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Timeline Theatre Company announces 2019-20 Season

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Chicago, IL — TimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays that explore today's social and political issues through the lens of the past, is thrilled to announce its 23rd season.

The company's 2019-20 subscription season will feature the previously announced Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers' Tony Award-winning OSLO presented at Broadway In Chicago's Broadway Playhouse. TimeLine's 2019-20 season continues with an acclaimed but rarely performed 100-year-old play named one of the best of the 20th Century that has never been seen in Chicago, the Chicago premiere of a powerful and provocative play described by the playwright as "an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that 'all lives matter,'" and the world premiere of a new play developed through TimeLine's Playwrights Collective.

TimeLine Theatre's upcoming 2019-20 subscription season includes:

The Chicago premiere of the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Play, OSLO by J.T. Rogers, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, a political thriller about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that brought about the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, presented at the Broadway Playhouse.

The Chicago premiere of RUTHERFORD AND SON by Githa Sowerby, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe, a rarely produced family drama written in 1912 that brings an ahead-of-its-time depiction of class, gender, and generational warfare.

The Chicago premiere of KILL MOVE PARADISE by James Ijames, directed by TimeLine Company Member Wardell Julius Clark, a contemporary portrait of those lost, inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women.

And the world premiere of RELENTLESS by TimeLine Company Member Tyla Abercrumbie, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, a new play developed through TimeLine's Playwrights Collective that presents a complicated tale of family, legacy, and progress.

Further casting will be announced at a later date.

Save on tickets to TimeLine's 2019-20 Season with a FlexPass Subscription. Four different tiers, priced from $97 to $235, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call ( 773 ) 281-8463 x6 or visit .

"On behalf of all of TimeLine's Company Members I am excited to announce our next season, featuring a thrilling collection of four plays that are all new to Chicago," said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. "As TimeLine furthers its mission of exploring today's social and political issues through the lens of the past, we will take audiences on a journey through different centuries and continents while exploring topics that dominate contemporary headlines and conversations. The season includes acclaimed plays such as Oslo and Kill Move Paradisethat have recently been heralded in New York and beyond, alongside the world premiere of Tyla Abercrumbie's astonishing family drama Relentless, and the resurrection of a groundbreaking feminist play from the early 20th century, Rutherford and Son, marking the long-overdue Chicago premiere of this classic."


Chicago Premiere


by J.T. Rogers

directed by Nick Bowling

September 18 — October 20, 2019 ( previews 9/10 — 9/17 )

presented at Broadway In Chicago's Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St.

TimeLine presents the Chicago premiere of the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Play—a remarkable story about the unlikely friendships, quiet heroics, and sheer determination that pushed two foes to reach something neither thought truly possible—peace.

When the Israeli prime minister and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993, the world had no idea what it took to orchestrate that momentous occasion. Behind the scenes, a Norwegian diplomat and her social scientist husband hatched an intricate, top secret, and sometimes comical scheme to gather an unexpected assortment of players at an idyllic estate just outside Oslo. Far from any international glare, mortal enemies were able to face each other not as adversaries, but as fellow human beings.

J.T. Rogers' OSLO is a humorous, surprising, and inspiring true story about the people inside politics, and the incredible progress that is possible when we focus on what makes us human—together.

OSLO received the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play, as well as New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and Obie awards—a sweep of the 2016-17 New York awards season—and was nominated for the Olivier and Evening Standard awards.

This "riveting political thriller" ( Associated Press ) is "fast-paced and quick-witted" ( The Independent ) and "a disarmingly funny masterpiece" ( Huffington Post ). The Washington Post raved that "its account of intractable foes finding common ground is irresistible and, ultimately, deeply moving," and the New York Daily News wrote that OSLO is "smart, touching and spiked with spy-novel tension and wry humor." Variety called it "gripping, compelling, and compulsively watchable," and The New York Times declared that it is "the stuff of crackling theater."

Chicago Premiere


by Githa Sowerby

directed by Mechelle Moe

November 14, 2019 — January 12, 2020 ( previews 11/6 — 11/13 )

presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

Named one of the "100 plays of the century" by the Royal National Theatre, Githa Sowerby's rarely produced family drama is a smart and absorbing twist on a woman's "place" in a male dominated society.

