Theo Ubique Returns to a Four-Production Season for Second Year in New Home
Founding Artistic Director Fred Anzevino today announced a partial lineup of musicals for the company's second year in residence at the Howard Street Theatre, the venue developed by the City of Evanston specifically for the company.
As it had in most seasons prior to the company's move from the No Exit Café in Rogers Park, Theo Ubique will produce a season of four musical productions. Anzevino, who just scored his fifth Jeff Award for direction of a musical with this past spring's THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, is planning to personally direct one of the four shows, with guest directors helming the remaining three shows. Resident Music Director Jeremy Ramey, who recently notched his fourth consecutive and sixth total Jeff Award for Music Direction with THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, will be Music Director for the entire season.Theo Ubique's sophomore season on Howard Street will open with Michael John La Chiusa's HELLO AGAIN, playing September 13 - November 3, 2019. It will be directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier, winner of 12 Jeff Awards for direction or choreography (seven of them at Theo Ubique). Didier most recently directed A CHORUS LINE for Porchlight Music Theatre. HELLO AGAIN, which premiered at New York's Lincoln Center in 1993, is suggested by the 1897 play LA RONDE by Arthur Schnitzler. Like Schnitzler's play, LaChuisa's musical details a daisy chain of sexual encounters and love affairs among ten characters in ten scenes, but LaChiusa takes dramatic license by setting each scene of the musical in a different decade of the 20th century and in a non-chronological order. Time marches on, but the characters don't age. LaChiusa's ingenious and sung-through score is composed in a variety of musical styles ranging from opera to 1970s disco while simultaneously introducing musical and lyrical echoes throughout to tie all the characters and their experiences together. Similarly eclectic, but otherwise vastly different. will be the season's second musical, WORKING, a musical based on Stud Terkel's landmark book in which he interviewed Chicagoans about their feelings toward their jobs. The musical, which opened on Broadway in 1978 and has since been revised to include jobs that didn't exist in 1978, was originally directed by Stephen Schwartz, (the composer/lyricist of GODSPELL, PIPPIN and WICKED) and included songs by Schwartz as well as by James Taylor, Mary Rodgers, Craig Carnelia, and Micki Grant. The updated version to be performed at Theo Ubique includes most of the original score plus new songs by HAMILTON's Lin-Manuel Miranda. The use of such a varied group of songwriters enables the score to reflect the diversity and individuality of its characters, who range from a waitress to a corporate executive, as well as a housewife and retiree. WORKING will be directed and choreographed by Christopher Chase Carter, who most recently choreographed Brenda Didier's acclaimed production of A CHORUS LINE for Porchlight Music Theatre. Carter has choreographed many of the top musical theater productions in Chicago over recent years, including Porchlight mainstage shows GYPSY, MEMPHIS, DREAMGIRLS, and IN THE HEIGHTS; and "Porchlight Revisits" performances of THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG and CHESS; as well as FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE at Court Theater. WORKING will play from December 6, 2019 through January 26, 2020. Artistic Director Fred Anzevino will direct the spring musical, GREY GARDENS, by Doug Wright, Scott Frankel, and Michael Korie (the team responsible for the musical WAR PAINT that tried out at the Goodman prior to its Broadway engagement). GREY GARDENS, to be performed March 6 - April 26, 2020, is based on the documentary film by David and Albert Maysles about Edith Bouvier Beale ("Big Edie") and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie"), the reclusive aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The story begins in 1941, when the older Edie is in a troubled marriage and the younger Edie has hopes of marrying Joseph Kennedy Jr., brother of the future U.S. President. The second act takes place in 1973, when the 79-year-old divorced Big Edie and the never-married 56-year-old Little Edie are living alone together in their decaying Long Island estate of Grey Gardens. The 2006 Broadway production won Tony Awards for Christine Ebersole, who played both the Big Edie of 1941 and the Little Edie of 1973; and for Mary Louise Wilson, who played Big Edie at age 79. The season will conclude in the summer of 2020 with a fourth production
whose title, cast and director will be named shortly. Season packages for all four shows are $99 for previews, $129 for Thursdays and Sundays, and $149 for Fridays and Saturdays. Optional three course prix fixe dinners, served by cast members before the performances, are available for an additional $100.00 per subscription; or for $29.00 on a per-show basis. Season packages will be on sale soon at www.theo-u.com. All performances will be staged in the Howard Street Theatre, 721 Howard Street, Evanston. Theo Ubique was founded in 1997 by artistic director Fred Anzevino. Productions were first staged at the Heartland Studio Theatre, and from 2004 to May 2018, at No Exit Café, where the company began focusing on musicals and revues, reigniting the cabaret theatre trend in Chicago. The company moved to the Howard Street Theatre, a venue owned and developed for Theo Ubique by the City of Evanston, in fall of 2018. Theo Ubique has produced more than 60 shows and won more than 60 Jeff Awards, having received nearly 150 nominations. The company also earned three After Dark Awards.
Photo Credit: Cody Jolly Photography