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CHICAGO DRAMATISTS PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF JADE HEART BY WILL COOPER
A dramatic journey of self exploration and identity on stage
CHICAGO—Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Avenue, is proud present the world premiere of Jade Heart, the spellbinding new play by Senior Network Playwright Will Cooper.. The production, previewing April 22, opening April 30 and running through May 30, will be directed by Chicago Dramatists’ Artistic Director Russ Tutterow.
Abandoned as an infant on a pile of vegetables, a Chinese girl is adopted by an unmarried American woman and grows up in a white, middle-class American home with only half a jade heart as a clue to her identity. In this dramatic piece, Jade McCullough questions whether she is Chinese, American, or Chinese-American? Through dreams and memories, Jade seeks to find out why she was denied the life she was born to, and how she can become fully herself. Jade Heart poses the ageless question: “Who am I?”
The play explores not only the personal journey of its title character, but the affects of China’s one-child policy, established in 1979 to limit population growth. Fines, pressure to abort, and even forced sterilizations accompany second or subsequent pregnancies. This rule has caused a disdain for female infants and the preference for sons over daughters, as sons carry on the family name, work the farms, and take care of elderly parents, while girls marry and move away.
Previous work by Will Cooper includes the play Book of Leaves, a finalist at the Ashland New Plays Festival, produced in 2006 at Village Players Theatre. An Honors English Literature major at Kenyon College, he attended graduate school in English Literature at the University of Chicago, and has studied playwriting at Chicago Dramatists and Victory Gardens Theater. Several of Cooper’s plays have been developed and workshopped atChicago Dramatists, including Book of Leaves, Jade Heart, and Shadows of Athens.
Director Russ Tutterow has been the Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists since 1986. At Chicago Dramatists, he has directed countless new play readings, and nurtured the art and careers of hundreds of playwrights, including Rebecca Gilman, Tina Fey, Sarah Ruhl, Rick Cleveland, David Barr, and Mia McCullough, to name just a few. Most recently, he directed Chicago Dramatists’ productions of A Steady Rain by Keith Huff,Water by Alice Austen (Jeff Award nomination for New Work), Voyeurs de Venus by Lydia R. Diamond (Jeff Award for New Work), Heat by Marsha Estell (Jeff Award nomination for New Work), and Drawing War by Brett Neveu. He also directed Prop Thtr’s acclaimed production of Rosemary by Jim O’Connor (2002 Jeff Citation for New Work).
The cast of Jade Heart features Christine Bunuan (Jade), Eliza Shin (Mu Chang), Ginger Lee McDermott (Brenda), Gordon Chow (Duan) and Melissa Canciller (Mei).
The design team includes Tom Burch (set design), Jeff Pines (lighting design), Michael Griggs (sound design), Samantha Jones (costume design), and Jenniffer Thusing (props design and stage management.)
The performance schedule for Jade Heart is Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm. Regular tickets are $25 for Thursday and Sunday performances and $30 for performances on Friday and Saturday. Student and Industry tickets are available for $10 on Thursday and Sunday performances. Group discounts are also available. For tickets, call Chicago Dramatists at 312.633.0630 or visitwww.chicagodramatists.org for more information.
About Chicago Dramatists
In the fall of 1979, four playwrights came together to hear their work read aloud and to hone their craft. Today,Chicago Dramatists’ amazing record of achievement has landed them an invaluable place in the artistic community as a vital source of inspiration to 40 resident playwrights, 160 associate playwrights, 60 associate artists, and thousands of audience members. Over the past three decades, Chicago Dramatists has worked with over a thousand playwrights, produced and developed thousands of plays and stayed true to its mission to nurture compelling, challenging and diverse plays that move on to productions, earn awards, and define the American theatre. Chicago Dramatists has worked with hundreds of award winning playwrights and screenwriters, including Tina Fey (30 Rock), Rick Cleveland (Mad Men) Rebecca Gilman (Spinning into Butter), and Keith Huff (A Steady Rain). Each season Chicago Dramatists presents three world premiere productions and the signature Saturday Series, weekly staged readings of plays in progress. The theatre also conducts educational outreach to at-risk students at Chicago Public Schools, awakening the possibility of self-expression by writing for the theatre. Through passionate dedication, personal nurture and careful exposure, Chicago Dramatists carries on its thirty-one-year-old mission of developing new plays and playwrights for the next generation of theatre.
Chicago Dramatists is located just minutes from the Loop at 1105 W. Chicago Avenue, at the 24-hour Chicago Avenue stop of the Blue Line subway, and is just off the Ogden and Augusta exits of the Kennedy Expressway. There is street parking available and free reserved parking with ticket purchase. For more information visitwww.chicagodramatists.org.