Charlotte and Jonny have grown up together, and are now trying to determine whether their close friendship might be something more. When they discover exactly what “more” actually entails, however, it comes as a surprise to them both—and to Charlotte’s parents, who are holding secrets and resentments of their own. This compelling, spirited story of intricate relationships is an entertaining and explosive look at race, sexual identity and family dynamics.
Marti Lyons, one of Chicago’s finest emerging directors, brings her unique vision to this deeply insightful and very funny new play, using the intimacy of WT’s Gillian Theatre to bring audiences face-to-face with the challenges of loving someone completely while trying to determine exactly what that means.
“I have had the pleasure of following the impressive rising careers of playwright Bash Doran and Director Marti Lyons for the past few years and I am delighted to find a project that suited both their considerable talents so perfectly,” said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “The Mystery of Love & Sex enjoyed a very successful and critically-acclaimed run at Lincoln Center Theatre’s Mitzi Newhouse Theatre and is now receiving a number of productions nationwide and with good reason. Doran manages to create a world in which themes of sexuality, gender, friendship, race, and privilege all feature prominently. She does so with enormous wit and joy and I think our audiences will very much appreciate and ultimately be very moved by the journey of her deliciously crafted characters and expertly articulated text. Marti has brought together a superbly gifted and engaging cast and a top-notch design team taking full advantage of the intimacy of the Gillian Theatre and Writers Theatre’s hallmark intimacy.”
The cast includes: Hayley Burgess (Charlotte), Keith Kupferer (Howard), Jerry Miller (Howard’s Father), Lia Mortensen (Lucinda) and Travis Turner (Jonny).
The creative team includes: Andrew Boyce (Scenic Designer), Samantha C. Jones (Costume Designer), Paul Toben (Lighting Designer), and Andrew Hansen (Sound Designer). Rebecca Adelsheim is the Dramaturg, Tyrone Phillips is the Assistant Director, and Rebecca Pechter is the Stage Manager.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Bathsheba Doran’s (Playwright) The Mystery of Love & Sex received its world premiere at Lincoln Center in 2015 under the direction of Sam Gold, starring Diane Lane and Tony Shalhoub. Her critically acclaimed play Kin received its world premiere in spring 2011 at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Sam Gold. Her play Parents' Evening premiered at The Flea Theater, directed by Jim Simpson, and her play Ben and the Magic Paintbrush premiered in spring 2010 at South Coast Repertory Theater. She is a 2009 recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and three Lecomte du Nouy Lincoln Center playwriting awards. She is also a Cherry Lane Mentor Project Fellow and a Susan Smith Blackburn Award finalist. Bash is currently developing the limited series Codes of Conduct with Steve McQueen for HBO. She also served as a writer/producer for the second season of Showtime’s hit series Masters of Sex, and she was recently a story editor on Smash for NBC. Bash wrote on season two of the acclaimed Martin Scorsese/HBO series Boardwalk Empire (for which her episode received a WGA nomination). Bash Doran is also developing a series for Channel 4 called Jerusalem. Bash’s first play Feminine Wash was produced at the Edinburgh Fringe festival while she was a student at University of Cambridge, from which she holds a B.A. and an M.A. She then went on to University of Oxford, where she received an M.A. before working as a television comedy writer with the BBC. Bash moved to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2000, received her M.F.A. from Columbia University and went on to become a playwriting fellow of The Juilliard School. She is currently under commission from Lincoln Center Theater, Atlantic Theater and Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Her work is available from Samuel French and Playscripts Inc.
Marti Lyons (Director) returns to Writers Theatre, where she previously assistant directed Days Like Today and The Letters. Lyons is also an ensemble member at The Gift Theatre Company and received the 2015 Maggio directing fellowship from Goodman Theatre. Chicago credits include Title and Deed (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The City of Conversation (Northlight Theatre), Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Wit (The Hypocrites), Mine, Bethany and Body and Blood (The Gift Theatre Company), Hot Georgia Sunday, Seminar (Haven Theatre), Give it All Back, Mai Dang Lao, 9 Circles, Maria/Stuart, co-director for The Golden Dragon (Sideshow Theatre Company), Prowess, The Peacock, The Last Duck (Jackalope Theatre Company) and The Play About my Dad (Raven Theatre). Regional credits include Wondrous Strange (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville). Next up Marti will direct Native Gardens for Victory Gardens Theater.
Hayley Burgess (Charlotte) is making her Writers Theatre debut. Theatre credits include Stupid Kid (First Look at Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Domesticated (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Ugly (New Stages at Goodman Theatre), The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, The Little Foxes (Goodman Theatre), Fugitive Awareness (First Floor Theatre), and Jake's Women (Spartan Theatre). Hayley is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and The School at Steppenwolf.
Keith Kupferer (Howard) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously appeared in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody. Chicago credits include Support Group For Men, The Old Neighborhood(Goodman Theatre), The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice and Men, Carter's Way, Men of Tortuga, Things Being What They Are, Jesus Hopped the A Train, Tavern Story (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Never the Sinner, Appropriate (Victory Gardens Theater), The Humans (American Theater Company), God of Carnage, High Holidays Passion Play, Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), End Days (Windy City Playhouse), Execution of Justice (About Face Theatre), Cat Feet, The Old Neighborhood (Northlight Theatre), Desire Under the Elms, (Philadelphia’s Freedom Theatre, Court Theatre, How the World Began, American Wee-Pie (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), The Unseen, The Meek, Canus Lunis Balloonis, The Physicists (A Red Orchid Theatre), Big Lake, Big City, Trust and Hillbilly Antigone (Lookingglass Theatre Company). Regional credits include: Shear Madness (Kennedy Center Theater Lab). Television and film credits include Shameless (Showtime), Better Call Saul (AMC), Betrayal, Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC), Crisis, Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire (NBC), The Beast (A&E), Prison Break (FOX), The Jamie Kennedy Experiment (WB), Early Edition (CBS), The Dilemma (2011), The Dark Knight (2008), Public Enemies (2009), The Express (2008), Stranger Than Fiction (2006), Road to Perdition (2002), Finding Santa (2015), The Last Rites of Joe May (2011), The Merry Gentleman (2008), Resurrecting McGinn(s) (2016) and Open Tables (2015).
