American Theatre Company
The American Theater Company (ATC) is a collective of artists that produce both new and classic American stories with the intention of asking "What does it mean to be an American?"
Founded in July of 1985 as the American Blues Theatre (ABT), the company was committed to developing theatre that related to the working-class people of Chicago, producing productions such as The Hairy Ape, Monsters, Monsters II, and Rick Cleveland's Bad Moon, as well as several monologues by Chicago playwrights.
In August of 1993, the ABT leased a warehouse in Northcenter, a working-class neighborhood. In 38 days, the warehouse became a 134-seat theater. At the outset, the theater was meant to be a community center, hosting meetings and other public events.
Brian Russell became the first full-time artistic director for the company in 1997. The theater's name was then changed to the American Theater Company, bringing a new sense of professionalism and growth to the company. This is also when four-play subscription seasons were implemented, which expanded the budget from $70,000 to $385,000, not only increasing the quality of the productions but also expanding the audience by a factor of ten. Foreign productions were also brought into the company at this time.
2002 is when Brian Russell resigned as the artistic director and Damon Kiely stepped into his place. The new artistic director then changed the focus of the ATC back to its roots as the American Blues Theatre, producing only American stories with the intention of asking the audience "What does it mean to be an American?" This phrase was also integrated into the new mission statement.
In 2008 the ATC started two new outreach initiatives, American Mosaic and The Chicago Chronicle.
In the News
The Chicago Tribune has a page devoted to the Theater Loop, a news blog written by Chris Jones on all things theater that happen within Chicago. He has written several articles about the ATC, including news about recent productions, casting, and the history of some of the productions that the ATC has done.
American Buffalo Nov 24, 1999 - Feb 5, 2000
Medea Mar 1 - Apr 1, 2000
Mineola Twins, The Apr 26 - May 27, 2000
Godbaby Jun 16 - Aug 5, 2000
Endgame Sep 6 - Oct 7, 2000
Touched by Jayne Manfield Sep 16 - Oct 28, 2000
The Happy Prince Nov 15 - Dec 16, 2000
Working Nov 20 - Dec 16, 2000
Vick's Boy Mar 12 - Apr 7, 2001
Catch-22 Apr 25 - May 26, 2001
A Lie of the Mind Sep 26 - Nov 11, 2001
Sci-Fi Action Movie In Space Prison Dec 8, 2001 - Jan 19, 2002
The Trip to Bountiful Apr 15 - May 26, 200
Dope Jul 5 - Oct 7, 2002
Where Have You Gone, Jimmy Stewart? Nov 14 - Dec 8, 2002
The Hairy Ape Apr 16 - May 18, 2003
A View From the Bridge Oct 11 - 24, 2004
It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play Dec 16 - 26, 2004
Kid Simple Feb 16 - Mar 6, 2005
Orpheus Descending Oct 5 - Nov 6, 2005
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Heritage Apr 26 - May 28, 2006
Electronic Baby Jun 15 - Jul 30, 2006
Oklahoma! Feb 6 - Mar 4, 2007
I Do! I Do! Oct 3 - Nov 4, 2007
Augusta Feb 6 - Mar 2, 2008
Speech & Debate Apr 28 - May 25, 2008
The People's Temple Sep 8 - 22, 2008
Celebrity Row Oct 23 - Nov 16, 2008
Topdog/Underdog Jan 15 - Mar 8, 2009
True West Jan 15 - Mar 8, 2009
Hedwig and the Angry Inch Apr 9 - May 31, 2009
Yeast Nation (the triumph of life) Sep 23 - Oct 18, 2009
It's a Wonderful Life Nov 27 - Dec 27, 2009
Distracted Feb 4 - 28, 2010
The Silver Project Feb 8 - Jun 20, 2010
Weldome to Arroyo's Apr 15 - May 16, 2010
Aida Jul 9 - Aug 1, 2010
The Mamet Repertory: Oleanna and Speed-the-Plow Sep 9 - Oct 31, 2010
The Big Meal Feb 3 - Mar 27, 2011
The Original Grease May 2 - Jun 5, 2011
Address: 1909 West Byron Street, Chicago, Illinois 60613
Office Hours: 10am-6pm Monday-Friday