American Blues Theater to Feature Side Man, Yankee Tavern and It's A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! in 2014-15 Season

News   American Blues Theater to Feature Side Man, Yankee Tavern and It's A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! in 2014-15 Season
American Blues Theater's 2014-15 season has been announced.

The season, titled "Lost & Sound," will feature the Tony Award-winning play Side Man, the Chicago premiere of Yankee Tavern and the world premiere of Native Son.

"Season 29 'Lost & Sound,' truly represents the mission and vision of American Blues Theater, from remounts of our hit productions, to the co-production of the American classic and socially relevant Native Son with Court Theatre to our 2015 productions, the controversial Yankee Tavern and Side Man, which stars Broadway performers and American Blues Ensemble members Kate Buddeke and Jim Ortlieb," producing artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside said in a statement. "In addition to what's happening on our main stage, American Blues continues to work with communities throughout Chicagoland with our extensive outreach programs. We are long time fans and thrilled to work with directors Joanie Schultz and Jonathan Berry!"

The season-at-a-glance follows.

Hank Williams: Lost Highway
Written by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik
Directed by Damon Kiely
Music direction by Malcolm Ruhl
July 25–Aug. 31
Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
"Hank Williams: Lost Highway returns to the Greenhouse Theatre after a sold-out run in September 2013. Hank Williams follows Williams' rise from his humble beginnings to his triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry stage, to his self-destruction at the age of twenty-nine. This unforgettable tribute includes more than 20 Williams hits, such as 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,' 'Move It on Over,' 'Hey, Good Lookin', and 'Jambalaya.' The critically-acclaimed cast features Ensemble members Matt Brumlow as Hank Williams, Austin Cook, James Leaming, Michael Mahler, Suzanne Petri, Artistic Affiliate Dana Black, and guest artists John Crowley, John Foley, Greg Hirte, and Cora Vander Broek."

Native Son
World Premiere co-production with Court Theatre
Based on the novel by Richard Wright
Adapted by ensemble member Nambi E. Kelley
Fall 2014
Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.

"Wright's Native Son is a landmark in 20th century literature and widely acclaimed as one of the finest books ever written on class division and race. Native Son is the story of a young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. The story, still relevant almost 75 years after it was originally published, is an unflinching portrait of what it means to be black in America and the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the United States." It's A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!
Based on Frank Capra's film from a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern
Directed by ensemble member Marty Higginbotham
Nov. 21–Dec. 28
Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.

"For 13 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicagoland audiences to holiday classic featuring Clarence, George, and the delightful characters of Bedford Falls. They once again take you back to a 1940s radio broadcast of Frank Capra's holiday classic It's A Wonderful Life: Live In Chicago! in a full-scale production with Foley sound effects, an original score, and a stellar cast of eight. After each performance, milk and cookies are served. Featuring the entire cast of the sold-out hit including Ensemble members Dara Cameron, Kevin Kelly, Michael Mahler, John Mohrlein, Gwendolyn Whiteside, Artistic Affiliates Ian Paul Custer, James Joseph and guest artist Shawn Goudie."

Yankee Tavern
Chicago Premiere
Written by Steven Dietz
Directed by Joanie Schultz
Feb. 20–March 22, 2015
Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.

"The jukebox inside the Yankee Tavern stopped in the middle of 'Bye, bye, Miss American Pie' as the first hijacked plane impacted the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11. Inside the walls of this crumbling New York tavern, a young couple finds themselves caught up in conversations of what happened that day and who is telling the truth. Dietz's acclaimed and dramatic thriller is a fierce, funny and ultimately mind-bending work of theatrical power that grips the audience until the final word. Creative team to be announced."

Side Man
Written by Warren Leight
Directed by Jonathan Berry
April 24–May 24
Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.

"Spanning three decades, Side Man is the heartbreaking story of a splintered family as told through the eyes of Clifford, the only son of Gene, a jazz trumpet player, and Terry, an alcoholic mother. Alternating between their New York City apartment and a smoke-filled music club, Clifford narrates the story of his broken family and the decline of jazz as popular entertainment. Featuring Broadway actors and Ensemble Kate Buddeke and Jim Ortlieb."

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