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Pictured: Pulitzer and Tony Winner Robert Schenkkan (Photo by Walter McBride)
Stage Left Theatre has announced its 36th season, which begins with the Chicago premiere of BUILDING THE WALL by Robert Schenkkan, directed by Co-Artistic Director Amy Szerlong. Schenkkan is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE KENTUCKY CYCLE, as well as ALL THE WAY, the 2014 Tony Award winner for best play. BUILDING THE WALL, an indictment of the Trump administration, just opened in a major off-Broadway production on May 12th.
In the winter, Stage Left will present the Chicago Premiere of INSURRECTION: HOLDING HISTORY by Robert O’Hara, directed by Wardell Julius Clark. The time-traveling epic views Nat Turner’s historic slave rebellion with a contemporary and satirical lens.
Finally, Stage Left will present THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE by Meridith Friedman. As a National New Play Network rolling world premiere, it will also receive productions at Curious Theatre Company in Denver, Colorado and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stage Left produced Friedman’s THE FIRESTORM in 2015.
This season also marks a change of venue for Stage Left — all three productions will take place at the Athenaeum Theater. The company will also present LeapFest, its annual developmental festival featuring workshop productions of new plays, at a time and location to be announced later.
Stage Left Theatre’s Season 36 (from the press release):
BUILDING THE WALL
by Robert Schenkkan
directed by Co-Artistic Director Amy Szerlong
September 21 – October 22, 2017
From Pulitzer and Tony winner Robert Schenkkan (All The Way, Hacksaw Ridge – Academy Award nomination), comes a provocative 80-minute theatrical event written in a white-hot fury. In a time when shocking campaign rhetoric turns into real policies, BUILDING THE WALL urgently reveals the power of theater to question who we are and where we might be going. Don’t miss the show The Hollywood Reporter calls, “A mesmerizing and shocking new play that simmers with of-the-moment urgency.”
INSURRECTION: HOLDING HISTORY
by Robert O’Hara
directed by Wardell Julius Clark
January 11 – February 11, 2018
Ron, a young, gay African-American graduate student, trying to complete his thesis on Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, is feeling lost in his life and alienated from his family. When his 189-year-old great, great grandfather TJ takes him back in time to meet Turner in the flesh, both men find answers they never expected. The play deals with themes of racial identity and sexuality, as Ron comes to face his ancestors’ history, and his own personal identity. A raucous, wrenching story, part “Roots”, part “The Wizard of Oz”, part “In Living Color”, and all Robert O’Hara, “Insurrection: Holding History” will change how you see the past, and just maybe yourself as well.
THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE
by Meridith Friedman
directed by Co-Artistic Director Jason A. Fleece
March 26 – April 29, 2018
After the matriarch of the Hoffman family passes away, Richard is blindsided when his elderly father, Oscar, demands to leave his assisted living facility. With his sister Laura living in Shanghai, and Richard soon to become a first time father with his partner David, he is less than thrilled at the prospect of housing his–to put it mildly–difficult father. Accusations begin to fly and defenses are raised, drawing father and son, brother and sister, and spouses into a heated game of finger pointing with unintended consequences. The first in a trilogy of plays about the Hoffman family.
As part of a NNPN Rolling World Premiere, The Luckiest People will be produced by Curious Theatre Company in Denver, Colorado in May of 2017, then at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina in August of 2017, and finally at Stage Left Theatre.
All performances will take place at The Athenaeum Theater: 2936 N. Southport.
See what’s next in Chicago theatre – LeapFest’s first fourteen years have so far graduated twenty-six plays to world premiere productions in Chicago and beyond, with four of these receiving the Jeff Award for Best New Work. This annual new play development festival features workshop productions of exciting new plays in rotating repertory.