LOTTO FEVER, EMPEROR OF THE MOON & More Set for Saint Sebastian Players' 2014-15 season
The Saint Sebastian Players' (SSP) 34th season shines the spotlight on comedy, including a world premiere by a company member, a 17th century commedia work and a contemporary classic.
The season opens with Lotto Fever in the Sucker State, a world premiere by SSP company member Leigh Johnson, author of 2013's Lefties. Set at Rayners Victory Café in central Illinois circa 1988, life has taken a difficult turn due to the farm foreclosure crisis. The diner's new, young "citified" owner, Steven Rayner, is desperately trying to build his customer base, with comically mixed results. His steadiest customers, the Smithfield family, have resorted to ritually playing the Illinois State Lottery to mask the fact that they are losing the family farm. Calvin Smithfield's efforts to save the farm have attracted two agents, who use the diner as a base of operations to attempt to locate the marijuana they suspect is being grown in the area. Add to this mix a confused professor of English literature, who finds the café's customers the perfect subjects for his passion for American colloquialism, and Noreen, the waitress, who acts as a one-woman Greek chorus to the madness swirling around her, and the result is a wild hayride that produces laughter and tears, sometimes at the same time. Performances are October 30-November 23, 2014.
Taking a few giant leaps back in time, SSP's second production is Emperor of the Moon by Aphra Behn, arguably the first professional English woman playwright. The play follows the love stories of Bellemante and Elaria, the mischievous daughter and niece, respectively, of the moonstruck Doctor Baliardo, an amateur moralist and astronomer. To get around the doctor's rules, the girls convince him their respective lovers are visitors from the moon. Behn's clever script pairs contemporary comic dialogue with classical commedia dell'arte antics. Emperor of the Moon was the last play produced before Behn's death in 1689 and is one of her most famous and successful works, filled with irresistible humor and vividly colorful and refreshing intellect. Performances are February 20-March 15, 2015.
The Sisters Rosensweig, by the late Wendy Wasserstein, received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre. Sara Goode, a successful American woman representing a major Hong Kong bank in London, leads a quiet life with her daughter Tess. Sara has two sisters: Gorgeous Teitelbaum, who has a call-in radio advice program and hopes to make the leap to TV, and Pfeni Rosensweig, an unmarried, peripatetic third-world travel writer. When her sisters arrive for Sara's birthday celebration, along with several men who are either very involved in or brand-new to their lives, the results are unexpected romance, suspected partings, recriminations, reconciliations and, above all, newfound love and acceptance. Performances are April 24-May 17, 2015.
SSP began producing theatre in 1982 at its original home, the St. Sebastian parish, located at the corner of Halsted Street and Wellington Avenue on Chicago's North Side. When the parish closed, SSP relocated to its current home, St. Bonaventure, at 1625 W. Diversey. During its history, the company has produced original and previously produced dramas, comedies and musicals; original audience-participation mysteries for special events; and the Monologue Matchup Competition, as well as provided support for smaller Sebastian Studio Projects produced by company members. For a complete production history, visit saintsebastianplayers.org/Production_History_DULA.html
Lotto Fever in the Sucker State opens Thursday, October 30 (previews October 28 and 29) at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances the first weekend Saturday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 2 at 2 p.m. The schedule for the remaining three weekends is Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through November 23. Performances for Emperor of the Moon (February 20-March 15, 2015) and The Sisters Rosensweig (April 24-May 17, 2015) are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. All three production take place at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, at Marshfield just west of Ashland, in Chicago. Free parking is available in two lots. Subscription packages for the three-play season are $40, $25 for seniors. Full-priced single tickets are $20, $15 for students with valid IDs and $10 for seniors. Group rates also are available.