Thomas Bradshaw

2015-16 Season includes:

  • Co-World premiere of Thomas Bradshaw’s Fulfillment with NYC’s The Flea

  • World premiere from The Big Meal writer Dan LeFranc

  • Regional premiere of Kill Floor immediately following Lincoln Center debut

  • Musical comedy Xanadu directed by Lili-Anne Brown


September 9, 2015 (Chicago, IL)—American Theater Company (ATC) proudly announces the final production, directors and run dates for Season 31: The Legacy Season, honoring ATC’s late artistic director PJ Paparelli and continuing the theater’s dedication to developing new works.


Kicking off the Legacy Season in November is the co-world premiere of Fulfillment, written by Thomas Bradshaw and directed by Ethan McSweeny, Nov. 6-Dec. 13, 2015. The production is a co-world premiere with The Flea Theater in New York, where Fulfillment opens under McSweeny’s direction next month. In the New Year, ATC presents the world premiere of Bruise Easy by Dan LeFranc, writer of ATC’s blockbuster world premiere The Big Meal, Jan. 7-Feb. 14, 2016. The production will be directed by Joanie Schultz. Next, ATC presents the regional premiere of Abe Koogler’s Kill Floor under the direction of Jonathan Berry, March 25-May 1, 2016, immediately following its world premiere at New York’s LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater. Replacing The Wiz as the final production of ATC’s Legacy Season will be the musical comedy Xanadu, with music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar and book by Douglas Carter Beane. The production will run at ATC May 27-July 24, 2016, under the direction of Lili-Anne Brown.


“To close our Legacy Season, we’re presenting the musical version of our late artistic director PJ Paparelli’s all-time favorite movie,” says ATC Interim Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar. “We’re revealing to the world that he was a Xanadu fanatic! It’s a fun, lighthearted way to close the Legacy Season, which feels like the best way to honor him.”


Later this month, ATC will host a Legacy Celebration fundraiser on Wednesday, Sept. 30, featuring a performance of Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced at Goodman Theatre and pre-show reception with director Kimberly Senior. Disgraced made its world premiere at ATC in 2012 under Senior’s direction before going on to a successful Broadway run and winning the Pulitzer Prize.


Subscription packages for the Legacy Season at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron Street, start at $105. Tickets for the Legacy Celebration on Sept. 30 are $150. For more information or to purchase tickets or subscription packages, visit or call 773-409-4125.




Co-World Premiere with The Flea Theater

Written by Thomas Bradshaw

Directed by Ethan McSweeny

Nov. 6-Dec. 13, 2015


New York. Today. Michael has everything: the girlfriend, the condo, and the primo job at a top law firm. But after eight years, he has continually been passed up for a partnership, and starts to suspect it’s because of racial discrimination. When his boss tells him why, he has to decide whether he has the strength to confront a personal demon. In one of the most controversial stories ever to appear on ATC’s stage, playwright Thomas Bradshaw bravely and honestly exposes the painful gray areas between the personal and the professional in America’s upper class.


World Premiere

Bruise Easy

Written by Dan LeFranc

Directed by Joanie Schultz

Jan. 7-Feb. 14, 2016


Suburbia. Today. In the glow of florescent streetlights, two estranged siblings meet in the driveway of their childhood home and begin the conversation of a lifetime. From the writer of ATC’s blockbuster play The Big Meal comes this poetic and haunting portrait of middle-class America.


Regional Premiere

Kill Floor

Written by Abe Koogler

Directed by Jonathan Berry

March 25-May 1, 2016


A Small Town. Today. Following a long incarceration, a mother returns to her hometown to restart her life. After securing a job at the local slaughterhouse, the challenges of reentry unfold as she reunites with her teenage son, a staunch vegetarian. Writer Abe Koogler pens a witty, funny, surprising and moving search for connection in modern America. This production immediately follows its World Premiere at NY’s LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater.



Music and Lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar

Book by Douglas Carter Beane

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

May 27-July 24, 2016


Venice, CA. 1980. Struggling artist Sonny Malone seeks to create his own version of the American dream by renovating an abandoned warehouse into a venue for world-class entertainment — a roller disco. As a tribute to ATC’s late artistic director, PJ Paparelli, ATC closes its Legacy Season with a musical spoof of his all-time favorite movie. A 1980’s camp classic, Xanadu celebrates the artist’s muse, even when it comes from the most unlikely of places.


Artist bios


Douglas Carter Beane plays include: The NanceThe Little Dog Laughed (Tony, Olivier nominations; GLAAD Media Award), Mr. & Mrs. FitchAs Bees in Honey Drown (Outer Critics Circle, Gassner Playwriting awards), Advice From a CaterpillarThe Country ClubMusic From a Sparkling PlanetThe Cartells.  Musicals: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella(Tony nom.), Sister Act (Tony nom.), Lysistrata Jones (Tony nom.), Xanadu (Tony nom.; Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards). Revues: White LiesMondo DramaThe Late, Late Show. Opera: Die Fledermaus (Met). Screenplays: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie NewmarAdvice From a Caterpillar (Best Feature, Aspen Comedy Festival).  Producer: 21 plays as founder and artistic director of New York’s Drama Dept.  Member of the Dramatists Guild and is on the Playwrights Walk of Fame at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.


Thomas Bradshaw’s play Carlyle will premiere at Goodman Theatre as part of their 2015-16 season. His other plays include Intimacy and Burning (New Group); Mary (Goodman Theatre); Job and Dawn (Flea Theater); The Bereaved (Crowded Fire, Partial Comfort and the State Theater of Bielefeld in Germany); Southern Promises (PS122) and many more. He was the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Prize, and a 2012 award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Bradshaw has been featured as one of Time Out New York’s 10 playwrights to watch and was named “Best Provocative Playwright” by the Village Voice. He received his MFA from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program and he is an assistant professor at Northwestern University.


