Plays by Huff, Wells and Gubbins Will Get "First Look" at Steppenwolf This Summer

News   Plays by Huff, Wells and Gubbins Will Get "First Look" at Steppenwolf This Summer
Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago has announced the lineup for the 2008 First Look Repertory of New Work, the fourth annual program featuring three developmental productions of new plays.

The works are presented in rotation and accompanied by a series of readings, lectures and events around the development of new plays.

First Look Repertory of New Work runs in The Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St., July 23-Aug. 10.

Steppenwolf has long been a champion of both ensemble acting and new works.

The First Look Repertory of New Work 2008 productions are:

  • Pursued by Happiness by Keith Huff, July 23-Aug. 10. "An unexpected meeting between two 40-something biochemists touches off a whirlwind romance. But when it's time to meet the parents, a series of shocking revelations test the new couple's relationship in this dysfunctional dark comedy from the author of A Steady Rain."
  • Perfect Mendacity by Jason Wells, July 24-Aug. 10. "When a top secret, internal memo from a scientific research facility is leaked to the media, Dr. Walter Kreutzer is forced to take a lie detector test about its origins. With his career on the line, Walter gets tangled up in investigations of bioterrorism and racially motivated killings. As suspicions escalate that Walter's wife is involved, the play's riveting plot twists uncover the insidious hypocrisy of government sanctioned discrimination."
  • Fair Use by Sarah Gubbins, July 25-Aug. 10. "A plagiarism case involving a famous author is the backdrop for this romantic comedy set in a high-powered law firm. A series of questionable love letters fuel this breezy cross-examination of negotiating modern dating and relationships." The designers for First Look are Kevin Depinet (sets), Debbie Baer (costumes), Keith Parham (lights) and Joseph Fosco (sound). Jonathan Templeton is the lead stage manager. Stage managers include Kathleen Petroziello and Cassie Wolgamott.

    In the First Look developmental process, plays are seen in performance before an audience, rather than in a staged reading or workshop presentation. "Scripts undergo significant revision during the workshop/rehearsal process and may be revised even after being publicly presented during First Look Repertory of New Work," according to Steppenwolf. "They are presented with full, if minimal, design support because in our view, the design process is an integral aspect of developing the play. The intent is to develop the plays for future production at Steppenwolf and other theatre across the country."

    Those interested in the rehearsal process can sign for "First Look 101," billed as "a three-month experience providing rare access to the new play development process leading up to the 4th annual First Look Repertory of New Work." First Look 101 runs May 19-Aug. 10.

    Tickets for First Look Repertory of New Work and First Look 101 go on sale to the general public May 5.

    Keith Huff, a resident playwright with Chicago Dramatists, is the author of A Steady Rain, currently running at The Royal George Theatre and slated to premiere Off-Broadway this fall.

    Jason Wells' previous play, Men of Tortuga, was produced in First Look 2005, and subsequently at Asolo Rep in Sarasota, FL.

    Sarah Gubbins recently completed her MFA in writing for the screen and stage at Northwestern University. Fair Use was named one of the finalists in this year's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition.

    Six of the nine plays presented during First Look's first three seasons have enjoyed subsequent productions at other theatres, including: Men of Tortuga by Jason Wells produced by Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida; Butcher of Baraboo by Marisa Wegrzyn produced by Second Stage Theatre in New York; 100 Saints You Should Know by Kate Fodor produced by Playwrights Horizons in New York; Spare Change by Mia McCullough produced by Stage Left Theatre in Chicago; Gary by Melinda Lopez produced by Boston Playwrights' Theatre in Massachusetts; and When The Messenger is Hot by Laura Eason produced by 59E59 Theaters in New York.

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