City Lit Theater Announces 40th Season of Productions
City Lit Theater will celebrate its 40th year of productions with a four-play season that will examine key moments in American history and the sorts of personalities (real and fictional) that have shaped the country. The season, which was announced today by City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe, will open in September with the Chicago premiere of ROMANCE LANGUAGE by Peter Parnell. ROMANCE LANGUAGE is a mock epic fantasia set in 1876, the year of the United States Centennial, in which Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn enlists the help of Walt Whitman for a cross-country journey to find the missing Tom Sawyer. Along the way, Huck and Walt meet the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson. ROMANCE LANGUAGE will open to the press on October 6, 2019. McCabe will direct.
McCabe will also direct the season's second show, Kristine Thatcher's VOICE OF GOOD HOPE, to open to the press on January 12, 2020. VOICE OF GOOD HOPE, which premiered at Victory Gardens Theater in 2000 and has been produced across the US since then, is a bio-drama of Barbara Jordan, the first African-American congresswoman from the Deep South.
Jordan earned national stature in the 1970's as a member of House Judiciary Committee that considered articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and as the keynote speaker of the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Thatcher, City Lit's playwright-in-residence, is nominated for Best New Work in this year's Jeff Awards for her play, THE SAFE HOUSE, which premiered at City Lit last fall.
Robert F. Kennedy's book detailing the events of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis will be staged in a world premiere adaptation written and directed by Brian Pastor, the Chicago writer-director-actor who serves as Artistic Director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble.
As with City Lit's acclaimed production 2017 production of Archibald MacLeish's J.B., which Pastor also directed, the roles in THIRTEEN DAYS will be played by a diverse ensemble of women. All the characters in the book are white males; none of the actors onstage will be. THIRTEEN DAYS will open to the press on March 8, 2020.
The season will close with another world premiere adaptation - THE VIRGINIAN: A HORSEMAN OF THE PLAINS, which McCabe will direct. Owen Lister's novel, which was adapted as a 1946 feature film and a TV series that aired from 1962-1971, will be adapted for the stage by Chicago playwrights L.C. Bernadine and Spencer Huffman. A study of the meaning of honor in the old west, City Lit's production will feature giant puppets as the horses who are minor but important characters to the story. They will be created by Von Orthal Puppets, the designers responsible for the life-size puppets that represented the gods in City Lit's world premiere translation of Aeschylus's PROMETHEUS BOUND two seasons ago. THE VIRGINIAN will open to the press on June 14, 2020.
Season subscriptions are available at $90.00 good for all performances or $68.00 for preview performances. Subscriptions may be ordered online at www.citylit.org. Single tickets priced at $28 for previews and $32 for regular performances will be on sale soon at www.citylit.org . Senior prices are $23 for previews and $27 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances.
For thirty-nine years, City Lit Theater has been dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination. City Lit produces theatrical adaptations of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material. City Lit Theater was founded with $210 pooled by Arnold Aprill (at the time the Body Politic Theatre's box office manager), David Dillon, and Lorell Wyatt on October 9, 1979 and was incorporated on March 25, 1980. There were still so few theatres in Chicago that at City Lit's launch event, they were able to read a congratulatory letter they had received from Tennessee Williams.