Chicago, 1876. A petty criminal wants to make good. Hired by the U.S Secret Service as a “roper,” or informant, to infiltrate a gang of Irish counterfeiters, he uncovers more than he bargained for a shocking plot to commit one of the strangest crimes in American history: stealing President Lincoln’s body. Based on a true story, THE ROPER is a tale of desperation, redemption and one man’s shot at personal legacy.
The Den Theatre is launched its 2014 season with the world premiere crime caper THE ROPER by Chicago playwright Will Dunne, directed by ensemble member Ron Wells, playing March 3 April 13, 2014 on The Den Theatre Mainstage, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.
Step into the rich, strange atmosphere of black and white crime dramas from the 1940s, combined with the city paintings of Edward Hopper, in this witty, laconic homage to ‘film noir’ movies. It’s hot on the heels of World War II when a small-time New York hood’s paranoia reaches the breaking point. Convinced that his girlfriend Anna is hiding something from him, Gus enlists his friend Tony, a shell-shocked veteran, to start tailing her, drawing him into a nightmarish triangle of obsession and betrayal.
The Den Theatre dims the lights and breaks out the popcorn for this taut, edge-of your seat tale of mystery, romance and suspense…a rich and stylish throwback to the days of post-war intrigue and classic Hollywood filmmaking.
FAITH HEALER is a dramatic, mysterious and humorous work focusing on the life and times of Frank Hardy (Si Osborne), an itinerant Irish Healer. Uniquely structured, the play is presented in four monologues. The first belongs to Frank, grappling with the mystery of his gift of faith healing. Next is Grace (Lia D. Mortensen), Frank’s patient but suffering wife, who knows too well the special magnificence of her husband. Frank’s promoter and set-up man, a Cockney named Teddy (Brad Armacost), speaks third. His show business spin on events is both touching and comical. Frank’s epilogue brings the play to a startling conclusion. In FAITH HEALER, Friel shows us the reality of grace, the unfolding of mystery and the healing powers of faith.
The Den Theatre presented a remount of TurnAround Theatre’s original hit production of Brian Friel’s FAITH HEALER, 17 years after the critically acclaimed show played to sold-out houses at TurnAround and Steppenwolf Theatres. Original cast members Brad Armacost, Lia D. Mortensen and Si Osborne returned for the remount, which featured the original direction by J.R. Sullivan. December 7, 2012 – January 20, 2013 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.
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 spectre 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 Berkley 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-seated values and uncompromising beliefs are put to 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.
“Rydberg and Odor are fantastic leading players, and everyone else on stage is also very strong. The sets and costumes are well done, the lighting good, the production quality as sturdy as one could ask.”
– Will Fink
“Within the scenes, Martin paces it tight. Under his direction, the entire ensemble supports this spinster’s coming-of-age story. […] I was impressed with the quality of the production and adjoining lounge space for such a fairly new company.”
– Katy Walsh
“For their second main stage production, the play selection was superb […] I genuinely enjoyed the evening […] the ensemble held a very tight grip on thoroughly producing the beautiful story taking place. At many times the performances were enchanting”
– Tyler Tidmore
CHICAGO STAGE STYLE
“Rydberg and Odor have a palpable chemistry at the play’’s center; you can feel the summer heat between them.”
– Kris Vire
TIME OUT CHICAGO
“… This is The Den’s first production, and judging by the attention to detail and thoughtful casting by co-directors Ryan Martin and Lia Mortensen, it is an auspicious beginning.”
– Nina Metz
“… a promising new venue capable of seating about 100 with a spacious stage and a cavernous lobby. It is a solid first show with an inviting small-town diner set.”
– Kelly Reaves
“… Filled with gripping and fluid dialogue, Bus Stop is an engaging work filled with empathetic characters that we willingly return to the world of 1950 Kansas. The play is ultimately optimistic and hopeful. The ensemble totally understood and engaged their characters completely. The acting was impressive.”
– Tom Williams
”…Under the expert co-directorial debuts of veteran actress Lia Mortensen and Ryan Martin, the Den Theatre production is as strongly cast as any professional production you will see… the perfect catalyst for Mortensen and Martin’s honest and well-grounded ensemble.”
– Joe Stead