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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.
Written by Stephen Sachs and directed by Kevin Christopher Fox, Bakersfield Mist is a provocative and hilarious look at what makes art—and people—authentic. Maude, an unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, has bought the ugliest thrift store painting she could get her hands on as a gag gift. However, when she is told that it might in fact be the "find of the century"—an undiscovered work by the famed Jackson Pollock—she invites a world-class art expert to decide if it's a forgery or the real thing, worth millions.
Ex-cop "Pops" Washington and his ex-con son Junior are barely holding on to one of the last great rent stabilized apartments in Manhattan. Pops has his hands (not to mention his apartment) full as he navigates a steady stream of sketchy houseguests and sweats out the impending verdict on his law suit against the police department. A celebration of the glorious contradictions that make up human nature, this rowdy dark comedy looks at the slippery nature of justice, and the grit it takes to finally move on.
Nobody from the town of Milton, Nebraska ever gave much thought to Bobbie before the tragedy in the cornfield. Two years later, it's hard for them to think of much else. In the darkly comic Bobbie Clearly, a community opens up about life in the aftermath and making sense of senseless violence.
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.
Sophie is everything an upstanding young millennial should be: engaged, devoted to her family and a likely valedictorian. But her life is shattered when her brother goes on a high school shooting rampage. Thrust into the national spotlight, Sophie finds herself torn between defying the narrative being woven about her brother in the media, and stopping the father she loves from using the rampage for his own political ends. Inspired by Antigone, The Burials is a modern tale of civic responsibility and the gun epidemic in America.
Jim and Laurel Parker are about to become new parents. They are broke. They are loud. They are "proud white trash." When Laurel gives birth to their long overdue child, she and Jim are faced with the biggest challenge of their lives. Byhalia, Mississippi explores a couple in the midst of turmoil and a town with a racially-charged past that finds its way into the present.
Don't miss Chicago's first look at one of the most acclaimed plays to hit London since The History Boys. In June 1989, as the Chinese government cracked down on a pro-democracy rally in Tiananmen Square, the iconic image of one man standing alone in front of a military tank captivated the world. Twenty years later, a photojournalist searches for the truth about that mysterious "Tank Man" in an epic, global adventure that explores the complex relationship between twin superpowers China and the United States.
Pastor Paul has spent 20 years successfully growing his church from a small storefront to a gleaming megachurch, but now he fears that there may be a crack in the theological foundation. As he shares his new belief in the nature of salvation, the message is met with surprise and then growing trepidation from his closest confidantes in the congregation, threatening to create a schism within the church. Hnath's fascinating new play looks with great complexity and compassion at the relationship between belief and behavior—and its evenhanded, unbiased take on faith in modern America can be appreciated no matter what you believe.
Pentheus, the leader of Thebes, is up for reelection. Dionysus, the leader of the Maenads, is looking for a place for his people to call home. When Dionysus and his followers set up camp on The Mountain outside of Thebes, Pentheus's firm grip on the city begins to unravel. Told through the experiences of six women working in Pentheus's campaign office, Civility! smashes together Euripides's original characters with brand new ones, creating a visceral, fast-paced story about power, control, and the question: how do we live together?
Jason spends his nights with his ear pressed against the bedroom wall listening to the noises from Jo's deeply troubled world next door. Amelia also hears into Jo's world from her side of the wall and takes to sleeping downstairs to drown it all out. Soon all three are caught up in a blur of voyeuristic confessions and must confront the violence they cannot escape.
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.
In the woods of East Texas, the Top 'o the Hill Café offers comfort, solace and companionship for the regulars who come in each night. However, it is the summer of 1955, and times are changing. In the face of oppressive Jim Crow laws, seven strong-willed locals join forces to protect one of their own—until the unthinkable catches them by surprise, changing life at Top 'o the Hill forever. WT Resident Director Ron OJ Parson, who directed past WT hits The Caretaker and The Old Settler, staged a critically acclaimed and deeply impactful production of Eugene Lee's riveting play for Chicago's Onyx Theatre Ensemble two decades ago. He now revisits this powerful tale of friendship and heroism that remains intensely relevant in today's America.
Set in 1966, Eroica is the story of Sally, a woman patriot living in small town, U.S.A., who must balance her love for her husband, Victor, with her patriotic ideals. He is a high school basketball coach and has secretly faked a medical condition to avoid the military draft. Victor's disabled sister, Grace, is a nun who prays for peace at war protests. We see his anguish as his self-righteous attitude regarding loyalty, dedication and commitment conflicts with his efforts to avoid the draft.
On a Spring New England day in 1935, Fefu invites seven women into her home. Traveling through Fefu's home with her closest friends, we see intimate glimpses of their complicated relationships. Fefu believes she can shape the world around her. They plan to rehearse a play for a charity event. Can she create a community? Or will their individual versions of womanhood destroy each other?
