The Wild Party
Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Book by Michael John LaChiusa & George C. Wolfe
Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
Directed & Choreographed by Brenda Didier
Musical Direction by Associate Artist Aaron Benham
Oct 2 – Nov 1, 2014
Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater
2433 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Highly Recommended by:
Stage and Cinema
“★★★★★…I’d be hard pressed to name a weak link or moment in this this dazzlingly debauched production. Get your tickets now; this is a party you don’t want to be late for.” Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago
“Highly Recommended…This production also is the latest indication that Bailiwick Chicago, whose recent shows have included Carrie and Dessa Rose, is fast emerging as a top-ranking producer of musicals.” Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
Manhattan decadence in the 1920s provides the backdrop for this tough musical fable. Queenie, a vaudeville chorus girl. hosts a titular blowout with her vicious lover Burrs, a blackface minstrel. The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: Queenie’s conniving rival, a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy, a washed-up boxer, a black “brother act,” a diva of indeterminate age and infinite life experience, the fresh-off-the-farm ingénue whose naïveté quickly evaporates, a lesbian actress and her comatose girlfriend, and the bargain-basement heartthrob who catches Queenie’s roving eye. The jazz- and gin-soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat as artifice and illusion are stripped away. When midnight debauchery leads to tragedy at dawn, the high-flying characters land with a sobering thud, reminding us that no party lasts forever.
The Wild Party is presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals: www.rnh.com.
Letter from the Artistic Director
I discovered Joseph Moncure March’s The Wild Party in a Borders book store in 1994. It beckoned from the shelf like colorful candy, having just been rescued from obscurity by Art Spiegelman, who released this new illustrated edition. Spiegelman himself had had the same sensation many years previously, stumbling upon the 1928 poem in a used bookstore. And as fate would have it, the 1994 edition had the same instantly mesmerizing effect on many people, including two talented new composers: Andrew Lippa—who wrote a rockinfused version which played Off-Broadway—and Michael John LaChiusa— who wrote the show you see here tonight, which opened first at the Public Theatre and then transferred to Broadway. Having two new musicals written from the same source material running in New York simultaneously (in 2000) made people wonder: what’s so inspiring about The Wild Party?
There has always been a fascination with The Roaring Twenties; it’s one of the most intense periods of change in American history. It was not just the era of flappers, but the proliferation of the automobile and the cinema; the assertion of women’s independence (voting rights); and the African-American’s contribution to mainstream culture (jazz). Taste-making and influential thought came not just from the rich or politically influential, but from the likes of the Lost Generation, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Algonquin Round Table. Prohibition turned almost everyone into at least an occasional criminal, and saw the first glamorization of criminal culture. No wonder it all feels over-stimulated to the brink of numbness—a familiar feeling today, I think—and nowhere is this displayed more intensely than in the bohemian demimonde of artists and performers.
March’s poem has a bleak ending, but LaChiusa’s version of Queenie’s journey transcends the poem as Queenie struggles to earn some hope at the end of this long, dark night. In an email exchange with me, the author intimated that “…what The Wild Party tries to do is hold a mirror up [to] its audience. It presents a cast of seedy, hedonistic, racist, broke, barely talented, B-list losers and says, hey folks: look at yourselves. Not a friendly thing to do a paying customer. No one likes to see him/herself in bald, ugly light. But if they do identify, however uncomfortable it may be…there is a chance to escape your troubled life—if you can remove your masks of intolerance, selfloathing, self-pity, self-indulgence, self-abuse, etc.” It’s the perfect beginning to our fifth season, which explores both the indulgence of desires, and all the ways in which we hide from ourselves and who we could be, for fear of who we are. Take a sip of gin. Enjoy.
Lili-Anne Brown, Artistic Director
WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST
Miss Madelaine True
DANIELLE BROTHERS (Dolores Montoya) is over the moon to make her debut with Bailiwick Chicago. Most recently, another first for this veteran actress: summer stock at Timber Lake Playhouse, in An Inspector Calls. She has also appeared with The Music Theatre Company, Route 66, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Porchlight Music Theatre, American Theater Company, Lifeline, Li’l Buds, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, and Defiant. Most Chicago audiences, however, know her for her work at Theo Ubique. Danielle has been gifted with three Non-Equity Jeff Awards for roles performed there ranging from Don Quixote to fleeting glimpses of Anita and Mama Rose. “Remember to Love Hard!”
MOLLY COLEMAN (Nadine) returns to Bailiwick Chicago where she was last seen in Carrie: The Musical. Molly is a junior at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she is studying for her BFA in Musical Theatre. “All my love and gratitude to my family and friends for their steadfast support.”
