St. James Infirmary

March 16, 2009 9:41:38 AM PDT
Congo Square Theatre Company presents the St. James Infirmary. Welcome to the St. James Infirmary, a nightclub world inhabited by gamblers, prizefighters and femme fatales. The music is hot, the drinks are cold, and the stakes are high. And when a mysterious stranger comes to call, all bets are off. It's a mythic world created by playwright Brian Tucker in The St. James Infirmary. Chicago's Congo Square Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of the dark drama at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. The new play stars Tony-nominated actor Anthony Chisholm, features OBIE award-winning actor Edwin Lee and is directed by Harry Lennix, the accomplished film, television, and stage actor who appears in the new prime time TV series Dollhouse. TaRon Patton, Liza Cruzat and Keir Thirus round out the cast.

The St. James Infirmary was written by Brian Tucker, a graduate of Thornwood High School in South Holland. Tucker is the youngest ever graduate of The Juilliard School's Playwrights Program, in New York, where he was a Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellow. He received the Herrick Theater Foundation Award for Playwrights, the Many Voices Project Grand Prize, and two LeCompte du Nouy Prizes, administered through Lincoln Center. A finalist for several national awards, including the Princess Grace Award and the Kendeda Graduate Playwrights Award, Tucker has also received commissions from the Chicago Humanities Festival, Theatreworks USA, Congo Square Theatre Company, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the New York Council for the Humanities.

Tucker's other plays include Sins of the Father (winner of a Kendeda Graduate Playwriting prize), The Great Defeat of Coltrane Grey (2004 New York International Fringe Festival), and Bathing Van Gogh (winner of Ignition Festival competition at Victory Gardens Theater). Tucker's first feature film, Broken City, is scheduled for release by Mandate Pictures in late 2009. He currently resides in New York City.

Congo Square Theatre Company's production of The St. James Infirmary is directed by renowned actor/director and Chicago native Harry Lennix. The artistic staff for the production includes Brian Sidney Bembridge (Set Design), Christine Pascual (Costume Design), Christine Ferriter (Lighting Design), Rick Sims (Sound Design), and Tara Kromer (Production Stage Manager).

Director Lennix was recently featured in HBO's Little Britain, as well as the critically acclaimed series 24 as Walid Al-Rezani, and in the Sony Pictures' 2007 Box Office smash Stomp the Yard. In 2007 he also appeared in Across the Universe and Resurrecting the Champ. Lennix made his Broadway debut in August Wilson's Tony-nominated play, Radio Golf, directed by Kenny Leon. He will next be seen in Working Title's State of Play alongside Russell Crowe, Edward Norton, and Helen Mirren.

Lennix has directed and appeared in stage productions across the country, including the Northlight Theater Company's production of Permanent Collection, which was also presented at the Greenway Arts Alliance in Los Angeles and under his directing consultation was remounted at Los Angeles' Kirk Douglas Theater. He directed the stage version of Robert Townsend's film The Five Heartbeats, which received three NAACP Theater Award nominations and The Glass Menagerie for Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater Company.

As a stage actor, Lennix was the first distinguished recipient of an Ollie Award for his portrayal of Malcolm X at the Goodman Theater in Chicago and two Joseph Jefferson Citations for his roles in August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Caught in the Act and starred as King Hedley II, another play by Wilson, at the Mark Taper Forum. In 2001, he was part of the first American company to be invited to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the production of Cymbeline.

Lennix has also been extremely active in his local Chicago community where he was an English and music teacher before becoming an actor. He founded Legacy Productions with renowned director Chuck Smith in 1989. The company is dedicated to promoting significant works about the African American experience. He is on the staff of the Goodman Theater. He also is active in various civic groups and serves on the Advisory Council for his alma mater, Northwestern University.

Congo Square Theatre Company presents The St. James Infirmary at the Chicago Center for Performing Arts, 777 N. Green Street, Chicago, from March 20 through April 12. For tickets, call Chicago Center for Performing Arts Box Office, 312.733.6000, or visit www.theaterland.com. For groups of 10 or more, contact Congo Square Theatre group sales at 773.296.1108.

Congo Square will host a fundraiser on Monday, March 16, 2009 that includes a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the performance at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the reception and performance are $100 and $250 and can be purchased by contacting Congo Square Theatre Company at 773.296.1108.

For more information on Congo Square Theatre Company, call 773.296.1108 or visit www.congosquaretheatre.org.


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