Writers' Theatre's Production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker Closes


Writers' Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, continues its 20th Anniversary Season with The Caretaker by Harold Pinter, directed by Ron OJ Parson. The production runs through March 25, 2012 at Writers' Theatre, 664 Vernon Avenue in Glencoe.

When Aston brings Davies, a fast talking tramp, to his cramped home full of odds and ends, offering him a bed and a much needed place to get on his feet, Davies quickly realizes that Aston and his brother Mick have a very different take on the world around them. From Aston's half finished "projects" to Mick's grand plans for the future, the three become an unlikely trio trying desperately to connect to one another but always missing the mark.

"I am delighted to be investigating Pinter for the second show in our 20th anniversary season," says Artistic Director Michael Haberstam. "The Caretaker feels tailor made for the bookstore experience. We welcome back Ron OJ Parson who brings a fresh perspective to the material; has compelled a superb cast; and has crafted an environment in which the Nobel Prize-winning playwright's words will come to life with thrilling vitality."

"I love intimate theatre," said director Ron OJ Parson. "I've often wanted to see what it would be like to convert the entire Writers' Theatre bookstore space to the world of a play. Pinter is particularly great for intimate theatre, so The Caretaker is the perfect opportunity to do that."

The production features Kareem Bandealy (Mick), Anish Jethmalani (Aston), and William J. Norris (Davies).

The designers are Jack Magaw (set), Janice Pytel (costumes), Heather Gilbert (lighting), Michael Griggs (sound) and Nick Heggestad (properties). The production stage manager is Becky Pechter.

Harold Pinter (Playwright) was one of the most influential playwrights of the past 50 years. His landmark works for the theatre include The Room. The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter, The Hothouse, The Caretaker (Tony nominee for Best Play), The Lover, The Homecoming (Tony Award for Best Play), Old Times (Tony nominee for Best Play), No Man's Land, Betrayal, Moonlight and Ashes To Ashes. In addition to plays, Pinter was also renowned for his screenplays, poetry and essays. He was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature-only the fourth English language dramatist to win the award-in addition to being named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966, a Companion of Honour in 2002, and receiving France's highest civil honour, the Légion d'honneur, in 2007. West End and Broadway marquees dimmed in Pinter's honor when he passed away in 2008 at the age of 78.

Ron OJ Parson (Director) returns to Writers' Theatre where he last directed The Old Settler. Parson hails from Buffalo, New York and is a graduate of the professional theatre program of the University of Michigan. He is the former co-founder and artistic director of Chicago's Onyx Theatre Ensemble and is currently a resident artist at Chicago's Court Theatre. Ron has worked as both an actor and a director at various theatres in Chicago and regionally. Ron also directed the world premiere of Palmer Park, at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada.

Kareem Bandealy (Mick) returns to Writers' Theatre where he last appeared as Mazzini Dunn in Heartbreak House. Chicago credits include: King Lear, Gas for Less, Rock ‘N' Roll (Goodman Theatre), Romeo & Juliet, Edward II, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Illusion (Court Theatre), Peter Pan, The Last Act of Lilka Kadison (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Oklahoma!, It's a Wonderful Life (American Theater Company). Regional credits include: The Tempest, The Three Musketeers, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Love's Labour's Lost (Notre Dame Summer Shakespeare), Julius Caesar, Stuff Happens (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre), Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It, Jack & the Beanstalk, The Taming of the Shrew, The Winter's Tale, Cyrano de Bergerac (Orlando Shakespeare Theater). Film credits include: In Plain Sight, Counting Backwards, Bodega, The Merry Gentleman. Bandealy is an ensemble member of American Theater Company, an artistic associate with Silk Road Rising and a winner of the 2011 3Arts Artist Award.

Anish Jethmalani (Aston) returns to Writers' Theatre, where he previously appeared in To the Green Fields Beyond. Chicago credits include Wit, A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Citizens of the World (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Titus Andronicus, Mary Stuart, The Invention of Love, Life's A Dream (Court Theatre), Sita Ram, Around the World in 80 Days (Lookingglass Theatre), Homeland Security (Victory Gardens Theatre), Merchant of Venice (Silk Road Theatre Project), Return to Haifa, Omnium Gatherum, The Millionairess (Next Theatre), Indian Ink, The Sign of the Four (Apple Tree Theatre), Twelfth Night (First Folio Theatre), The Age of Cynicism or Karaoke Night at the Hog (Chicago Dramatists). Regional credits include Henry VIII, Much Ado About Nothing (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Jethmalani is an ensemble member of Eclipse Theatre Company where he has appeared in and directed several productions. His television credits include Leverage on TNT and Early Edition on CBS.

