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Gift Theatre Adds Nine Actors, Directors and Playwrights to Ensemble

 The Gift Theatre will launch its 14th season in 2015.
The Gift Theatre will launch its 14th season in 2015.
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The Gift Theatre

JEFFERSON PARK — Nine actors, directors and playwrights will join the Gift Theatre ensemble, officials said.

Playwrights Will Eno and Laura Marks; directors Marti Lyons and Erica Weiss; and actors Cyd Blakewell, Darci Nalepa, Keith Neagle, Mary Ann Thebus and Kyle Zornes are now part of the tiny Jefferson Park theater's ensemble, according to Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, who founded the theater with playwright William Nedved.

The theater, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., is designed to grow and nurture an ensemble while laying roots in an artistically underserved Chicago neighborhood, according to its mission statement.

"The Gift is just what its name says," said Eno, who has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. "I love the Gift Theatre and its fearless and fearful and fearless Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton. I am proud to be a part of it and will try to be as good a person as I can be."

The theater now boasts a 31-member ensemble, Thornton said.

"Every new ensemble member has challenged us to be better artists and better people," Thornton said. "They have forced us to evolve by simply being themselves. They have delivered performances, directed, or written plays over the past years that have deeply defined The Gift's local and national reputation as an exceptional professional ensemble that produces daringly honest and emotional work."

Performances of "Body & Blood," written by Nedved and directed by Lyons, will take place at the Gift Theatre through Aug. 9.

For more information, go to thegifttheatre.org or call 773-283-7071.

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