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Raven Theatre Announces 2019-20 Season

Raven Theatre Announces 2019-20 Season

Raven Theatre announces its 2019-20 Season, kicking off this fall with the Chicago premiere of Rachel Bonds' drama SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON, directed by Artistic Director Cody Estle and featuring music and lyrics by The Bengsons. This warm, delicate play with music is an honest look at the hard work of holding a family together and re-connecting with what we've left behind.

Also this fall, Katori Hall's drama HOODOO LOVE makes its return to Chicago on Raven's intimate West Stage. Wardell Julius Clark directs this spellbinding, blues-filled tale about the danger of our desires.

The season continues next winter with a revival of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece A DOLL'S HOUSE in a vibrant and progressive new adaptation making its Chicago premiere. Directed by Lauren Shouse, the new work features translation by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and adaptation by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and Kirsten Brandt.

Raven's 2019-20 Season concludes next summer with the world premiere of Mat Smart's stark, passionate drama EDEN PRAIRIE, 1971 featuring Curtis Edward Jackson (The Gentleman Caller). Henry Wishcamper directs this new play which confidently questions our notions of bravery and responsibility.

Raven Theatre is located at 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville) in Chicago's Edgwater neighborhood. A variety of 2019-20 Season subscription packages will go on sale Monday, February 4, 2019 at or by calling (773) 338-2177.

Comments Raven Theatre Artistic Director Cody Estle, "I'm proud to present my second season as the Artistic Director of Raven Theatre. It is a season which features a mixture of contemporary playwrights - Rachel Bonds, Katori Hall and Mat Smart - and a revival by a great of the modern dramatic canon - Henrik Ibsen. The season also brings director Henry Wishcamper for the first time to Raven Theatre, as well as returning directors Lauren Shouse and Wardell Julius Clark. Leaving or returning home is a central issue which the characters in each of these plays confront; the impact of our pasts shapes the textures of our presents as we face the unknowns of our futures. I look forward to sharing these characters with you and the captivating stories you have come to expect from Raven Theatre."

Raven Theatre's 2019-20 Season:

October 3 - November 17, 2019

SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON - Chicago Premiere!

By Rachel Bonds

Music and Lyrics by The Bengsons

Directed by Artistic Director Cody Estle

Press opening: Monday, October 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm

In the misty heat of a small southern town, two sisters have come home to handle a crisis. Twins Joey and Ray have just taken their first steps into adulthood while their newly divorced father, Tom, has been suspended from his job. But deep, honest communication doesn't come easy. Seemingly stuck between the future and the past, this family of musicians sings what they can't bring themselves to say.

October 31 - December 15, 2019


By Katori Hall

Directed by Wardell Julius Clark

Press opening: Monday, November 4, 2019 at 7:30 pm and Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 7:30 pm

After escaping the cotton fields of Mississippi, a young woman named Toulou arrives in depression-era Memphis with dreams of becoming a blues singer. Almost immediately, she falls in love with a rambling musician named Ace of Spades while her born-again brother, Jib, is hot on her heels. Desperate to claim Ace's love for herself, Toulou lays a hex on him with the help of a Hoodoo practitioner, setting in motion a devastating chain of events.

February 6 - March 22, 2020

A DOLL'S HOUSE - Chicago Premiere!

By Henrik Ibsen

Translation by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey

Adaptation by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and Kirsten Brandt

Directed by Lauren Shouse

Press opening: Monday, February 10, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Nora, a spirited young housewife, is a radical thinker trapped in the patriarchal world of 1870s Norway. Life with her husband, Torvald, is comfortable, if uninteresting. But when an Old Acquaintance reappears, threatening to bring Nora's secrets to light, everything changes. As her marriage, her relationships, and her world crumble, she begins to speak her mind and question what she really wants for herself.

May 7 - June 21, 2020

EDEN PRAIRIE, 1971 - World Premiere!

By Mat Smart

Directed by Henry Wishcamper

Featuring Curtis Edward Jackson

Press opening: Monday, May 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm

On the same night Apollo 15 lands on the moon, draft-dodger Pete steals home to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, after a 300 mile walk from Canada. He risks arrest, but has an important message to deliver to an old friend. In a moment of national and interpersonal tension that mirrors our own, Pete must defend his choices and grapple with the sacrifices he's made.

