Don't Dress Gets Chicago Premiere With Harelik, Kayden and "Burn Notice" Star Donovan

News   Don't Dress Gets Chicago Premiere With Harelik, Kayden and "Burn Notice" Star Donovan
Jeffrey Donovan, currently starring in USA Network's popular action series "Burn Notice," will join stage and screen actor Mark Harelik and Urinetown's Spencer Kayden in the Chicago premiere of Don't Dress for Dinner, a comedy by Boeing-Boeing playwright Marc Camoletti, directed by John Tillinger.
Jeffrey Donovan
Jeffrey Donovan

Presented by Chicago-based British Stage Company, LLC, Don't Dress for Dinner will begin performances Nov. 14 on the Royal George Theatre Main Stage, 1641 N. Halsted Street, in Chicago. Performances will play to Jan. 11, 2009. Official opening is Nov. 23.

The cast will also include Chicago actor Chris Sullivan. Additional cast will be announced shortly.

According to the producers, "Don't Dress for Dinner is a frenetic case of mistaken identity with more twists than a corkscrew. When Jacqueline decides to visit her mother for a few days, her husband Bernard sees an opportunity for a cozy weekend with his new mistress. His bachelor pal Robert calls to announce his return from Hong Kong, so Bernard invites him along as his alibi, also hiring a Cordon Bleu-level cook to cater a delicious dinner. But when Jacqueline realizes Robert is coming for a visit everything changes, and the high speed farce begins! One impossible situation leads to another as the hapless friend Robert finds himself the target of both amorous attention and wrathful vengeance, while Bernard tries desperately to salvage a scrap of illicit bliss from the wreckage of a weekend. Rounding out the zany cast of characters are two women — both named Suzy — who must trade the roles of cook and mistress."

Donovan stars as Michael Westen in USA Network's hit action series "Burn Notice." His other television credits include HBO's original film "When Trumpets Fade"; recurring roles on "Crossing Jordan," "Spin City," "The Beat" and "The Pretender." On the big screen, Donovan's film credits include "Hitch," "Sleepers," "Come Early Morning" and "Believe in Me." Donovan will also appear opposite Angelina Jolie in Clint Eastwood's "Changeling."

Don't Dress for Dinner marks a reunion for Tillinger and Donovan, who worked together on Berkshire Theater Festival's production of Toys in the Attic. Donovan made his Broadway debut in An Inspector Calls; his other New York stage appearances are with Shakespeare in the Park, Greenwich House Theatre, Promenade Theatre and Playwrights Horizons. Harelik's credits include Broadway's The Light in the Piazza, Off-Broadway's Old Money, The House in Town, The Beard of Avon, the national tour of The Heidi Chronicles, plus many plays in regional theatres. He also is the author of (and appeared in) The Immigrant, The Legacy and Hank Williams – Lost Highway.

A graduate of Northwestern University, and longtime writer-performer with Chicago's Neo-Futurists in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, Kayden (who is married to Harelik) appeared in Broadway's Urinetown the Musical (Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World and Clarence Derwent Awards; Tony, Drama Desk, and Lortel nominated), plus TV work on "MadTV," "EGG the Arts Show" and "Blue's Clues."

Sullivan's Chicago credits include The Ballad of Emmett Till (Goodman Theatre); Dangerous Beauty (American Music Theatre Project); and Defending the Caveman (The Lakeshore Theater). He will soon appear as Lancaster in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Edward II.

The production team of Don't Dress for Dinner includes scenic designer Jim Noone, lighting designer Keith Parham, production manager Matt Marsden and stage manager Lucia Lombardi.

Director Tillinger's credits include Broadway's Absurd Person Singular, Say Goodnight Gracie, Judgment at Nuremberg, Night Must Fall, The Sunshine Boys, Inherit The Wind, Arthur Miller's Broken Glass, The Price, Sweet Sue, Loot!, Corpse!, The Golden Age and Solomon's Child, plus Off-Broadway's Tea at Five, House and Garden, Comic Potential, The Exact Center, Dealer's Choice, Sylvia, A Perfect Ganesh, The Last Yankee; Lips Together Teeth Apart, After the Fall, Breaking Legs, The Lisbon Traviata, Prin, What the Butler Saw; Urban Blight, The Film Society, Little Murders, The Perfect Party, It's Only a Play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

A French citizen born in Geneva in 1923, Marc Camoletti initially trained as an architect. In 1958 he had three plays presented simultaneously in Paris, the first La Bonne Anna running for 1,300 performances and going on to play throughout the world. Already an established success in Paris as Pyjama pour Six, the initial London production of the English language version — called Don't Dress for Dinner (translated by Robin Hawdon) — ran for seven years in the West End, opening at the Apollo Theatre and transferring to the Duchess Theatre. The play has also been performed in several U.S. venues, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and in different languages throughout the world. Camoletti's first great British success was Boeing-Boeing, currently enjoying a Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway following its recent West End triumph. The original London production ran for seven years at the Apollo and Duchess Theatres. Camoletti gained worldwide acclaim through the multitude of productions of his plays in 55 countries. In Paris alone 18 of his plays have enjoyed around 20,000 performances in all. Ten of his plays have also been shown on television. An Associate of the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts, Camoletti became a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honeur, one of France's highest honours. He died in 2003.

Translator Hawdon has been a novelist, a West End playwright, a TV soap actor, B-movie film star, Hamlet, director of one of England's foremost theatres (Theatre Royal Bath) and more.

Don't Dress for Dinner marks the inaugural production of the British Stage Company, LLC, led by current Chicago resident and British expat Damian Arnold. The British Stage Company was formed in 2008 to present primarily comedic works, especially those popular on the West End stage. A graduate of the three-year core course at LAMDA (the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), his resume includes writing comedy for BBC Radio and performing on stage in London and on the BBC, and in Chicago.

Don't Dress for Dinner will be performed on the Royal George Theatre Main Stage Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM; Wednesdays at 2 PM; Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 4:30 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 2 PM and 5 PM.

Tickets range in price from $49.50-$59.50 (and start at $45 for preview performances Nov. 14-22).

Tickets go on sale Sept. 19, via the Royal George Theatre box office, 1641 N. Halsted Street, by calling (312) 988-9000, or online at There is a $5 discount for students and seniors. Discounts are also available for groups of ten or more by calling Group Theatre Tix at (312) 423-6612.

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