TimeLine Theatre Company, dedicated to presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues, announces that The How and the Why by Sarah Treem (Netflix’s House of Cards, HBO’s In Treatment), directed by Keira Fromm and starring Janet Ulrich Brooks and Elizabeth Ledo, will be the third production of its 2013-14 season.
The How and the Why is a smart and provocative play about science, family and survival of the fittest. Two brilliant evolutionary biologists—one in her 50s and one in her 20s—meet for the first time on the eve of a national conference. The women share a zeal for science and a bold and contrarian approach to their male-dominated field, but the younger scholar is there to challenge the older woman’s work with a radical new theory that she believes will change the way people regard sex. As mysteries unfold about the relationship between these two scientists, they clash over differing views on evolution, feminism and generational divides in modern America.
The How and the Why will feature TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks and Elizabeth Ledo in the two-person cast. A five-time Jeff Award nominee for performances at TimeLine and a recipient of the Jeff Award for Solo Performance for her turn as Golda Meier in Golda’s Balcony at Pegasus Players, Ulrich Brooks most recently appeared at TimeLine in 33 Variations. Ledo is a two-time Jeff Award nominated actress for her supporting roles in The Homosexuals at About Face Theatre (where she is an Artistic Associate) and Uncle Vanya at Court Theatre, and she has worked around Chicago and regionally, including more than 20 productions at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
The New York Times called The How and the Why “a smart, densely textured work about men and women, love and conflict, genes and destiny,” and The Washington Post raved that the play “brims with ideas and emotional colors that eddy and refract like rivulets in a lively, plunging stream.”
The How and the Why rounds out TimeLine’s upcoming season of four plays—the company’s 17th season—joining the previously announced Chicago-set classic A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Ron OJ Parson; Larry Kramer’s Tony Award-winning Broadway play The Normal Heart, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling and starring David Cromer; and the Chicago premiere of the musical Juno, with book by Joseph Stein, music and lyrics by Marc Blitzstein, based on the classic Irish play Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey, directed by Nick Bowling with musical direction by Doug Peck and Elizabeth Doran.
Again this year, one production of TimeLine’s season will be presented at an alternate location to accommodate the company’s more than 3,300 subscribers and growing audience. The Normal Heart will be presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago, with the other three productions taking place at TimeLine Theatre’s home just blocks away at 615 W. Wellington Avenue.
4-Admission FlexPass Subscriptions for TimeLine’s 2013-14 season are now on sale, priced from $86 to $198. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-TIME (8463) or visit timelinetheatre.com.
THE COMPLETE 2013-14 TIMELINE THEATRE SEASON IS (NOTE THAT SOME DATES HAVE CHANGED FROM THOSE PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED):
A RAISIN IN THE SUN
by Lorraine Hansberry
directed by Ron OJ Parson
August 20 – November 17, 2013 (Press Opening 8/29 at 7:30 pm)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
This award-winning drama “changed American theater forever” (The New York Times) through the striking and poignant story of an African American family living in a crowded apartment on Chicago’s south side in the 1950s. When the Younger family receives a $10,000 life insurance check, the promise of a better life seems to be just around the corner. But the family struggles with conflicting ideas about how to use the money, and their plans to buy a home in the all-white Clybourne Park neighborhood are thwarted by racist intolerance. Set just before the Civil Rights and Women’s movements, this powerful and beloved play celebrates faith, courage, and the human spirit while also casting a spotlight on issues that still plague Chicago more than 60 years after its premiere.
A Raisin in the Sun will feature TimeLine Company Member Mildred Marie Langford in the role of Beneatha Younger. Additional casting is to be announced.
THE NORMAL HEART
by Larry Kramer
directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling
October 26 – December 22, 2013 (Press Opening 11/1 at 7:30 pm)
Presented at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.
