American Theater Company World Premiere of ‘The Project(s)’ April 24–May 24, 2015
American Theater Company (ATC) presents the third world premiere in its 30th Anniversary season: The Project(s), a documentary play about the history of public housing in Chicago, April 24-May 24, 2015 (press opening April 28). Conceived, co-written and directed by ATC Artistic Director PJ Paparelli and co-written by Joshua Jaeger, The Project(s)innovatively combines documentary theater with a cappella music, body percussion and stepping to create a provocative examination of the successes and failures of public housing that poses the question, “What is America’s responsibility to its poor?” Single tickets for The Project(s) range from $38-$48 and are now on sale at the ATC box office at 773-409-4125 or www.atcweb.org.
From 2010 until 2014, Paparelli conducted over 100 interviews with scholars, historians, and former and current residents of Chicago’s public housing, including Cabrini-Green, Robert Taylor Homes, Wentworth Gardens and Ida B. Wells Homes. The Project(s) interweaves verbatim material with a cappella music, body percussion, and stepping with choreography by Jakari Sherman, artistic director of Washington, DC-based Step Afrika!, the nation’s only professional dance company devoted to stepping. Paparelli previously conceived, co-wrote, and directed the critically-acclaimed documentary play columbinus that premiered its third act at ATC, toured to ArtsEmerson in Boston in 2013, and has been produced around the country and internationally.
“The Project(s) is the story of Chicago,” says Paparelli. “My hope is to shatter the misconceptions about public housing by taking a hard look at what happened from both the planning side and from the residents’ point of view. I have met the most extraordinary people on this journey and am honored to share their stories of hope, resilience, and resistance, especially during this time of racial turbulence across our nation.”
The Project(s) received two development opportunities at the Orchard Project, a national new play development retreat in New York; a Jentel Artist Residency in Wyoming, and a MacArthur International Connections Fund grant, through which Paparelli travelled to the United Kingdom to workshop the play at Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Lyric Hammersmith in London, in addition to interviewing public housing residents and city officials in Scotland. ATC also partnered with Howard University in Washington, DC, for a five-week workshop integrating stepping and body percussion.
Performance schedule for The Project(s):
Previews: Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m.
Press opening: Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m.
Regular run: April 30 through May 24: Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.
About American Theater Company
American Theater Company (ATC) challenges and inspires its community by exploring stories that ask the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” ATC’s Ensemble includes Usman Ally, Patrick Andrews, Kareem Bandealy, Jaime Castañeda, Kelly O’Sullivan, Tyler Ravelson, and Sadieh Rifai.
The Project(s) is sponsored by a generous grant from the Chicago Community Trust.
American Theater Company is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, and the Shubert Foundation.