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Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Traffic presents the world premiere concert–style staged reading of Studs Terkel's Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Chicago — Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Traffic series presents Studs Terkel's concert–style staged reading of Will the Circle Be Unbroken?, adapted and directed by Derek Goldman from Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith. The evening features ensemble members Tracy Letts and Alan Wilder with Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Jeff Dumas, Cheryl Hamada, Ernest Perry Jr., Mary Ann Thebus, and others with live music by Musical Director Robert Reddrick. Will the Circle Be Unbroken? will take place in the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted Street, on Monday, October 18, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, September 16, 2004. Steppenwolf Traffic will once again collaborate with literary legend Studs Terkel for an unforgettable evening of song, story and celebration. With a cast including ensemble members Tracy Letts and Alan Wilder, the concert–style reading will incorporate blues, folk, opera and gospel to illuminate Studs's poignant book of interviews on death and dying. Recognizable interviewees portrayed on stage include author Kurt Vonnegut, actress Uta Hagen and Chicago Reader theater critic and AIDS activist Justin Hayford. There are also everyday Chicagoans — parents, medics and teachers — who share wise words and meaningful memories. The result is a vibrant tapestry of life's full process, sure to stir compassion and inspiration in Traffic audiences of all ages. Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Traffic series brings together artists of all disciplines and casts them as storytellers on the Steppenwolf stage. Traffic provides an intimate and unique intersection of language, lyrics, poetry and music, creating a fresh perspective on expressing the American story. Event: Studs Terkel's Will the Circle Be Unbroken? Adapted and directed by: Derek Goldman Musical direction by: Robert Reddrick Featuring: ensemble members Tracy Letts and Alan Wilder Date: Monday, October 18, 2004 Time: 7:30 p.m. Location: Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted Street Ticket price: $20 Box office: 1650 N. Halsted Street, (312) 335–1650, Box office hours: 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. everyday 11:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. on days with evening performances Steppenwolf Theatre Company is located near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. Street and lot parking are available. Louis (Studs) Terkel, (author) has been described as a historian, writer, actor, and sociologist, but he prefers to call himself a "guerrilla journalist with a tape recorder." Terkel earned his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1934 and, the following year, he found work producing radio shows as part of the Federal Writers Project. Terkel, who adopted the name Studs after the hero in James Farrell's novel, Studs Lonigan, became a familiar voice on radio in the 1940s, working as a news commentator and disc jockey. He also acted and appeared on several television programs. In 1949 Terkel began his own television show, Studs' Place, an improvised sitcom where he played himself as a restaurant owner. After being investigated by Joseph McCarthy and the House Un–American Activities Committee in 1953, his contract was cancelled. Terkel eventually found employment with the Chicago Sunday Times where he wrote a regular jazz column. In 1958 he started his long–running daily radio program on WFMT, The Studs Terkel Show. It was also at this time that Terkel became interested in oral history, writing numerous books based on interviews: Division Street: America (1967), Hard Times (1970), Working (1974). American Dreams: Lost and Found (1980), the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Good War (1985), The Great Divide (1988), Race (1992), Coming of Age (1995), Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times (1995), My American Century (1998), American Dreams: Lost and Found (1999), and Will the Circle be Unbroken? (2001). His latest book, Hope Dies Last (2003), deals with the threat of terrorism and its affect on the American psyche. Derek Goldman (Director, Adaptor) is the Artistic Director of the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, which he founded in Chicago in 1992 and has been based in Chapel Hill, NC, since 1999. Under his leadership, StreetSigns has produced forty–six productions, including many world premiere plays and adaptations, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Recently Goldman directed Sholom Aleichem: Now You're Talking off–Broadway. Productions include his Jeff–Cited adaptation of A Death in the Family; Triangle Theatre Award–winners The Turn of the Screw and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Divine Days; Written on the Body; Three Men in a Boat; White People; and the original works Kaddish for Allen Ginsberg; Wave When You Pass; Right as Rain; Shelter; and Behind the Front: A Response to the Ongoing AIDS Epidemic. With Jessica Thebus he co–authored the play Haymarket Eight, which premiered with the Steppenwolf Arts Exchange Program. Other directing highlights include his Jeff–Cited Hamlet; the American premiere of Helene Cixous' The Perjured City; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; Brecht's Antigone; a premiere adaptation of DeLillo's Mao II; Tales of the Lost Formicans; As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Seagull, The Fever; two productions of Lorca's The Public; the hit comedies Night of the Mime and Lovely Letters; and Beckett's Rough for Theatre and What Where. Current projects include writing My Swan: the Passions of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a jazz–musical being developed in New York, and Superheroes in the Doll Corner, a new work inspired by the writings of Chicago kindergarten teacher and MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Vivan Gussin Paley. In January, he will leave his post at UNC Chapel Hill to join the Theatre Faculty at Georgetown University. He received his Ph.D in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Chicago Public Radio continues its media sponsorship and on–air support of the Traffic series with re–broadcasts of selected performances from previous seasons. Traffic will be broadcast on Chicago Public Radio (91.5 FM) as part of Performance Space, a new series highlighting the art of live performance, on Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., repeated on Sundays at 11:00 p.m. The weekly performance series will include Steppenwolf's Traffic and a number of productions recorded at other local venues and Chicago Public Radio's refurbished, state of the art performance studio. Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and playwrights, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships, and contributing new works to the national canon. The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on–going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of thirty–five artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation.