Writers Theatre Presents The Dance of Death By August Strindberg In a new version by Conor McPherson Through July 20, 2014

writers-theatreWriters Theatre presents The Dance of Death by August Strindberg, in a new version by Conor McPherson and directed by Henry Wishcamper.  The production runs  April 1 – July 20, 2014 at 664 Vernon Avenue, Glencoe.  

August Strindberg’s masterpiece tells the deliciously venomous story of a crumbling marriage—laced with black comedy and biting humor. As their 25th anniversary approaches, military captain, Edgar, and his wife, Alice, face off in a fierce battle of wills. Their sparring proves both harrowing and hilarious, amplified by the voice of celebrated playwright Conor McPherson (Port AuthorityThe SeafarerShining CityDublin Carol). His adaptation brings lyricism and ferocity to the story of the tyrannical captain and his manipulative wife, and the “innocent” Kurt who stumbles into their midst and quickly finds himself ensnared in the couple’s wicked game

“We are very excited and I believe fortunate to be producing the American Premiere of Conor McPherson’s adaptation of Strind.berg’s The Dance of Death. It continues a conversation we started this season with HeddaGabler and Port Authority and brings many of the sensibilities that helped shape these two plays, while adding a dynamic perspective all its own,” says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam.  “It’s truly a pleasure to be welcoming Henry Wishcamper to our team of directors.  He has a quiet, steady and remarkable authority and a highly sophisticated sense of articulation.  He has brought together a wonderful design team and a truly world-class cast.  It is particularly profound to be producing work at this level in our bookstore venue as we prepare to make it our primary stage again during the construction of our new theatre center. It can remind us of our foundations as we lay brand new foundations for the adventures that lie ahead.”

The cast includes: Shannon Cochran (Alice), Philip Earl Johnson (Kurt) and Larry Yando (Edgar).

The creative team includes: Kevin Depinet (Scenic Designer), Rachel Laritz (Costume Designer), Keith Parham (Lighting Designer), Josh Schmidt (Sound Designer), Julie Eberhardt (Props Designer), Greg Allen(Assistant Director) and Rebecca Pechter (Stage Manager).


Conor McPherson (Adaptor) was born in Dublin in 1971. Plays include: Rum & Vodka (Fly-by-Night Theatre Co., Dublin), The Good Thief (Dublin Theatre Festival, Stewart Parker Award), The Weir (Royal Court, Duke of York’s West End, Walter Kerr Theatre, New York; Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle, and George Devine Awards),Dublin Carol (Royal Court & Atlantic Theater, New York), Port Authority (Ambassadors Theater West End, Gate Theatre, Dublin & Atlantic Theater, New York), Shining City (Royal Court, Gate Theatre, Dublin & Manhattan Theatre Club, New York; Tony Award nomination Best Play), The Seafarer

 (National Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Dublin; Booth Theatre, New York; Laurence Olivier, Evening Standard, Tony Award nominations Best Play), The Veil (National Theatre) and The Night Alive (Donmar Warehouse). Theatre adaptations include Daphne du Maurier’s The Birds (Gate Theatre, Dublin & Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis) and August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death (Donmar at Trafalgar Studios).

Henry Wishcamper (Director) makes his Writers Theatre directing debut. He is a Resident Artistic Associate at Goodman Theatre. Goodman Theatre directing credits include Animal CrackersTalking Pictures, Other Desert Citiesand A Christmas Carol. New York credits include Spirit Control (Manhattan Theatre Club), Graceland (LCT3), Port Authority (Atlantic Theater Company), The Polish Play (Katharsis Theater Company) and Pullman Car Hiawatha(Keen Company). Regional credits include Animal Crackers (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Birds (Guthrie Theater), Engaging Shaw, The Mystery of Irma Vep (The Old Globe), Art (Barrington Stage Company) and The Seafarer and Speech & Debate (TheaterWorks, Hartford). His adaptation of Animal Crackers has been produced at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, The Denver Center Theatre and Lyric Stage Company. Wishcamper is the artistic director of Katharsis Theater Company and was previously the artistic director of the Maine Summer Dramatic Institute. Wishcamper is a Drama League directing fellow and a graduate of Yale University. Upcoming: Ask Aunt Susan (Goodman).

Shannon Cochran (Alice) returns to Writers Theatre, where she appeared last season as Gertrude in Hamletand in the prior season as Desiree in A Little Night Music (Joseph Jefferson nomination). Other Writers Theatre credits include The Lion in Winter, Private Lives, (both Joseph Jefferson nominated performances) and The Father.Favorite Chicago theatre appearances include Man From Nebraska, Morningstar, The Unmentionables, and others (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Pal Joey, Twelfth Night, A Flea in her Ear, and others (Goodman Theatre), The Shadow of Succession, Happy End, What the Butler Saw, and others (Court Theatre) and many others. Regional theater appearances include Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse, The Old Globe, Long Wharf Theatre, South Coast Repertory and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Off-Broadway and London credits include Bug (Obie, Theatre World Award, Drama Desk nomination); National tour of August: Osage County (Helen Hayes nomination). Film credits include “The Ring”, “Star Trek: Nemesis” and “The Babe”. Television appearances include “Scandal” (recurring as Atty. General Susan Sawyer), “NCIS,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Office,” “Fringe,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Star Trek” (TNG and Deep Space Nine) and more. Upcoming project: “The Tale of Fenton Black” (Independent film).

