"Body + Blood" by William Nedved, at the Gift Theatre in Chicago, through Aug. 9. Pictured: Stephen Spencer, Nicholas Harazin, Lynda Newton, Cyd Blakewell, and Gabriel Franken. (Photo by Claire Demos)

The Gift Theatre Announces 2016 Season

The storefront theatre features Shakespeare, Steinbeck, and Melissa Ross for an anniversary season on the theme of what it means to be human.

CHICAGO: The Gift Theatre  has announced its 2016 season, including two plays, a world premiere, and a new play festival in celebration of the 15th anniversary season.

“Great theatre asks great questions,” said cofounder Michael Patrick Thornton in a statement. “Our milestone anniversary season asks: What does it mean to be human?  In perfect circuitousness, we begin where many of us first met: at Steppenwolf.

Indeed, the season begins with Shakespeare’s Richard III (March 7—May 1, 2016), produced at Steppenwolf’s Garage Theatre in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Thornton, who will star under Jessica Thebus’s direction, describes it as a production that will “redefine what disability, ability, and Shakespeare’s villain can look like.”

Next will be The Grapes of Wrath (June 20—Aug. 14, 2016), adapted by Frank Galati from John Steinbeck’s novel about an American family forced off their land following the Great Depression. Erica Weiss will direct.

Following will be the world premiere of Melissa Ross’s A Life Extraordinary (Sept. 29—Oct. 2, 2016), about an expectant mother who vanishes from her hometown on Christmas Eve. John Gawlik will direct.

Also part of the season will be the annual TEN (+5) (Jan. 1—10, 2016), featuring 10 world premiere pieces plus five additional theatrical treats in honor of the 15th anniversary season.

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