Theatre

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, opens its 2017/18 season with the World Premiere of TREVOR the musical. The production is directed by Marc Bruni (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway), with book and lyrics by Dan Collins, music by Julianne Wick Davis, music direction by Matt Deitchman, orchestrations by Greg Pliska and choreography by Josh Prince, by special arrangement with U Rock Theatricals. TREVOR the musical runs August 9 – September 17, 2017 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 
 
Tickets for TREVOR the musical are currently on sale. Subscriptions and individual tickets, priced $35-$80, may be purchased online at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office, 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.
 
Meet Trevor, a 13-year-old boy in 1981 whose vibrant imagination drives a turbulent journey of self-discovery. As he deals with adolescence and all that goes with it, Trevor begins to explore what it means to be himself, influenced by his friends, parents . . . and Diana Ross.
 
Based on the story that inspired the Academy Award-winning film, the charity and the national movement, TREVOR the musical is a coming-of-age story about identity, emerging sexuality and the struggles of growing up in a world that may not be ready for you. This world premiere musical is directed by Marc Bruni, who helmed the Tony Award-winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway.
 
The Trevor Project was created as a result of the Academy Award-winning film that also inspired TREVOR the musical. The Trevor Project is the nation’s only accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on saving young LGBTQ lives. www.TheTrevorProject.org.
 
"TREVOR the musical represents an important step in the evolution of Writers Theatre," said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. "This ambitious new musical, which we are producing in association with U Rock Theatricals, takes our literary development initiative into a whole new arena. Director Marc Bruni has assembled a superb team of local and national artists. He brings his sophisticated ability to develop new work to the table, along with his trademark gifts for precision in dramaturgy and creating a nurturing and joyous process. Based on Peggy Rajski's Oscar-winning film, book writer Dan Collins and composer Julianne Wick Davis will transport us all back to our adolescence, and into a world of heartache, hilarity and humanism. This is an important story to share and an important time to tell it.
 
The cast includes: Nathaniel Braga (Ensemble), Ariana Burks (Ensemble), Declan Desmond (Pinky), Timothy Eidman (Ensemble), Sophie Grimm (Mom/Mrs. Kerr), Maya Lou Hlava (Frannie), Isabel Kaegi (Ensemble), Eloise Lushina (Mary), Carly Meyer (Ensemble), Jhardon DiShon Milton (Jack), Justin O’Brien (Ensemble), Reilly Oh (Jason), Jerome Riley, Jr. (Ensemble), Salisha Thomas (Diana Ross), Eli Tokash (Trevor), Matthew Uzarraga (Walter), Tori Whaples (Cathy), Graydon Peter Yosowitz (Trevor) and Jarrod Zimmerman (Dad/Father Joe/Others).
 
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Dan Collins (Book and Lyrics) wrote book and lyrics with composer Julianne Wick Davis for Southern Comfort, which was produced by the Public Theater in Spring 2016 following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. For his work on Southern Comfort, Dan received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLADD Media award. Other projects include Wood (starring Tony Award © Winner Cady Huffman), TREVOR the musical (currently in development with U Rock Theatricals and director Marc Bruni), based on the Academy Award winning film of the same name, and When We Met (The Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference; CAP 21 Theatre Company). Dan was selected along with Wick Davis as a Dramatist Guild Fellow as well as for TheatreWorks Palo Alto's Writer's Retreat. He received his M.F.A in Musical Theater Writing at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and his B.F.A. in Playwriting at The Theatre School of DePaul University.
 
Julianne Wick Davis (Music) is a composer/lyricist who wrote music for Southern Comfort (book & lyrics by Dan Collins), which was produced by the Public Theater in Spring 2016 following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. For her work on Southern Comfort, Julianne received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLADD Media award. Julianne wrote music and lyrics for When We Met with Dan Collins (book), which was developed at the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, the York NEO Development Series and had a developmental production at CAP21 in 2014. She is currently writing music for TREVOR the musical (Collins, book & lyrics) based on the Oscar-winning film short for U Rock Theatricals, as well as writing music and lyrics for a song cycle based on Jon Crispin’s photographs of the Willard Asylum Suitcases. She is a York Theatre’s NEO 9 emerging writer, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, and a 2015 Sundance Fellow at UCross. Julianne has an MFA from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
 
