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Writers Theatre begins 2018/19 Season, including Twelfth Night, Next to Normal
From a press release
2018-03-03

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Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce the company's 2018/19 six-show season, opening with Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, with original music by Shane Rettig, directed by Lavina Jadhwani in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre. The season will continue with William Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night, Or What You Will directed by Michael Halberstam and August Wilson's visceral American classic Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, directed by Ron OJ Parson. Closing the season in the Nichols Theatre will be the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, with music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, directed by David Cromer and music directed by Andra Velis Simon. The World Premiere of Jen Silverman'sWitch, inspired by The Witch of Edmonton by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford and directed by Marti Lyons will open the season in the Gillian Theatre, followed by Caryl Churchill's suspenseful A Number, directed by Robin Witt.

The 2018/19 Season marks Writers Theatre's third 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.

"Our 2018/19 Season is fresh and sophisticated, and rooted in our tradition of ensuring that the written word and the artist remain at the center of our conversation," comments Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. "While Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom anchor us in our canonic heritage, Kitt and Yorkey's Tony Award-winning Next to Normal and Caryl Churchill's powerful A Number take us into the present day and VietGone by Qui Ngyuen takes us boldly forward in the future. Meanwhile, we're thrilled to be producing the world premiere of Witch by Jen Silverman, which bridges the gap between the old and the new. We have a brilliant team of directors who have assembled a remarkable array of designers and are in the process of casting a mix of fresh faces and longtime WT favorites. We invite our Chicagoland audiences to lean forward and engage in our most exciting season to date!"

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 2018/19 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank's eighth consecutive year as season sponsor.

The Writers Theatre 2018/19 Season includes:

VIETGONE

Written by Qui Nguyen

Original Music by Shane Rettig

Directed by Lavina Jadhwani

August 15 — September 23, 2018

Opening August 22, 2018

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

It's 1975 and two young survivors ( who may or may not be the playwright's parents ) meet in a Vietnamese refugee camp in mid-America shortly after the fall of Saigon. Will this strange new land of cowboys, hippies and bikers allow them to fall in love? Playwright Qui Nguyen's wildly creative, irreverent style flips stereotypes on their head, remixing history and culture into a sexy, funny and energetic fantasia as he imagines how two soul mates might have found each other in a turbulent time.

Equal parts road-trip adventure, buddy film, romantic comedy and Hamilton-esque rap musical, this epic new play repurposes pop culture from the last forty years to tell its "probably-mostly-true" story. Directed by Lavina Jadhwani, Vietgone takes a no-holds-barred approach, transporting you through time and across the globe to put an innovative spin on a critical moment in our history.

World Premiere

WITCH

Written by Jen Silverman

Inspired by The Witch of Edmonton by Rowley, Dekker & Ford

Directed by Marti Lyons

September 26 — December 16, 2018

Opening October 3, 2018

The Gillian Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Mischief is afoot in the sleepy village of Edmonton and the fate of the world is at stake in this smart modern fable. When the emotionally conflicted son of the local lord and an ambitious newcomer come into conflict, help presents itself to both of them in the same guise—as the Devil himself. But while these two young men take advantage of the Devil's bargain to accomplish their own questionable ends, someone else in town stands her ground—Elizabeth, an outcast whom everyone believes to be a witch.

Rising playwright Jen Silverman boldly transforms this classic play by Jacobean playwrights William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford, using a contemporary lens to make the machinations of the distant past strikingly relevant to today. Directed by Marti Lyons ( The Mystery of Love & Sex ) in the intimate Gillian Theatre, this wickedly funny, slyly subversive play will captivate you with the question: would you know what to ask for if the Devil came knocking on your door?

TWELFTH NIGHT

Or What You Will

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam

November 7 — December 16, 2018

Opening November 14, 2018

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

Shakespeare's romantic, boisterous and poignant comedy has never felt more relevant—or more hilarious! When young Viola is shipwrecked on an unfamiliar shore, presuming her twin brother drowned in the same wreck, she must disguise herself as a man to secure a job with the local Duke Orsino. But when asked to further Orsino's romantic interests with the powerful Olivia, she finds herself tangled in an increasingly confused love triangle. Crossed wires, cross purposes and crossed garters abound, leading to a final scene of revelations that allows almost everyone to live happily ever after…

One of Western literature's greatest comedies, Twelfth Night imagines a world where up is down, hot is cold and love is not always what it seems! Directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, Twelfth Night will draw you into its world of lovers and louts, some of them so consumed by their lust for the wrong person they're unable to see the truth that's right in front of them.

AUGUST WILSON'S

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM

Written by August Wilson

Directed by Ron OJ Parson

February 6 — March 17, 2019

Opening February 13, 2019

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

This visceral American classic serves as the 1920s chapter of August Wilson's epic The American Century Cycle. What begins as a routine recording session becomes more strained as tensions rise between the members of a blues band and the owners of the recording studio. The white producers mean to exploit the talents of the band—especially the gifted and impulsive Levee—but when Ma insists on having things her way, tensions are enflamed and the play builds to an unexpected and searing climax.

Inspired by the real-life Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, this groundbreaking work is the only play by American icon August Wilson to be set in Chicago. Directed by WT Resident Director Ron OJ Parson ( East Texas Hot Links, The Caretaker, The Old Settler ), Ma Rainey will envelop you in a vision of the Roaring Twenties defined by Wilson's remarkably beautiful language and an extraordinary dramatic conflict between ambition, desperation and love for The Blues.

A NUMBER

Written by Caryl Churchill

Directed by Robin Witt

March 20 — June 9, 2019

Opening March 27, 2019

The Gillian Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Powerful, unpredictable and devastating, Caryl Churchill's suspenseful A Number sees a father meeting his "estranged" son over several visits. As they reconnect, multiplying lies are uncovered, revealing a horrifying truth about their shared past that leads directly to the provocative questions: how much do we pass on to our children and is it really possible to atone for our mistakes?

Set in a strikingly familiar future, this ingenious and illuminating twist on a family drama examines the idea of individuality and the very nature of identity. Staged in WT's Gillian Theatre by Chicago director Robin Witt, the WT production will reveal the emotional core of this gripping play, drawing audiences into its fascinating dystopia as it asks heady questions about the morality of actions that might just be taking place tomorrow…

NEXT TO NORMAL

Music by Tom Kitt

Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey

Music Direction by Andra Velis Simon

Directed by David Cromer

May 8 — June 16, 2019

Opening May 15, 2019

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

On the outside, The Goodmans seem like the average American family: house in the suburbs, white picket fence and two sharp-witted kids. But inside, their lives are anything but normal, with long-buried secrets that threaten to tear them apart. Featuring powerful lyrics and an electrifying score, this explosive musical uses wry humor and brutal honesty to explore how family trauma can fracture the American Dream, while ultimately leading to a chance at new beginnings.

This deeply moving and captivating American musical took Broadway by storm in 2009, winning three Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Now, Chicago and Broadway director David Cromer returns to WT, where he has directed A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic, to bring his singularly personal touch to this modern musical where the lines between reality and delusion are never quite clear.

SEASON PACKAGES

Writers Theatre season ticket packages provide a convenient theatergoing 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.

Four-play "Choose Your Own" Flex packages that include any four productions in the season start at $239.

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 EVENTS

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 Vietgone, Twelfth Night, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Next to Normal 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. 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.

From Page to Stage Series

Writers Theatre and select North Shore libraries and community partners present the 14th 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 unless otherwise noted. For more information about the From Page to StageSeries, visit writerstheatre.org/from-page-to-stage-series.

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 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, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org .


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