Originally produced Off-Broadway at New York’s Public Theater in 1985, TimeLine’s production of The Normal Heart will be the first Chicago staging of the play since its Tony Award-winning Broadway premiere in 2011. Set between 1981 and 1984, The Normal Heart is a searing drama about public and private indifference to the AIDS plague and one man’s lonely fight to awaken the world to the crisis. The Normal Heart follows Ned Weeks, a gay activist enraged at the unresponsiveness of public officials and the gay community. While trying to save the world from itself, he confronts the personal toll of AIDS when his lover dies of the disease.
Newsweek wrote about the 2011 Broadway production: “Like the best social playwrights, Kramer produces a crossfire of life and death energies that illuminate the many issues and create a fierce and moving human drama.” AM New York called it “a powerful example of theater at its most direct, passionate and urgent,” and The New York Times declared that Kramer’s watershed drama “blasts you like an open, overstoked furnace.”
The Normal Heart will feature acclaimed actor and director David Cromer (Our Town Off-Broadway and with The Hypocrites, Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Goodman Theatre) as Ned Weeks, marking Cromer’s return to the Chicago stage for the first time in five years.
THE HOW AND THE WHY
by Sarah Treem
directed by Keira Fromm
January 28 – April 6, 2014 (Press Opening 2/6 at 7:30 pm)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
See details above.
book by Joseph Stein, music and lyrics by Marc Blitzstein
based on the play Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey
directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling
musical direction by Doug Peck and Elizabeth Doran
April 23 – July 27, 2014 (Press Opening 5/1 at 7:30 pm)
Presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Juno is a musical based on the 1924 classic Irish play Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey. Originally produced on Broadway in 1959, Juno has never been produced in Chicago, until now. This epic story is a humorous and heartbreaking chronicle of the Boyle family, a destitute household struggling under the strain of the Irish Civil War in 1922. Juno Boyle, the fearless matriarch, holds her family together in the face of war, betrayal, and her husband Jack’s drinking problem. When the family learns of an inheritance from a distant relative, it seems that all their problems will be solved. But as they fight to rise above Dublin’s political and social unrest, they must face the tragic truth of their lives. TimeLine is pleased to introduce Chicago to this tale of survival, told through honest and powerful anthems such as “I Wish It So,” “We’re Alive” and “One Kind Word.”
Juno will feature multiple Jeff Award-winning actress Rebecca Finnegan in the title role of Juno Boyle, marking her first appearance at TimeLine since Fiorello! in 2006 and 2008. Additional casting is to be announced.
TimeLine Theatre Company, named one of the nation’s top 10 emerging professional theatres (American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards®), 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 16 seasons, TimeLine’s history includes more than 50 productions, including nine world premieres and 19 Chicago premieres; launching the Living History Education Program, bringing the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools; and completing each season operating in the black. 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 47 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production nine times.
Also scheduled during 2013-14:
The return of TimeLine’s world premiere hit production of TO MASTER THE ART by William Brown and Doug Frew, directed by William Brown, produced by the Chicago Commercial Collective and presented by Broadway in Chicago. Performances begin September 10, 2013 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. This production is not a part of TimeLine’s 2013-14 subscription season of four plays.
Now Playing at TimeLine Theatre:
Chicago premiere of BLOOD AND GIFTS by J.T. Rogers, directed by Nick Bowling, April 30 – July 28, 2013.
TimeLine Theatre is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers and Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman. 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, The Crown Family, Forum Fund at The Chicago Community Trust, JPMorgan Chase 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 and the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
Biographies (in alphabetical order)
Marc Blitzstein (Music and Lyrics, Juno) (1905-1964) was an American composer from Philadelphia, Penn. As a young musical prodigy, Blitzstein made his professional concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 21. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and later trained with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Arnold Schoenberg in Berlin. Stricken with grief by the sudden death of his wife Eva in 1936, Blitzstein composed The Cradle Will Rock, a pro-union political opera directed by Orson Welles that garnered international attention when it was shut down by the Works Progress Administration. Blitzstein went on to compose several other political works such as I’ve Got the Tune (1937) and No for an Answer (1941), as well as ambitious scores for Regina (1949), Rueben Rueben (1955) and Juno (1959). He also composed for films and contributed two songs to the original production of Lillian Hellman’s award-winning play Toys in the Attic (1960).
