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TimeLine Presents TO MASTER THE ART, Previews 10/26


TimeLine Theatre Company presents the world premiere of To Master the Art by William Brown and Doug Frew, directed by William Brown, October 30 - December 19, 2010 (previews October 26 through October 29) at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. Press Opening performances are Saturday, October 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 31 at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the TimeLine Theatre Box Office at 773.281.8463 or buy online via

This world premiere play recalls the adventure and romance of Julia and Paul Child's journey of discovery to Paris during the 1950s. From the bistro where Julia fell in love with food, to the kitchen table where she recreated everything learned during cooking class, to a room where Paul was grilled by U.S. agents about alleged Communist contact, this is the story of a larger-than-life culinary icon and her remarkable husband as they struggle to find themselves as Americans abroad.

To Master the Art marks the first full production of a play TimeLine Theatre has commissioned. The initial idea was hatched by TimeLine Company members during an artistic retreat in the summer of 2006. An official commission in 2008 with William Brown and Doug Frew culminated in a developmental workshop and private play reading early in 2010. The development of To Master the Art has been partially supported by The Dramatists Guild Fund.

"Bill and Doug have crafted a love story for the ages. Inspired to re-define herself in mid-life, Julia was on a path to shatter the perceived role of the American housewife, while Paul toiled in the bureaucracy of the state department," TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers said. "They were two frustrated artists charting very different courses, working to master the arts of marriage, communication, cooking and personal fulfillment - a struggle that would ultimately impact legions of followers and ignite a nation of food enthusiasts."

The cast of To Master the Art features Karen Janes Woditsch as Julia Child and Craig Spidle as Paul Child, with Jeannie Affelder, Ian Paul Custer, Amy Dunlap, TimeLine Associate Artist Terry Hamilton, TimeLine Company Member Juliet Hart, Joel Gross, Ethan Saks and Ann Wakefield. Note that Craig Spidle has replaced the previously announced Torrey Hanson in the role of Paul Child.

Performance Schedule/Events

Preview performances of To Master the Art are Tuesday, October 26 through Friday, October 29 at 8 p.m. The play opens on Saturday, October 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 31 at 2 p.m. and then runs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through December 19, 2010. Note that there are no performances on Wednesdays, November 3 and 24, and Thursday, November 25. Note that there will be an additional performance at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 26.

POST-SHOW DISCUSSIONS: Free post-show discussions led by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the production dramaturg and members of the cast on Thursdays, November 4, 11, 18 and December 2; Sundays November 7, 21 and 28 and Wednesday, December 1.

SUNDAY SCHOLARS SERIES: A free hour-long post-show panel discussion with experts on the themes and issues of the play on Sunday, November 14.

DISCUSSION WITH TIMELINE COMPANY MEMBERS: Free post-show discussion with TimeLine Company members on Sunday, December 5.

Buying Tickets

Tickets are $28 (Wednesday - Friday) or $38 (Saturday & Sunday). Preview tickets are $18. Student discount is $10 off the regular ticket price with valid ID. Group rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Advance purchase is recommended as performances may sell out. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the TimeLine Theatre Box Office at 773.281.8463 or buy online via


TimeLine Theatre is located at 615 W. Wellington Ave., inside the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway in Chicago's Lakeview East neighborhood. CTA El stops at Wellington (Brown/Purple lines) and Belmont (Red/Brown/Purple lines) are nearby. CTA busses #36-Broadway, #76-Diversey, #77-Belmont, #22-Clark and #8-Halsted stop nearby. TimeLine offers parking for $8 with validation at the Standard Parking garages at Broadway Center (2846 N. Broadway, at Surf) or the Century Mall (2836 N. Clark), both within two blocks of TimeLine. There is also limited street parking and other paid parking lots nearby. Visit for complete directions and parking information. There are two flights of stairs totaling 18 steps between the street and the theater space, with no elevator.

Production Staff

The production staff for To Master the Art includes Keith Pitts (Scenic Design), Rachel Healy (Costume Design), Charles Cooper (Lighting Design), Andrew Hansen (Sound Design and Original Music), Julia Eberhardt (Properties Design), Maren Robinson (Dramaturg), Ana Espinosa (Stage Manager), John Kearns (Production Manager), Joshua Altman (Assistant Director), Eva Breneman (Dialect Coach), Rossella Nitti (Assistant Costume Design), Caleb McAndrew (Technical Director), Emily Duffin (Assistant Stage Manager), Mac Vaughey (Master Electrician) and Cheney Tardio (Wardrobe Supervisor).


William Brown (Playwright and Director) returns to TimeLine where he previously directed the Midwest premiere of Not About Nightingales (Non-Equity Jeff Awards - Outstanding Production and Direction) and the Chicago premieres of Halcyon Days and Paragon Springs. Recent credits include the world premiere of Brett Neveu's Old Glory at Writers' Theatre, where he has directed many other productions, including As You Like It, Another Part of the Forest and Our Town. At Northlight Theatre he directed his own adaptation with original music of She Stoops to Conquer (After Dark Award; also a partnership with Doug Frew). He has directed numerous productions at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and is the Associate Artistic Director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. He directs A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre and recently made his Drury Lane Oakbrook directing debut with Curtains. Brown received an Equity Jeff Award for Actor in a Principal Role for his portrayal of Henry Kissinger in Nixon's Nixon and the Chicago Tribune named him Chicagoan of the Year for Theatre.

Doug Frew (Playwright) is a graduate of Northwestern University and has been a freelance writer in Chicago for many years. Works written with his late partner Patti McKenny include the musicals Becoming George (composer Linda Eisenstein); 90 North (composer Daniel Sticco), winner of ASCAP's Outstanding New Musical Award and inaugural production of ASCAP's "In the Works" new musicals program at the Kennedy Center in 2000; the lyrics for She Stoops to Conquer (adapted by William Brown, composer Andrew Hansen); the play Lady Lovelace's Objection; and the revue Get Funny or You're Fired. He has written special material for many revues, cabaret acts and theatre benefits. As a writer and creative director in corporate communications he has written and directed songs, sketches, videos, speeches and entire musical comedies in praise of everything from tractors to hamburgers to all manner of pharmaceutical products. He was for several seasons a regular contributor to Garrison Keillor's radio program "A Prairie Home Companion."

About TimeLine Theatre Company

Founded in April 1997, TimeLine Theatre Company's mission is to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. During its first 13 seasons, TimeLine has presented 43 productions, including six world premieres and 12 Chicago premieres. Recipient of the 2006 Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the 2009 Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 42 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production seven times.

Still to come during TimeLine's 2010-11 season:

Chicago premiere of IN DARFUR by Winter Miller
directed by Nick Bowling, January 19 - March 20, 2011
THE FRONT PAGE by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur
directed by Nick Bowling, April 13 - June 12, 2011
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers and Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, David Parkes, PJ Powers and Benjamin Thiem. TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group and the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.


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