GILBERT DOMALLY (Phil D’Armano) is currently in his senior year at Roosevelt University where he is a candidate for B.F.A Degree in Musical Theatre. Gilbert was recently seen in Bailiwick Chicago’s soul-stirring production of Dessa Rose (Philip). “I am ecstatic to be back working and learning from yet another fierce cast of artists. I am grateful to God, my family, friends and classmates for their unending love and support. I am #Blessed! Let’s go class of 2015!”
PATRICK FALCON (Black) is ecstatic that his first production at Bailiwick Chicago is such a luxuriously dark affair. Patrick recently composed and co-wrote an original musical, The Cape, in partnership with ArtsSpring, a non-profit Arts-in-Corrections program, performed by inmates at the Homestead Correctional Institution in South Florida. Recent credits include The View from the Bridge (Teatro Vista); The Crownless King (The House Theatre); Hellcab (Profiles Theatre); RENT as Tom Collins at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he received his BFA.
DESMOND GRAY (Oscar D’Armano) is thrilled to be working with Bailiwick Chicago again, where he also appeared in Elton John’s AIDA in 2010. Other Chicago credits include Hit the Wall (The Inconvenience/Steppenwolf); Hit the Wall (Chicago Commercial Collective/The Inconvenience); Hushabye (Steppenwolf); The Misanthrope and Tartuffe (Court Theatre); Pullman Porter Blues (Goodman Theatre); Hellcab (Profiles Theatre). Desmond has also worked for TimeLine and Theatre Seven of Chicago. He is represented by Big Mouth Talent. “Thank you all for the support!”
JASON GRIMM (Goldberg) is making his Bailiwick Chicago debut. Recent credits include How to Succeed…(Porchlight Music Theatre); The Nutcracker (The House Theatre of Chicago); Improbable Frequency (Strawdog Theatre); Reefer Madness (Circle Theatre, 2013 Jeff Nomination: Best Actor). He is a musical director, pianist and teacher at The Annoyance Theatre (where he had the honor of playing Chicago’s longest-running musical Co-Ed Prison Sluts) and makes up half of Smith and Grimm, an unsophisticated comedy duo. Thanks to Brenda, the phenomenal cast and crew and everyone at Bailiwick Chicago.
CHRISTINA HALL (Miss Madelaine True) is overjoyed to be working with Bailiwick Chicago for the first time. Chicago credits include Ask Aunt Susan (Goodman Theater); Terminus, and Hot N’ Throbbing (Interrobang Theatre Project); Improbable Frequency (Strawdog Theatre Company); Fade Out, Fade In (Porchlight Music Theatre); The Sweet Smell of Success, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Kokandy Productions); Hello Again and The Merchant of Venice (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble); The Taming of the Shrew and As You Like It (Muse of Fire); Pump Boys and Dinettes and the upcoming Always, Patsy Cline (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre). Also, look for her this winter in Mr. Burns, A Post- Electric Play (Theatre Wit). Christina holds a B.F.A. in Acting from Southern Methodist University. “Much love for those who support me each day.”
SHARRIESE HAMILTON (Kate) is beyond happy to be joining her Bailiwick Chicago family for another show! Recent credits include Mariana/Sudabey in Passing Strange and Kesa/Medium in See What I Wanna See, (Bailiwick Chicago); Smitty in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Porchlight Music Theatre), Gladys in Pal Joey, Felicia in Class Act (Porchlight Music Theatre); Donna in We Three Lizas (About Face Theatre); Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors (Street Tempo Theatre); Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot, Ronna in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Timber Lake Playhouse); The People VS Friar Laurence (BoarsHead Theater); Cathy in The Last Five Years (Steel Beam Theatre) and various roles with the Chicago-based children’s theater company Great Works Theatre. “Much love and thanks to family friends!”
MATTHEW KEFFER (Burrs) is making his Bailiwick Chicago debut. Other Chicago credits include Juno (Timeline Theatre Company); Cymbeline, The Rainmaker (First Folio Theatre); Aspects of Love (Theo Ubique); Lucky Stiff (The Music Theatre Company); Golden Boy, Meet John Doe (Porchlight Music Theatre); The Spitfire Grill, The Rainmaker (BoHo Theatre Ensemble). “Thank you for supporting Chicago Theatre.”
