Griffin’s 30th Season Features Two Chicago Premieres

Griffin Theatre Company has announced the lineup for its 30th season, featuring four productions exploring the theme “the journeys we take to find ourselves,” including two Chicago premieres.

The season kicks off with the Tony-nominated musical VIOLET, with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley and music by Jeanine Tesori. Griffin’s production will be directed by Scott Weinstein with music direction by John Cockerill. Next spring brings the Chicago premiere of GHOSTS OF WAR, based on Ryan Smithson’s best-selling autobiographical novel, adapted for the stage by Artistic Director Bill Massolia and directed by Jason Gerace. GHOSTS OF WAR will perform in repertory with Griffin’s touring production LETTERS HOME, written and directed by Bill Massolia, which celebrates its 10th anniversary. The season concludes next summer with the Chicago premiere of THE HARVEST by Samuel D. Hunter, to be directed by Jonathan Berry. The 2017-18 season will be presented at Wicker Park’s Den Theatre.

The season will also include two concert-style readings: FOR SERVICES RENDERED by Somerset Maugham, directed by Robin Witt and RUTHERFORD AND SON by Githa Sowerby, directed by Elise Kauzlaric. Dates and venues are to be announced.

The Griffin Theatre Company 2017-18 Season (from the press release):

November 26, 2017 – January 13, 2018
Book and Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Scott Weinstein
Music Direction by John Cockerill

Based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, this award-winning musical fuses a powerful rock, folk and gospel score. With a ticket, a suitcase and a heart full of expectation, Violet Karl, facially disfigured since childhood, boards a bus and travels across the deep south in 1964 to see if a faith healer can transform her life. Along the way, she forms unlikely friendships with her fellow passengers, who teach her about beauty, love and courage and that it’s the journeys you take in life that help you discover who you are.

April 6 – May 6, 2018 – Presented in Rotating Repertory:
GHOSTS OF WAR – Chicago Premiere
From the novel by Ryan Smithson
Adapted by Artistic Director William Massolia
Directed by Jason Gerace

Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing adaptation, follow one GI’s tour of duty inside a world that few understand. Based on Smithson’s best-selling novel, this unforgettable story about combat, friendship, fear and a soldier’s commitment to his country peels back the curtain on the realities of war.

Written and Directed by Artistic Director William Massolia

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this critically lauded production puts the soldier experience in Iraq and Afghanistan front and center by bringing to life war letters written home. Seen by more than 100,000 people in more than 100 cities since its first performance in 2007, the Griffin is proud to have this production come home for Chicago audiences to experience once again.

July 21 – August 26, 2018
THE HARVEST – Chicago Premiere
By Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by Jonathan Berry

In the basement of a small evangelical church in southeastern Idaho, a group of young missionaries is preparing to go to the Middle East. When one of the missionaries – a young man – has a crisis of faith on his spiritual journey, it reminds us that faith doesn’t come easily, no matter where you look for it.

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