Cast Announced for THE CHRISTIANS at Citadel Theatre

Hnath raises philosophical and theological questions that he trusts audiences to answer for themselves.

By: Jan. 10, 2023
Cast Announced for THE CHRISTIANS at Citadel Theatre
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Citadel's 2022-23 season will continue when Lucas Hnath's thought-provoking and Obie Award winning play THE CHRISTIANS begins performances on February 8. The drama, set in a mega church, is neither an endorsement nor an indictment of organized religion in general, nor of Christianity specifically, but Hnath raises philosophical and theological questions that he trusts audiences to answer for themselves. What if there is no Hell? What if we all are welcomed into Heaven by a loving God who forgives all - even humanity's worst? The pastor who poses these questions in a sermon finds that his congregants are not all ready to give up the promise of eternal damnation for those whose sins they find to be unforgiveable. THE GUARDIAN said in its review of the play's New York City production, "Whether or not you believe in God, you should believe in Lucas Hnath." THE CHRISTIANS will open to the press on Friday, February 10, 2023, at 7:30 pm, following previews on February 8 and 9. It will play through March 12, 2023.

To create the setting of an elaborate megachurch, Citadel's production will employ a grid of some 90 two-foot square state of the art digital video monitors to depict the church's expansive interior and a choir. The monitors, provided by Pangea Technology, are of a level of sophistication that is normally found only in big-budget productions like Disney's Star Wars series THE MANDALORIAN, or TV shows like AMERICAN IDOL or THE VOICE. The monitors will allow the production to achieve an epic scope not normally feasible in an intimate venue like Citadel's 125-seat theatre, located inside Lake Forest High School's West Campus. At the same time, the intimacy of Citadel's performance space will bring the audience close to the characters in what is, in spite of the play's setting in a huge and grand church, a very personal drama of Pastor Paul's journey.Scott Westerman (director of Citadel's 2018 hit SEX WITH STRANGERS) will direct a cast led by Citadel Theatre Artistic Director Scott Phelps* as Paul, the pastor. Phelps appeared on stage for Citadel most recently as Oscar Hubbard in THE LITTLE FOXES and THE EXPLORERS CLUB, in addition to his many prior appearances on stage with the company. Also in the cast are Ellen Phelps* (Miss Hannigan in ANNIE, Sharon in THE ROOMMATE, and many other roles at Citadel) as Elizabeth, the pastor's wife, Frank Nall (most recently seen as Jay McMullen in HER HONOR, JANE BYRNE at Lookingglass) as Jay, a church elder, Manny Sevilla (Midsommer Flight's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM) as Joshua, the associate pastor, and Abby Chafe (of Citadel's IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY) as Jenny, a congregant. Members of the singing group Forte Chicago will perform as the choir. Understudies are Chris Bruzzini (Paul) and Kieran O'Connor (Joshua).

(* Member, Actors Equity Association)

The production team includes Jonathon Berg-Einhorn (Set Design), Mary Baca (Costume Design), Jonesy Jones (Sound Design), Patrick McGuire (Props Design), Syler Thomas (Dramaturg), Ian Merritt (Film/Photography Director), Ellen Phelps and Scott Phelps (Production Managers), Jessica Greenhoe (Stage Manager)*, and Jason Clark (Technical Carpenter).

(* - member, Actors Equity Association)

Lucas Hnath has proven himself to be a formidable modern playwright. His A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 was nominated for the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play and his DANA H., and HILARY AND CLINTON have been produced on Broadway to critical acclaim in recent seasons. THE CHRISTIANS premiered at the Humana Festival of New Plays and has been produced by some of the most prestigious theater companies in the US, including Playwrights Horizons in New York, Steppenwolf in Chicago and Theatre J in Washington, D.C, The New York Times said, "This terrific play about the mystery of faith by Lucas Hnath - one of the freshest playwriting voices to emerge in the past five years - is MESMERIZING."

Tickets for THE CHRISTIANS are now on sale at www.citadeltheatre.org or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1.




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