|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:
- At Profiles Theatre the drama—and abuse—is real (Chicago Reader)
- A critic’s mea culpa, or How Chicago theater critics failed the women of Profiles Theatre (Chicago Reader)
- Actors hand out copies of the Reader in front of Profiles Theatre (Chicago Reader)
- Jeff Awards committee, Steppenwolf, and others condemn abuse alleged in Reader investigation of Profiles Theatre (Chicago Reader)
- 20 Years of Abuse at Profiles: #NotInOurHouse Responds (PerformInk)
- Actors/Crew Speak Up On Actual Violence in Profiles Theatre's 2010 KILLER JOE (Broadway World)
- Harassment in Chicago Theatre Exposed (Playbill)
- ‘Unfortunately, I am the villain’: Profiles Theatre artistic director Darrell W. Cox responds to Reader abuse investigation (Reader)
- 'The statement is a study in crisis management': Not in Our House leaders decline to meet with Darrell Cox without an apology (Reader)
- Upon hearing Uptown Update would be posting, an actor friend said, "You should know that this is going around, too.
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
- "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: 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.