TimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues, is thrilled to announce its 22nd season and to preview an upcoming partnership with Firebrand Theatre.
The company’s 2018-19 subscription season will feature revivals of acclaimed plays by Barbara Lebow and Terrence McNally; the Chicago premiere of a play by Hansol Jung
that premiered at the 2016 Humana Festival of New American Plays; and a Chicago
premiere by one of The New York Times’ “Tomorrow’s Marquee Names, Now in the Making,” Jiréh Breon Holder. 
TimeLine Theatre’s upcoming 2018-19 subscription season includes: 
  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL by Barbara Lebow, directed by Vanessa Stalling, a moving story about two sisters reunited after years of separation caused by the aftermath of the Holocaust;
  • MASTER CLASS, Terrence McNally’s acclaimed play about the formidable opera star Maria Callas, inspired by a series of classes she taught at Julliard in the 1970s, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, music directed by Doug Peck, and starring TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks (The Audience), presented at Stage 773;
  • The Chicago premiere of CARDBOARD PIANO by Hansol Jung, a powerful story of faith, love, and the human capacity for forgiveness set amidst violent conflict in northern Uganda, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe;
  • And the Chicago premiere of TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET by Jiréh Breon Holder, a vivid story taking place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement that explores family, responsibility, and the personal sacrifices that enable progress, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson.
Further casting will be announced at a later date.

Save on tickets to TimeLine’s 2018-19 Season with a 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.

And previewing an upcoming partnership with Firebrand Theatre: In addition to its
2018-19 four-show subscription series, TimeLine revealed today that the company will partner with Firebrand Theatre—Chicago’s new musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women—on Firebrand’s upcoming fall production of a musical directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Details are to be announced, including exclusive ticket opportunities for TimeLine subscribers and patrons.
“On behalf of all of TimeLine’s Company Members I am thrilled to announce our next season, featuring a timely new production of the gorgeous and poetic A SHAYNA MAIDEL, an intimate MASTER CLASS unlike any you’ve seen before, and acclaimed new plays from two of the country’s most exciting young writers with the resonant CARDBOARD PIANO and the inspiring TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “And, with more details forthcoming, we are so excited to partner with Firebrand Theatre, which has quickly become a dynamic force in the Chicago theatre community. It’s a season that will take us through five different eras and three different continents, exploring stories that probe history and shine a light on issues making headlines today.”
by Barbara Lebow
directed by Vanessa Stalling
August 30 – November 4, 2018 (previews 8/22 – 8/29)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave
A SHAYNA MAIDEL is a powerful and poignant drama about two sisters trying to reconnect after years of separation brought on by the aftermath of the Holocaust. Shortly before World War II, Rose Weiss and her father escaped Poland for America, but were forced to leave Rose’s sister Lusia and her mother behind. When the two sisters reunite in New York City many years later, Rose is confronted by an older sister who, having survived the horrors of war overseas, now seems nothing more than a stranger. And Lusia—haunted by vivid memories of her past—struggles to connect with a family she’s never known and to believe in the potential of life in a new land. A SHAYNA MAIDEL explores family, faith, and forgiveness in the pursuit of a better future.
Written in 1984, A SHAYNA MAIDEL was widely produced by America’s leading regional theaters and became a long-running success Off Broadway from 1987 to 1989. The New York Times called the play “a tribute to the sustaining power of family and to man’s indomitability,” the Hartford Journal Inquirer hailed it as “an emotional powerhouse of almost overwhelming proportions,” and the Atlanta Constitution raved that “anyone who sees it will not soon forget it.” The Chicago Reader underscored the play’s fit with TimeLine’s mission, describing it in a 2002 review as “history as intimate as a snapshot.”
by Terrence McNally
directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling
music directed by Doug Peck
October 25 – December 9, 2018 (previews 10/19 – 10/24)
presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.