William J. Norris (Davies) makes his Writers' Theatre debut. Chicago credits include appearing as Antonio Salieri (Chicago Symphony Center) and Winslow Homer (Art Institute of Chicago). He also appeared as Henry in The Fantasticks (Syracuse Stage and Indiana Repertory). Other Chicago credits include performances at Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. International credits include performances at the Schafspiel Haus (Hamberg, Germany), the Mickery Theater (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and at Vienna's English Theatre (Vienna, Austria). Playwriting credits include Dillenger, His Satanic Majesty, Before I Wake, Bloody Bess (Backstage Theatre; revival) and an adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Macinich Arts Center, seasonal production). Television and film credits include A Taste of Romance, The Untouchables, The Babe, The Letter, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Last Affair. Norris is also the co-screenwriter for HerBert West: Re-Animator, John 13:10. Norris has received many awards for his work as an actor, director and writer, including an Emmy, a Joseph Jefferson Award and five Artisans.

Performances are through March 25, 2012. Curtain times are Tuesday and Wednesdays at 7:30pm; Wednesday matinees at 2:00pm ; Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 4:00pm and 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm and 6:00pm No 6:00pm show March 25).

Tickets are $35-$65 and are available at the Box Office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org.

Post-show discussions will be held following every other Wednesday evening performance, beginning November 23, as part of the Audience Enrichment Program. Join the artistic staff and actors from the production after the performance for an in-depth conversation. For more information, visit writerstheatre.org/enrichment.

Follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter (Twitter.com/WritersTheatre) and everyday by 3:00pm, Writers' will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day's performance at a discount. Tweet Seats are available for purchase only through the Writers' Theatre website at writerstheatre.org.

Writers' Theatre is pleased to welcome BMO Harris Bank as the 20th Anniversary Season Sponsor of its 2011/12 Season. BMO Harris Bank has been a steadfast supporter of Writers' Theatre for many years and staunch ally of the arts across Chicagoland. Writers' Theatre is grateful to BMO Harris Bank for deepening its partnership during this exciting, milestone season. Most recently, BMO Harris Bank joined Writers' Theatre as the Corporate Production Sponsor of She Loves Me (2010) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (2009). BMO Harris Bank has also been an active participant in Writers' Theatre's annual gala benefit, WordPlay.

Writers' Theatre also welcomes NES Rentals as the Corporate Sponsor Partner of The Caretaker. NES Rentals continues its partnership with Writers' Theatre, which began during the 2007/08 Season with its sponsorship of The Lion in Winter. Since then, NES Rentals has joined with Writers' Theatre as Corporate Production Sponsor of Picnic (2008), Oh Coward! (2009) and most recently Travels With My Aunt (2010). Writers' Theatre thanks NES Rentals for its longstanding support.

Writers' Theatre welcomes back Premiere Restaurant Partner and Event Sponsor, Winnetka's award-winning Restaurant Michael. Featuring impeccably crafted cuisine of the freshest local and organic ingredients, Restaurant Michael prepares classic, haute cuisine, in a unique and contemporary presentation with French country flair. Writers' Theatre patrons receive 10% off their guest check when they present their ticket stub when ordering. Just 10 minutes from the theater at 64 Green Bay Road, Restaurant Michael is the perfect fit for any dining occasion. Call 847-441-3100 to make your reservation.

For more information about Writers' 2011/12 Season Restaurant Partners and offer restrictions visit writerstheatre.org/visitus.

Over the past nineteen seasons, Writers' Theatre has become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence. Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers' Theatre has been deemed the "best drama company in the nation" by the Wall Street Journal and achieved nineteen years of surplus operations. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of 35,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry. Prized for the finest interpretations of classic and Contemporary Theatre in its two intensely intimate venues, Writers' Theatre's acclaimed work includes Artistic Director Michael Halberstam's world premiere in Glencoe and subsequent production of A Minister's Wife at Lincoln Center Theater; David Cromer's productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic; and the commissioning, world premiere and New York premiere of Crime and Punishment, which has received more than 30 subsequent regional Theater Productions.

You can find Writers' Theatre on Facebook or follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter at Twitter.com/WritersTheatre. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.

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