TimeLineTimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays inspired by history that connect today’s social and political issues, announces its 2015-16 season, which features the return to TimeLine’s stage of Chicago legend Mike Nussbaum plus three plays new to Chicago: a new play from the head writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, one from the fast-rising playwright of DETROIT ’67, and the first planned United States production of the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award winner for Best New Play.
TimeLine Theatre’s upcoming 2015-16 season includes:

  • As previously announced, THE PRICE by Arthur Miller, directed by TimeLine Associate Artist Louis Contey, featuring Chicago legend Mike Nussbaum, and presented as part of a nationwide commemoration of the 100th birthday of the playwright;
  • The Chicago premiere of SPILL, a new play written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski, the head writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, and created in collaboration with Reeva Wortel, developed from hundreds of interviews with those affected by the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history;
  • From the fast-rising playwright of DETROIT ’67, the Chicago premiere of SUNSET BABY by Dominique Morisseau, directed by TimeLine Associate Artist Ron OJ Parson;
  • And the first planned United States production of the widely acclaimed 2014 Laurence Olivier Award winner for Best New Play, CHIMERICA by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling.
For a fifth season, one production of TimeLine’s upcoming 2015-16 season will be presented at an alternate location to accommodate the company’s nearly 3,200 subscribers and growing audience. SPILL will be presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago. All other productions will be staged at TimeLine Theatre’s home at 615 W. Wellington Avenue.
4-Admission FlexPass Subscriptions for TimeLine’s 2015-16 season, priced from $80 to $204, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com
“TimeLine’s 19th season promises to be one of our most adventurous and diverse, featuring varied styles of storytelling, some of the most dynamic voices working in theatre today, and a celebration of one of the 20th Century’s greatest writers,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “The opportunity to collaborate with the likes of Mike Nussbaum, Louis Contey, Leigh Fondakowski, Dominique Morisseau, Lucy Kirkwood, Ron OJ Parson and Nick Bowling, among many others, would be a thrill for any artistic director. I approach the 2015-16 season with tremendous gratitude for all that TimeLine has achieved, as well as anticipation of all that lies ahead for this ever-evolving organization driven by a passionate team of Company and Board members, staff and supporters.”
by Arthur Miller
directed by Louis Contey
August – November 2015
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave
In a New York brownstone marked for demolition, two estranged brothers meet to sort through and sell their late father’s belongings. Having lost his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, their father has left them a room full of old furniture and a lifetime’s worth of family baggage. What follows is a poignant, intimate and often heart-wrenching look at the ways we are liberated or trapped by those we love. Against a backdrop of crumbling relics, Arthur Miller’s classic play is about the legacy of the past and the price of life’s choices.
Presented as part of a nationwide commemoration of the 100th birthday of playwright Arthur Miller, THE PRICE will be directed by TimeLine Associate Artist Louis Contey and features the return of legendary actor Mike Nussbaum to the TimeLine stage, playing the central role of a wily, show-stealing, 90-year-old antique dealer.
Chicago Premiere
by Leigh Fondakowski
created in collaboration with Reeva Wortel
directed by Leigh Fondakowski
October – December 2015
Presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.
On April 20, 2010, the BP-run oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off the shores of Louisiana, killing 11 and sending millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. With a dramatic story spun from hundreds of personal interviews with oil industry employees, fishermen, politicians, cleanup workers, scientists, and the families of those lost, SPILL probes into a vivid behind-the-news narrative of the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Written and directed by Leigh Fondakowski, the head writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT and creator of THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, SPILL’s collection of poignant and deeply personal stories from the Louisiana bayous illustrates where we are as a society and confronts the true human and environmental costs of oil.
SPILL had its world premiere at Louisiana State University’s Swine Palace in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in March 2014. TimeLine hosted a workshop of SPILL in July 2014 and is honored to welcome this play back for its Chicago premiere.
