Rhea Perlman and Francis Guinan in Northlight Theatre's "Stella & Lou" by Bruce Graham in 2013. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

Bruce Graham’s ‘Funnyman’ to Premiere in Northlight Theatre’s 2015-16 Season

The theatre’s 2015-16 season will feature both classic drama and a fourth world premiere by Bruce Graham.

SKOKIE, ILL.: Northlight Theatre has announced its 2015–16 season. The lineup includes four contemporary plays and the world premiere of Bruce Graham’s Funnyman.

“Northlight has always presented work that is in conversation with our audience, a conversation that grows and deepens as time goes on,” said BJ Jones, Northlight’s artistic director, in a statement.

The season opens with the premiere of Funnyman (Sept. 11–Oct. 18). Set in 1959 New York City, it follows vaudevillian Chick Sherman as he attempts to revive his stage career. This will be the fourth world premiere at Northlight for playwright Bruce Graham (The Outgoing Tide, Stella & Lou and White Guy on the Bus). Artistic director Jones will direct.

Family is the theme in the next two plays of the season: first with the Sycamore family in Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s You Can’t Take It With You, directed by Northlight director of education Devon de Mayo (Nov. 6-Dec. 13). Director Steve Scott will then oversee Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons (Jan. 22–Feb. 28, 2016), about a mother who reconnects with her deceased son’s former partner. Scott last directed Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo for Northlight last year.

Next up will be Richard Strand’s Civil War drama Butler (March 11-April 17, 2016), to be helmed by Chicago director Stuart Carden. Three escaped slaves arrive at a Union fort searching for shelter from Major General Butler, but a rule mandating that all escaped slaves be returned to their owners leaves Butler in a conundrum.

Closing out the season will be Scott Carter’s The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord (May 6–June 12, 2016), which imagines a meeting between the three titular figures. Kimberly Senior, who last directed 4000 Miles at Northlight, will helm the production.

Founded 41 years ago, Northlight Theatre has mounted more than 200 productions, including 40-plus world premieres.

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