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American Theater Company announces 30th season lineup

Look for plays by Stephen Karam, Marco Ramirez and Anna Deavere Smith, plus Little Shop of Horrors
American Theater Company
By Kris Vire |

American Theater Company today announced the slate for its 30th anniversary season, to include among other things a new work by Stephen Karam, a playwright closely aligned with the company, as well as a new production of the cult musical Little Shop of Horrors.

The season will open in September with a pair of solo pieces about health care in America, staged in repertory. Ensemble member Usman Ally will play all 19 characters in the Chicago premiere of Anna Deavere Smith's 2009 work Let Me Down Easy, an interview-based meditation on health and the human body. Writer-performer Michael Milligan brings his play Mercy Strain, about a couple plunged into crippling debt by cancer treatment; it was well received at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it was titled Mercy Killers.

In November, ATC will premiere Karam's Thanksgiving family drama The Humans, which the company says will later be produced in New York by Roundabout Theatre Company; it's helmed here by ATC artistic director PJ Paparelli. February sees the Chicago premiere of boxing drama The Royale, by Marco Ramirez (Broadsword, Orange is the New Black); ATC ensemble member Jaime Castañeda directs.

In May, Paparelli plans to helm Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's Little Shop of Horrors. The production, to star ATC ensemble member Tyler Ravelson, is said to emphasize the B-movie horror aspects of the musical comedy.

Update 4/16/14: As part of the announcement of a new partnership with Broadway producers The Araca Group, ATC has scrapped plans for Little Shop of Horrors in favor of a new musical yet to be announced.

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