THE AMERICAN SIDE, noir mystery starring Greg Stuhr from Steppenwolf’s THE QUALMS, extended through June 30

There are three sides to every story: the truth, the lie and The American Side. Following a mysterious suicide at Niagara Falls, a low-rent detective (Greg Stuhr) unravels a conspiracy to build a revolutionary invention by Nikola Tesla. The Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Ave., holds over its Chicago premiere engagement of THE AMERICAN SIDE for a second week, now playing through June 30. Tickets, $9.50 ($7.50, seniors & students) are on sale now at and the box office, 847-251-7424.

A rapid-paced retro-noir set against Buffalo’s evocative architecture and the power of Niagara Falls, THE AMERICAN SIDE boasts a wildly eclectic cast and an intricately twisted plot involving the enigmatic genius, Nikola Tesla. Known by many as “the man who invented the 20th century,” Tesla’s papers were seized by the FBI within hours of his death in 1943.

Nearly 75 years later, detective Charlie Paczynski’s raven-haired partner is caught in the crossfire of a blackmail scheme gone bad. He trails the prime suspect (Harris Yulin) to the brink of Niagara, only to receive a cryptic warning. Thrust into a world populated by a whiskey-swilling raconteur (Robert Forster), strangely bonded siblings (Matthew Broderick, Camilla Belle), an eccentric eavesdropper (Robert Vaughn) and a dubious government agent (Janeane Garofalo), Paczynski unwittingly joins the quest for the story’s coveted “MacGuffin”: a page torn from Tesla’s fabled missing notebook.

Packed with nods to Hitchcock and classic noir, and reminiscent of the conspiracy thrillers of the ’70s, complete with a score by David Shire (The Conversation, All the President’s Men), THE AMERICAN SIDE is a jigsaw puzzle mystery, climaxing under the roar of the Falls as the final piece snaps into place.

The American Side stars Greg Stuhr (Steppenwolf Theatre’s The Qualms) and is directed by Jenna Ricker, (Ben’s Plan), who both co-wrote the screenplay.

Official website:


Jenna Ricker – Director, Co-Writer, Co-Producer

Jenna Ricker wrote, directed and produced her first feature film, Ben’s Plan, a coming-of-age drama starring Ben Schnetzer (The Book Thief, Pride). Made on a micro-budget, it was awarded Best Drama at the AOF Festival, Distinguished Debut at the London Independent Film Festival, and Jenna was honored with the Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker. Originally from California, Ricker moved to New York to study acting at the Tisch School of the Arts. While volunteering as a script reader and working in a commercial production house, she began writing and directing theater. Her first screenplay, The Garage, was a quarterfinalist of the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship. Security, her first collaboration with Greg Stuhr, was selected for the IFP’s Emerging Narrative Program and was a Nicholl Fellowship quarterfinalist. She co-wrote and directed their second collaboration, “the adrenaline-charged pop-noir mystery, The American Side” (The Hollywood Reporter). Jenna was honored to be invited alongside Debra Granik and Courteney Cox to participate on the ‘Women in the Director’s Chair’ panel at the Woodstock Film Festival. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America.

Greg Stuhr – Co-Writer, Co-Producer, Actor

Greg Stuhr spent Friday nights of his freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University Drama in the basement of the Hunt Library watching every film in their collection, and many more than once. Since then he’s enjoyed a successful Broadway and off-Broadway stage career including a long association with David Mamet and William H. Macy’s Atlantic Theater Company, appearing in many productions such as filmmaker Ethan Coen’s Offices and The Redeemers, opposite F. Murray Abraham and Tim Blake Nelson, respectively. Greg’s Broadway credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Mamet’s November alongside Nathan Lane, and Elaine May’s Taller Than a Dwarf with Matthew Broderick. Recent theater work includes world premiere productions of Rolin Jones’ These Paper Bullets at Yale Rep and Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris’ The Qualms with the Steppenwolf Theater Company. In addition to numerous supporting roles in independent films, Greg’s had recurring roles on television for AMC’s Rubicon and Comedy Central’s Onion SportsDome. He is the co-writer with Jenna Ricker of two screenplays: Security, a quarterfinalist for the Nicholl Fellowship and a final round consideration for the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab; andThe American Side, set in his hometown of Buffalo, NY.