New Colony’s World Premiere of MERGE Runs Oct 8 – Nov 13 at The Den Theatre

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Atari! Pong! Space Invaders! The New Colony will conclude its 2016 Season with the world premiere comedy MERGE, a fast-paced, heartfelt and uproarious journey inside the burgeoning 1970s video game industry. Written by Spenser Davis and directed by Co-Artistic Director Andrew HobgoodMERGE will play October 8 – November 13, 2016 at The New Colony’s resident home, The Den Theatre’s Upstairs

Main Stage, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets go on sale Monday, August 22 at www.thenewcolony.org

MERGE features Will CavedoFin CoeJeffery Owen Freelon, Jr.Daria HarperEvan Linder (10/28 – 11/13), Wes NeedhamMichael PetersKristi Parker-BarnhartLindsey PearlmanVictoria PerezEsteban ReynaRobert SalazarOmer Abbas Salem (10/8 -10/27), Evan SesekStephanie ShumKevin Stangler and David Weiss.

In 1976, Atari was the fastest growing company in the history of the United States, an arcade manufacturer with a workplace fueled by pot smoking, jacuzzi parties and nobody wearing socks. When they have to sell themselves to Warner Bros. to stay afloat, they quickly realize that corporate cash comes with baggage, as they lose a piece of the identity that made them who they were in the first place. And what’s worse… they have to start wearing socks. MERGE is the story of a small band of programmers who stand up and fight back against the very company that saved them from bankruptcy, in a battle that threatens to crash an entire industry.

merge-team

top row, l to r) Spenser Davis (playwright), Andrew Hobgood (director), Will Cavedo and Fin Coe (2nd row, l to r) Jeffery Owen Freelon, Jr., Daria Harper, Evan Linder and Wes Needham (3rd row, l to r) Lindsey Pearlman, Victoria Perez, Michael Peters and Kristi Parker-Barnhart (4th row, l to r) Esteban Reyna, Robert Salazar, Omer Abbas Salem and Evan Sesek (bottom row, l to r) Stephanie Shum, Kevin Stangler and David Weiss.

“It is always our hope that playwrights in The New Colony’s Writers’ Room will submit a script that we want to develop further through our staged readings series at The Den,” comments Co-Artistic Director Evan Linder. “Merge was the rare instance of a story flying off the page with such ferocity that Andrew and I needed to get our ensemble in the room immediately. This story is now and this story is us. Spenser Davis’ hilarious and insightful script will welcome onstage the largest cast The New Colony has assembled since our first season and we could not be prouder that the script began its development in the first year of our newest education program.”

The production team for MERGE includes: John Wilson (scenic design), Nathan R. Rohrer (costume design), John Kelly (lighting design), Steve Labedz (sound design), Paul Deziel (projections design), Ben Zeman (projections assistant), Will Cavedo (violence), Ryan Oliveira (dramaturg) Patriac Coakley (assistant director), Garth Moritz (production manager), Liam Fitzgerald (technical director), Zoe Benditt (stage manager) and Kira Gaudynski (assistant stage manager),

About the Creative Team

Spenser Davis (Playwright) is the Director of Programming for Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can company, and Artistic Director of Hobo Junction, an ensemble dedicated to the new, original comedies. His adaptation of Man in the Iron Mask was commissioned by Theatre-Hikes last summer, and his short plays have been produced at places like American Theater Company, Chicago Dramatists, Mary-Arrchie, Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre and the Solas Festival in Scotland, among others, and have been published by Smith & Kraus. His short play Grabass is a current finalist for the Heideman Award. He also works around Chicago as a director and actor. Merge is his first original full-length play.

Andrew Hobgood (Director) is the Founding Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. His play, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, won Outstanding Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival before opening as an Off-Broadway production and is now published with Samuel French. Hobgood’s other work with The New Colony includes writing and directing the new musicals That Sordid Little Story, Rise of The Numberless and Plastic Revolution. His directing credits for The New Colony include Amelia Earhart: Jungle Princess, the original and commercial productions of FRAT, Hearts Full of Blood, which won Outstanding Script at the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival, B-Side Studio, produced in collaboration with The Inconvenience and the University of Chicago TAPS program, and most recently, Orville and Wilbur Did It! His play, reWILDing Genius, was commissioned by the University of Chicago and was produced as part of Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep 2014. As a performer, Andrew has performed with The New Colony in Pancake Breakfast, The Bear Suit of Happiness, The Terrible and Kin Folk.

About The New Colony

The New Colony, the 2011 recipient of the Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award, strives to contribute original material to the American artistic canon and develop a new kind of theater going audience. Through collaboration with emerging artists of all disciplines, The New Colony continually develops new work and fresh perspectives. With the goal of exploring enticing subject matter and the common language of experience, The New Colony will cultivate the next generation of arts supporters.