About the Playwrights/Adapters

Rachel Bonds' (Sundown, Yellow Moon) plays have been developed or produced by South Coast Rep, Ars Nova, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre, Roundabout Underground, Atlantic Theater Company, Studio Theatre, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Williamstown Theatre Festival and New York Stage & Film, among others. Her plays include: Curve of Departure (Upcoming South Coast Rep, Studio Theatre), Five Mile Lake (South Coast Rep, McCarter, Weissberger Award), The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre, Kilroys List 2015), Swimmers (Marin Theatre Co., Sky Cooper Prize, Kilroys List 2014), Sundown, Yelllow Moon (Ars Nova/WP); Alma (Atlantic Theatre Company commission), Firecracker (Kilroys List 2016), At the Old Place (La Jolla), Michael & Edie (NY Times Critic's Pick, 2010), Winter Games (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Heideman Award), and Anniversary (EST, Sam French OOB Festival Winner). She is an Alumna of the EST's Youngblood, Ars Nova's Play Group and SPACE on Ryder Farm's Working Farm Writers' Group. She was the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ars Nova. Bonds is a graduate of Brown University.

Katori Hall (Hoodoo Love) is an Olivier Award-winning playwright from Memphis, Tennessee and the showrunner of PUSSY VALLEY, a new Starz series based on her play of the same name. She also wrote the book for Tina, the hit West End musical based on the life and catalog of Tina Turner. Katori's play The Mountaintop, premiering at Theatre503 in 2009, transferred to the West End and won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010. Following its West End run, the play opened on Broadway in October 2011 to critical acclaim. Katori's other work includes the award-winning Hurt Village which is currently in development as a feature film, Hoodoo Love, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, WHADDABLOODCLOT!!!, Our Lady of Kibeho, Purple is the Colour of Mourning and The Blood Quilt. In addition to her Laurence Olivier Award, Katori's other awards include a Susan Smith Blackburn Award, Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, two Lecompte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, NYFA Fellowship, the Columbia University John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement, National Black Theatre's August Wilson Playwriting Award, and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award.

Henrik Ibsen's (Playwright, A Doll's House, 1828-1906) other plays include Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, The Lady from the Sea, Peer Gynt, Pillars of Society, The Wild Duck, Rosmersholm, The Master Builder, Little Eyolf, John Gabriel Borkman and When We Dead Awaken.

Kirsten Brandt (Adaption, A Doll's House) is an award-winning playwright, director and producer. She served for six seasons as Artistic Director of Sledgehammer Theatre where she directed over a dozen plays and wrote Berzerkergäng, The Frankenstein Project and NU. She was the Associate Artistic Director of San Jose Repertory Theatre, where she co-wrote the book and lyrics to a new musical version of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen with Haddon Kime and Rick Lombardo. With Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey, she adapted and directed Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Old Globe Theatre. Her telematic, multi-site play The Thinning Veil was produced at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her other plays include The Mechanic's Daughter, The Waves and an adaptation of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. As a director, Ms. Brandt work has been seen at San Jose Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, TheatreWorks, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Repertory, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, North Coast Repertory, Arizona Theatre Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theatre Company and City Lights Theatre.

Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey (Translation/Adaption, A Doll's House) is Professor Emerita of Theatre at San Diego State University. As a Swedish-born translator/dramaturg, Harvey specializes in the plays of Ibsen and Strindberg. Her unique platform translations have served a wide range of productions, from academic theatre to regional theatre to Broadway, including adaptations by David Chambers, Jon Robin Baitz, Christopher Shinn, Kirsten Brandt, Mabou Mines, and others. Ibsen productions in Southern California include Ghosts (Old Globe 1993), Hedda Gabler (SDSU and South Coast Rep 1998), Intimate Ibsen (ion 2008), Ghosts (North Coast Rep 2010), A Doll's House (Old Globe 2013) and Hedda Gabler (North Coast Rep 2016). Her own play Dinner With Marlenepremiered at Lamb's Players, Coronado, in April 2016.

Mat Smart's (Eden Prairie, 1971) recent world premieres include Kill Local at the La Jolla Playhouse directed by Jackson Gay (nominated for Outstanding New Play by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle) and The Agitators: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass at Geva Theatre Center directed by Logan Vaughn (subsequent productions include Mosaic, Park Square Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Theatre Conspiracy, and West of Lenin. Other plays include: The Royal Society of Antarctica(Gift Theatre, recipient of the 2015 Jeff Award for Best New Work), Samuel J. and K. (Williamstown Theatre Festival; Steppenwolf for Young Adults), The Hopper Collection (Magic Theatre; Huntington), Naperville (Slant Theatre Project; Theatre Wit), and Tinker to Evers to Chance (Geva; Merrimack Rep; Artistry). An avid traveler and baseball fan, he has been to all of the states, all of the continents, and all of the current MLB stadiums. A native of Naperville, he currently lives in Manhattan. MFA: UCSD.