This glorious, raw, and bittersweet look at one of opera’s most formidable talents was the Tony Award winner for Best Play in 1996. Witness a master class conducted by legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Glamorous, demanding, and unapologetically herself, Callas critiques and regales a new crop of opera’s finest. Both frustrated and amazed by the students thrust before her, she escapes into recollections of the glories and failures of her past, remembering her rise as one of opera’s biggest underdogs. This authentic and musically rich MASTER CLASS presents a portrait of a faded star who refuses to be
anything but the indomitable woman she once was.
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), where she mostly recently appeared as Queen Elizabeth II in the company’s extended run of Peter Morgan’s THE AUDIENCE, also directed by Bowling. 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 Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the short film FOR A GOOD TIME. And the production will be music directed by six-time Jeff Award recipient Doug Peck, who previously music directed FIORELLO! and JUNO at TimeLine. Peck’s extensive credits include work around Chicago at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and many others, as well as regionally at theatres across the United States.
Chicago Premiere
by Hansol Jung
directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe
January 17 – March 17, 2019 (previews 1/9 – 1/16)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
A hopeful and moving story of loss, love, and the power of faith. At the dawn of the millennium in a darkened church in northern Uganda, the daughter of American missionaries and a local teenage girl prepare to exchange vows in a secret, makeshift wedding ceremony. But when the brutality of the war zone around them encroaches on their fragile union, the two are faced with a reality they cannot escape. Confronting the religious and cultural roots of intolerance, CARDBOARD PIANO explores violence and its aftermath, as well as the human capacity for hatred, forgiveness, and love.
CARDBOARD PIANO premiered as a part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2016. The Louisville Courier-Journal called it “haunting” and “authentic,” writing that “Jung’s characters never offer clear answers to what is to be done when hearts and lives are broken from violence and denunciation, but this promising playwright’s story suggests a power in facing the damage done and picking up the pieces to inform each step forward.” 

And Louisville Insider reflected that “Jung leaves herself plenty of room for questions and accusations that reach far beyond the borders of Uganda.”
Chicago Premiere
by Jiréh Breon Holder
directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson
May 2 – June 29, 2018 (previews 4/24 – 5/1)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
A captivating and complicated tale about the intersection of family, responsibility, and progress at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Bowzie Brandon, his wife Sally, and their best friends Tony and Evelyn see happiness on the horizon when Bowzie gets a scholarship to attend college and improve his family’s life. However, when the opportunity to become a Freedom Rider arises, Bowzie leaves his obligations as a husband and friend behind to join the fight against racism in the Deep South. TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET is a powerful look at the tenuous balance between security and risk, the bonds of love and friendship, and the personal cost of progress.
Previously seen at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre and in an extended Off Broadway run at Roundabout Theatre, TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET was the recipient of the 2017 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award. Hailed “an exceptional work, one that will dive-bomb into your head and your heart” (Talkin’ Broadway) and a story “that examines life on both the margins and at the epicenter of historic change” (Stage Left), this stunning play “brings the early civil rights movement up close and personal” (Deadline).
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 21 seasons, TimeLine has presented 75 productions, including 10 world premieres and 33 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 11th 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 54 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 Eileen LaCario. 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, Bayless Family Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.
TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Choose Chicago, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Green Theatre Alliance, and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.
Firebrand Theatre is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Its goals include building a world where women’s stories and experiences are valued in theatre as highly as a man’s. Until this world is fully realized, Firebrand plans to fight the inequity by advocating for women with their programming, casting, and process. Led by Artistic Director and Founder Harmony France, Firebrand presented its inaugural production LIZZIE in late 2017. Next up is 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL, running April 7 – May 20, 2018. Firebrand is in residence at The Den Theatre,1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Visit firebrandtheatre.org for more information.