Nick Bowling (Director, The Normal Heart, Juno) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of an Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction (The History Boys 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 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 33 Variations, My Kind of Town, A Walk in the Woods and The Front Page. Other Chicago credits include Porchlight Music Theatre’s A Catered Affair, Writers’ Theatre’s Bach at Leipzig, Shattered Globe Theatre’s Time of the Cuckoo and Frozen Assets, Rivendell Theatre’s Factory Girls and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s Angels in America, among others. He directed the Chicago premiere of Blood and Gifts by J.T. Rogers, now playing at TimeLine.
David Cromer (Ned Weeks, The Normal Heart) most recently appeared as the Stage Manager in his production of Our Town at the Huntington Theatre in Boston, a role he also played at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York and in the production’s original run with The Hypocrites. Chicago acting credits include Oppie in The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer at Next Theatre, Edmund in Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Goodman Theatre and at Irish Rep, Alex in Serenading Louie and the Elf in The Santaland Diaries at Roadworks, Allen Ginsberg in The Beats at Writers Theatre, and Louis in Angels in America Parts 1 & 2 for The Journeymen. As a director, his New York directing credits include Tribes, Our Town and Orson’s Shadow (Barrow Street Theatre), Adding Machine (Minetta Lane Theatre), When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center Theater) and House of Blue Leaves and Brighton Beach Memoirs (Broadway). Chicago directing credits include Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman); Rent (American Theatre Company), Cherrywood, Mojo and The Hot L Baltimore (Mary-Arrchie); A Streetcar Named Desire, Picnic, The Price and Oscar Remembered (Writers’ Theatre); and Angels in America Parts 1 & 2 (The Journeymen). For his work as a director he has received four Jeff Awards (Angels in America, The Price, The Cider House Rules and Our Town); three Lucille Lortel Awards (Adding Machine, Our Town and When the Rain Stop Falling), and two Obie Awards (Adding Machine and Our Town). In 2010 he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. Upcoming New York directing projects include Really Really at MCC Theater and Nikolai and the Others at Lincoln Center Theater.
Elizabeth Doran (Co-Musical Director, Juno) is a Chicago musical director whose credits include Grand Night for Singing (Mercury Theater), The Gifts of the Magi and A Catered Affair (Porchlight Music Theatre), Some Enchanted Evening (Theo Ubique/Fox Valley Rep), Porgy and Bess (Court Theatre), and The Addams Family (Chicago). Doran is a graduate of Northwestern University. Upcoming projects include Kiss of the Spiderwoman with BoHo Theatre.
Keira Fromm (Director, The How and the Why) is a Jeff Award-nominated director (for Lobby Hero at Redtwist Theater), teacher and casting director in Chicago. Upcoming and recent directing credits include Broadsword (Gift Theatre), Fallow (Steep Theatre) and Enfrascada (16th Street Theater), plus staged readings at TimeLine Theatre, Steep Theatre, About Face Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Red Tape Theatre. While living in New York City, Fromm served as the Resident Director of the popular off-Broadway shows The Donkey Show and The Karaoke Show. She also was the Audience Casting Coordinator for the original Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Fromm received her MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She is a proud member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and an ensemble member of the New York based theater company Stage 13. She currently teaches audition and monologue workshops at Green Shirt Studio and is the Casting Associate at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Lorraine Hansberry (Playwright, A Raisin in the Sun) (1930-1965) was an African-American playwright, author and activist born and raised in Chicago. Her best-known work, A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by her family’s battle against racial segregation. When the play opened on Broadway in 1959, it was the first to be produced by an African-American woman, and Hansberry became the first black playwright and the youngest American to win a New York Critics’ Circle award. Hansberry’s second play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, opened on Broadway in 1963 and closed the night she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 34. After her death, Hansberry’s ex-husband Robert Nemiroff became the executor for several unfinished manuscripts, completing her play Les Blancs, and adapting many of her writings into the play To Be Young, Gifted and Black, which went on to become the longest-running Off Broadway play of the 1968-1969 season.