Greg Pliska (Orchestrations) is a composer, conductor and orchestrator who diverse career includes award-winning work in theater, film, television and other media. His recent orchestration work includes new themes for CBS Evening News, IMAX, HBO Feature Presentation and Hulu, along with the films The Infiltrator (featuring Bryan Cranston), Manhattan Nocturne (featuring Adrien Brody), Beethoven’s Treasure Tail, The Little Rascals Save the Day, The Wildest Dream and the BAFTA-winning documentary Flying Monsters 3D. He previously co-orchestrated (with Michael Starobin) Julianne Wick Davis' musical When We Met. Greg’s compositions include music for the Broadway play Sylvia and Shakespeare in the Park productions of Twelfth Night, Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It (co-composed with Steve Martin, Drama Desk nomination). He contributed music and orchestration to the BAFTA-winning TV series Life, along with other Discovery Channel and National Geographic programs and several short films. His off-Broadway scores include The Government Inspector, School for Scandal, Vigil, The Window Man, Ice Island, Oy!, and Pericles. He is composer of the theme music for Audible’s podcasts Presidents are People Too and Authorized. He wrote an opera with David Ives, The Secret Garden, and is currently developing a new piece on the life of labor leader Walter Reuther. Greg was the music director for the Tony-winning play War Horse (as well as the Toronto and North American tour productions), for which he also won a web award for Best Musical Direction of a Play. He has conducted off-Broadway and regionally, including the national tour of Jekyll and Hyde, and acclaimed New York productions of Tintypes, The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show, and Michael Gordon’s Chaos.
 
As an educator, Greg is a frequent festival artistic director and workshop leader for the International Schools Theater Association, which has brought him to more than 35 countries to date. He is a former faculty member of the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University, and a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Manhattan School of Music and the national school reform initiative Different Ways of Knowing. He helped developed the highly acclaimed Creating Original Opera program for the Met, as well as curriculum for schools in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Chicago and Washington, DC, through the organization Arts for Anyone. Greg was a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Grants for Young Composers and a Fellow at the Sundance Documentary Composers Lab. He has served on the Board of the Society of Composers and Lyricists for two years, and is the chair of the organization’s New York chapter.
 
In his other life, Greg creates puzzle hunts for corporate and private clients, including two events per year at New York resort Mohonk Mountain House. He is a contributor and puzzle guru for NPR’s Ask Me Another, and a commentator and competitor for Will Shortz’s annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Greg grew up in California and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Jessica, and two children, Margot and Nicholas.
 
Marc Bruni (Director) is currently represented on Broadway and the West End by Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, winner of two 2014 Tony Awards and currently on National Tour. Upcoming: Roman Holiday (Golden Gate Theatre), TREVOR the musical (Writers Theatre). Off Broadway: The Explorers Club (MTC), Old Jews Telling Jokes (NY and Chicago, Jeff Award Nomination). Other directing credits include Other People’s Money (Long Wharf), Presto Change-O (Barrington Stage), Paint Your Wagon (Encores!), The Sound of Music (Chicago Lyric Opera), Pipe Dream (Encores!), Fanny (Encores!), Ordinary Days (Roundabout), In the Mood (Berkshire Theatre Festival), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Paper Mill/Philadelphia Theatre Company), Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Paper Mill), Such Good Friends (NYMF Directing Award), High Spirits (York Mufti), Glimpses of the Moon (Oak Room) and 7 shows for the St. Louis MUNY: My Fair Lady, The Music Man, Sound of Music (Kevin Kline Nominations), Legally Blonde, My One and Only, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He has been associated with Walter Bobbie, Kathleen Marshall, Jerry Mitchell, Casey Nicholaw, and Jerry Zaks on 15 Broadway shows including The Book of Mormon, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Anything Goes, Legally Blonde, The Pajama Game, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Sweet Charity, High Fidelity.
 
Matt Deitchman (Music Director) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously served as the conductor for Parade, and understudied for The Hunter and The Bear. Deitchman is a Chicago based actor, composer, and music director whose work can also be seen in She Loves Me (Marriott Theater) and Ragtime (Griffin Theater). Other recent Chicago music/acting credits include Tug of War, Road Show, Murder For Two (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Spring Awakening, October Sky (Marriott Theater), Sweeney Todd, The Who’s Tommy (Paramount Theater), Adding Machine, Into The Woods (The Hypocrites), Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Oakbrook), The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Mercury Theater) and Wonderland (Chicago Children’s Theatre). He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s musical theater department. mattdeitchman.com
 
Josh Prince (Choreographer)most recently finished choreographing the new hit Broadway show, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which was nominated for a Tony in 2013. For his work on Beautiful, he was nominated for the Fred and Adele Astaire Award and played in London’s West End and on a National US Tour. Josh was part of the creative team of the Tony nominated Shrek, The Musical, which opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theater in 2009 and went on to tour the US and play in London’s West End at the Theater Royal Drury Lane. For his choreography in Shrek, The Musical he received an Outer Critics Circle Nomination. Since then, he has had the pleasure of working at Carnegie Hall (The Jerry Springer Opera, starring Harvey Keitel), Lincoln Center (Camelot, starring Gabriel Byrne – PBS), The Kennedy Center (Spring Gala, hosted by Liza Minelli; Latino Inaugural Celebration in 2013 with Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno), Town Hall (All Singing All Dancing, co-director), The Brooklyn Academy of Music (The Bridge Project 2009/10, directed by Sam Mendes), and The New Group (The Kid; Bunty Berman Presents). In London, he has worked at The Old Vic (The Bridge Project), The Royal Festival Hall (Singin’ In The Rain) and The Royal Albert Hall (My Fair Lady, Chor.; BBC Prom 59 starring Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane. Dir./chor.)
 
