Cast and Crew Announced For World Premiere Adaptation Of THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER

Brian Pastor will direct Shawna Tucker's original adaptation of the Davis Grubb novel.

By: Sep. 25, 2023
Cast and Crew Announced For World Premiere Adaptation Of THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER

Terry McCabe, City Lit Theater's producer and artistic director, has announced the cast and production team for Shawna Tucker's world premiere stage adaptation of the thriller novel THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, by Davis Grubb. Inspired by the crimes of West Virginia serial killer Harry Powers, who was executed in Grubb's hometown in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER is about Henry “Preacher” Powell, who has LOVE tattooed on the knuckles of his right hand and HATE on those of his left, and preys on widows in Depression-era West Virginia. He zeroes in on her two children, John and Pearl, who he is convinced know where their late father has hidden ten thousand dollars. City Lit's resident director Brian Pastor, who will succeed McCabe and assume the role of Executive Artistic Director beginning with the 2024-25 season, will direct. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER will run from October 20 through December 3, 2023.  Press opening will be October 29, 2023 at 3 pm.
Pastor's cast will include Bryan Breau (Preacher), Jacqui Touchet (John), Mary Margaret McCormack (Pearl), Kendal Romero (Willa), Alex Albrecht (Ben), Sheila Willis (Icey), Sean Harklerode (Walt), Richard Cotovsky (Birdie), Simmery Branch (Ruby/Mz. Cunningham), and adapter Shawna Tucker (Mz. Cooper).  The production team is Jeremiah Barr (Scenic Design), Liz Cooper (Lighting Design), Petter Wahlback (Sound Design/Composition), Rachel S. Parent (Costume Design), Paul Chakrin (Violence/Movement Design), Carrie Hardin (Dialects), and Ayla Sweet (Stage Manager). 

Single tickets for THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (and other City Lit 2023-24 season productions) are $30 for previews and $34 for regular performances and are  on sale now at the link below. Senior prices are $25 for previews and $29 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances. City Lit Season 43 subscriptions (including  THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION, playing August 25 – October 8) are available at $99.00, good for all performances, or $77.00 for preview performances. Subscriptions may be ordered online at the link below or purchased over the phone by calling 773-293-3682.


Brian Pastor (direction) (they/them) is a trans/non-binary producer, director, actor, and playwright in Chicago. Brian previously spent ten and a half years on staff at City Lit, including nine as Managing Director. Since 2019, Brian has served as City Lit's Resident Director, where they directed THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD, George Bernard Shaw's ARMS AND THE MAN, Archibald MacLeish's J.B., and their own acclaimed adaptation of Robert Kennedy's THIRTEEN DAYS. Brian is a founder and Emeritus Artistic Director of Chicago's Promethean Theatre Ensemble, where they directed THE LION IN WINTER, THE WINTER'S TALE, and GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF Oscar Wilde (all Broadway World Award Nominated- Best Director), as well as HENRY V and THE DARK SIDE OF THE BARD. Brian also directed the world premiere of THE BLACK KNIGHT by Angeli Primlani, the inaugural show for Lifeboat Productions. As an actor, Brian has worked with Strawdog, Raven, WildClaw, Promethean, Accomplice, and City Lit, among others. Brian is the former Executive Director of Sideshow Theatre and the former Executive Director of Raven Theatre. They also served as a board and company member of The Mime Company and as a founding company member of Chicago dell'Arte.

Shawna Tucker (adaptation) (she/her) is a Chicago-based actor and playwright. Her adaptations have been produced at theaters in St. Louis MO, Atlanta GA, and Jonesboro GA. As an actor, she has appeared at City Lit in MACBETH, DASHIELL HAMLET, and THE THIN MAN. Other Chicago stage work includes The Side Project's ELSEWHERE, Black Fox's THE NERD. Raven's TALES OF THE TWINKLING TWILIGHT, and Otherworld Theatre's FAHRENHEIT 451. She has also appeared with Promethean, Cold Basement Dramatics, 20%, New Millennium, Commedia Beauregard, and less recently, St. Nicholas, Actor's Repertory Company, and Wisdom Bridge. In the interim, she has lived and worked in Atlanta, St. Louis, and the Washington D.C. area.

Davis Alexander Grubb (Author, source novel) ) was an American novelist and short story writer, best known for his 1953 novel THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, which was adapted as a film in 1955 by Charles Laughton. In the mid-1940s he was successful in selling several short stories to major magazines and in the early 1950s, he started writing a full-length novel. Influenced by accounts of economic hardship by depression-era Americans that his mother had seen firsthand as a social worker, Grubb produced a dark tale that mixed the plight of poor children and adults with that of the evil inflicted by others. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER became an instant bestseller and was voted a finalist for the 1955 National Book Award. Grubb went on to write a further nine novels and several collections of short stories. His 1969 novel FOOLS' PARADE would also be made into a motion picture starring James Stewart. Some of Grubb's short stories were adapted for television by Alfred Hitchcock and by Rod Serling for his NIGHT GALLERY series.


City Lit is the seventh oldest theatre company in Chicago, behind only Goodman, Court, Northlight, Oak Park Festival, Steppenwolf, and Pegasus theatres.  It was founded in 1979 with $210 pooled by Arnold Aprill, David Dillon, and Lorell Wyatt.  For its current season, its 43rd, it operates with a budget slightly over $260,000.  It was the first theatre in the nation devoted to stage adaptations of literary material.  There were so few theatres in Chicago at the time of its founding that at City Lit's launch event, the founders were able to read a congratulatory letter they had received from Tennessee Williams.
For four decades and counting, City Lit has explored fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoirs, songs, essays and drama in performance.  A theatre that specializes in literary work communicates a commitment to certain civilizing influences—tradition imaginatively explored, a life of the mind, trust in an audience's intelligence—that not every cultural outlet shares.
City Lit is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. Its work is supported in part by City of Chicago CityArts, Illinois Arts Council Agency, State of Illinois Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce Business Opportunity Back to Business Grant, and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. An Illinois not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt organization, City Lit keeps ticket prices below the actual cost of producing plays and depends on the support of those who share its belief in the beauty and power of the spoken written word.

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