The new theatrical venue, which can seat up to 300 patrons, opens Feb. 14 with The Beginning of the Big Time, a speakeasy-style jazz benefit featuring live music from Fred Barr's Organ-ized Sound. All proceeds from the 7 PM benefit go toward the creation of the theatre venue. The New National Pastime Theater space includes a lobby and office suites.
The building is in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's deemed Neighborhood Entertainment District.
The first production of the season will be the world premiere of A Bend in the Road, a skewed take on American western expansion. The production, which reunites NPT's founder and artistic director Laurence Bryan with resident playwright Michael Sokoloff, will run May 4-June 9.
Following A Bend in the Road, NPT will present its annual summer festival, Naked July: Art Stripped Down. Keely Haddad-Null will direct the main event of the fourth annual festival, Jose Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot. The Living Canvas will also be seen at the festival, among other acts.
The second annual holiday production of Grammy Award winner Terry Abrahamson's Hannukatz The Musical will conclude NPT's 2012 season. Hannukatz will run Nov. 23-Dec. 29. Additionally, National Pastime will ring in the New Year with a masquerade ball, The Exact Center of the Universe, held Dec. 31. The 20-year-old National Pastime Theater strives to grab all generations of theatregoers as well as "create terror, awe and strike down apathy." NPT also announced company members Keely Haddad-Null and Joe Loffing, stepping into the position of managing director and technical director, respectively.
The new National Pastime Theater is located at 941 W. Lawrence Avenue in Chicago. For more information and tickets, call (773) 327-7077 or visit nationalpastimetheater.com.