Signal Ensemble Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Season

Signal Ensemble Theatre announces their 2013-2014 season. Founded in 2003, award-winning Signal Ensemble Theatre uses a deeply collaborative method to produce work never-before-seen in Chicago. The 2013 - 2014 season opens with the United States premiere of Hannah Moscovitch's This is War, directed by Signal Artistic Director Ronan Marra, August 22 - September 28. The season continues with the Chicago premiere of Plainsong by Eric Schmiedl and directed by Bries Vannon, January 30, 2014 - March 8, 2014. and concludes with the world premiere musical The Next Thing by Ronan Marra with music and lyrics by John Steinhagen, director and musical director TBD, May 1 - June 7, 2014. Subscriptions to Signal Ensemble Theatre's 11th Season go on sale April 22. The theatre is located at 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets range from $15-$20 and may be purchased by calling 773.698.7389 or by visiting

This Is War - United States Premiere

By Hannah Moscovitch

Directed by Signal Ensemble Member and Co-Artistic Director Ronan Marra August 22 - September 28

Opening/Press Night: Saturday, Aug. 24 • 8 p.m.

It is 2008. Canadian Forces are holding Panjwaii, the most volatile region of Afghanistan, with very little support from NATO-ISAF. Captain Stephen Hughes is always looking for the next threat, knowing it can come at any time from any direction. He just didn't expect it would come from within. From the writer of Signal's sold out hit productions of East of Berlin/The Russian Play, This Is War received its world premiere at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.

Hannah Moscovitch is a Canadian playwright, dubbed "an indie sensation" by Toronto Life Magazine, "the wunderkind of Canadian theatre" by CBC Radio and "irritatingly talented" by Eye Weekly. The Globe and Mail hail The Russian Play as "that rarest of all theatrical experiments: a clever satire with a beating heart," while Variety Magazine's glowing review of East of Berlin notes that "[Moscovitch is] not afraid to plunge right through areas that others might consider poor taste in order to come out the other side in search of a deeper truth."

Plainsong - Chicago Premiere (contract pending)

By Eric Schmiedl • Adapted from the novel by Kent Haruf

Directed by Signal Ensemble Member Bries Vannon

January 30 - March 8, 2014

Opening/Press Night: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 • 8 p.m.

Deep in the plains of eastern Colorado lies a town called Holt. It's not a busy town, but there's a lot going on. Tom Guthrie is raising two young sons as his wife steps deeper into depression. Victoria Roubideaux finds herself seventeen, pregnant and desperate, turning to schoolteacher Maggie Jones for help. And the solitary ranching brothers Harold and Raymond McPheron aren't at all prepared for the ways they'll be involved. Eric Schmiedl's adaptation of Kent Haruf's National Book Award finalist is a sweeping, even-handed treatment of humanity in a small plains town.

Eric Schmiedl's (Adapter) plays have been produced by The Cleveland Play House, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, TheatreVirginia, New Stages Theatre, the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, the Oregon Children's Theatre, BackStage Theatre in Chicago and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, among others. He is a member of The Cleveland Play House's Playwrights' Unit and is on the faculty of the MFA in the writing program at Spalding University. He is also the recipient of the Lisa Toishigawa Inouye Playwriting Award.

Kent Haruf's (Novelist) first novel, The Tie That Binds (1984), received a Whiting Foundation Award and a special Hemingway/PEN citation. Where You Once Belonged followed in 1990. Plainsong was published in 1999 and became a bestseller. It won the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Award, the Maria Thomas Award in Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. Eventide (2004), his second national bestseller, a finalist for the Book Sense Award, was named Notable Book of the Year by a number of newspapers including The Denver Post, Kansas City Star and NY Daily News. Haruf is currently on tour with his latest novel, Benediction.

The Next Thing - World Premiere

Book by Signal Ensemble Member and Co-Artistic Director Ronan Marra

Music and Lyrics by Signal Ensemble Member Jon Steinhagen

Director and Musical Director - TBD

May 1 - June 7, 2014

Opening/Press Night: Saturday, May 3, 2014 • 8 p.m.

Two up-and-coming film stars, Kate and Conor, meet on a troubled period epic, then find themselves working on a movie together every eighteen months. A "will they or won't they" Hollywood love story, The Next Thing spans 18 years, seven films and one very combustible relationship.

Signal Ensemble Member and Co-Artistic Director Ronan Marra is a founder of Signal Ensemble Theatre and his directing credits with the company include the most recent critically acclaimed Successors by Jon Steinhagen and East of Berlin and The Russian Play by Hannah Moscovitch, his own Aftermath, Lascivious Something, The Real Inspector Hound, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, 1776 (Jeff Award -- Best Production, Musical), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Six Degrees of Separation, Fool For Love, Hamlet, Closer, The Zoo Story, Seascape (Jeff Award), Waiting for Godot, (Jeff Recommended), his own Landslide (two Jeff Award nominations including New Work), She Stoops to Conquer, Much Ado About Nothing and his own Learning to Fly. Marra's Motion premiered in Signal's 2011-2012 season and was directed by Signal Ensemble Member AaRon Snook.

Jon Steinhagen has been a Signal Ensemble member since 2009, where he has appeared in 1776, Six Degrees of Separation, The Real Inspector Hound, and ACES; he recently was the musical director of Hostage Song and authored ACES. Steinhagen is also a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, a past winner of the Julie Harris Playwriting Award, a finalist for the first Noël Coward Award, and has received four Jeff Awards and five nominations. Recent productions of his plays and musicals include Successors (Signal, February 2013) Blizzard '67 (Chicago Dramatists), Dating Walter Dante (Raven Theatre), The Analytical Engine (Circle Theatre), Something More Comfortable (Syracuse University), and The Teapot Scandals (Porchlight).

Signal Ensemble Theatre's 11th Season begins August 22 with This Is War. The Season continues with Plainsong, January 30 - March 8, 2014, and concludes with The Next Thing, May 1 - June7. Tickets to Signal Ensemble Theatre's 11th Anniversary Season go on sale April 22. The theatre is located at 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets range from $15 - $20 and may be purchased by calling 773.698.7389 or by visiting

Street parking available on Ravenswood and Berenice (runs one way going west) CTA Brown line EL stops Irving Park and Addison. CTA busses #80-Irving Park, #152-Addison, #50-Damen, #11-Lincoln. The theatre is handicapped accessible.

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