Ariana Burks (Ensemble) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Film credits include Chicago Med, Chicago Fire (NBC), The Jr. Cuisine Cooking Show (2011 Emmy nomination) and PrankStars (Disney). Theatre credits include Clara in The Nutcracker (The House Theatre of Chicago), Marjan in The Compass (Steppenwolf Theatre), Little Inez in Hairspray (Paramount Theatre), Alice in Wonderland: Alice's Rock and Roll Adventure (Chicago Children's Theatre), Emma in The Black & White Ball (FWD Theatre Project), Elf in Rudolph (Broadway Playhouse), Belinda/Fan in A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre) and Little Inez in Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook).
 
Nathaniel Braga (Ensemble) Chicago credits include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Wonderful Town (Goodman Theatre), M. Butterfly (Court Theatre), Sweet Charity, The King and I (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Mamma Mia and The Producers (Marriott Theatre). New York credits include Turandot (The Metropolitan Opera), New York Spring Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall), It's a Bird...It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (City Center Encores!) and the dance lab of The SpongeBob Musical. Regional Theaters include Guthrie Theater, Theater Under The Stars, North Shore Music Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Maltz Jupiter Theater (Carbonell Award nominee), The Wells-Metz at IU, Asolo Theater, as well as two seasons at The Muny in St. Louis. He appeared in HMS Pinafore as part of PBS’ Fall Arts Festival. He is a Minnesota State Gymnastics Champion, and plays the violin professionally.
 
Declan Desmond (Pinky) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Declan has had the honor of working with The Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Gift Theatre. He has also had the good fortune to study voice at Northwestern University and the Merit School of Music. In his free time, he studies violin and piano.
 
Timothy Eidman (Ensemble, Dance Captain) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Mary Poppins, The Bardy Bunch and The Producers (Mercury Theater Chicago). Other credits include Joseph… DreamcoatDisney’s Aladdin, Dreamgirls, Pirates! or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder’d (The Muny), Oklahoma! and The Addams Family (Tibbits Opera House). Timothy holds a B.A. in Dance and Theatre from Loyola University Chicago, and is a recent alum of The School at Jacob’s Pillow where he studied under the direction of Chet Walker.
 
Sophie Grimm (Mom/Mrs. Kerr) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Originally a Twin Cities performer (Ellsworth, WI) alongside her family, Colleen Raye, Trey, Jennifer and Reed Grimm, Sophie is now a Chicago-based vocalist and actor, with credits including Desdemona in the critically acclaimed Othello: The Remix (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Les Miserables (Paramount Theatre), Frederick (Chicago Children's Theatre), The Sound of Music (Drury Lane Oakbrook) and I Love Lucy: Live! (Broadway Playhouse), as well as across the country in jazz, cabaret and concert settings. Teaching and assisting are also passions of Sophie and she enjoys making them a part of daily life.
 
Maya Lou Hlava (Frannie) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Other Chicago credits include The Nether (A Red Orchid Theatre), White Christmas and Bye Bye Birdie (Drury Lane Theater), Jake's Women (Spartan Theatre Company), The Secret Garden (Court Theatre), The Talking Cure (Idle Muse Theatre Company), Jane Eyre (Lifeline Theatre), and The Wheel (Steppenwolf Theatre). Maya is also a principal voice over artist for Disney’s World of English and was seen in the film The Life of Penny Cyclone within the US Premiere of Ride the Cyclone (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Maya studies voice with Roberta Duchak, dance with Matt Crowle, and on camera at Vagabond School of the Arts. 
 
Isabel Kaegi (Ensemble)makes her Writers Theatre debut. Isabel was recently seen as The Narrator in Winnie the Pooh (Ravinia Festival) and Debbie in Billy Elliot (Highland Park Players). Additional credits include Wednesday in The Addams Family (Palatine High School), Cinderella in Into the Woods Jr. and Ugly Duckling in Shrek The Musical (The Performer's School), Annie in Annie, Chip in Beauty and the Beast, Little Fiona in Shrek The Musical and Ladybug in James and the Giant Peach. She trained with The Performer’s School and is a member of the International Thespian Society. 
 
Eloise Lushina (Mary) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Mary Beth in A Christmas Story, Jane Banks in Mary Poppins (Paramount Theatre), Carrie Nawlins in Bedknobs and Broomsticks workshop (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Other stage credits include Young Bonnie in Bonnie & Clyde , Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, (Wilmette Theater/Actor’s Training Center), Children’s Chorus in Dead Man Walking (Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University), Alice in Through the Looking Glass and Young Elizabeth Lavenza in Frankenstein (Mudlark Theater). Film credits include lead roles in Addicted, Break My Bones, Happy Snow Day Franny, Graybeard and Free Man. Eloise is a freshman at Evanston Township High School.
 