Larry Kramer (Playwright, The Normal Heart) is an American playwright and LGBT-rights activist. He is a founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS service organization, and ACT UP, a direct action AIDS advocacy group. His most acclaimed plays include The Normal Heart (1985) and the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Destiny of Me (1992). His screenplay for Women in Love was nominated for an Academy Award in 1969. He is the author of the novel Faggots (1978), a confrontational portrayal of gay culture, and a critical essay about the AIDS crisis, “1,112 and Counting” (1983). Kramer has also written the plays Sissie’s Scrapbook, A Minor Dark Age and Just Say No, A Play about Farce. His other books are The Tragedy of Today’s Gays and Reports From the Holocaust: The Story of an AIDS Activist. He earned his B.A. in English from Yale University. The Normal Heart is slated to be filmed by director Ryan Murphy, starring Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts, to premiere on HBO in 2014.
Ron OJ Parson (Director, A Raisin in the Sun) 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 the Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago, and a co-founder and co-director of Ripe Mango Productions. Parson currently resides in Chicago and is a Resident Artist at the Court Theatre. Since moving to Chicago from New York in 1994, he has worked as both 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, ETA Creative Arts Foundation and Writers’ Theatre. Acting credits on television and film include ER, Early Edition, Turks, American Playhouse, Vamping, Ali, Barbershop 2, Primal Fear, Drop Squad, and most recently, Starz Network’s Boss.
Doug Peck (Co-Musical Director, Juno) is the recipient of five Jeff Awards for Musical Direction for his work on Fiorello! at TimeLine Theatre, and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Carousel, Man of La Mancha and Caroline, or Change. His work has also been heard at Court Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, the Huntington Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, Porchlight Music Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Marriott Theatre of Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Paramount Theatre, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Peninsula Players and the Ravinia Festival. For the Chicago Humanities Festival, he co-created A Night at The Oscars and Follies: In Concert, and he can be heard on the recordings “Bright Young People: The Songs of Noël Coward;” “Foiled Again: Live” and Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty’s “Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein.” Peck studied at Northwestern University and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Joseph Stein (Book, Juno) (1912-2010) was an American playwright born in New York City and raised in the Bronx. He is best known for writing the books for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and Zorba (1968). He earned a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in 1937. After working for more than a decade as a psychiatric social worker who wrote comedy sketches on the side, Stein co-authored a book with Will Glickman that offered one of the first depictions of an Amish community; the book became the Broadway musical Plain and Fancy (1955). Other Broadway credits include Mr. Wonderful (1956), Juno (1959) and Rags (1986). Stein has been honored with lifetime achievement awards by The Dramatists Guild of America and the York Theatre Company, and he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2008.
Sarah Treem (Playwright, The How and the Why) is a television writer/producer and playwright. Her television credits include the Showtime pilot The Affair, the groundbreaking Netflix drama House of Cards, the acclaimed HBO series In Treatment (for which she won a WGA award and was nominated for a Humanitas award) and the HBO series How to Make it in America. She also has worked on adapting Samantha Peale’s novel The American Painter Emma Dial for HBO with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Treem participated in the 11th annual Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Film and TV Master Class in Israel in July 2009 and in a conference titled “How They Did It: Turning an Israeli series into HBO’s In Treatment” for New York Women in Film & Television in March 2010. Her full-length plays include Empty Sky; Against the Wall; Mirror, Mirror; A Feminine Ending; and Human Voices. She has been in residence at The Sundance Institute, The Ojai Playwriting Conference, The Screenwriters Colony and the Yaddo Artists’ Colony. She has been commissioned by South Coast Repertory and Playwrights Horizons, and has been a fellow at the Lark Playwrights’ Workshop. Treem has taught playwriting at Yale University, where she earned her BA and MFA degrees.