The play, directed by associate artistic director Sandy Shinner, is about Doug (played by Anderson), a newly released petty criminal who is forced to take "reluctant residence with his sister's husband, their teenage son and a tank of tropical fish," according to VG notes. "The rehabilitation process, both absurdly funny and heartbreakingly sad, is by no means limited to the ex-con. When Doug's female pen pal arrives in hot pursuit bearing strange gifts, the play cuts deep into the characters' mutual feelings of pain, guilt and fear. Hints of a tenuous recovery make Johnson's newest play both hopeful and very real."
Performances will play the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Opening night is July 19.
Star of stage and screen, Chicago's Anderson is perhaps most remembered for his performances in Orphans both at Steppenwolf and on film. Guinan, a fellow Steppenwolf ensemble member, appeared in the world-premiere and Broadway runs of August: Osage County.
The cast also includes Cynthia Baker (Betty), Meg Thalken (Sheila) and Bubba Weiler (Andrew).
Playwright Johnson, one of the newest members of Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble, said in a statement, "I wrote A Guide for the Perplexed as a way to explore the journey to redemption. How does guilt push you forward on that journey? And how difficult is it to change one's behavior knowing that the success of that change is a key to your survival? All five characters are at a crisis juncture, a juncture that is both incredibly personal and wholly dependent on the people in their lives." The creative team includes Jeff Bauer (set design), Carol J. Blanchard (costume design), Todd Hensley (lighting design), Andre Pluess (sound design) and Grant Sabin (props design). Tina M. Jach is the production stage manager.
For more information call (773) 871-3000 or visit www.victorygardens.org.