BIOGRAPHIES (in alphabetical order)
Nick Bowling (Director, MASTER CLASS) 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; and MAN OF LA MANCHA, CITY OF ANGELS, and THE KING AND I at Marriott Theatre. Other recent credits at TimeLine include THE AUDIENCE, A DISAPPEARING NUMBER, THE LAST WIFE, DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU, JUNO, 33 VARIATIONS, and MY KIND OF TOWN. Other Chicago credits include Marriott’s RAGTIME and THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, Paramount’s A CHRISTMAS STORY, Northwestern University’s CABARET, Porchlight’s A CATERED AFFAIR, Writers’ BACH AT LEIPZIG, and Shattered Globe’s TIME OF THE CUCKOO and FROZEN ASSETS.
Jiréh Breon Holder (Playwright, TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET) holds an MFA degree from Yale School of Drama’s playwriting program and currently teaches at Emory University’s Department of Theater Studies and Creative Writing Program, where he is the 2016–2018 Fellow in Playwriting. His play TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET made its New York debut at Roundabout Theatre Company in October 2017. TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET was the recipient of the 2016 Kendeda Prize and the 2017 Laurents Hatcher Prize. His sharp and often political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors and address the magic of everyday life in the South. Other plays include THE RULES, THE LEAST OF THESE, IN THE SOUTHERN BREEZE, …WHAT THE END WILL BE, and 50:13. Holder has received productions or readings at the Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, the Alliance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, TimeLine Theatre Company, and the Old Globe Theatre. He is currently under commission from MTC/Sloan, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Old Globe, and The Alliance Theatre.
Hansol Jung (Playwright, CARDBOARD PIANO) is a playwright and director from South Korea. Productions include WILD GOOSE DREAMS (La Jolla Playhouse), CARDBOARD PIANO (Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville), AMONG THE DEAD (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), NO MORE SAD THINGS (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre), and WOLF PLAY. She has commissions from National Theatre (UK), Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theater, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant with Ma-Yi Theatre, and a translation of ROMEO AND JULIET for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Repertory’s Ground Floor, Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill Theater Center’s New Play Conference, Lark Play Development Center, Salt Lake Acting Company, Boston Court Theatre, Bushwick Starr, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Asia Society New York, and Seven Devils Playwright Conference. She is the recipient of the Page 73 Playwright Fellowship, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theatre Workshop, MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, and International Playwrights Residency at Royal Court. She has translated more than 30 English musicals into Korean, including EVITA, DRACULA, SPAMALOT, and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, while working on several award-winning musical theatre productions as director, lyricist, and translator in Seoul, South Korea. Jung holds an MFA degree in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab.
Barbara Lebow (Playwright, A SHAYNA MAIDEL) is a California resident who grew up in New York, moved to Atlanta in the 1960s and joined The Academy Theatre’s developmental workshop, eventually becoming playwright in residence. Among her plays with first productions there are A SHAYNA MAIDEL (which ran Off Broadway 1987-89 and continues to receive regional and international productions), THE LEFT HAND SINGING, THE KEEPERS, CYPARIS, LITTLE JOE MONAGHAN, THE ADVENTURES OF HOMER MCGUNDY REVISED, TRAINS, and TINY TIM IS DEAD. In addition to her own writing, Lebow facilitates play creation with disenfranchised segments of the population including homeless and addicted individuals, youth at risk, developmentally and physically disabled persons, and women in prison. In recent years, she has worked with residents of Los Prietos Boys Camp, supported by a grant from the Fund for Santa Barbara. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting, a TCG/Pew Theatre Artists Residency, an NEA/TCG Residency, an Atlanta Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts, a Georgia Governor’s Award in the Arts, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Santa Barbara County Probation Department. Other recent plays include THE PHENOM; PLUMFIELD, IRAQ; LA NIñERA: THE NURSEMAID; and KILLING SPIDERS. Her newest play, THE HEBBLES, deals with the effects of a mass shooting on one small American family.