Carly Meyer (Ensemble) makes her Writers Theatre debut. A sophomore at Glenbrook North High School, Carly was recently named best actress by Broadway in Chicago at the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards for her role as Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. This earned her the honor of performing at the Jimmy Awards in New York. Some of her other favorite roles include Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors (Glenbrook North High School) Fiona in Shrek The Musical (The Performer's School), Joanne in Godspell (Actor's Training Center), Mary in Secret Garden (Lake Forest Theatre) and Bare: A Pop Opera (Another Door Theatre Project). Carly was a featured vocal performer for KIDZ ROC at the Clay Cooper Theater in Branson, Missouri and fan favorite winner of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. In addition, she received the top honor in Sinfonietta Bel Canto Voice. Carly has been privately studying musical theatre, classical repertoire, and dance since the age of seven.
 
Jhardon DiShon Milton (Jack) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Credits include Bye Bye Birdie and Monty in Saturday Night Fever at (Drury Lane Oakbrook), La Cage aux Folles and Madagascar (Marriott Theatre) and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (Tantrum Theatre Ohio). He’s also been seen in various productions at Black Ensemble Theatre and Theatre at the Center.
 
Justin O'Brien (Ensemble) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Previous credits include Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods (Encore Music Academy), Ensemble in Anything GoesCinderella, Evita (CGHS), 42nd Street (Fremont St. Theater Co.) and Guys and Dolls (Music On Stage). He has also been seen with Judith Svalander Dance Theatre performing leading roles in the ballets The Nutcracker and Cinderella and Centennial Dances. Justin is currently a Senior at Cary Grove High School and studies dance at Judith Svalander School of Ballet.
 
Reilly Oh (Jason/Ensemble) makes his Writers Theatre debut. A rising sophomore at New Trier High School, some of Reilly's favorite roles include Danny in Grease (New Trier High School), Josh in Big: The Musical, Judas in Godspell (Actors Training Center) and Donkey in Shrek The Musical (Children's Theatre of Winnetka).
 
Jerome Riley, Jr. (Ensemble) is a queer artist originally from St. Louis, where he found his passion for… thrifting! He is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where he received his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Women & Gender Studies. Jerome was recently seen as Roy Wright in The Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre). He is also a part of a queer performance group: The Chanel’s, who can be seen every second Wednesday of the month at DURO, at Berlin Nightclub.
 
Eli Tokash (Trevor) makes his Writers Theatre debut. He has performed on Broadway as Peter Llewelyn Davies in Finding Neverland and Theo in Pippin. He was also seen across the country in the national tours of Finding Neverland as Peter Llewelyn Davies, in A Christmas Story as Ralphie Parker and in Mary Poppins as Michael Banks. Television credits include Limitless (CBS), I Love You... But I Lied (Lifetime) and Forever (ABC). He can be seen in the feature films Blood Ties, and the upcoming Benji the Dove. One of his proudest moments was performing for First Lady Michelle Obama in Broadway at the White House.
 
Salisha Thomas (Diana Ross) makes her Writers Theatre debut. California native and Miss California World 2016. Credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, principal vocalist for Disney. Regional credits include Deena Jones in Dreamgirls, TiMoune in Once On This Island, Martha in Spring Awakening, Dynamite in Hairspray, to name a few. BA Theatre from Cal State Fullerton.
 
Matthew Uzarraga (Walter) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Chicago area credits include John Webster in Shakespeare in Love, Flounder in The Little Mermaid, Young Shrek/Baby Bear in Shrek the Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Prince Chulalongkorn in The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago and Marriott Theatre), Gavroche in Les Misérables, Workhouse Boy/Pick Pocket in Oliver! (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Schwartz in A Christmas Story the Musical and Children’s Chorus in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Paramount Theatre). Commercial and industrial credits include Wisconsin Dells Tourism, Chrysler, Kyle Dine & Friends allergy awareness DVD, Accenture, Pearson Education, Toys R Us, Shout, Incredible Islands and Cap Gun Collective. His voiceover work is featured in the animated short film Moose. He has trained at Vagabond School of the Arts, The Performer’s School, Kaneland Arts Initiative, Xplore Tumbling and Gymnastics and tap with Matt Crowle.
 
Tori Whaples (Cathy) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Regional theatre credits include Into the Woods (Woodstock Opera House), Annie (Steps P.A.C), Far from Heaven (Porchlight Music Theatre) and The Secret Garden (Court Theatre). Tori is a recent 8th grade graduate and is ready to start her exciting journey as high school freshman at Grayslake Central High School. She is a student at the Steps Performing Arts Center and would like to thank Mr. Phil, her voice teacher who challenges her to always be her best. She also loves to perform with her friends at the RLAPD Performing Arts Center. Thanks to all of her family and friends who make time to come see her perform and to Paonessa Talent.
 
Graydon Peter Yosowitz (Trevor) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Off-Broadway credits include The Light Years (The Debate Society/Playwrights Horizons), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (York Theatre), The Gold (Pearl Theatre), The Odyssey (The Public/Delacorte Theatre). Concert series performances include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (NY Pops/Carnegie Hall), Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz (Symphony Space NYC). Television credits include Nightcap (POP TV), Kevin Can Wait (CBS), The Jim Gaffigan Show (TV Land).
 
