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  Play Details

Killer Joe

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

Killer Joe focuses on the Smith family, a greedy, vindictive clan of Texans who hatch a plan to murder their estranged matriarch to cash in on her insurance policy. Unable to bring themselves to do the deed, they hire Killer Joe Cooper, a full-time cop and part-time contract killer. Once he steps into their trailer, their simple plan quickly spirals out of control.

Presented by Profiles Theatre

Thru - Jul 18, 2010

Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 5:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 7:00pm



Price: $25-$35

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-988-9000

Running Time: 2hrs; one intermission

www.profilestheatre.org


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  Killer Joe Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Killer Joe" has lost none of its visceral force. If you never had the pleasure of its timeless charms, they are once again available. This play actually has new resonance in this recessionary era, when you can imagine impecunious desperadoes turning desperate in their fiscal malaise. And the ever-improving Cox, whose Joe bristles with cheap bravura at once intimidating and pathetic, turns in one of the best performances of his long career at this theater."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Snyder's production certainly shouts and batters when necessary, and it retains the work's full frontal everything. But better than any previous take on this anatomy of depravity -- the tale of a life insurance scam that goes very, very wrong and exposes the moral vacuity of everyone involved -- it also finds the deep, despairing quiet in the play. And in doing so it not only heightens the tension and intensifies the stakes, but it brings out the crazy poetry, mordant humor and quiet desperation of Letts' characters."
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Hedy Weiss


The Wall Street Journal - Highly Recommended

"...This production, which ran for 13 straight weeks at Profiles Theatre's 50-seat house, has now moved to the larger Royal George Theatre in order to satisfy the demand for tickets. Ms. Wellin's performance is drawn with special sharpness, but everyone in the cast is superlative, and Rick Snyder, a member of the original cast of "August: Osage County" and one of the finest directors in Chicago, has staged it with enough force to knock down an abandoned warehouse. Sotirios Livaditis designed the splendidly sordid-looking set, whose décor is dominated by grimy beer posters."
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Terry Teachout


Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Rick Snyder's production for Profiles Theatre is all about Darrell Cox's performance in the title role, and indeed a better Killer Joe is hard to imagine. With a deep voice that can soothe even as it brooks no argument, Cox is funny, menacing, sexy, outright scary, and sometimes disconcertingly wise. A passage during which he simply watches Dottie Smith, the damaged ingenue of the piece, is mesmerizing."
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Tony Adler


Examiner - Highly Recommended

"...There’s a good reason Profiles has deemed Killer Joe “NC17” and papered the lobby with warnings about gun shots/profanity/drug use/full-frontal nudity of both the male and female variety. If you haven’t a strong stomach for such things – and the worst that human beings can do to one another, stay away. Yet that would be a shame, because in Killer Joe, Snyder has shaped a thrilling piece of theater."
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Catey Sullivan


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Cox works Joe’s intimidating tension just right; he’s a homespun predator taken by Dottie’s not-quite-there vulnerability and glaring honesty. Bigley captures the well-intentioned fuck-up Chris, whose best is not good enough. Wellin’s strength surprises everyone when she draws her line in the sand. Somer Benson and Howie Johnson are tragic, white-trash delights in this early work from now-acclaimed playwright Tracy Letts."
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Lisa Buscani


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Steppenwolf alumnus Rick Snyder is no stranger to the sweat-and-grit school of realism, however. Under his direction, the progress of a clan as petty as their proposed crime never idles for "actorly moments," but instead careens along at a velocity exceeding the attention span of its perpetrators while ensuring that we keep pace with them every moment."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Chicago Free Press - Highly Recommended

"...From the minute “Killer Joe” begins-with an unseen dog barking, a door banging and plenty of shouting-you know it’s not going to end well. (Actually, the title’s a pretty good tip too.) In this 1991 thriller, now revived at Profiles Theatre, playwright Tracy Letts smartly builds the tension from a slow simmer. Shortly before the pressure-cooker lid blows at the end, you might find yourself literally on the edge of your seat."
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Web Behrens


Copley News Service - Highly Recommended

"...I suppose the law of averages states that out of the countless sleazy and exploitive plays written every year one will come out a classic. “Killer Joe” is a perverse kind of masterpiece that makes exceptional demands on the actors and the Profiles company superbly answers the call. By all means see this show. Just remember to fasten your sensory and emotional seat belts."

