CHICAGO — The Theatre
School at DePaul University will present two world premiere productions in May
directed by school alumni. “Michael Jordan in Lilliput” by Mickle Maher is
directed by alumna Erica Weiss and will be performed in the Sondra and Dennis
Healy Theatre. “Mrs.
Phu's Cleansing Juices (and Also Salads)” by Emily L. Witt
is directed by alumna Krissy Vanderwarker and will be performed on the
Lilliput” runs through May 14. “Mrs. Phu's Cleansing Juices (and Also Salads)”
opens May 19 and runs through May 27, with previews May 17 and
18. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays.
About “Michael Jordan in
Lilliput”: What happens when the tiny inhabitants of a
secluded island seek to join the developed world and form a basketball team?
When one of their players, a down-at-heel American journeyman named Michael
Jordan (not “the” Michael Jordan), won't shoot or pass the ball, he ensures a
losing season for his vertically challenged team. Playing out entirely in the Q
and A format of post-game conferences, “Michael
Jordan in Lilliput” combines the fantastical with the mundane and the
expansive with the irrelevant.
About “Mrs. Phu's Cleansing
Juices (and also Salads)”: Entering Mrs. Phu's means crossing a
gauntlet of steadfast Reaganites and pro-lifers. Just on the other side of the
trenches lies a world where a waiter wrangles eccentric customers, a hippie
lady floats aimlessly, and three very different women gather to receive
abortions under the constraints of stringent federal mandates.
Recommended for mature audiences.
Both performances will be held at The Theatre School, 2350 N. Racine
Ave. Tickets are $15, preview tickets are $10, and student tickets are $5.
Subscriptions and group rates for six or more people are available. All
tickets are reserved seating. Tickets are available by calling the box office
at 773-325-7900 or visiting http://theatre.depaul.edu.
For patrons who are blind or have low-vision, the 7:30 p.m.
performances May 12 and May 27 will include audio description services, as well
as a pre-performance touch tour. Call 773-325-7900. The performances May 12 and
May 27 will also be interpreted in American Sign Language. TTY: 773-325- 7975.
May 10 and May 24 are USO of Illinois Nights and U.S. Armed Forces
personnel and their families can attend the performances for free. Visit www.tixfortroops.org to reserve tickets,
or call 773-325-7900 for more information. Additional special events and
post-show discussions May 7, 11, 21 and 25.
The cast for “Michael Jordan in Lilliput” features Jerome Beck (Michael Jordan), Mélisa Breiner-Sanders (Mrs. Horton), Clint Campbell (Magic), Elsa Guenther (female
reporter), Elise Randall (Lilli), Michael Stock (Pippin), Adam Welsh (male reporter), Elizabeth Weiner (Bird) and Greg Wenz (Phil Jackson).
The production team for “Michael Jordan in Lilliput” includes
Erica Weiss (director), Sophia Blood (scenic designer),
Elizabeth Martinez (costume designer),
Alexandra Jonasse (lighting
designer), Haley Feiler (sound
designer), Alyssa Kerr (sound
designer), Patricia Mahoney (dramaturg),
Mariah Schultz (dramaturg)
and Erin Collins (stage
Weiss is a Jeff-nominated theatre director and filmmaker based in
Chicago. She was the recipient of The Goodman Theatre's Michael Maggio
Directing Fellowship, is an ensemble member of The Gift Theatre Company and was
the associate artistic director of Route 66 Theatre Company for four years. She
recently directed The Gift's critically acclaimed production of “The Grapes of Wrath.” Her
primary passions lie in the development of new work and bringing female voices
to the stage and screen. Her directing work includes the world premieres of
Jerre Dye's “Cicada” (Route
66 Theatre), “Distance” (Strawdog
Theatre) and Caroline V McGraw's “The
Bachelors” (Cole Theatre).
Weiss is a longtime and frequent collaborator with writer Caitlin
Parrish, directing their world premiere productions of “The Downpour” (a Joseph
Jefferson Nominee for Best Production, Best Director, Best New Work, and Best
Lead Actress), “A Twist of Water” with
Route 66 Theatre Company and Off-Broadway at 59E59, and “The Burials” at
Steppenwolf Theatre. She and Parrish co-directed their first feature film “The View From Tall,” which has screened
at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival.
Their original pilot “Red Line” is
in development with Warner Brothers Studios and Berlanti Productions. Weiss is
an alumna of The Theatre School at DePaul.
The cast for “Mrs. Phu's Cleansing Juices (and Also Salads)” features Jack Disselhorst (Mr.
Milshake/Ron), Danny Gadaj (Donald), Rebecca Keeshin (Sarah), Nikhaar Kishnani (Niko), JJ McGlone (waiter), Carolyn Moore (Ann/Sympathy), Vinh Nguyen (James), Shea Peterson (Ian/Max)
and Dekyi Ronge (Polly).
The production team for “Mrs. Phu's Cleansing Juices (and Also Salads)”
Vanderwarker (director), Mara
Zinky (scenic designer), Megan
Pirtle (costume designer), Mattias Lange-McPherson (lighting designer), Tyler Blakeman (sound designer)
and Alexa Santiago (stage
Vanderwarker is a freelance director and co-artistic director of Dog
& Pony Theatre Co. Dog & Pony directing credits include: “Breach,” “Counterfeiters,” “The Dinner Party Project,” “God's Ear,” “As Told by the Vivian Girls,” “Mr. Marmalade,” “Ape,” “Osama the Hero,” “Crumble
(Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)” and “As Much As You Can.” Other professional directing credits
include: “Thaddeus and Slocum: A
Vaudeville Adventure” (Lookingglass), “Harry & The Thief” (Pavement Group), “The Grown-Up” (Shattered
Globe), “Bethany” (First
Look Festival/Steppenwolf), “As
Fat As You Can” (Next Theatre), “CLEAR” (About Face), “What Once We Felt” (About Face) and “As Much As You Can” (Hendel
Productions West). Vanderwarker graduated with her MFA in Directing from
The Theatre School at DePaul where she is a faculty member.