Jarrod Zimmerman (Dad/Father Joe/Others) returns toWriters Theatre, where he previously appeared in Days Like Today and Sweet Charity. Chicago credits include A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Shakespeare in the Parks: The Taming of the Shrew, The Emperor’s New Clothes (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Gypsy (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Merrily We Roll Along (The Music Theatre Company), The Music Man, Little Women, Into the Woods (Marriott Theatre), The Boys Are Coming Home (AMTP) and The Spitfire Grill (Provision Theater). Regional credits include A Minister's Wife (San Jose Repertory Theatre), 1776 (American Conservatory Theatre and Asolo Repertory Theatre), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (Peninsula Players), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Totem Pole Playhouse), Big! the musical, Proof, The Mousetrap, Little Women and Arsenic and Old Lace (Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre). Television credits include Boss (Starz). Zimmerman is a graduate of Northwestern University.
 
 
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
Accessible Performances
ASL-Interpreted performance: Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Open-Captioned performance: Friday, September 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm
 
Sunday Spotlight—Sunday, September 3, 2017
Are you curious about the world that surrounds your favorite plays? Sunday Spotlight offers access to the finest speakers, scholars and cultural leaders. This one-hour event extends the conversation on our stages by featuring an expert in an area connected to the play. Seating is limited. RSVP is required. Save the date!
 
The Making of… Series—Monday, September 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Writers Theatre will once again host its popular The Making of… Series, providing insight into a different aspect of creating the productions seen on our stages. Enjoy a short and lively presentation by our actors, designers or other experts who will walk you through the process of preparing for and executing a production. The Making of… events are FREE and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.
 
Post Show Conversation: The Word
Join us after every Tuesday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute discussion of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
 
Post Show Conversation: The Artist
Join us after every Wednesday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
 
Pre-Show Conversation: Up Close
Join us at 6:45pm before every Thursday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute primer on the context and content of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
 
For more information about Writers Theatre Audience Enrichment programs visit writerstheatre.org/events.
 
RIDE METRA TO WRITERS THEATRE
In an effort to promote taking public transit to the Theatre, Writers Theatre launched a new promotion in 2013. Any audience member who purchases a ticket to a Writers Theatre production and rides Metra’s Union Pacific North Line to the Theatre may snap a photo of themselves on the train and post it to their Facebook or Instagram page or their Twitter feed with a tag of @WritersTheatre and #[the title of the show], and upon showing the post at the Writers Theatre Box Office, receive $5 in cash to put toward the cost of your fare as a thank you for going green.
 
This promotion is available for a limited time only, and may end without warning. Ticket must have been paid for in advance. Not valid on comp tickets. More information available at writerstheatre.org/metra
 
WRITERS THEATRE PARTNERS
Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the 2017/18 Season Sponsor, and ComEd as the Official Lighting Sponsor of the 2017/18 Season. The Major Corporate Sponsor for TREVOR the musical is Northern Trust. The Major Production Sponsor is Mary Pat Studdert. Additional support for TREVOR the musical is provided by the Director’s Society Sponsors.
 
 
ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE
For 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.
 
Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called “America’s No. 1 theatre company” by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues. 
 
In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.
 
Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre or follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.
 
 
Title:                             TREVOR the musical
Book and Lyrics by:        Dan Collins
Music by:                       Julianne Wick Davis
Based on the Academy Award-winning film Trevor
Orchestrations by:          Greg Pliska
Music Direction by:         Matt Deitchman
Choreography by:           Josh Prince
Directed by:                   Marc Bruni       
 
Featuring:                        Nathaniel Braga, Ariana Burks, Declan Desmond, Timothy Eidman, Sophie Grimm, Maya Lou Hlava, Isabel Kaegi, Eloise Lushina, Carly Meyer, Jhardon DiShon Milton, Justin O’Brien, Reilly Oh, Jerome Riley, Jr., Salisha Thomas, Eli Tokash, Matthew Uzarraga, Tori Whaples, Graydon Peter Yosowitz and Jarrod Zimmerman.
 
Dates:                              First performance: Wednesday, August 9, 2017

                                         Closing performance: September 17, 2017
 
Schedule:                         Tuesdays – Fridays: 7:30pm
                                         (with select 3:00pm Wednesday matinees)
                                         Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm
                                       Sundays:2:00pm and 6:00pm
 
Location:                           The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
             
              Prices:                             Prices for all performances range from $35 - $80. Purchase early for best prices                                 
             
Box Office:                       The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe;847-242-6000; www.writerstheatre.org
 
 
Notes of Interest:
TREVOR the musical is based on the Academy Award-winning short film. The film can be seen on YouTube, or by clicking here.
 
Director Marc Bruni and choreographer Josh Prince are fresh from the Tony Award-winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway, which has subsequently toured North America, London and an upcoming tour launching this fall in Australia.
 
Dan Collins (book and lyrics) and Julianne Wick Davis (music) worked together on Southern Comfort, which was produced by the Public Theater in Spring 2016 following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. Southern Comfort received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLAAD Media award. They wrote music and lyrics for When We Met, which was developed at the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, the York NEO Development Series and had a developmental production at CAP21 in 2014.
 
