Chicago's Profiles Theatre Will Stage Works by Baker, LaBute and Letts in 21st Season

News   Chicago's Profiles Theatre Will Stage Works by Baker, LaBute and Letts in 21st Season
The 2009-10 season of Profiles Theatre, the Chicago troupe that has a hit on its hands with its extended run of Ellen Fairey's Graceland, will feature the Midwest premieres of The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute and Body Awareness by Annie Baker, plus a new production of Tracy Letts' Killer Joe.
Neil LaBute
Neil LaBute Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Profiles artistic directors Joe Jahraus and Darrell W. Cox announced the coming season on July 15. The company is devoted to contemporary playwrights.

Killer Joe will be directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder.

In addition to the current extended run of the world premiere of Graceland, to Sept. 13, the 2009-10 Profiles season includes:

The Mercy Seat
By Neil LaBute
Directed by ensemble member Joe Jahraus
Featuring ensemble member Darrell W. Cox
Sept. 25-Nov. 15
"In a time of national tragedy, the world changes overnight. On Sept. 12, 2001, Ben Harcourt finds himself in the downtown apartment of his lover, Abby Prescott. Over the course of the night, Ben and Abby explore the choices now available to them in an existence different from the one they knew just the day before. LaBute presents the brutal realities of their relationship and explores whether one can be truly opportunistic in a time of universal selflessness."

This is Profiles Theatre's seventh Midwest premiere of LaBute's work following its acclaimed productions of In a Dark Dark House, This is How it Goes and Fat Pig, among others. Killer Joe
By Tracy Letts
Directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder
Featuring Profiles ensemble members Somer Benson and Darrell W. Cox as Killer Joe
Jan 8-Feb. 28, 2010
"Killer Joe focuses on the Smith family, a greedy, vindictive clan of Texans who hatch a plan to murder their estranged matriarch to cash in on her insurance policy. Unable to bring themselves to do the deed, they hire Killer Joe Cooper, a full-time cop and part-time contract killer. Once he steps into their trailer, their simple plan quickly spirals out of control."

Written in 1991, the play premiered at the Next Lab Theater in Chicago two years later and was then presented at the 29th Street Rep in New York City. Tracy Letts was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play for August: Osage County.

Body Awareness
By Annie Baker
Directed by ensemble member Darrell W. Cox
Featuring ensemble members Eric Burgher and Joe Jahraus with Barb Stasiw
April 23-June 13, 2010
"It's 'Body Awareness' week on a Vermont college campus and Phyllis, the organizer, and her partner, Joyce, are hosting one of the guest artists in their home, Frank, a photographer famous for his female nude portraits. Both his presence in the home and his chosen subject instigate tension from the start. Phyllis is furious at his depictions, but Joyce is actually rather intrigued by the whole thing, even going so far as to contemplate posing for him. As Joyce and Phyllis bicker, Joyce's adult son, struggles to express himself physically with heartbreaking results."

Body Awareness received its world premiere at the Atlantic Theater Company in May 2008. It received a Drama Desk nomination and Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Play. Baker is currently a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater's Youngblood Playwrights Group, and she was one of only seven playwrights selected to participate in the 2008 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.

Profiles has renovated its theatre space for the 21st season "by installing two spacious restrooms, improved theatre seats and other technical upgrades made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation."

All productions are held at Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago.

For more information visit or call (773) 549-1815. *

Profiles Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company founded in 1988 by five Eastern Illinois University alumni and has since been continually producing plays. The company produces world, U.S. and Midwest premieres by new playwrights, as well as established writers whose work has been seen across the country and around the world.

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