The Den Theatre reopens its doors to a new and expanded home and its first full season with the Chicago premiere of THE QUALITY OF LIFE by Jane Anderson, directed by Lia D. Mortensen, playing now through December 1, 2012 at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. THE QUALITY OF LIFE features ensemble members Ron Wells and Liz Zweifler with Steve Spencer and Jennifer Joan Taylor. Get a first look at the production in the photos below!
Red and blue state worlds collide in this compassionate and humorous drama that confronts the fundamental human challenge of losing a loved one. Jane Anderson's hilarious, stirring play puts deep focus on two couples: one dealing with a recent loss and another under the specter of it. Struggling to keep their marriage intact after the death of their daughter, Dinah and Bill, devout church going conservatives from Ohio, visit their left-wing cousins Jeannette and Neil, who've just lost their home in the Berkeley Hills to a wildfire. Adding fuel to the wildfire, Neil is dying of cancer. But to their cousins' surprise, the couple, now happily living in a yurt on their burn site, continue to celebrate life with hits of pot and a steady flow of red wine. Sympathy turns to rage, however, when deep-seeded values and uncompromising beliefs are put the ultimate test. Ethical, religious, and moral beliefs about the right to both life and death are on full display in Anderson's gripping play.
The production team for THE QUALITY OF LIFE includes: Henry Behel (Scenic Designer), Zachary Gipson (Associate Scenic Designer), Andrew Vanderbye (Lighting Designer), Melissa Schlesinger (Sound Designer), Jon Buranosky (Props Designer), Ginger Leopoldo (Production Manager), Shelley Crosby (Assistant Director) and Jennifer Bukovsky (Stage Manager).
Jane Anderson's published plays include Looking for Normal, The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Smart Choices for the New Century, Lynette at 3AM and The Last Time We Saw Her. The Quality of Life premiered at the Geffen Playhouse and was directed by MS. Anderson. Her plays have been produced Off Broadway and in theaters across the country, including Actors Theater of Louisville, The McCarter Theater, Long Wharf, ACT, the Geffen Theater and The Pasadena Playhouse. As an actor, she appeared in the New York premiere of David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago. She has also written for film and television, including her award winning film adaption of The Baby Dance, produced by Jodie Foster.
Lia D. Mortensen has been an equity actress in Chicago for the last 25 years. She most recently appeared in Northlight's Ten Chimneys, for which she received a 2012 Best Actress nomination. She was honored to be a part of the 2011 Jeff Award winning ensemble of ATC's Big Meal. Other Chicago credits include The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Hiding Place at Provision; the Pulitzer prize-winning Rabbit Hole at Goodman Theatre; Rivendell Theatre: Fighting Words; Northlight Theatre: Lady Windermere's Fan, Sky Girls and Talley's Folly; Chicago Shakespeare Theater: All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure; Steppenwolf Theatre: Closer and Faith Healer; Remy Bumppo: Night and Day (premiere production); Organic: Aristocrats; Classic American Theatre: Voice of the Turtle and Glass Menagerie (w/Celeste Holm); Next Theatre: Well, A Doll's House, Macbeth and The Illusion; and several productions at Court Theatre. Directing Credits: Bus Stop by William Inge (co-directed with Ryan Martin and Quality of Life by Jane Anderson, both at The Den Theatre. Film credits: the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and Blink. Television credits: The Chicago Code, Family Practice, Early Edition and Missing Persons. She has numerous commercial credits. Lia is an ensemble member of Provision Theater and The Den Theatre.
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Note: there is no performance on Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving). Tickets: $25. Available at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Photo Credit: Joe Mazza
Ron Wells (front), Steve Spencer, Liz Zweifler and Jennifer Joan Taylor
Steve Spencer, Liz Zweifler, Ron Wells and Jennifer Joan Taylor
Liz Zweifler, Jennifer Joan Taylor and Ron Wells
Jennifer Joan Taylor, Ron Wells and Liz Zweifler
Liz Zweifler and Jennifer Joan Taylor
Stephen Spencer, Jennifer Joan Taylor, Ron Wells and Liz Zweifler
Liz Zweifler and Ron Wells