Victory Gardens presents the Midwest Premiere of REST Sept 12 – Oct 12, 2014

Victory Gardens presents the Midwest Premiere of REST Sept 12 – Oct 12, 2014 1 ]Victory Gardens Theater kicks off its 40th Anniversary Season with the Midwest premiere of Rest by Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter, directed by Joanie Schultz.  Rest runs September 12-October 12, 2014, with the press performance on September 19 at 8:00pm, at Victory Gardens Theatre,2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.


]rest-main-web-v2Victory Gardens Theater kicks off its 40th Anniversary Season with the Midwest premiere of Rest by Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter, directed by Joanie Schultz.  Rest runs September 12-October 12, 2014, with the press performance on September 19 at 8:00pm, at Victory Gardens Theatre,2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

The cast of Rest includes: McKenzie ChinnAmanda DrinkallMatt FarabeeSteve KeyWilliam Norris,Ernest Perry, Jr., and MaryAnn Thebus.

“After collaborating with Sam on The Whale at Victory Gardens, I am eager to work with him again on this deeply stirring play,” says director Joanie Schultz.  “The wonderful cast we have is an impressive mix of established Chicago actors working with truly excellent emerging talent. I can’t wait to get started.

Artistic Director Chay Yew adds, “After the success of The Whale, I knew it was important to get Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter back to the Victory Gardens stage. I’m looking forward to another amazing collaboration between Joanie and Sam for this beautifully moving Midwest premiere.”

A retirement home in northern Idaho is being shut down, and only three residents and a bare-bones staff remain.  When a record breaking blizzard blows into town and an elderly resident disappears into the storm, everyone is brought to face their own mortality. Samuel D. Hunter returns with a tender and heartbreakingly funny play about life’s unexpected beginnings and endings.

About the Artists

Samuel D. Hunter’s (Playwright) plays include, The Whale (2013 Drama Desk Award, 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play), A Bright New Boise (2011 Obie Award for Playwriting, 2011 Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), and his newest plays, The Few, A Great Wilderness and Rest, are all set to premiere in the 13/14 season. His plays have been produced by Playwrights Horizons, South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, Page 73, and elsewhere. Sam is the winner of a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. His work has been developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, JAW West, and elsewhere. He has active commissions from LCT3, Steppenwolf, Playwrights Horizons, and MTC/Ars Nova. He is a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a Core Member of The Playwrights’ Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and is currently a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in NYC. He holds degrees in playwriting from NYU, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard.

Joanie Schultz (Director) is a Chicago-based freelance director. Last season, she directed the Chicago premiere of The Whale at Victory Gardens Theater, Neighborhood 3 at Strawdog Theatre Company, Amadeusat Oak Park Festival Theatre and Luther at Steep Theatre Company, where she is an artistic associate and previously directed The Receptionist, A Brief History of Helen of Troy and the Jeff Award–winning In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. Recent Chicago credits include Venus in Fur at Goodman Theatre the world premiere offml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life by Sarah Gubbins at Steppenwolf for Young Adults; The Girl in the Yellow Dress by Craig Higginson at Next Theatre Company; the Jeff-nominated production of The Kid Thingby Sarah Gubbins, a co-production with About Face Theatre and Chicago Dramatists; The Metal Children at Next Theatre Company; Wreckage and Many Loves at Caffeine Theatre; Shining City at Redtwist Theatre;The Ring Cycle at the Building Stage; and A Perfect Wedding and Stone Cold Dead Serious at Circle Theatre. Her opera credits include Acis and Galateaat the Chicago Cultural Center, which was the first fully staged opera in the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park; Suor Angelica at The Italian Operatic Experience in Tuscany and Carmen at the Bay View Music Festival. Ms. Schultz holds an MFA in directing from Northwestern University; was a New York Drama League Fellow; the Goodman’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellow; the SDC Denham Fellow; was a participant in the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab; and currently teaches directing at Columbia College Chicago. She is also the 2013 co-artistic curator for Theatre on the Lake, Chicago Park District’s summer theater showcase. 

