image001The Gift Theatre artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton announces casting for the Chicago premiere of Broadsword: A Heavy Metal Play written by Marco Ramirez (Orange is the New BlackSons of Anarchy) and directed by Keira Fromm.  Guest artists Chuck Spencer (Jeff Award-winner for Redtwist’s Man From Nebraska) and Pavement Group’s Cyd Blakewell (currently co-starring in Mine) join The Gift Ensemble members John Kelly Connolly (The Lonesome West), James D. Farruggio(Suicide, Inc.), Gabriel Franken (Mine) and John Gawlik (The Lonesome West).

“There are plays you read once and know you must do; we call them ‘the ones we can’t walk away from.’ Broadsword is such a play,” says Thornton. “The Gift’s Associate Artistic Director Paul D’Addario puts it best: ‘The guys in the band are better together than they are apart.’ The best ensembles are like that: various personalities, dissonant points of view, the wounds of time—but when they come together they draw the best out of each other to make beautiful music. Broadsword is a devilishly wild journey of faith and love that ends our 2013 season on just the right note.”

image003Playwright Marco Ramirez, who penned the short “Two Hundred Feet and Counting” for this year’s TEN at The Gift, is a two-time winner of the Kennedy Center’s Latin Playwriting Award and two-time Heideman Award-winning playwright for short plays. UsingBroadsword as his portfolio piece, Ramirez was hired as a staff writer by executive producer Kurt Sutter for two seasons of FX’s hit biker drama Sons of Anarchy.  Also, on the television front, Ramirez writes for Da Vinci’s Demons created by David Goyer (Man of SteelThe Dark Knight), and the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Orange is the New Black.  Ramirez attended Tisch School of the Arts and Juilliard, where he studied under Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman (’night, Mother).

Broadsword is a play about a heavy metal band that broke up years ago and is forced to come together because one of their own has died or mysteriously disappeared,” explains Ramirez. “It’s part funeral-play, part mystery-play. On a good day, I like to think it’s a little Agatha Christie and a little Stephen Adly Guirgis, as filtered through an episode of The X-Files. If that sounds odd, it should – the whole thing takes place in New Jersey.”

Broadsword previews run September 26 – September 29 at the Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Opening night is Thursday, October 3. The show runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through November 24.  Single tickets, $20-$30, are available at or by calling the box office at 773-283-7071.


Victor, former Broadsword bassist – James D. Farruggio

Becca, Broadsword’s biggest fan – Cyd Blakewell

Nicky, former Broadsword drummer – John Kelly Connolly

Tony, former Broadsword frontman – John Gawlik

Dr. Thorne, a musicologist – Chuck Spencer

Man in White – Gabriel Franken

About The Gift Theatre

The Gift Theatre is dedicated to telling great stories on stage with honesty and simplicity. Previous productions include: MineVigilsTEN 2013; Natural Gas’ Jugband Christmas; Dirty; Oh, The Humanity (and other exclamations); Fact & Fiction; Absolute Hell; TEN; Cloud 9; Northwest Highway; Night and Her Stars; Get Behind Me, Santa!; Lonesome West; Suicide, Inc.; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestAlmost, Maine; Santa’s Great American Depression Holiday Show! (2009 & 2010); Summer People; The Ruby Sunrise; Talk Radio; Stop/Kiss; Natural Gas; Streamers; Wit ;The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; White People; Three Sisters; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; Blithe Spirit; 365 Days/365 Plays; The Halloween Show; Long Day’s Journey Into Night; The Glass Menagerie (Remount: Theatre on the Lake); The Good Thief; The Clearing; Hurlyburly; The Glass Menagerie; The Pavilion; A Young Man In Pieces; Language of Angels; 6; County Fair; The Countess; Alcatraz (Abbie Hoffman Festival); Orestes 2.0; Boys’ Life. The theater also sponsors the giftED Ensemble, a rigorous two-year afterschool course for creative and motivated high school students on Chicago’s Northwest side, and the literary program/Salon Series giftLIT.

The Gift’s 2013 Season opened in January with TEN, its annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by Gift Co-Founder Michael Patrick Thornton, then shifted tone with the Chicago revival ofVigils, directed by Erica Weiss followed by the Chicago premiere of the thriller Mine, directed by Marti Lyons. Subscriptions for the entire 2013 season, which includes two Chicago premieres, are available for as little as $65. The Gift subscribers (“Gifters”) receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or call 773-283-7071.

The Gift Theatre Company’s 2013 season is made possible, in part, by generous contributions from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.

The Gift Theatre is conveniently located at 4802 N. Milwaukee in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood, and is easily accessible by the CTA Blue Line, the Lawrence and Milwaukee Avenue buses and the Kennedy Expressway. For more information about The Gift Theatre’s productions and programs, visit

The Gift Theatre’s 2013 season includes two Chicago premieres.