In the industrial north of England in 1912, the patriarch of the Rutherford family has spent decades building a respected glass works company to pass on to his children, without any say from them. Caught between passion, purpose, and expectation, John, Richard, and Janet struggle to break free from an oppressive and narrow-minded father dead set on writing their stories himself. Less entangled by these family expectations and with ambitions to give her son the life he deserves, John's young wife Mary is determined to upend the cycle, whatever it takes.

Playing on the conventions of the period with wit and creative edge, RUTHERFORD AND SON is a play ahead of its time, asking us to question if our "place" in life should be anything but what we ourselves determine it to be.

Originally produced under the pen name K.G. Sowerby, RUTHERFORD AND SONpremiered in 1912 at London's Court Theatre with four performances. It soon re-opened at London's Little Theatre, where it became a massive, critical success. Literary critic Barrett Harper Clark, writing in 1915, declared it "among the most powerful works of the younger generation" and Sowerby's writing was compared to that of Henrik Ibsen. It was also produced in New York, Canada and Australia, and translated into numerous other languages, including German, French, Italian, Russian, and Bohemian.

It was only later revealed that the author of the hit play was a woman, which may have been a factor in its fall into obscurity until the 1980s. It has since had successful productions including at the National Theatre in 1994 and New York's Mint Theatre in 2001, among others, and will be revived at the National Theatre again in May 2019. TimeLine's production will be the play's Chicago premiere and among only a handful of productions ever presented in the United States.

The Globe and Mail has called RUTHERFORD AND SON "engaging and splendid … works magic ... as a family drama." And the Ottawa Citizen wrote that "the reason it continues to intrigue us is that it is first and foremost a study in character, an examination of how patriarchal despotism and the prevailing culture of the day can ensnare human beings."

Chicago Premiere


by James Ijames

directed by Wardell Julius Clark

February 20 — April 5, 2020 ( previews 2/12 — 2/19 )

presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

James Ijames' New York Times Critic Pick play is a powerful and provocative reflection on recent events, illustrating the possibilities of collective transformation and radical acts of joy.

Torn from the world they know without warning, Isa, Daz, Grif, and Tiny discover themselves stuck in a nebulous waiting room in the afterlife. While balancing the reality of their past and the uncertainty of their future, their souls try to find peace from senseless action and hope in the life they left behind.

Inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women, KILL MOVE PARADISE is a portrait of those lost—not as statistics, but as heroes who deserve to be seen for the splendid beings they are.

Playwright James Ijames has described his play as "an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that 'all lives matter.'" KILL MOVE PARADISE has been seen at National Black Theatre in Harlem, The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, and Know Theatre of Cincinnati, among others. The New York Times wrote that the work "radiates an urgent and hypnotic theatrical energy." Philadelphia Magazine called it "a deeply touching evening of theater" and wrote that "Ijames' writing is vividly, singularly his own [and] has something profound and important to tell us. You shall be moved." And the Cincinnati Inquirer advised audiences to "lean back and allow the impact of it all to wash over you."

World Premiere


by Tyla Abercrumbie

directed by Ron OJ Parson

May 14 — June 27, 2020 ( previews 5/6 — 5/13 )

presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.

Developed through TimeLine's Playwrights Collective, this world premiere is a startling and vibrant look at the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love most.

After the death of their mother, two sisters return home to Philadelphia in 1918 to settle her estate. Annelle is a happy socialite desperate to return to the safe illusion of a perfect life with her husband in Boston. Janet is a single, professional nurse, determined to change history and propel black women to a place of prominence and respect. Upon discovering a series of diaries left by their late mother, they find themselves confronted with a woman they never really knew, exposing buried truths from the pasts that are chillingly, explosively Relentless.

Playwright and TimeLine Company Member Tyla Abercrumbie weaves a mother's past with her daughters' present in a complicated tale of family, legacy, and progress.

This world premiere play was developed through TimeLine's Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine's mission of presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today's social and political issues. RELENTLESS is the second play developed through the Collective to receive a full production, following Brett Neveu's To Catch a Fish, which was presented at TimeLine in 2018. RELENTLESS received its first public reading as part of TimeLine's inaugural First Draft Playwrights Collective Festival in December 2018.


TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. Now in its 22nd season, TimeLine has presented 78 productions, including 10 world premieres and 34 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 12th year of bringing the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 54 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.

TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Eileen LaCario. Company members are Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Wardell Julius Clark, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.

Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.

For more information, visit or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram ( @TimeLineTheatre ).

—From a press release

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