Raven Theatre Company, which will turn 35 years old in March of 2018, announced today that its upcoming 2017-18 season will give Chicago audiences their first looks at plays by three of America’s most acclaimed young playwrights. The season will begin in September with the Chicago premiere of Choir Boy by recent Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, who on February 26, together with writer-director Barry Jenkins, won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for the Academy’s Best Picture winner, Moonlight.
Choir Boy, which was first produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York during the summer of 2013, concerns a gay teenage boy in an all African-American prep school. The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men. Pharus wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school’s legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key? Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Michael Menendian, who announced the upcoming season’s programming today, will direct the production to be performed in the company’s 130-seat East Stage from September 27 – November 12, 2017.
In January, the season will continue with another Chicago premiere – Nice Girl by Melissa Ross, first produced in New York in 2015 by the Labyrinth Theatre Company.
Chicago-based playwright Philip Dawkins for its third show of the season, to be staged in the company’s intimate 57-seat West Stage and directed by Raven Associate Artistic Director Cody Estle. Dawkins’ play, The Gentleman Caller, based on historical truth, imagines what might have happened behind closed doors in the first two meetings between Tennessee Williams and William Inge.