Chicago Premiere
by Dominique Morisseau
directed by Ron OJ Parson
January – April 2016
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
This powerful family drama explores a woman’s journey from a brutal existence to her own liberation, daring to look at where the personal and political collide. Her father, a former revolutionary in the Black Power movement, has finally come to Brooklyn to mend their relationship. But he is totally unprepared for the hardened, modern woman he finds and is forced to confront his most challenging revolution of all: fatherhood. Soft one moment and stinging the next, she ducks and weaves like a prize boxer—raw power wrapped in lyrical prose. As father and daughter circle one another, generational differences are exposed, old wounds are revealed, and blazing truths crackle out in a savage, moving story of how the past and present connect.
From one of America’s hottest young playwrights, SUNSET BABY is a compelling look at family, generational conflict and survival, heralded by The Guardian as “a play that—like its flawed, complex characters—has a fiercely beating, damaged heart.”
Chicago-area audiences previously saw playwright Dominique Morisseau’s play DETROIT ’67 at Northlight Theatre in 2013, also directed by Ron OJ Parson. SUNSET BABY received its world premiere at New York’s LAByrinth Theatre Company in 2013; TimeLine’s production is its Chicago premiere.
by Lucy Kirkwood
directed by Nick Bowling
May – July 2016
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
In June 1989, as the Chinese government instituted a brutal crackdown on a pro-democracy rally at Tiananmen Square, the iconic image of one man standing alone in front of a military tank captivated the world. “Tank Man” emerged as a hero and a symbol of defiance in the face of tyranny, only to disappear forever. Twenty years later, a photojournalist searches for the truth about that mysterious man in a story that highlights the sharp differences, as well as similarities, between twin superpowers China and America. The result is an epic story that presents an unflinching look at the nature of censorship, the cost of truth, and what it takes to maintain hope.
Acclaimed as “gloriously rich” and “mind-expanding“ (The Guardian) and a “gripping, multi-layered and meticulously researched thriller” (Time Out London), CHIMERICA premiered at London’s Almeida Theatre in May 2013 where it became a sold-out phenomenon before transferring for a triumphant run in London’s West End. The play received the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play, and TimeLine’s production is the first planned production in the United States.
TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres (American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®, 2011), Best Theatre in Chicago (Chicago magazine, 2011) and the nation’s theater “Company of the Year” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010), was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. Over its first 18 seasons, TimeLine presented 63 productions, including nine world premieres and 24 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its ninth year of bringing the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 52 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times over 15 seasons of eligibility.
Now playing at TimeLine are the Chicago premieres of Richard Nelson’s acclaimed The Apple Family Plays: THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING and SORRY, directed by Louis Contey and running through April 19, 2015 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President John M. Sirek. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.
Major supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation and The Shubert Foundation.
TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.
BIOGRAPHIES (in alphabetical order)
Nick Bowling (Director, CHIMERICA) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of two Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (THE HISTORY BOYS and THE NORMAL HEART at TimeLine) and four Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (FIORELLO!, THIS HAPPY BREED and THE CRUCIBLE at TimeLine, ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for BLOOD AND GIFTS, THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION, HAUPTMANN and THE LION IN WINTER at TimeLine and for CLOSER THAN EVER at Porchlight Music Theatre. Recent credits at TimeLine include DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU, JUNO, THE NORMAL HEART, 33 VARIATIONS and MY KIND OF TOWN. Other Chicago credits include Marriott Theatre’s THE KING AND I and the upcoming CITY OF ANGELS, Northwestern University’s CABARET, Porchlight Music Theatre’s SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM and A CATERED AFFAIR, Writers Theatre’s BACH AT LEIPZIG, Shattered Globe Theatre’s TIME OF THE CUCKOO and FROZEN ASSETS and Rivendell Theatre’s FACTORY GIRLS, among others.
