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City Lit's 2018-19 season to span four centuries with comedies, dramas
2018-05-11

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For its 2018-19 season, City Lit Theater will reach across four centuries to examine ideas that continue to challenge us today. Artistic Director and Producer Terry McCabe today announced the season, which will open in September and include three full-length plays and a double-bill of one-acts. The season will open with George Bernard Shaw's ARMS AND THE MAN, to be directed by Brian Pastor. The Shaw comedy will be followed in November by the world premiere of Kristine Thatcher's A SAFE PLACE, a play commissioned by City Lit. McCabe will direct the Thatcher play as well as the last two productions of the season. In January 2019, the company will present a play from the early 17th Century — FUENTE OVEJUNA — by Lope de Vega, considered one of Spain's greatest writers of plays, poetry and literature. The season will close in April and May 2019 with TWO DAYS IN COURT - a double bill of Stephen Vincent Benet's THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER and Gilbert and Sullivan's one-act operetta TRIAL BY JURY.

Brian Pastor

ARMS AND THE MAN, first produced in 1894, was one of Shaw's first popular successes in a career that produced more than 60 plays. Set during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian war, it satirizes the folly of armed conflict. George Orwell called it "probably the wittiest play ( Shaw ) ever wrote." Brian Pastor, Artistic Director of Promethean Ensemble Theatre and director of City Lit's fall 2017 production of J.B., will direct. Pastor notes, "The title comes from the opening words of Virgil's AENEID ( "Of arms and the man I sing" ), which is an apt descriptor for a play about the folly of war and the frailties of human nature." The play will open to the press on September 16.

Kristine Thatcher ( pictured ), the Chicago-based playwright, director and actor whose plays include AMONG FRIENDS, VOICE OF GOOD HOPE, NIEDECKER, EMMA'S CHILD, and WAITING FOR TINA MEYER; is the author of the season's second production — the world premiere of THE SAFE HOUSE, commissioned by City Lit. In THE SAFE HOUSE, a woman returns to her home town and family for a visit. Suddenly she must look differently at the safest place she's ever known.

This is City Lit's second Thatcher commission. The company produced the world premiere of her play THE BLOODHOUND LAW in 2015. Thatcher's work has been produced by Victory Gardens, Writers Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival among many other companies. She is an alumna of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. Terry McCabe will direct this world premiere opening November 11, 2018 following previews from November 2.

Terry McCabe

FUENTE OVEJUNA, first published nearly 400 years ago in 1619, was based on a historical incident that occurred in the village of Fuenteovejuna in Castile in 1476. In the play, a young woman of that Spanish village inspires and leads a rebellion against their military governor's sexual exploitation of local women.

Laurencia refuses to be a victim when she is attacked and rallies the town to do something, finally, about the oppression that has gone on too long. This classic play is by Lope de Vega, a writer considered second only to Cervantes in the canon of Spanish literature. The vast volume of de Vega's literary output is unequalled, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of literature. McCabe will direct the play from his own adaptation based on a literal translation by Stanley Appelbaum. FUENTE OVEJUNA will open on January 13, 2019.

The season will conclude with a double-bill of one-acts, dubbed TWO DAYS IN COURT, offering first a fantastic and then a silly and satiric look at the legal system. The bill will open with THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER — the play by Stephen Vincent Benet based on his 1936 short story. It concerns a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the Devil and when he seeks to get out of the deal is defended in "court" by Daniel Webster, a fictional version of the famous statesman, lawyer, and orator.

The second half of the TWO DAYS IN COURT program will be Gilbert and Sullivan's one-act operetta from 1875, TRIAL BY JURY. This short piece with a plot too silly to summarize was G & S's first hit, leading to a career for their partnership that produced the classics THE PIRATES OF PENZANZE, HMS PINAFORE, THE MIKADO and many others. McCabe will direct, and Daniel Robinson will be Music Director.

City Lit favorite Kingsley Day ( pictured above ) will play the judge, the patter baritone lead role. Day is one of the few individuals to have played the patter baritone leads in all fourteen Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. TWO DAYS IN COURT will open to the press on April 21, 2019.

Season subscriptions are available at $90.00 good for all performances or $68.00 for preview performances. Subscriptions may be ordered online at www.citylit.org . Single tickets priced at $28 for previews and $32 for regular performances will be on sale soon at www.citylit.org . Senior prices are $23 for previews and $27 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances.

CITY LIT THEATER'S 2018/19 SEASON:

ARMS AND THE MAN

By George Bernard Shaw

Directed by Brian Pastor

September 7 — October 21, 2018

( Previews Sept. 7-Sept. 15 )

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm.

Preview ticket prices $28.00, seniors $23.00, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

Regular run Sunday, September 16 - Sunday, October 21

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm.

Regular run ticket prices $32.00, seniors $27.00, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

PRESS OPENING — Sunday, September 16 — 3:00 pm

Performances at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 ( Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church )

City Lit's first Shaw play. Bluntschli, a Swiss soldier fonder of chocolates than of bullets, hides in the bedroom of Bulgarian heiress Raina while escaping from battle—a development that disturbs her fiancé Sergius, a swaggering cavalry-officer from the other side. Shaw calls it "an anti-romantic comedy." George Orwell said ARMS AND THE MAN was probably the wittiest play ( Shaw ) ever wrote, the most flawless technically, and in spite of being a very light comedy, the most telling, because its moral—that war is not a wonderful, romantic adventure—still needs to be told.

