Saturday, August 20, 2016

OPENING: NAPERVILLE Kicks Off Theater Wit's Season With Smart's Locally Flavored Comedy

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SEPT. 6-OCT. 16 


Here at ChiIL Live Show, we're excited to see what's next for Theater Wit. How can you go wrong pairing Smart and WitWe're expecting great things from this collaboration! We'll be there opening night so check back soon for our full review.

Theater Wit, Chicago's premiere "smart art" theater, looks forward to presenting the Chicago premiere of Naperville by acclaimed young playwright Mat Smart.

This extraordinary dramatic comedy, all new to Chicago, is set in a Caribou Coffee in - you guessed it - Naperville. 

Previews start August 26. Press opening is Tuesday, September 6 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through October 16: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Exception: No show on Thursday, September 9. 

Tickets are $12-$36. Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. 

To purchase single tickets, a Theater Wit Membership or Flex Pass, visit or call 773.975.8150.

Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Naperville by (from left) Mat Smart, directed by Jeremy Wechsler, stars Laura T. Fisher as Candice, Andrew Jessop as T.C., Abby Pierce as Anne, Charlie Strater as Roy and Mike Tepeli as Howard.

About Naperville
Naperville premiered off-off Broadway in 2014 at New York's Slant Theatre Project. The production was a New York Times "Critic's Pick." New York Theatre Review hailed Smart's heartfelt and beautiful meditation on the "comedy and tragedy of quiet places we are too quick to forget" as a "valentine to the heart and soul of the American suburbs." 

That idyllic suburb is none other than west suburban Naperville, where Howard is considering abandoning his career in Seattle to move back home to care for his mother Candice after an accident has left her blind. At the Caribou Coffee in downtown Naperville, Howard and Candice cross paths with Anne, Howard's high school classmate and an expert on the suburb's founder, Captain Joseph Naper. 

Ultimately, Naperville is a comedy about high school crushes, curfews (for your mother), sight, and how beauty reveals itself in the suburbs.

Smart, born in Naperville and a graduate of Waubonsie Valley High School, looks forward to coming back to work with Wit on the play's hometown premiere, where all of its local references will fully resonate. 

Smart returns to Chicago riding a wave of local acclaim after his play The Royal Society of Antarctica at Gift Theatre won the 2015 Equity Jeff Award for Best New Work.
Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler directs the Chicago premiere of Naperville. Theater Wit's cast includes Laura T. Fisher as Candice, Andrew Jessop as T.C., Abby Pierce as Anne, Charlie Strater as Roy and Mike Tepeli as Howard. 

The production team includes Joe Schermoly (set), Christine Pascual (costumes), Alexander Rogers (lights), Ethan Deppe (sound), Amanda Hermann (props), Majel Cuza (production manager) and Katrina Herrmann (stage manager). 

Mat Smart's (playwright) other plays include Tinker to Evers to Chance (Geva, Merrimack Rep), Samuel J. and K. (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf for Young Adults), The Hopper Collection (Magic Theatre, Huntington) and The 13th of Paris (City Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre). He is the recipient of two Jerome Fellowships, a McKnight Advancement Grant, and the 2014 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Center for the Arts. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Evansville and his MFA from the University of California, San Diego. An avid baseball fan and traveler, Smart has been to all 30 of the current MLB stadiums, all 50 states and all of the continents. Smart currently lives in Manhattan. 

Jeremy Wechsler (director) most recently staged Theater Wit's The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Madeline George's Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show's summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit's acclaimed Completeness and The Four of Us (Itamar Moses), Tigers Be Still (Kim Rosenstock), This (Melissa James Gibson), Spin (Penny Penniston), Feydeau-Si-Deau (Georges Feydeau), Men of Steel (Qui Nguyen), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Will Eno), Two for the Show (James Fitzpatrick and Will Clinger) and The Santaland Diaries. His productions have been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new work.

About Theater Wit
Theater Wit - "a thrilling addition to Chicago's roster of theaters" (Chicago Tribune) and "a terrific place to see a show" (New City) - will open its sixth season this fall in its home at 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. 

Founded in 2004, Theater Wit's mission is to explore contemporary issues with wit and wisdom through new works and Chicago premieres. 

As a production company, Theater Wit is Chicago's premiere smart art theater, producing humorous, challenging and intelligent plays that speak with a vibrant and contemporary theatrical voice. Recent critical and box office hits include The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses. 

In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater.

As an institution, Theater Wit seeks to be the hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago. Theater Wit brings together Chicago's best storefront companies, including 2016-17 resident companies About Face and Shattered Globe.

The best way to secure seats at Theater Wit is by signing up for a Theater Wit Membership. Wit's Netflix-like "all the theater you can eat" membership deal lets members see as many plays at they want at any of Theater Wit's three, 99-seat spaces for one low monthly fee of $36/$22 for students, along with many exclusive member perks. 

Wit also offers a 10-play Flex Pass for $215 to anything presented in the building, a savings of up to 40%. Single tickets for Wit's 2016-17 productions start at $12, and will go on sale approximately two months before the first preview of each production.

We're also elated about the theme for the 2016-17 season: "Unexpected Families"

I'm very excited to announce one of Chicago's most exciting seasons of work from the country's finest playwrights and artists. These surprising plays are a clarion call for how compassion, humor and understanding can ignite unexpected community in a divided society. I hope you enjoy all these Chicago premieres; I've strived to find those particular works that can thrive in our unique home and artistic processes.
- Jeremy Wechsler, Artistic Director

For more information, visit or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.

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