Louis Contey (Director, THE PRICE) is an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre, where he received a Non-Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction for AWAKE AND SING! and a Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination for IT’S ALL TRUE. Other TimeLine productions include THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS: THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING and SORRY, FROST/NIXON, A HOUSE WITH NO WALLS, THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA and COPENHAGEN, among others. He has directed more than 60 plays during his career, among them REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, ALL MY SONS, ROCKET TO THE MOON, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG, MEET JOE DOE, BOYS NEXT DOOR and MARRIAGE PLAY. He is a 12-time Jeff nominee and has received seven Non-Equity Jeff Awards. Contey has worked at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Theatre at the Center, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Shattered Globe, Provision, Eclipse and American Theater Company, among others. He received his MFA in directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University, where he is currently an adjunct instructor.
Leigh Fondakowski (Playwright and Director, SPILL) was the head writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT and is a member of Tectonic Theatre Project. She is an Emmy-nominated co-screenwriter for the adaptation of THE LARAMIE PROJECT for HBO, and a co-writer of THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER. Her play, THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, has been performed under her direction at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Theater Company and Guthrie Theater, and received the Glickman Award for Best New Play in the Bay Area in 2005. Another original play, I THINK I LIKE GIRLS, premiered at Encore Theater in San Francisco under her direction and was voted one of the Top 10 plays of 2002 by The Advocate. Leigh is a 2007 recipient of the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights and a 2009 Macdowell Colony Fellow. She was an Imagine Fund fellow and guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota in 2010 where she completed her play, CASA CUSHMAN, about 19th century American actress Charlotte Cushman. She recently co-directed THE LARAMIE CYCLE at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Moisés Kaufman, and she is currently adapting her first creative non-fiction book, Stories from Jonestown, into a full-length feature film with Remstar Films. She is a founding member of the theater collective The Study Group.
Lucy Kirkwood (Playwright, CHIMERICA) graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, where she wrote her first full-length stage play, GRADY HOT POTATO. Her next play, GUNS OR BUTTER, was produced at the Terror 2007 Festival at London’s Union Theatre and was subsequently broadcast by BBC Radio. In 2008 Kirkwood’s play TINDERBOX was produced by the Bush Theatre, and in the same year HEDDA, her adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s HEDDA GABLER, was produced by London’s Gate Theatre to wide critical acclaim. Her play PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY was produced as part of the Terror 2009 Festival, and that same year her play IT FELT EMPTY WHEN THE HEART WENT AT FIRST BUT IT IS ALRIGHT NOW was produced by Clean Break Theatre Co. That play was nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer and made Kirkwood a joint winner of the John Whiting Award in 2010. Her stage adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, co-devised and directed by Katie Mitchell, was performed at the National Theatre as its Christmas show in 2011. In the same year her play THE SMALL HOURS (co-written with Ed Hime) opened at the Hampstead, and her play HOUSEKEEPING was performed as part of Theatre Uncut season at Southwark Playhouse. NSFW premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, starring Janie Dee and Julian Barrett. CHIMERICA, premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 2013 and subsequently transferred to the West End, earning Kirkwood the 2014 Laurence Olivier and Evening Standard awards for Best New Play. Kirkwood collaborated with Lost Dog on a Brighton Festival co-commissioned dance project LIKE RABBITS, adapted from Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin and Lapinova. Kirkwood also writes for television, including for SKINS, and she created and wrote the new series THE SMOKE. She is currently under commission to the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre, and New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club. She is also developing a new screenplay for Film4 / Ruby Films.
Arthur Miller (Playwright, THE PRICE), an American playwright and essayist, has been called one of the greatest dramatists of the 20th Century. A prominent figure in American theatre and cinema for almost 100 years, he wrote scores of plays that are produced and studied widely around the world, including THE CRUCIBLE, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, ALL MY SONS (produced at TimeLine Theatre in 2009), AFTER THE FALL, THE PRICE, INCIDENT AT VICHY, THE AMERICAN CLOCK, and his best-known work, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, for which he received the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His screenplays include THE MISFITS, EVERYBODY WINS and the 1995 film adaptation of THE CRUCIBLE. Miller’s life was often full of controversy and the media spotlight, most famously when he refused to give evidence against others to the House Un-American Activities Committee and during his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. He died in 2005, at age 89.
