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The Artistic Home Announces 2018-19 Season

The Artistic Home Announces 2018-19 Season

The Artistic Home Ensemble will present the Chicago premiere of Lauren Gunderson's ADA AND THE ENGINE as the final entry in its three-play 2018-19 season, according to company Artistic Director Kathy Scambiatterra, who announced the season today. The 36-year-old Gunderson was the most-produced playwright in America during 2017, according to American Theatre Magazine.

ADA AND THE ENGINE, which was given its world premiere by Central Works Theater Company in 2015, is an historical drama about Ada, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and Ada's friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. It will open on Sunday, June 23, 2019following previews from June 19. Monica Payne, Resident Director at Trap Door Theatre, where she recently devised and directed INTO THE EMPTY SKY, will direct the Gunderson play. Payne says, "I'm thrilled to be tackling this new Lauren Gunderson play, which beautifully connects the dots between an imaginative young woman in Victorian England, her infamous poet father, and the advent of technology like the iPhone. The play is stylistically rich, but ultimately focuses on the mysteries of the human heart. I look forward to approaching the text with stunning visuals, gorgeous music, and the great acting that is the signature of The Artistic Home."

Gunderson has been a favorite in Chicago, where several of her plays have been produced in recent years. Northlight staged her MISS BENNET- CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY in 2016 and THE BOOK OF WILL in 2017. Gunderson's plays EMILIE: LA MARQUISE DU CHATELET DEFENDS HER LIFE TONIGHT; EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR; I AND YOU, and SILENT SKY have also enjoyed productions here in recent years.

Leading off the season will be the first Chicago production in nearly 10 years of Tom Stoppard's ROCK 'N' ROLL. Stoppard's sprawling 2006 drama is played on a canvas that stretches from Cambridge University to Prague, and from the Prague Spring of 1968 to the Velvet Revolution of 1989, all framed by rock music of the era. Despite the historical and philosophical themes of the play, THE NEW YORK TIMES' Ben Brantley called it a "triumphantly sentimental." Artistic Director Kathy Scambiatterra will direct the first professional Chicago production of ROCK 'N' ROLL since 2009. Scambiatterra explains why now is the right time to bring it back. She says, "Rock n Roll is so current, again. Freedom of expression, rock 'n roll music, the soundtrack of social change in the 60's, is front and center in Stoppard's highly theatrical story of political and personal change." ROCK 'N' ROLL will open on October 7, 2018 following previews from October 3.

ROCK 'N' ROLL will be followed by another drama not seen in the Chicago area in many years. Rod Serling's REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, the landmark live television drama of the "golden age" starring Jack Palance that was later produced as a theatrical feature film starring Anthony Quinn, will open on February 17, 2019 following previews from February 13. Serling's story of a punch-drunk fighter long past his prime was originally written as a play and was first produced on Broadway in 1985. It was last staged professionally in Chicago on 2008. Ensemble member John Mossman will direct The Artistic Home's production. He says, "REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT has been successful as a movie and a play, but we're excited to re-create in our 40-seat theatre the intimacy and intensity it initially had as a live television drama."

Tom Stoppard (playwright, ROCK 'N' ROLL). Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born British playwright whose work is marked by verbal brilliance, ingenious action, and structural dexterity. His first play, A WALK ON THE WATER (1960), was televised in 1963. He achieved international recognition with his play ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (1964-65) Among his most-notable stage plays are THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND (1968), JUMPERS (1972), TRAVESTIES (1974), Every Good Boy DESERVES FAVOUR (1978), NIGHT AND DAY (1978), UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1980, adapted from a play by Arthur Schnitzler), and ON THE RAZZLE (1981, adapted from a play by Johann Nestroy). THE REAL THING (1982), Stoppard's first romantic comedy, deals with art and reality and features a playwright as a protagonist. ARCADIA, which juxtaposes 19th-century Romanticism and 20th-century chaos theory and is set in a Derbyshire country house, premiered in 1993, and THE INVENTION OF LOVE, about A.E. Housman, was first staged in 1997. The trilogy THE COAST OF UTOPIA (VOYAGE, SHIPWRECK, and SALVAGE), first performed in 2002, explores the lives and debates of a circle of 19th-century Russian émigré intellectuals. ROCK 'N' ROLL (2006) jumps between England and Czechoslovakia during the period 1968-90.
His screenplays include THE ROMANTIC ENGLISHWOMAN (1975), DESPAIR (1978), and BRAZIL (1985), as well as for a film version (1990) of ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD that he also directed. In 1999 the screenplay for SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998), cowritten by Stoppard and Marc Norman, won an Academy Award. He was knighted in 1997.

