image002First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83), known for presenting acclaimed musicals, plays and classic and reimagined works of Shakespeare to the Chicagoland stage, announces its 2014-2015 season. The season begins with the World Premiere of the riveting drama THE GRAVEDIGGER, which previews October 1, opens October 4 and runs throughNovember 2, 2014. Neil Simon’s whimsical comedy LAUGHTER ON THE 23RDFLOOR previews January 28, opens January 31 and runs through March 1, 2015; Nora Ephron’s poignant play LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE previews March 25, opens March 28 and runs through April 26, 2014; and Shakespeare’s masterpiece THE WINTER’S TALE, First Folio Theatre’s annual Shakespeare Under the Stars production, previews July 8, opens July 11, and runs throughAugust 9. 

To kick off its 19th season, First Folio Theatre is proud to present the World Premiere of the gothic drama THE GRAVEDIGGER. This tale of Frankenstein’s Monster takes place in one of Bavaria’s forgotten cemeteries, where a lone gravedigger finds a hideously scarred man hiding in a fresh grave. Both men begin to realize how interconnected they are as their shared, gruesome pasts slowly unfold. THE GRAVEDIGGER is written by Joseph Zettelmaier (Salvage), whose plays are described by American Theater Magazine as “….infused with an idiosyncratic sense of humor, but he never shies away from darker emotions.” The production is directed by Jeff Award nominee Alison C. Vesely (First Folio’s A Moon for the Misbegotten). THE GRAVEDIGGER begins previews October 1, opens October 4 and runs through November 2, 2014.

LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR, a brilliantly witty comedy about writing comedy, was called “Undeniably funny!” by The New York Times. The production is written by four time Oscar-nominated writer and Golden Globe winner Neil Simon, and first made its debut on Broadway in 1993 before it went on to become a television movie in 2001. Simon’s hilarious homage to his days writing for the Sid Caesar show, LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR is a journey into the world of maniacs and madmen, frantically scrambling to top each other with gags while not only competing for the attention of their boss, but also dealing with the rise of McCarthyism in America. The production is directed by Alison Vesely and stars Kevin McKillip and René Ruelas. LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR previewsJanuary 28, opens January 31 and runs through March 1, 2015.

LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE is “Funny, compelling…Brought down the house!” (The New York Times) and “Funny, powerful, sweet and saucy! Goes directly to the heart, soul and vanity of every woman, young and old!” (Variety). The production is written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and based on Ilene Beckerman’s book. LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE reflects on the lives of five women and the vivid memories that their clothing conjures. From first bras to prom dresses to that iconic little black dress, women have both beautiful and heart-wrenching stories that are attached to each article of their wardrobe. This heartfelt play explores those breathtaking moments. LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE is directed by Rachel Lambert and stars Lydia Berger, Melanie Keller, Hayley L. Rice, and Alison C. Vesely.  The production begins previews March 25, opens March 28 and runs through April 26, 2015.

First Folio Theatre’s annual Shakespeare Under the Stars production is THE WINTER’S TALE, Shakespeare’s spellbinding story of jealousy, love, and the price of both. King Leontes’ envy brings about the death of his wife, the rejection of his best friend, and the estrangement of his own daughter.  Filled with wonder, magic, and mystery, this tale of faith and redemption, of holding on and letting go, is a reminder of the cost of love.  “As the play’s movements succeed one another like those in a symphony, the sharp contrasts in tone vividly illuminate how the cycles of life and death, love and hate, joy and sorrow will forever be with us, like the changing seasons themselves,” says The New York Times, which hails the Shakespearean masterpiece as “Enthralling!” THE WINTER’S TALE begins previews on July 8, opens July 11, and runs through August 9, 2015.

First Folio Theatre is entering its 19th season of bringing high-quality performances of Shakespeare and other classics to the stage. During that time, the theater has expanded from an annual summer production to a year-round operation with three separate and distinct stages at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate. The Shakespeare Book of Lists names First Folio Theatre one of the “150 Great Places to See a Shakespeare Play.” The Chicago Tribune raved that their Shakespeare Under the Stars summer series “offers something Navy Pier can’t…plenty of greenery, gentle breezes and the chance to stretch out on a blanket with family and friends while being transported to Shakespeare’s otherworldly romance.”

All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 W 31st St., off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook. First Folio is easy to get to from via the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds. Preview tickets are $22.  Regular priced tickets are $29 Wednesdays and Thursdays (seniors and students are $25), and $39 on Fridays through Sundays (seniors and students are $35).  Three and four show subscriptions are available for $55-$105 (subscribers will receive $5 off each subscription if they are purchased byAugust 15, 2014).  Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at