"It's a Wonderful Life" at American Blues Theater. (Photo by Johnny Knight)

American Blues Theater Announces 2015-16 Season

The ensemble theatre’s season will include Richard Nash’s ‘The Rainmaker,’ James Still’s ‘Looking Over the President’s Shoulder’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’

CHICAGO: American Blues Theater has announced its 2015–16 season, which will include three plays and one musical.

First up will be Richard Nash’s 1954 play The Rainmaker (Aug. 28–Sept. 27), about a man who promises to bring rain to a drought-stricken town for the small price of $100. ABT cofounder Ed Blatchford will direct the production. The cast includes Steve Key, Linsey Page Morton, Jim Leaming, Zach Kenney, Austin Cook, Robert Brueler and Howie Johnson.

Following will be ABT’s annual holiday production It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (Nov. 20–Dec. 27), a radio-play version of Frank Capra’s film. The production will be directed by producing artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside and ABT ensemble member Marty Higginbotham. Returning to the production will be Dara Cameron, Ian Paul Custer, Michael Mahler, John Mohrlein, James Joseph and Shawn Goudie. They will be joined by newcomers Zach Kenney and Amanda Tanguay.

The theatre will start the new year with a local premiere of James Still’s one-man play Looking Over the President’s Shoulder (Jan. 29–Mar. 6, 2016). The play, based on a true story, is told from the eyes of African-American butler Alonzo Fields, who served four presidents and their families. The play will feature actor Manny Buckley and will be directed by Timothy Douglas.

The final production of the season will be Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s man-eating-plant musical Little Shop of Horrors (April 29–May 29, 2016). Frequent ABT director Jonathan Berry will oversee the production, with musical direction by Austin Cook. The cast contains Michael Mahler, Dara Cameron and Ed Kross.

ABT’s 2015–16 season will take place at the Greenhouse Theater Center. The ensemble theatre was founded in 1985.

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