Northlight Theatre opens season with the Chicago Premiere of ‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the Chicago Premiere of The Legend of Georgia McBride, written by Matthew Lopez, directed by Lauren Shouse. The Legend of Georgia McBride runs September 14-October 22 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. 

A down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator has an overdrawn checking account and a baby on the way. When a drag show takes over the entertainment at the Florida Panhandle bar where he performs, he’ll also be out of a job…unless he’s willing to step into some high heels. This heartwarming, music-filled comedy celebrates the unexpected path to finding your true voice.

“When Lauren Shouse brought The Legend of Georgia McBride to my attention, I could immediately see that it was fun, uplifting, musical, and written by one of our favorite authors, Matthew Lopez, who also wrote The Whipping Man,” comments BJ Jones. “It’s a piece about outsiders who gradually bring us into their family—a family who celebrates our identities, our freedom, our uniqueness and our commonality. And this central notion is the vital message we need to hear right now in an atmosphere of dissonance, intolerance and hate.”

The cast of The Legend of Georgia McBride includes Sean Blake(Miss Tracy Mills)Keith Kupferer (Eddie), Jeff Kurysz(Rexy/Jason)Nate Santana (Casey) and Leslie Ann Sheppard (Jo).

The creative team includes Chris Carter (Choreography),Richard and Jacqueline Penrod (Scenic Design), Rachel Laritz (Costume Design), JR Lederle (Lighting Design), Kevin O’Donnell (Sound Design). The production stage manager isRita Vreeland.

Northlight’s production of The Legend of Georgia McBride is supported in part by Bob and Lisa Silverman.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

LAUREN SHOUSE (Director) is the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Northlight. ​In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Lookingglass, R​ivendell, Sideshow, Route 66, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left. Her recent directing credits include: ​Betrayal at Raven; Rapture, Blister, BurnSuperior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Rep​ertory Theatre; Eurydice and In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play at Northwestern’s Wirtz Center; Long Way Down with 3Ps productions; Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel LivesThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeThe Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; Rear Window at Chaffin’s Barn Theatre; and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. A​s Artistic Associate at ​Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University. ​www.laurenshousedirects.com ​

MATTHEW LOPEZ (Playwright) is the author of The Whipping Man, one of the most widely-produced American plays of the last decade. The Legend of Georgia McBride premiered at the Denver Center and then produced in New York by MCC and in Los Angeles at the Geffen Playhouse. Other plays include Somewhere (Old Globe, world premiere), Reverberation(Hartford Stage Company, world premiere), The Sentinels (London’s Headlong Theatre Company) and Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (upcoming world premiere at the Denver Center, 2018). Matthew holds commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, The Geffen Playhouse and Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Matthew was a writer on the HBO series The Newsroom and is currently writing the biopic Dr. Q for Disney.

SEAN BLAKE (Miss Tracy Mills) returns to the Northlight stage where he was seen in Everything’s Ducky, A Civil War Christmasand Grey Gardens. Broadway/National tours: Showboat (1stNational – Dance Captain/Swing) and Showboat (Australia – Assoc. Choreographer). Regional: The Great Society and TheLittle Foxes (Asolo Rep); Smokey Joe’s Café (Drury Lane);Animal Crackers (Baltimore Centerstage); The StoryPurlie,Ain’t MisbehavinThe Rose Tattoo and Bounce (Goodman);Porgy and Bess (Jeff Nomination – Best Supporting Actor) andRaisin (Court); Carousel (Court and Long Wharf Theatre); Birdie Blue (Seattle Rep); Nobody (Alabama Shakespeare); Timon of Athens (Chicago Shakespeare); and  Hot Mikado (Fulton Opera). Sean can be heard on the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince’s Bounce. He is a recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Actor for his solo performance in Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis Jr. Story written by Tim Rhoze.

KEITH KUPFERER (Eddie) Theater credits include Cat Fee andThe Old Neighborhood (Northlight); The QualmsGood People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice and Men, Carter’s WayMen of Tortuga, Things Being What They Are, and Jesus Hopped The A Train (Steppenwolf); The Humans (American Theatre Company); Support Group for Men, God of CarnageHigh HolidaysPassion Play, and The Old Neighborhood  (Goodman); Hillary and ClintonNever the Sinner, and Appropriate (Victory Gardens); The Mystery of Love and SexA Streetcar Named Virginia Wolf  (Writers);Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare);  Execution of Justice (About Face); and Desire Under The Elms (Court). Screen credits include WidowsThe DilemmaDark KnightPublic Enemies, The ExpressStranger than Fiction, Road to PerditionFred Klaus, Better Call SaulShameless,Betrayal, EmpireChicago P.D. and Chicago Fire among others.

JEFF KURYSZ (Rexy/Jason) is so thrilled to be making his Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare); Support Group for Men(Goodman); Romeo and Juliet (Backroom Shakespeare Project); Julius Caesar (Brown Paper Box Co.); As You Like Itand Much Ado About Nothing (The Arc Theatre); Year of the Rooster and R+J: The Vineyard (Red Theater); Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista); One Came Home (Lifeline); All My Sons(Eclectic Theatre Co.); and Amadeus (Boho Theatre). Regional credits include Richard IIITwelfth Night, and The Tempest(Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre). Television credits includeCrisis (NBC). Mr. Kurysz is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.

NATE SANTANA (Casey) makes his Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include SS! Romeo and Juliet and SS! Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare); Marvin’s Room (Shattered Globe); Ironbound (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Balm in Gilead and Golden Boy (Griffin); White Tie Ball, Momma’s Boyz (Teatro Vista); Comrades Mine (City Lit); The Rainmaker (BoHo); The Merchant of Venice, (First Folio); What Happened When and Slipping (the side project). Television credits include Chicago PD and The Exorcist. Nate is a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista and an artistic associate with Shattered Globe. He has been nominated for two Jeff Awards and is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf. He received his BA from Valparaiso University.

LESLIE ANN SHEPPARD (Jo) returns for her second Northlight production. She was last seen as Bessie in Eclipsed. Chicago theatre credits include Rosalind in As You Like It (First Folio); Pauline in Cinderella (Hypocrites); Bart in Mr. Burns (Theater Wit); Maddie in The Hundred Dresses and Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre); TreeLost Boys of Sudanand The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens); Harriet Jacobs(Steppenwolf) and House with No Walls (TimeLine). Regional/touring credits: Fall of the House (Theatre Squared),Julius Caesar (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Othello’s Furies(Chicago Fringe Festival), and Gershwin’s Magic Key (Classical Kids/Kennedy Center). TV credits: Chicago Fire (NBC), Mob Doctor (FOX). She is a former Artistic Director of The Suitcase Shakespeare Company, an Ensemble Member of The Hypocrites and represented by Gray Talent Group.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie.  Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times areTuesdays: 7:30pm (September 19 and October 17 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except October 11) and 7:30pmThursdays: 7:30pmFridays: 8:00pm;Saturdays: 2:30pm (except September 16) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (September 17 and October 8only).

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production.  All events are free. 

Backstage with BJ: The Legend of Georgia McBride

September 8 at 12:00pm 

at Northlight Theatre

9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal.  Backstage with BJ for The Legend of Georgia McBride will be held on September 8 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour. Event is free but reservations are required. Visit https://northlight.org/events/backstage-with-bj/ to reserve your spot.

 

Inside Look: The Legend of Georgia McBride
October 5 at 2:00-3:00pm
at Evanston Public Library
1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston, IL

Explore the context of the play, The Legend of Georgia McBride, through a discussion and a Q&A session with panelists related to the production.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now entering its 43rd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 202 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 34 Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.