Dominique Morisseau (Playwright, SUNSET BABY), writer and actress, is an alumna of the Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop. Her play DETROIT ’67 is the 2014 winner of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. Her playwriting credits include SUNSET BABY (LAByrinth Theatre Company – New York, Gate Theater – London), DETROIT ‘67 (Public Theater; Classical Theatre of Harlem/National Black Theatre) and FOLLOW ME TO NELLIE’S (O’Neill; Premiere Stages). She currently has commissions with Steppenwolf Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, Lincoln Center Education and South Coast Repertory Theatre. Morisseau’s play FOLLOW ME TO NELLIE’S is currently being developed into a television series with Maven Entertainment. Her produced one-acts include THIRD GRADE (Fire This Time Festival); BLACK AT MICHIGAN (Cherry Lane Studio/DUTF); SOCKS, ROSES ARE PLAYED OUT and LOVE AND NAPPINESS (Center Stage, ATH); LOVE, LIVES, LIBERATION (The New Group); BUMRUSH (Hip Hop Theater Festival) and THE MASTERPIECE (Harlem9/HSA). She is currently developing a three-play cycle on her hometown of Detroit, entitled “The Detroit Projects.” DETROIT ‘67 is the first of the series. The second play in the series, PARADISE BLUE, was developed and read with Voice and Vision and The Public Theater in New York, the Hansberry Project at ACT, New York Theatre Workshop, McCarter Theatre, and The Williamstown Theatre Festival. Morisseau’s work has also been published in The New York Times bestseller Chicken Soup for the African American Soul and in the Harlem-based literary journal Signifyin’ Harlem. She is a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree, a two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, a runner-up for the Princess Grace Award, a commendation honoree for the Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, winner of the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award and the Weissberger Award for Playwriting, the University of Michigan – Detroit Center Emerging Leader Award, and a PoNY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow.
Ron OJ Parson (Director, SUNSET BABY) previously directed A RAISIN IN THE SUN at TimeLine, where he is an Associate Artist. He is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theatre program. He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago and a co-founder and co-director of Ripe Mango Productions. Ron currently resides in Chicago and is a Resident Artist at Court Theatre and an Associate Artist with Teatro Vista. Since moving to Chicago from New York in 1994, he has worked as both an actor and director. His Chicago credits include work with The Chicago Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Urban Theatre Company, City Lit Theater, ETA Creative Arts and Writers Theatre. Regionally, Parson has directed shows at Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Virginia Stage, Roundabout Theatre, Wilshire Theatre, The Mechanic Theatre, CenterStage, St. Louis Black Repertory, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Signature Theatre, and Portland Stage (Maine), among others. In Canada, he directed the world premiere of PALMER PARK by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. Acting credits on television and film include ER, EARLY EDITION, TURKS, AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE, VAMPING, BARBERSHOP 2, PRIMAL FEAR, DROP SQUAD and most recently Starz Network’s BOSS. He is a member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA, and SDC. For more information, visit ronojparson.com.
Reeva Wortel (Collaborator, SPILL) is an interdisciplinary artist who creates portrait-based projects that combine interview, social commentary, performance and large-scale installation. Driven by a commitment to develop the technique of portraiture beyond its traditional limits, Wortel has worked in communities as a social justice advocate and artist honing a technique to create portrait collections that narrate the stories of our time, a process that involves in-depth interviewing, photography, painting and installation. Wortel has been the recipient of several grants as a muralist, choreographer and installation artist. She has exhibited her work in Oregon, New York, Colorado, California, New Zealand and Amsterdam, and is a teaching artist in Oregon, New York, and Louisiana. She is currently working under commission by The Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland.