TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and acclaimed for presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues, announces its 2017-18 season.

The company’s 21st season will feature the Chicago premiere of an acclaimed play by FROST/NIXON playwright Peter Morgan that has been a hit in both London and New York; a new TimeLine production of a Tony Award-nominated hit by Chicago native Sarah Ruhl; the Chicago premiere of a Kilroys List play by Anna Ziegler that first premiered last year off-Broadway; and the first world premiere developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, written by Brett Neveu.

TimeLine Theatre’s upcoming 2017-18 season includes:
— The Chicago premiere of THE AUDIENCE by Peter Morgan, the imagined story of Queen Elizabeth II’s weekly meetings with England’s Prime Ministers through decades of history and political strife, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling and starring TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks as Queen Elizabeth II;
IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY, Sarah Ruhl’s Victorian-era tale of a woman’s journey to understand herself and find greater equality in her marriage and the world, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe at Stage 773;
— The Chicago premiere of BOY by Anna Ziegler, inspired by the real-life story of a boy who claims his true identity after being raised as a girl, and finds love, directed by Damon Kiely;
— And the world premiere of TO CATCH A FISH by Chicagoan Brett Neveu, the first play to be produced that was written and developed through TimeLine’s inaugural Playwrights Collective, about a family and a community torn apart by a flawed search for justice, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson.
Further casting will be announced at a later date.
For a seventh year, one production of TimeLine’s upcoming 2017-18 season will be presented at an alternate location to accommodate the company’s subscriber base and expanding audience. IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY 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 Ave.
Save up to 20% on tickets to TimeLine’s 2017-18 with a 4-Admission FlexPass Subscription. Four different tiers, priced from $88 to $204, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com.
“Our 21st season features four plays inspired by history that ignite discussion around several issues that are increasingly critical to confront today,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “TimeLine’s Company Members are eager to explore these stories about styles of political leadership, women’s equality, gender identity and law enforcement tactics—all through intimate, provocative productions that immerse audiences, letting them walk in others’ shoes and discuss our role in history.”
Chicago Premiere
by Peter Morgan
directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling
August 24 – November 12, 2017 (previews 8/16 – 8/23)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
A portrait of a dynamic and provocative woman—the symbol of a nation—as she weathers decades of history and political strife. Every Tuesday afternoon for more than 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has met with each of her 12 Prime Ministers in a private audience, a gesture of unity between government and Crown. Through moments of tension, negotiation, war, and unrest, these conversations with political leaders from Winston Churchill to Harold Wilson to Margaret Thatcher have remained a constant across the years. Playwright Peter Morgan re-imagines each of these meetings, giving us a glimpse at the queen’s role in guiding the circumstances that have shaped Great Britain, and a window into the mystery, compassion and humor of the woman behind the iconic crown.
TimeLine’s production will star Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks, a six-time Jeff Award nominee for roles at TimeLine, including 33 VARIATIONS, A WALK IN THE WOODS and ALL MY SONS, and where she mostly recently appeared opposite Mike Nussbaum in BAKERSFIELD MIST. Her other recent credits include VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE (Jeff Award nomination) at the Goodman Theatre, WOMEN LAUGHING ALONE WITH SALAD (Helen Hayes Award nomination) at Woolly Mammonth Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the short film FOR A GOOD TIME.
THE AUDIENCE, previously seen on Broadway and in the West End and acclaimed as “funny and truthful” (The Times) and “hugely enjoyable and cumulatively very affecting” (The Independent), makes its Chicago debut at TimeLine.
Playwright Peter Morgan also penned FROST/NIXON (another TimeLine hit, in 2010) and recently created the Netflix series THE CROWN, inspired by THE AUDIENCE and streaming now.
by Sarah Ruhl
directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe
October 26 – December 17, 2017 (previews 10/20 – 10/25)
Presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.
A story of awakening, equality, and the need for connection that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is the 1880s and Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light has begun to change the fabric of daily life. Inspired by Edison’s discovery, scientist and inventor Dr. Givings creates a piece of machinery to treat the increasingly common affliction of female hysteria. When he starts to see a new patient regularly, his wife’s curiosity with the invention and what occurs “in the next room” grows, leading to discoveries of her own. This intimate and humorous story of self-discovery debunks the expectation of sexuality as a dirty word and shows that human connection is not simply a means to an end, but a vital part of life itself.
Inspired by the book The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel P. Maines, this fascinating, funny, and evocative Tony Award-nominated play is insightful, relatable, and an “enticing blend of irreverent humor and skewed realism” (San Francisco Chronicle). Previously featured at TimeLine in 2016 in a staged reading in collaboration with The Chicago Inclusion Project, the company is thrilled to re-examine this play that illuminates “how much control men had over women’s lives, bodies and thoughts, even their most intimate sensations” (The New York Times).
Playwright Sarah Ruhl is the Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Tony Award-nominated writer of STAGE KISS, THE CLEAN HOUSE, and DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, among many others, and a 2006 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship.