Philip Earl Johnson (Kurt) returns to Writers Theatre, where he last appeared in Old Glory. Chicago credits include Tartuffe in Tartuffe, Tom in  Skylight, Gabriel in James Joyce’s The Dead (Court Theatre), Willis in Talking Pictures (Goodman Theatre)Man #2 in The Big Meal (American Theater Company); Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Ensemble), Rafe in The Herbal Bed (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Slupianek in Conquest of the South Pole (Famous Door Theatre). National tour: Joe in Angels in America, Parts I and II. Television credits include “Chicago Fire,” “Underemployed” and “Mind Games.” He tours nationally as MooNiE: Juggler, Ropewalker, Foolish Mortal! and can be seen in summer at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.

Larry Yando (Edgar) returns to Writers Theatre, where he has appeared in Hamlet, As You Like It, Bach at Leipzig, Rocket to the Moon and Nixon’s Nixon. Since returning from three years as Scar in the national tour of The Lion King, Yando has appeared in Cymbeline, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), the world premiere of Goldbrick (Collaboraction and Walkabout Theatres), four years as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Roy Cohn in Angels In America, Parts I and II (Court Theatre) and Pangloss in Candide (Goodman Theatre and The Huntington Theatre, Boston). Other credits include principal roles at Court Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Royal George Theatre, Defiant Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Goodman Theatre and The Shakespeare Theatre Company.  He has taught acting at DePaul,Northwestern and Columbia, as well as Act One Conservatory and Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Classical Training Program. Yando has received Chicago Magazine’s “Actor of the Year,” The Reader’s “Best Actor,” DePaul University’s “Excellence in the Arts” awards and was one of nine national recipients of the 2010 Lunt- Fontanne Fellowship.


Performances are April 1-July 20, 2014 at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.  The press openings are April 9 and 10, 2014 at 7:30pm.  Curtain times are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm; Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 4:00pm and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00pm and 6:00pm.  Select Wednesday matinees are at 2pm.  Tickets are $35-$70 and are available at the Box Office, 321 Park Avenue, Glencoe; 847-242-6000 or online at www.writerstheatre.org.


Throughout the season, Writers will be offering post-show discussions on select Wednesday evenings following the performance in our Tudor Court space. In the Books on Vernon space they will be offering post-show discussions every other Wednesday evening.

Post-show discussions provide a forum for audience members to ask questions of the artists in the production and gain new insight into the work.

Visit www.writerstheatre.org/events for more information.




In an effort to promote taking public transit to the Theatre, Writers Theatre launched a new promotion in 2013. Any audience member who purchases a ticket to a Writers Theatre production and rides Metra’s Union Pacific North Line to the Theatre may snap a photo of themselves on the train and post it to their Facebook page or Twitter feed with a tag of @writerstheatre and, upon showing the post at the Writers Theatre Box Office, receive $5 in cash (in essence, paying the cost of the train ride from Downtown ($4.75).


This promotion is available for a limited time only, and may end without warning. Ticket must have been paid for in advance.  Not valid on comp tickets.  More information available at writerstheatre.org/metra


Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as Season Sponsor of its 2013/14 Season. NES Rentals is the McPherson Series Sponsor.  The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation is a McPherson Series Supporter.  Additionally Writers Theatre is pleased to have Mike & Laurie Petersen as Production Sponsors.

For more information about Writers 2013/14 Event Sponsors, visit writerstheatre.org/community-partners.

Title:                       The Dance of Death

By:                           August Strindberg

Adapted by:           Conor McPherson

Directed by:        Henry Wishcamper

Cast:                       Shannon Cochran (Alice), Philip Earl Johnson (Kurt) and Larry Yando (Edgar)

Designers:             Kevin Depinet (Scenic Designer), Rachel Laritz (Costume Designer), Keith Parham(Lighting

Designer), Josh Schmidt (Sound Designer), Julie Eberhardt (Props Designer) and David Wooley (Fight Choreographer).


Over the past twenty-one seasons, Writers Theatre has become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence. Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has been deemed the “best drama company in the nation” byThe Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of 35,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry. Prized for the finest interpretations of classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues, Writers Theatre’s acclaimed work includes Artistic Director Michael Halberstam’s world premiere in Glencoe and subsequent productions of A Minister’s Wife at Lincoln Center Theater and West Coast premiere at the San Jose Repertory Theatre; David Cromer’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Picnic; and the commissioning, world premiere and New York premiere of Crime and Punishment, which has received more than 30 subsequent regional theater productions.

In July, 2011, Writers Theatre announced the hiring of the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, to design a new home for the Theatre in downtown Glencoe which will once again allow the Theatre to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility will resonate with and complement the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community and will add tremendous value to Chicagoland and the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

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