A doctor with two very different personalities. A family grieving a devastating loss. A pair of young lovers kept apart by the hatred of others. A meddling mother and her lonely daughter. A nervous bookworm with an iconic ally.
These are the stories that will be told on the stage at Valparaiso’s Chicago Street Theatre during its 59th Season, which was announced this week.
Read all about it below or watch our SEASON PREVIEW VIDEO here.
The season begins this August with The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother (August-September), followed by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (October), The Beauty Queen of Leenane (January-February, 2014), Play It Again, Sam (April, 2014), Rabbit Hole (May-June, 2014) and Romeo and Juliet (July, 2014).
“We are really pleased with the diversity of our 59th Season,” said Chicago Street Theatre Artistic Chair Traci Brant, who is also co-directing The Beauty Queen of Leenane. “The plays range from classic Shakespeare to cutting edge contemporary drama and we have incredibly talented people involved with all of them.”
The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother, by Bruce Coville, is based on a children's book and follows a Fairy Godmother who is given a tough case when she is assigned to a girl who is convinced she is perfect and, as a result, nearly unbearable.
A fresh version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will serve as Chicago Street Theatre’s Halloween show. The adaptation, written by Jeffrey Hatcher, puts a modern twist on the Victorian tale.
“The interesting premise of this one is that the author supposes that Hyde is not 100 percent evil and Jekyll is not 100 percent good,” said Bob Cooley, who is directing the Chicago Street Theatre production. “And as they come to realize that is where the drama unfolds.”
The Beauty Queen of Leenane will mark the third time that Chicago Street Theatre has brought the work of playwright Martin McDonagh to the stage. It will also be the third time that Brant and Jonni Pera have collaborated to direct a McDonagh production.
The play tells the darkly comic tale of Maureen Folan, a plain and lonely woman in her early forties, and Mag, her manipulative aging mother.
“It is incredibly hilarious and tragic and all sorts of strange things rolled into one, as Martin McDonagh is,” Brant said. “It’s a great piece for actors and I think it’s really going to be an incredible experience for audiences.”
Play It Again, Sam, by Woody Allen, will be direct by Jason Utesch. The classic comedy follows the exploits of Allan Felix, an insecure man who gets advice about women from an imaginary Humphrey Bogart.
Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire, won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize and will be directed by Dave Pera. The play tells the story of how an accident turns a family’s world upside down.
“It examines the issues of how we deal with tragedy, and how the family and the extended family handle something of that nature,” Pera said.
Next summer will mark the second time Chicago Street Theatre has offered the wildly popular Shakespeare in the Park, featuring Romeo and Juliet.
“I think a lot of people have studied Romeo and Juliet in school, or been forced to read it and it was really never intended to be done that way,” said Eric Brant, who is directing the production. “It was supposed to be played and experienced. So I’m really excited that we’re going to get another run at Shakespeare in the Park and be able to bring a classic Shakespearean play that will connect with new audiences and maybe be some peoples’ first experience with William Shakespeare.”
Jonni Pera said the mission of Chicago Street Theatre is to offer a different perspective to audiences – a goal she said will be achieved during its 59th season.
“We have a different twist,” she said. “Number one, our stage is totally different than most stages. It’s a black box theatre. So we have to be really look at and be creative about how we stage a show and I will boast that I do think that we have some of the best actors in the area who come here so we really get to team and ensemble with some of the best.”