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James Sherman's Door To Door To Debut At Victory Gardens, November 12 - December 19

Sherman's Mother Is Inspiration For This Poignant, Funny And Unexpectedly Feminist View Of Chicago Jewish Life In The Last Century

Source: OffLoop

Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble member James Sherman brings his special view to the annals of Chicago Jewish life in his newest work, Door to Door, the second of five consecutive world premiere productions for Victory Gardenspi 26th anniversary season. Drawing on his own motherpis experiences as a daughter, a wife, and a mother, Door to Door is a heartwarming, inspiring, and in signature Sherman style, oftentimes funny review of American life in this century. Roslyn Alexander, a favorite at Victory Gardens thanks to her memorable performances in the Jim Sherman smash hits The God of Isaac, Beau Jest and Jest a Second!, will star with Cheryl Ross Mitchell and Kim Wade. Victory Gardens Artistic Director Dennis Zacek will direct. Previews begin November 12. Press opening is November 22, 7:30 p.m. curtain. Door to Door runs through December 19. For tickets, call Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, 773.871.3000 (tty: 773.871.0682.)

Of the 15 million immigrants who came to America at the beginning of the twentieth century, between two and three million of them were Jewish citizens from Eastern Europe. Approximately three hundred thousand came to Chicago. They, their children, and their children's children continued to migrate across the Chicago metropolitan area. One of them was Sherman, who the Chicago Sun-Times called >=the Neil Simon of Lincoln Avenue<= after his first play, The God of Isaac, debuted at Victory Gardens in 1985. Just as Isaac told Shermanpis own story of a young Jewish manpis search for spirituality in Skokie, Sherman treads similar terrain in Door to Door, both biographically and geographically. Shifting back and forth in time and space from Rogers Park, to Humboldt Park, to Highland Park, Door to Door brings new meaning to the Jewish song LpiDor vpidor, or >=from generation to generation, <=as it spans 70 years of Sherman family history in Chicago, all from the womenpis point of view.

Door to Door also marks the return of veteran Chicago actress Roslyn Alexander to the Victory Gardens stage, this time as Bessie. Historically, the Sherman/Zacek/Alexander troika has yielded several of Victory Gardenspi longest-running hits, not to mention its most successful productions elsewhere, including New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles. Alexanderpis other Chicago stage credits include Greetings! at Victory Gardens, Collected Stories and Moonlight at Organic, A Perfect Ganesh at Northlight, The Importance of Being Earnest at Court, The American Plan at National Jewish Theatre, and Steel Magnolias at the Royal George. She won a Jeff Award for best actress in Wings at Wisdom Bridge. Alexander has numerous commercial, film and TV credits, and can be regularly heard reading classic literature on Chicagopis Fine Arts Station, WFMT.

Cheryl Ross Mitchell (Mary) began her acting career playing opposite James Sherman more than 30 years ago in The Fantasticks at Niles North High School. She launched her professional career in The Magic Man with David Copperfield at First Chicago Center, which began a two-year association with Copperfield, performing and co-developing his early theatrical illusions. Recently returned to Chicago, Mitchell has spent most of the last 25 years living and working in New York. In addition to being a successful corporate events producer, she was a student of Robert Lewis, and played Masha in his staging of The Seagull at Mirror Rep. She recently appeared at Victory Gardens in a staged reading of Susan Nussbaumpis new play No One as Nasty.

Kim Wade (Deborah) was last seen as Natalie in Victory Gardenspi premiere of Danny Bouncing. Wade was an associate member at Chicagopis Footsteps Theatre, where she performed in the all-female Twelfth Night, as Cassie in Deeper Shade of Blue, and as one of the combatants in Babes with Blades. She is a graduate of Second Citypis Training Center, and for three years performed with Chicagopis Comedysportzi improv troupe.

Dennis Zacek (director) has been artistic director at Victory Gardens for more than 20 years. He has directed more than 150 productions, most recently Kristine Thatcherpis Among Friends, Lonnie Carterpis The Sovereign State of Boogedy Boogedy, Jeffrey Sweetpis Flyovers, and Charles Smithpis The Sutherland. Zacek also directed Jeffrey Sweetpis Ties, which ran in Chicago for six months and was made into a WTTW-TV special, and Steve Carterpis Pecong, a Jeff Award winner for Best New Work. New York directing credits include Jest a Second! at the Jewish Rep, Beau Jest at the Lambs Theatre, Greetings! at the John Houseman Theater, and Jelly Belly and The Sovereign State of Boogedy Boogedy at the New Federal Theater. Last spring, Actors Equity awarded Zacek and his wife, Marcelle McVay, the Rosetta LeNoire Award, a national honor given to a theater that has made significant contributions through non-traditional and/or multi-cultural casting. In 1997, he received the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundationpis Sidney R. Yates Arts Advocacy Award, and the Chicago Drama Leaguepis Crystal Award. Also an actor, Zacek starred as Clarence Darrow in John Loganpis Never the Sinner at Victory Gardens in 1995, which earned him an Academy of Theatre Artists and Friends Award.

