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Twelve grooms invade a house in Italy to capture and marry their cousins in Big Love.

Big Love

Photo credit: Chris Ocken

BY CHARLES L. MEE

DIRECTED BY MATT HAWKINS

Season 25

Apr 21, 2015–May 25, 2015

3829 N. Broadway

The term battle of the sexes” gets a whole new meaning when a group of brides-to-be on the run from the altar face down their jilted grooms at an Italian villa. Strawdog Artistic Associate Matt Hawkins, director of The House Theatre’s Cyrano and Strawdog’s award-winning smash hit Red Noses returns (triumphantly) to our mainstage with Mee’s poetic, madcap riff on love, violence and gender roles.

RECOMMENDED … a comic, tragic, utterly terrific battle that makes The Taming of the Shrew look like the kid’s stuff it essentially is. Matt Hawkins’s staging is also terrific. The precisely choreographed cast of 30 (yes, 30) play for keeps—especially those in featured roles, such as the fierce Michaela Petro, the convincingly dangerous Shane Kenyon, the girly-girlish Sarah Goeden, and Stacy Stoltz and John Ferrick as gender warriors who find themselves caught behind enemy lines. Paul Fagen and Cheryl Roy float through in delightful character roles, and Mike Mroch’s apparently simple set discloses its value as the show goes along. All in all, this Big Love is a marvel of big ensemble work in a tiny space.”

— Chicago Reader

“★★★ Hawkins, whose staging of Peter Barnes’ Red Noses for Strawdog a few seasons ago was a sheer delight, again demonstrates his zesty ability to animate a large cast in a small space without losing focus on the small telling moments … Pianist Dane Halvorson provides cunning accompaniment to a gaggle of pop love songs … the performances are terrific from top to bottom, including John Henry Roberts’ Piero, the owner of the Italian villa who finds his attempts to help the women thwarted by realpolitik, and Cheryl Roy as Bella, the Italian matriarch …”

— Chicago Tribune

People who would like this show are people who like being free, being in love, and flip-up sunglasses. People should go and see this show because it is funny but also very serious. It has a great set (by Mike Mroch) that is pretty and deadly. The costumes (by Brittany Dee Bodley) are amazing. The wedding dresses are pretty when you first see them and then they start to get creepy; they reminded me of ghosts. The acting is fantastic. It made me think that I am not going to let anyone make me marry anyone. Period.”

— Ada Grey Reviews For You

Cast

Christopher Acevedo

as Groom

Jonathan Beal

as Groom

Sami Cravens

as Bride

Luke Daigle

as Groom

Matthew Dealy

as Groom

Anita Deely

Anita Deely

as Eleanor

Paul Fagen.

Paul Fagen*

as Giuliano

John Ferrick.

John Ferrick*

as Nikos

Kyle Gibson*

as Oed

Sarah Goeden.

Sarah Goeden*

as Olympia

Carmine Grisolia.

Carmine Grisolia*

as Leo

Dane Halvorson

as Pianist

Shane Kenyon

as Constantine

Michael Medford

as Groom

Emilie Modaff

Emilie Modaff

as Bride

John Moran

as Groom

Shane Michael Murphy

as Groom

Michaela Petro.

Michaela Petro*

as Thyona

Rasika Ranganthan

as Bride

John Henry Roberts.

John Henry Roberts*

as Piero

Cheryl Roy

as Bella

Brandon Saunders

Brandon Saunders

as Groom

Eleni Sauvageau

as Bride

Kevin Sheehan

as Groom

Elise Spoerlein

as Bride

Stacy Stoltz

as Lydia

Britni Tozzi

as Bride

Walls Trimble

as Bride

Casey Wortmann

as Bride

Kelly Yacono

as Bride

Creative Team

Charles L. Mee
Author

Matt Hawkins
Director

Charlie McGrath
Assistant Director

Mike Mroch
Set Design

Heather Gilbert
Light Design

Brittany Dee Bodley*
Costume Design

Jeff Shields
Props Design

Heath Hays*
Sound Design

Marrissa Moritz
Choreography

Kathy Logelin
Dialects

Clare Roche
Stage Manager

Sarah Espinoza
Ass't Stage Manager

Aaron Cannon
Master Electrician

Sarah Burnham
Production Manager

* Strawdog Theatre ensemble member