Jerry Miller (Howard’s Father) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Jerry is a Chicago actor, director, producer and playwright. His favorite roles include Otto Frank and Mr. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Metropolis Performing Arts Center), Ben in The Secret Garden, Mr. Lunde in Brigadoon and the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof (Light Opera Works). In August 2017 Jerry will be appearing as Pops in the musical Gypsy (Music Theater Works, formerly known as Light Opera Works). Jerry has also worked for Redtwist Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Walkabout Theater, and Windy City Playhouse. Jerry is a member of Screen Actors Guild. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from the University of South Carolina.
Lia Mortensen (Lucinda) returns to Writers Theatre where she previously appeared in Company. Chicago credits include Julianna in the Midwest premiere of The Other Place (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination—Principal Actress), Annapurna (Profiles Theatre), Dionysa in Pericles, Isabella in Measure for Measure, Helena in All's Well that Ends Well (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), An Inspector Calls, Night and Day (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Cymbeline (First Folio Theatre), Faith Healer (The Den Theatre), Becca in Rabbit Hole (Goodman Theatre), Big Meal (Joseph Jefferson Award—Ensemble, American Theater Company), Lynn Fontanne in Ten Chimneys, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Sky Girls, Sally in Talley’s Folly (Northlight Theatre), Closer, Faith Healer (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Fighting Words (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), Well, Nora in A Doll’s House, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, The Illusion (Next Theatre Company), Jacob, Hiding Place, Spoon River Anthology Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey (Provision Theater), Ghosts, All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Serious Money (Court Theatre), No Wake (Route 66 Theatre Company) and Merchild (16th Street Theater). Directing credits include Bus Stop, Quality of Life (The Den Theatre), and Jacob (Provision Theater). Film credits include Resurrecting McGinn(s) (2016), The View from Tall (2016,) Consumed (2015), Imperfections (2016), Market Value (2015), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and Blink (1994). Television credits include Shameless (Showtime), Empire (FOX), Crisis, Chicago Fire (NBC), Easy Abby (Webisode), The Onion, Chicago Code (FOX), Family Practice, Early Edition (CBS) and Missing Persons (ABC). Lia is an ensemble member of Provision Theater and The Den Theatre.
Travis Turner (Jonny) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Recent Chicago credits include: Bootycandy (Windy City Playhouse), Thaddeus and Slocum (Lookingglass), The Flick (Steppenwolf), The Upstairs Concierge (Goodman), Tartuffe, The Misanthrope (Court) and We Are Proud to Present... (Victory Gardens). Second City credits include Longer, Louder, Wagner (with Lyric Opera Chicago), Twist Your Dickens (with Goodman Theatre), and The Art of Falling (with Hubbard Street Dance).
ASL-Interpreted performance: Friday, June 16 at 7:30pm
Open-Captioned performance: Friday, June 23 at 7:30pm
Sunday Spotlight—Sunday, May 21, 2017
This one-hour event will follow the matinee performance and feature an expert in a field related to the themes or setting of The Mystery of Love & Sex, moderated by a member of the WT Artistic Team. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.
The Making of… Series—Monday, June 5, 2017 at 6:30pm
Writers Theatre will once again host its popular The Making of… Series, providing insight into a different aspect of creating the productions seen on our stages. Enjoy a short and lively presentation by our actors, designers or other experts who will walk you through the process of preparing for and executing a production. The Making of… events are FREE and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.
Post Show Conversation: The Word
Join us after Tuesday evening performances (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute discussion of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
Post Show Conversation: The Artist
Join us after every Wednesday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
For more information about Writers Theatre Audience Enrichment programs visit writerstheatre.org/events.
RIDE METRA TO WRITERS THEATRE
In an effort to promote taking public transit to the Theatre, Writers Theatre launched a new promotion in 2013. Any audience member who purchases a ticket to a Writers Theatre production and rides Metra’s Union Pacific North Line to the Theatre may snap a photo of themselves on the train and post it to their Facebook page or Twitter feed with a tag of @WritersTheatre and #TheMysteryofLoveandSex, and upon showing the post at the Writers Theatre Box Office, receive $5 in cash to put toward the cost of your fare as a thank you for going green.
This promotion is available for a limited time only, and may end without warning. Ticket must have been paid for in advance. Not valid on comp tickets. More information available at writerstheatre.org/metra
WRITERS THEATRE PARTNERS
Writers Theatre is pleased to recognize BMO Harris Bank as the 25th Anniversary Season Sponsor for the 2016/17 season. ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor of the season. Jand and Richard Liptonare Artist Council Sponsors and Laurie and Michael Petersen serve as Artists Council Sponsors.
For more information about Writers Theatre’s 2016/17 Partners, visit writerstheatre.org/our-supporters.
ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE
For 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.
Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues.
In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.
Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.