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Writers Theatre announces 2021-22 season
--From a press release
2021-08-26

This article shared 714 times since Thu Aug 26, 2021
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Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy announce the company's 2021/22 four-play season and are excited to welcome patrons back in-person in December 2021. The season will begin with Dishwasher Dreams, written and performed by Alaudin Ullah, directed by Chay Yew, and produced in association with Hartford Stage. Next up will be the world premiere of Wife of a Salesman, written by Eleanor Burgess, and produced in association with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, followed by the Chicago premiere of Athena, written by Gracie Gardner, choreographed by Steph Paul, and directed by Jessica Fisch. The season concludes with the world premiere of Pearl's Rollin' with the Blues, a musical revue created by Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson, with dramaturgy by Kimberly Dixon-Mays and direction by Parson.

The 2021-22 season will see the company return to live performances and celebrate its 30th anniversary, now firmly at home in its award-winning building 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. The theatre, along with over 60 other Chicago performing arts organizations, will require patrons to be fully vaccinated and masked when attending performances. Please see the theatre's website for full details.

Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy [he/him] comments, "The 21/22 season will be a step into the future for Writers Theatre. We've chosen to embrace a season of sharing the spotlight, as we feature beautifully written, thought-provoking and heart-warming stories of people who haven't often occupied center stage. These four plays—which range from comedy to drama to musical—will introduce audiences to a Bangladeshi-American Muslim stand-up comic and his family's tale of immigration and belonging; the taken-for-granted wife and misunderstood mistress of American theatre's iconic salesman; two teenage girls bonding over a fierce passion for fencing and the terrifying uncertainty of their future; and a Blues singer and her band telling the true history of their beloved and influential music. I couldn't be happier with this line-up that simultaneously breaks new ground for our theatre while continuing to enthusiastically celebrate the word and the artist."

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

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2021/22 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank's ninth consecutive year as season sponsor.

The Writers Theatre 2021-22 season includes:

DISHWASHER DREAMS

Written and Performed by Alaudin Ullah. Directed by Chay Yew. In Association with Hartford Stage

December 9, 2021 — January 22, 2022. Opening December 17, 2021. Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

First generation. Following his dream. Funny as ****.

Alaudin, a stand-up comedian whose family hails from Bangladesh, is in L.A. on the verge of success when a family crisis forces him back to New York. Deferring his dreams while confronting his family history, he takes us on a moving and hilarious journey from colonial India in the 1930s to Spanish Harlem in the 1970s and all the way to present-day Hollywood for his once-in-a-lifetime audition for a major film.

Irreverently performed by Alaudin Ullah, with live accompaniment by tabla percussionist Avirodh Sharma and direction by the nationally acclaimed Chay Yew (formerly of Victory Gardens Theater), this exhilarating tour-de-force will have you empathizing with, while simultaneously laughing over, Alaudin's experiences of immigration, the Yankees and the complex nature of the American Dream.

WORLD PREMIERE, WIFE OF A SALESMAN

Written by Eleanor Burgess. In Association with Milwaukee Repertory Theater

March 3 — April 3, 2022. Opening March 11, 2022

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

An iconic drama. An imagined meeting. A recentering of where "attention must be paid."

What if a 1950s housewife from a particularly well-known American play drove from Brooklyn to Boston to confront her husband's mistress? Would the encounter be explosive? Or would the two women discover they have more in common than one might assume? Taking inspiration from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, this world premiere play imagines how a potentially combustible confrontation brings themes of marriage, duty and division to the surface—and the ways in which the world has, and hasn't, changed across generations.

Playwright Eleanor Burgess (The Niceties) brings her gift for sharp dialogue and spirited debate to Wife of a Salesman, influenced by interviews with her grandmothers in addition to the work of Arthur Miller. Staged in the intimate Gillian Theatre, this world premiere co-production with Milwaukee Rep is sure to be the must-see theatrical event of the spring!

ATHENA

Written by Gracie Gardner. Choreographed by Steph Paul. Directed by Jessica Fisch

May 5 — July 17, 2022. Opening May 13, 2022. Gillian Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Advance. Parry. Repeat.

Mary Wallace and Athena are both seventeen-year-old fencers training for Nationals. Mary Wallace lives in a house in New Jersey, loves marine biology and practices at home. Athena lives in an apartment in New York City, takes acne medication and Athena is not her real name. Follow their journey from competitors to confidantes as they form a bond navigating the milestones of adolescence, training together only to learn the future is only certain for one of them.

A fast-paced, engaging new play from Gracie Gardner, the winner of the 2017 Relentless Award, Athena received a critically acclaimed premiere in New York in 2018. Director Jessica Fisch (Cry It Out at Northlight Theatre, Every Brilliant Thing at Windy City Playhouse) brings her deft touch for storytelling to this portrait of two high-achieving young women, simultaneously rivals and allies, pushing each other to be the best.

WORLD PREMIERE, PEARL'S ROLLIN' WITH THE BLUES

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

June 23 — July 24, 2022. Opening July 1, 2022

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

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

Singing the Blues is what Pearl was born to do, and she can't wait to be back in front of a crowd with her band. For Pearl, it's about the music—where it's been, where it is and where it wants to be. She's made it her mission in life to take the stage and share how the Blues paved the way for generations of musicians to come.

This world premiere musical revue—created by Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson from WT's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, along with Kimberly Dixon-Mays—honors and celebrates the great Blues artists of the past, including Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, Howlin' Wolf and more! 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.

SEASON PACKAGES

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.

Subscriptions include three familiar package types that all offer fixed seats to see all four WT productions this season, one ticket to each production. Subscriptions are made for those who are looking to set their schedule in advance and gain access to seating at the top of the Season.

For the 2021/22 Season, Writers will continue the Membership Program, which includes 4 tickets to be used throughout the season as the Member chooses.

There are two types of 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 $160 to $240. Customizable payment plans are available. A "Pay As You Go" Membership is $35 per ticket after a one-time $60 Membership fee, or patrons may opt for the "Up Front Flex" Membership for $200 up-front

Season package subscribers receive exclusive benefits including complimentary ticket exchanges by phone and mail (upgrade fees may apply), access to special play readings and lectures, special "subscriber-rate" prices on additional tickets, a year subscription to The Brief Chronicle newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit writerstheatre.org/join.

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

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:

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.

Writers Theatre is also working with Erika Walker and Maylene Peña of the Walker Thomas Group on workplace culture and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional information about this important and ongoing work can be found at writerstheatre.org/working-at-wt.

ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE

Writers Theatre boldly looks to the future as it begins its 30th season. Having captivated audiences for years with its dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible, the theatre is now a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called "America's finest regional theater company" by The Wall Street Journal.

Since 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions—everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy.

Writers Theatre now welcomes more than 60,000 patrons each season and has helped establish the North Shore of Chicago as a premier cultural destination. Through its Literary Development Initiative, which has been responsible for the nurturing and premiering of over two dozen world premieres, the theatre has established itself as a major originator of new theatrical works. Serving as an extension of the Writers Theatre mission, WT Education programs engage an average 10,000 students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.


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