The film inspired the creation of The Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on saving young LGBTQ lives. www.TheTrevorProject.org.
 
According to The Trevor Project "suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24; the rate of suicide attempts is 4 times greater for LGB youth and 2 times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth. Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.”
 
Writers is partnering with U Rock Theatricals, a group of young producers, who aim to create a new generation of intelligent and relevant musicals, ultimately for Broadway audiences. 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, concludes its 2016/17 season with the musical Parade, with book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, co-conceived by Harold Prince.  The Writers Theatre production of Parade is directed by Gary Griffin and features musical direction by Michael Mahler and choreography by Ericka Mac.  Parade runs May 24 – July 2, 2017 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 

 

This stirring, Tony Award-winning musical explores the endurance of love and hope against seemingly insurmountable odds, telling the true story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-born Jewish man falsely accused of murder in 1913 Atlanta. Innovative and daring, and filled with soaring music, Parade is a moving love story, a riveting murder mystery, a gripping courtroom drama and a powerful exploration of innocence and naïveté coming face-to-face with ignorance and prejudice.

 

Acclaimed director Gary Griffin, who directed the original Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas and the world premiere of his The Trumpet of the Swan at the Kennedy Center, stages an intimate revival of this celebrated musical. With a book by playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a score by Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County) that combines folk, rock, R&B and gospel, Parade ends WT’s 25th Anniversary Season with spectacular impact.

 

“I had the pleasure of being directed by Gary in a Writers Theatre production of Joe Orton's Loot. He is one of my favorite directors and one of my closest friends, and it is a privilege to be in collaboration with him again,” said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam.  “I have enjoyed many, many years of conversation with him over copious glasses of wine discussing masterwork musicals and how best to make them work. I cannot express how happy I am then to be working on supporting Gary’s vision for Parade, a musical that has suddenly become disturbingly relevant given the deeply unsettling swell of anti-semitism.  The Anti-Defamation League recently announced that cases of anti-semitism have spiked 86% in the first quarter of this year, proving the old adage that ‘the more things change the more they stay the same.’

 

“Gary has assembled a first-rate cast with breathtaking vocal prowess and a first-rate design team to create the world in which they bring Mr. Brown and Mr. Uhry’s bravura masterwork to life.  Parade is a fully cohesive musical voyage into the triumph of love and the dangers of what can happen when the fires of hatred are irresponsibly stoked within an unhappy and angry populace. Musically, it defies simple definition while maintaining accessibility and a deep emotional core. It is a fitting way to close the season and it passes a symbolic baton to Trevor, a brand new musical which opens next season and strikes open a whole new adventure of its own.”

 

The cast of Parade includes: Larry Adams (Old Soldier/Judge Roan/Ensemble), Patrick Andrews (Leo Frank), Brianna Borger (Lucille Frank), Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Jim Conley), McKinley Carter (Mrs. Phagan/Sally Slaton), Devin DeSantis (Britt Craig/Young Soldier/Ensemble), Kevin Gudahl (Hugh Dorsey/Ensemble), Derek Hasenstab (Governor John Slaton/Ensemble), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Minola "Minnie" McKnight/Angela), Caroline Heffernan (Mary Phagan/Essie/Ensemble), Zoe Nadal (Monteen/Ensemble),Jake Nicholson (Frankie Epps/Ensemble), Jeff Parker (Tom Watson/Ensemble), Leryn Turlington (Iola Stover/Ensemble), andJonah D. Winston (Newt Lee/Riley).

 

The creative team includes: Matt Deitchman (Associate Music Director & Piano/Conductor), Scott Davis (Scenic Designer), Mara Blumenfeld(Costume Designer), Christine Binder (Lighting Designer), Ray Nardelli (Sound Designer) and Scott Dickens (Properties Master). Bobby Kennedy is the Dramaturg, David Castellanos is the Production Stage Manager and Nick Moran is the CFM Contractor.

 

Single tickets for Parade, priced $35 - $80, are available online at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

 

PARADE On-stage Seating

For adventurous theatregoers who want to be part of the action, Writers Theatre is offering a limited number of special on-stage seats for every performance of Parade!

 

These special on-stage seats, reachable via curved staircases, will be on a raised platform at the back of the stage so that the audience will fully surround the action on stage. This exclusive vantage point provides audience members an immersive experience of Parade, as the area will be located near the orchestra and will also be used by actors during the performance…

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

PigPen’s “The Hunter and the Bear” is one of the best theatre productions of 2016. It’s really that simple. Staged at the state of the art, newly constructed, Writers Theatre in Glencoe, audience members are in for a unique experience that is as haunting as it is moving. The story follows a group of loggers that find themselves camping in a densely wooded area sometime in the mid-1800’s. It’s not long after a mysterious stranger arrives that unexplained occurrences begin to take place that leads to an unbelievable chain of events, affecting each the loggers, a hunter and a boy with a wild imagination. Exciting, suspenseful and often heartfelt, we are thrust into a ghost story like no other that not only explores the afterlife but also delves into the darkness in all of us.

