We of The Ruckus took a breather for most of November. Well, we did do this:
Zombies for MONEY MONEY MONEY video shoot, song: "Dollar Signs on my CAT Scan." L to R: Paul DuPont, Aaron Dean, Jes Mercer,
Byron Melton (center, not a zombie), Mark Goldfarb, Cory Wolf, Jenny Westervelt. Photo: Jeffrey Fauver.
The video isn't up yet, but we assisted MONEY MONEY MONEY in the creation of their video for "Dollar Signs on my CAT scan." You can hear the song at their website. Many thanks to everyone who came out to zombie or to be an 80s hipster (yeah, weirdest party ever) and especially to makeup artist Nora Hess, who made the gruesome faces you see here with basically no time or money. We loved working with her. Check out the rest of her stuff on her Facebook Fan Page.
Anyway, we spent November doing the things you do after you've produced 13 plays in a 36 seat theater -- we napped. A lot. And ate a lot. Then December hit and we went back to the business of getting awesome. As a part of that getting awesome, we made a lot of big, terribly exciting decisions we want to tell you about. We're very fortunate to be smack in the middle of a successful first season in Chicago, due in no small part to the remarkable Chicago artists we've met and worked with along the way. Five of them in particular were integral to the creation of our first two productions, and we got great big art and administrative crushes on them, so we thought it was time to make our move and seal the deal. We yawned, pretended to stretch while reaching for the popcorn, and cozied up to Timo Aker, Aaron Dean, Kate Holst, Byron Melton and Brian Ruby, whom we now gleefully welcome into the fold as company members. We're now thirteen in number and couldn't be more excited to work shoulder to shoulder with such a talented, smart, clever, and good-looking bunch.
Seriously, go look at their company pages. They're an attractive group.
We're also bidding a sad and fond farewell to two of our founding members, Ryan Dolley and Mitch Vermeersch, who've decided to depart to pursue other projects. They'll succeed wherever the wind may take them, we're sure, and we'll always be indebted to them both for their creative efforts and for the role each of them played in getting us moved to Chicago. They will surely be missed.
We're also positively glowing about some changes we've made to our season. The first big change is the addition of Kristian O'Hare's remarkable world-premiere play, The Gay American. Kristian is a remarkable talent, and I'm honored to be directing his work again. Here's the official blurb:
Farce meets docudrama in The Gay American, an unblinking and provocative investigation of the sexual politics of sex and politics. We follow the rise and fall of former New Jersey governor James McGreevey through the impact it has on those around him-an Everyman-like Congressional Page, his miserable daughter Morag, silently simmering wife Dina, and ambitious aide Golan-and watch his carefully-crafted rising star go supernova in the crucible that is the American political theater.
Cool, right? We're totally stoked. Look for casting information soon.
The second addition is a workshop.... of a musical. Yep. New company member Aaron Dean is working with gifted Chicago composer Jason Rico (fan page here) on an original musical winningly titled Escape from the Boys Choir. Official blurb for that one:
Escape... sends us on a perilous journey with a group of boys on the verge of adulthood. While the boys are not unlike those you might meet on a Chicago street corner today, the world in which they exist is more akin to that of The Brothers Grimm. To our intrepid young escapees, the Tatzelwürm is nearly as terrifying as their heartless choirmaster, the Witch as mysterious as the first pangs of love and lust, and the sweet smell of freedom as lovely as a beautiful young face. Escape... combines the fantastical with the all-too familiar, and the result is a painfully honest, surprising, affecting and seriously funny portrayal of the pain and beauty of adolescence and the beginnings of sexual awakening. If that weren't enough, there's a sadistic groundskeeper, a hallucinogenic mountain-dwelling invertebrate, shape-shifters, kidnappers, and more testicular humor than you can shake a stick at.
They had me at "hallucinogenic mountain-dwelling invertebrate."
The original work of these three remarkable artists will be seen at our home for the season, Rogers Park's The Side Project Theatre, and replace the previously annouced Linear A by Ryan Dolley and the postponed 11-Detroit, to be developed by the company at a later date.
You'll be hearing more from our new company members and these talented writers in the coming weeks -- right here, in our super awesome blog.
To break it down for you: we of The Ruckus feel like the luckiest kids on the block. Five new remarkable faces have been added to our little family, two really killer pieces of new work added to what we think is an already stellar season, and we've many many more months of awesome ahead of us. We're grateful for your support, your interest, your comments, and for all the beers you've drunk with us at Poitin Stil. The Gay American is up next. Hope to see you, at the show and after, in May.
Allison Shoemaker and the rest of The Ruckus
(Ghafir, Timo, Joshua, Aaron, Katie, Jeffrey, Joel, Kate, Byron, Seth, Melissa & Brian)
PS - More MONEY MONEY MONEY hijinks below.
Associate Artistic Director Joshua Davis, being super professional.
The dance routine. Yep. Dance routine.
Best. Party. Ever.
(Company member Timo Aker with the lovely Jes Mercer, who was really very hungry.)
Money on my mind. Dollar signs on my CAT scan. Thanks, MONEY MONEY MONEY, for letting us play.