Profiles Theatre continues its 26th Season with the World premiere of Genius by Kate Walbert, directed by Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox. The production runs March 13 – May 3, 2015 at Profiles Theatre’s The Alley Stage, 4147 N. Broadway.
Genius examines the secrets and alliances of two creative couples from different generations who find their lives changed forever after an uneasy dinner party. Joel, a once highly regarded painter turned museum director caught in the midst of a very public indiscretion and his wife Sara, a formally famous journalist, venture to Brooklyn for dinner with their new friends Peter and Charlotte, a young filmmaking couple with rising careers and a baby on the way. After an evening riddled with illuminating discoveries, deceptions and perhaps too much wine, each couple deconstructs the evening’s events as they grapple with their own uncertain futures. Using a constantly shifting timeline, playwright Kate Walbert turns her kaleidoscopic lens on two marriages battered by urgent ambitions.
Kate Walbert, an award-winning novelist and playwright, is the author of A Short History of Women, chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2009 and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. Other works include Our Kind, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2004, The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the 2002 Connecticut Book Award in Fiction, and Where She Went, a collection of linked stories and a New York Times notable book. Her plays include an adapted version of A Short History of Women with readings at the Powerhouse Theater and the Roundabout Theater, Elsewhere, featured in readings at Playwrights Horizons and Ars Nova in New York as well as Year of the Woman, produced at the Yale Cabaret and the Lantern Theater in Philadelphia.
Directed by Profiles Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox, the cast of Genius features guest artist Robert Breuler as Joel. Robert, most recently seen in Airline Highway at Steppenwolf, previously appeared at Profiles in their Midwest premiere of Sweet and Sad. Also featured are guest artists Stephanie Chavara, Cale Haupert and Liz Zweifler.
KATE WALBERT (Playwright) is an award-winning novelist and playwright and the author of A Short History of Women, chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2009 and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. Other works include Our Kind, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2004, The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the 2002 Connecticut Book Award in Fiction, and Where She Went, a collection of linked stories and a New York Times notable book. Her plays include an adapted version of A Short History of Women with readings at the Powerhouse Theater and the Roundabout Theater, Elsewhere, featured in readings at Playwrights Horizons and Ars Nova in New York as well as Year of the Woman, produced at the Yale Cabaret and the Lantern Theater in Philadelphia.
DARRELL W. COX (Director) is an Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre and most recently directed the Midwest premieres of Reasons to Be Happy by Neil LaBute and Cock by Mike Barlett as well as both the 2013 holiday season revival and 20th Anniversary production of Hellcab by Will Kern. Prior to that, he directed the Midwest premiere of Bachelorette by Leslye Headland, the American premiere of The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, Profiles’ Midwest premieres of This is How it Goes, “Coax” and the titular piece from Things We Said Today and Profiles’ long running hit, Autobahn, all by Neil LaBute. Mr. Cox has directed numerous productions for Profiles over the years including the Midwest premieres of The Radiant Abyss by Angus MacLachlan and Wonder of the World by David Lindsay-Abaire. Other directorial credits for Profiles include The Water Engine, How the Other Half Loves and The Twilight Zone: The Series.
The designers for Genuis are Michelle Lilly (set), Mike Durst (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music), Raquel Adorno (costumes). The stage manger is Jennifer Kiehl.
The cast of Genius features guest artist Robert Breuler as Joel.
ROBERT BREULER (Joel) was last seen at Profiles in their Midwest premiere of Sweet and Sad. He is celebrating his 44th year as a member of Actors Equity Association. From his first role at Joe Papp’s New York Public Theatre where he played Kress in David Rabe’s The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel to Airline Highway at Steppenwolf, he has played over one hundred roles, including Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof twice (at Steppenwolf and The Apple Tree), Moe in Riverview and Dean Strauss in Spinning Into Butter at Goodman. Bob is a member of the Steppenwolf acting ensemble where he performed in some 40 roles over 28 years. Some favorites include Botwinnic in A Walk in the Woods, Father Lux in Our Lady of 121st Street, Pa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, Charlie “Blackie” Blackwell in Killers, The Wheel, The Cherry Orchard, A Lesson Before Dying, The Time of Your Life, Mother Courage and Her Children, Uncle Vanya, The Infidel and Molly Sweeney. On Broadway, he appeared in The Grapes of Wrath, The Song of Jacob Zulu, Carousel and Death of a Salesman. One of his favorite roles was The Devil in the live broadcast of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on public radio. His television credits include Chicago Fire, Prison Break, Early Edition, NYPD Blue, Angel Street and The Untouchables. Robert’s film credits include The Crucible, Trial By Jury, The Company, Love and Action in Chicago, Miles From Home, A Piece of Eden, Ray Bradbury’s Small Assassin and Lac de Flambeau. He is a recipient of the William and Eva Fox Fellowship Grant. Bob and his wife Suzanne Petri have formed a not-for-profit organization called Suzbo Entertainment where they produced the original musical DUO at Steppenwolf and other locales as well as A Little Touch of Coward in the Night at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.
