The House Theatre of Chicago Announces A Season of Spectacular, Original Myths

486587_10151359457368513_1200582024_nThe House Theatre of Chicago announces its 12th Season creating Amazing Feats of Storytelling. The five programs in the 2013-14 Season are all written and helmed by Company Members of The House, investing in the rich and diverse talents of the ensemble.

“As we find ourselves beginning new cycles of adulthood, the artists of The House are drawn to work right at the center of our obsessions with the cycles of darkness and light,” remarked Artistic Director Nathan Allen. “These plays explore that mythic tension in our communities, our selves, and in our favorite tragic heroes.”

Continuing in residence at The Chopin Theatre, the season kicks off with The Crownless King, in which Artistic Director Nathan Allen and Company Member Chris Mathews will take their political action-adventure trilogy onto the high seas. The Crownless King is the second installment of the trilogy that began with last season’s epic The Iron Stag King.

The Nutcracker returns for the holidays with continued enhancements in spectacle and holiday magic. Company Member Tommy Rapley will once again lead the production.

Opening in the thick of the Chicago winter 2014, the much-honored writing trio of Chris Mathews, Jake Minton and Nathan Allen will bring the House’s original myth, Rose and the Rime, to life. Enhanced production and development support will make for a most spectacular family-friendly respite from the cold. Director Nathan Allen expresses his interest in revisiting the “deeper, darker developments” in The House’s favorite story. “I find myself drawn back to The House’s central expression of mythology from a new personal maturity. We’ve recovered from the financial burdens of the last 5 years, we have more than doubled the audiences we serve, and I’m about to become a father to a second baby girl. This meditation on the cycles of struggle and joy is deeply personal for me.”

First workshopped and produced at both Hope College and The House in 2008/09, Rose and the Rime was honored at the Kennedy Center as the Best New Work at the American College Theatre Festival. The production has already secured a transfer to The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, where it will play a 5-week run. This continues the growing partnership between the two producers, who have previously mounted House productions of The Sparrow, Death and Harry Houdini, and The Nutcracker for Miami audiences.

The season concludes with DORIAN, welcoming back playwright and Company Member Ben Lobpries upon his graduation from Emerson College’s MFA Creative Writing program. Lobpries and Tommy Rapley have co-authored this adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. First mounted in 2006 at the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, the pair is eager to return to work on their dance-fueled adaptation of this gothic horror story back home at The House. Rapley will direct and choreograph.

The Magic Parlour will run every Friday night throughout the entire season at the exquisite Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Award-winning, third-generation magician Dennis Watkins performs 75 minutes of intimate, classic magic and mind reading in Chicago’s only weekly, late night magic show. New feats are incorporated every few months, keeping this show as astonishing as ever for fans of Watkins and The House. Performances are at 7:30pm and 9:30pm on Fridays, with 10:30pm-only performances during the run of Death and Harry Houdini (June 21 – August 11).

Memberships are now on sale and start at $75.

The 2013-2014 Season at The House Theatre of Chicago


A political action-adventure on the high seas

The Crownless King
By Chris Mathews and Nathan Allen
Directed by Nathan Allen
Original Music by Kevin O’Donnell
Choreography by Tommy Rapley
August 30 – October 20, 2013

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago

For the second time in the company’s history, Artistic Director Nathan Allen employs the epic format and creates a multi-year play cycle. Begun in the fall of 2012 with The Iron Stag King and the story of young Casper Kent seeking and winning the Crown, this trilogy combines the classical fantasy of King Arthur and Norse mythology with uniquely American themes. The story explores the nature of leadership, governance, and the American struggle to balance personal liberty with sacrifice for a greater good.

In this second installment, Casper Kent now holds the Crown, but the Crownless grow in strength and cunning. The exiled black dragon, Irek Obsidian (voiced once again by Pulitzer prize winner Tracy Letts,) beckons King Casper to grant him liberty. Meanwhile, our band of heroes venture to the sea where a mysterious hooded pirate commands a fleet of Crownless rebels. As the forces meet in battle, who will rule as the Crownless King?


A magical story for Christmas

The Nutcracker
Book by Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich
Music by Kevin O’Donnell, Lyrics by Jake Minton
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rapley
Based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann
November 8 – December 29, 2013

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago

“A warm, kind, moving, inclusive, affordable and wholly original version of The Nutcracker.” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

The House’s fantastical expansion of this holiday classic centers on young Clara’s journey to save Christmas. With the help of a magical Nutcracker, this brave little girl will fight the Rat King and save her family! This modern holiday production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope — a fun outing fit for the whole family.


A myth of power and community

Rose and the Rime
By Chris Mathews, Jake Minton and Nathan Allen
Directed by Nathan Allen
January 17 – March 9, 2014

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago

Radio Falls, Michigan, has been trapped in perpetual winter for a generation, and the constant blizzard surrounding the town means there’s no way in or out. It is up to our young heroine named Rose to save Radio Falls from the vicious curse of the Rime Witch. But when she succeeds, Radio Falls discovers the witch’s magic coin has two sides. This modern version of The House’s favorite, original myth is a reminder that anything powerful enough to fulfill your dreams is powerful enough to destroy them.

First seen in the company’s sixth season, Rose and The Rime enjoys an enhanced production with aerial spectacle and magic. It will also play at the Arsht Center in Miami in May 2014.

“…This whole intensely creative show—which deals with a plucky young girl who stares down an evil witch, only to confront the ambivalence of power—is relentlessly optimistic. That’s one of the great pleasures of The House.”

– Chicago Tribune

“Wonderfully imaginative stagecraft and a unique approach to movement.”

– Chicago Sun-Times


A vivid fantasy of horror and beauty

by Ben Lobpries and Tommy Rapley
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rapley
Based on the novel A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
May 9 – June 22, 2014

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division, Chicago

Oscar Wilde’s love/hate affair with youth and beauty is captured in this visually arresting contemporary adaptation. House Company Members Director/Choreographer Tommy Rapley, Co-Writer Ben Lobpries and Composer Kevin O’Donnell seamlessly blend theatre and dance, revealing the unsightly truth behind each character’s outer beauty. Dorian Gray’s ill-fated portrait is a character who comes vividly to life, only to encourage his wicked and sexually irreverent indulgences.

“A stunning achievement” – Windy City Times

“No question, Rapley’s appropriately stylized revision is thrilling stuff, aesthetically consistent with Wilde… while perfectly tuned into the overkill of American affluence.” – Chicago Free Press


An intimate evening of classic magic with Dennis Watkins

The Magic Parlour
Performed by Dennis Watkins
Open run on Friday evenings
At The Palmer House Hilton Hotel
17 E Monroe St, Chicago

Only 32 seats are available for each performance of this intimate, sophisticated, close-up magic show in one of the hotel’s historic private event rooms. Guests gather at Potter’s Lounge in the hotel’s lower level and are escorted to the performance space, where they will enjoy an evening of mind-blowing magic and mind reading with Chicago’s own Dennis Watkins.

About The House Theatre of Chicago
The House is Chicago’s premier home for original works of physical and spectacle storytelling. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. In 2002 The House was hailed by the Chicago press as “The Next Big Thing.” In early 2007, following dozens of world premiere productions, and national attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Variety, and American Theatre Magazine, The House achieved even greater success with “The Sparrow,” which Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones called, “Among the very best original theater pieces I’ve ever seen.”

Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 56 Joseph Jefferson Awards (19 wins) and became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007. Now celebrating its 12th year of original work, The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.