Impressively staged within a striking set complete with flickering campfire light, “The Hunter and the Bear” uses very clever puppetry and shadow imaging to enhance the play’s powerful storytelling. Adding to its originality are the many extras that go a long way from the authenticity of each costume, and sound effects created solely by instrumentation. The story is intertwined with a handful of songs and backing music reminiscent of a hybrid folk and jug band sound. Each talented actor doubles as an equally talented musician forming quite the formidable band.

The production’s strong acting performances are many. Alex Falberg impresses as the fast-talking Prescott, who, as the boss of the operation, often throws caution to the side concerned mainly with his company’s bottom line. Tobias, whose emotional search for his son becomes a focal point, is very well played by Ben Ferguson who is convincing as the scared, anguished father. While Curtis Gillan (Pete), Matt Nuernberger (Bailey or “Sheriff”), Arya Shahi (John) and Dan Weschler (Lewis) all put forward notable performances, Ryan Melia stands out in his role as Elliot, Tobias’ son, masterfully working a puppet that portrays the boy. 

Moving at a perfect pace, the engaging story is not only memorable, thanks to its fine acting and its haunting music and lighting, it also raises many questions about life after death, giving hope that there is a path we can follow to a peaceful existence, but warning that some can be lost, needing a little nudge in the right direction, perhaps from the living. It is profoundly asked at one point if the dead guide the living or if it is the living who guides the dead. 

Pigpen Theatre Co. masterfully co-directs this enthralling campfire tale along with Stuart Carden. Says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam of PigPen’s return to Writers Theatre “The gifted gentlemen who make up PigPen Theatre Co. brought us a sense of energy and excitement the last time they were here in Glencoe, and we look forward to their signature style of storytelling in this new world premiere.” PigPen had performed in the theatre three years prior in their production “The Old Man and the Moon”. 

“The Hunter and the Bear” is a story that justly makes an impression on its audience getting help from creative team members Collette Pollard who presents to us an incredible visual as the Scenic Designer and Lydia Fine whose costumes and puppetry truly bring this gripping tale to life.

Highly recommended as one of the year’s best plays, “The Hunter and the Bear” is being performed at Writers Theatre through January 22nd. For tickets and/or more show information visit www.WritersTheatre.org.

Pigpen will also be performing a concert at The Old Town School of Folk Music on December 19th at 8pm. More information can be had at www.oldtownschool.org. 

 

Published in Theatre in Review
Friday, 24 June 2016 11:22

Review: Company at Writers Theatre

Imagine a 70s-era Woody Allen movie set to music. That's basically "Company" by Stephen Sondheim. It premiered in a time when many Broadway musicals were just collections of songs loosely connected by a simple plot. In 1970, Sondheim's "Company" challenged that formula by presenting a musical that was more book than music. The story is even less clear than a classic Broadway show. It's the story of Bobby, a bachelor living in New York City with mixed-up ideas about marriage. 

 

Though Bobby (Thom Miller) is the main character, "Company" is about the women in his life. Writers Theatre director William Brown has assembled a stellar cast of Chicago actresses. Each scene is a vignette in which Bobby learns about his friends' marriages. Blair Robertson as uptight Jenny is charmingly neurotic. Tiffany Scott playing urban Southern bell, Susan, and with costumes by Rachel Anne Healy, looks like a young Cybil Shepard. With distinct performances from the female ensemble, it's hard to pick out a favorite scene from the show, however Allison Hendrix singing "Getting Married Today" is a highlight. For Sondheim groupies, this is one of the show's most popular numbers but also its most challenging with a unique staccato rhyming scheme. Hendrix pulls it off, and makes the comedy relatable. Jess Godwin as April, is the show's last stop. Her portrayal of an awkward bachelorette is sure to make everyone laugh. 

 

"Company" concludes on the bittersweet song "Being Alive" and while Thom Miller's performance as Bobby is a little uneven throughout, he brings a lot to the cathartic final number. In one song, the musical goes from odd-ball romantic comedy to a philosophical question about the nature of long term love.

 

Writers Theatre in Glencoe is rightfully proud of their new space designed by Jeanne Gang. "Company" is presented as part of their Inaugural Season. The show, like the space is sleek, stylish and sexy. William Brown's production will likely be remembered as a definitive presentation of this not-often produced Sondheim classic. With more space, it’s nice to see a show at Writers with some breathing room. 

 

Through July 31st at Writers Theatre. 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 847-242-6011.

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

There is an expectation when one sees a play that they will be taken on a journey. Audiences want to get lost in a story line, lose all sense of time enjoy the escapism. When an audience is reminded that they are watching a play, however, and that play goes on seemingly for ages, it ceases to become escapism and becomes a classroom lecture. “Arcadia” is just such a play. Written by Tom Stoppard, it is not an easy play to describe in brief. It confusedly intertwines the past and present with multiple story lines following intellectual theories that verge on the point of being arrogant and difficult to grasp in a play like setting.

