Court Theatre Announces 2018 Spotlight Reading Series Lineup

Court Theatre Announces 2018 Spotlight Reading Series LineupCourt Theatre, under the leadership of Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell, announces the 2018 lineup for the Spotlight Reading Series, a multi-year community outreach initiative that aims to expose communities beyond Hyde Park to theatre arts, focusing specifically on works from outside of the canon of classic theater.

Now in the third year of a three-year initiative, the Spotlight Reading Series highlights the works of playwrights of color featuring leading Chicago artists. Award-winning director and Court Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson will again host five readings throughout the city. All readings are free and open to the public, though a reservation is recommended. For more information on the Spotlight Reading Series or to obtain tickets, visit

"We are excited to bring the Spotlight Reading Series to the community for a third year. The program continues to break new ground, establish new connections and make stronger ties between the theatre and Chicago neighborhoods," notes Ron OJ Parson.

To actively engage with communities, the 2018 Spotlight Reading Series will host performances at local venues, partnering with various arts organizations which cover the Bronzeville, Woodlawn, Albany Park, South Shore and Jackson Park neighborhoods.

The 2018 schedule is as follows:

The Dance on Widow's Row

Written by Samm-Art Williams

Directed by Aaron Mays

NEIU's Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. (Bronzeville)

Monday February 26, 2018 at 6:30 pm

The Dance on Widow's Row is a comedy about four widows who, despite the odds, are determined to find love. Depicted in a fictional coastal community in eastern North Carolina, Magnolia, Annie, Simone and Lois invite the area's most eligible bachelors to an intimate soiree. Having already buried nine husbands altogether, the women are willing to defy small-town mores and endure vicious gossip if there's a chance to meet Mr. Right tonight.

Puddin 'n Pete

Written by Cheryl L. West

Directed by Ernest Perry, Jr.

AKArama Community Service Center, 6220 S Ingleside Ave. (Woodlawn)

Monday, April 16, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Puddin is an executive secretary with plans for a better future and a deep mistrust of men. Pete is a high school janitor with little education or guile but plenty of down-home, country wisdom. Each one has had failed marriages, but this middle-aged couple has put their bad experiences behind them, discovering what they have in common is their need for each other.

The Independence of Eddie Rose

Written by William S. Yellow Robe Jr.

Directed by Juan Ramirez

American Indian Center, 3401 W Ainslie St. (Albany Park)

Monday, July 23, 2018 at 6:30 pm

This Native American drama tells the story of a teenage boy confronted with the challenges of family alcoholism and domestic violence. Eddie is forced to choose between the learned way of a broken society and traditional values of the Red Road. While pursuing self-discovery, he saves his younger sister and, with the help of his aunt's wisdom, works to save his family.

Long Time Since Yesterday

Written by P.J. Gibson

Directed by Patrese D. McClain

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S South Shore Dr. (South Shore/Jackson Park)

Monday, September 17, 2018 at 7 pm

Set in suburban New Jersey in the early 1980s, this potent drama is about a reunion of college classmates, now in their thirties, at the funeral of a friend who killed herself. These women are prosperous, professional Black women who have gone through the sixties and come out on top of the eighties. At the wake, they confront the truth about their own lives and about the suicide which has again brought them together.

Burghers of Calais

Written by Edgar White

Directed by Ron OJ Parson

Monday, November 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm

NEIU's Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd. (Bronzeville)

In this farce from 1970, playwright Edgar White finds parallels the real-life story of the Scottsboro Boys and Auguste Rodin's Burghers of Calais, a famous sculpture depicting the town's fathers who offered themselves as hostages to the invading English during the Hundred Years' War.

The Spotlight Reading Series is made possible with support from the Joyce Foundation. The "Spotlight Grant" is designed to help arts and cultural organizations achieve greater racial equity and long-term operating success. Court Theatre was one of ten institutions who received the three-year grant.

Now in its 63rd season, Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.

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