Red Orchid Theatre Announces Its 20th Anniversery Season

A Red Orchid Theatre announces its 20th Anniversary season, featuring the World Premiere of Ensemble Member Brett Neveu’s The Opponent; the Chicago Premieres of Annie Baker’s The Aliens directed by Artistic Associate Shade Murray, and Howard Korder’s In A Garden.  Closing out the season will be a summer run of Sam Shepard’s Simpatico featuring Founding Ensemble Members Michael Shannon and Guy VanSwearingen.


“As we approach our 20th anniversary, our Artistic Ensemble felt strongly that we do so with loyalty while looking forward.  We decided not to remount one or two of our smash hits but to challenge each other with work we have yet to do,” says Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald.  “I felt it important that we see all of our founders on stage and that we also see some new fresh energy.  We do have all three of our founding members on stage, all of our ensemble directors, and our youngest ensemble member as well.  Our regular three show season remains intact with an added fourth summer show that features founding members Michael Shannon and Guy VanSwearingen.   We have never done a Sam Shepard piece and I find it very fitting that Simpatico was written in 1993; the year of A Red Orchid’s founding.  Each of this seasons plays dig deep in to the issue of loyalty, as well as demand that the characters and all involved look forward.”


A Red Orchid Theatre’s 2012-2013 season includes:


The World Premiere of

The Opponent

By Ensemble Member Brett Neveu

Directed by Karen Kessler

Featuring Founding Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Guy VanSwearingen

October 18 – December 2, 2012 

Press Opening: Monday, October 22 at 7 p.m.


Accomplished playwright and ensemble member Brett Neveu takes a look at the hard world of boxing from the perspective of small time gym owner Tre and the young up and comer Donell. They come from different worlds, they barely understand each other, but in the ring anything is possible.  Questions of loyalty and life’s dreams are put to the test in this explosive world premiere that promises to pull some punches and fearlessly land all the others. *The Opponent was originally developed through Center Theatre Group’s Writers’ Workshop*


The Chicago Premiere of

The Aliens

By Annie Baker

Directed by Artistic Associate Shade Murray

Featuring Ensemble Member Steve Haggard

January 17 – March 3, 2013

Press Opening: Monday, January 21 at 7 p.m.


All day every day, two slackers hang out behind a coffee shop by the dumpsters.   These guys have elevated loitering to an almost Buddhist “tea ceremony” level, where music, Bukowski, sex, travel, philosophy, friendship and ambition (or lack thereof) are intensely meditated upon while the busy world rushes by.  Enter a 17 year-old barrista-cum-disciple, and so begins a summer where no one moves but everything changes.


The Chicago Premiere of

In A Garden

By Howard Korder

A Chicago Premiere

Featuring Founding Ensemble Member Larry Grimm

April 4 – May 19, 2013

Press Opening: Monday April 8 at 7 p.m.


In 1989 an ambitious American architect is summoned to the fictitious Middle Eastern country of Aquaat where the Minister of Culture commissions him to build a thing of beauty; something to remind him of his happiest childhood memories.   Architectural plans get sidelined as interest shifts to debates of politics and pop culture.  Allegiances shift and the men find themselves caught up in history and warfare, demanding to know “what is the use of beauty?”


Special summer engagement…


By Sam Shepard

Directed by Ensemble Member Dado

Featuring Founding Ensemble Members Michael Shannon & Guy VanSwearingen

June 13 – July 28, 2013

Press opening: Monday, June 17 at p.m.


High society meets low life in the slippery netherworld of thoroughbred racing.  This tragic-comedy explodes when a simple phone call threatens to undo years of blackmail and false identities. Loyalties run fierce or run completely a-muck as Vinnie and Carter reunite in hopes of settling an old score.


Ticket Information

Subscriptions for the 20th Anniversary Season guarantee you a reserved seat for each production.  Regular 3 show season subscription, priced $85 (includes The Opponent, The Aliens and In a Garden).  Add the summer bonus, Simpatico, for a total of $135 and see all four shows.  Red Night Subscription priced at $235 (includes an opening Friday seat and post-show reception with the artists. Availability is limited). Subscriptions may be purchased from the Box Office at 1531 N. Wells Street, Tuesday through Friday from 12 pm to 5:00 pm.  Subscriptions may also be purchased by telephone during office hours by dialing (312) 943-8722, or online at  Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.


About A Red Orchid

Since 1993 A Red Orchid Theatre has been an artistic mainstay of the Chicago theatre community; known and praised for its powerful ensemble, creative design and its gripping, intimate productions and named Best Theatre of 2010 by Chicago Magazine.  The resident Ensemble maintains the conviction that passionately committed theatre will draw passionately committed audiences, and the 2012-2013 subscription season promises to bring Ensemble and audience even closer together.

A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Dado, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers, Natalie West and Craig Wright.