c61232_59a79cc6fd384bfb9a6980d48de88a8a.gif_srz_p_277_400_75_22_0.50_1.20_0Father Ruffian: Shakespeare’s Falstaff Story, a world premiere adaptation by three-time Jeff-winning adaptor Paul Edwards of Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, begins previews on Friday, January 9, 2015, and opens for the press on Tuesday, January 13. It is the third production of City Lit’s thirty-fifth season. The play is a world premiere adaptation of Shakespeare’s two Henry IV plays, also incorporating a small amount of material from Henry V and from Shakespeare’s source material, Holinshed’s Chronicles. Father Ruffian takes its title from the long string of epithets Prince Hal uses to describe Falstaff (“. . . that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies . . .”), and the full adaptation likewise preserves Shakespeare’s language throughout. Father Ruffian is not a simplified modern re-telling, but a nuanced exploration of Shakespeare’s tale of Prince Hal and his two “fathers,” King Henry IV of England and the entirely fictional Sir John Falstaff. Father Ruffian will run through Sunday, February 15.

The History of Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 are the middle two plays of Shakespeare’s tetralogy depicting reigns of successive English kings (Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V). Nominally the two plays concern the difficult reign of Henry IV as he approaches death, but during the 20th century they came to be seen as also telling the coming-of-age story of the King’s son and future Henry V, Prince Hal. Father Ruffian takes this perception as its throughline.

Paul Edwards has adapted and directed Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers, Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place, and Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House at City Lit, winning the 2013 Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best New Adaptation for Peyton Place. He had previously won two other Best Adaptation Jeffs, one Non-Equity and one Equity, for his adaptations of John Barth’s The End of the Road and Geoff Ryman’s Was, both for Roadworks Theatre. Last season he adapted and directed Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet for Promethean Theatre which was Jeff-nominated for Best Adaptation.

His adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray premiered at Wisdom Bridge Theatre, and was later produced by the New Theatre in Dallas and for radio by L.A. Theatre Works. He has also written adaptations for the old Stormfield Theatre in Chicago and for Alchemy Theatre in New York City. He is a member of Northwestern’s Performance Studies Department faculty.

The cast for Father Ruffian is Nick Bonges, Patrick Bromley, Kingsley Day, Kevin Gladish, Alex Glossman, Evan Johnson, Edward Kuffert, Nick Lake, Molly Lyons, Zach Meyer, Mark Pracht, and Sheila Willis. The design team is Jeremiah Barr, Liz Cooper, and Beth Laske-Miller. The fight design and choreography is by David Yondorf.

Father Ruffian will play 21 performances. The full schedule follows:


9 7:30 pm preview

10 7:30 pm preview

11 3 pm preview

13 7 pm press opening

16 7:30 pm

17 7:30 pm

18 3 pm

23 7:30 pm

24 7:30 pm

25 3 pm

30 7:30 pm

31 7:30 pm

FEB 1 3 pm

5 7:30 pm

6 7:30 pm

7 7:30 pm

8 3 pm

12 7:30 pm

13 7:30 pm

14 7:30 pm

15 3 pm closing


Ticket prices are $22.00 for previews and $29.00 after opening. A limited number of $25.00 general admission tickets ($18.00 for previews) is available for each performance through the City Lit website.

Discounts are available for telephone orders by seniors, students, members of the military, and groups of ten or more. Tickets can be reserved by going to www.citylit.org or by calling (773) 293-3682.

City Lit receives funding from the Alphawood Foundation, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The Saints. Its outreach program is sponsored in part by A.R.T. League.

City Lit specializes in literate theatre, including stage adaptations of literary material. It is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, one block west of Sheridan Road and a block and a half east of the Bryn Mawr Red Line L stop.

The 84 Peterson bus, the 147 Lake Shore Express bus, and the 151 Sheridan bus all stop near City Lit. Valet parking is available for theatre customers at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr restaurant across the street from City Lit, and, with validation from the Edgewater Beach Café, in the Edgewater Beach Apartments’ underground parking lot one block east of the theatre. A limited amount of free parking is available for theatre customers who dine at That Little Mexican Café one block west of the theatre.