RYAN LANNING (Jackie) most recently played the role of Other Mother in Coraline (Black Button Eyes Productions) and Mr. Stephens/Reverend Bliss in Carrie: The Musical (Bailiwick Chicago). Chicago credits include Tommy Ross in Scarrie: The Musical (Hell In a Handbag); Sammy in Exit, Pursued By a Bear (Theatre Seven); Sammy in F**king Men (Bailiwick Chicago); Candide in Candide (Porchlight Music Theatre); Male Swing in Candide (Goodman Theatre); Ridley in Alien Queen (Scooty and Jojo Show); Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Haven Theatre); Molina in Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Bailiwick Repertory, Non-Equity Jeff Award, Best Actor: Musical).
STEVEN PERKINS (Eddie Mackrel) is thrilled to be returning to the Bailiwick Chicago stage as a new member of the Bailiwick Chicago family and is more excited for this “party” than any one he’s attended in recent memory. A graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, Steven is proud to now call Chicago home. He local credits include 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Griffin Theatre); The Nativity (Congo Square); the Jeff-nominated productions of Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Theo Ubique); Dessa Rose and Passing Strange (Bailiwick Chicago). “I am happy to share the stage with so many friends living in a world of Gin, Skin, and Sin. Don’t let me go dry!”
KHAKI PIXLEY (Mae) is excited to be working with the wonderful Bailiwick Chicago while taking a break from the international tour of The Man In Black Show. Some recent theatre credits include Let’s Misbehave (Fox Valley Rep); Time after Time (Theo Ubique); The Baker’s Wife, Pippin, Death Takes a Holiday and A Little Night Music – 2012 Jeff Nomination (Circle Theatre). She co-wrote the short film A Phony Dilemma (FreshPic Films) and just filmed the new web-series Humane Resources. She has been fortunate enough to live and perform in Germany and to sing the National Anthem at Wrigley Field. “Many thanks to the Bailiwick Chicago team!”
JASON RICHARDS (Gold) makes his debut with Bailiwick Chicago in The Wild Party. Other Chicago credits include Assassins, Perpetual Possibility (Kokandy Productions); Shrek (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Gifts of The Magi, Anyone Can Whistle (Porchlight Music Theatre); Avenue Q (NightBlue Performing Arts, Jeff Award); The Pajama Game, The 48 Hour Musicals (The Music Theatre Company) and children’s theatre work with Greatworks and TheatreBAM. Commercials include White Castle, Illinois Lottery and Donato’s Pizza. “This one goes out to Donald Richard, who taught me to be who you are and make no apologies.”
DANNI SMITH (Queenie) returns to Bailiwick Chicago where she was last seen in See What I Wanna See and Violet. Other Chicago credits include Passion, Pump Boys and Dinettes (Theo Ubique); Harold and the Purple Crayon (Chicago Children’s Theatre); The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Kokandy Productions); Oklahoma! (American Theater Company); Christmas Carol (Drury Lane Oakbrook); The Glorious Ones, Bernarda Alba (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble); Richard III, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors (Lakeside Shakespeare). Film credits include Curtain (Jash Pictures) premiering in 2015. Danni has been honored with two Joseph Jefferson Awards and four nominations. Danni received her Bachelors Degree from Ball State University. “To Martin and my loving family: thank you for being a constant gift in this life.”
SASHA SMITH (Sally) is so happy to be working with her Bailiwick Chicago family once again! Chicago credits include Dessa Rose (Bailiwick Chicago), B-Side Studio (The Inconvenience/The New Colony), Horse Girls (Collaboraction), Down and Derby (The New Colony). She is a graduate of Columbia College of Chicago. “Thank you to my family, friends, and this fabulous community for the opportunities to play and push my boundaries. Let’s get wild!”
BRENDA DIDIER (Director / Choreographer) is thrilled to be collaborating with Bailiwick Chicago! Much gratitude to Lil, Kate, Geoff, Cam, Aaron, Mallory, our talented design team and to this fearless cast! Ms. Didier is a multiple Jeff Award recipient in both direction and choreography and owner/director of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance. She has directed and/or choreographed musicals, industrials and special events including Cirque Shanghai at Navy Pier ( 2007–2011) with transfers to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and New York, The Second City Main stage and Etc. revues and Leo On Ice for Leo Burnett Worldwide at the Chicago Theatre. “Love to Mike and Mom!”
AARON BENHAM (Musical Director) is a local music director, conductor, arranger, and pianist. With Bailiwick Chicago: Carrie: The Musical, Dessa Rose. Other Chicago credits include A Cole Porter Songbook, A Tribute to the Andrews Sisters (Theo-Ubique); Sweet Smell of Success (Kokandy Productions, Jeff Nomination); We Three Lizas (About Face); Sweet Charity (Writer’s Theatre); Putting it Together (Porchlight); as well as work with Timeline, American Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, and Chicago Opera Theatre. Aaron is a teaching artist at Chicago Academy for the Arts and performer with Second City and the Improvised Sondheim Project. BFA, Emerson College.
