Beginning the new season at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre is Bluff, a new comedy-drama by Jeffrey Sweet. Sweet's Flyovers proved a hit at Victory Gardens this past season and may make a Broadway or Off-Broadway move this fall. Directed by Sandy Shinner, Bluff will star Jon Cryer ("Pretty In Pink") and Sarah Trigger (TV's "Turks"). The play, which tells of a young romance coping with family baggage, runs Sept. 17-Oct. 24, opening Sept. 27.
Bluff begins when Neal (Cryer) and Emily (Trigger) break up a gay bashing, fall in love and move in together. All is well until Emily's stepfather, a dental supplies salesman (played by Tim Grimm, of Steppenwolf's Berlin Cycle), arrives on the scene. Kristine Thatcher, Beth Lacke and Jeff Parker complete the cast.
Cryer is a familiar face from films, notably "Pretty in Pink," and has also appeared in several short-lived television series.
Author Sweet also penned The Value of Names and American Enterprise, and he co-edited the "Best Plays" Theatre Yearbook for more than a decade.
Designing Bluff are Jack Magaw (set), Judith Lundberg (costumes), Rita Pietraszek (Lighting) and Andrew Puless & Ben Sussman (sound). Upcoming shows at Victory Gardens will include:
€ Playing Nov. 12-Dec. 19 (opening Nov. 22), Door To Door is the latest from Beau Jest and Jest a Second scribe, James Sherman. Artistic director Dennis Zacek stages this look of three generations of immigrant Jewish women in Chicago.
€ Knock Me a Kiss, playing Jan. 21-Feb. 27, 2000 (opening Jan. 31, 2000), is a love triangle set in 1929 Harlem by the author of The Sutherland and Jelly Belly, Charles Smith.
€ Cheryl Lynn Bruce stars as late congresswoman Barbara Jordan in Voice of Good Hope, March 17-April 23, 2000 (opening March 27, 2000). Kristine Thatcher's bio-drama will be directed by Dennis Zacek. Thatcher's acting credits include Jeffrey Sweet's Bluff, which opens the Victory Gardens season Sept. 17.
€ Cahoots, by Claudia Allen (whose Winter at VG recently starred Julie Harris), is a zany comedy about a veteran dramatist collaborating with a novice on what turns out to be a boffo hit -- much to the consternation of the "serious" playwright. Sharon Gless, of "Cagney & Lacey" fame, stars.
Founded in 1974, the not-for-profit Equity theatre has produced more than 200 plays.
For tickets and information on shows at Victory Gardens Theatre, call (773) 871-3000.
-- By David Lefkowitz