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William H Macy Visits Jackalope Theatre, Shows Gaining National Buzz

JackalopeTheatre-300x225A few weeks ago Jackalope Theatre had a very special secret (and famous) guest that wasn’t made known to the public or even to the actors performing in the show. The current production of Exit Strategy, written by Ike Holter and directed by Gus Menary is getting rave reviews and has extended their run to meet the request for more ticket sales.

Even local celebrities have had to call in a few favors to get tickets. Lucky for William H Macy, he had a few connections which were able to pull a few strings to get a seat to this popular production that is getting a great deal of attention. Jackalope couldn’t be happier, and was honored to have Macy attend one of their shows earlier this month. Macy was reportedly extremely impressed with the show and a few of the ensemble members were able to get a photo with him directly after the production.

Macy began his acting career here in Chicago. He produced, directed, acted, and taught for about 10 years here before moving to New York to pursue his acting career. Now the father figure of the hit Showtime drama series ‘Shameless ‘ based in the Canaryville neighborhood of Chicago, Macy’s return feels full circle for the theatre community.

Director of Community Engagement Andrew Swanson states, “It has been so inspiring for us to go from finding this dusty second floor room in the middle of the Broadway Armory earlier this year, to then transform that space into a place where our hero’s come to see our plays. It’s pretty amazing.”

Exit Strategy is a story of one of the 50 Chicago public schools that is being closed down and their last year in existence. The show is extremely Chicago-focused and has meant a great deal to the community including Chicago teachers, parents, activists, and anyone with an interest in city politics and education. Swanson comments “The show is a call to the city to remind them that this story will be told and this time of school closings will be remembered.” It’s no surprise that the President of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis came to see the show and loved the production.

Jackalope Theatre has done productions all over the city for the last 6 years, and only recently did they move into their current home on the second floor of the Broadway Armory. They do 4 full productions a year and have a second space on Thorndale for rehearsals and other projects. In August they will have their 5th Annual Living Newspapers Festival. This series is one in which they hire several playwrights and supply them with a few pieces of current american newspaper articles to turn into shows. The directors have one week to create the work before the shows run (usually the last two weeks in August).

Jackalope is lucky to have have an enormous amount of support from actors and artists outside of their own ensemble. Their work is new, innovative and continues to make waves nationally while attracting some well known celebrities. They make it a priority to do cutting edge shows and feature their ensemble members work regularly.

 


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