Victory Gardens presents the Midwest Premiere of The Whale

Mar 28, 2013
The Whale Victory Gardens Theater

Victory Gardens continues its 2012-13 season with the Midwest Premiere of The Whale, written by Ensemble Playwright Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Joanie Schultz. The production runs April 5 - May 5, 2013 at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Since the death of his boyfriend, morbidly obese 600 pound Charlie has confined himself to his small Idaho apartment and is eating himself to oblivion. With his health quickly failing, Charlie becomes desperate to reconnect with Ellie, his estranged and angry teenage daughter whom he has not seen in 17 years. He would give her anything: his love, his money....maybe even his life. Written by Obie Award-winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale is a tough, humorous and emotionally powerful play about how we cope with loss, and how new definitions of family, friends and religion shape our lives.

"I'd like to welcome our ensemble playwright Samuel D. Hunter to our theatre with the Midwest premiere of The Whale," said Artistic Director Chay Yew. "I first met Sam at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference in 2005. Reading his plays, I was amazed by Sam's immense talent of capturing emotional complexity and his frank depiction of white working class Americans. He manages to excavate the extraordinary in ordinary Americans, making inarticulate, invisible people our heroes. We discussed collaborating on future projects, which led to my directing a reading of The Whale at Denver Center of the Performing Arts in 2010. This haunting, emotionally searing drama about the complex relationship between an obese gay man and his estranged daughter remained very close to my heart. I knew this play had to be experienced in Chicago and at our theatre. And I knew Sam belonged in our Playwrights Ensemble where he will write about our own working classes in his new plays for Victory Gardens."

The cast of The Whale includes: Leah Karpel (Ellie), Cheryl Graeff (Liz), Will Allan (Elder Thomas), Dale Calandra (Charlie) and Patricia Kane (Mary).

The designers are Chelsea Warren (Set Designer), Heather Gilbert (Lighting Designer), Janice Pytel (Costume Designer), Thomas Dixon (Sound Designer) and Tina Jach (Stage Manager).

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000 (TTY: 773.871.0682), email, or visit Ask the Box Office about student tickets ($15), senior, Access, 20 for $20, and rush discounts. For group discounts, call 773.328.2136.