The impresarios became friends at the University of Illinois, but then went separate ways. Oken managed the box office for regional companies and dinner theaters. Brett acted and did commercials. In 1976 they collaborated on a production of Michael Weller's Moonchildren in an established theater and decided to build a $400,000 house of their own. After talking to 3,000 people, they found 26 backers. Then, after what Oken calls "two years of hell," they opened and took in enough money to pay back all their construction debts and triple the Apollo staff. They also purchased the movie rights to Sexual Perversity and tried another Chicago play off-Broadway. But the boys have not forgotten the struggle of theater in America. Concedes Oken: "You're always very close to making it big and always close to being out of business."
Sue Hudson Abreu, a second lieutenant and second-year med student, is only half joking when she says she intends to become the Army's first female Surgeon General. Lt. Abreu already, at 24, has a history of firsts. She was the first woman at Purdue to receive a four-year ROTC scholarship, the first to attain the rank of cadet colonel and to command an ROTC unit. Then last fall, just before the kick-off of a Purdue football game, she was introduced as the No. 1 graduate of all 5,800 Army ROTC students in the U.S. her year. Some 70,000 fans cheered, but Abreu points out that they were feeling unwontedly patriotic because that was the week the American hostages were taken in Iran. Though she was also honored as the top senior in engineering, Sue decided to do her Army grad work at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, and intends to specialize in orthopedics or emergency medicine. The 5'3", 115-pound officer grew up in Zionsville, Ind., where her mother was a librarian and her late father an engineer. Last Christmas Eve she married 1st Lt. Michael Abreu, 25, the Purdue ROTC brigade commander two years before her, who, unfortunately, has been stationed 1,500 miles away at Fort Sill, Okla. "Some people live together and never get married," sighs Sue. "We got married and never live together." But things will change in August, when Michael is transferred to Fort Bragg, N.C.—a mere six hours away.
Jason Brett, 27 (left), and Stuart Oken, 28, run Chicago's Apollo Theater Center, a legitimate house leaning toward serious drama, three miles from the down-town Loop. When they started, Chicago Tribune critic Richard Christiansen thought that the idea was "ridiculous, they were just kids," but in the two years since its opening the Apollo has staged productions of distinctive works like Albert Innaurato's Gemini and David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago. They have also somehow gotten into the black.