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Chautauqua Theater Company's 2014 Season to Include A RAISIN IN THE SUN, THE MAY QUEEN & More


Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Vivienne Benesch Artistic Director and Sarah Clare Corporandy Managing Director, has announced programming for its 2014 season featuring Lorraine Hansberry's classic A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Ethan McSweeny (June 28-July 6), The May Queen, a world premiere by Molly Smith Metzler (July 18-27), directed by Vivienne Benesch, and Shakespeare's The Tempest (August 8-15), starring Lisa Harrow, directed by Jade King Carroll on the Bratton Theater Mainstage.

"I couldn't be more proud that my tenth season as artistic director will see four of our five mainstage productions penned by women," said Vivienne Benesch. "Writers Lorainne Hansberry, Molly Smith Metzler, Heidi Armbruster and Carol Carpenter lead the way before Shakespeare joins the team with The Tempest, featuring another female dynamo, RSC veteran Lisa Harrow. Add to that the vision of directors Ethan McSweeny, Jade King Carroll, Lisa Rothe and Andrew Borba and I believe Chautauqua Theater Company is poised to make an indelible mark on the 2014 summer theater scene."

Celebrating its 10th year, CTC's popular programming division, The New Play Workshop, will present staged readings of Dairyland by Heidi Armbruster (July 10-12) directed by returning CTC Guest Artist Lisa Rothe and The Guadalupe by Carol Carpenter directed by Ethan McSweeny (July 31- August 2).

In addition, the combined talents of five great performing arts companies under the Chautauqua Institution's umbrella will present Go West!, an epic multi-disciplinary original work, July 26 on the celebrated 5000-seat Ampitheater stage. CTC Associate Artistic Director Andrew Borba directs.

Single tickets and group packages go on sale April 3. Tickets to A Raisin in the Sun, The May Queen and The Tempest are $30; tickets to the New Play Workshop are $15. Ticket packages range from $65 - $150. Tickets for Go West! are $40. Order by phone at (716) 357-6250, M-F 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or order online at

Founded in 1983 as the resident theater company on the grounds of the historic Chautauqua Institution, western New York's premier summer arts festival; Chautauqua Theatre Company's season runs for eight weeks from June 27 through August 15.

An American Classic
Set in Chicago's South Side, A Raisin in the Sun is the landmark drama that charts three generations of the Youngers, an African-American family trying to find their footing in a racially segregated world. This seminal American story is as potent today as it was in 1959, when it debuted on Broadway. Taking its name from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes, Hansberry asks a pivotal and tender question: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" Directed by Ethan McSweeny (CTC's The Glass Menagerie, Broadway's A Time to Kill), Raisin in the Sun kicks off the 31st season from June 27 through July 6 on the Bratton Stage.

A World Premiere
The second play commissioned by CTC and The Chautauqua Writer's Center, The May Queen, by Molly Smith Metzler, runs July 18-27, directed by Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch.

Everyone who graduated from Kingston High School class of '96 wonders what happened to their May Queen, Jen Nash. Some say she became one of Spitzer's hookers; some say she married a sheik in Dubai; some say she's the real kingpin behind The Bling Ring. The only person who seems to know for sure is Mike Petracca, a former flame who still carries an obsessive torch for the beauty. But when Jen Nash suddenly resurfaces in Kingston and starts temping in his office, Mike is forced to see his golden May Queen-- and himself-- with new eyes. Metzler's touching, bright new comedy reveals the roles we play in each other's lives, whether we know it or not.

Shakespeare for the Whole Family
Shakespeare's last play defies all categorization: it's a comedy, an adventure tale, a romance, a family drama and above all, it's a theatrical masterpiece filled with mystery and spirit. When a bevy of frightened men, both corrupt and honorable, are shipwrecked upon the shores of Prospero's mystical island, no one goes untested as the clashing demands of revenge and forgiveness, of justice and mercy, are brought to trial. Internationally renowned Shakespearean veteran Lisa Harrow returns to CTC as Prospero and leads our exceptional conservatory company in what is sure to be a must-see event for the entire family. Performances are August 8 through 15. Directed by Jade King Carroll (Two River's Trouble in Mind) making her CTC debut.

The New Play Workshop Celebrates 10th Anniversary- July 10-12; July 31-Aug. 2
Continuing to build on the enormous success of new play development at Chautauqua, CTC presents two signature readings of fresh plays by important new voices in the American theater. Be a vital part of the process: participate in post-show discussions and other related events with playwrights, actors and the creative teams.

In Armbruster's Dairyland, Allie, a food writer in NYC, is determined to find authenticity in a world of internet dating, baby shower crafting, and journalistic in-fighting. As she tumbles through her urban landscape she is surprised to discover that she is on an inevitable journey leading straight to her father's dairy farm.
Carpenter's The Guadalupe explores the changing economic and political realities of America's rural borderland, and the greed and desperation that fuels it. On the first night of the annual harvest, the Northrip-Valle family farm becomes the target of a cartel territory war. But why? As gunmen surround the farmhouse in the dark hours of night, the family unites to strategize their escape.

Go West!
In Chautauqua's second year of ground-breaking Inter-Arts collaboration, dance, opera, theater, orchestra and visual art combine to explore America's expansion into the West: its indomitable spirit, its costs and consequences and its subsequent mythology. After the standing room only success of last year's Romeo & Juliet Project, this year's original multi disciplinary creation, Go West! is not to be missed (July 26 only).

About Chautauqua Theater Company
Now in its 31st Season, the Chautauqua Theater Company is the resident professional theater and Conservatory of the Chautauqua Institution. Internationally known actors, directors, designers and writers join 20 emerging artists drawn from the nation's top training programs to form a unique company that produces a vibrant summer of work in the historic Bratton Theater. Dedicated to the next generation of theater artists, the development of new work, first rate productions of modern and contemporary classics, and fresh insight into Shakespeare's cannon, this "full service" company provides the best a year-round regional theater has to offer in the period of an eight week summer season.

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