At Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre, 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. Previews began Nov. 12 for a run through Dec. 19.
This is the eighth Sherman play Zacek has staged at Victory Gardens, the other seven being The God of Isaac, Mr. 80, Beau Jest, Jest a Second!, The Escape Artist, This Old Man Came Rolling Home and Romance in D. Both Jests made it to Off-Broadway, the first becoming a long-running hit.
Door to Door follows the lives of three generations of women in Chicago and stars Roslyn Alexander, Cheryl Ross Mitchell, and Kim Wade. Alexander is a three-time Sherman veteran, having appeared in Isaac, Beau Jest and Jest a Second! (the latter two in both Chicago and Manhattan).
Designing the show are Karin Kopischke (costumes), Timothy Morrison (set) and Geoffrey Bushor (lighting).
Asked about the genesis of Door to Door, Sherman told Playbill On Line, "Essentially it's about my mother. told through three women representing three different generations, 1936-present. I thought of calling it `Three Short Women' but didn't want any nasty calls from Edward Albee. With my play, they happen to be three Jewish women, and three Jewish women in Chicago." "I've been threatening to do something about my mother for years," continued Sherman. "It's a testament, but also a comedy. Though if you ask my mother, she did not lead a funny life."
Currently at Victory Gardens is the latest from Jeffrey Sweet, the comedy-drama, Bluff. 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 stars Jon Cryer ("Pretty In Pink") and Sarah Trigger (TV's "Turks"). The play, which tells of a young romance coping with family baggage, opened Sept. 27 and runs Sept. 17-Oct. 24.
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:
€ 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 and Robert Simonson