McKenzie Chinn (Ginny) returns to Victory Gardens where she understudied In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. Other Chicago credits include Hushabye (Steppenwolf, First Look), Saturday Night/SundayMorning (Steppenwolf, Garage Rep – Prologue Theatre Company), Race (u/s, Goodman Theatre), Principal Principle (Stage Left Theatre Company), Harry and the Thief (Pavement Group), Bud, Not Buddy (Chicago Children’s Theatre), and Idomeneus (Sideshow Theatre Company) which won the non-equity Jeff Award for best ensemble. Film credits include the art house feature Hogtown (9:23 Films) which was screened this year as part of the Black Harvest Film Festival at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center. She earned her MFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul.


Amanda Drinkall (Faye) was most recently seen in Venus in Fur at the Goodman Theatre. Other Chicago credits include; Measure for Measure (Goodman Theatre), Great Expectations (Strawdog), Pride and Prejudice(Lifeline), an understudy role in Failure: A Love Story at Victory Gardens Theater; an understudy role in Ponyat About Face Theatre; and Othello (Desdemona), Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt), A Winter’s Tale (Perdita) andMuch Ado About Nothing (Hero), all with The Back Room Shakespeare Project.  As an ensemble member of Red Tape Theatre, her credits include: hamlet is dead. no gravity, Lear, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale, The Making of a Modern Folk Hero at CFANN 2011 and Pullman, WA.  Regional credits: Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s The Comedy of Errors (Luciana) and Romeo and Juliet (Juliet) and North Carolina Shakespeare Festival’s King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. Ms. Drinkall holds a BFA in acting performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Matt Farabee (Ken) Chicago credits include: Mud Blue Sky (A Red Orchid Theatre); punkplay (Steppenwolf Garage); Skylight (Court Theater); MilkMilkLemonade (Pavement Group); Elizabeth Rex (Chicago Shakespeare); Tigers Be Still (Theater Wit); The Shadow Over Innsmouth (WildClaw Theatre); The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Eclipse Theatre Company).  Off Broadway: A Bright New Boise (Partial Comfort).  Regional:Lord of the FliesOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Round House Theatre).  He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Steve Key (Jeremy) Mr. Key is an ensemble member of American Blues Theater, where he also works as a designer. At American Blues, Steve was most recently seen in American Myth. Steve has performed at The Town Hall, in Galway IRL, The Public, in NY, The Ahmanson, in LA and The Kennedy Center, in DC. He’s worked on many stages in Chicago including; Goodman, Steppenwolf, A Red Orchid, Remy Bumppo, Northlight, Famous Door, Victory Gardens, and Shattered Globe Theatre (where he’s a former Artistic Director).Steve has received 5 Jeff Awards and 5 nominations for Principal and Supporting Actor and Ensemble (equity and non-equity). Film: 1,000 AcresBlackmailPublic EnemiesSalvagingThree Days. TV: Chicago Fire , Law & Order – SVU,Family PracticeChicago CodeBoss, and Mob Doctor.

William Norris (Gerald) A forty year theatre veteran and 2012 Joseph Jefferson nominee for Best Actor, Mr. Norris has extensive national and international credits. He has performed multiple times at the Goodman, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Marriott Lincolnshire, and Meadowbrook theatres and at Syracuse Stage and the Indiana Repertory. In Europe he has acted in Hamburg at the Schafspiel Haus, at the Mickery Theater in Amsterdam, and at Vienna’s English Theatre in Austria. DillingerHis Satanic Majesty, andBefore I Wake are a few of his plays which have premiered in Chicago and gone on to be produced nation-wide. And his adaptation of A Christmas Carol has been produced both in Birmingham and London, England. Television and movie credits include A Taste of RomanceThe UntouchablesThe BabeThe LetterThe Pitand The Pendulum, and The Last Affair. Mr. Norris is also the co-screenwriter for the cult classic Herbert Wes: Re-animator as well as the co-author of the award-winning musical of the same name. He has been honored in his profession for his work as actor, director, and writer with awards that include an Emmy, a Joseph Jefferson, five Artisan and L.A. Critics Circle Awards.

