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Getting ready for the rapids at American Theater Company

The New York cast of "Men on Boats," to receive its Chicago premiere by American Theater Company, with Will Davis reprising his direction. (Photo: Elke Young)

Chicago’s American Theater Company (ATC) has announced casting for its regional premiere of “Men on Boats” – Jaclyn Backhaus’ play that spins the tale of 10 explorers on four boats who set out to map the raging rapids of the Green and Colorado Rivers on the government’s first sanctioned expedition in the American West.

The show will run Jan. 6 – Feb. 12, 2017, on the heels of the production’s acclaimed Off Broadway engagement directed by ATC artistic director Will Davis at Playwrights Horizons. Davis also will helm the ATC production, with an all new “genderfluid Chicago cast of women and folks otherwise defined.”

The cast of the ATC production will include: Kelly O’Sullivan (as William Dunn); Lawren Carter (Hall); Erin Barlow (Frank Goodman); Arti Ishak (John Colton Sumner); Brittney Love Smith (Bradley); Deanna Myers (Seneca Howland); Avi Roque (O.G. Howland); Stephanie Shum (Hawkins); Kelli Simpkins (John Wesley Powell), and Lauren Sivak (Old Shady).

Chicago actress Kelly O'Sullivan" will be part of the cast for "Men on Boats," at American Theater Company. (Photo: Courtesy of American Theater Company)

Chicago actress Kelly O’Sullivan” will be part of the cast for “Men on Boats,” at American Theater Company. (Photo: Courtesy of American Theater Company)

For single tickets ($20 – $38) for “Men on Boats,” call (773) 409-4125 or visit http://www.atcweb.org. Season subscriptions ($40 – $112.50) are also on sale. ATC is located at 1909 W. Byron.

In a prepared statement, Will Davis noted: “‘Men on Boats’ speaks to the heart of ATC’s new chapter with its ambitious theatricality. Set on four boats in the middle of the Grand Canyon, the production uses the handmade power of the theater to invoke the wild Colorado River and the 1869 expedition of John Wesley Powell. ATC’s commitment to inclusive casting means this story of American masculinity and bravado will be brought to life by a gender fluid cast exploring the legacy of manifest destiny.”