Gas for Less, Portrait of a Family Business at Risk, Opens at Goodman June 2

News   Gas for Less, Portrait of a Family Business at Risk, Opens at Goodman June 2 The world premiere of Brett Neveu's Chicago-set Gas for Less opens June 2 after previews from May 24 at Goodman Theatre's intimate Owen Bruner Theatre in Chicago.
Gas For Less stars Ernest Perry, Jr., Robert Breuler and Rian Jairell.
Gas For Less stars Ernest Perry, Jr., Robert Breuler and Rian Jairell. Photo by Peter Wynn Thompson

Dexter Bullard directs the drama set in a gas station on Chicago's North Side. The cast — inhabiting a filling station called "Gas for Less" — includes Kareem Bandealy, Robert Breuler, Nathan Davis, Rian Jairell and Ernest Perry Jr.

Gas For Less "explores issues of generational conflict and urban evolution as seen through the eyes and experiences of five memorable denizens of the community."

According to Goodman notes, "Gas for Less is more than a gas station to Anthony (Rian Jairell) and his tough Croatian grandfather, Art (Robert Brueler). Their family business was once a rowdy North Side Chicago hangout where neighbors from all walks of life — African American, Puerto Rican, Croatian and Pakistani — came together to watch the Bears over coffee and Camel cigarettes. But the neighborhood is changing and gentrification threatens small mom-and-pop shops. Now the pumps are out, the coffee is burnt and the customers are scarce. And things only get worse when a sudden act of violence occurs at the station. The daunting question becomes: can the gas station be saved — and is it even worth saving?"

Playwright Neveu drew his inspiration for the play from real-life Chicagoan Phil Berman, and his North Side gas station of the same name, formerly located at Lincoln and Berteau Avenues. "That station represented Chicago to me, and now it's gone," the writer said.

The play was originally commissioned by Northlight Theatre and was included in the Goodman's 2007 New Stages Series. Performances continue to June 22. *

Goodman artistic director Robert Falls said in a statement, "Gas For Less is a poignant Chicago story containing all of the elements that have earned Brett rave reviews from critics and audiences alike: fascinating characters, savage wit and humor, and dramatic situations which are both immediately recognizable and dramatically resonant. I've wanted to bring this young writer to the Goodman for a long time, and I'm thrilled that he has chosen Dexter Bullard — who counts among his directorial successes Tracey Letts' play Bug, which received extraordinary acclaim both in Chicago and New York — to direct this world premiere production."

Neveu is currently at work on commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club and the Royal Court Theatre; past commissions include Goodman Theatre's Ofner Prize, which resulted in Heritage (2004 New Stages Series), and he has been commissioned twice by Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His work has been produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (Eric LaRue) and Off-Broadway (Eagle Hills, Eagle Ridge, Eagle Landing; twentyone at Spring Theatreworks and The Last Barbecue at 29th Street Rep). In Chicago, he is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre (Weapons of Mass Impact; Eric LaRue; The Meek; The Earl; 4 Murders) and has had his work produced by American Theatre Company (American Dead); Chicago Dramatists (Drawing War); Stage Left (Empty); Strawdog Theatre, Terrapin Theatre Company (the go); TimeLine Theatre Company (Harmless). His play Old Glory will be produced at Writers' Theatre during the 2008-09 season.

The design team for Gas For Less includes Tom Burch (set design), Tif Bullard (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design) and Joseph Fosco (sound design).

For more information visit GoodmanTheatre.org or the Goodman Theatre box office at 170 North Dearborn Street, or call (312) 443-3800.

Ernest Perry, Jr., Rian Jairell and Robert Breuler in <i>Gas For Less</i>.
Ernest Perry, Jr., Rian Jairell and Robert Breuler in Gas For Less. Photo by Peter Wynn Thompson
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