Friday, June 10, 2016

Buena Park's Profiles Theatre Subject Of Reader Investigative Report

uncredited Facebook photo shows Profiles Theatre's storefront papered with copies of the article

Profiles Theatre (4147 N Broadway) is the subject of a long investigative article in Chicago Reader this week, which alleges that the theater company's artistic directors, Darrell W. Cox and Joe Jahraus, created and fostered an environment of psychological, sexual, and physical abuse, both on and off stage. An excerpt from the beginning of the lengthy report reads:
The reason Killer Joe felt so vicious and so real was because it was. All of it: the choking, the bruises, the deep-throating of a chicken leg, the body slam into the refrigerator, Cox's groping of Wellin through her dress as Joe attempts to seduce Dottie, Cox's semierection at the beginning of Act II after Joe succeeds. "It was real," says Darcy McGill, the costume designer, "because there was a psychopath onstage."
One of the authors of the article, and several follow-up pieces, is Christopher Piatt, founder and performer at Paper Machete, which takes place weekly at the Green Mill Jazz Club.

Chicago's theater community is up in arms, with actors distributing copies of the Reader to theatergoers as they arrive for performances. Some papered the theater's exterior (see photo above) with copies of the Reader with the message "Abuse ≠ Art" written on them.

We aren't part of Chicago's theater community, so we don't have any personal experience behind the scenes at Profiles Theatre, but it's caused a stir in Chicago and is starting to resonate nationally.

We'd like to give Profile Theatre's response, but so far they haven't issued one, and are hiding or deleting all comments referring to the article that are left on their Facebook page:

(Comments were removed shortly after we took the above screen captures.)

If you'd like to read more about it, here are some handy links:
  • "Profiles’ business license with the city of Chicago expires June 15. It’s important for all members of the Chicago theatre community, especially those living in the 46th ward (Uptown/Buena Park/North Lakeview) to contact Alderman Cappleman (773-878-4646 / @JamesCappleman) and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (311 / @ChicagoBACP) to get that license revoked.
  • Also, consider contacting the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Bureau, 312-814-2595, who oversees all NFP's.
  • While you’re at it, reaching out to TLC Management (@TLCManagement), the property manager for the building, would not be out of line. If the city moves too slowly and renews the license there might still be a chance to get their lease terminated."
Update: Hedy Weiss in the Sun-Times did an article about the controversy, ending with the news that, "by the end of the day came word that British playwright Penelope Skinner (whose first play, in 2008, was titled F…ed ) had withdrawn the rights to her play, The Village Bike, which was scheduled to begin previews the theater in late August." The Reader covered that development as well: Playwright withdraws script rights from Profiles Theatre in the wake of the Reader’s abuse investigation

Update: Friday evening, Darrell W. Cox replied to the allegations made in the article on Profiles Theatre's Facebook page. You can read his entire statement here. In part, it reads, "For the record, Joe Jahraus and I (Profiles artistic directors) have never and will never condone workplace abuse at Profiles Theatre. Abuse has no place in any work environment, especially one as emotionally exposed as the theatre."

UU Note: If you read Mr. Cox's statement, be sure to stay around for the terrifically entertaining comments section.


  1. That's a powerful story.

    Profiles is deader than a Monty Python parrot. Whether the two principals realize that is another story.

    Cox has replied on their FB page.

    It's not a good time to be labeled as a woman abuser in America. Nope, those days are gone as they should be.

    Best thing for Profiles to do now is close down because the chances of them ever performing another play under that moniker is tiny. Try to put on a play here and dozens of actors and their friends will be picketing outside. Oh the play would get lotsa publicity, but then again so does Trump for some of his unseemlier comments.

  2. What happened in this theater is happening in all theaters, these guys got fingered. Actors are generally people with no creative ability, looking for something to do and to become famous. Stage acting requires hard work and some skill, film acting to which people at Chicago theaters aspire to requires no skill whatsoever, only the ability to feel comfortable in front of a camera and that's why so many people are often pulled off the street and do well as film actors. Film acting is the lowest form of art there is and actors generally don't have much going on in terms of "art" or creativity.

    There is no comparison to what a fine artist, musician or even athelete have to do to become professional.

    Anybody can act. People do it everyday. So this stuff about the Profile theater is quite mundane.

    You can go to Broadway and see awful actors or great acting and you can go to the smallest theater in Chicago and see awful actors or great acting. There is no sense to quality in the theater really, it's all over the map.

    This is really a non story, hyped up. It's common, these guys at Profile got caught up in something that the Reader exposed which is common in all theaters. Why not investigate the Corporate Stooge theater of Steppenwolf?

    There is plenty there, I'm sure.

    1. Writing bloated, self-righteous, apathetic responses to a story about abuse takes a TON of talent, though. Great work! How useful you are!

    2. Physical abuse is MUNDANE?! psychological abuse is MUNDANE?! Sleeping with CHILDREN is MUNDANE!? Using your not-for-profit company as your personal sex mill is MUNDANE?! Whatever your feeling about acting and actors, you cannot disagree that Darrell Cox is a sociopathic abuser and should be be able to continue.

      People's lives were traumatized and calling it mundane only pour salt into their wounds and essentially shows that you,too, endorse a serial abuser.


  3. And what is your experience in theater? And why don't you have the guts to sign your own name? And what is your opinion of non-submissive women?