David Cromer to Lead TimeLine's NORMAL HEART; Casts Announced for Fall Season

David Cromer to Lead TimeLine's NORMAL HEART; Casts Announced for Fall SeasonTimeLine Theatre Company, dedicated to presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today's social and political issues, has finalized casting for three of the four productions of its 2013-14 season, as the company embarks upon its most ambitious season ever with major revivals (A Raisin in the Sun, The Normal Heart and the musical Juno), a new play (The How and the Why), and a pioneering partnership with the Chicago Commercial Collective and Broadway In Chicago to remount a previous hit show (To Master the Art).

TimeLine's 2013-14 season kicks off this fall with three high-profile productions playing on three different Chicago stages between late August and December:

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Ron OJ Parson, will feature Greta Oglesby as Lena "Mama" Younger and TimeLine Company Member Mildred Marie Langford as Beneatha Younger, with Wardell Julius Clark (Bobo), Justin James Farley (George Murchison), Jerod Haynes (Walter Lee Younger), Toni Martin(Ruth Younger), Chris Rickett (Karl Lindner) and Daryl Satcher (Joseph Asagai). The role of young Travis Younger will be shared by Alex Henderson and Oscar Vasquez. Oglesby, a Jeff Award winner for Supporting Actress in a Play for Do Lord Remember Me at Chicago Theatre Company, was Phylicia Rashad's standby for the role of Lena Younger on Broadway and has appeared at the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Court Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Minneapolis' Guthrie Theatre, among many others. Langford's TimeLine credits include In Darfurand My Kind of Town. She has appeared around Chicago at Steppenwolf, Lifeline Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater, among others. A Raisin in the Sun runs August 20 - November 17, 2013 (previews August 20 - 25; press opening on Wednesday, August 28 at 7:30 pm) at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.

Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, will feature an all-star cast of Chicago's top actors led by David Cromer as Ned Weeks, Mary Beth Fisher as Dr. Emma Brookner, Patrick Andrewsas Felix Turner and Marc Grapey as Ben Weeks, with Stephen Cone (David/Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor/Ensemble), Joel Gross (Bruce Niles), Nik Kourtis(Donner/Grady/Ensemble), Stephen Rader (Mickey Marcus) and Alex Weisman(Tommy Boatwright). Cromer, an actor and director whose work in Chicago and New York City has garnered him national acclaim as well as Jeff, Lucille Lortel and Obie awards, was last seen on a Chicago stage five years ago as the Stage Manager in The Hypocrites' production of Our Town. Fisher, named Best Actress in Chicago magazine's 2010 "Best of Chicago" issue, frequently appears at the Goodman Theatre. Grapey is a Jeff Award-winning actor and director with credits at the Goodman, Victory Gardens and Steppenwolf, among others. Andrews has extensive credits around Chicago and regionally, including the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Arena Stage and About Face Theatre, where he is an artistic associate. And returning to TimeLine's stage are Gross and Weisman, who previously starred together as Dakin and Posner, respectively, in TimeLine's long-running and Jeff Award-winning 2009 production ofThe History Boys. The Normal Heart runs October 26 - December 22, 2013 (previews October 26 - 31; press opening on Saturday, November 2 at 8 pm) at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.

In addition to A Raisin in the Sun and The Normal Heart, TimeLine's ambitious schedule this fall includes a partnership with the Chicago Commercial Collective and Broadway In Chicago to remount the company's 2010 hit To Master the Art byWilliam Brown and Doug Frew, directed by William Brown. Commissioned by TimeLine, To Master the Art recalls the adventure and romance of Julia and Paul Child's journey of discovery to Paris during the 1950s. Six of the 10 cast members are returning from the world premiere TimeLine production: Karen Janes Woditschand Craig Spidle as Julia and Paul Child, with Jeannie Affelder (Madame Dorin, Marie des Quatre Saisons, Simone Beck), Ian Paul Custer (Joey, Richard, Hollings), TimeLine Associate Artist Terry Hamilton (Chef Max Bugnard, Big John McWilliams) and TimeLine Company Member Juliet Hart (Judith Jones). They are joined by Sam Ashdown (Mick, Lee, Officer Dan Smith, Cole), TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks (Madame Brassart, Avis DeVoto), Heidi Kettenring (Jane Foster Zlatovski) and Brian Plocharczyk (Gilles, Carolina, Officer John Black).

To Master the Art, part of Broadway In Chicago's fall 2013 season, is presented by the Chicago Commercial Collective and is not part of TimeLine's 2013-14 subscription season, although TimeLine subscribers enjoy special access to this highly anticipated remount. It will play the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, Chicago, for a limited engagement beginning September 10, 2013. Opening Night performance is scheduled on Tuesday, September 17 at 7:30 pm. For tickets and information, visit broadwayinchicago.com.

The balance of TimeLine Theatre's 17th season includes Sarah Treem's The How and the Why, directed by Keira Fromm, featuring TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks as Zelda and Elizabeth Ledo as Rachel in the two-person cast. Brooks most recently appeared at TimeLine in 33 Variations, is a five-time Jeff Award nominee for performances at TimeLine, and a recipient of the Jeff Award for Solo Performance for her turn as Golda Meir in Golda's Balcony at Pegasus Players. Ledo is a two-time Jeff Award nominated actress for her supporting roles in The Homosexuals at About Face Theatre (where she is an artistic associate) and Uncle Vanya at Court Theatre, and she has performed around Chicago and regionally. The How and the Why runs January 28 - April 6, 2014 (previews January 28 - February 5; press opening is Thursday, February 6 at 7:30 pm) at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.

Joseph Stein and Marc Blitzstein's Juno (based on the play Juno and the Paycock by Sean O'Casey), directed by Nick Bowling with music direction by Doug Peck andElizabeth Doran, will feature multi-Jeff Award winner Rebecca Finnegan in the title role. Additional casting will be announced at a later date. Juno runs April 23 - July 27, 2014 (previews April 23 - 30; press opening is Thursday, May 1 at 7:30 pm) at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.

4-Admission FlexPass Subscriptions for TimeLine's 2013-14 season are now on sale, priced from $86 to $198. The TimeLine FlexPass is one of Chicago's most flexible and affordable theatre options. Each FlexPass is redeemable for admissions to TimeLine productions. FlexPass Subscribers may use admissions in any combination, easily reserve tickets to performances of their choice and enjoy free exchange privileges. In addition, FlexPass Subscribers receive first access to tickets for TimeLine's popular and often sold out productions and events, discounts on additional tickets and TimeLine's magazine Backstory in advance of each production, among other special offers and perks. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-TIME (8463) or visit timelinetheatre.com.

Photo by Walter McBride

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