Ernest Perry Jr. (Tom) returns to Victory Gardens Theater for Rest. His previous Victory Gardens Theater credits include The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Daddy’s Seashore Blues, Pecong, and Split Second.  Other Chicago Theater credits include Death and the King’s Horsemen, An Enemy of the People, PlayMas, The Road, Edmond, A Raisin in the Sun, Galileo, A Christmas Carol, Black Star Line, Puddin ‘n’ Pete (Jeff Award nomination), The Ties That Bind, Let Me Live, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Miss Evers’ Boys, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Oo-Bla-Dee, Drowning Crow, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Cry, The Beloved Country, The Iceman Cometh, The Merchant of Venice, Heartbreak House, Magnolia and Gas For Less at the Goodman Theatre; All’s Well That Ends Well, Playboy of the West Indies, Mary Stuart, andPantomime at Court Theatre; Henry V, Measure for Measure, As You Like It and Cymbeline at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Meetings and Rhino’s Policeman at Northlight Theatre; The Petrified Forest, The Merchant of Venice, and King Lear at Body Politic; Suspenders! (Jeff Award nomination) at Chicago Theatre Company; Driving Miss Daisy at Briar Street Theatre; and 5 Rooms of Furniture (Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Actor) at Organic Theater Company. Mr. Perry has performed at the Kennedy Center Theater, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Alliance Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, Hartford Stage and the La Jolla Playhouse. International credits include Abbey Theatre (Dublin), Vienna’s English Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company (London), Thalia Theatre (Germany), and MC93 Bobigny (Paris).

MaryAnn Thebus (Etta) returns to the Victory Gardens stage where she been seen in plays such asEleemosynary and more recently Four Places. She has an almost 40-year Chicago stage career and has also been active in film and TV shot locally. Although she has been seen on stages further afield, among them San Francisco and New York, she is mostly known for her work here in Chicago. Her most recent work was in The Three Sisters at Steppenwolf and 4000 Miles at Northlight. She has also appeared in The Beauty Queen of Lenane and The Glass Menagerie at The Gift Theatre, Elizabeth Rex and Richard the Third at Chicago Shakespere, Rabbit Hole and Alls Well that Ends Well at the Goodman and After the Revolution and The Piano Teacher at the Next. She recently co -directed Collected Stories at American Blues with her daughter, director Jessica Thebus. MaryAnn is a frequent Jeff Award nominee and was awarded an After Dark award for her work in Painting Churches at the old Organic Theatre. She has been a teacher of acting for 20 years, conducts a Master class at The Artistic Home and coaches privately. She can next be seen in Rapture, Blister, Burn at The Goodman.

Full performance schedule

Previews of Rest are September 12 – 18, 2014Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Previews are $20-$40.  The Press opening is Friday, September 19, 2014 at 8pm.  Regular performances run September 20 – October 12, 2014Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 pmSaturday at 4 pmSunday at 3 pm.  There will not be public performances on September 23, 30 and October 9. There will not be a 4pmperformance on September 20. The October 1 performance will be held at 2:00pm. Regular performances are $20-$60.

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.  For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000,email, or visit  Ask the Box Office about student tickets ($15), senior, Access, $20 under 30, and rush discounts.  For group discounts, call 773.328.2136.

A full and updated schedule of special events, post show discussions and presentations centered around performances of Rest is available at  All events are free unless otherwise noted, and a reservation is required. To RSVP, call (773)871-3000 or visit the Victory Gardens website. The following Public Programs events, designed to enhance the audience experience of the issues surrounding Rest, are currently scheduled in conjunction with Rest:


After every performance of REST (unless otherwise noted)

Join us for one of our intimate post show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, subscribers, Artistic staff, Teen Arts Council members, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.


Sun Sept 14, 2014 | 6:00pm

An aging nation that’s living longer but with growing rates of mental and physical health complications points to an emerging health care crisis. With nearly 8 in 10 seniors living with at least one chronic health condition today, are senior citizens left in the shadows of a national cry for healthcare reformation? Join us for this town hall discussion as we explore the various effects of aging in conversation with access to healthcare.


Mon Sept 15, 2014 | 7:30pm

“There’s just nothing left to discover.” Two young men working the night shift in Clarkston, Washington find this might be true of America, but not necessarily of each other. In association with Pavement Group’s Crush Play Series, join us for a reading of playwright Sam Hunter’s new play Clarkston.


