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Writers Theatre announces plans for 2016-17 – company’s first full season in new Studio Gang home

Submitted by on Mar 10, 2016 – 12:50 pm

Writers Theatre (Steve Hall (c) Hedrich Blessing_010)

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.

Writers Theatre announces 25th Anniversary Season — the company’s first full season in its new home designed by Studio Gang Architects 

The six-show season to include a World Premiere adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar; in collaboration with Ars Nova, by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club, the World Premiere of PigPen Theatre Co.’s The Hunter and The Bear; Theresa Rebeck’s The Scene; and the Tony Award-winning musical Parade to play in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre

Eugene Lee’s East Texas Hot Links and Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love and Sexto play in The Gillian Theatre

Directors to include Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, Ron OJ Parson, Kimberly Senior, Marti Lyons, Gary Griffin, Stuart Carden and PigPen Theatre Co.

BMO Harris Bank is the 25th Anniversary Season Sponsor

Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce the 25th Anniversary Season, the company’s first full season in its new home at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe. The 2016/17 season of six productions will open with a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and adapted by Halberstam and Scott Parkinson. East Texas Hot Linksby Eugene Lee, directed by Ron OJ Parson, will follow in the Gillian Theatre. The season will continue with the Writers Theatre presenting, in collaboration with Ars Nova, by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club, the World Premiere of PigPen Theatre Co.’s The Hunter and The Bear, directed by Stuart Carden and PigPen Theatre Co. and the Midwest Premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s The Scene, directed by Kimberly Senior—both in the Nichols Theatre—followed by Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love and Sex, directed by Marti Lyons, in the Gillian Theatre. The 25th Anniversary Season will conclude with a revival of the musical Parade, with book by Alfred Uhry, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, co-conceived by Harold Prince and directed by Gary Griffin in the Nichols Theatre.

“This is a momentous season for Writers Theatre in that it is not only our 25th anniversary season, it is our first full season in our new home.” says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “While our selection represents a classic Writers Theatre lineup, it also provides an enticing look to our future. I’m excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Scott Parkinson on a newly streamlined and focused adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that will open the season in the Nichols Theatre. We then turn to Resident Director Ron OJ Parson for a thrilling new production of East Texas Hot Links byEugene Lee—a play that Ron first staged in 1995 to great critical acclaim, and which will open the Gillian Theatre. We are thrilled to be able to welcome back Pigpen Theatre Co. for a world-premiere staging of The Hunter and The Bear with former Associate Artistic Director Stuart Carden at the helm. PigPen brings a marvelous and unbridled creativity to their highly original stagecraft. Combined with their winning original music, they promise an evening filled with wit, whimsy and soul-searching storytelling. Meanwhile I cannot wait to share the emerging talents of Director Marti Lyons as she directs Bathsheba Doran’s edgy but warm-hearted play The Mystery of Love and Sex, which was a triumph in its premiere at Lincoln Center and is now enjoying productions at some of the most important regional theatres in the country. Back from her triumph on Broadway and four spectacular productions here at Writers Theatre, Resident Director Kimberly Senior brings us a revival of The Sceneby Theresa Rebeck (who scribed TV’s Smash as well as her most recent highly-acclaimed play Seminar). Finally, we close the season with one of the greatest of contemporary musicals, Parade, with book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, staged by Chicago’s Gary Griffin, fresh from his acclaimed Broadway staging of Brown’s recent Honeymoon In Vegas. This piece, with its breathtaking score and brand new staging will provide a perfect close to an exciting and celebratory 25th Anniversary Season.”

For the 25th Anniversary Season, Writers Theatre will be performing in its new home at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Performance spaces in the new theater complex include the 250-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre as well as the Gillian Theatre, a 50 to 99-seat flexible theatre space that pays tribute to Writers Theatre’s first performance space at Books on Vernon in Glencoe.

From its very first year, Writers has brought quality and excellence to the stage while maintaining the company’s hallmark intimacy. The last 24 years have been marked by unprecedented growth in both the artistic and business arenas and have garnered national acclaim and recognition. With a 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.

Season Packages will be available at the Box Office, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 andwww.writerstheatre.org.

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank in the distinguished capacity of 25th Anniversary Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s sixth consecutive year as season sponsor.

The inaugural season of the new theatre center includes:



Written by William Shakespeare

Adapted by Michael Halberstam and Scott Parkinson

Directed by Michael Halberstam

September 7 – October 23, 2016

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

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.


Written by Eugene Lee

Directed by Ron OJ Parson

October 19, 2016 – January 22, 2017

The Gillian Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

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.

Writers Theatre in collaboration with Ars Nova

by special arrangement with Manhattan Theatre Club presents

The World Premiere of THE HUNTER AND THE BEAR

Written by PigPen Theatre Co.; directed by Stuart Carden and PigPen Theatre Co.

December 7, 2016 – January 22, 2017

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

The critically-acclaimed PigPen Theatre Co., creators of WT’s 2013 smash-hit production of The Old Man and The Old Moon, brings their considerable talents to this original tale. The Hunter and The Bear tells the haunting story of an imaginative young boy and his father, the pragmatic hunter tasked with protecting their isolated town. When his son disappears in the woods, the search to recover him will lead the hunter, and eventually the entire community, through a landscape teeming with dark secrets and supernatural threats.

Cast in flickering campfire light, this combination frontier ghost-story and modern-day parable unfolds in PigPen Theatre Co.’s signature style: using resourceful staging, captivating storytelling, ingenious shadow puppetry and award-winning folk music to fuel a headlong plunge into the darkest part of the woods.

The Hunter and The Bear was commissioned by The Writer’s Room (Manhattan Theatre Club/Ars Nova).


Written by Theresa Rebeck

Directed by Kimberly Senior

February 22 – April 2, 2017

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

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.


Written by Bathsheba Doran

Directed by Marti Lyons

April 5 – July 9, 2017

The Gillian Theatre  | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

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.


Book by Alfred Uhry

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown

Co-conceived by Harold Prince

Directed by Gary Griffin

May 24 – July 9, 2017

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

This stirring, Tony Award-winning musical explores the endurance of love and hope against seemingly insurmountable odds, telling the true story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-born Jewish man falsely accused of murder in 1913 Atlanta. Innovative and daring, and filled with soaring music, Parade is a moving love story, a riveting murder mystery, a gripping courtroom drama and a powerful exploration of innocence and naïveté coming face-to-face with ignorance and prejudice.

Acclaimed director Gary Griffin, who directed the original Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas and the world premiere of his The Trumpet of the Swan at the Kennedy Center, stages an intimate revival of this celebrated musical. With a book by playwright Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and a score by Brown (The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County) that combines folk, rock, R&B and gospel, Parade ends WT’s 25th Anniversary Season with spectacular impact.


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 $269 to $399.

Season package subscribers receive exclusive benefits including complimentary ticket exchanges by phone, mail and fax (upgrade fees may apply), show reminders by email before each scheduled performance, a one-year subscription to The Brief Chronicle newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit writerstheatre.org. Season Packages will be available at the Box Office, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 and writerstheatre.org.




Over the past twenty-four seasons, Writers Theatre has become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence. Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has been deemed the “best drama company in the nation” by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of 35,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry. Prized for the finest interpretations of classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues, Writers Theatre’s acclaimed work includes Artistic Director Michael Halberstam’s world premiere in Glencoe and subsequent productions of A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater and West Coast premiere at the San Jose Repertory Theatre; David Cromer’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire andPicnic; and the commissioning, world premiere and New York premiere of Crime and Punishment, which has received more than 30 subsequent regional theater productions.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre or follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.