Visiting Chicago Directors and More Set for American Players' 2015 Summer Season

By: Feb. 24, 2015

American Players Theatre (APT) announces its 36th Summer Season, June 6 to October 18, 2015, a diverse lineup of eight classical and contemporary plays in repertory that includes the work of two visiting Chicago directors: Derrick Sanders, founding artistic director of Congo Square Theatre Company, makes his APT debut directing The Island by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona in APT's intimate 200-seat Touchstone Theatre; and Jeff Award winner William Brown returns to direct Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire in APT's flagship 1148-seat outdoor amphitheater Up the Hill.

Additional outdoor productions for 2015 include: William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Othello; Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan from the novel by Jane Austen; and Noël Coward's romantic comedy Private Lives. Also playing in the Touchstone Theatre are An Iliad, adapted by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare from Robert Fagles' translation of Homer's The Iliad, and Edward Albee's Seascape.

Effective this season, Chicagoans Kelsey Brennan and Nate Burger have joined APT's Core Acting Company-a group of actors who have made long-term commitments to APT, and to the mission to make classical theater accessible and meaningful for the widest possible audience. The 2015 Core Company also includes Tracy Michelle Arnold, David Daniel, Sarah Day, Jim DeVita, Tim Gittings, Colleen Madden, Brian Mani, James Ridge, Jonathan Smoots and Marcus Truschinski.

Located on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows above the Wisconsin River in Spring Green, Wisconsin, American Players Theatre was founded in 1979 and continues to be one of the most popular outdoor classical theaters in the nation. Returning patrons can purchase tickets beginning Monday, March 2 and tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, April 13. Single tickets for APT's 2015 Season start at $45, with special 4-Pack ticket packages starting at just $104 for four tickets to select shows Up the Hill. Ticket and lodging packages are also available at discounted rates. For more information on ticket prices, schedules, plays and casting, call the APT Box Office at 608-588-2361 or visit

American Players Theatre's 2015 Summer Season:

The Merry Wives of Windsor- June 6 to October 4, 2015 (Up the Hill)

By William Shakespeare | Directed by Tim Ocel

Opening night: June 13 at 8 p.m.

When infamous mooch and layabout Sir John Falstaff arrives in Windsor, he immediately decides his path to riches lies in finding a wealthy woman to woo. So he sets about writing identical love letters to two married ladies about town -- Mistresses Ford and Page. Though the letters fail to have the intended effect, the ladies find them an excellent inlet to toy with Falstaff, resulting in a funny and energetic exploration of marriage, miscommunication and forgiveness, featuring charming characters and shenanigans to spare.

An Iliad - June 6 to October 18, 2015 (Touchstone Theatre)

By Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare | Adapted from Homer's The Iliad translated by Robert Fagle?Directed by John Langs

Opening night: June 13 at 3 p.m.

Homer's epic tale distilled to one war-torn poet, actor Jim DeVita takes us on a thrilling, wrenching tour of the Trojan War. The intimate Touchstone Theatre is an ideal space for this exploration of the contradictory conditions of glory and violence, and the human race's seemingly endless fascination with war.

A Streetcar Named Desire - June 12 to September 5, 2015 (Up the Hill)

By Tennessee Williams | Directed by William Brown

Opening night: June 20 at 8 p.m.

After losing her job and family home, fading Southern beauty Blanche DuBois heads to New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella. Stella's enthusiasm over her sister's extended visit is tempered by worries about the reaction of her unpredictable husband, Stanley. As it turns out those worries are justified, as Blanche's frailty and narcissism and Stanley's violent temper make for an ever more explosive mix. A stunning story of complicated love and last chances.

Pride and Prejudice - June 19 to September 26, 2015 (Up the Hill)

Adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan from the Jane Austen novel | Directed by Tyne Rafaeli

Opening night: June 27 at 8 p.m.

The Bennet sisters look for love under the watchful eye of their mother, for whom love takes a backseat to social placement. Mrs. Bennet has her work cut out for her - her daughters (and Elizabeth in particular) have their own very specific ideas on who might make an appealing husband. But as the young ladies seek their fortunes, they may find that what they're looking for may not really be what they want. An irresistible romantic comedy based on the novel by Jane Austen.

The Island - June 21 to September 26, 2015 (Touchstone Theatre)

By Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona | Directed by Derrick Sanders

Opening night: June 23 at 7:30 p.m.

John and Winston are black political prisoners in South Africa, spending their days at hard labor and their evenings rehearsing Sophocles' Antigone. Though the two men are deeply bonded to one another, their friendship is tested when John discovers that his most recent appeal was successful, while Winston is still looking at years of brutal incarceration ahead. A profile on the depth of human resilience in the face of unspeakable injustice and racism.

Private Lives - July 31 to October 2, 2015 (Up the Hill)

By Noël Coward | Directed by James Bohnen

Opening night: August 8 at 8 p.m.

Determined to forget their first volatile marriage, Elyot and Amanda have moved on to more reasonable partners who love them madly. Mad, perhaps, being the operative word. But when Amanda and Elyot see each other again -- each on honeymoon with their second spouses, no less -- it's obvious that their spark hasn't been extinguished by their new pairings. Now the two must decide what to do, and try not to kill each other in the meantime. A cosmopolitan comedy of Noël Coward proportions perfectly suited to APT's company.

Othello - August 7 to October 3, 2015 (Up the Hill)

By William Shakespeare | Directed by John Langs

Opening night: August 15 at 8 p.m.

Grave self-doubt leads to tragedy in this moving Shakespearean masterpiece. Othello has successfully won the heart of the lovely Desdemona. But not everyone is happy about this love connection, whether they admit it openly or not. So when his "friend" Iago starts whispering that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Othello is confronted by demons of doubt and the tenuous self-esteem that comes with being treated like an outsider. Love and jealousy fight to the death, spurred by the unconscionable actions of one of literature's most evil and compelling villains.

Seascape - August 8 to October 18, 2015 (Touchstone Theatre)

By Edward Albee | Directed by Laura Gordon

Opening night: August 15 at 3 p.m.

Edward Albee makes his way into the Touchstone for the first time, with the play that won him his second Pulitzer Prize. On the cusp of retirement, Nancy and Charlie take a trip to the seaside. Contemplating the changing expectations that come with long-term love and ever-dwindling days, the two of them must decide how to take on this final life-stage, and whether they can continue into it together - a decision they make with the help of some unlikely visitors.

About American Players Theatre - American Players Theatre (APT) is a professional repertory theater devoted to the great and future classics. It was founded in 1979 and continues to be one of the most popular outdoor classical theaters in the nation. The Theatre is located in Spring Green, Wis., on 110 acres of hilly woods and meadows above the Wisconsin River. The APT amphitheater is built within a natural hollow atop an oak-wooded hill. Under the dome of sky, 1148 comfortably cushioned seats encircle three sides of the stage. In 2009, APT opened the indoor Touchstone Theatre, offering a different type of play and experience.

Pictured: Brian Mani takes on Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo: Facebook.


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