Wed Sept 17, 2014 | 6:30pm cocktail get together at Fiesta Mexicana | Special Afterwords

The generation that fought tirelessly during the gay rights movement is going back in the closet to survive. With homophobia and discrimination present among many caregiving institutions, how can we support our LGBT senior citizens in need of assisted living? Join our friends from Center on Halsted’s Senior Programalong with other LGBT activists for a pre-show cocktail at Fiesta Mexicana, and a special Afterwords discussion addressing senior care within the LGBT community.


Thurs Sept 18, 2014 | 6:30pm cocktail get together at Fiesta Mexicana | Special Afterwords

For Latinos living with Alzheimer’s disease, social stigmas and language barriers cause major rifts in proper mental health care. In a community where above-average risks of Alzheimer’s exist, what initiatives are in place to support them? Hosted by Amor Montes de Oca of Arte Y Vida, enjoy pre-show cocktails at Fiesta Mexicana, and then stick around for a special Afterwords discussion giving voice to mental health within Latina/o communities.


Spoken Word Pre-show Performances

Wed Sept 24, 2014 | Thurs Oct 2, 2014 | Tues Oct 7, 2014 | 7:00pm

One mic. Three poets. Listen to the poetry of spoken word artists at select pre-show performances throughout the run of Rest. Responding to themes of the show, these cross generational emerging spoken word artists are unafraid to take the mic and share their truths.


Thurs Sept 25, 2014 | Special Afterwords

More than 5 million Americans are suffering from Dementia today — many of whom are living in assisted living facilities. With thousands of reported cases of disappearances and deaths throughout the country, is assisted living the best option for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s and Dementia? In this riveting post-show discussion, join caregivers and residents as they explore the relationship between assisted living and memory care in America.


Sun Sept 28, 2014 | 1:30pm | Pre-show performance

From stories reminiscent of days past, to enticing tales of present-day struggles, our elders often have the most to say. Responding to themes in Rest and in collaboration with Goodman Theatre’s GeNarrations writing workshop, join us for this special pre-show performance as senior citizens take the mic and share their stories. 


Sat Sept 27, 2014 | 6:30pm cocktail get together at Fiesta Mexicana | Special Afterwords

Chicago has a deep and complex history of  civil rights and segregation. Though more than forty years have passed since the Chicago Freedom Movement, how much has changed? Hear from the lips of those who lived it and join us for our most gripping Tuxedo Junction to date. Hosted by Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit’s Sydney Chatman, enjoy pre-show cocktails and stick around for a special Afterwords discussion shedding light to senior citizens who braved Chicago’s civil rights movement.


Free Film Screening | Mon Sept 29, 2014 | 7:00pm

Alzheimer’s took her memory. But nothing can take her spirit. Confined by the limits of her physical boundaries, Lee Gorewitz scavenges for reminders of her life in the outside world. Yet her search is for more than a word, or a memory, or a familiar face. It is a quest for understanding. A “transfixing” (New York Times) tale of the struggle to remember, You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t is the first documentary filmed exclusively in an Alzheimer’s & Dementia care unit and from the perspective of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.


Sat Oct 4, 2014 | 2:00pm | Pre-show roundtable discussion

For communities with disabilities, human services and assisted living is often a necessary part of day-to-day life. But when paired with the effects of aging, how are these resources at risk? As part of our ACCESS Project, join this mixed-ability roundtable discussion exploring the intersections within assisted living, aging, and disability. Word-for-word captioning, ASL interpretation, and assisted listening devices will be provided for this event.


Tue Oct 7, 2014 | Special Afterwords

Caring for relatives with advancing dementia/Alzheimer’s is always challenging, but when an elderly person is a Holocaust survivor, terrible memories may come back to haunt. In this crucial post-show discussion, David Chack (artistic director of ShPIeL), Susan Buchbinder (CJE Senior Life) and others will explore the ramifications of living with Dementia as a survivor of the largest genocide in history.

Production sponsorship for Rest provided by Steven H. and Pamela B. Adelman, the William M. Weiss Foundation, and Golden Country Oriental Food, L.L.C.

Travel sponsorship provided by Southwest Airlines.

The 40th Anniversary season is sponsored by Diane and Steve Miller.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Christopher Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 299-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens,  Follow up on Facebook at and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, The Leo S. Guthman Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The REAM Foundation, and the Leo S. Guthman Fund. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, Berghoff Catering, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Conant Family Foundation, The Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council (a state agency),  Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, James S. Kemper Foundation, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Seabury Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association.