Northlight Theatre Presents SEASON'S GREETINGS 11/11-12/18

Northlight Theatre Presents SEASON'S GREETINGS 11/11-12/18

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents Season's Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Artistic Director BJ Jones. The production runs November 11-December 18, 2011 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd. The press opening is on Friday, November 18, 2011.

It's Christmas in the Bunker household-'tis the season for bickering relatives, drunken mishaps, and an ill-conceived puppet show that no one wants to see. The holiday traditions we all love (and secretly dread) meet with disaster in this riotously funny take on a "normal" family Christmas.

BJ Jones comments, "I am drawn to plays that require skilled ensemble players whose priority is trusting the playwright's vision and understanding their place in his carefully constructed food chain. When I first described Season's Greetings and my reasons for wanting to do it, I talked about my affinity for working with ensembles and shaping their gifts in service of the playwright, and this cast of inspired comic actors is born for this kind of writing."
The cast includes John Byrnes (Eddie), Amy Carle (Phyllis), Francis Guinan (Bernard), Steve Haggard (Clive), Heidi Kettenring (Belinda), Maggie Kettering (Pattie), Ginger Lee McDermott (Rachel), Rob Riley (Harvey) and Matt Schwader (Neville).

Designers include Keith Pitts (Set Design), Rachel Laritz (Costume Design), JR Lederle (Lighting Design) and Andre Pluess (Sound Design).

Alan Ayckbourn (Playwright) Former Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre (Scarborough, UK) and one of Britain's most performed playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn has written 75 plays. Almost all received their first performance there, with more than 35 being subsequently staged in the West End, at The National Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Major successes include Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval, A Small Family Business, Henceforward..., Comic Potential, Things We Do For Love and House & Garden. His plays have been translated into 35 languages, won numerous awards, and have been performed worldwide. He has been inducted into American Theatre's Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics' Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre.

BJ Jones (Artistic Director/Director) is in his 13th year as Artistic Director of Northlight Theatre, where he has piloted the world premieres of The Outgoing Tide, Craig Wright's Lady, Better Late (by Larry Gelbart & Craig Wright), Rounding Third, Sky Girls and Cat Feet. As a producer he guided the world premieres of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, The Gamester, and Studs Terkel's 'The Good War.' Mr. Jones has directed at Steppenwolf, Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Atlanta's ALLIANCE THEATRE, The Utah Shakespearean Festival, The Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, and Next Theatre in Evanston. Directorial work includes Northlight's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Grey Gardens, The Lady with All the Answers, The Retreat From Moscow, A Skull in Connemara, The Cripple of Inishmaan, and An Experiment With an Airpump, as well as productions of A Number, Twelfth Night, Glengarry Glen Ross (Suzie Bass Nominee - Best Director), Pygmalion, The Price (Jeff Nomination - Best Director,) and 100 Saints You Should Know. A two-time Jeff Award winner, he has appeared at Northlight in dozens of productions and has performed at virtually every major theatre in Chicago, including The Goodman in The Guys and House and Garden, Steppenwolf in The Royal Family and Playboy of the Western World, and Court in Candide and Comedy of Errors. Film/TV credits include The Fugitive, Body Double, Law and Order:Criminal Intent, Early Edition, Cupid and Turks, among others.

John Byrnes (Eddie) makes his Northlight debut with Season's Greetings. Recent Chicago credits include Waiting For Lefty (American Blues Theater), This (Theater Wit), Port (Griffin), Thieves Like Us (House Theater), All My Sons (Timeline) and The Overwhelming (Next). A proud member of The Hypocrites, he has appeared in a number of their productions, including Frankenstein, The Hairy Ape, Our Town, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 4.48 Psychosis, Machinal, Arcadia and Ajax, among others. Regional credits include work with the Huntington Theatre, New Repertory, Boston Playwrights', the Vineyard Playhouse and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. John has also taught theater extensively throughout Chicagoland. He will next perform in The Hypocrites' Six Characters In Search of an Author.

Amy J. Carle (Phyllis) makes her Northlight Theatre debut. Chicago credits include: Animals Out of Paper, Sex With Strangers, Hedda Gabler (Steppenwolf); Orlando (Court Theatre); The Sins of Sor Juana, Rock ‘N' Roll, Desire Under the Elms (The Goodman Theatre); Peter Pan, Trust (Lookingglass); Refuge (CollaborAction, Jeff nomination); SubUrbia, The Lights (Jeff nomination), Ecstasy, WAS, The Planets (RoadWorks Productions). Regional credits: Fully Committed and The Diary of Anne Frank (Madison Repertory Theatre); Morning Star (Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Off-Broadway/National Tour: The Vagina Monologues. Television: Chicago Code (FOX), Law & Order (NBC), The Guiding Light (CBS).

Francis Guinan (Bernard) is member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble. Steppenwolf appearances include Love Song, Cherry Orchard, The Grapes of Wrath, Balm in Gilead, and True West, as well as The Diary of Anne Frank and August: Osage County. He last appeared at Northlight in Inherit the Wind. In Los Angeles, he appeared in God's Man in Texas and The Weir (Geffen Playhouse); Stuff Happens and Space (Mark Taper Forum); and The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, True West, Antigone, Oedipus the King, and numerous other productions (L.A. Theatre Works). His many TV credits include Grey's Anatomy, CSI: NY, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Frasier, John Frankenheimer's Path to War and most notably as the Dad in Eerie, Indiana. Film credits include roles in Constantine, Hannibal, Guinevere, Shining Through, and Speed II.
Steve Haggard (Clive) was last seen at Northlight in She Stoops to Conquer. Other roles include Ghost of Christmas Past in The Goodman Theatre's A Christmas Carol, Louis XIV in Power (Remy Bumppo), Jeff McKracken in Kimberly Akimbo (A Red Orchid), Timmy in The Subject Was Roses (Writers' Theatre), Lars Hovstad in Paragon Springs (TimeLine), Dromio of Syracuse in Comedy of Errors and Chorus in Henry V at Notre Dame Summer Shakespeare. He has also appeared in the indie film Drunkboat, FOX-TV's Prison Break, as well as numerous commercials. Steve is a graduate of De Paul University.