MALLORY BASS (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be returning to Bailiwick Chicago after stage managing Mahal last summer! Chicago credits include The Dance of Death (Writers Theatre); Road Show, Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Love and Drowning, Enfrascada (16th Street Theater). Mallory received her BA from Truman State University. “All my love to the cast, crew and entire production team!”
CAMERON TURNER (Assistant Choreographer) is thrilled to be making his Bailiwick Chicago debut with The Wild Party. Other choreographic credits include A New Brain (Pastiche Productions), Young Frankenstein, Spamalot, S’Wonderful and The Music Man (Timber Lake Playhouse), Lysistrata Jones (Roosevelt University) and Spring Awakening (Aurora Fox Theatre). Performing credits include productions with Light Opera Works, Timber Lake Playhouse and Emerald City Theatre. BFA in Musical Theatre from Roosevelt University, class of 2012. “Many thanks to Brenda, Lili-Anne and the team at Bailiwick Chicago and the cast and crew for all their inspiring work on this production.”
MEGAN TRUSCOTT (Scenic Designer) is thrilled to return to Bailiwick Chicago as a resident designer after previously designing Dessa Rose and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Her previous work includes Good People (TheatreSquared); Ring of Fire, Blues in the Night (Milwaukee Rep); The Happy Elf, The Hobbit, Flat Stanley (Pennsylvania Youth Theatre); and Harry and the Thief (Pavement Group). Her work has also been produced at the Young Actors’ Guild of Arkansas and DePaul University. Megan’s upcoming work includes Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago) and Crumble: Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake (Jackalope). She is a graduate of DePaul University. “Love to my family and A for all the support.”
THERESA HAM (Costume Designer) is making her Bailiwick Chicago Debut. Recent Chicago credits include: Cats (Paramount Theatre), Seussical: The Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Amadeus (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble) and Don Giovanni (The Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera); Chicago, Hello, Dolly! (Drury Lane Theatre), and Warped (Stage Left Theatre). Regional Credits include Flinger Lakes Opera and Little Theatre on the Square. Upcoming Projects: Mary Poppins and Tommy (Paramount Theatre), Twelfth Night (DePaul Opera Theatre); All’s Well That Ends Well (Stage Left Theatre). Ms. Ham is the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award (Non-Equity) and two Broadway World Awards for Outstanding Costume Design. She is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College and Wilbur Wright College, and an artistic associate with both Bohemian Theatre Ensemble and Stage Left Theatre.
BRIAN HOEHNE (Lighting Designer) returns to Bailiwick Chicago after designing Dessa Rose last season. Recent designs include Hair, Let Me Down Easy (American Theater Company); A View From The Bridge (Teatro Vista); Do I Hear a Waltz, Triumph of Love, The Baker’s Wife (The Music Theatre Company); Nutcracker, Schoolhouse Rock Live! (Marriott Theatre); Passion, Master Class, Chess (Theo Ubique); Spamalot, Buddy!, West Side Story (Timber Lake Playhouse).
PATRICK BLEY (Sound Designer) is pleased to be back with Bailiwick Chicago for another production. Previous Bailiwick Chicago credits include Carrie: The Musical, Dessa Rose, and Passing Strange. Patrick was recently welcomed even further into the Bailiwick Chicago family as a company member and serves as the resident sound designer. His work has been heard around the city and country with Pride Films and Plays, The Music Theatre Company, Lookingglass, Pioneer Theatre Company (Salt Lake City UT) and over 30 productions at Timber Lake Playhouse in Mount Carroll IL. “Many thanks to all involved with this Bailiwick Chicago and this production.”
GEOFFREY BLEEKER (Assistant Director / Dramaturg) is thrilled to be helping bring this story to life with Bailiwick Chicago, where he previously directed the Chicago Casting Auction production of The Drowsy Chaperone and served as producer/production manager for the past two seasons. As a director, his work has been seen in Chicago, Milwaukee, Florida, and Texas, including the workshop and staged reading of Danny Bernardo’s F-gg*t for inFusion Theater Company. “Special thanks to Brenda, for allowing him to take this journey, and always to Glenn.”
ABIGAIL MEDRANO (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to work with Bailiwick Chicago again. Other Chicago credits include Mahal (Bailiwick Chicago) and What’s the T? (About Face Theatre). Other credits include Cafe Variations (SITI Company/ArtsEmerson), A Dream Play (Heart & Dagger Productions), Ryan Landry’s M (Huntington Theatre Company), We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…, Astro Boy and the God of Comics (Company One Theatre), and Standardized Testing: The Musical!!!! (Emerson Stage). She recently graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Stage/Production Management.
