AMERICAN BLUES THEATER BEGINS THE “LEGENDS AND LEGACIES” SEASON WITH HANK WILLIAMS: LOST HIGHWAY STARRING MATT BRUMLOW, AUGUST 30 – OCTOBER 6 AT THE GREENHOUSE THEATER CENTER
Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and American Blues Theater, Chicago’s second oldest Equity ensemble, are proud to announce the first production in American Blues Theater’s “Legends and Legacies” season, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, directed by Damon Kiely, music director Malcolm Ruhl and starring Matt Brumlow as “Hank Williams,”August 30 – October 6, at the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstage Mainstage Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets are $19 for previews, $29 Thursdays and Fridays and $39 Saturdays and Sundays and $49 for opening night. Previews are Friday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Aug. 31 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m. Press/opening night is Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. There are post-show Town Hall discussions following Sundayperformances beginning September 8. Tickets are on sale now at 773.404.7336 or americanbluestheater.com.
Hank Williams: Lost Highway is the musical biography of one America’s legendary singer-songwriters. The tribute chronicles Williams’ rise from humble beginnings in Louisiana to his triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry stage and becoming one of the great innovators of American music to his self-destruction at the age of twenty-nine. Hank Williams: Lost Highway includes more than 20 Williams’ classics, including “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Move It on Over,” “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Jambalaya.” The production has been hailed as “A profound emotional journey…forceful, clear-eyed, moving, impressive!” by Rolling Stone and “The best example of a musician’s bio put on stage that I’ve seen!” by The New York Post.
In addition to Brumlow as “Williams” the production features American Blues Ensemble members Laura Coover, “Audrey;” Jim Leaming, “Fred ‘Pap’;” Michael Mahler, “Jimmy” on electric guitar and Suzanne Petri, “Mama” with guest artists Dana Black, “Waitress;” John Crowley, “Tee Tot;” Greg Hirte, “Leon” on fiddle and Jon Foley, “Shag” on console steel” and Artistic Associate Austin Cook as “Hoss” on upright bass.
The Hank Williams: Lost Highway production team includes American Blues Ensemble members Michael Mahler, associate music director and Sarah E. Ross, costumes design with Jackie and Rick Penrod, scenic design; Nick Belley, lighting design; Grant Sabin and Arianna Soloway, co-properties design, and Rick Sims, sound design.
American Blues Theater’s TOWN HALLS
American Blues Theater offers a free opportunity for audiences and fans of American Blues to learn more about the current presentation. All Town Halls are held immediately following that Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. performance.
Sept. 8 – Meet the “HANK WILLIAMS: Lost Highway” cast!
Sept. 15 – Performance stress with Dr. Michele Kerulis (Adler Professional School of Psychology).
Sept. 22 – “Hank Williams’ Musical Influence” with Malcolm Ruhl (music director) and Chris Walz (Old Town School of Folk Music instructor).
Sept. 29 – Discussion with the live band, Hank Williams and the Drifting Cowboys.
Oct. 6 – Meet the “HANK WILLIAMS: Lost Highway” company – Director Damon Kiely and full cast.
ABOUT RANDAL MYLER, playwright
Randal Myler has received two Tony Award-nominations (Best Musical/Best Book of a Musical) and a Drama Desk nomination (Best Musical Revue) for It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues, which ran at both Lincoln Center and Broadway’s Ambassador Theatre. Love, Janis, Myler’s musical biography of Janis Joplin, reached 700 performances at Eric Nederlander’s Village Theater, where he also staged Dream A Little Dream: The Mamas and the Papas Musical with Denny Dougherty. Lost Highway received its premiere at the Tony Award-winning Denver Center Theatre Company and then moved to the Mark Taper Forum, the Old Globe and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Myler’s recent projects include Touch The Names: Letters To The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, John Fante’s 1933, the musical version of The Immigrant and the critically acclaimed Cuban-American play Union City, New Jersey, Where Are You?, starring Rosie Perez. His latest work (co-authored with Dan Wheetman) is Fire on the Mountain: The Music of the Coal Mines and he recently directed Betty Buckley in the new musical, Diner Stories at the Denver Center.
ABOUT MARK HARELIK, playwright
Mark Harelik moved to Los Angeles in 1987 where he co-wrote, with Randal Myler, Hank Williams: Lost Highway. He has appeared in the films Election, Jurassic Park III and For Your Consideration. Harelik also appeared in the Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza. Harelik’s play, The Immigrant, also with Randal Myler, has been well received and adapted into a musical of the same name.
ABOUT DAMON KIELY, director
Damon Kiely is a professional director and writer, as well as a full time professor of directing and acting for DePaul’s Theatre School. He has directed for Next Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Route 66. The House Theatre of Chicago and the Theatre School produced his world
premiere adaptation of Thieves Like Us. He served as the artistic director of American Theater Company (ATC) from 2002 to 2007. Directing credits at ATC include Oklahoma!(Nominated for six Jeff Awards including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical),The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Orpheus Descending, A View from the Bridge, Strictly Dishonorable, and The Hairy Ape. Prior to moving back to Chicago, Kiely produced, directed and taught in New York City. In New York, he directed for the Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Ontological Theater, Adobe Theater Company, PS122, Ensemble Studio Theater and New Dramatists. He is a winner of the 2000-02 NEA/TCG Career Directing Program, the 2000 Drama League Fall Directing Program and the 1997 Princess Grace Award.
ABOUT MALCOLM RUHL, music director
Malcolm Ruhl’s credits include A Christmas Carol (Mr. Keys), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (musical director), Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky (bass/accordion), all at the Goodman Theatre. Ruhl has been music director for numerous productions including Hairspray, and Buddy
ABOUT MATT BRUMLOW, “Hank Williams”
Chicago stage veteran Matt Brumlow, a Northwestern graduate, starred in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of Nobody Lonesome For Me in 2011 where his portrayal of Hank Williams was critically acclaimed. He has twice been nominated for an Equity Jeff Award for his work as an actor in Chicago.
ABOUT AMERICAN BLUES THEATER
American Blues Theater’s multi-generational and inter-disciplined artists comprise all aspects of theater, television, and film. American Blues Theater is the second-oldest Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. The 38-member Ensemble has more than 494 combined years of collaboration on stage. American Blues Theater received more than 120 Joseph Jefferson Awards celebrating excellence in Chicago theater and 20 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. They have also received honors from The Pulitzer Prizes, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.
The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and William Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Laura Coover, Lauri Dahl, Kristin DeiTos, Joe Foust, Tom Geraty, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Samantha Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Kelli Marino, Heather Meyers , John Möhrlein, Jim Ortlieb, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross and Gwendolyn Whiteside.
Hank Williams: Lost Highway, by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, directed by Damon Kiely, music director Malcolm Ruhl and starring Matt Brumlow as “Hank Williams,” August 30 – October 6, at the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstairs Mainstage Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets are $19 for previews, $29 Thursdays and Fridays and $39 Saturdays and Sundays and $49 for opening night. Previews are Friday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m. Press/opening night is Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.
The performance schedule is Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. There are post-show discussions followingSunday performances beginning September 8. Tickets are on sale now at 773.404.7336 or americanbluestheater.com.
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Hank Williams: Lost Highway is made possible in part by funding by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Actors Equity Foundation, Eurex, and the Fan Club sponsors. ComEd is the official lighting season sponsor.