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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Writers Theatre plans expanded season with digital programming, changes to live programming
--From a press release
2020-10-20

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Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce changes to the company's 2020/21 Season, to include additional digital programming and updates to previously announced productions.

In addition to the previously announced world premiere adaptation of E. M. Forster's Maurice byScott Parkinson, directed by David Cromer, and The Last Match by Anna Ziegler, directed by Keira Fromm, Writers will produce a new original Blues revue entitled Pearl's Rollin' With the Blues, created by Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson ( in place of the previously announced production of Low Down Dirty Blues ). The world premiere of Love & Contracts by Julia Doolittle will move to the 2021/22 Season.

Writers has also added a new digital production, specifically designed and directed for remote viewing: a co-production with Black Lives Black Words International Project of Ride Share by Reginald Edmund.

The newly added remote programs include an exclusive online interview series The Green Room, Something Wicked: Storytelling for Halloween, and two unique, paired interpretations of A Christmas Carol.

All programming is available to subscribers and members. Season Packages are available at the Box Office, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 and writerstheatre.org .

Of the changes to the season's programming, Halberstam said, "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and this pivotal moment in our history is no exception. The realities of producing a season of theatre during a pandemic present unprecedented challenges, but our artists are demonstrating incredible ingenuity and resourcefulness. We are so excited to share our plans to deliver a hybrid season of digital productions, plus in-person plays once it is safe, to showcase our artistic community and bring our audiences an entertaining and provocative slate of programming. With our streaming productions, we know that we can't and indeed shouldn't try to compete with film or television; our digital productions instead will aim to retain the essence of the live experience but allow you to enjoy the art from the comfort of your own homes. It is our hope that we will be back at the theatre together by the end of the season, and we can only do so with your support. We hope you join us on this journey!"

The updated 2020-21 season includes:

The Green Room

Live and online on select Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Now available on-demand: Lydia R Diamond, David Cromer and Sandra Delgado

The Green Room features a roster of WT artists in candid, captivating interviews by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, Director of New Work & Dramaturgy Bobby Kennedy, Associate Artistic Director Geoff Button and Director of Education Kelsey Chigas. The Green Room launched earlier this season with playwright Lydia R. Diamond ( Smart People, Stick Fly ), director David Cromer( Next to Normal and Picnic at WT, Broadway's The Band's Visit ) and playwright and actor Sandra Delgado joined The Green Room. More are to be announced. These in-depth sessions are streamed live and, later, on-demand for season ticket holders.

Something Wicked: Storytelling for Halloween

Late October 2020

As the days get shorter and the wind brings a haunting chill, Writers Theatre dares you to dim the lights and listen to Something Wicked: Stories for Halloween. Curated by Associate Artistic Director Geoff Button, and told by an all-star lineup of Chicago actors including Chaon Cross, Allen Gilmore, Emma Ladji and Larry Yando, these eerie tales will immerse you in the world of the supernatural, spooky and suspenseful! The Sound Designer is Joseph V. Calarco. This family-friendly series is recommended for trick-or-treaters ages 10 and up.

Two Scrooges: A Christmas Carol, Two Ways

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by and featuring Michael Halberstam, directed by Stanton Long

Manual Cinema's A Christmas Carol, adapted by Manual Cinema from the original by Charles Dickens

Christmas season 2020

Artistic Director Michael Halberstam's acclaimed one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens' holiday ghost story, directed by Stanton Long and featuring Halberstam in his tour-de-force solo performance, will be paired with the world premiere of Manual Cinema's A Christmas Carol by renowned Chicago performance group Manual Cinema, reinventing Scrooge's tale for today's world with their trademark shadow puppetry, expert storytelling and music.

These two unique, complementary interpretations of A Christmas Carol epitomize WT's mission of highlighting the word and the artist. With one highly text-based, recognizing WT tradition, and the other boldly visual by some of this generation's most innovative artists, Two Scrooges is the perfect holiday entertainment event for the whole family to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. For the One-Man Christmas Carol, the Scenic Designer is Adam Veness, and the Lighting Designer isAdam Friedland.

This newly announced remote programming will be made available free and first for 2020/21 Classic Subscribers and will be available for Members, with selections available to purchase by all audiences after a priority access period for season package holders.

