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Following his critically lauded production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, Robert Falls takes on the legendary playwright's sweeping, heartfelt salute to youthful indiscretion and small town life. For the shy and scholarly Richard Miller, fireworks aren't the only flames burning on Fourth of July—this 16-year-old has started going steady with his beautiful neighbor Muriel. Her father, however, disapproves of their relationship and forbids the couple from seeing each other. Spurred by this obstacle, Richard embarks on an evening of hilarious and unexpected rebellion. Ah, Wilderness! delightfully captures the rush of excitement, torment, emotional confusion and bliss that accompanies first love and growing up.
Unseen. Unheard. Unknown.
At the margins of society, on the knife-edge of survival, they work for low wages, in harsh conditions. No safety net. No insurance or protections. No guarantee of work tomorrow.
This critically-acclaimed piece, most recently produced at the UK's National Theatre, is re-imagined for Chicago by writer/director Alexander Zeldin. In association with Dark Harbor Stories, a company led by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer and Tom Hodges, this play is a gritty portrait of those who cling precariously to the bottom rung of the ladder. Full of life, humor, and tenderness, it sheds light on America's shadow economy and shines an unflinching spotlight on the incendiary intersection of race and class.
Every family has its secrets. The Hollander family's spanned three generations and two continents, from World War Two-era Poland to present-day America, all locked in a suitcase in Joseph Hollander's attic. When his son, Richard, uncovered the suitcase, he found more than just Swastika-stamped letters and legal documents — he found a family he had never met and a father's legacy that was never mentioned. A family torn apart by war, fighting to escape and survive, an unplanned immigration and quest to stay in the United States, and a tale of love lost and found were all captured in letters uncovered a generation later, which became the book Every Day Lasts a Year. Now adapted as The Book of Joseph, the Hollander family journey offers a story for each of us.
Winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Best Play, Bright Half Life follows the ups and downs of a modern lesbian relationship. Their moving story is told through a series of fast moving, fragmented memories – from elevator rides as strangers to steamy workplace romances to heartache and building a family.
Ever seen Hamlet in 10 seconds in reverse? If you like Shakespeare, you'll love this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you'll love this show. Three actors present all the Bard's 37 plays in 97 minutes, making it an irreverent, fast-paced romp that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter!
Diamond Dogs follows a 26th century team of humans and transhumans as they investigate a mysterious alien tower, bent on brutally punishing all intruders. Uncovering clues and solving puzzles, each crusader will make dangerous, eye-popping sacrifices to get to the mysteries atop the spire. Blood will spill.
A Disappearing Number is an internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. In 1913, a clerk in rural India named Srinivasa Ramanujan sends a letter filled with astonishing mathematical theorems to famed mathematician G.H. Hardy. In the present, a math professor and a businessman fall in love. Told in a whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, A Disappearing Number is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos.
As global destruction approaches, the lives of a climate scientist and his three estranged daughters come crashing, unexpectedly back together. The wildly epic Earthquakes in London embodies the chaos of today's society, while reminding us that our very survival may depend on our connections to our families, to our communities, and to our shared world.
The 2017 Kia Corthron season begins with the timely Force Continuum. An African-American police officer struggles with the contradictions of his race and profession while confronting the black community he is bound to protect and being haunted by his cop father's violent death. This play is a jagged, precarious journey whereby all gradually grasp that understanding comes not just through seeing others but hearing.
A comedy about life in a Lake Shore Drive high-rise condo building where a professional student from the University of Chicago is moonlighting as a janitor, a stressed-out apartment manager is at odds with the residents and on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and a motley assortment of other staff members struggles with survival in the face of urban pandemonium. And with the fact that one of them may be breaking into the units and stealing women's underwear.
Gentle is a world-premiere play based on the short story "A Gentle Woman" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It follows a young immigrant woman, a pawnbroker, and their maid over the course of a short, mysterious marriage. Dostoevsky's brilliant tale of the obsessive power of ego and its ability to push ordinary people to extraordinary measures is modernized as a story of our times. Zeljko Djukic (Uncle Vanya) directs; Natasha Bogojevich contributes original music.
The classic dysfunctional family drama has crashed in a new place. Meet Paige, a wife and mother liberated from an oppressive and abusive marriage; Max, her newly out transgender son; and Isaac, Max's PTSD-addled older brother, who discovers a brand-new war zone when he comes home from Afghanistan. Hir's crusade to shake up the patriarchy is funny and absurd. The play looks at an American family forced to build a new world out of the pieces of the old.
Taylor Mac (who uses "judy" not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. Hir is one of the 17 full-length plays and performance pieces judy has written.