LISA GRIEBEL (Props Master) is happy to working with Bailiwick Chicago for the first time filling the position of Props Master. She is a freelance properties manager based in the Chicago area who has worked with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Pursuit Productions, Step Up Productions, Northlight Theatre and Opera Theatre of St Louis. www.lisagriebel.com
LILI-ANNE BROWN (Artistic Director) received a Joseph Jefferson Award this year (Direction of a Musical) for her direction of last season’s Dessa Rose. Other directing credits for Bailiwick Chicago include Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See (part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s Garage Rep), the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of Passing Strange (Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Director of a Musical, Jeff Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical), and the upcoming world premiere of Princess Mary Demands Your Attention by Resident Playwright Aaron Holland. She works as an actor, director and educator, both locally and regionally, and is a proud native Chicagoan.
KATE GARASSINO (Executive Director / Producer) was recently seen in Bailiwick Chicago’s production of Carrie: The Musical (Ms. Gardner). Some notable stage credits include Mari in resident playwright’s Bailiwick Chicago production of Mahal, Christmas Eve in Mercury Theater and Nightblue’s productions of Avenue Q and Lady Thiang in Porchlight Music Theater’s production of King & I where she received an Equity Jeff Nomination. She is a Jeff Award recipient for Best Supporting Musical Theater Actress in Bailiwick Repertory’s production of Bombs Away!. Her gratitude for this company, this design team, cast, and crew is boundless. Enjoy this beautiful show, special thanks to Barry. Most importantly, thank you for supporting live theater and continuing to embrace Bailiwick Chicago.
MICHAEL JOHN LaCHIUSA (Music, Lyrics and Book) Broadway: The Wild Party (New York Shakespeare Festival; book co-authored by George C. Wolfe; 2000 Tony nominations – Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score), Marie Christine (Lincoln Center Theater; 2000 Tony nominations – Best Book, Best Score), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Lincoln Center Theater; 1997 Tony nominations – Best Musical, Best Book nomination with Jim Lewis and Graciela Daniele). Off-Broadway: Bernarda Alba (Lincoln Center Theater), See What I Wanna See (The Public Theatre), Little Fish (Second Stage Theatre), Hello Again (Lincoln Center Theater; Obie Award), First Lady Suite (NYSF; Obie Award), The Petrified Prince (NYSF; book by Edward Gallardo), Break/Agnes/Eulogy for Mister Hamm (Playwrights Horizons). Regional: Broken Sleep (Williamstown Theater Festival; book by Donald Margulies). Libretti include: Desert of Roses, music by Robert Moran (Houston Grand Opera), From the Towers of the Moon (Moran, Minnesota Opera), Tanya, Anthony Davis (AMTF, Philadelphia). 1997-98 artist-in-residence: The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival. 1998-99 Composer-in-Residence: Lyric Opera of Chicago (words and music, Enigma Variations). 1995 Gilman Gonzalez-Falla Award. Recordings: See What I Wanna See, Bernarda Alba (Ghostlight), Hello Again, Marie Christine (RCA Victor), The Wild Party (Decca Broadway); several songs (including the title track) featured on Audra McDonald’s best-selling debut album, Way Back to Paradise (Nonesuch Records). Michael John LaChiusa is an adjunct professor at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
GEORGE C. WOLFE (Book) directed Caroline, or Change (nominated for six 2004 Tony nominations, including Best Musical and Best Direction) and directed and co-wrote The Wild Party (nominated for seven 2000 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book). He won the Tony Award for his direction of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and the Tony Award for his direction of Bring in Da’ Noise, Bring in Da’ Funk. His other credits on Broadway include Topdog/Underdog; Elaine Stritch at Liberty; On the Town; The Tempest; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; Angels in America: Perestroika; and Jelly’s Last Jam (of which he is also the author). For the Public Theater, where Mr. Wolfe served as Producer from 1993 to 2004, he has directed Macbeth, Blade to the Heat, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Spunk. Mr. Wolfe also directed Amistad at Chicago’s Lyric Opera and is the author of The Colored Museum. In addition to Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, DramaLogue and Obie awards, Mr. Wolfe’s awards and distinctions include Actors’ Equity Association Paul Robeson Award; the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers’ Calloway Award, the Bessie Award, the George Oppenheimer/Newsday Award and the Lambda Liberty Award. He was named “a living landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and also was honored as a “Library Lion” by the New York Public Library.