Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater opened the world-premiere philosophical comedy, Jonathan Wild, by Stuart Flack, April 8 at its downstairs studio.
The play, about high school buddies reunited at a Chicago neighborhood bar is described by Flack as a "whatever-happened to-that-lunatic-in-high school?" play. Turns out, one in the trio of pals — the title character — in an eco-terrorist who has been on the lam for 15 years. Conversations between the reunited include references to Sammy Sosa, Mickey Mantle, the Prince of Thessaly, an obscure 18th-century novel, and a bag of diamonds. Previews began April 6.
Flack is a Lincoln Park playwright and a partner in international consulting firm, McKinsey & Co. He attended playwriting workshops at Victory Gardens, earned a bachelor's degree at Cornell and an MFA at Columbia University School of the Arts, where he was an apprentice to playwright Arthur Kopit.
Jonathan Wild is the followup to his embraced 1997 work, Sidney Bechet Killed a Man, which preemed at Victory Gardens and was nominated for a Best New Play Jeff Award. It later had a staging at South Coast Rep in California.
Performances of Jonathan Wild, directed by VG associate artistic director Sandy Shinner, continue to May 6. The cast includes Joe Dempsey, Phil Ridarelli and (as Jonathan "Dex" Wild) Kelly Van Kirk. Designers are Mark Lohman (set), Lisa Lewandowski (costumes), John Rodriguez (lights).
Tickets are $22. Victory Gardens Theater is at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For information, call (773) 871-3000 or visit the website at www.victorygardens.org.
On the VG mainstage, the world premiere of Jeffrey Sweet's The Action Against Sol Schumann has been extended to April 28. Yet to come in the season is Claudia Allen's Fossils, starring Julie Harris and Ann Whitney, May 11-June 17.
— By Kenneth Jones