“You on the Moors Now” by Jaclyn Backhaus, produced by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble at HERE Arts Center. (Photo by Suzi Sadler)

The Hypocrites Set 2016–17 Season

The Chicago company slates works by Lynn Nottage, Jaclyn Backhaus, and Margaret Edson, as well as its first commissions.

CHICAGO: The Hypocrites have announced their 2016–17 season, which will feature a world premiere musical and two regional premieres. The theatre is also launching its first new play commissioning program.

“This season is the next step on a pathway of permanent and exciting change for the company,” said artistic director Sean Graney in a statement. “We will be producing and commissioning more new work in order to focus on contemporary voices, and the theatremakers of the future. We want to encourage new artists to work in dialogue with historical theatre, questioning its relevance for us living today.”

The Chicago premiere of Jaclyn Backhaus’s You On the Moors Now (Sept. 9–Oct. 30) will kick off the season. The play follows the heroines from four 19th century novels in a fictional place, Moors. When the women are proposed to, they decide to escape. Devon de Mayo will direct.

Next up, Graney will direct Andra Velis Simon’s world premiere of Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (Nov. 12, 2016-Jan. 8, 2017), based on the 1904 opera Cendrillon and other compositions by Pauline Viardot-Garcia. The musical-play is an irreverent look at the classic fairytale, Cinderella does not accept the prince’s proposal.

Margaret Edson’s Wit (Jan. 20-March 12, 2017) will be next. The Pulitzer- winning play follows a doctor during her final hours of a battle with cancer. Marti Lyons will direct.

The musical The House of Martin Guerre (Feb. 18-April 2, 2017) will be next. With book by Leslie Arden and Anna Theresa Cascio and music and lyrics by Arden, the show follows young Martin who escapes an arranged marriage to explore new worlds, and when he returns, his identity is questioned. Geoff Button will direct.

The final show of the season will be the Chicago premiere of Lynn Nottage’s Las Meninas (March 24-May 21, 2017). The memory play recalls the forbidden romance in the court of King Louis XIV when Nabo, an African dwarf, falls for Queen Marie-Therese. Jess McLeod will direct.

The Hypocrites have also launched their first new-play development initiative by commissioning Lavina Jadhwani and Rohina Malik to write three new plays. Jadhwani will adapt the Sanskrit drama Shakuntalā by Kālidāsa and Malik will create a piece inspired by Syrian musicians in the face of the current refugee crisis.

Founded in 1997 by Graney, the Hypocrites focuses on premiering new work and adventurous takes on classics.

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