The cast also features Guest Artists Stephanie Chavara, Cale Haupert and Liz Zweifler.
STEPHANIE CHAVARA (Charlotte) is making her Profiles Theatre debut. Her Chicago credits include Charles Ives Take Me Home at Strawdog Theatre Company, Brighton Beach Memoirs at Fox Valley Rep, If You Split a Second at Pegasus Players, Motion at Signal Ensemble, Mourning Becomes Electra at Remy Bumppo, And a Child Shall Lead at Adventure Stage, as well as work at The Goodman, TimeLine, Dog + Pony and Collaboraction. Stephanie is a company member with 2nd Story where she writes, directs, and teaches. She has worked abroad with the Rhodopi International Theatre Laboratory in Bulgaria. Stephanie holds an MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul.
CALE HAUPERT (Peter) Cale Haupert returns to Profiles Theatre for the World premiere of Genius after understudying the role of Greg in their production of reasons to be pretty. He most recently appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire with Pulse Theatre Company. Cale’s other regional credits include Frank Galati’s Philadelphia Here I Come and The Grapes of Wrath, both with the Asolo Rep, Twelfth Night and Stop Kiss at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, Hamlet, Richard III and Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis aa well as Amadeus and Diary of Anne Frank with the St. Louis Rep. He is a recent graduate of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory where he earned is MFA last spring.
LIZ ZWEIFLER (Sara) is making her Profiles Theatre debut. She most recently appeared in The Quality Of Life at The Den Theatre (Jeff Nomination for Best Actress). Her other Chicago credits include Sirens at Fox Valley Rep, Bus Stop at The Den Theatre, Little Women at The Bog Theatre and Fool for Love at Aspect Theatre. She has voiced many national and regional commercials and is an ensemble member of The Den Theatre. Liz is represented by Stewart Talent.
“Highly Recommended! Kate Walbert’s GENIUS script presents strong ideas about large subjects and her intellect is clear, strong and unsentimental. Robert Breuler as Joel is lovable, hateful, admirable and contemptible, as Walbert specifies. Cale Haupert personifies the Midwestern doper mediocrity in Peter and Stephanie Chavara suggests Charlotte’s inner conflicts with a gesture, a look. Liz Zweifler as Sara made me want to read Sara’s books that “beat Didion at her own game.” Do you live for the exhilaration of being ruthlessly enlightened by a mind superior to your own? Then go see this play!”
-Bill Sweetland, NEW CITY
“Highly Recommended! This deftly written play is about two married couples, four individual artists, all very smart people, and their hopes, commitments, disappointments and the nagging question: Could I be one of the magical few? Robert Breuler is brilliant as a once accomplished and admired artist who drenches his own passing in drink. The role of Sara, the faded writer, finds sympathetic and deeply etched form in Liz Zweifler. Cale Haupert’s understated performance slyly suggests intriguing possibilities about Peter. GENIUS well may be Chicago’s theatrical sleeper of the season!”
-Lawrence Johnson, CHICAGO ON THE AISLE
"Liz Zeifler and Stephanie Chavara in particular bring a wonderfully honest and grounded ambition to their characters that keeps the audience focused on those characters’ well being. The combination of Darrell W. Cox’s direction, Michelle Lilly’s set design, and Mike Durst’s lights creates a lovely, intimate environment. GENIUS turns in an entertaining performance due to the strong presence of its four actors and the outstanding ability of Cox to direct in the Alley Stage space!”
-Jerald Raymond Pierce, CHICAGO STAGE STANDARD
"Highly Recommended! Above all, GENIUS is an actor’s play and this quartet of performers is ideal. In addition to Robert Breuler and Liz Zweifler’s expert work, Stephanie Chavara burns with ambition and abrasive know-it-all-ness. This smart, funny GENIUS almost begs to be seen again. And with such honest, entertaining performances, you would no doubt be rewarded for doing so!"
-Tom Lawler, THE FOURTH WALSH
The Profiles Two Show Flex Pass is available for a limited time only! The Flex Pass is good for two admissions to GENIUS by Kate Walbert and two admissions to OUR NEW GIRL by Nancy Harris. The pass is only $100 and you'll save over $60 off the price at the door! Tickets can be used for any date with advance reservations. Call the box office at 773-549-1815 to order yours today!
Our intimate theatre, located just north of Wrigleyville, is conveniently located one block west of Lake Shore Drive, the Red Line at the Sheridan El stop, and numerous bus routes.