Nelson Algren Live: The 100th Birthday Celebration
An evening of dramatic readings at the historic Steppenwolf Theater, including never-before-seen works by the famed Chicago novelist
February 19, 2009, New York and Chicago—The Seven Stories Institute in partnership with Steppenwolf Theatre Company is pleased to announce a one-night only celebration of Chicago’s Nelson Algren on the centenary of his birth. “Nelson Algren Live: The 100th Birthday Celebration” will feature dramatic readings of previously unpublished Algren stories by novelists Russell Banks, Barry Gifford and Don Delillo, actors Estelle Parsons and Matt Dillon, Steppenwolf’s Martha Lavey, and Algren’s last editor Dan Simon.
The performance on April 6th will be directed by David New, based on a script written for the event by Barry Gifford and Dan Simon. A special slide projection will be created by Chicago photographer and Algren friend, Art Shay. Director Hugo Perez /M30A Films will film the event for eventual distribution to schools interested in teaching the works of Nelson Algren. This performance and other Algren centennial events and outreach have been made possible with the support of the Lannan Foundation and the National Book Foundation.
Born in 1909 in Chicago, Nelson Algren is best known as the author of The Man with the Golden Arm, which won the first National Book Award in 1950 and was praised by Carl Sandburg for its “strange midnight dignity.” That book chronicled the dissolution of a card-dealing WWII veteran named Frankie Machine. Algren’s powerful voice rose out of the urban wilderness of postwar Chicago, to which he returned over and over in books such as the story collection, The Neon Wilderness, the prose poem Chicago: City on the Make, and the novels A Walk on the Wild Side and Never Come Morning. Lauded by Hemingway as “one of the two best authors in America,” Algren, who died in 1981, remains one of our most defiant and enduring novelists.
Seven Stories Institute was founded in 2004 as a response to the realization that many good books posing alternatives to current governmental policies and attitudes circulate largely within academic circles but never reach those most adversely affected by those policies. SSI brings seminal books such as the works of Howard Zinn and the Spanish-language edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves to communities that do not otherwise have access to them through such programs as author forums, collaborations with local media, and distribution of books at deeply subsidized prices, to stimulate discussion of important policy issues within those communities who have the most to lose in the current political and economic crises but have the least access to the terms of the debate. SSI seeks ultimately to promote literacy and the active exchange of ideas, imagination and the written word.
Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and playwrights, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships and contributing new works to the national canon. The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of 42 artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation. For additional information, visit www.steppenwolf.org.
April 6th, 2009
1650 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Tickets $20.00 via Steppenwolf box office, 312-335-1650 or www.steppenwolf.org.
Entrapment and Other Writings, a new collection of never-before-published works by Nelson Algren, edited by Brooke Horvath and Dan Simon, will be published by Seven Stories Press on April 6th. For futher information or to buy the book, please visit www.sevenstories.com.