CourtTheaterCourt Theatre proudly announces its 60th season under the continuing leadership of Artistic Director Charles Newell, Executive Director Stephen J. Albert, and Board Chair Marilyn Fatt Vitale. The company’s ambitious 2014/15 season will feature the World Premiere of Native Son adapted from Richard Wright’s classic novel by Nambi E. Kelley and co-produced with American Blues Theater; Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis translated by Nicholas Rudall and directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell; Samuel Beckett’sWaiting for Godot, directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson; and the World Premiere of Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s The Good Book, directed by Lisa Peterson. Closing out the anniversary season is Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon’s The Secret Garden, based on the beloved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett and directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell with music direction by Doug Peck.

Artistic Director Charles Newell says, “I am so proud to be the Artistic Director of Court Theatre as we arrive at our sixtieth anniversary season—a season that embodies the very best of what we do as a Center for Classic Theatre. The 2014/15 season includes two world premieres, Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s The Good Bookand Nambi E. Kelley’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son; the beginning of a three-year journey through ancient Greek tragedy in Nicholas Rudall’s adaptation of Iphigenia in Aulis; a re-invented classic play in Waiting for Godot under the direction of Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson; and a new production of the American musicalThe Secret Garden, with long-time Court collaborator Doug Peck. From our origins as an outdoor summer festival on the University of Chicago quad to a leading Center for Classic Theatre, the ambition and scope of this landmark anniversary season celebrates the audiences and artists who have defined, sustained, and inspired Court Theatre’s community for sixty years.”

The 2014/15 Court Theatre Season Up-Close:

World Premiere

Native Son

A co-production with American Blues Theater

By Nambi E. Kelley

Directed by Seret Scott
September 11 – October 12, 2014

Richard Wright’s iconic novel about oppression, freedom, and justice comes to life on stage in this ground-breaking, world premiere adaptation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s, 20-year-old Bigger Thomas struggles to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. After taking a job in a wealthy white man’s house, Bigger unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Adapted with theatrical ingenuity by Chicago’s own Nambi E. Kelley, and co-produced with American Blues Theater, this Native Son captures the power of Richard Wright’s novel for a whole new generation.

Iphigenia in Aulis

By Euripides

Translated by Nicholas Rudall

Directed by Charles Newell
November 6 – December 7, 2014

Inspired by the incredible success of An Iliad, Artistic Director Charles Newell takes on Euripides’ ancient tale of power and sacrifice in Iphigenia in Aulis. As the Greek army restlessly paces the silent shores of Aulis, King Agamemnon is faced with a harrowing decision. In return for the winds that would carry his army to victory over Troy, the goddess Artemis has demanded the impossible: the sacrifice of the King’s own daughter, Iphigenia. In a translation by Court’s Founding Artistic Director Nicholas Rudall, Iphigenia at Aulis is the first installment in a three-year cycle of Greek plays, followed by Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Sophocles’ Electra.

Waiting for Godot

By Samuel Beckett

Directed by Ron OJ Parson
January 15 – February 15, 2015

On a lonely country road, beneath a barren tree, two vagabonds wait for a man named Mr. Godot. As the evening unfolds, a desperate, humorous, and unchanging universe is revealed that has delighted and challenged audiences for over half a century. Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson (Seven Guitars) returns to direct this absurdist classic with an all-star cast featuring Court Theatre favorites A.C. Smith, Allen Gilmore, and Alfred Wilson. As elusive as it is illuminating, Waiting for Godot offers a haunting meditation on the meaning of human existence.

World Premiere

The Good Book

By Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare

Directed by Lisa Peterson
March 19 – April 19, 2015

In this highly original world premiere play, Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson (An Iliad) weave stories of devotion and doubt into their very own creation myth about the place where human faith and divine inspiration intersect: the Bible. As thirteen year-old Connor struggles to reconcile his identity with his dream of becoming a priest and modern-day Biblical scholar Miriam wrestles to resolve her crisis of faith, they lead us through an incredible exploration on how the Bible was conceived. From ancient Judea to medieval Ireland to suburban America, The Good Book is a powerful and exuberant journey through the most influential book in Western history.

The Secret Garden

Musical Book and Lyrics by Marsha Norman

Music by Lucy Simon

Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Directed by Charles Newell

Music Direction by Doug Peck
May 21 – June 21, 2015

After a vicious cholera outbreak in the British Raj claims the lives of both her parents, ten year-old Mary Lennox is sent back to England to live at her estranged uncle’s estate. Orphaned and alone, Mary finds herself haunted not only by the ghosts of her own past, but by those of her melancholy uncle, Archibald Craven. As Mary begins to find her way through her uncle’s maze of secretsshe makes an incredible discovery that unlocks a wellspring of hope and renewal for them both. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Book and adapted from the beloved 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden reunites Artistic Director Charles Newell and Music Director Doug Peck (Caroline, or Change; Carousel; Porgy and Bess) for this exquisitely beautiful musical about hope blooming from the darkest of places.

Subscription Information

Five, four and three play subscriptions to Court’s 2014/15 season range from $90 to $280 and are on sale now. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court’s website at Individual tickets for all shows will be available on August 1st. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by calling Groups Manager Kate Vangeloff at (773) 834-3243.

Now in its 60th season, Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.

Court Theatre is the professional theatre in residence at the University of Chicago continuing to discover the power of classic theatre. Court Theatre operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Productions are made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and by a City Arts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Court Theatre is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American Theatre; the League of Resident Theatres; the Illinois Humanities Council; the Arts Alliance Illinois; the League of Chicago Theatres; and Hyde Park Cultural Alliance.