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Manny Buckley in a promotional photo for American Blues Theater's Looking Over the President's Shoulder
Photograph: Johnny KnightManny Buckley in a promotional photo for American Blues Theater's Looking Over the President's Shoulder

American Blues Theater announces 30th season

Revivals of The Rainmaker and Little Shop of Horrors are among the four-play slate.

Written by
Kris Vire

American Blues Theater has announced a four-play slate, along with some casting, for its 2015–16 season, which marks the ensemble's 30th anniversary.

The season opens with a revival of The Rainmaker (August 28–September 27), to star Steve Key as Starbuck and Linsey Page Morton as Lizzie. Jim Leaming, Zach Kenney, Austin Cook, Robert Breuler and Howie Johnson are also among the cast, to be directed by Ed Blatchford.

ABT's perennial production of It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! returns November 20–December 27, with a new George and Mary Bailey in Zach Kenney and Amanda Tanguay. It's followed by the Chicago premiere of James Still's Looking Over the President's Shoulder (January 29–March 6), the story of Alonzo Fields, the grandson of a freed slave who served as White House butler under presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. ABT ensemble member Manny Buckley is set to star. (It's a similar story but different subject from Lee Daniels' The Butler, which followed a later White House attendant, Eugene Allen.)

As the season closer, Jonathan Berry will helm a production of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's cult camp musical Little Shop of Horrors (April 29–May 29), to star American Blues ensemble members Michael Mahler as Seymour, Dara Cameron as Audrey and Ed Kross as Orin. All four shows will be staged at the Greenhouse Theater Center.

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