Writers Theatre Announces Innovative New Producing Model For 2020-21 Season

Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce plans for the company’s 2020/21 Season with a new adaptive producing model, one committed to remaining flexible and responsive to current events and that allows the theatre to welcome patrons back to the theatre when the time is right.

New for the 2020/21 Season, exact performance dates will be announced for each offering throughout the year, as well as other details including venue, full cast and creative team. It is possible that some titles and artists may change as the production schedule shifts, should any adjustments be necessary to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

While the theatre plans to continue to offer Classic Subscriptions for those that enjoy the comfort of a traditional engagement, WT is excited to premiere a new Membership Program designed for those that want the freedom and flexibility of engaging with the theatre on their own time and terms. WT acknowledges that for some, the idea of planning ahead seems more complicated than ever. WT’s Membership Program provides ticket packages that are good for any performances, for any productions and at any time in the season.

“All of us in the performing arts community continue to face unprecedented challenges. And while our beautiful home has been dark these past weeks, we have been hard at work making plans to welcome you back to the theatre-when the time is right. We can’t tell you how difficult it is to know that we are unable to create art for you at this moment, a time when we most need shared experiences and the joy of leaning into a live performance together. But we will be back-stronger and more determined than ever. By joining us next season, you are showing your commitment to WT in a time when we need it most and we thank all our patrons for the support now that allows us to deliver our work when you are ready and when we are ready. In the meantime, rest assured we are saving you a seat,” comments Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma.

Artistic Director Michael Halberstam adds, “When it is appropriate for us to gather again, I believe that our hunger for human engagement will need to be satisfied with beautiful, heart-stirring narratives. Theatre has the rare ability to touch on significant and relevant themes while simultaneously entertaining and delighting-and after human connection has been limited by social distancing, live theatre will be more necessary than ever. The pieces we hope to bring you include reimagined classics, dynamic new voices and two exciting world premieres: an E. M. Forster adaptation by Scott Parkinson directed by Tony Award winner David Cromer and a scintillating new comedy Love & Contracts by Julia Doolittle, directed by Broadway’s Moritz von Stuelpnagel. When the time is right, we plan to bring you a season full of possibility with music, magic and mirth – and as we adapt to the circumstances, we renew our promise to be entertaining, enlightening and entirely unique.”

Productions will be confirmed and dates will be announced throughout the season.

Love & Contracts

Written by Julia Doolittle
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

Four couples. Two time periods. One wild comedy.

Think dating in 2020 is hard? Try looking for love in 1791. In Love & Contracts, Abigail and William and three other couples navigate life and love, confined by the expectations of family, friends and the world around them. As the play examines courtship across time, it asks: Has the passage of almost 250 years made modern romance any easier?

Filled with laughter, lust and the wit of a Jane Austen novel, this world premiere comedy by Julia Doolittle shows us that when it comes to matters of the heart, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Broadway’s Hand to God, Present Laughter) brings his keen eye for comedy to Writers Theatre to present this wry and romantic look at how we negotiate-and renegotiate-relationships.

Low Down Dirty Blues

A Musical Revue by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman
Directed by Ron OJ Parson

A Chicago blues club. The last set of the night. An exuberant musical revue

The club’s about to close, but the party is just beginning! Grab your drink, take your seat and enjoy the riffs, rhythms and rapport of a seasoned band of musicians as they do what they do best: swap stories, belt the blues and put on one helluva show.

Featuring music by Muddy Waters, Pearl Bailey, Howlin’ Wolf and more, Low Down Dirty Blues celebrates the blues and the artists who live it. Directed by Ron OJ Parson (Stick Fly, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, East Texas Hot Links), and featuring a knock-out performance by Felicia P. Fields, this show is sure to bring the house down-get your tickets before it’s last call!

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-winner David Cromer (Broadway’s The Band’s Visit, WT’s Next to Normal, Picnic), takes you inside the memories, dreams and desires of a remarkable mind.

The Last Match

Written by Anna Ziegler
Choreographed by Steph Paul
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!

The 2020/21 Season marks the fifth season in the company’s award-winning new home at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Productions will be presented in two spaces in the theater complex including the 255-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre as well as the Gillian Theatre, a 50 to 99-seat flexible theatre space.

From its very first year, Writers Theatre has brought quality and excellence to the stage while maintaining the company’s hallmark intimacy. The last 28 years have seen unprecedented growth in both the artistic and business arenas as the company has garnered national acclaim and recognition, marked by the celebrated opening of the Theatre’s new facility in February of 2016. With a longstanding reputation for consistent artistic excellence and with strong ties to the community, the Theatre has built an award-winning repertoire and serves as a vital and highly regarded company in the Chicagoland theatre community.

The company will soon be represented in New York City with TREVOR the musical, which premiered at Writers Theatre in 2017.

Season Packages are available by calling the Box Office at 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org.

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

SEASON PACKAGES: CLASSIC SUBSCRIPTIONS AND NEW MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS
Writers is offering a variety of Classic Subscriptions, which include a ticket to each production throughout the season and includes renewal into fixed seats on set dates once each run is announced.

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

There are two new Memberships: The most flexible option to “Pay As You Go” after an up-front Membership fee, or the option to pay in full for 4 tickets to be used throughout the season (“Up Front Flex”). Memberships are designed for those who want the freedom and flexibility of a more adaptable package.

Classic Subscriptions range in price from $185 to $260. Customizable payment plans are available. A “Pay As You Go” Membership is $35 per ticket after a one-time $80 Membership fee, or patrons may opt for the “Up Front Flex” Membership for $220 up-front.

Season package holders receive exclusive benefits including no-fee ticket exchanges by phone, 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 at the Box Office, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000 and writerstheatre.org.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:
For additional information about the WT Audience Engagement programs listed below, visit writerstheatre.org/events.

Join after every Tuesday evening performance (excluding First Week and extension dates) for a 15-minute discussion of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

Join after every Wednesday evening performance (excluding First Week and extension dates) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

Join at 7pm before every Thursday evening performance (excluding First Week and extension dates) of all productions for a 15-minute primer on the context and content of the play facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

WT and select North Shore libraries and community partners present the 15th annual From Page to Stage Series. This comprehensive series of special events, lectures, readings and film viewings are designed to enhance and enrich the audience experience of WT productions each season. All events are FREE of charge and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information about the From Page to Stage Series, visit writerstheatre.org/from-page-to-stage-series.

WT also offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit writerstheatre.org/accessibility for more information.


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