"Everwood" Doc Is Politician in Victory Gardens' Cynical Weathers April 6

News   "Everwood" Doc Is Politician in Victory Gardens' Cynical Weathers April 6 Chicago actor Tom Amandes, a veteran of the Off-Loop stage scene who is widely known for playing salty Dr. Harold Abbott on the TV series "Everwood," returns to the Windy City to star in Douglas Post's new political drama, Cynical Weathers, at Victory Gardens Theater.
Tom Amandes stars in Victory Gardens' production of Cynical Weathers.
Tom Amandes stars in Victory Gardens' production of Cynical Weathers. Photo by Michael Brosilow

The world-premiere run begins April 6 (opening April 16) at VGT's new home at the Biograph Theater.

Under the direction of VGT artistic director Dennis Zacek, Amandes originates the role of Congressman Dixon McDaniels, "a moderate Texas Republican caught in the crossfire between his liberal wife Cat, who is an atmospheric scientist studying global warming, and his conservative chief of staff, an evangelical and believer in the end times."

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According to production notes, "Over the course of a weekend, the congressman and his wife grapple with deep-seated ideological differences brought to head by an energy bill he is attempting to push through Congress. Meanwhile, a category five hurricane is looming off the Gulf Coast, threatening to wreak havoc on the McDaniels' beachfront estate, the surrounding terrain, and the congressman's shifting political agenda."

Cynical Weathers also features Bethanny Alexander (as Cat McDaniels), Tony Castillo (as Manny Hernandez), Ben Brooks Cohen (as Lee Gelman), and Lindsay Gould (as Andrea Brady). Designers are Samuel Ball (set), Judith Lundberg (costumes), Patrick Chan (lights) and Andre Pluess (sound). Production stage manager is Tina Jach.

After growing up in Richmond and Crystal Lake, as the sixth of 11 children, Tom Amandes graduated from the Goodman School of Drama, now The Theater School, at DePaul University. He began his acting career as an ensemble member of the Body Politic Theater, performing in such productions as Translations (his 1982 debut), The Playboy of the Western World and Falstaff and Hal. Other notable Chicago theatre includes Candida, What the Butler Saw, The Mystery Cycle at Court, Free Advice from Prague and The Courtship of Carl Sandburg at Northlight, and Working Magic at Victory Gardens. His best-known television roles include Eliot Ness in "The Untouchables," astronaut Jack Schmitt in "From the Earth to the Moon" and salty Dr. Harold Abbott in "Everwood." He has three children and is married to actress Nancy Everhard, who he met when she was cast as his wife Katherine Ness on "The Untouchables." She played Sharon Hart on "Everwood." They reside in Park City, UT.

Douglas Post's plays include Blissfield, Somebody Foreign, Forty-Two Stories, Drowning Sorrows, Personal Effects, Earth and Sky, Suffering Fools and Murder in Green Meadows as well as the musicals God and Country, The Real Life Story of Johnny De Facto and The Wind in the Willows.

Performances of Cynical Weathers will continue to May 13.

The new Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, a half-block north of Fullerton in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens box office, (773) 871-3000, or visit www.victorygardens.org.

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Originally built in 1914, the Biograph is best known as the site where FBI agents killed gangster John Dillinger in 1934. Today, the Biograph's façade and marquee have been faithfully restored, a state-of-the-art semi-thrust stage with a modified proscenium has been retrofitted inside, 299 new seats have been installed, and a contemporary interior design welcomes patrons to Chicago's newest live theatre venue — VGT's mainstage.

The Tony Award-honored Victory Gardens is primarily devoted to new work, and has presented more world premiere mainstage productions than any other Chicago theatre since 1974. The company emphasizes the work of Chicago writers and its own 12-member Playwrights Ensemble, a relationship that helped Victory Gardens receive the 2001 Tony Award for Regional Theatre.