Court Theatre Season to Feature Godot, Secret Garden, World Premiere of Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's Native Son

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12 Mar 2014

The Court Theatre has announced the lineup for its 60th season.



The Chicago-based theatre will feature world-premiere productions of Nambi E. Kelley's adaptation of Richard Wright's Native Son and Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's The Good Book.

The season will also include Nicholas Rudall's adaptation of Iphigenia in Aulis, the beginning of a three-year journey through ancient Greek tragedy; and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The season will conclude with a production of the American musical The Secret Garden.

"I am so proud to be the Artistic Director of Court Theatre as we arrive at our sixtieth anniversary season — a season that embodies the very best of what we do as a Center for Classic Theatre," artistic director Charles Newell said in a statement. "From our origins as an outdoor summer festival on the University of Chicago quad to a leading Center for Classic Theatre, the ambition and scope of this landmark anniversary season celebrates the audiences and artists who have defined, sustained, and inspired Court Theatre's community for sixty years."

The season-at-a-glance follows:

World Premiere
Native Son
A co-production with American Blues Theater
By Nambi E. Kelley
Directed by Seret Scott
Sept. 11-Oct. 12

"Richard Wright's iconic novel about oppression, freedom, and justice comes to life on stage in this ground-breaking, world premiere adaptation. Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on the South Side of Chicago in the 1930s, 20-year-old Bigger Thomas struggles to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. After taking a job in a wealthy white man's house, Bigger unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Adapted with theatrical ingenuity by Chicago's own Nambi E. Kelley, and co-produced with American Blues Theater, this Native Son captures the power of Richard Wright's novel for a whole new generation."

Iphigenia in Aulis
By Euripides
Translated by Nicholas Rudall
Directed by Charles Newell
Nov. 6-Dec. 7

"Inspired by the incredible success of An Iliad, Artistic Director Charles Newell takes on Euripides' ancient tale of power and sacrifice in Iphigenia in Aulis. As the Greek army restlessly paces the silent shores of Aulis, King Agamemnon is faced with a harrowing decision. In return for the winds that would carry his army to victory over Troy, the goddess Artemis has demanded the impossible: the sacrifice of the King's own daughter, Iphigenia. In a translation by Court's Founding Artistic Director Nicholas Rudall, Iphigenia at Aulis is the first installment in a three-year cycle of Greek plays, followed by Aeschylus' Agamemnon and Sophocles' Electra."

Waiting for Godot
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2015

"On a lonely country road, beneath a barren tree, two vagabonds wait for a man named Mr. Godot. As the evening unfolds, a desperate, humorous, and unchanging universe is revealed that has delighted and challenged audiences for over half a century. Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson (Seven Guitars) returns to direct this absurdist classic with an all-star cast featuring Court Theatre favorites A.C. Smith, Allen Gilmore, and Alfred Wilson. As elusive as it is illuminating, Waiting for Godot offers a haunting meditation on the meaning of human existence."

World Premiere
The Good Book
By Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare
Directed by Lisa Peterson
March 19-April 19

"In this highly original world premiere play, Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson (An Iliad) weave stories of devotion and doubt into their very own creation myth about the place where human faith and divine inspiration intersect: the Bible. As thirteen year-old Connor struggles to reconcile his identity with his dream of becoming a priest and modern-day Biblical scholar Miriam wrestles to resolve her crisis of faith, they lead us through an incredible exploration on how the Bible was conceived. From ancient Judea to medieval Ireland to suburban America, The Good Book is a powerful and exuberant journey through the most influential book in Western history."

The Secret Garden
Musical Book and Lyrics by Marsha Norman
Music by Lucy Simon
Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Directed by Charles Newell
Music Direction by Doug Peck
May 21-June 21

"After a vicious cholera outbreak in the British Raj claims the lives of both her parents, ten year-old Mary Lennox is sent back to England to live at her estranged uncle's estate. Orphaned and alone, Mary finds herself haunted not only by the ghosts of her own past, but by those of her melancholy uncle, Archibald Craven. As Mary begins to find her way through her uncle's maze of secrets, she makes an incredible discovery that unlocks a wellspring of hope and renewal for them both. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Book and adapted from the beloved 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden reunites Artistic Director Charles Newell and Music Director Doug Peck (Caroline, or Change; Carousel; Porgy and Bess) for this exquisitely beautiful musical about hope blooming from the darkest of places."

Visit courttheatre.org for more information.