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Revised Events for Winter/Spring 2021

We are announcing further revisions to our 2020/21 Season in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and continuing restrictions on public gatherings. The newly-revised season has Court postponing our production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running and pushing back dates of Owen McCafferty’s Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) and Shakespeare’s Othello. If public health conditions allow, Court will offer limited in-person viewership for Titanic and Othello, with digital access provided for patrons who do not yet wish to attend in person. In addition, we’re offering on-demand digital viewing of two productions from our archives: the musical Five Guys Named Moe, and our critically-acclaimed production An Iliad, by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. Court is also announcing the free Chicagoland premiere of Theatre for One: Here We Are, a series of digital microplays written, directed, and starring an array of BIPOC artists and designed to be experienced one-on-one.

“While the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose unique challenges to live performance, Court Theatre remains steadfast in its goal to offer intellectually rigorous artistic experiences to our patrons,” says Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. “Our newly-revised season offers patrons several new ways to engage with theatrical narratives while we wait for the widespread rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“COVID-19 has necessitated tough programming decisions in the interest of keeping our patrons, artists, and staff safe,” says Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of Court Theatre. “I’m optimistic about the unparalleled access our digital and hybrid programs offer, as online programming continues to provide the opportunity to engage with our work regardless of a patron’s schedule or geographic location.”

The previously announced production of Two Trains Running has been postponed and will be produced in a future season. 

The Revised 2020/21 Court Theatre Season:

From the Archives:

A Musical By Clarke Peters, Featuring Louis Jordan’s Greatest Hits
Originally Produced At Theatre Royal Stratford East
Directed By Ron Oj Parson, Music Director Abdul Hamid Royal
Associate Director Felicia P. Fields, Movement/musical Staging Christopher Carter
Available for digital viewing February 4 – 28, 2021

The Sun-Times called Court’s production “pure, unadulterated theatrical fun” and we can all use little fun this winter. A lively musical tribute to the hit songs of saxophonist and songwriter Louis Jordan, Five Guys Named Moe introduces Nomax: a broke, newly single guy singing the blues late into the night. Suddenly, five unexpected friends—Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe, and Little Moe—emerge from his radio to help ease his broken heart. Pioneering musician Louis Jordan’s new approach to jazz paved the way for rock and roll in the 1950s.

An Iliad
AN ILIAD, the site-specific production filmed at the Oriental Institute
by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, based on Homer’s The Iliad
translated by Robert Fagles, directed by Charles Newell
Available for digital viewing March 3 – March 31, 2021

Remounted three times across Court’s history, An Iliad continues to showcase the power of classic theatre to speak to our current moment. Interrogate how rage and division reverberate throughout civilization in this streaming release of our limited-engagement, site-specific production of An Iliad at the Oriental Institute. The production takes audiences on a journey through ancient societies and cultural artifacts in a thrillingly visceral performance. This professionally-captured, multi-camera stream of the play allows you to experience this one-of-a-kind production at home, which Rick and Brenda McCain of Chicago Now hailed as “a superb collaboration of theater and history in a site-specific platform that is sure to bring chills to the historian that resides in all humanity.”

Creator and Artistic Director: Christine Jones
Co-Artistic Director for Here We Are: Jenny Koons
Platform Programing & Design by Open Ended Group—Marc Downie and Paul Kaiser
Produced by Octopus Theatricals—Mara Isaacs, Executive/Creative Producer
February 18 – March 14, 2021

Theatre For One: Here We Are is a live digital theatrical experience that brings together one actor and one audience member featuring eight new microplays that speak to these times we are in. A laugh shared with a stranger, a world created by imagination, a soul nourished through storytelling: these are things only theater can accomplish. Following its critically-acclaimed run in New York, Court Theatre brings these eight stories to life with Chicago actors to offer audiences a deeply personal theatrical experience. 

by Owen McCafferty
Directed by Vanessa Stalling
April 29 – May 30, 2021
A digital version will be available to stream for patrons who do not yet wish to attend in person.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic has long been studied for its historical significance and unmistakable hubris. A survivors’ story fraught with intrigue, Owen McCafferty’s Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) tells the story using verbatim testimonies from witnesses of the wreck. What emerges is a startling portrait of class, chaos, and moral ambiguity.  Vanessa Stalling (Jeff Award-winning director of Photograph 51 and United Flight 232) brings her singular artistry to McCafferty’s text. Leveraging audio technology, she and her team will create an expansive soundscape that allows the testimonies of each individual to resonate with audiences through a heightened, visceral experience that pushes the boundaries of design and theatrical performance.    

by William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Charles Newell
with Associate Director Gabrielle Randle-Bent
July 8 – August 8, 2021
A digital version will be available to stream for patrons who do not yet wish to attend in person.

Othello, the great Venetian general, unknowingly seals his fate when he fails to select his standard-bearer, Iago, for a military promotion. When his wife, Desdemona, is implicated in an affair, Othello is faced with a series of irreversible events that spell catastrophe for him and his country. Kelvin Roston, Jr. (Oedipus Rex, King Hedley II) returns to Court to star in this intimate new take on Shakespeare’s complex tragedy about jealousy, ego, and betrayal. Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and his team will rigorously interrogate how identity is constructed along personal, racial, and political lines.

Subscription and Ticket Information
Court’s Box Office will email ticket holders and subscribers to discuss how these changes impact them. Individual event tickets will be on sale soon. To purchase a subscription or receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472.

Here We Are was commissioned by Arts Brookfield with additional support from Thomas M. Neff. The Chicago premiere is supported by the University of Chicago Women’s Board, Allstate, and De and Paul Gray.

Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) is sponsored by Gustavo “Chip” Bamberger and Martha Van Haitsma.

Othello is sponsored by Michael Charles Litt. Programming is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Additional support is provided by Harper Court Arts Council, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, and the Shubert Foundation.

Posted on January 12, 2021 in Theatre News

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