Dan Zeff


Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...This production directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder (the original Steve in August: Osage County) way exceeds expectations for a non-Equity storefront company. It's as good as anything seen on the city's professional companies and better in the sense that the audience is never more than about 50 feet from the action. Profiles' signature realism is well-served by the entirely believable cast of five. They establish the tension from the very beginning—sooner, really, with an irritating barking dog heard off in the distance before the action begins—and never let up, save for the 15-minute intermission."
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John Olson


Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"...It's all fun and games until...but that would be giving too much away. Nobody loses an eye in "Killer Joe," the first play by Tracy Letts, now in its first Chicago revival at Profiles Theatre, but what starts as a nastily entertaining black comedy in the first act turns just plain nasty in the second. It's frighteningly convincing, but it takes a high tolerance for close-range violence and disturbing sleaze. If such things turn your stomach, you'll want to flee, but those up for a visceral evening will be thrilled and horrified."

Zev Valancy


Chicago Stage Review - Highly Recommended

"...Killer Joe is a startling example of theater at its roughest, toughest and most brutally absurd. Although written before playwright Tracy Letts was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Man from Nebraska and Pulitzer Prize winner for August: Osage County, Killer Joe show no signs of being a ‘first try.’ It is a completely and brilliantly realized script that transports you to the darkest recesses of the human condition without an inkling of self-consciousness. It is a frighteningly wild ride into the despondent abyss of volatile people making bad choices in a bleak situation."
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Venus Zarris


Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Suffice it to say that Snyder’s revival, even more intimate than the play’s 1993 debut at the Next Theatre Lab, is horrifying, exhilarating and exquisitely cast. As great as Cox is in his well-matched role, the play belongs to newcomers Kevin Bigley and Claire Wellin. As the desperate Chris and despondent Dottie, these two exhibit a magnetism that’s, well, killer."
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Kris Vire


The Onion - Highly Recommended

"...Directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder, the production delights in watching the audience squirm. In Profiles’ tiny space, the script's over-the-top action is almost overwhelming, with full-frontal nudity from both sexes along with one of the most disturbing scenes of sexualized violence in recent memory. Cox gives an outstanding performance as Joe, a cool gentleman in the first act who transforms into a force of nature by Act II, barreling through the Smith family like a tornado with a short temper and an unbridled sex drive."
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Oliver Sava


Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...Cox does a good job playing Joe’s multiple facets, from southern gent to cold-blooded killer. His performance makes it that much more shocking when Joe tosses aside his southern hospitality to reveal the psychopath that lies beneath."

Scotty Zacher


ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...If you haven’t seen this show yet, you’ve got the chance to do so now. For those who saw it at the Profiles space may miss a little of the intimacy, but if you nab a seat in the front few rows you will be just as close to the action. Also, for those who were too uncomfortable to see the show at the Profiles space have the choice to get tickets a little further back from the action. Be forewarned: This show is intense. It contains some very uncomfortable scenes, violence, nudity, gunshots, and a good amount of nastiness; that being said, it deserves all of the praise it has received. I would also say to be careful if you have a heart condition because your heart will be racing from start to finish."
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Jake Lindquist


Chicago Stage Standard - Highly Recommended

"...Thirteen weeks is a long time for a storefront theater to run a production to full houses, but the Profiles Theatre production of "Killer Joe", the first play by Tracy Letts just did this and more! The more is the moving of this startling, powerful drama to another, larger venue so that more of Chicago gets an opportunity to share this vivid experience. Now in the Cabaret of The Royal George Theatre located at 1641 N. Halsted, many more theater lovers will be able to experience this powerful and superbly acted production."

Al Bresloff


   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.

  Related Articles

Return of 'August: Osage County' just the latest turn for playwright Letts
From Daily Herald
By Barbara Vitello and Lisa Friedman Miner

Playwright Tracy Letts
From WTTW
By Phil Ponce

  Killer Joe Photo Gallery


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