Step Up Productions Kicks-Off 2103-14 Season with The BenchMark Written by Richard A. Roberts Directed by Tara Branham September 13 – October 20, 2013

F77B75D2-0381-4F35-8E70-05F359950824Step Up Production is pleased to kick-off its 2013-14 season with Richard A. Roberts’ touching Chicago drama The BenchMark, directed by Tara Branham, playing September 13 – October 20, 2013 at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available online at www.stepupproductions.org and www.athenaeumtheatre.org or by calling The Athenaeum Box Office at (773) 935-6875.

The BenchMark features AJ Froeber, Amy Geist, Daniel Houle, Raymond Jacquet, Annie Neal, Tricia Rodriguez, Andrew Sellar and Robert Wilson.

Based on a true story, this poignant play chronicles the life of Mark, a charming, eloquent homeless man who calls a lonely, little Chicago park bench his home. As he journeys through the summer, autumn and winter seasons, he seeks solace in alcohol and literature in order to escape the harsh realities of his life and the world around him. Combining social commentary, pathos and biting humor, this bittersweet satire is an elegy to the misfit in us.

“After Chicago’s theater community and audiences alike embraced our inaugural production of Sweetest Swing in Baseball, we knew it was time to produce a full season – and we’re excited to call The Athenaeum Theatre our resident home for 2013-14,” comments Step Up Artistic Director and Founder Elizabeth Antonucci. “Mr. Roberts’ beautiful and haunting play The BenchMark struck a powerful chord – it completely altered my perspective on the homeless people we, as Chicagoans, encounter nearly ever day. Similarly, I hope this production challenges and inspires our audiences to look further beyond what they see on the outside,” adds Antonucci.

Proceeds from The BenchMark will also benefit the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness. As part of its mission, Step Up Productions donates a portion of its proceeds to organizations in and around Chicago that support issues often highlighted in its productions.