From Atomic Bombers To Fires, IL's Northlight Theatre is certainly having a hot spring. With Bombers, about physicist Richard Feynman and "The Manhattan Project," closing April 6, the theatre and director Russell Vandenbroucke will concentrate on the next show, Anna Deavere Smith's Fires In The Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, And Other Identities. The show begins previews April 16 for an April 20 opening.
The NY version (originated at the Public Theatre), this extraordinary look at racial tensions on both sides of the Crown Heights crisis, featured author Smith as the sole performer, recreating characters of all sexes, types and ethnicities. At Northlight, two actors, Cheryl Lynn Bruce and Fredric Stone, will take turns playing the 20-plus real-life "characters" in the piece, among them activist Al Sharpton, Norman Rosenbaum (brother of murdered Hasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum), poet Ntozake Shange and Carmel Cato, father of the 7-year-old boy struck and killed by Rebbe Schneerson's motorcade.
Plays directed by artistic director Vandenbroucke for Northlight include Valley Song, Three Women Talking and Betrayal. He is associate professor of theatre at Northwestern University.
Bruce, who is black, starred at Northlight in From The Mississippi Delta (1990) and at the Goodman in Black Star Line. Stone, who is white, starred at Northlight in Feiffer's America and on Broadway in Murray Schisgal's All Over Town.
Designing Fires In The Mirror will be Mary Griswold (sets/costumes), Geoffrey Bushor (lighting) and Cory Kent (composer/sound). For tickets ($21-$31) and information on Fires In The Mirror, running through May 18 at the Northlight's new home on Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, IL, call (847) 673-6300.
--By David Lefkowitz