The Artistic Home’s production of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, featuring Elizabeth Birnkrant and John Mossman, has been extended an additional two weeks due to audience demand and will now close on Sunday, May 20 rather than the originally announced closing of May 6. Artistic Director Kathy Scambiatterra made the announcement today. The production opened to raves on March 25. NEW CITY said “this strong production of an important play … has the delicate combination of intimacy, directness and imagination that gives live theater its magic...” The CHICAGO READER called the production “intense and devastating, shocking, and human.”
Elizabeth Birnkrant, known for her roles in JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN for Eclipse Theatre, 1984 at Steppenwolf, VICES AND VIRTUES: THE GREAT WAR at Profiles Theatre and other roles with Sideshow, First Floor and Roadworks theatre companies, plays the leading role of L’il Bit in The Artistic Home’s production of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize winning HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE. The Artistic Home co-founder John Mossman plays Uncle Peck, the family member who has a sexual relationship with his niece Li’l Bit during her pre-teen and teenage years. Mossman, who directed The Artistic Home’s BY THE BOG OF CATS last year, as an actor has most recently appeared as Leontes in THE WINTERS TALE and O'Trigger in THE RIVALS at Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre. He has also appeared with The Artistic Home as MACBETH and as Shannon in NIGHT OF THE IGUANA. He played Atticus Finch in Oak Park Festival Theatre's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and performed in the Steppenwolf production of THE MARCH.
Kayla Adams, the company’s Associate Artistic Director, is directing the production. Her cast also includes Jenna Steege (Female Greek Chorus), Kelley Holcomb (Teenage Greek Chorus), and company member Reid Coker (Male Greek Chorus). The production team includes Kathy Scambiatterra (producer), Kevin Rolfs (scenic design), Mark Bracken (lighting/projection design), Zack Berinstein (sound design and original music), Hailey Rakowiecki (costume design), Kathy Logelin (dialect coach), Alex Hutson (technical director), Alexander McRae (assistant director) and Sara Ann Dickey (stage manager).
HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, which premiered in 1997, was a Pulitzer Prize winner and a pioneering drama for its examination of pedophilia and sexual abuse of women. It follows a young woman, named L’il Bit, from age 11 to age 18 and her friendship and sexual affair with her uncle. Director Adams says, “this courageous and surprising script reminds me again and again of the healing power of storytelling.” In reviewing the 2017 production by the Cleveland Playhouse, the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER said, “We can rejoice that "How I Learned to Drive" feels as fresh and fearless as it did two decades ago - and mourn for the same reason.”
HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE premiered in 1997 in a production by New York City’s Vineyard Theatre that starred Mary-Louise Parker (later succeeded by Molly Ringwald) and David Morse. That production ran for nearly a year and was revived off-Broadway in 2012.
Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, co-winner of both the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the 1998 Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE has also been acclaimed by theatre critics across the country. THE NEW YORK TIMES said, "Ms. Vogel has written a lovely, harrowing guide to the crippling persistence of one woman's memories." The VILLAGE VOICE reported "…HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE is a tremendous achievement, genuine and genuinely disturbing… Vogel's delicate tactic makes sense not only as a way to redouble the dramatic effect, but as a representation of reality, a perfect case of the form fitting the subject.” VARIETY wrote, "With subtle humor and teasing erotic encounters, Vogel addresses the dangerous intersections of teenage temptation. She also paints a richly poetic and picturesque landscape…The play is a potent and convincing comment on a taboo subject, and its impact sneaks up on its audience."
The production is playing at The Artistic Home’s theatre at 1376 W. Grand Avenue through Sunday, May 20. Tickets are on sale by phone at 866/811-4111 or online at http://www.theartistichome.org/. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm.
HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE
By Paula Vogel
Directed by Kayla Adams
March 21 – May 20, 2018
Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm
Tickets are $28 for Thursday or Sunday (seniors & students $20), $32 for Friday or Saturday.
The Artistic Home Theatre
1376 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago 60642
tickets: 866/811-4111 or go to http://www.theartistichome.org/
Accessible via the CTA #65 Grand bus and the Blue Line.
ABOUT THE ARTISTIC HOME
The Artistic Home is noted for their innovative and intimate presentations of rarely-produced classics as well developing new works. Audiences may know The Artistic Home best from 2017’s WEDDING BAND, BY THE BOG OF CATS and THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, their Jeff-nominated productions of THE SEAGULL, WATCH ON THE RHINE, MACBETH and THE LATE HENRY MOSS; or their 2013 Jeff Award-winner THE GODDESS. Other Artistic Home productions include the Jeff-Award-winning production of JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, which also received three After Dark Awards, the Jeff-Nominated SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, THE TALLEST MAN, LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, NATURAL AFFECTION, FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS, AFTER THE FALL and PEER GYNT (which also received an After Dark award for Direction).
For more than 19 years, The Artistic Home has consistently produced compelling theatre in Chicago. First formed in 1998 with the belief that the actor is at the heart of great theater, the company strives to give birth to unforgettable moments; to touch audiences who are increasingly distanced from human contact; to readdress the classics and explore new works with passion.
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