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American Theater Company is an ensemble of artists committed to producing new and classic American stories that ask the question: "What does it mean to be an American?" We provide a truly intimate home for the community to experience meaningful stories. We foster a nurturing environment for artists to take risks and create essential work.
founded to affect the average Chicagoan American Theater Company (ATC) was founded in July 1985 as American blacks Theatre, a company dedicated to exploring, nurturing, and developing theater that addressed and affected the real working-class people of Chicago. From 1986 to 1993, American blacks Theatre produced such critically acclaimed productions as The Hairy Ape; Rick Cleveland's Bad Moon; and Monsters and Monsters II, collections of commissioned monologues by Chicago playwrights including Douglas Post, Dwight Okita, David Mamet, and Paula Killen. The Hairy Ape was hailed by Richard Christiansen of the Chicago Tribune as one of the three best shows of the year.
a permanent home in a vital neighborhood In August 1993, the company leased a warehouse in the primarily working-class neighborhood of Northcenter, and in an amazing 38 days, transformed it into an intimate 134-seat theater. From the beginning, the theater was a community center, playing host to Chamber of Commerce meetings and neighborhood events. From 1994 to 1997, the theater presented such critically acclaimed productions as On the Waterfront, the World Premiere of The Flight of the Phoenix (two Joseph Jefferson Citations), and Stalag 17 (five Jeff Citations).
professionalism and growth In March 1997, Brian Russell became the company's first full-time, paid artistic director, and the theater changed its name to American Theater Company. Mr. Russell ushered in a new era of growth and professionalism, producing four-play subscription seasons, growing the budget from approximately $70,000 to $385,000, increasing the audience ten-fold, and growing the full-time staff. Among the highlights were The Threepenny Opera, American Buffalo (with Mike Nessbaum), and Endgame.
stability and American focus In 2002, Mr. Russell stepped down and the Board of Directors hired Damon Kiely as the company’s second artistic director. His vision returned the company to its roots of producing only American stories, and revised the mission statement to ask our audience the question: "What does it mean to be an American?" Highlights include a hit revival of The Hairy Ape, Lisa Loomer’s Living Out (co-produced by Teatro Vista), and broke box office records with his re-imagining of Oklahoma! which also played at Theater on the Lake. Damon resigned at the end of the 2007 season to take a full time faculty position at DePaul University.
new leaders usher change and expansion In November 2007, the Board of Directors hired PJ Paparelli as the company’s third artistic director and in August 2008, hired its first Executive Director, Michael Thomas Newberry. Newberry and Paparelli helmed the company’s most significant era of growth and transformation, expanding to a six-play season, doubling the staff, and growing the budget to just over $1M. Nationally recognized projects included the regional premiere of Speech & Debate (TimeOut Chicago’s top three production of 2008), Chicago premiere of The People’s Temple by members of the Tectonic Theatre Project, and an unprecedented repertory of African American and Caucasian productions of True West and Topdog/Underdog (first Caucasian cast) in collaboration with Congo Square Theatre Company. ATC was awarded the 2008 Princess Grace Award with a residency for director Jaime Castañeda and significantly increased its corporate and foundation support. The Chicago Tribune wrote, 'An exciting new era. Demonstrably, ATC is now on a whole new track' comparable to what you’d see at America’s leading progressive theaters.
community involvement In January 2008, ATC launched two comprehensive outreach initiatives, American Mosaic and The Chicago Chronicle. American Mosaic is a ninth grade residency in six Chicago Public Schools, focused on the literary and performance aspects of a play in our season. Over 600 students from Logan Square, the South Side, and North Center studied and performed scenes from True West and Topdog/Underdog on the set of the professional productions and attended a student matinee. The Chicago Chronicle combined eight professional playwrights with teenagers from Chase Elementary to create a documentary style play from interviews with community members in Logan Square.
The future In March of 2009, members of the Ensemble left the organization to reform American blacks Theatre. ATC recommitted to its mission of exploring a diverse and complex American identity the reflects our country today. In its first collaboration with About Face Theatre, Hedwig and the Angry Inch broke all previous box office records with two extensions, cultivating a rich audience of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and sexual orientations. Season 25 celebrates the American Family with the Chicago Premiere of Yeast Nation (the triumph of life) the new musical from the Tony Award winning writers of Urinetown; the World Premiere of Welcome to Arroyo’s, and the Chicago Premiere of Lisa Loomer’s Distracted. In a historic commission from the Chicago Community Trust, ATC, Congo Square and the National Public Housing Musuem began development on a documentary style play that explores the history of public housing in Chicago.
Community Players Theatre, 201 Robinhood, Bloomington, IL
Community Players is a charitable, nonprofit theatrical organization dedicated to the idea that live theater enhances the quality of life for our audiences, our participants, and the community. Our mission is to produce classic and contemporary dramas, comedies, and musicals; to provide a place where the citizens of the Bloomington- Normal area, of all ages and incomes, can experience high quality live theater; to offer a home where a diverse group of theatrical artists can learn and develop their craft. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website
The Drama Group, still one of the only volunteer theatre groups, is well-known and well-respected throughout the Chicagoland area. Our productions have been compared to the quality of those downtown and on Broadway. As The Drama Group works its way toward its first 100 years, we continue to provide quality theatre at affordable prices and continue to put the community in community theatre - always welcoming and giving the community the opportunity to participate — whether it be onstage or off — and to become a member of this vital organization. The Drama Group exists through the benevolance of the community...through ticket subscriptions, fundraisers, patron donations, grants, advertising and road shows. With an active membership and interesting, varied seasons of quality productions, The Drama Group is proud of its heritage and committed to a long future in the southwest suburbs.