Rod Serling (playwright, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT). One of the most famous writers of television's "golden age," Serling won his first Emmy at age 31, for writing the TV drama PATTERNS. Serling's second Emmy win came a year later, with the 1956 production of REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, starring Jack Palance. After tiring of frequent battles with the television networks' over censorship of his realistic dramas, Serling turned from realism to the sci-fi fantasy genre. He created the iconic series THE TWILIGHT ZONE, for which he was the on-camera host as well as writer of nearly half its 156 episodes. THE TWILIGHT ZONE ran until 1964 and garnered Serling his third Emmy. Serling's feature film screenplay credits include PLANET OF THE APES and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. After a stint of screenwriting, he returned to television writing in 1970. Serling spent his later career hosting and writing many of the episodes of Rod Serling'S NIGHT GALLERY and teaching screenwriting at Ithaca College. Over the course of his career, Serling wrote an estimated 252 scripts and won a total of six Emmys. He died in 1975 at age 50.

Lauren M. Gunderson (playwright, ADA AND THE ENGINE). Lauren M. Gunderson was the most produced playwright in America of 2017, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award, the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award. Her work has been commissioned, produced and developed at companies across the US including South Cost Rep (EMILIE, SILENT SKY), The Kennedy Center (THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DR. WONDERFUL AND HER DOG!), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire and more. She co-authored MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY with Margot Melcon, which was one of the most produced plays in America in 2017. Her work is published at Playscripts (I AND YOU, EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR, THE TAMING, and TOIL AND TROUBLE), Dramatists (THE REVOLUTIONISTS, THE BOOK OF WILL, SILENT SKY, BAUER, MISS BENNET) and Samuel French (EMILIE).

Kathy Scambiatterra (director, ROCK 'N'ROLL) is Artistic Director and co-founder of The Artistic Home. As a director, she has helmed acclaimed, Jeff nominated and After Dark Award-winning productions for The Artistic Home including: THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, WAITING FOR LEFTY, IN THE BOOM BOOM ROOM, ANGEL CITY, AFTER THE FALL, STREET SCENE, PEER GYNT, THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT, THE PETRIFIED FOREST, MODIGLIANI, DAYS TO COME, THE TOUCH OF THE POET, THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.

Other directing credits include THE COPPERHEAD (City Lit) ANGEL CITY, WELCOME TO THE MOON AND OTHER PLAYS (LA Dramalogue Award), A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Pacific Resident Theater (LA). Her Chicago acting credits include: THE SEAGULL, INTERROGATION, WATCH ON THE RHINE, BEATEN, THE AMERICAN PLAN, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL, JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, NATURAL AFFECTION, ORPHEUS DESCENDING (The Artistic Home); THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Nelson Algren LIVE, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (Steppenwolf); BROADWAY BOUND (Drury Lane Oakbrook); A FLEA IN HER EAR (Chicago Shakespeare); ROMEO AND JULIET (Goodman Theatre), among others. Regional credits; THE QUICK CHANGE ROOM (Pacific Resident Theatre). TV/Film credits: recurring role on CHICAGO PD, THE APPOINTMENT, DRAGGAGE, SIN COLLECTOR, INTO THE WAKE, ELECTRIC DREAMS: THE PHILIP K. DICK STORIES. She has received four leading role Jeff nominations for work in SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, NATURAL AFFECTION, ABUNDANCE, THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES. Ms. Scambiatterra is the director of the actor training program at The Artistic Home Studio. In addition, she has taught at The School at Steppenwolf, Columbia College, Center Theater's The Training Center, Chicago, IL; Carolyn Berry Studio, The Pacific Resident Theatre LA, CA; Director's Symposium, US Army, Heidelberg, Germany; Screen Training Ireland, Dublin, Ireland; and currently at Chicago High School for the Arts, Classical Conservatory.

John Mossman (director, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT)is co-founder of The Artistic Home, where he is currently performing in HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE and in 2017 directed the hit production ofBY THE BOG OF CATS. He also adapted and directed the world premiere of Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar nominated screenplay THE GODDESS for which he received an equity Jeff Award for New Adaptation, as well as directed the Jeff Nominated JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL; MARISOL, and the acclaimed revival of William Inge's NATURAL AFFECTION.

