Chicago – Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, announces its 65th season. The company’s 2019/20 season will feature the ninth play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, King Hedley II, directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson; the launch of Court’s Oedipus Trilogy with the Sophocles classic Oedipus Rex, directed by Charles Newell; Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, directed by Sean Graney; Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea, directed by Shana Cooper; and The Gospel at Colonus, a reimagining of the story of Oedipus, conceived by Lee Breuer with music by Bob Telson, directed by Charles Newell.
As part of its 65th season, Court Theatre is elated to announce the continuation of its commitment to staging each play of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, Agatha Christie’s masterwork, and a provocative reimagining of Ibsen. In their most ambitious project to date, the 2019/20 season will launch the Oedipus Trilogy, beginning with Oedipus Rex and The Gospel at Colonus this season, and culminating with Antigone in the following season. The Oedipus Trilogy will lay bare the themes of fate, redemption, and justice in Sophocles’ works, dynamically engaging participants with how these themes bridge cultures, cities, and communities.
“As I enter my twenty-fifth year at the helm of Court Theatre, I am thrilled to present a season that parallels Court’s own artistic genesis,” says Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. “The plays in our 2019/20 season are as quintessentially classic as they are thematically resonant. Each of these rich productions will be gloriously brought to life by artists with diverse viewpoints, serving to showcase why classic plays are the enduring bedrock of theatrical tradition.”
“Our 2019/20 season conveys the diversity of classics and their appeal to a wide variety of audiences,” says Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director of Court Theatre. “In addition to the array of playwrights and perspectives you will see on our stage, we will also connect with longtime patrons and our neighbors in innovative ways, shepherding in a new era of engagement, education, and impact in Court’s dynamic history.”
The 2019/20 Court Theatre Season up close:
King Hedley II
Directed by Ron OJ Parson
September 12 – October 13, 2019
Press Opening: September 21, 2019 at 7:30pm
Placing his hopes and dreams on the line, a man pieces together his life in Pittsburgh after seven years in prison. Family ties are tested and crime and retribution collide in August Wilson’s ninth play in the American Century Cycle—Court’s eighth production in our ongoing commitment to producing all ten plays of the cycle. Nationally acclaimed for his direction of August Wilson’s plays, Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson brings a depth of humanity to Wilson’s interrogation of African American life in the 1980s.
Translated by Nicholas Rudall
Directed by Charles Newell
November 7 – December 8, 2019
Press Opening: November 16, 2019 at 7:30pm
Oedipus seeks to cure his city of a mysterious plague by discovering the murderer of the former king. Captivating and cathartic, Sophocles’ seminal Greek tragedy brings to light enduring questions of identity, fate, and free will that reverberate in startling ways in the 21st century. Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell helms this production which begins Court’s Oedipus Trilogy, honoring the foundations of drama and Founding Artistic Director Nicholas Rudall’s vision for the way Court Theatre would invigorate the classic canon.
by Agatha Christie
Directed by Sean Graney
January 16 – February 16, 2020
Press Opening: January 25, 2020 at 7:30pm
The Ralstons’ house becomes lethal when four guests are snowed in amidst reports of a woman’s murder. Agatha Christie’s craft for building skillful twists and shocking turns is on full display in this famed mystery which reinforces the genre as a pillar of classic drama. The Mousetrap is revived in an exuberant staging by Sean Graney that eschews cliché and begs for a repeat viewing as the traps characters lay are sprung in surprising ways.
The Lady from the Sea
by Henrik Ibsen
Translated by Rolf Fjelde
Directed by Shana Cooper
March 12 – April 12, 2020
Press Opening: March 21, 2020 at 7:30pm
When a sailor returns to fulfill his promise, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter must choose between her landlocked marriage and the mesmerizing allure of the sea. Hailed as a watershed moment in Ibsen’s writing, The Lady from the Sea dissects issues of duty, marriage, and agency with raw emotion and disarming resonance. Director Shana Cooper injects the text with a visceral physicality that thrillingly reflects and refracts Ibsen’s structure and characterization.
The Gospel at Colonus
Conceived and Adapted by Lee Breuer, Music Composed by Bob Telson
Original Lyrics by Lee Breuer, Adapted Lyrics by Bob Telson and Lee Breuer
Directed by Charles Newell
With Associate Director TaRon Patton
May 7 – June 7, 2020
Press Opening: May 16, 2020 at 7:30pm
Soulful and stirring, The Gospel at Colonus reimagines the story of Oedipus as the centerpiece of an African American Pentecostal church service. A redemptive celebration, this one-of-a-kind theatrical event breathes new life into a classic myth with a score of powerful gospel music. A bold collaboration from an extraordinary team of artists led by Charles Newell and TaRon Patton, The Gospel at Colonus builds upon the strengths and experiences of its directors to bring this nationally-touring Broadway smash hit to life with new clarity on Chicago’s South Side.
Three, four and five-play subscriptions to Court’s 2019/20 season range from $96 to $300 and are on sale now. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court’s website at www.CourtTheatre.org. Individual tickets for all shows will be available in Summer 2019.
Court Theatre is the professional theatre of the University of Chicago, dedicated to innovation, inquiry, intellectual engagement, and community service. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to classic American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. The theatre revives lost masterpieces; illuminates familiar texts; explores the African American theatrical canon; and discovers fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.