Polarity Ensemble Theatre presents the world premiere of Never the Bridesmaid, a sweet, funny, life-affirming comedy by Chicago playwright Bill Jepsen. Directed by award-winning director Richard Shavzin, Never the Bridesmaid runs at the Polarity space at the Josephinum Academy, 1500 N. Bell St. in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, February 26 through April 7, 2013. Press night is Thursday, February 28 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale.
Maria and Anthony are twins who've been damaged by love. Widowed once and divorced twice, Maria longs for a relationship but feels the stigma of a "three-time loser." Dumped by his fiancé four years earlier, Anthony hasn't dated since. Each has a lot to say about the other's love life, but both are floundering in their own-while preparing for the 40th anniversary of their parents' perfect marriage. Will they find love with the willing partners that surround them? With a stellar cast, an award-winning director and a hilarious script, Never the Bridesmaid promises to be a great night out.
Bill Jepsen's last play, Cadillac, set all-time sales records at Chicago Dramatists in 2008, eclipsing even the premiere of Keith Huff's A Steady Rain. It also proved to be one of the most critically acclaimed shows of Chicago's 2008 winter season, being "Highly Recommended" by nearly all the critics and nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards including Best Original Work.
Recently Russ Tutterow, Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists said: "Chicago Dramatists produced Bill Jepsen's wonderful play Cadillac a few years ago, with great success. Bill writes accessible, thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable plays." He added: "Polarity Ensemble has earned a respected place in Chicago theatre for its development of new plays and playwrights over the years."
"The process of bringing Never the Bridesmaid to the stage exemplifies what I love about Polarity," said Artistic Director Richard Engling. "The script was delightful when we selected it for our 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. It has gone through two cycles of development that have made it that much better. Seeing the creative partnerships come together to perfect a home-grown piece of theatre art like this is a real inspiration. And then it's such a pleasure to bring the finished work to the audience."
Polarity has intensified its dedication to developing and producing new work by Chicago playwrights, launching 2012-2013 as a season of All New Plays All the Time, presenting two world premieres, increasing its development scheduling and continuing to expand its annual Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays.
Bill Jepsen is a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists. His play, Cadillac, debuted there in January of 2008 and was nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards including Best Original Work. Subsequent performances of Cadillac include productions at Theatre on the Lake, Bloomington Playwright's Project, Theatre of Western Springs and the Beverly Theatre Guild. Never the Bridesmaid was featured and developed in Polarity Theatre Ensemble's 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. Mr. Jepsen lives in Chicago with his wife Jennifer and their two children, Rosemary and Marty.
Richard Shavzin has collaborated with Bill Jepsen on developing Never the Bridesmaid for the past few years. New plays have been a passion throughout his career, and other world premiere credits include Marisa Wegrzyn's Ten Cent Night (Chicago Dramatists); Defamation, Tops or Bottoms, and Fallout (Canamac Productions); Beat The Jester and Slaphappy (Beat The Jester Productions); Changing Rainbows (Red Wolf Theatre); Klub Kokomo (PS Theatricals); and Studs Terkel's Race (adapted by Jamie Pachino) at Strawdog Theatre, where he was Artistic Director from 1993-1998. Also at Strawdog he won a Jeff for Direction for Burn This, and directed the Jeff Nominated productions of Criminal Hearts; Cat's-Paw; The Big Funk; A Mother, A Daughter and A Gun; Skeletons and Hurlyburly, which won Jeffs for Ensemble, Lead Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. Other credits include the Chicago premiere of Vick's Boy for American Theater Company (American Blues), Endangered for Stage Left's Leapfest, and the workshop production of the musical Any Someone At All at Second City's Skybox Theater. He is an Associate Artist at Chicago Dramatists and American Blues Theater. As Resident Director for Cinestory's First Read at Second City, Richard directed new screenplays by Groundhog Day author Danny Rubin (featuring Tim Kazurinsky), Jay Stapleton (featuring Martin Mull) and Big Night co-author Joe Tropiano. He was the Casting Director for Poya Pictures' Three Days (Chicago International Film Festival, 1998) and Love 101 (lead film, Chicago Alt. Film Festival, 1999); and Reigning Pictures' Lana's Rain (Best Actress, Milan Int'l Film Festival; Chicago Int'l Film Festival, 2002). Richard served on the Board of Directors of the League of Chicago Theatres from 1994-2000 and served two terms, one as chair, on the Theatre Peer Review Panel of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. He currently serves on the Central Regional Board of Directors of Actors Equity Association, and is a Vice-President of the Chicago local of SAG-AFTRA. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.