Blackbird, with Hawkinson and "CSI" Star Petersen, Makes Chicago Premiere July 3 | Playbill

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News Blackbird, with Hawkinson and "CSI" Star Petersen, Makes Chicago Premiere July 3 Chicago favorite Mattie Hawkinson is the troubled young woman who confronts a man from her past, played by "CSI" star and Windy City theatre veteran William Petersen, in Victory Gardens Theater's Chicago premiere of David Harrower's Blackbird, beginning July 3.
William L. Petersen and Mattie Hawkinson
William L. Petersen and Mattie Hawkinson

The provocative two-character tale of a past forbidden relationship will play to Aug. 9 at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Chicago. It's already a hot ticket Some performances are sold out, a spokesman told Opening night is July 13.

Petersen earned his Equity card at VGT long before he found international fame as star of TV's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

For tickets or more information, go to or call (773) 871-3000, or visit Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.


Victory Gardens artistic director Dennis Zacek directs. According to VGT, "Blackbird brings to mind Petersen's earliest work on Chicago's stages playing morally damaged characters in n the Belly of the Beast, The Night of the Iguana and Flyovers. British vernacular for 'jailbird,' Blackbird is a real-time account of the awkward reunion of Ray and Una, 15 years after a passionate affair when he was 40 and she was a minor. Ray is confronted with his past when Una arrives unannounced at his workplace. Guilt, rage and raw emotions run high as they recollect their forbidden relationship. In the end, Blackbird has a devastating effect that will leave audiences stunned."

Commissioned in 2005 by the Edinburgh International Festival, Blackbird was the surprise winner of the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award (besting Frost/Nixon and Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll). Blackbird premiered in the U.S. in April 2007 at Manhattan Theater Club, directed by Broadway veteran Joe Mantello, starring Alison Pill and Jeff Daniels.

Petersen (Ray) last performed at Victory Gardens in the 1998 premiere of Jeffrey Sweet's Flyovers. He earned his Equity card in 1978 when Victory Gardens artistic director Dennis Zacek cast him as a relative unknown in the title role of William Norris' Dillinger. One year later, Petersen founded Remains Theater Ensemble in Chicago with a group of fellow actors, including Gary Cole and Amy Morton. He went on be one of the top talents of Chicago's Off-Loop theatre scene, and became a national star in the motion picture "To Live and Die in L.A." His Steppenwolf appearances include Balm in Gilead, Fool for Love, and earlier this season, Dublin Carol. In 1996 Petersen made his Broadway debut in a revival of Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana. He serves as executive producer on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and was nominated in 2004 for a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Gil Grissom, the lead investigator.

Mattie Hawkinson (Una) has a long list of Chicago credits including The Snow Queen, Half and Half and Hanging Fire at Victory Gardens; I Never Sang for My Father (Steppenwolf Theatre), A Winter's Tale, A Little Night Music, A Flea In Her Ear (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Hillbilly Antigone (Lookingglass Theatre), Vincent In Brixton (Apple Tree Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (First Folio Theatre), The Maids (Exigent Theatre) and A Boston Marriage (Roadworks Productions, After Dark Award). Regional credits include Magnolia, The Legend of Minnie Willet (O'Neill), A Little Night Music (Centerstage), Third (Denver Center Theatre Company) and Inherit the Wind (Indiana Repertory). TV and film credits include "As the World Turns" and "Everybody's Fine" with Robert De Niro, coming out in the fall.

Victory Gardens' design team for Blackbird includes Dean Taucher (sets), Christine Pascual (costumes), Andre Pluess (sound), Jesse Klug (lights) and D.J. Reed (props). Production stage manager is Tina M. Jach.


The Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater is known for producing works of its 14-member Playwrights Ensemble, as well as contemporary plays (such as Blackbird, from Scottish writer Harrower) from outside the group.

<i>Blackbird</i> stars Mattie Hawkinson and William L. Petersen
Blackbird stars Mattie Hawkinson and William L. Petersen

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