MUST CLOSE FEB. 7…LAST TWO PERFORMANCES. All performances sold-out! Click on “The Sum of Us” for pics and video! Cheers!

Posted in Home Page on October 16, 2008 by 1027productions




“Failure to live up to other’s expectations is a part of life, as is wanting and needing love, and this play does a fine job of exploring these matters with much humor and heart….This talented cast tells an extraordinary story of the agony of it all.”  … Sheila Swann –


The Sum of Us is a worthwhile production and is definitely worth a look.” … Matthew G –


“…a gem of a play. …The smart dialogue and the rich character development make The Sum of Us one of the warmest family love stories seen on a Chicago stage in recent memory. …Don’t miss this show!  Highly recommended.”  … Tom Williams –


“…this inaugural offering from 1027 Productions, directed by Robert Estrin, maintains an unfussy air of pleasant intimacy. Michael Graham delivers a quietly masterful performance as the father…and Joel Gross captures the son’s puppyish romantic enthusiasms–as well as his exasperation with dad’s seemingly unintentional cock-blocking antics.” …Kerry Reid, Chicago Reader



The reviews are coming in and, as you can tell from the quotes above, they’re excellent.  All of us in the “The Sum of Us” family are thrilled with the critical response to our show.  Even more important, however, is the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from our most valued critics, our audiences.  Don’t miss out on this warm and funny play that will touch your heart.  Watch our YouTube clip at  Check out our “The Sum of Us” page on this website for some great rehearsal snaps.


Our performance space, Piccolo Theatre, is located in the Main Street Metra station in Evanston, just west of the corner of Main and Chicago.  The CTA Purple Line Main Street stop is just east of us.  There’s lots of street parking.  Our box office opens 45 minutes before the show.  We usually open the house 15 minutes before curtain.  Come early and enjoy a cup of coffee, a latte, snacks or some really excellent biscotti at Pufferbelly’s Café, open 30 minutes before curtain and at the interval.


Ticket prices are $20.00 for general admission and $15.00 for student/senior (60+)/industry.  Cash only at the box office, please!  Best way to obtain reservations AND to get info on discounted tickets is to email us at  Our reservations line is also open at 773-334-2765.


JUST PUBLISHED:  Read our just-published article in the Evanston Review (Pioneer Press).

Click on:,dn-sum-012209-s1.article







1027 Productions



The Sum of Us


by David Stevens


Directed by Robert D. Estrin

Featuring: Michael D. Graham, Joel Gross, Matt Hays, and Mary May Johnson


Piccolo Theatre
in the Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main Street, Evanston, Illinois


January 16 through February 7, 2009


Friday and Saturday nights (7:30), and Sunday afternoons (2:30)


Presented with the permission of Samuel French, Inc.



Reservations via email at

or by phone on 773-334-2765

*** For credit card purchases at discount prices, go to or  A nominal service charge may apply. ***






We’re on YouTube!!!

Here’s the link:



1027 Productions







“…a poignant, psychologically rich exploration of family ties and the conflicts between those loyalties and the formation of outside relationships.” Stephen Holden, New York Times


“…an unusually sturdy and well-made play whose humane vision of decent people struggling to find love in a treacherous universe strikes a deep, warmly resonant chord.”  Holden, New York Times


“A father- son play with a big heart.”  Variety

“An old fashioned play in the best sense. There’s a real story and fully developed characters an audience can care about.” AP

A major hit of the 1990 off-Broadway season and a successful motion picture starring Russell Crowe, The Sum of Us is about a widowed father, Harry Mitchell, and his 24-year-old gay son, Jeff, and their search for love in working class Melbourne, Australia.  Jeff, an amateur footballer and plumber, wants to get a relationship going with Greg, a young public works gardener he met at a local pub.  Harry, after fourteen years of mourning his late wife, is ready to take the plunge once again and begins Joyce, a woman he met through a service.  It’s a story about hopes and dreams, laughter and sadness, but most of all about the power of love.  With terrific dialogue and characters you care about, The Sum of Us will “speak to any child who failed to measure up to a parent’s expectations and every parent who was obliged to change the yardstick.” (New York Times)


The Sum of Us is directed by Robert D. Estrin.  The cast includes Michael D. Graham (Match, Appetite Theatre; Love! Valour! Compassion!, Hubris Productions; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are , Piccolo Theatre), Joel Gross (High School Musical, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre; Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Actors Workshop Theatre; Henry IV (part 2), American Theatre of Actors, New York City), Matt Hays (recent graduate of Central Michigan University and two-time Irene Ryan Award nominee for Arms and the Man and An Evening with Hal n’ Dave) and Mary May Johnson (Our Town, The Hypocrites; Elton John’s Glasses, Appetite Theatre; P.S. Your Cat Is , Stage Two Theatre Company).  The production staff includes assistant director Mary May Johnson, scenic designer Daniel Milsk, costume designer Darcy Elora Hofer, lighting designer Kyle Anderson, stage manager Amanda Bobbitt, assistant stage manager Lee Strausberg, composer Ted Harris and dialect coach Eva Breneman.   The Sum of Us is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.  Running time is approximately two hours and twenty minutes, including one intermission.


