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Victory Gardens’ “Hand to God” announces cast

Alex Weisman will play Jason, the Texas boy with a satanic sock puppet in the Victory Gardens Theater production of "Hand to God." (Photo: Courtesy of Victory Gardens Theater)

It’s the satanic sock puppet who takes on a life of its own. But a cast of humans are needed, too.

Victory Gardens Theater has announced the actors who will appear in its production of “Hand to God,” the Chicago premiere of the Broadway hit by Robert Askins to be directed here by Gary Griffin.

The show, set to run Sept. 16 – Oct. 16, 2016, will feature Alex Weisman as Jason, whose hand puppet, Tyrone, pretty much runs away with the show. Joining him will be Nina Ganet (as Jessica), Curtis Edward Jackson (as Timothy), Eric Slater (as Pastor Greg), and Janelle Snow (as Margery).

Set in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas, “Hand to God” begins as Margery, a widow whose husband has recently died, is asked by her minister, Pastor Greg, to run the puppet club. (Fundamentalist Christian congregations often use puppets to teach children how to follow the Bible and avoid Satan.) Here, the teenage members of the club include Jason, Margery’s son; Jessica, the girl next door who Jason has a crush on; and Timmy, the neighborhood troublemaker whose mother is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the church. Pastor Greg wants the puppet club to put on a performance at the church, but sexual attraction comes into play. And Jason’s hand puppet, Tyrone, announces that he is Satan, leads them into sin, and expresses secrets that the characters would rather have left unacknowledged.

The creative team includes Joe Schermoly (Scenic Design), Janice Pytel (Costume Design), Christine Binder (Lighting Design), Chris Kriz (Sound Design), Michael Dold (Properties Design) Daniel Dempsey (Puppet Design) and Isaac Gomez (Dramaturgy).

Vivtory Gardens is located at 2433 N. Lincoln. For tickets to “Hand of God” ($15 – $40 for previews and $15 – $60 for regular run), call (773) 871-3000 or visit www.victorygardens.org.

Eric Slater will play Pastor Greg in Robert Askins’ “Hand to God.” (Photo: Courtesy of Victory Gardens Theater)
Eric Slater will play Pastor Greg in Robert Askins’ “Hand to God.” (Photo: Courtesy of Victory Gardens Theater)