CHICAGO: Court Theatre has announced its 2020-21 season, the company’s 66th, featuring five productions from classic playwrights.
“As Court Theatre enters a new decade of producing plays which redefine the notion of classic theatre, I am thrilled to present a season that showcases a cadre of prolific playwrights,” said Charles Newell, the theatre’s Marilyn F. Vitale artistic director, in a statement. “It’s my belief that our 2020/21 season and the passionate artists collaborating on these plays will breathe new life into the rigorous questions each playwright poses about our world, underscoring why the classics have a powerful role to play in contemporary society.”
The season will open with August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (Sept. 3-Oct. 4), the penultimate play in Court’s ongoing commitment to staging all of Wilson’s American Century Cycle. The play examines a changing Memphis community amidst the Civil Rights Movement. Court Theatre resident artist Ron OJ Parson will direct.
Up next is Violet (Nov. 5-Dec. 6), the acclaimed musical featuring music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Based on Doris Betts’s short story The Ugliest Pilgrim, Violet follows a scarred Southern woman as she travels to Oklahoma in search of a miracle. The musical about faith and the true nature of beauty will be directed by Charles Newell and music-directed by Tom Vendafreddo.
The season will continue with Antigone (Jan. 21-Feb. 21, 2021), the classic tragedy by Sophocles. Directed by Seret Scott, Antigone concludes Court’s Oedipus Trilogy, which linked three ancient Greek dramas to bridge cultures, cities, and communities.
Following will be Fen (March 18-April 18, 2021) the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize-winning play by Caryl Churchill. Fen takes place on the foggy fens of England, as the ghosts of the past haunt the women laboring in the fields. The production will be helmed by Jeff Award-winning director Vanessa Stalling.
The season will conclude with Charles Newell’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello (May 13-June 13, 2021). The classic play will combine Shakespeare’s words with exhilarating movement and elements of the 16th-century story by Cinthio that inspired Othello, crafting a production that physicalizes the poetry of the original text with raw immediacy. Newell will also direct the adaptation, which will star Kelvin Roston Jr. and Timothy Edward Kane in their return to Court following appearances in Oedipus Rex.
Founded in 1955, Court Theatre is the professional theatre of the University of Chicago and endeavors to make a lasting contribution to classic American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts.
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