Theatre

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 19:13

Writers Theatre Announces 2017-18 Season

Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce the company’s 2017-2018 six-show season, opening with the World Premiere of Trevor the musical in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre. The production will be 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 Alexander Rovang and choreography by Josh Prince, by special arrangement with U Rock Theatricals. The season will continue with Oscar Wilde’s clever comedy of manners The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Michael Halberstam; Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece A Moon for the Misbegotten directed by William Brown; and Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, directed by Kimberly Senior in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, with a production yet to be announced opening the season in the Gillian Theatre, followed by the Chicago Premiere of Lydia Diamond’s Smart People, directed by Hallie Gordon.

 

The 2017-2018 Season marks Writers Theatre’s second full season in the company’s award-winning new home at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Productions will be presented in two spaces in the theater complex including the 255-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre as well as the Gillian Theatre, a 50 to 99-seat flexible theatre space.

 

From its very first year, Writers Theatre has brought quality and excellence to the stage while maintaining the company’s hallmark intimacy. The last 25 years have seen unprecedented growth in both the artistic and business arenas as the company has garnered national acclaim and recognition, marked by the celebrated opening of the Theatre’s new facility in February of 2016. With a longstanding reputation for consistent artistic excellence and with strong ties to the community, Writers Theatre has built an award-winning repertoire and serves as a vital and highly regarded company in the Chicagoland theatre community.

 

“This is a particularly ambitious season for us,” says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “We are starting to really stretch things in our new home! We are particularly delighted to be in collaboration with such a wonderful array of directors, actors and playwrights. Of particular note, this season marks our first collaboration with a team of New York producers in presenting a powerful world premiere musical, which will launch what is a classic Writers Theatre season. We have our trademark mix of classic revivals and new plays presented with fresh perspective in our two intimate venues. When we set about to build a new home, we wanted to create a theatre that would allow us to continue to pursue our mission, but with much greater sophistication.  This season takes advantage of our new facility by honoring our past while very much looking forward to our future. Stand by for additional news to come! There is one more exhilarating production still to announce!”

 

Season Packages are available at the Box Office, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 and www.writerstheatre.org.

 

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2017/18 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s seventh consecutive year as season sponsor.

 

 

The Writers Theatre 2017-2018 Season includes:

 

World Premiere

TREVOR THE MUSICAL

Book and Lyrics by Dan Collins

Music by Julianne Wick Davis

Based on the Academy Award-winning film Trevor

Choreography by Josh Prince

Music Direction by Alexander Rovang

Directed by Marc Bruni

August 9 – September 17, 2017

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, 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 Oscar-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 

 

 

TO BE ANNOUNCED

September 27 – December 17, 2017

The Gillian Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

 

We’re still finalizing details for the first production in the Gillian Theatre next season, and aren’t quite ready to make the project public yet. However, we can tell you that it fits the Writers Theatre style—intimate, engaging and full of captivating performances by top-flight talent.

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Written by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam

November 8 – December 23, 2017

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

 

One of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST introduces us to Jack and Algernon, two charming bachelors who are each living a double life, aided by a fictional alter ego called “Ernest.” But when they fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women, will they be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage? After all, “the one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.”

 

Artistic Director Michael Halberstam brings his talent for refreshing the classics to this effervescent comedy of manners. Filled with Wilde’s sparkling wit, piercing social satire and trademark wordplay, this well-loved classic is certain to delight this holiday season!

 

 

A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN

Written by Eugene O’Neill

Directed by William Brown

February 7 – March 18, 2018

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

 

In 1920s rural Connecticut, Phil Hogan cobbles together a living on rented farmland that he hopes to someday own outright, when his landlord Jim Tyrone comes into his inheritance. Hogan has driven away his three sons, but his towering daughter Josie understands her father and can hold her own. When the two learn that the land may be sold out from under them, they concoct a plan to save it that ultimately reveals the secret desires that two lonely souls have kept hidden for years.

 

This bittersweet elegy from four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Nobel laureateEugene O’Neill offers a moving and powerful exploration of humanity at its basest and most beautiful.  Directed by WT Resident Director William Brown (Company, Doubt: A Parable, The Liar, A Little Night Music and many more), this soaring powerhouse of a play is simultaneously intimate and epic, touching on themes of desire, family and the things we sacrifice for those we love.

 

 

SMART PEOPLE

Written by Lydia Diamond

Directed by Hallie Gordon

March 21 – June 10, 2018

The Gillian Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

 

Four intelligent, attractive and opinionated young urban professionals—a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race—search for love, success, and identity while also attempting to navigate the intricacies of racial and sexual politics. This whip-smart new play taps into current cultural conversation in an enthralling and provocative way, taking on deep questions of the nature of prejudice with razor sharp wit.

 

Staged in our intimate Gillian Theatre, this sexy, serious and fiercely funny new play explores the inescapable nature of racism and other tricky topics with rapid fire dialogue, shattering assumptions about our culture’s ingrained attitudes of racism, sexism and classism. You’re sure to be captivated by one of the smartest new plays of its time!

 

 

 

BURIED CHILD

Written by Sam Shephard

Directed by Kimberly Senior

May 9 – June 17, 2018 

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

 

On a cross-country trip from New York to the west coast, Vince and his girlfriend Shelly decide to make a stop at his grandparents’ rural Illinois home. But when they arrive, neither his grandparents, Dodge and Halie, nor his father Tilden and uncle Bradley seem to recognize or remember him. As Vince searches for answers, truths begin to emerge that reveal a deep corrosion of this fragmented family living in a forgotten America.

 

This Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece will be newly invigorated for the WT stage by Resident Director Kimberly Senior (Hedda Gabler, The Diary Of Anne Frank, Marjorie Prime, The Scene), drawing audiences deeply into the story of a family fighting to come to grips with an America that may have left them behind.

 

 

SEASON PACKAGES

Writers Theatre season ticket packages provide a convenient theater going experience and guarantee access to all of WT’s highly anticipated productions throughout the season. Six-play subscription packages are available, ranging in price from $249 to $389.

 

Three-play “Pick Your Own” Flex packages that include two productions in the Nichols Theatre and one production in the Gillian Theatre start at $199.

 

Season package subscribers receive exclusive benefits including complimentary ticket exchanges by phone and mail (upgrade fees may apply), a one-year subscription to The Brief Chronicle newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit writerstheatre.org.

 

Season Packages are available at the Box Office, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 and writerstheatre.org.

 

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:

For additional information about the WT Audience Enrichment programs listed below, visit writerstheatre.org/events.

 

Pre-Show Conversation: Up Close

Join us at 6:45pm before every Thursday evening performance (excluding previews and extension dates) of Trevor the musical, The Importance of Being Earnest, A Moon for the Misbegotten and Buried Child for a 15-minute primer on the context and content of the play facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

 

Post Show Conversation: The Word

Join us after every Tuesday evening performance (excluding previews and extension dates) 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 extension dates) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

 

Sunday Spotlight

This one-hour event extends the conversation on our stages by featuring an expert in a field related to the themes or setting of each play, moderated by a member of the WT Artistic Team. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.

 

The Making of… Series

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. This one-hour event will feature WT Literary Manager Bobby Kennedy in conversation with an artist associated with each production, discussing their part in bringing the play to life. The Making of… events are FREE and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.

 

From Page to Stage Series

Writers Theatre and select North Shore libraries present the 13th annual From Page to Stage Series. This comprehensive series of special events, lectures, readings and film viewings are designed to enhance and enrich the audience experience of WT productions each season.  All events are FREE of charge and open to the public. For more information about the From Page to Stage Series, visit writerstheatre.org/from-page-to-stage-series. From Page to Stage is generously sponsored by Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, who have been supporting the program since its inception 13 years ago.

 

Writers Theatre also offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production.  Please visit writerstheatre.org/accessibility for more information.

 

 

ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE

For more than 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 the top regional theatre in the nation 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, which was recently recognized with LEED Gold Certification for sustainability initiatives, has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy, resonating with and complementing 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.

 

Published in Buzz Extra

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. 

 

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