Terrence McNally (Playwright, MASTER CLASS) is a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award. He has won four Tony Awards, for his plays LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! and MASTER CLASS, and his musical books for KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN and RAGTIME. The Kennedy Center recently produced three of his plays under the title TERRENCE MCNALLY’S NIGHTS AT THE OPERA: MASTER CLASS, THE LISBON TRAVIATA, and the world premiere of GOLDEN AGE. He has written a number of TV scripts, including ANDRE’S MOTHER, for which he won an Emmy Award. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1996, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He recently wrote the book for the Tony Award-nominated musical, THE VISIT, which opened on Broadway in the spring of 2015 with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb. He wrote the libretto for the opera GREAT SCOTT as well as DEAD MAN WALKING, both with music by Jake Heggie. His play IT’S ONLY A PLAY opened on Broadway in the fall of 2014. He is the writer of the book for the musical ANASTASIA, which is currently playing on Broadway. His newest play, FIRE AND AIR, will open at Classic Stage Company in the winter of 2018. Other plays include Tony Award-nominated Best Play MOTHERS AND SONS; AND AWAY WE GO; FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE; LIPS TOGETHER, TEETH APART; CORPUS CHRISTI; THE RITZ; SOME MEN; A PERFECT GANESH; and DEUCE.
Mechelle Moe (Director, CARDBOARD PIANO) is a Company Member at TimeLine Theatre, where she recently directed IN THE NEXT ROOM, OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY. She has also previously directed play readings of CARDBOARD PIANO in artistic alliance with The Yard and AN EXPERIMENT WITH AN AIR PUMP, and appeared on stage in BOY, 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. Mechelle is a Jeff Award recipient for Actress in a 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 LIKE SUGAR, THE 4TH GRADER’S PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE SUICIDE, ECLIPSED, OUR AMERICA: GHETTO LIFE 101: REMORSE (which she also adapted), and METAMORPHOSES, both of which were selected for the 2014 and 2015 Illinois High School Theatre Festivals, as well as the docudrama BROKEN TEXT, an original work by Mechelle based on her interviews with men recently released from incarceration and living in a transitional facility. She graduated with honors from the University of Illinois Chicago with bachelor’s degrees in Theater and Anthropology.
Ron OJ Parson (Director, TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET) previously directed PARADISE BLUE, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, and SUNSET BABY, and will next direct TO CATCH A FISH (April 25 – July 1, 2018) at TimeLine, where he is a Company Member. 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 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, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight, Court, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square, Northlight Theatre, Urban Theatre Company, City Lit Theater, ETA Creative Arts, and Writers. Regionally, Ron has directed shows at Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory, 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, among others. In Canada, he directed the world premiere of PALMER PARK by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Stratford Festival. 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, SAGAFTRA, and SDC.
Vanessa Stalling (Director, A SHAYNA MAIDEL) most recently directed Sarah DeLappe’s THE WOLVES at The Goodman and Lauren Yee’s HOOKMAN at Steep Theatre. Prior to that, she adapted and directed UNITED FLIGHT 232, from the book Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales, for The House Theatre of Chicago, which received Jeff Awards for Outstanding Production – Midsize Theatre and  Ensemble. Stalling was a primary artist at Redmoon Theater, where she served as a director, performer, and Associate Artistic Director. As an artist at Redmoon, she enjoyed directing several productions, including a remount of THE CABINET, which toured Brazil as part of the FILO Festival; LAST OF MY SPECIES; WINTER PAGEANT; PRINCESS CLUB; TWILIGHT ORCHARD; and roaming performances for President Obama’s Halloween celebrations at The White House. She has held teaching positions at Roosevelt University, Columbia College, University of Chicago, and is an assistant professor of directing at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Theatre & Dance. She was the 2016 Michael Maggio Fellow at the Goodman Theatre and has been nominated for two 3Arts Awards. Stalling is located primarily in San Diego and Chicago with her husband, The Hypocrites Artistic Director Sean Graney.