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Gift Theatre’s “HANG MAN” playing through April 29
The Gift Theatre is pleased to launch its 17th season with the world premiere of Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s haunting and often-humorous drama HANG MAN, directed by guest artist Jess McLeod, playing through April 29, 2018 at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting thegifttheatre.org.
HANG MAN will feature ensemble members Paul D’Addario, Gregory Fenner and Martel Manning with Andy Fleischer, Jennifer Glasse, Mariah Sydnei Gordon and Angela Morris.
The community of a backwoods Southern town grapples with the murder of a black man who is found hanging in a tree. As events unfold, the hanging mystifies the people of the community, forcing them to confront their complicity in this man’s horrific demise. Osei-Kuffour’s darkly comical, heartbreaking play, which recently made the prestigious 2017 Kilroy’s List, uses absurdity to explore racism, sexuality and the parts of American history we would all like to forget.
Comments Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, “The Gift is honored to produce the world premiere of HANG MAN. Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s voice is singular, bold, incisive and humorous. The moment we finished her play, we were shook, terrified, and knew we had to embrace it. HANG MAN demands to be experienced right now; experiencing it in the intimacy of The Gift will simply be unforgettable.”
The production team for HANG MAN includes: Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Alarie Hammock (costume design), Mike Durst (lighting design), Stephen Ptacek (sound design), John Nichols III (props design), Rachel Flesher (violence/intimacy design) and Cori James (stage manager).
About the Artists
Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s (Playwright) born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, is a BFA graduate from NYU (major: Drama) and an MFA graduate from Hunter College (major: Playwriting). Previous plays include: The Painter, (Samuel French Festival finalist). Breathless, workshop productions at the Dream Up Festival & Downtown Urban Theater Festival (both at Theater for the New City). Dirty Blood, reading at Rattlestick Theater. Animals (Irv Zarkower Award winner through Hunter College), readings: Lark Development Center, NYTW, Blank Theatre and IAMA Theatre. The Pearl and The Black Sea, (Honorable Mention in The Kilroy’s 2015 The List), Hang Man (Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist, Boston Court New Play finalist, MultiStages New Works Contest finalist and The Kilroy’s 2017 The List). This past year, Stacy was accepted into EST in LA, Youngblood, MacDowell Colony Fellowship, New Georges the Jam, Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram Play Lab alongside Christopher Durang, Humantias PLAY LA Workshop, and MADLAB. In addition, Stacy became a two-time Van Lier finalist at the Lark Development Center. Stacy is also a TV writer. Just last year she wrote for the TV show Happy! which airs every Wednesday night on the SYFY network and was just renewed for a second season. Currently, Stacy is writing for the HBO TV show WATCHMEN based on the acclaimed comic book by Alan Moore, which will air in 2019. Stacy’s goal as an artist is to bring untold stories to the stage and screen, stories that challenge our political, societal and stereotypical views of the Black experience.
Jess McLeod (Director) is the Resident Director of Hamilton (Broadway in Chicago), a Resident Director at Victory Gardens Theater and the Goodman Theatre’s 2017 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow. Chicago credits include 2 1/2 seasons with Chicago Voices (Lyric Opera of Chicago), a revamped Marry Me A Little (Porchlight Music Theatre), Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On (Haven Theatre), Lauren Yee’s in a word (Strawdog Theatre Company), Shawn Pfautch’s Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago, Jeff Nomination); poet Kevin Coval’s one-man show L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens); Venus (Steppenwolf’s Next Up!); Bathsheba Doran’s Kin (Griffin Theatre); Jenni Lamb’s Suicide Kills (American Theater Company); Babes In Arms (Porchlight Revisits); and Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen’s Fugitive Songs, Zanna, Don’t, and The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company). From 2005-2008, McLeod served as Director of Programming for The New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she oversaw all curating and directed pop/musical theatre fusion concerts such as The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds. New York directing credits include Joyce Carol Oates’ The Corn Maiden, Harrison David Rivers’ Fell, Rachel Axler’s Kitchen Sink (Cherry Lane Studio), Joe Keenan and Brad Ross’ The Times (Sonnet Repertory Theatre) and The Last Five Years (Arthur Seelen Theatre). An avid teaching artist and believer in youth and community engagement, McLeod also recently served as Festival Coordinator for Young Chicago Authors’ Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival (the world’s largest youth poetry festival), worked as a Teaching Artist for Storycatchers Theatre and recently directed Short Shakes! A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Anerican Theater Company’s educational touring production of PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger’s The Project(s). McLeod holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA from Williams College, and has taught or lectured at both, as well as at NYU, Yale University, NSLC, and The Calhoun School in New York.
About The Gift Theatre
The Gift’s 17th season consists of Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of Hang Man, directed by Jess McLeod (March 2 – April 29, 2018); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Monty Cole (June 1 – July 29, 2018); and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s Cosmologies, directed by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton (October 12 –December 9, 2018). 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 thegifttheatre.org or by calling (773) 283-7071.