Recommended Book: GIVE MY REGARDS TO NOWHERE (Richard Engling, Polarity Ensemble Books)

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by Tony Frankel on March 10, 2023

in Books,Theater-Chicago


Chicago “storefront” theaters have produced some of the most amazing productions that I have ever seen. Usually started by a ragtag group of friends or a brave individual to experiment and produce works on a budget, some companies move forward to Actors’ Equity status (Steppenwolf, Steep), or have a great run only to close up shop from a lack of money (Oracle, Hypocrites) or an abundance of drama within the company (Profiles). Yes, it seems there has been as much drama offstage as there has been onstage.

But in his new novel GIVE MY REGARDS TO NOWHERE, author Richard Engling is going for the comical travails informed by his years as an artistic director in one of Chicago’s storefront theatres — he founded Polarity Ensemble Theatre in Chicago in 2004 and served as its Artistic Director for twelve long and confusing years. While PET ceased operations in 2016, Engling’s Polarity Ensemble Books continues to publish. Lincoln Square’s Book Cellar Bookstore at 4736 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago will host a reading and book signing of GIVE MY REGARDS TO NOWHERE at 7pm March 22nd, the day the book goes on sale. Books will be available for purchase at the Book Cellar event. The bookstore requests that interested attendees visit Book Cellar to RSVP.

The novel follows the adventures of struggling Chicago director Dwayne Finnegan who has a long shot at the big time and only two obstacles: himself and everyone he knows. Dwayne has an idea of how to direct Shakespeare’s least-favorite play that could set him on the road to Broadway, with Bob Fosse-style choreography, Jimi Hendrix-style guitars, and the hottest cast in the city of Chicago. When the show’s producer leaves town and abandons the project, Dwayne decides to produce the show himself, putting his marriage and his meager finances at risk.

Engling’s dystopian detective thriller Body Mortgage was published by Penguin Books USA and Headline UK, and his novel Visions Of Anna and play Anna in the Afterlife appeared in 2014 as part of the ambitious Afterlife Trilogy. His plays have been produced in the US and England, and he continues to work as an actor and playwright.

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