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Uptown's Profiles Theatre Closes In Wake Of 'Reader' Investigation Into Abuse Allegations

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 15, 2016 3:32PM

Photo via Facebook

Uptown's Profiles Theatre (4147 N. Broadway) announced Tuesday night that it has closed permanently. The news comes less than a week after a theater community-rocking Chicago Reader investigative feature alleged that Profiles' owner, Darrell W. Cox, had made a habit of physically and mentally abusing actors and staffers for decades, insulated from repercussions (until now) by critical acclaim.

The theater posted a goodbye message on its Facebook:

A Message from Profiles Theatre:

We are sad to announce that Profiles Theatre is closing its doors after 28 years and 81 productions. The closure is effective immediately.

We want to thank all of the artists who have worked with us during the past three decades. We are very proud of the many successes we have achieved together. We care about all of you tremendously and wish you only the very best.

We also want to thank our patrons. We will be forever grateful to you for your devoted and enthusiastic support of our work.

We hope this decision will further the healing process within our community. May Chicago theatre thrive and its future be bright.

(The same message was also posted to its website and Twitter.)

Though Profiles' farewell note made no mention of the Reader feature, the penultimate post on the theatre's Facebook is an open letter from Cox addressing the Reader's story more directly. Posted Friday, Cox's letter reported that his theatre had been "defaced and vandalized" since the Reader story was published last Wednesday, and that "[o]ur friends and family have been harassed and attacked with grotesque messages and threats." (It's unclear who the "our" in that sentence refers to, but it at least refers to Cox.)

"Abuse has no place in any work environment, especially one as emotionally exposed as the theatre," Cox wrote, later adding, "Unfortunately, the article has made it impossible for me to respond further to the women’s statements in a way that would convince anyone who believes their statements are accurate."

The Reader feature itself, written by Aimee Levitt and published last week, alleged systematic abuse at Profiles since Cox joined in the '90s. Cox's behavior was especially egregious, allegedly, before Profiles joined the actors union, Actors' Equity, in 2012.

A few of the many allegations about Cox that stood out to us: During a 2010 production, he was allegedly genuinely violent onstage rather than hewing to fight choreography, leaving actors visibly bruised. One actress said Cox fondled her between her legs onstage during that show, an unwanted move they had not rehearsed. An actress alleges Cox sexually harassed her when she was underage when she worked with him on a different production. Cox also allegedly threw his girlfriend down the stairs outside his apartment in 2009; he told his coworkers she was "crazy" and threw herself down the stairs.

Read the full Reader story here.