Heidi Kettenring (Belinda) appeared at Northlight in Sense & Sensibility, Side Show, and readings of House On Stilts and Auctioning The Ainsleys. Chicago credits include three years in the Broadway in Chicago production of Wicked, as well as work with Writers', Marriott Lincolnshire, Court, Chicago Shakespeare, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace and Evergreen Park, Theatre At The Center, and American Theatre Company. Regionally she has appeared at Theatre Works in Palo Alto, Peninsula Players and Bar Harbor Theatre. Heidi has also sung concerts for the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Pensacola Symphony and can be heard singing on a Disney Princess children's book. She is a five-time Jeff nominee, an After Dark Award winner, and the recipient of the Sarah Siddons' Chicago Leading Lady Award. Heidi will be seen as Harper in the upcoming Angels In America at Court.

Maggie Kettering (Pattie) is making her Northlight debut. She most recently appeared as Mrs. Grigson in Shadow of a Gunman at Seanachai Theatre, Lady Percy in Henry VI, Parts 1 & 2 for the Oak Park Theatre Festival, and as Lady Capulet in two productions of Romeo & Juliet: one for Babes with Blades, the other-along with Adriana in Comedy of Errors-for the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. Other Chicago credits include Cathy in Orange Flower Water with Backstage Theater, Lady MacDuff for First Folio, and Sylvia in Private Lives for City Lit. Regionally, she appeared in 9 Parts of Desire at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It and Inherit the Wind for Warehouse Theatre. She holds an MFA from the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program, is a founding member and former Artistic Associate for Mythmakers Theatre Company.

Ginger Lee McDermott (Rachel) returns to Northlight where she recently appeared in Sense & Sensibility. She recently appeared in Jade Heart with Chicago Dramatists Theatre. Other Chicago credits include Bianca in Othello with Chicago Shakespeare; the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with Remy Bumppo; and Ann Putnam, Sarah Good and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible with Steppenwolf. Regional credits include Proof with Orlando Theatre Project and A Doll's House with Pendragon Theatre. She has also appeared on television as "the Mom" on The Dooley and Pals Show.

Rob Riley (Harvey) Chicago credits include The Cripple of Inishmaan (Northlight Theatre); The Crowd You're in With, Moonlight and Magnolias, and A Touch of the Poet (Goodman); I Sailed with Magellan, The End of the Tour, Unspoken Prayers and Before My Eyes (Victory Gardens Theater); Heartbreak House (Remy Bumppo Theatre); The Merry Wives of Windsor (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Weir and Playboy of the Western World (Steppenwolf Theatre); and Cadillac (Chicago Dramatists). At Actors Theatre of Louisville he appeared in Lisa Dillman's Ground. He appeared in several mainstage revues at The Second City; in Paul Sills' Sills and Company at Actors Playhouse (New York); and co-wrote, directed, and performed in the musical Wild Men! in Chicago and New York.

Matt Schwader (Neville) last appeared at Northlight in A Life. Chicago Credits: John in A Life in the Theatre, A Christmas Carol (Goodman);Titus Andronicus (Court); Othello, Henry IV parts 1 & 2, Measure for Measure, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Moliere Comedies (Chicago Shakespeare); Juliet in Shakespeare's R&J (co-production Apple Tree and Chicago Shakespeare); All Night Strut (Marriott); Mrs. Warren's Profession (Remy Bumppo); Polish Joke (Noble Fool Theatricals). He has also performed with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Indiana Repertory, and Summer Shakespeare Notre Dame. Matt is a company member with American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI where he played Prince Hal in Henry IV and the title role in Henry V and will be appearing in As You Like It, All's Well that Ends Well, and Major Barbara this coming season. He holds an MFA from the University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program.

Tickets for Season's Greetings, $25-60, are available by phone at 847.673.6300, or online at northlight.org. Young Adult tickets (25 and under) are $10 (one per person with valid ID). This production is recommended for ages 13 and up.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times are: Tuesdays at 7:30pm (no show November 29 & December 13); Wednesdays at 1:00pm (no show November 30) and 7:30pm (no show December 7); Thursday at 7:30pm (no show November 24); Fridays at 8:00pm (except Opening on November 18, at 7:30pm); Saturdays at 2:30pm (no show November 12) and 8:00pm; and Sundays at 2:30pm and 7:00pm (no 7:00pm show on November 20, December 4 & 18).

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production. All events are free for subscribers and ticket holders.

Salon Series is a series of panel discussions led by local experts for audience members to gain deeper insight into each of the five plays-including historical context, playwright background and influences and much more. Salon Series is held prior to select Sunday matinee performances. The Salon for Season's Greetings will be held on November 27 at 1:00pm. Reservations are required, or 847.679.9501 x3555 or specialevents@northlight.org.

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Backstage with BJ for Season's Greetings will be held on November 11 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour. Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3555 or specialevents@northlight.org.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now in its 37th season, the organization has mounted nearly 190 productions, including over 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 151 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 28 Awards. As one of the area's premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from The Allyn Foundation; Blackman Kallick Bartelstein, LLP; BMO Harris Bank; the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Ernst & Young; Evanston Community Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Irving Harris Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The Lehman Family American Experience Series; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; MetLife Foundation; McKinsey & Company; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Foundation; Nuveen Investments; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; Shubert Foundation; Sullivan Family Foundation; and the Theatre Communications Group.

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