed promotional tickets, and raised awareness for children’s surgeries and health needs. American Blues also donate proceeds from “Pink Previews” to The Lynn Sage Foundation for breast cancer research.

American Blues Theater's diverse and multi-generational 37-member Ensemble has over 532+ combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2016, the theater and artists have 186 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 31 Black Theater Alliance Awards. Blues' artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards, and numerous other accolades.

More than half of the mainstage productions are world and Chicago premieres. Their new play development consists of a variety of programs – including world and Chicago premieres, the nationally-recognized Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Blueprint play development, and annual Ripped: the Living Newspaper Festival of new short-plays.[1]

History[edit]

Built by the American Blues Family
American Blues Theater was founded in July 1985 by a director, playwright, actor, and designer. The company dedicated itself to new and classic American plays. Richard Christiansen of the Chicago Tribune cited American Blues as one of three companies in his editorial "Chicago Theater Forges New Standards of Glory."[2] In August of 1993, the company leased a warehouse on Byron and Lincoln. In 38 days, James Leaming led a community-based 90+ volunteer crew to transform the space into an intimate 134-seat theater. From 1994-1997, the Ensemble was lauded with numerous Joseph Jefferson Awards and After Dark Awards.

Leadership from Outside the Ensemble
From 1997-2009, the company was led by Artistic Directors from outside of the Ensemble. Under the leadership of Brian Russell and Damon Kiely (‘97-‘07), the theater's name changed to American Theater Company (ATC),[3] the mission statement was revised, and the business expanded greatly. In 2008, under new management, the Ensemble theater practice was dismantled. After 18 months of talks with new management, all four Founders and every Ensemble member prior to 2008 chose to leave the ATC organization in March 2009 citing “major administrative and artistic differences.”[4]

Blues Skies Ahead
The Ensemble immediately reformed under its original name American Blues Theater. Founding Board members reconstituted the Board, giving tremendous support and guidance. Ensemble member Gwendolyn Whiteside became the Producing Artistic Director. Under her leadership, American Blues has nearly doubled the size of its Ensemble, added 28 Artistic Affiliates, and diversified its base of artists. She created the nationally-recognized annual Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Blueprint play development for new work, implemented community service into the company’s mission, and adapted the arts education program The Lincoln Project for Chicago Public Schools serving over 2,000 students annually.

Current season[edit]

Season 31 (2016-17): Define Yourself[5]

  • Dutchman by Amiri Baraka & TRANSit by Darren Canady
  • It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago by the American Blues Theater Ensemble
  • The Columnist by David Auburn

Production History [6][edit]

+ indicates World Premiere production

Season 1 (1985)

Season 2 (1986)

Season 3 (1987)

Season 4 (1988)

Season 5 (1989-1990)

Season 6 (1991)

  • Monsters: Glimpses of Urban Lunacy +

Season 7 (1992)

  • Monsters II: Visiting Hours +

Season 8 (1993)

  • Food From Trash by Gary Leon Hill[14]

Season 9 (1994)

  • Monsters III: The El Ride +
  • On the Waterfront by Budd Schulberg and Stan Silverman[15] +

Season 10 (1995-1996)

Season 11 (1996-1997)

Season 12 (1997-1998)[23]

Season 13 (1998-1999)[24]

  • The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
  • One Day Only by Edward Mast +
  • Pledge of Allegiance by Mark R. Giesser
  • Below the Belt by Richard Dresser
  • La Tectonica de las Nubes/Cloud Tectonics by Jose Rivera (co-production with Centro Cultural Helenico, Mexico City) +

Season 14 (1999-2000)[25]

Season 15 (2000-2001)

Season 16 (2001-2002)

Season 17 (2002-2003)[33]

Season 18 (2003-2004)[34]

Season 19 (2004-2005)

Season 20 (2005-2006)

  • Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams[38]
  • It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by the American Blues Theater Ensemble
  • St. Scarlet by Julia Jordan[39]
  • Heritage by Brett Neveu[40] +

Season 21 (2006-2007)

Season 22 (2007-2008)[44]

Season 23 (2008-2009)

Season 24 (2009-2010)[49]

  • It's a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph! by the American Blues Theater Ensemble +
  • Tobacco Road by Jack Kirkland

Season 25 (2010-2011)[50]

  • It's a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph! by the American Blues Theater Ensemble
  • Rantoul and Die by Mark Roberts

Season 26 (2011-2012)[51]

Season 27 (2012-2013)[52]

  • Illegal Use of Hands by James Still +
  • It's a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph! by the American Blues Theater Ensemble
  • Collected Stories by Donald Margulies

Season 28 (2013-2014)[53]

  • Hank Williams: Lost Highway by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik
  • It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! by the American Blues Theater Ensemble +
  • American Myth by Christina Gorman
  • Grounded by George Brant

Season 29 (2014-15)[54]

  • Hank Williams: Lost Highway by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik
  • Native Son adapted by Nambi E. Kelley (co-production with Court Theatre) +
  • It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago by the American Blues Theater Ensemble
  • Yankee Tavern by Steven Dietz
  • Side Man by Warren Leight

Season 30 (2015-16)[55]


References[edit]

As of this edit, this article uses content from "Ensemble History", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.

