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"tour de force performance" -Sun-Times

The Belle of Amherst

By William Luce
Directed by Sean Graney

Nov 02, 2017 — Dec 03, 2017

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED “gloriously phosphorescent performance” —Sun-Times

“[Kate Fry is] at least the equal of any actress of her generation in Hollywood … [she] inhabits Dickinson quite beautifully …” –Chicago Tribune

“’The heart wants what it wants — or else it does not care,’ Dickinson wrote. In her tour de force performance, Fry bares that heart in its every beat.” —Sun-Times

Emily Dickinson’s own original poems, diary entries, and letters welcome us into her Massachusetts home, where she shares snippets of joy and creation amongst the heartache of an isolated and misunderstood life.

This 1976 play by William Luce offers a glimpse into the complex life of one of the most prolific poets of our time. Playwright and director Sean Graney returns to Court for the fourth time to direct The Belle of Amherst, with Kate Fry (The Hard ProblemElectra; Caroline, or Change) starring as Emily Dickinson.

Approximate Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes (including 15-minute intermission)

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Court Theatre’s 2017/18 Season is sponsored by Barbara and Richard Franke.

The Belle of Amherst is sponsored by

Photo of Kate Fry by Michael Brosilow.

Artistic Team




Articles and Interviews

Emily’s Black Cake Recipe

In The Belle of Amherst, Emily Dickinson serves up her famous “black cake” to audiences. Enjoy a video of Court staffers' attempt to bake the cake and read the recipe.

Designing for Emily Dickinson

A conversation with costume designer Samantha Jones, who created beautiful outfits for Kate Fry as Emily Dickinson in Court Theatre's THE BELLE OF AMHERST.

A Poem for Mr. Higginson

Scholar W. Clark Gilpin takes a look at Emily Dickinson's process of submitting her poetry to Atlantic Monthly.

The Belle in her Bedroom

Some spend $100 an hour for the opportunity to write in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom, her refuge and writing space.

How “nobody” is Emily Dickinson?

University of Chicago Professor Richard Strier speaks to Emily's unique and timeless poetic talent, and what she would think about scholars studying her today.

Related Events

  • Producers' Circle Member Event: Opening Night

    Enjoy a buffet dinner reception followed a performance of William Luce’s 1976 play offering a glance into the complex life of one of the most prolific poets of our time—Emily Dickinson.

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