Lookingglass Announces 19-20 Season

Lookingglass Announces 19-20 Season

Pictured: J. Nicole Brooks

Lookingglass Theatre Company has announced its 2019–2020 season lineup, kicking off with the company’s new holiday tradition “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” written and directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman from the story by Hans Christian Andersen. The world premiere of “Her Honor Jane Byrne,” written and directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks, takes a look back at Chicago’s first woman Mayor who famously moved into the neglected Cabrini Green housing project. It’s the only new piece in the season, which concludes with the return of the company’s signature “Lookingglass Alice,” adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin from the works of Lewis Carroll, produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium.

“As an Ensemble, we’ve talked a lot about why humans tell the same stories again and again. I think it’s because as we get older and the world changes, and our viewing point changes, these stories inherently change. They are so deeply human that they continue to resonate with us in different ways,” comments Artistic Director Heidi Stillman. “As we move into our next season, we feel encouraged to tell stories that made us who we are, and stories that will help pave our path into the future.”

Subscriptions are on sale now through the box office at (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org.

Lookingglass’ 2019–2020 Season (descriptions from the press release):

“The Steadfast Tin Soldier”
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman
From the Story by Hans Christian Andersen
November 1, 2019–January 26, 2020
Recommended for Ages 5+

True to his loyal and resolute nature, The Steadfast Tin Soldier returns! Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up comes back to Lookingglass for a winter-time curtain call. Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses, Treasure Island) fashions an extravagant and exhilarating spectacle, infused with music and movement. Don’t miss the triumphant return of Chicago’s newest Holiday tradition, The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

“I’m very glad that our little Tin Soldier managed to march his way into the hearts of so many, and that he’ll be coming back again in the Holiday season steadfast as ever. We wanted to make something that was visually and emotionally overpowering—as well as very funny—and do that with no spoken language at all,” says Mary Zimmerman. “People of all ages and from around the world are able to watch the show and feel it all the same, no English required. I think the silence of the characters—and the beautiful music that accompanies their adventures—allows older members of the audience to fall into a private, younger part of themselves; and for children, they are watching something in the manner they are used to: gathering up the story through the intensity of their earnest attention, through their intelligence which has no words.”

World Premiere
“Her Honor Jane Byrne”
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks
February 26–April 12, 2020
Recommended for Ages 13+

Chicago is “The City That Works”—but does it work for everybody? It’s 1981, the city’s simmering pot of neglected problems boils over, and Chicago’s first woman mayor is moving into Cabrini-Green. Is this just a PR stunt, or will it bring the City together? For the next three weeks, residents, activists, media, the “Machine,” and the Mayor herself will collide as the City’s raw truths are exposed. Who will come out on top? Lookingglass Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks creates this smoldering new take on Her Honor Jane Byrne.

J. Nicole Brooks comments, “When you grow up in a city that’s hyper segregated, run amuck with corruption, and political stunts and discord, you have to work hard to love it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the history. I’m fascinated by ethnic clans. I’m curious about patronage, councils, aldermen, and committeemen. Who gets elected and how? Who gets to lead us, and will they actually listen to us? Though I was very little, I can remember when it was announced that Mayor Jane Byrne was moving into Cabrini-Green. Can she stop the violence? Well, no one person can. Here we are decades later, asking the same questions. I hope our audiences walk away with a bit of the past, so they may know how to shape our future.”

Lookingglass is excited to partner with a number of cultural institutions including Chicago History Museum, National Public Housing Museum, Rebuild Foundation, and others as part of the Community Engagement work around the production.

“Lookingglass Alice”
Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin
From the Works of Lewis Carroll
Produced in Association with The Actors Gymnasium
May 13–August 16, 2020
Recommended for Ages 5+

Lookingglass Alice returns for a fantastical trip down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, and deep into your heart. The New York Times calls this circus-infused adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories “eye-catching entertainment.” This signature Lookingglass production, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin (The Little Prince, Moby Dick), has toured the country, enchanting audiences of all ages. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the awe-inspiring production comes back home for a new generation to discover.

David Catlin notes, “If you put Lookingglass DNA under a high-powered microscope, you’d find zinging molecules composed of nonsense, curiosity, and invention. You’d find a pair of black-and-white stripe-y tights, a tardy rabbit in a waistcoat and bowler, a stuttering old soul who believes as many as six impossible things before breakfast, and a fearsome girl named Alice soaring high above our heads and into the heart of wonder. So back we go, to the other side of the Lookingglass, to the utterly essential and glorious nonsense of Wonderland—bring a friend, it’s a little cuckoo in there!”

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.