 

The play bounces between the early 1800's and the present day in a stately manor in England. At the core of play, the present day is trying to uncover what took place at the manor in the 1800's. In the past, a gifted 13-year-old girl, Thomasina, delves into deep theoretical analysis of higher mathematics and physics, jotting down her theories and equations, unknowingly for the future to see. Paralleling that story line is her tutor, Septimus, who cheats with the wife of a visiting poet while pinning for the master of the manor’s wife, and who was somehow-possibly-connected to the famous Romantic poet, Byron. Flash forward to the present day where an academic hopes to uncover if the tutor, Septimus, might have had some involvement with the death of that visiting poet, and that his possible connection to Byron might mean that Byron was involved in this death as well. But wait! There’s more! Paralleling that story line in the present day, one of the family members of the estate combs through old hunting logs and notes to see that the young girl, Thomasina might have been a genius on the brink of an intellectual breakthrough, and seeks to dive deeply into her notes to potentially uncover her genius and the work during her young and short life.

 

Underneath all of these story lines is the running theme of “Arcadia,” named for a pair of 17th century paintings that picture shepherds around a tomb with the words “Et in Arcadia ego” on it. The incorrect Latin phrase translates to “Here I am in Arcadia” but it’s more accurate translation is “Even in Arcadia, here I am” the “I” being death. Stoppard is quoted by his biographer as saying he “wanted the presence of death in the title.” Spoiler alert, death does happen and is one of the core subplots, a sort of “who-done-it,” but it is just another element to this complicated play. Another reach for the “intellectual stimulation.”

 

Cliff notes would have a tough time summarizing this play. The play has witty, smart, and biting dialogue, well delivered by an articulate and charismatic cast. But look away, or miss a line and you might miss an introduction to a key character, or their relation to the other characters, or their purpose of being in the play at all. If not for the clothing change and syntax you might get lost in which time period you are in. The audience is obligated to follow along with every line and process all the information rapidly in order to keep pace with this play. With a run time of 2 hour 55 minute and only a brief 15 minute intermission that is a tall order for an audience, and even tougher story to convey for the actors. But the new multi-million dollar Writer’s Theater wants just that, for the audience and actors to meet as one, to journey together and become fully immersed with the story. The immaculate theater is nestled in the cozy tree lined streets of downtown Glencoe, and will be a wonderful location for future high-quality theatrical productions on the North Shore.

 

Overall, “Arcadia” would be better as a novel, where a reader can pause to examine the characters, read internal monologues and gain an understanding of the characters’ motivations and thoughts. It would be easier to follow the time changes and carefully consider the many complex theories being presented and explored. I think the length of such a book would rival a Tolstoy novel, though nothing would be lost to the wings. A play that requires such rapt and intense concentration from an audience for such a long duration makes it unapproachable to someone looking to get lost in a story. Watching “Arcadia” audiences do get lost, but for all the wrong reasons. “Arcadia” runs through May 1st. Tickets are available at http://www.writerstheatre.org.

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

The Diary of Anne Frank - Writers Theatre

According to legend, when Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich's Pulitzer Prize winning stage adaptation made its German premiere, audiences sat in a state of silent shock after the play ended. Nearly sixty years, countless productions, several films and hundreds of books about Anne Frank and the secret annex have made this story one of the most accessible pieces of Holocaust literature. In 1997, Wendy Kesselman adapted the original script for a Broadway revival that heightens intensity and includes more reference to the family's Jewish faith and to Anne's burgeoning sexuality.

Under the suburb direction of Kimberly Senior, Writers Theatre's production of Kesselman's "The Diary of Anne Frank" is as intimate as a story of this nature must be. Inventive staging immediately places the audience within the confines of the attic, fantastically designed by Jack Magaw. The Writers Theatre book store space is already intimate enough, but what Magaw has done to replicate the secret annex is nothing short of theatre magic. The tight quarters of this set paired with the vibrancy of the cast create an atmosphere in which emotional reaction is impossible to avoid.

What Senior extracts from her actors is a perfect storm of the best and the worst of humanity backed into a corner, in which the stakes really are life and death. Heidi Kettenring has the challenge of turning a mostly unlikeable character, Mrs. van Daan, into one of the show's strongest assets.  Kettenring balances warmth and tension in moments so electrifying that its current is contagious.

The title role is played by fourteen-year-old Sophie Thatcher who is the actual age of Anne Frank at the time of her internment. Thatcher plays the role with such surprising honesty and eloquence for an actress of her age. All her choices seem based on genuine instinct rather than what other historical documents tell us about the person Anne Frank was.

Despite the fact that everyone going into this play knows the tragic ending, and the unfortunate irony that Europe was liberated just a few months after their betrayal, it's easy to catch the show's infectious message of hope. The reason why this story lingers in our minds throughout the generations is its optimism. That no matter how dire the circumstances, faith in the good of people is what keeps the world in balance even when all seems lost.

The Diary of Anne Frank at Writers Theatre. 664 Vernon Ave, Glencoe. 847-242-6000. Through June 28th. 

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

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