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"Men on Boats" from Clubbed Thumb. (Photo by Elke Young)

American Theater Company Announces 4-Show Lineup for 2016-17 Season

The season is the first under new artistic director Will Davis and will feature world premieres from Dan Aibel and Basil Kreimendahl.

CHICAGO: American Theater Company has announced its 2016-17 season, the first programmed by new artistic director Will Davis. The season will feature two world premieres as well as a season-long partnership with the Chicago Inclusion Project.

“With Season 32, ATC is opening up a dialogue with theatricality and style,” said Davis in a statement. “I want ATC to become a home for wild new plays and old plays done in new ways that experiment with form. We’re deepening our commitment to the mission question, ‘What does it mean to be an American?’ by using it as a springboard to ask identity questions not just about the plays we curate and produce, but also about how those works get made and who brings them to life. As one of the first trans-identified artists to run a professional theatre, I feel both responsible and honored to make ATC an organization dedicated to access and inclusion, and to move our company towards a place of openness and curiosity about how we champion and celebrate truly new work for the American theatre.”

The season will kick off with the world premiere of Dan Aibel’s T. (Sept. 23-Oct. 30), about the ice skating rivalry between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. Margot Bordelon will direct.

Next up will be Jaclyn Backhaus’s Men on Boats (Jan. 6-Feb. 12, 2017), about a group of 10 explorers in 1869 who set out to map the Green and Colorado Rivers on the first government-sanctioned expedition of the American West. The show will be performed by a gender-fluid cast of women and folks otherwise defined, and Davis will direct. Davis previously directed the play at Clubbed Thumb as part of its 2015 Summerworks Festival and will helm the show at Playwrights Horizons this summer in a coproduction with Clubbed Thumb.

The world premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s We’re Gonna Be Okay (March 17-April 23, 2017) will be onstage next. Set during the Cuban missile crisis, the show is about two families wresting with doing something in a culture propelled by fear. Bonnie Metzgar will direct.

The final show of the season will be William Inge’s Picnic (May 19-June 25, 2017), set at a Labor Day family picnic. Davis will direct.

American Theatre Company is partnering with the Chicago Inclusion Project, which is dedicated to creating inclusive theatre experiences, for the season and will work together on casting diverse theatre artists in the productions.

Founded in 1985 as American Blues Theater, American Theater Company is dedicated to producing new works and reimagining classics that answer the question, “What does it mean to be an American?”

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