Our good friends at Victory Gardens (thank you) have shared the Official Blackbird Press Release with us to share a few days ahead of schedule.    Single tickets are also on sale March 31st 2009.   Remember our raffle starts on Sunday to win two tickets to the first preview July 3rd 2009.

ETA : Details now available on the Victory Gardens website

WILLIAM PETERSEN TO STAR IN BLACKBIRD TO CLOSE VICTORY GARDENS ’ 2008/09 SEASON

CHICAGO, August 18, 2008 – Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago’s #1 presenter of new work, announced today it will present the Midwest premiere of British playwright David Harrower’s provocative drama Blackbird as the final production of its 2008-2009 season.

William L. Petersen, star of CBS-TV’s CSI, returns to the theater that first gave him his Equity card to star in Harrower’s intense two-person story about the destructive cycle of desire and illicit love, under the direction of Victory Gardens Artistic Director Dennis Zacek.    Previews are July 3 through July 12, 2009.   Press opening is Monday, July 13 at 7:30 pm.  Performances run through August 9 at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue , Chicago.

Single tickets are $20-$48, and go on sale March 31, 2009.  However, only subscribers to Victory Gardens ’ 2008/09 season are guaranteed the best seats to Blackbird, and can purchase additional single tickets to the production before they go on sale to the general public.  For subscription information or to inquire about single tickets, call 773.871.3000, or visit VictoryGardens.org

British vernacular for jailbird, Blackbird is a real-time account of the awkward reunion of Ray and Una, 15 years after a passionate affair when he was 40 and she was just a minor.   Ray is confronted with his past when Una arrives unannounced at his workplace.  Guilt, rage and raw emotions run high as they recollect their forbidden relationship.  After years in prison and subsequent hardships, Ray has a new identity and has made a new life for himself, thinking that he could no longer be found.  But Una, now 27, has thought of nothing else since, and on finding a photo of Ray, sets out to find him, looking for answers, not vengeance.  Nonetheless, their reunion has a devastating effect that will leave audiences stunned.

Originally commissioned in 2005 by the Edinburgh International Festival, Blackbird was the surprise winner of the 2007Laurence Olivier Award, Britain ’s equivalent to the Tony’s, besting stiff competition including Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan and Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.   Blackbird premiered in the U.S. in April 2007 at New York ’s Manhattan Theater Club, directed by Broadway veteran Joe Mantello, starring Alison Pilland Jeff Daniels.   The reviews were stellar:

“The gifted David Harrower’s intense Blackbird promises to be the most powerful drama of the season…masterly, mesmerizing…extraordinary…a miracle.” – The New York Times

“Four stars!  This haunting, powerful, incendiary work is the sort of daring theater far too absent from our stages these days.” – The New York Post

“A fascinating and unnerving ninety-minute cat and mouse tale of revenge and sexual intrigue, with genuine theatricality and undeniable shock value.” – Associated Press.

“Blackbird is one of the most poetic, visceral new plays to hit the scene in years,” said Victory Gardens Artistic Director Dennis Zacek.  “Certainly Ray is an ideal role for Bill to flex his theatrical acting chops, and to reintroduce to local audiences the magnetic presence that he demonstrated so ably in his early days on Chicago’s stages, playing morally questionable characters in In the Belly of the Beast, The Night of the Iguana, and Flyovers  ten years ago here at Victory Gardens.”