Jason Gerace to Direct SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER as Part of Raven's 2017-18 Season

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The final production of Raven Theatre Company's 2017-18 season will be Tennessee Williams' stark and poetic Suddenly, Last Summer.

Wealthy New Orleans socialite widow Violet Venable is trying to silence her niece Catherine, who, as the only witness to the death of Violet's son Sebastian, has been giving a horrifying description of the circumstances under which he was killed. Unwilling to accept either that account or other assertions about her son's life, Mrs. Venable pursues extraordinary measures to keep Catherine quiet.

Suddenly, Last Summer originally opened on Broadway in 1958, toward the end of a 15-year period in which Williams produced his greatest and most popular works, from The Glass Menagerie (1944) through Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). The 1959 film adaptation starring Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift was a box office hit and earned Academy Award nominations for Hepburn and Taylor. Raven's production will be directed by visiting artist Jason Gerace.

Jason Gerace has been an artistic associate of American Theatre Company since 2008. He was the recipient of the 2014 Non-Equity Jeff Award in Outstanding Direction for Great Expectations with Strawdog Theatre Company, which led to the adaptation's first publication, and was nominated for Best Production of a Play and Best Ensemble.

Earlier this year he directed the Chicago premiere of Threesome for The Other Theatre Company and the world premiere of Gabe McKinley's The Source for Route 66 Theatre Company. His production of Last Train to Nibroc for Haven Theatre was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the ten best productions of 2015 and earned three Jeff nominations, including a win for Best Actress. His Opus, for Redtwist Theatre, was a Jeff Award nominee for Best Play, Best Director and Best Ensemble and won for best sound design. He has also directed Neil LaBute's Wrecks (with John Judd; Chicago) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? For Redtwist Theatre. Jason hails from Anchorage, Alaska and holds an MFA in Directing from The University of Oklahoma. He is an associate member of SDC.

The previously announced plays in Raven's 2017-18 season will give Chicago audiences their first looks at plays by three of America's most acclaimed young playwrights. The season opener will be the Chicago premiere of Choir Boy by recent Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, to play on the company's 130-seat East Stage from September 27 - November 12, 2017. McCraney, together with writer-director Barry Jenkins, won this year's Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for the Academy's Best Picture winner, Moonlight. Choir Boy, which was first produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York during the summer of 2013, concerns a gay teenage boy in an all African-American prep school. Pharus wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school's legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?

In January, the season will continue with another Chicago premiere - Nice Girl by Melissa Ross, first produced in New York in 2015 by the LAByrinth Theatre Company. Set in a working-class suburb of Boston in 1984, Josephine Rosen has a dead-end job, still lives with her mother, and has settled into the uncomfortable comfort of being single at age 37. A play about the tragedy and joy of figuring out who you are and letting go of who you were supposed to be, the production will be directed by visiting artist Lauren Shouse, who staged Raven's acclaimed production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal last fall. Shouse's production will be staged in the 130-seat East Stage from January 24 to March 11, 2018.

Raven has commissioned a new play by Chicago-based playwright Philip Dawkins for its third show of the season, to be staged in the company's intimate 57-seat West Stage and directed by Raven Associate Artistic Director Cody Estle. Dawkins' play, The Gentleman Caller, based on historical truth, imagines what might have happened behind closed doors in the first two meetings between playwrights Tennessee Williams and William Inge. It will be performed from March 28 - May 13, 2018.


Suddenly, Last Summer

By Tennessee Williams

East Stage

Directed by Jason Gerace

May 2 - June 17, 2018

Previews: Wednesday, May 2 - Saturday, May 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm and Monday, May 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Opening Night: Tuesday, May 8 at 7:30 pm

Performances continue through June 17, 2018: Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm beginning Friday, May 11 (no show Thursday, May 10, 2018).

At Raven Theatre (East Stage), 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago

Tickets & Info: 773-338-2177 | www.raventheatre.com

Subscriptions for the four-play season are now on sale. Single tickets for the season productions will go on sale later.

Raven Theatre Company is committed to presenting a range of modern drama that illuminates the human experience. Through a vigorous program of full productions and new play development, as well as a first-class theatre education series, Ravencreates a powerful and welcoming environment in which artists showcase their skills, young students gain valuable insights into theatre arts, and patrons experience high quality programming that is easily accessible to all.

Raven Theatre Company is funded in part by Alphawood Foundation, Dramatists Guild Fund, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, Polk Bros. Foundation, Yates Feldman Foundation, S&C Electric, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Dadourian Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre - additional street parking is available.

Raven Theatre is handicapped accessible.

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