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Route 66 season to feature plays about hackers and cancer

The Route 66 Theatre Company has announced its first two productions at its new home - The Den Theatre in Wicker Park - where it becomes a resident company in 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of The Den Theatre)

A tale of journalists in hot pursuit of a leaker of hacked information, and the story of two strangers with cancer-stricken mothers: You can pick your poison in Route 66 Theatre Company’s ninth season, or enjoy a double dose.

First comes the world premiere of “The Source,” Gabe McKinley’s psychological thriller, directed by Jason Gerace. Next comes the Chicago premiere of Halley Feiffer’s dark comedy which bears a title that might not fit on a marquee – “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Ontology Unit at Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City.” The play, recently seen at New York’s MCC Theater, will be directed by Keira Fromm.

Both plays will be staged at the company’s new resident home, The Den Theatre, located at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets for the productions will go on sale at a later date. Visit www.route66theatre.org.

In a prepared statement, Stef Tovar, Route 66 ‘s artistic director noted: “Route 66 has gone through so many changes over the years [and] I couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come as a company. This is a big year for us with new personnel, a group of dedicated artistic associates and two incredible plays I can’t wait to share with Chicago. The Den Theatre is exactly where we should be [and] is a critical step in our growth as a company. But it also brings us back to a scrappier, more intimate venue – giving our patrons a truly “Off Loop” experience that birthed the company back in 2008.”

Here are details of the two plays (casting will be announced later) planned for the company’s 2017 season:

“THE SOURCE “ (Feb./March 2017), by Gabe McKinley, directed by Jason Gerace: On the hunt for the biggest story of their careers, two journalists are summoned to travel across the world to meet with The Source – an unidentified leaker of hacked documents and information on the U.S. government. As these strangers probe one another for the truth and information, they find themselves in a thrilling psychological drama that leads them to examine their motives, their country and themselves, all while waiting for The Source.

About the play, director Gerace noted: “The question of ‘privacy versus security’ is central to our time, and I could not be more pleased that Route 66 Theatre Company has agreed to take it on. McKinley tackles this question with urgency, and frames it in a way that resonates in the current moment while building a thrilling theatrical experience for the audience.”

+ “A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY” (Aug./Sept. 2017), by Halley Feiffer, directed by Keira Fromm: A foul-mouthed twenty-something comedienne, and a middle-aged man embroiled in a nasty divorce, are brought together unexpectedly when their cancer-stricken mothers become roommates in the hospital. Together, this unlikely duo must negotiate some of life’s biggest challenges while making some of the world’s most inappropriate jokes. Can these two very lost people learn to laugh through their pain and lean on each other when all they really want to do is run away?

Director Fromm observed: “Halley Feiffer is no-holds-barred when it comes to presenting extremely flawed individuals at their messiest. She’s also completely fearless when it comes to exposing the raw spots that result from the friction of our most fragile family relationships. This play is unbelievably funny one moment, and moving in the most throat-grabbing of ways the next. I can’t wait to dig in.”