Flying Elephant Productions is pleased to conclude its inaugural season with the Chicago premiere of DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON, Aurin Squire’s racially-charged comedy about adolescence, sexual discovery and the conflict between community and culture. Directed by Alexis J. Roston, DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON will play July 27 – August 12, 2018 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at stage773.com, by calling (773) 327-5252 or in person at the Stage 773 box office. The press opening is Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 8 pm.
DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON will feature Samuel Martin, JoJo Pender, Eldridge Shannon III and Chris Taylor.
Set among the swamps and canals of rural Florida, a motley group of African-American teenagers create their own Michael Jackson fan club in 1984. But when a white boy moves to the neighborhood and tries to join the club, all the rules of the community are challenged and changed. DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON is a satire about the do's and don'ts of Blackness, hero worship and American identity.
Comments Director Alexis J. Roston, “The title alone had me at 'hello,' however from the very first page of Spire's script, I found myself caught up in a world that I was already familiar with – ‘metal jacks and Thundercats’… ‘GI Joes and Cabbage Patch.’ Though set circa 1984, this story is universal and will still strike a chord in the present day. It explores interracial conflicts, as well as intra-racial ones through the lens of five adolescents varying in race, gender and mental stability. My hope for this production is to evoke a sense of community, to take each audience member by the hand and say, ‘Here is a glimpse into where I come from. Can we talk now?’ Because this play has the power to do that. It can open closed doors of dialogue and uncover areas of confusion that have been left unchartered. And on top of all that, it’s pretty darn funny!”
The production team for DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON includes Nicholas Schwartz (scenic design), Jessica Gowens (costume design), Becs Bartle (lighting design) and Jordan Affeldt (stage manager).
Title: DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON
Playwright: Aurin Squire
Director: Alexis J. Roston
Cast (in alphabetical order): Samuel Martin (Jack), JoJo Pender (Frenchy), Eldridge Shannon III (Red, Yellow, Commish) and Chris Taylor (Obadiah).
Location: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, July 27 at 8 pm
Press performance: Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 8 pm
Regular run: Saturday, July 28 – Sunday, August 12, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.
Tickets: Preview $30. Regular run $40.
Industry Night: Monday, July 30 at 8 pm – $10 with headshot/resume.
Tickets are currently available at stage773.com, by calling (773) 327-5252 or in person at the Stage 773 box office.
About The Creative Team
Aurin Squire (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright, journalist and multimedia artist. In 2017, he won the Helen Merrill Prize for Emerging Playwrights, as well as Seattle Public Theatre's Emerald Prize for new American plays. Squire's play Defacing Michael Jackson was the winner of the 2014 Act One Writing Contest at Lincoln Center Theatre and the one-act version of the play has been published by Samuel French. His dark comedy To Whom It May Concern won New York LGBT theatre awards for best play, best playwright, and best actor before being optioned and remounted off-Broadway to critical acclaim at the Arclight Theatre. As a documentary writer, Squire received a year-long commission to live in New Mexico, interviewing Jewish Latinos. He worked with an ensemble to create A Light in My Soul, a docudrama produced around New Mexico about Jewish families who fled from the Spanish Inquisition and settled in the American southwest. Squire also wrote Dreams of Freedom, the multimedia installation video about Jewish immigrants in the 20th century for the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Dreams won three national museum awards and is in the permanent exhibit at NMAJH. In 2013, his drama Freefalling was produced at Barrington Stage Company and won the 2013 Fiat Lux Award ("Let There Be Light") from the Catholic Church’s Theatre Conference. Article 119-1, his drama about a gay rights activist in Belarus, was produced in Florence, Italy, Norway, Vancouver and Los Angeles in March 2014. Squire’s comedy African Americana received its world premiere at London’s Theatre 503 in June 2014. His plays have been produced at venues including Abingdon Theatre, ArcLight Theatre, Ars Nova, Barrington Stage Company, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Cherry Lane, Lincoln Center Lab, National Hispanic Cultural Center. TV credits include the new CBS political satire BrainDead, The Good Fight and This is Us. He lives in New York City.
Alexis J. Roston (Director) has been deemed a seasoned triple threat. Her list of accomplishments in musical theatre aren’t simply on stage. She has directed as well as vocal arranged for several productions throughout the Chicagoland area. Alexis is an award winner (Jeff Award, Black Excellence Award and Black Theatre Alliance Award) for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar And Grill (Porchlight Music Theatre). Other Chicago credits include: Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair (Paramount Theatre), Ain’t Misbehavin’, Crowns (Goodman Theatre), Porgy And Bess, Spunk, Piano Lesson (Court Theatre), Shrek (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), What I Learned In Paris, Black Nativity, Seven Guitars (Congo Square Theatre Company), and Company, The Old Settler (Writer’s Theatre). Alexis is a proud ensemble member of Congo Square Theatre Company, as well as a member of Actor’s Equity and SAG-AFTRA. She is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
About Flying Elephant Productions
Nothing is more challenging than getting a creative career off the ground. In many ways, it would be easier to get an elephant to fly. Flying Elephant Productions is dedicated to presenting new works, musicals and plays, that are dynamic, impassioned, and, in our belief, prone to fly. We not only give them first voice, but will also work with the creators to market and promote their work further. Our success at production and our entrepreneurial experience make us a uniquely qualified voice in theatre. For additional information, visit www.flyingelephantproductions.com.
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