Millie is a smart, resourceful young mother who works as a housekeeper in one of New York's premiere luxury hotels. When an opportunity to move into management gives her the chance to leave behind her blue collar life, Millie must decide how much, and who, she's willing to sacrifice to secure her family's future. A funny and scathing look at America's corporate culture, The Fundamentals examines the compromises we make in order to fulfill our dreams.
Style. Status. Success. A group of twentysomething editorial assistants are pursuing it all at one of New York's most esteemed cultural magazines. When a seemingly normal day at the office turns out to be anything but, these cubicle captives and aspiring journalists recognize an opportunity to become the next Big Thing. But whose account is most valid, and to what lengths will each go to own the story? In this biting new comedy, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins shrewdly skewers the ravenous contemporary media landscape while demonstrating how professional relationships influence our lives in unexpected ways.
When an American family is forced off of their land during the Great Depression, they begin an epic journey west to California.
The God-fearing children of Cypress, Texas spend their after-school hours practicing Christian Puppet Ministry at the local church. When one devout young boy discovers that his hand puppet has a life of its own, all hell breaks loose. Literally. In this hilarious and lightning-paced comedy, Tyrone, a stinging and witty satanic sock puppet soon shows the children, minister, and school bully who's really in charge. Declared "flat-out hilarious" by The New York Times; Hand to God by Robert Askins and directed by Dexter Bullard makes its Chicago premiere after thrilling audiences on Broadway and receiving a Tony nomination for Best New Play last season.
The classic dysfunctional family drama has just crashed through into a wholly original 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 disarmingly funny, absurd and surprising as it looks at an American family forced to build a new world out of the pieces of the old.
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.
Nikki has always been a hard diligent working woman who eventually became the head nurse for a local hospital. One could look at Nikki and believe that she has everything together. However, everything behind closed doors is not what Nikki hoped it to be. House, But Not A Home is a story of parenting, relationships, and love. An unveiling secret from Nikki, just might break apart every close relationship she has with family, friends, and loved ones. Can Nikki cope with the guilt and shame? Can she find strength to leave behind what she loves so dearly?
I Am My Own Wife is based on the true story of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (born Lothar Berfelde) who, against all odds, hid from the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin in plain sight dressed a woman. Traditionally staged as a one-person play performed by a male actor, Director Andrew Volkoff's re-examination will feature transgender actress Delia Kropp and two additional actors. The new production will frame Charlotte's story through a transgender lens, celebrating transvisibility through the life story of one of the most fascinating transgender women in historical record.
Shakespeare's masterpiece of power and conspiracy, friendship and betrayal, stands as the greatest political drama ever written. Caesar has made Rome the world's most powerful Empire through his brilliant military strategies, and upon his return from the wars the citizens of Rome wish to abandon the Republic and crown him king. When his fellow senators decide that his advancement must be halted, they come to a brutal and extreme solution: the great man must fall.
With a new adaptation by Michael Halberstam and Scott Parkinson that is focused, streamlined and performed without an intermission, the WT production will be both epic in scale and arrestingly intimate. This fresh and innovative look at the text will immerse audiences in the struggle for global supremacy, raising important questions about the responsibilities of a citizenry when confronting radicalism and tyranny.
The Queen is dead. Long live the King. That is King Charles III. After decades as "king in waiting,"Prince Charles ascends to the throne. His first official act: to rubberstamp Parliament's bill restricting freedom on the press, but Charles III refuses in a provocative act of conscience. England is thrown into crisis, absurdly escalating with tanks guarding the palace gates. Camilla, Prince William and Kate, Prince Harry—even Princess Diana—all play roles in this "imaginary future history." Winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for best new play, playwright Mike Bartlett artfully invokes the pomp and prose of Shakespeare's greatest works. Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin, who recently directed the Broadway sensation Honeymoon in Vegas, returns to the Chicago Shakespeare stage for his twenty-third production.
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.
Annabel Anderson McCafferty is an expectant mother who vanishes from her small Ohio town on Christmas Eve. Both mystery and memory play, A Life Extra Ordinary untangles and re-assembles the moments that make a life.
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.
A good magician is always in control of his show. The rest of his life can be as fragile as a house of cards. When a rising young magician takes the stage just hours after his lover has left him, his performance begins to unravel. As the past invades the present, and the charismatic entertainer gives way to a heartbroken man, the magician strives to find one aspect of his life that feels like magic and not a trick. Critically acclaimed magician, illusion designer and actor Brett Schneider stars in this mind-blowing and altogether astounding spectacle that combines a live magic show with the poignant punch of Chicago theater.
