Dead Writers Theatre Collective OPENS 2015 SEASON DEDICATED TO LEGENDARY PLAYWRIGHT OSCAR WILDE WITH “LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN” AT STAGE 773
APRIL 17-JUNE 7
Wild about Oscar Wilde? Don't despair now that Chicago Children's Theatre's incredible rendition based on Wilde's Selfish Giant and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest: Concert Reading at Ruth Page have closed. Fans, there's more Wilde about to light up Chicago's Stage 773 via Dead Writers Theatre Collective! Save the dates. Previews begin 4/17-21.
Dead Writers Theatre Collective opens their season with Oscar Wilde’s four-act comedy of morals “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” directed by Dead Writers Artistic Director Jim Schneider at Stage 773 located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., April 17-June 7. Previews are April 17-21.
“Lady Windermere's Fan” subtitled “A Play About a Good Woman” was first produced in 1892 at London’s St James's Theatre in London. Married into the peak of London high society, rich, titled, beautiful and proper Lady Margaret Windermere is 21 years old and without a care in the world. Before the next sunrise, malicious gossip, a glamorous woman with a dangerous past, a charming gentleman with a wicked reputation, and a misplaced fan will threaten to destroy everything she holds dear and change her forever.
“This play has always been near and dear to my heart,” says Schneider. “We did three performances of the play in our 2013 Chamber Series and it was so successful that many of our patrons asked if we would do a full production of it. The Collective is extremely pleased to include it in our 2015 season because it gives us the opportunity to fulfill the request from our fans and it is the perfect vehicle to show off what Dead Writers Theatre Collective has come to be known for: presenting theater with premier production values, fine acting and the highest caliber of period authenticity. Add in our wonderful cast and a treasure trove of designer talent and you get a deliciously rich, must-see theater experience, guaranteed to be a highlight of the spring theater season.”
The cast includes Megan Delay* (Lady Windermere), Edward Fraim (Lord Windermere), Joanna Riopelle* (Mrs. Erlynne), Doug Reed (Lord Darlington), Michael Graham* (Lord Augustus Lorton), Linda Roberts* (The Duchess of Berwick), Travis Barnhart* (Mr. Cecil Graham), Rob Cramer* (Mr. Dumby), Shawn Hansen (Mr. Hopper), Christina Rene Jones (Lady Agatha), Mindy Barber (Lady Plymdale), Joyce Saxon* and Julie Mitre (Lady Jedburgh), Elliott Fredland (Parker), Sara Minton* (Mrs. Cowper-Cowper), Maggie Speer (Lady Stutfield), Bev Coscarelli (Miss graham), Melanie Vitaterna (Rosalie). Understudies are Mary Anne Bowman and Ben Muller*.
The design team includes Jim Schneider* (director), Moon Jung Kim (set designer), Patti Roeder* (costume designer), Erik Barry (lighting designer), Jeffrey Levin (sound designer) and Sarah Jo White (hair and makeup designer). Stage manager is Shannon Desmond; assistant stage managers are Matthew Bonaccorso* and Alison Ennis. Assistant director is Brenda Kilianski*.
Oscar Wilde (1854 -1900) was a successful poet and journalist, though his greatest talent was for writing plays. His first successful play, “Lady Windermere's Fan,” opened in February 1892, followed by a string of extremely popular comedies including “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). In 1891, at the peak of his career, Wilde began an ill-fated affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed “Bosie.” When Bosie’s disapproving father insulted Wilde, Wilde sued for defamation of character. Bosie’s father’s counter suit for “depravity” resulted in Wilde’s conviction for sodomy and Wilde’s two-year jail sentence. After serving his sentence, Wilde emerged from jail bankrupt and spiritually broken. He died of cerebral meningitis on Nov. 30, 1900. Wilde’s story is at the heart of David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss” which will have a chamber production by Dead Writers Theatre Collective at the Stage 773 Cabaret Aug. 8-10.
Jim Schneider* (Director/Dead Writers Theatre Collective Artistic Director) directed last season’s staging of the Chicago premiere of Michael Bloom’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” at Stage 773. Other Collective directing credits include the professional world premiere of Adam Pasen's “Tea with Edie & Fitz” and Noel Coward's “The Vortex.” Additional Chicago directing credits include the critically acclaimed, Jeff Recommended productions of Clare Booth Luce’s “The Women,” Philip Barry’s “The Philadelphia Story,” Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever,” “Design for Living” and “An Ideal Husband,” all at Circle Theatre. To date Schneider’s productions have garnered a total of five Jeff Recommendations and 11 Jeff Nominations, winning two for Best Costume Design. His 2010 production of “The Philadelphia Story” won three Broadway World Awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Revival of a Classic) and “Tea with Eddie & Fitz” recently won the Broadway World Award for Best New Play of 2013. Originally from Houston, Texas, Schneider founded Houston’s Horizon’s Showcase Theatre where he premiered Horton Foote’s “Courtship” with the assistance of Foote, produced and directed Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” and “The American Dream” (with the assistance of Albee) among others. Schneider holds an M.F.A. from University of Houston.
Dead Writers Theatre Collective presents Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” April 17 – June 7 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Previews are Friday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 19 2:30 p.m. and Tuesday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. Press opening is Wednesday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. Post-opening performances are Thursdays-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday Matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for previews; $40 for all other performances. Group, senior and student discounts are available. For tickets call 773.327.5252 or visit deadwriters.net.
* Denotes Dead Writers Theatre Collective Member
Dead Writers Theatre Collective seeks to transport audiences into the original world of the play through extensively studied period appropriate settings, props and costumes. This strict attention to detail and high level of aesthetics is a hallmark of the Collective.
The Collective, under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Schneider and Managing Director Bob Douglas, is a Chicago-based 501 (c ) 3 non-profit arts collective comprised of directors, designers, actors and playwrights and educators with a mission is to produce works either by or about dead writers. Past productions have included Jane Austen’s “Emma,” Noel Coward’s “The Vortex,” Brenda Kilianski’s “Loos Ends: A Hollywood Memoir,” Adam Pasen “Tea with Eddie and Fitz,” (winner of the Broadway World Award for Best New Play of 2013) and Chamber productions of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” and Pierre de Marivaux’s “The Game of Love and Chance.”
The Collective’s 2015 season, “A Wilde Affair” features three works: ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan” (April 17-June 7), David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss” (Aug. 8-10) and David Grimm’s “The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue” translated and freely adapted from Moliere’s “Les Femmes Savantes” (Oct. 8-10). Three-show subscriptions are still available for Dead Writers Theatre Collective’s 2015 three-play season for $90 per person. For more information visit deadwriters.net.
Dead Writers Theatre Collective 2015 productions are supported in part by The Service Club of Chicago, Lois Siegel, Dr. and Mrs. James Hannigan and Joyce Saxon.