Gift Theatre Enumerates Offerings in Engaging Season Starter "Ten"

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 01/02/2014, 07:05pm

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For a number of years now, Gift Theatre, that topnotch storefront operation at 4802 N. Milwaukee in the Jefferson Park neighborhood, has kicked off its new season with “Ten,” an engaging collection of ten new 10-minute plays and sketches. And the program comes with an additional bonus — free admission on a first come, first serve basis, although subscribers (rightfully) have the first opportunity to reserve tickets.

This year’s edition, running Jan. 9-19 (and curated by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and associate artistic director Paul D’Addario), will include the following:

± “Good for Otto,” by David Rabe, a short piece that had a benefit staged reading at a 1999 fundraiser with Meryl Streep, Jill Clayburgh, Sam Waterston, Edward Hermann and Henry Gummer. Its Chicago premiere will be directed by Gift ensemble member Jay Worthington.

± “Despacito,” a world premiere by screenwriter-director J.C. Chandor, who penned 2013’s critically acclaimed Robert Redford movie, “All Is Lost,” and the Academy Award-nominated 2011 Wall Street drama, “Margin Call.”

± “The Corn Queen of Lakeford Falls,” by Melissa Ross, whose first play, “Thinner Than Water,” will open The Gift’s 2014 season on March 27. It will be directed by Genesis Ensemble’s Libby Ford.

± “Winsor McCay,” a work by Laura Marks, who wrote last season’s maternity drama, “Mine.” Kay Martinovich will direct.

Also part of the lineup will be: “Body & Blood,” by The Gift co-founder Will Nedved (directed by Kathryn Walsh); “William Shakespeare’s The Sonnets,” adapted and conceived by Filament Theatre Ensemble (and directed by Julie Ritchie); and performances by giftED, giftLIT, giftFILM and the Natural Gas improv troupe.

For tickets to “Ten” visit

NOTE: Gift Theatre’s spring season will feature “Thinner Than Water” (March 27-May 25), the Chicago premiere of Melissa Ross’s dysfunctional family comedy-drama, directed by Gift ensemble member John Gawlik. It will be followed by “Othello” (July 10-Aug. 31), the Gift’s first Shakespeare production, to be directed by Jonathan Berry. Closing the season will be the Chicago premiere of Laura Marks’ new Recession-era drama, “Bethany” (Sept. 25-Nov. 23), directed by Marti Lyons.