With book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, and an exuberant score by Mitch Leigh, the breathtaking musical tells the rich story of chivalry, romance, idealism and dreaming "The Impossible Dream." Complemented by Musical Director Ryan T. Nelson, six-time Jeff Award Winner Nick Bowling (The King and I at The Marriott Theatre, The History Boys and Fiorello! at TimeLine Theatre) presents a unique production of the classic tale, bringing to life the parallels between the struggles of 16th Century Spain with the challenges of modern day society.
The critically acclaimed Shakespeare's Globe production that took London by storm comes to Chicago. In some of his most highly charged scenes, Shakespeare dramatizes the competing claims of tolerance and intolerance, religious law and civil society, justice and mercy; while in the character of Shylock he created one of the most memorable outsiders in all theater. Double Olivier and Tony Award-winner Jonathan Pryce plays Shylock, and is joined on stage by his daughter, Phoebe Pryce. The Telegraph praises "Director Jonathan Munby's oak-solid, finely weighted production… the lighter and darker elements combine in a seamless whole."
This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee tells the story of Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old aspiring film-maker in juvenile detention. His life has been turned upside down by his alleged participation in a robbery gone awry and now he might 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 they 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.
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.
In this bold, incendiary riff on Waiting for Godot, two young, black men stand around on the corner—talking shit, 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, historical and religious references collide to create a hilarious and disturbing meditation on manhood, race, and the cycle of violence that prevents too many from realizing their full potential.
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.
In 1976, Ray, a newly single parent of twin hemophiliac boys, has only one goal: keep his sons alive. His days are filled by endless trips to the hospital, rigorous testing, and frequent blood transfusions. This all changes when Ray meets Roz, an optimistic and caring doctor with a miracle treatment. Roz appears to be Ray's savior until the miracle turns into a nightmare. Roz and Ray tells the profound story of love, trust, sacrifice, and forgiveness between two friends.
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 his 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 Theater itself, directed by multiple Jeff Award winner and Chicago Shakespeare favorite Rachel Rockwell.
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 trashtalk 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/Director Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son play narrative, shedding new and often hilarious light on a story we think we know all too well.
Jon Maran's Off Broadway hit about the founding of the Mattachine Society, the first sustained LGBT rights organization in the U.S., and the love affair of two of its founding members, Harry Hay and emigree Rudi Gernrich.
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.
Artistic Director Barbara Gaines' electrifying adaptation distills six Shakespeare plays into two action-packed dramas tracing the rise and fall of kings, and the uncommon courage of common men. In the spirit of addictive epic sagas, like Scandal and House of Cards, tensions build as the origin stories of Shakespeare's most iconic rulers unfold—underscored by stunning staging, live music, surprising poignancy and humor. These must-see theatrical events of 2016 unfold over two installments—beginning in the spring and culminating in the fall. Each runs approximately six hours, including several intermissions and a brief meal break.
Civil Strife consists of Henry VI, Parts 2 & 3, and Richard III.
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 new adaptation.
Becky, newly pregnant yet sexually frustrated, finds her husband is more interested in baby books than her provocative new nightie, so she turns to fantasy created by the old porn stash under the bed. As the summer heats up, Becky takes matters into her own hands by purchasing a used bike meant to burn off energy, but ends up embarking on an adventure much, much further than she ever expected to go.
Edna has suffered a number of losses as she has aged, and now faces the stealthy advance of cancer embodied by an intimate figure that she could do without. Home for a visit, Edna's son Andrew is trying to bridge the gulf between the childhood love they shared and the aggressively polite but baffling relationship they now live with. Mother and son stumble toward honesty as they wrestle with the distractions-both mundane and profound—that keep us from real connection.
Countless stories have come to an end at the bottom of Wastwater, the deepest lake in England. Tony Award winning playwright Simon Stephens' Wastwater delves into three relationships, each sitting on the edge of a defining decision. Where will their stories end, and what are the consequences of the choices we all make?
In December, the award-winning British company Cheek by Jowl returns to Chicago with a new production of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays. Writing The Winter's Tale after completing his great tragedies, this is a new Shakespeare. Unity of time, place and action are hurled aside as we move across Europe—from court to country, from high tragedy to low comedy—in a story that spans fourteen years. A delusional and paranoid king tears his family apart, but the struggle for redemption yields flickers of hope. Initial darkness gives way to joy as Time leads the characters to a shattering conclusion.
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 ICU 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.
This crazy, funny show sets heroines from the 19th century novels of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters in a mythical place of Moors. When our heroines receive proposals of marriage, they decide to escape. The men wage war on the women starting the Moors Wars. Jaclyn Backhaus' ultimately moving and inventive play ends in beautiful prose like a chapter from the books these women originated.