  1. ^ http://americanbluestheater.com/mission-and-history/
  2. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-06-21/entertainment/8702160494_1_aunt-dan-goodman-theatre-original-broadway-show
  3. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/chis-american-blues-company-gets-a-new-name-71260
  4. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-03-27/entertainment/0903260347_1_ensemble-theater-off-loop-artistic
  5. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/ct-david-auburn-play-american-blues-theater-2016-17-season-20160125-story.html
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  7. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-11-18/features/8503190698_1_dogman-scene-play
  8. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1986-07-03/news/8602170489_1_horse-dreamer-cody-geography
  9. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-02-05/features/8701100013_1_summer-brave-play-picnic
  10. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1987-06-17/features/8702140659_1_yank-ocean-liner-steel
  11. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-07-01/entertainment/8801120187_1_lewis-exploits-outlaw-bad-moon
  12. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/desire-under-the-elms/Content?oid=874669
  13. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-06-13/news/9002180043_1_air-force-strategic-air-command-base-play
  14. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-09-17/entertainment/9309170042_1_revives-joe-orton-peter-fieldson
  15. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/on-the-waterfront/Content?oid=886118
  16. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-05-12/entertainment/9505120171_1_chicken-man-avocado-james-joyce
  17. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/tom-and-jerry-american-blues-theatre/Content?oid=888921
  18. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-04-12/entertainment/9604120399_1_don-juan-homage-chicago-theatres
  19. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/phoenix-rises-at-chicagos-american-blues-theatre-68412/print
  20. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/dont-disappoint-captain-january/Content?oid=892033
  21. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/stalag-17/Content?oid=892667
  22. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-03-29/news/9703290017_1_carrie-warped-southern-discomfort
  23. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/losing-the-blues-the-last-impressionist/Content?oid=896787
  24. ^ http://www.qconline.com/life/travel/chicago-s-theater-season-rivals-nyc/article_1802f58a-a047-54a9-b092-3f798b349d3b.html
  25. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-03-05/entertainment/9903050436_1_atc-artistic-director-revival
  26. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/endgame/Content?oid=903373
  27. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-11-22/features/0011220036_1_theater-livelong-day-studs-terkel
  28. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/vicks-boy/Content?oid=904945
  29. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-04-27/entertainment/0104270250_1_timberlake-wertenbaker-catch-opening
  30. ^ http://www.latimes.com/mmx-13601_lgcy-story.html
  31. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/flung/Content?oid=907733
  32. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-trip-to-bountiful/Content?oid=908359
  33. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-92285091.html
  34. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-04-25/news/0304250128_1_american-dead-slate-troupe
  35. ^ http://newcitystage.com/2004/10/21/review-a-view-from-the-bridgeamerican-theater-company/
  36. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-02-24/features/0502240076_1_jordan-harrison-kid-simple-moll
  37. ^ http://dailynorthwestern.com/2005/04/27/archive-manual/an-american-culture-clash/
  38. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/orpheus-descending/221/
  39. ^ http://www.theatermania.com/chicago-theater/shows/st-scarlet_118615/
  40. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/heritage/224/
  41. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-10-05/features/0610040362_1_perchance-atc-dark
  42. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/oklahoma/896/
  43. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/half-of-plenty/897/
  44. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-08-31/entertainment/0708290171_1_subscriber-local-theater-scene-american-theater
  45. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-peoples-temple/Event?oid=848395
  46. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/celebrity-row/2872/
  47. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/topdogunderdog/3016/
  48. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/true-west/3017/
  49. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-10-15/entertainment/0910150250_1_wonderful-life-new-season-direct
  50. ^ http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=191
  51. ^ http://www.broadwayworld.com/chicago/article/American-Blues-Theater-Announces-201112-Season-20110225
  52. ^ http://www.theatermania.com/chicago-theater/news/03-2012/james-still-gwendolyn-whiteside-dennis-zacek-set-f_53066.html
  53. ^ http://voices.suntimes.com/arts-entertainment/the-daily-sizzle/american-blues-theater-announces-2013-2014-season/
  54. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/american-blues-theater-to-feature-side-man-yankee-tavern-and-its-a-wonderfu-215400
  55. ^ http://entertainment.suntimes.com/entertainment-news/american-blues-theater-announces-30th-anniversaryseason/