Other productions include LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, the revival of Clifford Odets's CLASH BY NIGHT, as well as Beth Henley's THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST and RIDERS TO THE SEA by J.M. Synge. He directed THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN for Seanachai Theater, for which he was named one of the top Directors of 2011 by WBEZ, and JULIUS CAESAR for Lakeside Shakespeare Theater. Also a filmmaker, he directed the award winning feature film INTO THE WAKE and has written and directed several short films that have won top awards at numerous international film festivals, including the Artistic Home-produced SPACEMAN DAN'S 243RD FLIGHT. He directed the short films DRAGGAGE and JELL-OHH LADY, featured in the American Cinematheque Series at LA's Egyptian Theater, for which he received the Best Director of 2002 award at the Midwest Independent Film Fest. Documentaries include THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS CRAZY, which received a Telly and a Voice Award for its portrayal of teenagers struggling with mental illness.

As an actor, he is currently appearing as Uncle Peck in The Artistic Home's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE and earned a Jeff Award nomination for his performance. He has also played Leontes in THE WINTERS TALE and O'Trigger in THE RIVALS at Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre. He has appeared in the Artistic Home production of MACBETH, Shannon in NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, as ATTICUS FINCH at Oak Park Festival Theatre's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, in the Steppenwolf production of THE MARCH. at Seanachai Ensemble's IN PIGEON HOUSE, and in the title role at Provision Theater's JACOB, as well as The Artistic Home productions of TROUBLE IN MIND, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, in the title role of MODIGLIANI, and as MACBETH at Lakeside Shakespeare Theater. He appeared in The Artistic Home's critically acclaimed productions of PEER GYNT in the role of Peer, for which he received an equity Jeff Nomination and a Chicago Stage Talk Award, as well as in Arthur Miller's AFTER THE FALL in the role of Quentin. Other notable roles include Chicken in KINGDOM OF EARTH, the title role in Tom Jones, Valentine in TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, Dickon in THE SCARECROW, Claudio in MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Lanx in ANGEL CITY, Tybalt in ROMEO AND JULIET at Actors' Theater of Louisville, HONEYMAN in A WALK IN THE WOODS at Madison Repertory, and Jim in A GLASS MENAGERIE with Celeste Holm.

Monica Payne (director, ADA AND THE ENGINE) Monica Payne is a freelance director and a Resident Director at Trap Door Theatre, where she recently devised and directed INTO THE EMPTY SKY, which was Jeff-nominated for Best Ensemble and Best Original Music in a Play. Other projects include THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA (Pittsburgh Playhouse), OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD (UCLA), TRASH STORY by Magda Fertacz (the L.A. and N.Y. premieres), as well as a staged reading version for the International Voices Project in Chicago.

Other projects include THE BLUEST EYE (Pittsburgh Playhouse), PLOUGHMAN FROM BOHEMIA (Theatre Lumina), PHEDRE (Point Park University), HECUBA AND HUCK FINN (Pittsburgh Playhouse), her own adaptation of THE INCREDIBLE AND SAD TALE OF INNOCENT ERENDIRA AND HER HEARTLESS GRANDMOTHER by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, ELEKTRA by Euripides, William Inge's NATURAL AFFECTION, and SAVAGE LOVE by Sam Shepard (The Artistic Home). She also directs music videos.

A former actress, Monica worked for many years in Chicago with various companies, including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Artistic Home, the Hypocrites, the Journeymen, and Famous Door, among others.
Monica has been a Meisner teacher for almost 20 years and was originally trained by Kathy Scambiatterra. She has taught for UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, and Point Park University. In studio settings, she has taught for the School at Steppenwolf, Artistic Home, and the Audition Studio, as well as Steppenwolf West (domestic and international intensives). She holds an MFA in Directing from UCLA.


The Artistic Home is noted for their innovative and intimate presentations of rarely-produced classics as well developing new works. Audiences may know The Artistic Home best from their current production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE, 2017's WEDDING BAND, BY THE BOG OF CATS and THE SCHOOL FOR LIES; their Jeff-nominated productions of THE SEAGULL, WATCH ON THE RHINE, MACBETH and THE LATE HENRY MOSS; or their 2013 Jeff Award-winner THE GODDESS. Other Artistic Home productions include the Jeff-Award-winning production of JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, which also received three After Dark Awards, the Jeff-Nominated SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, THE TALLEST MAN, LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, NATURAL AFFECTION, FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS, AFTER THE FALL and PEER GYNT (which also received an After Dark award for Direction).

For more than 19 years, The Artistic Home has consistently produced compelling theatre in Chicago. First formed in 1998 with the belief that the actor is at the heart of great theater, the company strives to give birth to unforgettable moments; to touch audiences who are increasingly distanced from human contact; to readdress the classics and explore new works with passion.

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