SEASON ON THE LINE, THE NUTCRACKER and More Make Up The House Theatre of Chicago's 2014-15 Season
The House Theatre of Chicago announces its 13th season creating amazing feats of storytelling. The four programs in the 2014-15 Season are all created by Company Members of The House, investing in the rich and diverse talents of the ensemble.
This year marks a season of great ambition in both story and stagecraft. Building on the incredible momentum of the previous two years, The House is taking a bold step to reach a new scale of artistic production. All the work in this season has benefitted from funded development structures, allowing the artists to more fully realize their artistic vision. The ambition of the projects, and attention they're receiving, shows that The House continues to make its mark on American theatre both locally and nationally.
Continuing in residence at The Chopin Theatre, the season kicks off with Season on the Line, Company Member Shawn Pfautsch's meta-theatrical adaptation of Moby-Dick. Guest artist and recent Northwestern MFA graduate Jess McLeod leads the production which translates Melville's epic story and the book's unforgettable narrative form into the world of a struggling mid-sized regional theatre. Our narrator's love letter to the American theatre industry introduces us to a fanatical artistic director and an impossible obsession with the perfect production of, you guessed it, Moby-Dick.
The Nutcracker returns for the holidays with continued enhancements in spectacle and holiday magic. Company Member Tommy Rapley will once again lead the production.
Opening in February 2015, the much-anticipated full trilogy, THE HAMMER TRINITY, is completed with its third installment, The Excelsior King, and performed in full in both weeknight repertory and weekend all-day marathons.
The Hammer Trinity is a fantasy epic, taking place over three full-length plays set in a parallel proto-America. Dressed as a classic hero tale, it embraces the romance of a dungeons-and-dragons adventure filled with magic and monsters. But then, gently, as our young hero completes the first leg of his journey, the world reveals a more complex moral landscape in which "hero" and "villain" are subjective. The hero, now the king, is forced to navigate a crisis of identity akin to the red-state/blue-state split in the modern American landscape.
The three plays of The Hammer Trinity perform in single and double features on weeknights, with full marathon performance days every Saturday and Sunday, complete with picnic-style dinner breaks shared by the audience and cast.
The ambition of the project has attracted exciting partnerships. The University of Chicago will provide laboratory space through their "Summer Inc." program for the trilogy's development as a single production, as well as dramaturgical intersections from their academics and professors. A web development company, Dom and Tom Development, has come on as a corporate sponsor for the project. And The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County has invested significant resource in the piece's development and is committed to bringing the completed trilogy to Miami as a centerpiece of their tenth anniversary season in 2016.
The Magic Parlour will run every Friday night and many Saturday nights throughout the entire season at the exquisite Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Award-winning, third-generation magician Dennis Watkins performs 75 minutes of intimate, classic magic and mind reading in Chicago's only weekly, late night magic show. New feats are incorporated every few months, keeping this show as astonishing as ever for fans of Watkins and The House. Performances are at 7:30pm and 9:30pm on Fridays, and many Saturdays.
Memberships for the 13th Season are now available.
The 2014-2015 Season at The House Theatre of Chicago is as follows:
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago
Melville's Pequod crew is transformed into the Bad Settlement Theatre Company, beleaguered by a dilapidated building, strained finances, and an aging artistic director with a singular focus: the first-ever perfect production of Moby-Dick. A novice assistant stage manager joins the ranks at the top of the company's make-or-break season, and is thrown quickly into the fray. Mirroring Melville's unconventional form, Season on the Line is the young narrator's look back at the industry he has grown to love, even as those around him pay the ultimate price in pursuit of their great white whale.
Book by Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich
Music by Kevin O'Donnell, Lyrics by Jake Minton
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rapley
Based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann
November 7 - December 30, 2014
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago
The House's fantastical expansion of this holiday classic centers on young Clara's journey to save Christmas. With the help of a magical Nutcracker, this brave little girl will fight the Rat King and save her family! This modern holiday production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope -- a fun outing fit for the whole family.
THE HAMMER TRINITY
Including Part One: The Iron Stag King, Part Two: The Crownless King, and Part Three: The Excelsior King
By Nathan Allen and Chris Mathews
Directed by Nathan Allen
Original Music by Kevin O'Donnell
Choreography by Tommy Rapley
February 21 - May 4, 2015
Marathon performances of all three parts every Saturday and Sunday
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago
For the second time in the company's history, Artistic Director Nathan Allen employs the epic format and creates a multi-year play cycle. Now presented as a full series in both repertory and marathon performances, THE HAMMER TRINITY tells the story of young Casper Kent recovering the lost Hammer and taking the Crown, defending it against pirates and the Crownless faction, and ultimately relinquishing the Hammer's great power for the greater good.
Part One: The Iron Stag King
Our unsuspecting hero, Casper Kent, is the son of a poor farmer. When an old storyteller, Hap the Golden, reveals that Casper is the rightful heir to the Crown, his life is threatened from all sides. Young Casper must escape the Crownless, choose compatriots and question what is good and right for the land. Part one of The Hammer Trinity follows him on his quest to lift the magical Hammer that will unite or destroy them all.
Part Two: The Crownless King
After a hard-fought battle, young Casper Kent takes his place as the ruler of the Folk. Yet King Casper soon finds himself buffeted by forces on all sides. Seizing for control, the exiled black dragon, Irek Obsidian (voiced by Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tracy Letts,) cunningly lures Casper away from the throne. Our band of heroes ventures to the sea where the hooded pirate Davy Boone commands a fleet of Crownless rebels. All the while, Hap the Golden wrests to maintain his hold over the royal tale. Storytellers Hap the Golden and Irek Obsidian each seek to impose their versions of the story. But a third Storyteller will emerge to speak a new story....
Part Three: The Excelsior King
New Plymouth is thrust into Civil War as the Folk choose sides in the conflict between Hap the Golden and Irek Obsidian. With Queen Rienne potentially murdered, and King Casper no where to be found, our remaining Heroes have narrowly escaped the conflict in the Capital but find themselves scattered and at cross-purposes. It is up to the novice storyteller, July of the Seven Foxes, to speak a tale that can unite them again and save the Land from self destruction. But a threat worse than dragons is encroaching from The Glaze, a darkness more powerful than even Hap and Irek had anticipated. Will Kaelan Wayne and his war machine take advantage of the moment and strike an end to the storytelling forever?
The three plays of The Hammer Trinity play in single and double features on weeknights, with full marathon performance days every Saturday and Sunday, complete with picnic-style dinner breaks shared by the audience and cast.
The Magic Parlour
Performed by Dennis Watkins
Open run on Friday evenings, and many Saturday evenings
At The Palmer House Hilton Hotel
17 E Monroe St, Chicago
Only 32 seats are available for each performance of this intimate, sophisticated, close-up magic show in one of the hotel's historic private event rooms. Guests gather at Potter's Lounge in the hotel's lower level and are escorted to the performance space, where they will enjoy an evening of mind-blowing magic and mind reading with Chicago's own Dennis Watkins.
The House is Chicago's premier home for original works of physical and spectacle storytelling. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago's next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.
The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience.
Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 60 Joseph Jefferson Awards (19 wins) and became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago's Emerging Theater Award in 2007. Now celebrating its 12th year of original work, The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.
For more information, visit www.thehousetheatre.com.