An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form (senior) boys in a British boarding school are, as such boys will be, in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at a good university — generally in that order. In all their efforts, they are helped and hindered, enlightened and bemused by a maverick English teacher who seeks to broaden their horizons in sometimes undefined ways, and by a young history teacher who questions the methods, as well as the aim, of their schooling.
Who hasn't heard the urban legend about the Hookman? Lexi's mother certainly warned her about him and now, after a tragic accident, she begins seeing him everywhere. Hookman is a lethally sharp slasher comedy about death, growing up, what it means to be a woman, and the ever-present threat of being murdered by a man with a hook for a hand.
Floundering a bit after the death of his aged (and domineering) mother, Manley Carstairs, a self-styled literary artist, engages a housekeeper, Annie Dankworth, to look after his large Victorian house (and him). When Annie first arrives, wearing sneakers and carrying her belongings in a grocery cart, Manley is taken aback, but she seems so eager to please that he relents — after which point their relationship progresses rapidly from restraint to hatred. Annie is one of the world's great oddballs. She insults her employer, denigrates his writing, admits she forged her references, accuses Manley of lusting after her, and makes his life hell in general. Eventually Manley can take no more, but when he advances on Annie with strangulation in mind, he trips, falls into her arms, they embrace, and the rest is history.
In to America is a world-premiere drama that traces the American immigrant experience from Jamestown to the present day through the stories of ordinary men, women, and children who left their homelands in the hope of creating a new life. Four hundred years in the making, In to America transcends time, space, and race to reflect the diversity and commonalities of the American experience. Dorothy Milne directs this journey through history; Bill Massolia (Letters Home) scripted it.
The affable Larry Yee remains a driving force in the San Francisco Chinese American community as the head of the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent men's club dedicated to the preservation of the Yee line. His daughter Lauren, however, is dismissive of its patriarchal culture policy, despite her father's lifelong dedication to the group. When Larry suddenly goes missing, Lauren's desperate search drops her into a strange but familiar world where she will have to embrace the past if she wants to get her father back. Explore the vivid history of America's largest Chinatown through the eyes of a new generation in Lauren Yee's hilarious and touching theatrical quest to connect with her family lineage.
Instinct, tenacity, biting humor, and trust in the future keep Lela alive as her world closes in around her. Based on a true story, Lela & Co. is an eerily funny and enthralling story about the horrifying enterprise of war and a girl who may or may not have eaten some frosting.
Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from the cot in his ex-wife's garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex — complicated, painful, and hilarious. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler is a modern misanthrope who must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.
Author Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor, and member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. His works include August: Osage County, Superior Donuts, The Man From Nebraska, and Killer Joe and Bug. He is also known for his portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in Showtime's Homeland and can be seen in The Big Short and HBO's Divorce.
Grace Harkaway, who considers herself immune to love, is marrying elderly Sir Harcourt Courtly for his money. Then she meets his son. Then Sir harcourt meets horse-riding virago Lady Gay Spanker, who enters in her leather-trimmed hunting suit wielding a riding crop, and goes on to complicate the already complicated romantic entanglements of the play. The comedy sensation of 1841 has been produced repeatedly in New York and London up to the present day, including National Theatre Live's worldwide broadcast in 2010, but has not been seen on a Chicago stage for 120 years. City Lit's production will feature Cameron Feagin as Lady Gay and Kingsley Day as Sir Harcourt.
Nastier than Scorsese at his bleakest, more violent than Tarantino at his bloodiest, Shakespeare's Macbeth still shocks like no other tale on the page, stage, or screen. Now this chilling portrait of temptation, ambition, and betrayal gets staged at Chicago's Filament Theatre. Set in a gloomy world of ghosts and witches, the tragedy's cycle of corruption is thrown into motion when the popular King Duncan of Scotland is murdered by his trusted friend and general Macbeth. Driven by a supernatural prophesy and his wife's deadly ambition, Macbeth goes on to claim his destiny. But just as he grasps the crown, it starts to slip through his bloody fingers.
A town's proud history, the legend of a local hero, the coveted privilege of reserved parking: Nothing is sacred during the town council meeting at the heart of this new play. Written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, this razor-sharp comedy turns from hilarious to chilling as petty policy matters give way to the truth roiling just beneath the surface of the town's historical mythology.
Winner of four Jeff Awards, including Best Production, and fresh off a national tour, the critically-acclaimed Moby Dick returns to the Lookingglass stage in this harrowing and intoxicating exploration of revenge, obsession, and destiny.
Madness rages like the angry sea when man pits himself against leviathan in Herman Melville's epic and poetic tale, furiously reimagined by director David Catlin.
Climb aboard the Pequod with Ishmael, Starbuck, and the intrepid crew on a voyage into the darkest reaches of the human psyche with an insatiably driven Captain Ahab at the helm in reckless pursuit of the legendary white whale.
