Chicago's Northlight Theatre begins its season Sept. 9 with Terrence McNally's Master Class. The mounting, through Oct. 11, had been expected to star Dixie Carter, but she instead took the lead in Shakespeare Theatre's A Woman of No Importance, currently playing in Washington DC.
Playing Maria Callas at Northlight will be Chicago veteran actress Carmen Roman, whose credits span from the Goodman to the Royal George to Victory Gardens. Joining Roman in this Master Class are Alexander Kariotis, Frances Limnoncelli and Melissa LaFrance (in the Audra McDonald role).
Peter Amster directs this look at opera diva Callas -- both her style of teaching students and her life with Ari Onassis. Other McNally works include The Ritz, Love! Valour! Compassion! and Corpus Christi. Master Class officially opens Sept. 16.
Other shows on the 1998-99 Northlight season schedule include Cowgirls, (Dec. 2, 1998-Jan. 3, 1999), a revue in the spirit of Always...Patsy Cline, Smoke on the Mountain and Quilters which depicts a classical musical ensemble who, booked into a country western bar, suddenly must teach themselves country music overnight.
February ushers in How I Learned to Drive, (Feb. 3-Mar. 7, 1999) Paula Vogel's Off-Broadway triumph and Pulitzer Prize winner about a young woman's dysfunctional relationship with her alcoholic uncle. Springtime brings The Old Neighborhood, by Chicago native David Mamet. A trio of interrelated one-acts, The Old Neighborhood played on Broadway this past season with a cast featuring Peter Riegert and Patti LuPone. Northlight dates are Mar. 17-Apr. 18, 1999.
For a taste of the otherworldly there's Stuart Spencer's Resident Alien, a comedy about an alien being walking among us. Alien had its premiere at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival this past spring. It will close the Northlight season, running Apr. 28-May 30, 1999.
For information on shows at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd., call (847) 673-6300.
-- By Robert Simonson