THE SAFE HOUSE

By Kristine Thatcher

WORLD PREMIERE

Directed by Terry McCabe

November 2 - December 16, 2018

Previews Nov. 2 - 10

Preview ticket prices $28.00, seniors $23.00, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

Regular run Sunday, November 11, 2018 - Sunday, December 16, 2018

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm.

Regular run ticket prices $32.00, seniors $27.00, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

PRESS OPENING Sunday November 11, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Performances at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 ( Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church )

Commissioned by City Lit and two years in the writing, a world premiere by the award-winning playwright of EMMA'S CHILD and VOICE OF GOOD HOPE. A woman returns to her home town and family for a visit. Suddenly she must look differently at the safest place she's ever known.

FUENTE OVEJUNA

By Lope de Vega

Newly adapted by Terry McCabe based on a literal translation by Stanley Appelbaum.

Directed by Terry McCabe

January 4 — February 17, 2019

Previews January 4 -12

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm.

Preview ticket prices $28.00, seniors $23, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

Regular run Sunday, January 13 - Sunday, February 17

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm.

Regular run ticket prices $32.00, seniors $27.00, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 ( Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church )

PRESS OPENING Sunday, January 13 - 3 pm

Performances at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 ( Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church )

Ripped from today's the 15th Century's headlines, a young woman of the Spanish village Fuente Ovejuna in 1476 inspires and leads a rebellion against their military governor's sexual exploitation of local women. Laurencia refuses to be a victim when she is attacked and rallies the town to do something, finally, about the oppression that has gone on too long. This classic play by Lope de Vega, a writer considered second only to Cervantes in the canon of Spanish literature, was first published in 1619.

TWO DAYS IN COURT

A double-header of classic one-acts:

THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER by Stephen Vincent Benet,

and TRIAL BY JURY by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Directed by Terry McCabe

Music Directed by Daniel Robinson

April 12 — May 26, 2019

Previews April 12 — 20

Directed by Terry McCabe

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm.

Preview ticket prices $28.00, seniors $23.00, students and military $12.00 ( all plus applicable fees )

Regular run Sunday, April 21 - Sunday, May 26

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm.

Regular run ticket prices $32.00, seniors $27.00, students and military $12 ( all plus applicable fees )

PRESS OPENING Sunday, April 21 - 3 pm

Performances at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 ( Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church )

Come for the greatest orator of early America arguing contract law with Satan, stay for the riotous musical farce with a plot too ridiculous to summarize. In THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, adapted for the stage by Stephen Vincent Benet from his 1936 short story,

DIRECTOR BIOS

Brian Pastor is the Artistic Director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble, where he directed THE LION IN WINTER, THE WINTER'S TALE, and GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE ( all Broadway World Award Nominated- Best Director ), as well as HENRY V, THE DARK SIDE OF THE BARD, and the upcoming remount of GROSS INDECENCY. He also directed last fall's acclaimed City Lit production of Archibald MacLeish's J.B. His acting credits include HAUPTMANN for City Lit, FUTURE ECHOES for WildClaw, and THE LARK and A STUDY IN SCARLET for Promethean. Brian was the Executive Director at Raven Theatre for 3 seasons after serving 10 and a half years on staff at City Lit Theater, including nine as Managing Director. He is also a former board and company member of The Mime Company and a founding company member of Chicago dell'Arte.

Terry McCabe has been City Lit's artistic director since February 2005 and its producer since July 2016. He has directed plays professionally in Chicago since 1981. He was artistic director of Stormfield Theatre for four years, resident director at Wisdom Bridge Theatre for five years, and worked at Body Politic Theatre three separate times in three different capacities over a span of 14 years. His City Lit adaptations of HOLMES AND WATSON, GIDGET ( co-adapted with Marissa McKown ), THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, SCOUNDREL TIME, and OPUS 1861 ( co-adapted with Elizabeth Margolius ) were Jeff-nominated. He won two Jeff Citations for directing at Stormfield and has been thrice nominated for the Jeff Award for Best Director, for shows at Court Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, and Victory Gardens. He has directed at many Chicago theatres either long-gone or still with us, as well as off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre and at Vienna's English Theatre. His book MIS-DIRECTING THE PLAY has been denounced at length in American Theatre magazine and from the podium at the national convention of The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas but is used in directing courses on three continents and is now available in paperback and Kindle e-book.

ABOUT CITY LIT

For thirty-eight years, City Lit Theater has been dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination. City Lit produces theatrical adaptations of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material.

City Lit is in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. We are two blocks east of both the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop and the #36 Broadway and the #84 Peterson buses. We are one block west of the #147 Sheridan and #151 Sheridan buses. Divvy bike stations are located at Bryn Mawr & Lakefront Trail, and at Broadway & Ridge at Bryn Mawr. The metered street parking pay boxes on Bryn Mawr have a three-hour maximum duration and are free on Sundays. $10 valet service is available at Francesca's Bryn Mawr at 1039 W Bryn Mawr diagonally across the street from us on the SW corner of Kenmore and Bryn Mawr and is available whether you are dining at the restaurant or not. There are additional details about parking and dining options at www.citylit.org .

City Lit is supported by the Alphawood Foundation, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Ivanhoe Theater Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and is sponsored, in part, by A.R.T. League.


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