Jon Cryer, Sharon Gless and Chicago actress Cheryl Lynn Bruce are among performers cast in the upcoming 26th season of five world premieres at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.
Victory Gardens, known for its commitment to new works, will present five world premieres in the 1999-2000 season, including work by James Sherman, Jeffrey Sweet, Charles Smith, Kristine Thatcher and Claudia Allen.
Artistic director Dennis Zacek announced that the next fall 1999 season would feature works by members of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. Often, the slate there is a mix of resident writers and outsiders. Victory Gardens has staged more new works than any other resident Chicago theatre.
The 1999-2000 season includes:
* Bluff (Sept. 17-Oct. 24), a new comedy-drama by Jeffrey Sweet following his VG hit, Flyovers. Film star Jon Cryer ("Pretty in Pink") and Sarah Trigger (of CBS-TV’s "Turks") will star as Neal and Emily, a young couple who meet while breaking up a gay bashing, fall in love, and move in together. Emily’s extreme stepfather comes to town, bringing years of family baggage. VG's associate artistic director, Sandy Shinner, will staged what's called a "comic, yet moving new tale about trying to outrun your family history." * Door to Door (Nov. 12-Dec. 19), playwright James Sherman's exploration of Chicago Jewish life through the lives of three generations of Jewish women. Sherman is the author Beau Jest, Jest a Second! and The God of Isaac. Zacek will direct.
* Knock Me a Kiss (Jan. 21-Feb. 27, 2000), a new historical drama by Charles Smith. Set in Harlem in 1929, the play tells the story of Yolanda DuBois, daughter of intellectual activist W.E.B. DuBois, caught in a love triangle with two very different men: the gentleman poet prodigy Countee Cullen and hard-talking, hard-living big-band leader Jimmy Lunceford (who might be her one true love).
* Voice of Good Hope (March 17-April 23, 2000), a new dramatic tribute to the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Kristine Thatcher, author of Emma’s Child and Among Friends. Chicago actress Cheryl Lynn Bruce will star as Jordan, an African-American woman who rose, against the odds, to be one of the century’s most powerful orators, astute politicians, and greatest teachers. Zacek will direct.
* Cahoots (May 12-June 18, 2000), a comedy by Claudia Allen starring Sharon Gless (of "Cagney & Lacey"). They play follows the fictional playwriting team of Madeline Ballantine and Ray O'Keefe, who chase fame and fortune -- and each other -- through several decades of the 20th century. Allen is the author of Hannah Free, The Long Awaited and Winter, the final staging of the 1998-99 season, starring Julie Harris. Sandy Shinner will direct Cahoots.
Victory Gardens Theater is located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. For subscription information, including senior, student and educator discounts, call (773) 871-3000.
The Victory Gardens website is at www.victorygardens.org.
-- By Kenneth Jones