THE COTTAGE Comes to Citadel Theatre in September

Performances run Saturday, September 14 – Sunday, October 13, 2024.

By: Jun. 11, 2024
THE COTTAGE Comes to Citadel Theatre in September
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 Citadel Theatre will lead off its 2024-25 season with the comedy THE COTTAGE, less than a year after its Broadway production, which was directed by Jason Alexander and starred Eric McCormick, played its last performance. THE COTTAGE is one of two plays in the company’s upcoming season that was written by playwrights with ties to the Chicago area. THE COTTAGE was written by Sandy Rustin, who grew up in Glenview and graduated from Northwestern University before beginning her successful career as a New York-based playwright and actress. With her stage adaptation of the cult-hit film CLUE, which has enjoyed over 3,500 productions worldwide, she became one of the most-produced playwrights in America. Closing Citadel’s season will be the Chicago premiere of A JUKEBOX FOR THE ALGONGUIN by Chicago/Skokie-based actor and playwright Paul Stroili. Stroili’s comedy about the residents of a nursing home received its world premiere in 2023 at The Purple Rose Theatre, the Equity-affiliated theatre founded by actor Jeff Daniels that is dedicated to developing new American plays.

Citadel’s production for the holiday production will be DAMES AT SEA, the loving pastiche of 1930’s movie musicals that made a star of Bernadette Peters. I AND YOU, a drama about two teenagers by Lauren Gunderson, who in many years has also been America’s most produced playwright, will follow in February and March.
With THE COTTAGE, Rustin says, “I was really looking to create something kind of in the style of Noel Coward, but with a feminist twist.” The play begins with Sylvia and Beau on an erotic escape to their cottage in the English countryside. The audience soon discovers that the pair are not married, and instead having a wild affair. But Sylvia winds up questioning her views on marriage and social status when the deceived spouses arrive at the house with affairs of their own. THE COTTAGE will be directed by Jack Hickey, the former long-time Artistic Director of the Oak Park Festival Theatre. THE COTTAGE will open Saturday, September 14, following previews on September 11 and 12, and continuing through October 13, 2024.
THE COTTAGE will be followed in Citadel’s season by the musical DAMES AT SEA, a tuneful and affectionate spoof of the lavish musicals directed by Busby Berkeley in the 1930’s, such as 42ND STREET and the “Golddiggers” series. DAMES AT SEA premiered Off-Off-Broadway at a tiny coffee house  in 1966, and soon moved to Off-Broadway, where it ran for 575 performances. It has been revived Off-Broadway many times since and revived on Broadway in 2015. Bernadette Peters reprised her star-making performance as “Ruby” in a production of it in 1973 at Lake Forest’s Academy Playhouse. Gregg Dennhardt will direct Citadel’s production, which will open on Friday, November 15, following previews on November 13 and 14, and play through December 13, 2024.
Lauren Gunderson’s I AND YOU is a departure from that playwright’s many historical dramas (such as SILENT SKY, produced in 2024 by Citadel) in that it is a fictional story and concerns two American teenagers. One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at the door of his high school classmate Caroline bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS, so that they can complete an urgent assignment from their English teacher. Homebound due to illness, Caroline hasn't been to school in months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I AND YOU is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness. It will be directed by Scott Shallenbarger, the former director of Theatre Arts at Highland Park High School, and director of this past season’s BABY. I AND YOU will open on Friday, February 21, 2025, following previews on February 19 and 20, and will play through March 23.
The final show of the season, A JUKEBOX FOR THE ALGONQUIN, is set in the Placid Pines Senior Care Center. Some of the residents really want a jukebox for their recreation room, called The Algonquin. When the jukebox they have in mind – a vintage Wurlitzer, like the kind they remember from earlier years -  costs more than the center can raise, a small band of residents hatch a plot to come up with the money. Stroili’s comedy, which he describes as being “not a play about old people; it's a play about people who have just lived longer," was one of the most popular and successful plays at the Purple Rose Theatre, and it recently concluded a successful engagement at Miner’s Alley Performing Arts Center in Denver. The DENVER GAZETTE called it a deeply affecting comedy that reveals a major playwriting talent in Paul Stroili… A GRAND COMEDIC ADVENTURE…that wittily navigates the highs and lows of aging with laughter, nostalgia and rebellion.“ A JUKEBOX FOR THE ALGONQUIN will open on Saturday, April 18, following previews on April 16 and 17, and play through May 18, 2025.
Season subscriptions are available for the full four-show season at $120.00, or as flex passes that can be used for the patron’s choice of either three shows for $100.00 or two shows for $70.00. Preview flex passes are also available for $40 two shows), $50 (three shows), or $60 (four shows). Subscriptions and single tickets priced at $45 are now on sale at
Citadel Theatre is in residence in the West Campus of the Lake Forest School District at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. Further information and ticketing is available on the company’s website at


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