Chicago Premiere
by Anna Ziegler
directed by Damon Kiely
January 18 – March 18, 2018 (previews 1/10 – 1/17)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
A moving and poignant story, inspired by true events, about a search for personal identity and acceptance. In the 1960s, a surgical accident causes a well-intentioned doctor to convince the parents of twin boys to raise one as a girl. Two decades later, the repercussions of that choice continue to unfold, as those involved struggle to connect with each other and themselves, stuck between their hope for the future and their uncertainty about the past. BOY explores the beauty of finding love, the complexity of gender identity, and the consequences of the choices we make for those we love.
Previously featured in 2014 as part of the company’s TimePieces play reading series, TimeLine is proud to stage the Chicago premiere of BOY, an “insightful, gut-wrenching, and beautiful play” that is “dazzlingly, deliciously alive from start to finish” (Talkin’ Broadway).
Playwright Anna Ziegler is an award-winning playwright whose credits include PHOTOGRAPH 51 (produced in the West End starring Nicole Kidman), ACTUALLY and THE LAST MATCH. The Outer Critics Circle nominated her play BOY for the 2016 John Gassner Award.
World Premiere
by Brett Neveu
directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson
May 3 – July 1, 2018 (previews 4/25 – 5/2)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Inspired by true events, this compelling new play examines how the pursuit of justice—however well intentioned—can devastate a family and a community. In a low-income, residential neighborhood of Milwaukee, Terry Kilbourn has just begun a new job passing out flyers for a discount warehouse. When his bosses start asking more of him, his loved ones begin to question what is really going on. As higher stakes are revealed and relationships tested, the clarity of who to trust and what to believe grows increasingly murky. Both hilarious and heart wrenching, TO CATCH A FISH walks the line between good intentions and deceit, testing the bonds we have to family and community.
This world premiere play was developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine’s mission. TO CATCH A FISH—the first play developed through the Collective to receive a full production—is sure to spark dialogue about the dangers of intention versus implementation in law enforcement, and when one may in fact overshadow the other.
Chicago-based playwright Brett Neveu’s play HARMLESS also received its world premiere at TimeLine (in 2007). His other recent plays include HER AMERICA, PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, DETECTIVE PARTNER HERO VILLAIN and THE OPPONENT.
TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. To date over 20 seasons, TimeLine has presented 70 productions, including nine world premieres and 30 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 10th 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 53 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.
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, Behzad Dabu, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.
Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, The Seabury 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, THE AUDIENCE) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of seven Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (THE HISTORY BOYS, THE NORMAL HEART, FIORELLO!, THIS HAPPY BREED and THE CRUCIBLE at TimeLine, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM at Porchlight Music Theatre, and 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; CLOSER THAN EVER at Porchlight Music Theatre; CITY OF ANGELS, THE KING AND I and MAN OF LA MANCHA at Marriott Theatre. Other recent credits at TimeLine include A DISAPPEARING NUMBER, THE LAST WIFE, DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU, JUNO, 33 VARIATIONS and MY KIND OF TOWN. Other Chicago credits include Paramount’s A CHRISTMAS STORY, Northwestern University’s CABARET, Porchlight’s A CATERED AFFAIR, Writers Theatre’s BACH AT LEIPZIG and Shattered Globe Theatre’s TIME OF THE CUCKOO and FROZEN ASSETS.
Damon Kiely (Director, BOY) is the Chair of Performance at DePaul’s Theatre School and the author of How to Read a Play: Text Analysis for Directors (Routledge 2016). His production of HANK WILLIAMS: LOST HIGHWAY won the Jeff Award for Musical Production Midsized. He previously directed WEEKEND by Gore Vidal for TimeLine Theatre. Kiely served as Artistic Director for American Theatre Company and has directed for American Blues, American Theatre Company, Route 66, A Red Orchid, Next and many others. His original plays THIEVES LIKE US and THE REVEL were produced by The House Theatre of Chicago. Prior to moving back to Chicago, he taught, produced, and directed in New York City. He is a winner of the 2000-02 NEA/TCG Career Directing Program, the 2000 Drama League Fall Directing Program, and the 1997 Princess Grace Award.
Peter Morgan (Playwright, THE AUDIENCE) is an award-winning British film and television screenwriter and playwright. Morgan is best known for writing historical films and plays, including THE QUEEN, FROST/NIXON, THE DAMNED UNITED and RUSH, and is the creator of Netflix’s currently running drama series THE CROWN. Other film work includes THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, HEREAFTER, 360, MARTHA, MEET FRANK, DANIEL and LAURENCE, and THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND.
Mechelle Moe (Director, IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY) Mechelle Moe is a Company Member at TimeLine, where her credits include directing readings of IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY in collaboration with The Chicago Inclusion Project, CARDBOARD PIANO in artistic alliance with The Yard, and EXPERIMENT WITH AN AIR PUMP, and appearing in THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS, MY KIND OF TOWN, THE FRONT PAGE, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR, NOT ENOUGH AIR, and PARADISE LOST. She is co-artistic director of The Yard, a youth-based theater company that produces theater relevant to young people; performed by young people. She is also a founding member of The Hypocrites, and currently is a part of its ensemble. Moe is a Jeff Award recipient for Actress in Principal Role for her performance in MACHINAL (The Hypocrites) and received a Jeff Award nomination for Actress in Principal Role for STAGE DOOR (Griffin). She has directed and devised numerous works at Senn Arts and with The Yard, including MILK