Monster, adapted from the 1999 National Book Award-nominated novel by Walter Dean Myers, tells the story of Steve Harmon. Steve is a 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker in juvenile detention whose life has been turned upside down by his alleged participation in a robbery gone awry. Now he may have to spend the rest of his life behind bars. As the prosecution makes its case, Steve writes his story as a screenplay, trying to understand if he's really the monster people say he is.
Charlotte and Jonny have grown up together, and are now trying to determine whether their close friendship might be something more. When they discover exactly what "more" actually entails, however, it comes as a surprise to them both—and to Charlotte's parents, who are holding secrets and resentments of their own. This compelling story of intricate relationships is an explosive and contemporary look at race, sexual identity and family dynamics.
Marti Lyons, one of Chicago's finest emerging directors, brings her unique vision to this deeply insightful and very funny new play, using the intimacy of WT's Gillian Theatre to bring audiences face-to-face with the challenges of loving someone completely while trying to determine exactly what that means.
Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and his pregnant wife Tania, a doctoral candidate, think they have hit the jackpot with their new home. It seems to have everything they dreamed of: a nice neighborhood, plenty of bedrooms for their growing family, outdoor space, and friendly neighbors. When Pablo and Tania decide to upgrade the eyesore chain link fence in their backyard, neighbors Virginia and Frank couldn't be happier. Happy until they think their new neighbors are taking more than they deserve. A disagreement over a property line quickly spirals into a war of taste, class and entitlement in Native Gardens, a hilarious comedy by Karen Zacarias and directed by Marti Lyons.
A young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, triggering an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination and the most basic of human desires. The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion; a beautiful escape that ultimately begs some very serious questions about responsibility, connectivity and love.
After surviving a tumultuous upbringing in war-torn Liberia, Shedrick Yarpai has found a new home in a sunny, coastal Australian city. Safe from the horrific perils of guerrilla soldiers and refugee camps, Shedrick now faces a different type of danger: the haunting memories stirring inside him. Inspired by writer Charles Smith's friendship with a Liberian refugee-turned-acclaimed-actor, the playwright crafts a harrowing story of personal honor vs. familial obligation and the responsibility that comes with being a survivor.
Ten years after their critically acclaimed collaboration on King Lear, Robert Falls and stage and screen star Stacy Keach — both 2015 Theater Hall of Fame inductees — reunite for the world premiere of Pamplona by Jim McGrath. Keach stars as Ernest Hemingway, one of the most celebrated novelists and short story writers of the 20th century in this explosive tour-de-force drama, set during the author's haunted years following his Pulitzer and Nobel Prize honors.
In this play, after the prize comes the pressure. Basking in the glory of career-defining awards — the 1953 Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 — legendary writer Ernest Hemingway insists his best work is yet to come. Five years later, holed up in a Spanish hotel with a looming deadline, he struggles to knock out a story about the rivalrous matadors of Pamplona. But his real battles lie outside the bullfighting arena; in declining health, consumed by his troubled fourth marriage, and tormented by the specter of past glories, he must now conquer the deepening despair that threatens to engulf him.
Pamplona marks Keach's second exploration of the literary legend: He earned a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Hemingway in the eponymous 1988 television miniseries.
In this bold, incendiary riff on Waiting for Godot, two young black men are standing around on the corner — talking smack, killing time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. When a white man wanders into their space, an escalating crisis threatens to prevent their escape from the block. In Pass Over, pop culture collides with historical and religious references to create a hilarious and disturbing meditation on manhood, race, and the cycle of violence that prevents too many from realizing their potential.
Playwright Antoinette Nwandu is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group. Her plays have been produced and developed by Page73, Ars Nova, the Flea, and Naked Angels, among others. She is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company's Douglas Turner Ward Prize, and a literary fellowship from the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. In spring 2016, Pass Over received a workshop as part of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project under the mentorship of Katori Hall.
Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to announce the continuation of the fourth season of Porchlight Revisits, a staged concert series of hit "lost" musicals. Up next is Little Me, with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, and a book by Neil Simon based on the novel by Patrick Dennis.
Matthew's wife, Lisa, is having an affair with Adrian, a British director. Or perhaps the affair is part of a play being rehearsed. Or perhaps Matthew has imagined it all. But a mysterious woman who seems to shadow the others brings the story to its surprising conclusion…or does she? The audience plays the role of detective in this hilarious, multi-layered comedy of suspicion about love, lust, and the power of deception in which nothing is ever quite what it seems.
PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error in their calculations, which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences?
Helena is dreading her sister's wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers. She knows her sister, Belmira, only wants to escape their quiet Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. Three days before the wedding, a mysterious stranger is pulled out of the river—a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future.
What starts off with an amusing exchange at a hip Manhattan party quickly turns into something more complex. When close friends Charlie and Lewis meet Clea, a determined young woman making her mark on the New York scene, it sets them off on an emotional roller coaster. This provocative comedy-drama explores the dark edges of commitment and the struggles of balancing authenticity with ambition.
WT Resident Director Kimberly Senior, who recently directed the Pulitzer Prize-wining Disgraced on Broadway and who has helmed past WT hits The Letters, Hedda Gabler, The Diary of Anne Frank and Marjorie Prime, takes on Theresa Rebeck's wickedly biting and often hilarious play about the search for the ever elusive "place-to-be," and the three old friends whose lives are irrevocably changed when they discover how fragile the foundations of their relationships really are.
The Oscar-winning romantic comedy about Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men returns to its rightful home — the stage. Imagine a young playwright on the make struggling to write his new tragic love story, Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter. The title just doesn't have the right ring — and young Will Shakespeare knows it. He's got writer's block and must do something quickly. Will needs a muse, and he finds one in Viola, a vivacious beauty who will do anything — even disguise herself as a man — to audition for the stage, where no women are permitted to perform. Once revealed, the torrid affair begins inspiring the completion of the most romantic tragedy ever penned. Backstage maneuverings jostle hilariously with onstage dramas in this love letter to the theater itself, directed by multi-Jeff Award winner and Chicago Shakespeare favorite Rachel Rockwell.
Skin for Skin depicts the biblical Job as a Muslim-American contractor in Baghdad who is suspected of aiding Al-Qaeda. He is imprisoned in an Abu Ghraib-type "black site" and subjected to "enhanced interrogation" as supervised by an American psychologist. The play explores the unintended consequences of torture in the name of God, country, and money. It also features choreography from members of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and Actors Gymnasium.
Young Peter's childhood adventures are told through shadow puppetry and movement. This celebration of first experiences is a visual feast! Enjoy the enchantment of a small child growing up in a big city experiencing his first snowfall, first pet, and first crush. Featuring the first African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book series, four of author Ezra Jack Keats' best-selling books — including two Caldecott Award winners — are combined to bring this captivating and poignant play to life.
On the hunt for the biggest story of their careers, two journalists are summoned to travel across the world to meet with The Source: an unidentified leaker of hacked documents and information about the United States government. As these strangers probe one another for the truth and information, they find themselves in a thrilling psychological drama that leads them to examine their motives, their country, and themselves…all while waiting for The Source.
As Ed, a widower, prepares to celebrate Christmas, he calls his three grown sons back to the family home. Games are played, Chinese food is ordered, and brotherly pranks and trash talk distract them from the ongoing issue that threatens to ruin the festivities: When personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do? Playwright and director Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father-son play narrative, shedding new light and hilarity on a story we think we know.
The Neo-Futurists' signature show, performed since 1988, is the longest-running production in Chicago history. Too Much Light... is an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. Each week the ensemble adds between two and twelve new plays to the menu. Every performance creates an inimitable, living-newspaper collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, the visceral and experimental.
A secluded country estate becomes the setting for unrequited love, renewed rivalries, and ruminations both absurd and tragic on roads barely taken and passions left unfulfilled. Chekhov's timeless study of the agonizing intersections of youth and mid-life finds contemporary immediacy in Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker's fresh and compelling adaptation.
Baker's adaptation of Uncle Vanya first premiered in 2012 off-Broadway at the Soho Repertory Theatre. Baker noted that she wanted to "create a version that sounds to our contemporary American ears the way the play sounded to Russian ears during the play's first productions."
The artistic team that brought you The Gospel of Lovingkindness and An Issue of Blood, director Chay Yew and playwright Marcus Gardley, now explore the Great Migration from the Deep South to Chicago in the early 1900s. On a frigid winter's night, a 90-year-old woman is admitted to an I.C.U. in Bronzeville. Over the final hours of Queen's life she teaches those around her lasting lessons of history, from the Jim Crow south to Chicago's nightclub scene. Told through music, poetry, and dance, A Wonder in My Soul is a beautiful story of one Queen's journey home.
Ever since her father vanished under mysterious circumstances, Meg Murray's life has been spiraling out of control. But one dark and stormy night, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which appear with a promise to help rescue him from the monstrous darkness that threatens the universe. Join Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, their pal Calvin, and a host of extraterrestrial friends and foes as they journey into the heart of a terrible evil in the hope of reuniting a fragmented family. A heartwarming adventure across the stars, A Wrinkle in Time returns to the Lifeline stage in a newly revised adaptation of the beloved 1963 novel by Madeleine L'Engle.