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updated: 1/10/2013 4:29 PM

Lake Forest native Adam Pasen debuts work

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  • Lake Forest native Adam Pasen

    Lake Forest native Adam Pasen

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Lake Forest native Adam Pasen's play Tea with Edie and Fitz will receive a sneak preview at a special event with Dead Writers Theatre Collective at The Clare at Rush and Pearson, a continuing care retirement community in the heart of Chicago's Gold Coast.

"Tea With Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald At The Clare" will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. It is a fundraising event and preview for Dead Writers Theatre Collectives' full production of Pasen's Tea with Edie and Fitz. Directed by Jim Schneider, the show will run April 26 to June 9, 2013 at the Greenhouse Theater Complex.

Tickets are $50 and include valet parking at The Clare. Tickets are available at or by calling (773) 305-8221.

Pasen, who grew up in Lake Forest, earned his BA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, his MA fiction at Northwestern University in the Continuing Studies program, and recently his PhD in playwriting at Western Michigan University. His first taste of professional theatre came while he was attending Deer Path Junior High School. "My Deer Path Junior High choir was selected to appear in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond at the Chicago Theatre," he said. Pasen wrote his first play that same year (a spy parody called Butterfinger that won a contest in the class to be fully produced as the sixth-grade play). He went on to act in productions at Lake Forest High School, in college and post studies, as well.

Pasen, who was recently awarded the National 10-Minute Play Award from the Kennedy Center, will be published along with John Guare, A.R. Gurney, and Neil LaBute in Best American Short Plays 2011-2012. He was also awarded the WordBRIDGE fellowship and a two-week residency in Baltimore at Centerstage in June 2012.

Pasen said that he felt drawn to write something on the Jazz Age and Fitzgerald because of his Lake Forest roots. "Lake Forest has a deep connection to F. Scott Fitzgerald which was a big reason I decided to write a play about him; Fitzgerald's famed first love and inspirational muse for many of his female characters is the beautiful Lake Forest socialite Ginevra King," Pasen reflects. "After visiting her home, Fitzgerald became enamored with the city as well, and years later would quote, 'Once I thought that Lake Forest was the most glamorous place in the world. Maybe it was.'"

Fitzgerald mentions Lake Forest by name in The Great Gatsby. His relationship with Ginevra and ties to Lake Forest have been the subject of increased interest recently after fellow Lake Forest alum Caroline Preston popular fictionalized account of the affair in Gatsby's Girl.

Pasen will be speaking at the Tea With Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald At The Clare. This special event launches the spring theater season, which includes a fully realized production of his work in Chicago. In addition, the Tea includes:

• A talk by distinguished Wharton scholar Katherine Joslin (PhD, Northwestern) on the central role of fashion in Edith Wharton's work and cultural aesthetic as discussed in her recently-released, award-winning book, "Edith Wharton and the Making of Fashion" (University Press of New England). Her book will be available for purchase and signing.

• A preview glimpse of this world-premiere play with scenes enacted by the cast.

• A fashion show and lecture of costumes from the Gilded and Jazz Ages.

• A delicious, traditional high tea prepared by The Clare's Executive Chef, with cucumber sandwiches, scones and clotted cream. 


Dead Writers Theatre Collective, a not-for-profit performing arts collective, is committed to bringing the aesthetic back to the classics through fully staged, period-accurate and highly detailed productions. The Collective focuses on the writer as the primary artist and in their process, all aspects of Dead Writers' productions and decisions radiate from this point. Their productions, comprised largely of Chicago-based directors, designers, actors and playwrights, are either by or about dead writers.


The Clare, a luxury continuing care retirement community owned by Chicago Senior Care and managed by Life Care Services, is dedicated to offering world-class retirement living. The Clare was created with the idea that today's progressive Chicago seniors deserve a rewarding residential experience, accompanied by quality health care and service options, for maximum independent living and privacy.

Dead Writers Theatre Collective and The Clare present Tea With Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald At The Clare, 55 East Pearson Street, Saturday, Feb. 9 at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Tickets for the tea are $50 and include valet parking at The Clare. Tickets for Tea At The Clare and Tea With Edie And Fitz are available at or by calling (773) 305-8221.