Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep companies for Spring 2015 announced

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Steppenwolf Theatre’s Garage space will host the sixth annual Garage Rep series featuring three storefront companies this spring.

Steppenwolf Theatre’s Garage Rep — which each year showcases the work of three innovative Chicago storefronts for a 10-week series in rotating repertory in its Garage venue at 1624 N. Halsted— has announced its sixth annual lineup. Selected for the season that will run Feb.-April 2015, are Cold Basement Dramatics, Pride Films and Plays and Red Tape Theatre.

Here is a closer look at what will be on tap:

± Cold Basement Dramatics presents “Heat Wave,” by Steven Simoncic, directed by Rinska Prestinary: It is Chicago, in the summer of 1995, and an intense heat wave has gripped the city with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. By the time it’s all over 739 people will have died, mostly the poor, elderly, or minorities with nowhere to seek shelter. As the morgues overflow, the city’s emergency response team is called into question. The Mayor’s Office combats the criticism with a public relations campaign that successfully turns the blame onto the victims and their families. As Chicago approaches the 20th anniversary of that summer, “Heat Wave” tells the story of the people “who were made invisible, the hard-working citizens who fought to uncover the truth and the resilient Chicago community that suffered, yet carried on.” Cold Basement Dramatics (led y artistic director John Pagano and executive director Dan Planz), is a nonprofit, itinerant Chicago theatre company committed to telling the stories about “the things that we hide from ourselves and others.” Now in their 5th season, Cold Basement has been dedicated to producing shows that expose the truth and tell stories that have not been told.

± Pride Films and Plays presents “Angry Fags,” by Topher Payne, directed by Derek Van Barham: Cooper and Bennett are not a gay couple, “just a couple of gays.” When their friend is “gay bashed” outside a local bar, they feel helpless. Then, they feel something new: pure, unfiltered anger. It’s not enough for them that “it gets better”; change can only happen if they take matters into their own hands. Politics, pistachios and pop culture collide in this dark comedy about how good ideas go bad. “Angry Fag” is being described as “an Oscar Wilde-meets-Tarantino fever dream” that asks: Just how far you would go to “make it better”? Pride Films and Plays (led by David Zak, executive producer and Jude Hansen, producer), creates work about, for, and by the LGBTQ community, but that is essential viewing for all audiences. PFP hopes to further the conversation about sexuality and community at a time when much progress has been made but there is still so much for us all to learn. Formed in 2010, this multiple Jeff Award winning company has strived to foster new writing for the stage and screen through readings, competitions, classes, and theatrical productions.

± Red Tape Theatre presents “The Walk Across America for Mother Earth,” by Taylor Mac, with music by Ellen Maddow and director to be announced: Political activism meets bedazzled drag show in this story about two young friends who flee their suburban upbringing in “Real America” to join a ragtag group of activists on a protest march from Washington D.C. to Nevada. On the road, the group attempts to establish a nomadic utopia, but the marchers continually find themselves divided by unrequited affections, indecision, and a secret hunger for power. Whimsically blending commedia dell’arte influences with song and dance, “The Walk Across America for Mother Earth” explores how the idea of community sometimes fails to unite us, and sometimes brings us together in the most unexpected ways. Red Tape Theatre (Brandon Ray, artistic director and Josh Johnson, managing director) is now in its 11th season, and is committed to the creation of new and experimental work through collaborations with our ensemble, playwrights, musicians, dancers and visual artists. Red Tape’s plays invite audiences to re-imagine their world and serve a vital purpose in our community: To arrest attention and create empathy. This work is additionally supported by our Fresh Eyes Playwrights Workshop Series, which is produced annually.

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