Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Stephen J. Albert present The Molière Festival: The Misanthrope & Tartuffe, written by Molière with a translation by Richard Wilbur, and directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell. The Misanthrope will run May 9 - June 9, and Tartuffe will run June 20 -July 14 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue. Press Opening for The Misanthrope is Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 8:00 p.m., and Press Opening for Tartuffe is Friday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m.

"This is a significant moment for Court Theatre. After a decade of aspiration, Court has finally achieved the creation of the Center for Classic Theatre. The Center combines the elements of innovative productions, international scholarship, interdisciplinary study and interactive community outreach, in short it allows Court to access the amazing intellectual resources here at the University of Chicago to deepen the work on our stages, as well as maximize the impact of these productions on our surrounding communities," says Artistic Director Charles Newell.

The Molière Festival launches the Center for Classic Theatre at the University of Chicago campus, dedicated to the creation and curation of large-scale interdisciplinary theatrical experiences. With the production of The Misanthrope and Tartuffe during the International Molière Festival, Court Theatre is taking its place as a hub for intellectual activity that unites artists and scholars to foster collaboration between theatre and a myriad of other academic disciplines. The Center for Classic Theatre signals a new way for a professional theatre to be in residence at a major university: it is an approach to producing that fully accesses the resources that surround Court Theatre, enabling the Company to continue its work producing world premiere translations and adaptations of classic texts, turn its theatrical productions into interdisciplinary events with direct ties to University coursework, forge connections with international arts organizations and universities, and reach new audiences.

The Molière Festival was created from a longstanding collaboration between Artistic Director Charles Newell and University of Chicago Professor Larry Norman, who notably collaborated on the 2010 production of Tony Kushner's adaptation of Pierre Cornielle's The Illusion. Professor Norman is a leading French scholar and was planning to convene an international conference on Molière during the spring of 2013 in collaboration with The Sorbonne University and the University of Glasgow. This event inspired the decision to produce two Molière plays at Court, thus incorporating The Molière Festival as part of the company's 2012-13 Season. Professor Norman developed a class on Molière which is being taught concurrently with Court's rehearsal process, allowing scholarship and the artistic process to feed and influence each other - a hallmark of the Center for Classic Theatre. This interdisciplinary collaboration then inspired an additional class at the University of Chicago Graham School being offered to the general public, which also allows access to the artistic process surrounding the Molière Festival. Court Theatre has also partnered with the Alliance Francaise, Chicago's center for French Culture, to engage their constituency with the unique opportunities afforded through the production of The Misanthrope and Tartuffe.

The Misanthrope
In a society where social graces reign supreme, the cynical Alceste causes a scandal when he refuses to play his part in the charade. Torn between his love for the coquettish Célimène and the pretenses he so despises, Alceste finds himself alone in a world where words are brandished like weapons and status is defined by style. Unwilling to play the hypocrite any longer, Alceste must decide his destiny. Artistic Director Charles Newell returns to his roots in the French Baroque to give this wickedly funny and deliciously droll comedy of manners new life.

The cast of The Misanthrope includes Kamal Angelo Bolden (Philinte), Patrese D. McClain (Eliante), A.C. Smith (Oronte), Travis Turner (Acaste), Elizabeth Ledo (Basque/DuBoise/Guard), Michael Pogue (Clitandre), Grace Gealey (Celimene), Allen Gilmore (Arsinoe), and Erik Hellman (Alceste).

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