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(left to right) Directors Lili-Anne Brown and Monty Cole will helm productions in Haven Theatre’s 2018-19 Season. Photo by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux.
Haven Theatre has announced their 2018-19 season, featuring the Chicago premieres of THE TOTAL BENT and KISS.
THE TOTAL BENT is penned by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, the team behind PASSING STRANGE, the 2008 Broadway musical that won Stew a Tony for best book, along with four other nominations. THE TOTAL bent premiered Off-Broadway in 2016 at the Public Theater. The show revolves around the son of a healer/gospel star and the songs he wrote to make his father famous. Haven’s production will be helmed by Lili-Anne Brown, who also directed the Chicago premiere of PASSING STRANGE for Bailiwick Chicago.
KISS reintroduces Chicago theater audiences to US-based screenwriter, playwright, and director Guillermo Calderon, originally from Santiago, Chile. Calderón’s productions have toured throughout the world, including Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. His co-written screenplay VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN won the World Cinema Jury Prize for Drama at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He co-wrote THE CLUB, directed by Pablo Larrain, which was nominated for the Golden Globes in the Foreign Language category and won the Silver plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival. KISS is a political and romantic drama about two couples meeting for their weekly soap opera viewing party, which begins to feel like a soap opera itself. Haven’s production is directed by Monty Cole, who will also perform. Abhi Shrestha associate directs.
THE TOTAL BENT runs February – March 2019, and KISS plays July – August. The season kicks off this October with the fourth-annual Director’s Haven, the company’s showcase of early-career directors. Charlotte Drover, Anna Sung-En Medill and Dani Wieder will each lead a fully produced 30-45 minute play, performed together under one bill. The plays are to be announced.
“As our world continues down an ever more uncertain road, many of us in the creative industry find ourselves regularly confronting questions dealing with what it means to be an artist during a time of political upheaval,” said Artistic Director Josh Sobel. “Is this what the world needs right now, or could it use another civil rights attorney? Why art? If we choose to make art in such a time, what are the responsibilities we have to actively and consciously engage with the moment? And even more, how do we then choose to do so? Grappling with questions of the role of the artist during times of civic unrest, violence and war, our upcoming productions will be helmed by directors vital to this city’s artistic community, bringing their distinctly contemporary and conscious voices to these intensely immediate stories.”
Haven’s performances take place at The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets will go on sale at a later date. For more information, visit haventheatrechicago.com.
Haven Theatre’s 2018-19 Season (from the press release):
DIRECTORS HAVEN 2018
October 15 – 31, 2018
Featuring work by Charlotte Drover, Anna Sung-En Medill and Dani Wieder
All performances are pay-what-you-can
The DIRECTOR’S HAVEN is back for the 4th consecutive year, with three more early career directors eager to share their visions! Charlotte Drover, Anna Sung-En Medill and Dani Weider will headline the next chapter of Haven’s initiative to showcase rising directors as they share their artistic point of view with the Chicago community. Each director will helm a fully produced 30-45 minute play of their choosing that will run back-to-back at each performance. See what the next generation can do when provided with that all-too-rare commodity: a room to share their vision. Productions will be announced shortly.
THE TOTAL BENT – Midwest Premiere
February 7 – March 10, 2019
Text by Stew
Music & Lyrics by Stew & Heidi Rodewald
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
When a British record producer arrives in Montgomery, Alabama to hook Marty Roy, a young black musical prodigy, he launches us back into Marty’s tumultuous upbringing. The son of a gospel star and self-proclaimed healer, Marty spent his childhood writing the songs that have made his charismatic father famous. But in a nation on the verge of social upheaval, with the rising heat from the street guiding his pen, Marty finds himself at odds with his spiritually forceful father as he strives to create a masterpiece that will change America – no matter the cost. A funny, fiery, one-of-a-kind show, The Total Bent is about the passions that divide a father and son as they make their music and make their choice between salvation and selling out.
KISS – Chicago Premiere
July 18 – August 11, 2019
Written by Guillermo Calderon
Directed by Monty Cole
Associate Director Abhi Shrestha
Two couples meet for their weekly soap opera viewing party, but that standing double date quickly starts to feel like a soap opera itself when the friends unpack scandals, secrets and their heart-rending passions. Guillermo Calderon has written a bold and political theatrical experience that explodes the romantic drama and asks what it means to empathize with a culture and conflict that is not your own.