James Sherman (playwright) is the author of Magic Time, The God of Isaac, Mr. 80%, The Escape Artist, Beau Jest, This Old Man Came Rolling Home, Jest A Second! and Romance in D. He began his career as a writer and performer with The Second City in Chicago and received an M.F.A. degree from Brandeis University. He has been a Playwright-in-Residence at Victory Gardens since 1986. Beau Jest was the most successful play in the theater's 25-year history, playing for one year in Chicago, then two and a half years off-Broadway. Beau Jest, Magic Time, The God of Isaac, Mr. 80%, and Jest A Second! have been published and are regularly produced by theaters throughout the U.S. and the world. Sherman has been on the faculties of The Second City Training Center, Chicago Dramatists Workshop and Victory Gardens. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild, The Writer's Guild, Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, and AFTRA.

Times, Dates, and Ticket Information Door to Door will run November 12 through December 19 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. Previews are November 12 through 21: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; 7 p.m. on the first Sunday preview (November 14); 3 p.m. on the final Sunday preview (November 21.) Previews are $18 - 21. Press opening is Monday, November 22, 7:30 p.m. curtain. Performances run through December 19: Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 5 and 8:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. Performances are $25 - $30. There is a 2 p.m. matinee on December 1 and 8. Tickets are $25; $5 off for seniors. There are no evening shows November 23 or December 7 and 8. For tickets, call 773.871.3000 (tty: 773.871.0682.) Call 773.549.5788 for special group rates. Discounted parking is available one block north at Childrenpis Memorial Hospital.

Access Project performance schedule for persons with disabilities Victory Gardens is now Chicagopis number one presenter of barrier-free live theater thanks to the Victory Gardens Access Project, an innovative program that uses technology to make live theater more accessible for persons with disabilities. Single tickets to all Access performances are $20. Access dates for Door to Door are:

December 10 at 8 p.m.; December 19 at 3 p.m.: performed with audio-descriptions for the blind December 8 at 2 p.m.; December 17 at 8 p.m.; December 18 at 5 p.m.: performed with word for word captioning for the hearing impaired

December 9 at 8 p.m.; December 17 at 8 p.m.: performed with sign language for the hearing impaired

All four theaters at Victory Gardens are accessible, and equipped with the AudioLink Personal Listening System to serve the hearing impaired. Braille and large print programs are also available.

A Look Ahead to Victory Gardenspi 26th Anniversary Season For audiences who prefer fresh, new, world premiere theater over revivals, repeats and reinterpretations of the classics, Victory Gardens Theater continues its singular commitment to new work in 1999-2000 with five consecutive world premieres, each written by a member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. Following Door to Door will be Knock Me a Kiss (January 21 - February 27), a new historical drama about the daughter of W.E.B. Dubois by Charles Smith, author of Jelly Belly and The Sutherland. Victory Gardenspi fourth play is the debut of Voice of Good Hope (March 17 - April 23), a dramatic tribute to the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan starring Cheryl Lynn Bruce by Kristine Thatcher, author of Emmapis Child and Among Friends. Victory Gardenspi 26th season finale will feature Sharon Gless, best-known from TVpis Cagney & Lacey, in Claudia Allenpis newest play, Cahoots (May 12 - June 18), a madcap comedy about a male and female playwriting team who chase fame, fortune and each other across several decades of the twentieth century. Four-play subscription packages are still available, starting at $57. Special three-play packages start at $43. Both are on sale by calling the Victory Gardens box office, 773.871.3000 tty: 773.871.0682.

Victory Gardens gratefully acknowledges Seiglepis Showroom for its generous support of Door to Door. Victory Gardens, designated an Established Regional Arts Institution by the Illinois Arts Council (IAC), is a participant in IACpis Illinois Arts Treasures on Tour, a state program providing Illinois communities with greater access to arts programming. Victory Gardens is also partially supported by the Prince Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a City Arts 3 Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

# # #

CONTACT:
Jay Kelly/Off Loop Marketing
312.633.1992 or offloop@enteract.com or
Carrie Jaeck/Victory Gardens
773.549.5788 or VGTheater@aol.com

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