Chicago Theatre Workshop (CTW), in association with Susan Jack and Helen R. Jack, present “Creatives,” a darkly comic pop-opera beginning February 19 at the Edge Theatre (5451 N. Broadway) under the direction of CTW’s Artistic Director Tom Mullen. By popular demand, the production is now extended an additional week through March 5. “Creatives” features an original book by “Trainspotting” author Irvine Welsh (pictured above) and “American Skin” author Don De Grazia and includes original music from “Tomorrow Morning” composer and lyricist Laurence Mark Wythe, along with songs from some of the most popular rock bands in recent decades, including Simple Minds, New Order, Iggy Pop, Oasis, Happy Mondays and more. Set in Chicago, “Creatives” showcases the cultural cross-section of young artists vying for success and affirmation while staying true to themselves among society’s challenges. Tickets for “Creatives” ($35-25) are on sale now and can be purchased online at ChicagoTheatreWorkshop.org.
“Creatives” combines the work of two great authors—Irvine and Don—together with the original music of Laurence and works by notable music greats, showcasing Chicago’s raw, emotional and talented music landscape,” said Director Tom Mullen. “We’re living in a divided America, at a time when the arts are more vital than ever. This Chicago story of artists desperate to creative unique, original work in a troubling time rings true more now than ever and Chicago Theatre Workshop is proud to debut this unique and captivating pop-opera.”
In its world-premiere, “Creatives” takes place in Paul Brenner’s Wednesday night songwriting class, a perfect cross-section of the Chicago music scene with all its incestuous dysfunction, navel-gazing narcissism, bitter rivalries and shards of transcendent brilliance. When Paul’s former student, pop star and singer/songwriter Sean O’Neil, visits this group of wannabe musicians to judge a contest, the stakes are suddenly raised to startling new levels. Staged in an intimate setting, the cast features Jake Bradley, Elisa Carlson, Brandon Dahlquist, Vasily Deris, Felipe Jorge, Matt Kahler, Nicole Lambert, Braford Lund, Brian Nelson Jr., Maggie Ward and Rainey Wright. The production stage manager for “Creatives” is Christopher Tisone.
The performance schedule for “Creatives” is as follows: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Seating is limited.
About the Artists of “Creatives”
Irvine Welsh (Co-Author) has published eleven novels and four collections of short stories. His first novel, “Trainspotting,” has been adapted both as a play and as a feature film. The sequel to the film, “Trainspotting 2,” is based on Welsh’s novel “Porno” and will be released worldwide in February. His other literary works include “The Acid House,” “Marabou Stork Nightmares,” “Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance,” “Filth,” “Glue,” “Porno,” “The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs,” “If You Liked School You'll Love Work,” “Contamination,” “The Weekenders,” “Travels in the Heart of Africa,” “Crime,” “Skagboys,” “The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins,” “A Decent Ride” and “The Blade Artist.” Welsh has also written several stage plays, including “Headstate,” “You'll Have Had Your Hole” and the musical “Blackpool.”
Don De Grazia (Co-Author) is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, “American Skin.” His work has appeared in Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Newcity, TriQuarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, The Italian American Reader, Rumpus, The Great Lakes Review, Make Magazine and other publications. He is also a screenwriter in the Writers Guild of America (east) and co-founder/co-host of Come Home Chicago, a live event series dedicated to celebrating the Chicago storytelling tradition in all its forms.
Laurence Mark Wythe (Composer-Lyricist) is the UK-born award-winning composer and lyricist of the 2011 off-Broadway musical “Tomorrow Morning.” He wrote music and lyrics for “Through the Door” which ran in Seoul Korea in 2015 and was seen in the West End at Trafalgar Studios in 2009. His musical “Stealing Mona Lisa” had a West End workshop in 2013, and his new show “Danny Hero” premiered at the Core Theatre Corby in October 2016.
Tom Mullen (Director) is the Artistic Director of Chicago Theatre Workshop. He has been nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for his direction of the 2011 production of the musical “Tomorrow Morning,” which workshopped in Chicago in 2009. In 2011, he adapted and directed Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting” as “Trainspotting USA,” transporting the setting from Edinburgh, Scotland to Kansas City, U.S.A. He has also been nominated for several Jeff Awards. Additional Chicago credits include “Urinetown” at the Mercury Theatre, “Fucking Men” by Joe DiPietro and the American premiere of the musical “Departure Lounge” by Dougal Irvine.
Susan Jack (Co-Producer) has been a political and entertainment investigative reporter for the Scottish Herald, Scotland on Sunday, The National Journal, Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly amongst others, for over 20 years. She has now turned her hand to film, television and play production. This is her first production.
Helen R. Jack (Co-Producer), a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, graduated from St. Andrews University with an Honors degree in Physiology. She worked for the Medical Research Council as a Neuro Physiologist, researching treatment for Parkinson's Disease. Jack taught dental students at the Department of Physiology at Edinburgh University and was also a high school teacher in the Liverpool area. Jack and her family moved to the United States in 1980, where she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader and school aid. She was a devoted wife, homemaker, church teacher and deacon. An enthusiastic gardener and unabashed Cardinals fan, she has visited every continent but Australia.
About Chicago Theatre Workshop
Chicago Theatre Workshop, a new theatre company in Chicago’s Edgewater Neighborhood, seeks to produce work that challenges our perception of art and music. With a hybrid development and production model, CTW will act as an incubator for emerging talent and their work and help provide the resources needed for commercial success. CTW will produce plays with music, musicals and performance pieces where music is used to tell the story. Artists’ work will also reach global audiences through a digital platform where select productions will be made available for streaming. For more information, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.