About the Directors

Cody Estle (Sundown, Yellow Moon) became the Artistic Director at Raven Theatre in November 2017, where he had previously served as the Associate Artistic Director. His directing credits include How I Learned To Drive, The Gentleman Caller, The Assembled Parties, A Loss of Roses (named by Chicago Tribune honorable mention as one of the Year's Best in 2016), Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré (named by Chicago Tribune as one of the Year's Best in 2014), Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl and Dating Walter Dante at Raven Theatre, Damascus at Strawdog Theatre, Five Mile Lake at Shattered Globe Theatre, By the Water (named by Chicago Sun-Times honorable mention as one of the Top Theatre Productions of 2017) at Northlight Theatre, American Hero at First Floor Theater, Scarcity at Redtwist Theatre, The Seagull and Watch on the Rhine at The Artistic Home, Don't Go Gentle at Haven Theatre, Uncle Bob at Mary-Arrchie Theatre and Hospitality Suite at Citadel Theatre. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Court Theatre and Writers Theatre. Estle is a proud member of SDC and an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago.

Wardell Julius Clark (Hoodoo Love) is originally from Fairfield, Alabama and earned his BFA degree in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Upcoming shows he's directing include Dutch Masters (Jackalope Theatre), The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963 (Chicago Children's Theatre) and His Shadow (16th Street Theater). Chicago directing credits include The Shipment (Red Tape), Insurrection: Holding History (Stage Left) and Surely Goodness and Mercy (Redtwist). He was also Associate Director for Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and Assistant Director for Gem of the Ocean and Satchmo at the Waldorf (Court), and Assistant Director for The Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre). Chicago acting credits include work with Raven Theatre, American Blues Theatre, First Folio, Windy City Playhouse, Court Theatre, Northlight, Victory Gardens, 16th Street Theater, MPAACT, American Theater Company, and Congo Square Theater. Regional credits include work at Theater at Monmouth, Cardinal Stage, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, and Carver Theatre. His television and film credits include Shameless, Chicago Fire and Proven Innocent. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Lauren Shouse (A Doll's House) is a director, dramaturg and teacher. She is currently the Associate Artistic Director at Northlight Theatre. Her recent directing credits include: What We're Up Against with Compass Theatre, The Cake at Rivendell Theatre (for which she received a Joseph Jefferson nomination for best director), The Legend of Georgia McBride at Northlight Theatre, Nice Girland Betrayal at Raven Theatre, Avenue Q, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre, the world premiere of Long Way Down with 3Ps productions (nominated for American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award 2011); the world premiere of Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte, Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company, the world premiere of Rear Widow at Chaffin's Barn Theatre, and Sylvia Plath's 3 Women. As Artistic Associate at Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival, which developed new works by John Patrick Shanley, David Auburn, Steven Dietz and Victoria Stewart. Lauren also co-founded Ten Minute Playhouse, a company that produces short plays by local playwrights. Before moving to Nashville, Lauren lived in London, UK and worked with Producer/Director Hugh Wooldridge. Her work abroad includes: Production Executive for The Night of 1000 Voices (celebrating John Kander and Fred Ebb and starring Joel Grey with Avenue Q) at The Royal Albert Hall, Production Executive of An Evening with Michael Parkinson at The Theatre Royal - Windsor, Children's Director/Assistant to the Director of A Gift of Music, and Assistant Director of The Night of 1000 Voices at The Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland. Lauren holds an MA in Performance studies from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill where she adapted and directed The Time Traveler's Wife. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University where she directed Stop Kiss, Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, Route 66, The Gift Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Stage Left Theatre.

Henry Wishcamper (Eden Prairie, 1971) is a Producer and Artistic Associate at Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Goodman directing credits: Blue Skies Process, The Matchmaker, The Little Foxes, Ask Aunt Susan, Other Desert Cities, Animal Crackers, Talking Pictures and A Christmas Carol (2013 - 2018). Other Chicago credits: The Night Alive (Steppenwolf) and Dance of Death (Writers). New York: Spirit Control (Manhattan Theatre Club), Graceland (LCT3), Port Authority (Atlantic), The Polish Play (Katharsis), PULLMAN CAR HIAWATHA (Keen Company). Regional: Animal Crackers (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Birds (Guthrie), Engaging Shaw andThe Mystery of Irma Vep (Old Globe), The Seafarer and Speech & Debate (Hartford TheaterWorks). Henry served as the artistic director of Katharsis Theater Company and the Maine Summer Dramatic Institute. He is a Drama League directing fellow and a graduate of Yale University.

PHOTO CREDIT: (left to right) Directors Cody Estle, Wardell Julius Clark, Lauren Shouse and Henry Wishcamper will helm Raven Theatre's 2019-20 Season.

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