For director Estrin, The Sum of Us marks a return to directing since retiring from Winnetka’s New Trier High School in 2005 as a theatre educator, designer and director.  “Even though I was busy doing graphic and scenic design, I missed the creative spark, energy and enthusiasm that happen when you’re discovering a play with a cast of talented actors,” Estrin explains.  “When the opportunity to direct The Sum of Us was presented to me, I accepted without hesitation since I have long been a fan of both the play and the film.  This work speaks to me as a father of two grown boys, a son whose relationship with his own father was tumultuous and as a gay man who is fortunate enough to be in a committed relationship.  This play is about love and acceptance.  It’s an honor to direct it.”


The Sum of Us will be presented at the Piccolo Theatre in the Evanston Arts Depot located at 600 Main Street, Evanston, in the Main Street Metra Station.  Performances will be Friday-Sunday from January 16, 2009 through February 7, 2009.  Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30PM; Sundays at 2:30PM.  Tickets are $20.00 for General Admission and $15.00 for seniors/students/industry.  Attractive rates are available for groups of eight and more. 


With fewer than fifty seats, Piccolo Theatre is an inviting and intimate spot to enjoy this wonderful play.  The Evanston Arts Depot is extremely public-transit friendly with the Metra commuter train literally at our doorstep, the CTA Purple Line Main Street stop just across the street, and CTA bus routes 200 and 205 making stops within a few yards from our door.  Ample street parking is available. Since we’re situated in the heart of the Main Street Station shopping district, there are plenty of dining options nearby (check out  For reservations, group rates and more information, please email 1027 Productions at or call us at 773-334-2765.  Visit our blog at  


1027 Productions was created out of a desire to share our passion for stories that speak to the heart as well as the mind.  Come join us.







Last Weekend Feb 6 & Feb 7 —- Make Reservations Now!

Posted in 1 on January 31, 2009 by 1027productions

If you haven’t made plans yet to see “The Sum of Us,” our last two performances are coming up on February 6 and February 7 at 7:30PM.  We’re delighted with the great reviews we’ve received and the overwhelmingly positive audience response.  Some performances have completely sold out, so make sure you make your reservations now!  Seats are available for both performances next weekend.  Best way to reserve your seat is to email us at  We’ll confirm your seat by return email.  And if you mention our website, we’ll take $5.00 off the regular ticket price!  See you at the show!  You may also visit and purchase 1/2 price tickets (plus a small service charge) with your credit card.

We’re open for business!

Posted in 1 on January 20, 2009 by 1027productions

We opened on Friday, the culmination of a rehearsal period that really started at the beginning of November, with two holiday breaks thrown in.  Our first three performances went extremely well, and with the critical response we’ve been receiving, well, we simply are over the moon!  If you’re reading this, all of us connected with “The Sum of Us” hope you’ll make your plans to see the show.  We play Friday and Saturday at 7:30PM and Sunday at 2:30PM.  Email our company website for information on discounted tickets.  That email address is  See you at the show!

The show is cast

Posted in Michael Graham's Blog on October 16, 2008 by 1027productions

I’m not exactly the best at keeping a journal; it’s never been my strong suit, but I figure if I start writing one now before we start rehearsals for The Sum of Us, I might actually come back to it during the rehearsal process.  No promises, but we’ll see.

I am so excited about the new cast.  Without getting into any gory details, we were scheduled to produce The Sum of Us, but the production was cancelled.  So, Bob and Jeff decided they wanted to self-produce it.  We’ve worked the past month or so securing a performance space and setting up a new rehearsal schedule for a January/February production.  The only problem is: the other actors who were associated with the original cast are unable to do the show in the new time slot.

Panic!  No, not really.  Mary May Johnson, who was working as Bob’s assistant director, has stepped into the role of Joyce as well.  I’ve known Mary for years, and have directed her a couple of times: Appetite Theatre’s “Museum” and Halcyon Theatre’s “Spreading the News”.  She is a joy to have around, and I’m happy to get the opportunity to make out with her!  I initially met Mary when Appetite Theatre was scrambling to replace an actress in its production of “Elton John’s Glasses” a few years ago.  She stepped in a week before the show opened, learned all her lines and a Northern London dialect, and went on for the critics on opening night.  She and I worked a lot of hours private-time during that week to get her caught up with the other actors who had already been rehearsing for a month. 

And we have two marvelous young actors, Joel Gross and Matt Hays, playing my son and his boyfriend.  Joel and Matt are appearing in Appetite Theatre’s short play festival, Bruschetta, which opens Friday, Oct. 17.  I haven’t had the chance to work with either of them before, but I called them back for the play I directed for Bruschetta and was so impressed by their work in callbacks, I knew we needed to see them for The Sum of Us.

Okay, so this is a pretty innocuous post.  I promise to be less thrilled and more introspective next time.