Public Housing Will Take Center Stage in American Theater Company's The Project(s)

By Carey Purcell
03 Jul 2014

The Project(s), a documentary play about Chicago's public housing, will be featured as the final production of American Theater Company's 30th anniversary season.



Performances begin April 24, 2015, and continue through May 24. 

Co-written by ATC artistic director PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger, the play will combine documentary theatre, a cappella music and stepping and will feature ensemble member Tyler Ravelson. Paparelli will direct.

Here's how the production is billed: "From 2010 until 2014, Paparelli conducted over 60 interviews with scholars, historians, and former and current residents of Chicago's public housing. Interweaving verbatim material with a cappella music, stepping, and body percussion, The Project(s) tells the stories of four generations of public housing families while examining the key planning decisions that took Chicago's public housing from paradise to purgatory."

"The Project(s) is the story of Chicago," Paparelli said in a statement. "My hope is to shatter the misconceptions about public housing by taking a hard look at what happened from both the planning side and from the residents' point of view. I have met the most extraordinary people on this journey and am honored to be able to share their story."

"Just as the places it describes, The Project(s) has a unmistakable pulse," added Sherman. "The power and emotion of percussive dance and stepping, in particular, make it an apt medium for this piece. The striking nature of these forms have the ability to affect us in a visceral way, and I am profoundly excited to see these stories burst open in an atmosphere of rhythmic texture."

The production will be choreographed by Jakari Sherman, artistic director of Step Afrika!

ATC is located at 1909 West Byron Street, Chicago, IL. Visit atcweb.org for more information.