The Temporary LockDown Ensemble at Cook County Juvenile Detention Center (CCJDC) will present a preview performance of the original musical Man of the House at 6 PM on Friday, April 17, 2015.

Andre has been the “man of the house” for four years since his father was sent to prison. What will happen when Dad returns home and finds 11-year- old Deshawn stealing cars, 16-year-old Ashley dating the boy downstairs, and Andre involved with two shady characters who are running a credit card scam?

MAN OF THE HOUSE16 resident participants co-wrote Man of the House in the Storycatchers program at CCJDC from August 2014 through February 2015. The script is based on original stories about their lives.

“There is so much talent in this particular group of young men that the largest problem we faced was choosing which roles would highlight their particular gifts most effectively,” Program Manager Cheryl Coons remarked. “They act, they sing, they dance, and they have written a beautiful show that they are excited to show their families and community. The young men continue to impress us with their willingness to work hard and step out of their comfort zones to bring their stories to life. Our very best rehearsals have begun and ended with laughter.”

The show features original songs written in collaboration with program participants by composer Diana Lawrence, whose musical Mill Girls debuted at The Music Theatre Company of Highland Park in 2014. Audience members who attended the staged readings of the stories which helped to develop …House will be delighted to hear polished versions of Flex/Finesse and Sticky Fingers, as well as several new songs.

Apprentice Teaching Artist Brandi Lee from Columbia College Chicago and Guest Performer Eliana Sigel-Epstein, who recently worked on Writers Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, will perform with the Ensemble, as will Alyssa Johnson, a staff member at the Detention Center.

“Ms. Johnson and other facility staff partners at CCJDC enjoy playing our theatre games with the kids. They tell us it helps them to build relationships that make their jobs easier,” Coons said. “They often remark how happy it makes them to see our participants laughing and playing together. When we invite them to be part of the mix, it lightens the whole room.”