Writers Theatre and Black Lives Black Words International Project present Ride Share

Written by Reginald Edmund. Online in 2021

The driver listens. The night darkens. The mystery deepens.

Marcus has a new wife, a comfortable job and everything seems to be falling into place — until his honeymoon is interrupted by an email from work, laying him off. To make ends meet, he becomes a ride share driver, shuttling passengers from all walks of life to and from parties, brunches and meetings. The passengers range from silly, to seductive — to downright scary. But as long as Marcus keeps his radio on and his wits about him, there's nothing he can't handle…right?

Written by Black Lives Black Words co-founder Reginald Edmund, Ride Share steps on the gas and takes you along for the dangerous, thrilling ride. Hop in.

Pearl's Rollin' With the Blues.

Created by Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson

Songs from the soul. Rhythm from the heart. Come feel the Blues like never before.

In this world premiere musical revue created by Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson, we honor great Blues artists of the past and celebrate how they paved the way for generations of musicians to come.

Maurice

Based on the novel by E. M. Forster. Adapted by Scott Parkinson. Directed by David Cromer

A renowned novelist. A private life. An unexpected ending.

After completing the literary masterpiece Howards End, E. M. Forster began writing his most personal and controversial novel: Maurice. Completed in 1914 and published posthumously in 1970, Forster's opus on queer love in Edwardian England centers around young Maurice Hall, as he seeks answers to questions of identity from schoolmates, a hypnotherapist—and an enigmatic gamekeeper named Alec Scudder. A milestone in the history of gay love stories, Maurice twists and turns and ultimately shows us that in the end, we all deserve our place in this world.

This world premiere adaptation by Scott Parkinson ( Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar and more ), presented for the 50th anniversary of the novel's publication, captures the spirit of a young man struggling to find himself in an intolerant society. Maurice, directed by Tony Award-winnerDavid Cromer ( Broadway's The Band's Visit, WT's Next to Normal, A Streetcar Named Desire ), takes you inside the memories, dreams and desires of a remarkable mind.

The Last Match

Written by Anna Ziegler. Directed by Keira Fromm

More than a Game. Each Set on victory. The Match of their lives.

When a young Russian tennis phenom and an American superstar in his prime meet at center court, it's a tough call whether the greatest drama is playing out off the court or on! As the swift action volleys between primetime tennis matches and the most pivotal moments in the personal lives of the competitors and their equally driven romantic partners, sharp and insightful playwright Anna Ziegler ( Photograph 51 ) draws you inside the minds of all four as they face challenges in sport, life and love. What results is a fast-paced and moving montage exploring family, the sacrifices we make for success and the legacy we leave behind.

Chicago director Keira Fromm brings her finely-tuned vision to this gripping drama, staged in the intimate Gillian Theatre. You won't want to miss this engrossing, rapid-fire take on what it means to finally achieve greatness, only to be left wanting more. In The Last Match, there is much more than just a championship on the line!

SEASON PACKAGES: CLASSIC SUBSCRIPTIONS AND NEW MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS

The 2020/21 Season introduces a new Membership Program, which includes 4 tickets to be used throughout the season as the Member chooses.

There are two new Memberships: With the most flexible option, "Pay As You Go," a one-time $80 membership fee will unlock all the benefits of season package holders like advance access, deep discounts, unlimited guest tickets and more. Up Front Flex Members pay $220 at the time of package purchase for four tickets to be used for any productions throughout the Season.

Classic Subscriptions range in price from $185 to $260. Customizable payment plans are available.All newly announced programming will be included in the cost of Classic Subscription ( Premiere, Standard and Preview packages ). The Green Room, Something Wicked and Two Scrooges are all included for no additional cost to Members, while Ride Share and The Blues Revue will be eligible for booking with a Member's $35 ticket.

Season package holders receive exclusive benefits including no-fee ticket exchanges by phone, select digital programming, access to special "subscriber-rate" prices on additional tickets and events, a one-year subscription to The Brief Chronicle newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit writerstheatre.org .

Season Packages are available by calling the Box Office at 847-242-6000, and atwriterstheatre.org .

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank for 2020/21 as the distinguished Season Sponsor, marking the Bank's tenth consecutive year as season sponsor.

ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE

For 28 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues.

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre's neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org .


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