Bailiwick Rep has Musical Animal Farm Plus First Lady Suite and Jewish Christmas in 2004-05

News   Bailiwick Rep has Musical Animal Farm Plus First Lady Suite and Jewish Christmas in 2004-05
Bailiwick Repertory, the Chicago theatre company that provided the springboard for recent new works Dr. Sex and Sin: A Cardinal Deposed, has announced its 2004-05 season of provocative work.

Featured in the Primary Season are Sir Peter Hall’s musical version of George Orwell's Animal Farm, the 10th annual production of The Christmas Schooner, Josh Levine's comedy A Merry Jewish Christmas and the Chicago premieres of Steven Dietz's Inventing Van Gogh, José Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot and Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite.

Selections for Bailiwick’s World Premiere program (which last year offered two Jeff Award winners, Dr. Sex and Sin: A Cardinal Deposed) will be announced throughout the year, along with selections in Bailiwick's auxiliary programs: Deaf Bailiwick Artists, Lesbian Theater Initiative, Kids of All Kinds, and Directors Festival.

Bailiwick Rep presented the American premiere of Sir Peter Hall's version of George Orwell's classic Animal Farm in 1987, and it became Bailiwick's first hit and commercial transfer. The revival will play Sept. 24-Nov. 7. David Zak directs.

"When Orwell penned this classic allegory in 1945, his portrait of Mr. Jones' humble farm that becomes paradise when the animals overthrow the humans and establish the commandment 'All animals are created equal' struck a vibrant chord in a world sick of war," according to the Bailwick announcement.

"Orwell had Russian leaders in mind with his depiction of the conniving pigs Snowball, Squealer and Napoleon. But his exciting tale stands the test of time because still today in some civilizations leaders believe 'some animals are more equal than others' and get away with it.  Full of imaginative puppets, creative costumes, and full-throated anthems, this adaptation of George Orwell’s 'fairy story' is perfect for all ages." Animal Farm is adapted by Sir Peter Hall from the book by George Orwell, featuring music and lyrics by Richard Peaslee. Set design by Eric Appleton, lighting design by Jared Moore, costume design by Sandy Lazar, musical direction by Alan Bukowiecki.

The cast will feature Margaret Dunn as Napolean, Rus Rainear as Squealer, James Adkinson as Snowball, Randy Johnson as Boxer, Elizabeth Tanner as Mollie, Gina Capetta as Muriel, Wynter Spears as Clover, Don Shell as Benjamin, Bethany Thomas as Old Major, Sarah Kinsey as Minimus. Others featured in the cast are Caryn Ott, Heather Connelly, Michael Harnicher, and Eric Lindahl.

The Bailiwick Primary season also includes:

  • The local musical favorite, The Christmas Schooner, which started in the Windy City and has since been licensed by MTI, plays Nov. 19-Jan. 2, 2005. The show tells "the love story of Peter and Alma Stossel, whose pioneering spirit is full of the energy and dreams of America in the 1870s.  With the help of Peter's young son Karl and his father from the Old Country, Gus, Peter braves the icy waters of Lake Michigan to bring Christmas trees to families in Chicago after the Great Fire." Book is by John Reeger, music and lyrics by Julie Shannon, with direction by David Zak and musical direction by Cyndi Stevens. Choreography is by Brenda Didier. The cast will include Jim Sherman as Gus, Laura Sturm as Alma and Mitchell Hollis as young Karl.
  • Josh Levine's "sparkling comedy," A Merry Jewish Christmas, "won audience's hearts when it premiered last season," and it returns in an expanded form Nov. 27- Dec. 31. "Set on the last night of Chanukah, which is coincidentally also Christmas Eve, the Bernstein family gathers for their tradition of egg rolls and General's Chicken. This year will be different since son David has an important announcement to make, while his sister fields numerous calls on her cell phone, and the whole family struggles through menorahs and dreidels, pine needles and hidden manger scenes, take-out food and television, and most importantly — the parents."  Bailiwick artistic associate Jeremy Wechsler directs.
  • Steven Dietz's Inventing Van Gogh, Jan. 13-Feb. 20, 2005, "leads the audience on a journey into the minds and worlds of two painters – Van Gogh feverishly working on his last self-portrait, and contemporary artist Patrick Stone working to forge that very work.  With time flowing freely, the contemporary and classical art worlds collide in a play about love, mystery and artistic creation." Bailiwick artistic associate James Pelton directs.
  • Sean Graney, artistic director of The Hypocrites, stages José Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, March 4-April 10, 2005. "On a hot night in a California desert, Gabriela dreams that the moon plays the violin while a talking cat and coyote dance a dangerous tango.  Gabriela fends off the advances of a young boy who wants to grow up too fast and learn the ways of women from his lusty neighbor, but Gabriela yearns for her husband, Benito – returning later that night from the war in Iraq.  Once he's home, the couple find they have little in common anymore.  Is love enough to keep them together?  This magical comedy/drama is a dark and sexy fantasia about the chemistry between men and women and the ways that war changes everyone."
  • Michael John LaChiusa's revised First Lady Suite makes its Windy City premiere under the direction of David Zak, with musical direction by Cyndi Stevens, April 22-May 29, 2005. Produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival's Joseph Papp Public Theater and recently revised and revived, the musical is comprised of four chamber pieces, "ranging from riotously funny to hauntingly lyrical, focusing on celebrated first ladies and the people surrounding them." Tickets and subscriptions for all Bailiwick productions can be purchased by calling (773) 883-1090 or online at

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