The Tony Award-honored resident Chicago company is devoted to nurturing new works, offering world premieres and Chicago premieres, and the coming season is no exception. Due to expected construction delays at VGT's new home at the famed Biograph Theater, the entire 2005-06 season will be at the company's longtime home. Expect the Biograph to reopen under the VGT banner in 2006-07 with the world premiere of Charles Smith's Denmark.
In the meantime, 2005-06 will see three world premieres from celebrated Victory Gardens ensemble members: James Sherman's new marital comedy Half and Half; Kristine Thatcher's A Fair to Middling Woman, a biographical study of Samuel Beckett's wife; and Lonnie Carter's Wheatley, about 18th century slave and poet Phyllis Wheatley.
Also slated are the Midwest premiere of Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams by Nilo Cruz, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Anna in the Tropics; and, direct from their debuts at the 2005 Humana Festival of New American Plays, Kathleen Tolan's Memory House, about "a richly-complex mother-daughter relationship," again directed by Sandy Shinner and featuring original cast members Taylor Miller and Cassandra Bissell; and Kia Corthron's Moot the Messenger, a "complex indictment of the current state of the American media, drawn straight from today's headlines."
Memory House opens the season Sept. 9.
"Frank Lloyd Wright wrote 'The thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief is the thing that makes it happen'" artistic director Dennis Zacek said in a statement. "As we embark on our expansion and renovation of the Biograph Theater, we are keenly aware that this kind of achievement and growth could not have been attained without our audience's belief in Victory Gardens, and in the vitality of world premiere theatre. With that in mind, I look forward to sharing our final season at 2257, before we open the curtain on the Biograph." In Half and Half (March 24-May 7, 2006), directed by Zacek, James Sherman "explores marriages past and present in two related one-act plays. In the first act, set at a breakfast in 1970, the breadwinner husband reads the newspaper and the homemaker wife fries the eggs. In act two, at a breakfast taking place this morning, the career-minded wife reads the paper and the stay-at-home husband cooks the frittata. With his unique comic insight, Sherman looks at how husbands and wives accept and reject their roles, how their roles have changed and, how their roles just might be changing back."
In A Fair to Middling Woman (May 26-July 9, 2006) "Thatcher brings her provocative insight to this new play inspired by the life of Suzanne Deschevaux-Dumesnil, wife of renowned Irish novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett."
Wheatley (Oct. 6-Nov. 13), directed by Sharon J. Shruggs Upstairs at VGT, "tells the real life, storybook adventures of Phyllis Wheatley, a revolutionary American slave girl, whose poetic genius lifted her from New England parlor trick into the great salons of Europe and beyond. Follow her travels with the Countess Selena, Ben Franklin and the Admiralty from Boston to London and back, to find love in the arms of Samson Osee Power Frock — free man of color. Don't miss this colorful, uplifting, lightning quick, music-filled evening of theatre."
Managing director of VGT is Marcelle McVay.
Five-play subscriptions to Victory Gardens' farewell season at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue are on sale now.
For more information, call the Victory Gardens box office, (773) 871-3000 or visit http://www.victorygardens.org.