Now in its 22nd year, IL's Northlight Theatre has a new home in the $18 million North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (NSCPAS). The state-of-the-art, 345 seat, thrust-stage theatre is being readied for the March 19 opening of artistic director Russell Vandenbroucke's Atomic Bombers, about physicist Richard Feynman.
Bombers, a world premiere, follows a team of international physicists "charged with fusing pure science with applied engineering." The results, hatched in "the Manhattan Project," force them to face the sobering consequences of success. The show begins previews March 13 and opens March 19.
Jeff Hutchinson will star as Richard Feynman, author of the best-seller, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman." Also appearing are Aaron H. Alpern, Debbie Bisno, John Guzzardo, Karm Kerwell, William Norris, David Alan Novak, Matt Penn, Glen Allen Pruett and Too Much Light veteran Lusia Strus.
Alan MacVey directs the piece, which has sets and lighting by John Culbert, costumes by Nan Zabriske, and sound by Marty Higginbotham. Nan Withers-Wilson serves as dialect coach, John Culbert as dramaturg.
Vandenbroucke began Atomic Bombers in 1984 as a one-act. That version, titled Los Alamos Revisited, was done at Los Angeles' Itchey Foot Cabaret, back when he was literary manager and dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum. Three years later, Vandenbroucke decided to expand Los Alamos after visiting a Henry Moore sculpture (pictured) on the campus of the University of Chicago. Not coincidentally, that location was also the site of the world's first sustained nuclear chain reaction. Renamed Atomic Bombers, the play was broadcast on Los Angeles Public Radio, Aug. 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima's bombing.
Plays directed by Vandenbroucke for Northlight include Valley Song, Three Women Talking and Betrayal. He is associate professor of theatre at Northwestern University.
For tickets ($21-$31) and information on Atomic Bombers, running through April 6, call (847) 673-6300.
--By David Lefkowitz