Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater, recipient of the 2001 Tony Award for Regional Theatre, announced five of six new works planned for its 2002-2003 season, including a world premiere musical inspired by Antigone.
Victory Gardens' 29th season opens with the world premiere of Ann Noble's Ariadne's Thread (Sept. 13-Oct. 27). "This contemporary story of three cities, seven women, 14 telephones, marriage, love affairs, birth and death is the newest work by Noble, a rising Chicago playwright best known for her acclaimed play And Neither Have I Wings To Fly," according to the announcement. Victory Gardens associate artistic director Sandy Shinner will direct.
The second work of the season is the world premiere of Victory Gardens' writing ensemble member Douglas Post's God and Country, a new musical based on the story of Antigone, with music and libretto by Post, directed by Jim Corti (Nov. 15 Dec. 29).
The third production is Levee James, a brand-new work by S.M. Shephard Massat, author of Victory Gardens' hit civil-rights drama Waiting To Be Invited earlier this season, directed by Andrea Dymond (Jan. 17-March 2, 2003).
Play No. 4 is a VG commission for ensemble member Claudia Allen (Winter, Fossils) to write a new play, Unspoken Prayers, about the death penalty. Victory Gardens' artistic director Dennis Zacek helms, March 21-May 4, 2003. Victory Gardens' 2002-2003 season finale (May 23-July 6, 2003) is a premiere to be announced.
In addition to its five-play season, Victory Gardens will present a sixth production in its Upstairs Mainstage: ensemble member Lonnie Carter's new song cycle with play pieces, Concerto Ring-0-Levio (April 17-May 25, 2003).
Subscriptions to Victory Gardens' 2002-2003 season are on sale now, starting at $75. Victory Gardens is located in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. For complete 2002-2003 season information, call the Victory Gardens box office at (773) 871-3000 or visit victorygardens.org.
Since 1974, Victory Gardens has been devoted to developing and producing new plays, most of them world premieres, with an emphasis on Chicago writers and its own 12-member Playwrights Ensemble. This unique mission helped Victory Gardens win the 2001 Tony Award for Regional Theatre, for displaying a continuous level of artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theater nationally.
After winning the Tony, Victory Gardens reached an all-time high of more than 5,000 subscribers, operating on a budget of $1.6 million.
— By Kenneth Jones