Lili-Anne Brown is the Artistic Director of Bailiwick Chicago. She received the Joseph Jefferson Award in 2014 (Direction of a Musical) for her direction of Ahrens & Flaherty’s Dessa Rose. Other directing credits include: Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See (Steppenwolf Theatre Garage Rep), the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of Passing Strange (BTA Award for Best Director of a Musical, Jeff Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical), and the world premiere of Princess Mary Demands Your Attention by Aaron Holland, for Bailiwick Chicago; On the Boards and Hearts of Darkness at Roosevelt University; and HairsprayUnnecessary Farce, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, all at Timber Lake Playhouse, where she is an Artistic Associate. Upcoming next season: American Idiot at Northwestern University and Jabari Dreams of Freedom by Nambi Kelley at Chicago Children’s Theatre. She works as an actor, director and educator, both locally and regionally, and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and an associate of SDC. Lili-Anne is a Northwestern University graduate (Performance Studies), and a proud native Chicagoan.


John Farrar is a music producer, guitarist, singer, and former member of the British rock group, The Shadows. He worked extensively with Olivia Newton-John, producing fourteen of her albums and writing many of her hit singles, including “You’re the One That I Want” (Golden Globe nom.), “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (Academy Award nom.), and “Have You Never Been Mellow.” He co-wrote with Tim Rice songs for the 1995 musical, Heathcliff, and collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola to create songs for a new musical, Gidget.


Abe Koogler was born and raised in Washington State. He earned an MFA from UT-Austin and is currently a fellow in Juilliard’s Playwrights Program. He is a Theatre Masters Visionary Playwright, a runner-up for the Yale Drama Prize, and the winner of the Weissberger Award and the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Award for Kill Floor. Koogler’s plays have been developed at the Playwrights’ Center, Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab. He is under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club.


Dan LeFranc is the playwright-in-residence of Playwrights Horizons. His new play Troublemaker was commissioned by and produced at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The Big Meal premiered at ATC, received an extended off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons, and made its UK premiere last summer. Other plays include Sixty Miles to Silver Lake (SoHo Rep, P73, NYC), Origin Story, In The Labyrinth and Night Surf. LeFranc received the 2011 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, and the John C. Russell Fellowship, among others. He recently wrote for the Showtime television drama The Affair, which won the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Drama. LeFranc is currently on staff for director Steve McQueen’s new limited series for HBO, Codes of Conduct. He also teaches at the Yale School of Drama.


Jeff Lynne is a founding member of the Electric Light Orchestra, or ELO, whose discography includes five platinum-selling albums: Face the MusicA New World RecordOut of the BlueDiscovery, and Xanadu. In addition to his recording work with the ELO, Lynne co-produced studio albums by George Harrison (Cloud Nine), Roy Orbison (Mystery Girl), Tom Petty (Full Moon Fever), Ringo Starr (Time Takes Time), and Paul McCartney (Flaming Pie). He co-founded the “supergroup,” the Traveling Wilburys, with Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison. Lynn co-wrote and produced the track “Let It Shine” for Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s debut solo album in 1988.


Ethan McSweeny is based in Brooklyn, New York. He was born in Washington, DC. His twenty year career as a director of new plays, musicals, operas, and revivals has taken him all over the world, most recently to Dublin, Ireland where his production of Brian Friel’s adapatation of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country is running at the Gate Theatre until the end of August. More information is at


Joanie Schultz is a Chicago-based freelance director. Along with being incredibly excited to direct the world premiere of Bruise Easy for American Theatre Company, this season she is directing the world premieres of The Cheats by Hamish Linklater at Steep Theatre, Cocked by Sarah Gubbins at Victory Gardens Theatre, and the US premiere of Spinning by Deidre Kinahan for Irish Theatre Chicago. Last season she directed Martyr at Steep Theatre, Yankee Tavern for American Blues Theatre, The Hundred Flowers Project by Christopher Chen at Silk Road Rising, and Rest by Samuel D. Hunter at Victory Gardens, where she previously directed The Whale. In 2013/14 she also directed Venus in Fur at the Goodman Theatre; Northanger Abbey for Remy Bumppo Theatre; and A Small Fire at Steep Theatre. Other recent work includes fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life at Steppenwolf for Young Adults; The Girl in the Yellow Dress at Next Theatre; The Kid Thing for About Face Theatre and Chicago Dramatists; Neighborhood 3 at Strawdog Theatre; and Luther at Steep Theatre. She has also directed operas including Bluebeard’s Castle, DerKaiser von Atlantis, Acis and Galatea, and Carmen. Joanie holds an MFA in directing from Northwestern University; was a Drama League Fellow; The Goodman Theatre’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellow; the SDCF Denham Fellow; a Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab participant; and was 2013 Co-Artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake. She is an ensemble member at Steep Theatre is on the theater faculty of Columbia College and University of Chicago. Joanie also currently serves as Associate Artistic Producer at Victory Gardens Theater, as part of the Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by TCG.



About American Theater Company


American Theater Company (ATC) challenges and inspires its community by exploring stories that ask the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” ATC’s Ensemble includes Patrick Andrews, Kareem Bandealy, Jaime Castañeda, Kelly O’Sullivan, Tyler Ravelson, and Sadieh Rifai.


American Theater Company is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, and the Shubert Foundation.


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