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TimeLine Theatre Company, acclaimed for presenting plays that explore today’s social and political issues through the lens of the past, is thrilled to announce its 23rd season
The company’s 2019-20 subscription season will feature the previously announced Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers’ Tony Award-winning OSLO presented at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse. TimeLine’s 2019-20 season continues with an acclaimed but rarely performed 100-year-old play named one of the best of the 20th Century that has never been seen in Chicago, the Chicago premiere of a powerful and provocative play described by the playwright as “an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that ‘all lives matter,’” and the world premiere of a new play developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective.
TimeLine Theatre’s upcoming 2019-20 subscription season includes: The Chicago premiere of the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Play, OSLO by J.T. Rogers, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, a political thriller about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that brought about the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, presented at the Broadway Playhouse.
The Chicago premiere of RUTHERFORD AND SON by Githa Sowerby, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe, a rarely produced family drama written in 1912 that brings an ahead-of-its-time depiction of class, gender, and generational warfare.
The Chicago premiere of KILL MOVE PARADISE by James Ijames, directed by TimeLine Company Member Wardell Julius Clark, a contemporary portrait of those lost, inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women.
And the world premiere of RELENTLESS by TimeLine Company Member Tyla Abercrumbie, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, a new play developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective that presents a complicated tale of family, legacy, and progress.
Further casting will be announced at a later date.
Save on tickets to TimeLine’s 2019-20 Season with a FlexPass Subscription. Four different tiers, priced from $97 to $235, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com.
“On behalf of all of TimeLine’s Company Members I am excited to announce our next season, featuring a thrilling collection of four plays that are all new to Chicago,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “As TimeLine furthers its mission of exploring today’s social and political issues through the lens of the past, we will take audiences on a journey through different centuries and continents while exploring topics that dominate contemporary headlines and conversations. The season includes acclaimed plays such as Oslo and Kill Move Paradise that have recently been heralded in New York and beyond, alongside the world premiere of Tyla Abercrumbie’s astonishing family drama Relentless, and the resurrection of a groundbreaking feminist play from the early 20th century, Rutherford and Son, marking the long-overdue Chicago premiere of this classic.”
THE 2019-20 TIMELINE THEATRE SEASON IS:
by J.T. Rogers
directed by Nick Bowling
September 18 – October 20, 2019 (previews 9/10 – 9/17)
presented at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St.
TimeLine presents the Chicago premiere of the 2017 Tony Award winner for Best Play—a remarkable story about the unlikely friendships, quiet heroics, and sheer determination that pushed two foes to reach something neither thought truly possible—peace.
When the Israeli prime minister and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993, the world had no idea what it took to orchestrate that momentous occasion. Behind the scenes, a Norwegian diplomat and her social scientist husband hatched an intricate, top secret, and sometimes comical scheme to gather an unexpected assortment of players at an idyllic estate just outside Oslo. Far from any international glare, mortal enemies were able to face each other not as adversaries, but as fellow human beings.
J.T. Rogers’ OSLO is a humorous, surprising, and inspiring true story about the people inside politics, and the incredible progress that is possible when we focus on what makes us human—together.
OSLO received the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play, as well as New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and Obie awards—a sweep of the 2016-17 New York awards season—and was nominated for the Olivier and Evening Standard awards.
This “riveting political thriller” (Associated Press) is “fast-paced and quick-witted” (The Independent) and “a disarmingly funny masterpiece” (Huffington Post). The Washington Post raved that “its account of intractable foes finding common ground is irresistible and, ultimately, deeply moving,” and the New York Daily News wrote that OSLO is “smart, touching and spiked with spy-novel tension and wry humor.” Variety called it “gripping, compelling, and compulsively watchable,” and The New York Times declared that it is “the stuff of crackling theater.”
RUTHERFORD AND SON
by Githa Sowerby
directed by Mechelle Moe
November 14, 2019 – January 12, 2020 (previews 11/6 – 11/13)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Named one of the “100 plays of the century” by the Royal National Theatre, Githa Sowerby’s rarely produced family drama is a smart and absorbing twist on a woman’s “place” in a male dominated society.
In the industrial north of England in 1912, the patriarch of the Rutherford family has spent decades building a respected glass works company to pass on to his children, without any say from them. Caught between passion, purpose, and expectation, John, Richard, and Janet struggle to break free from an oppressive and narrow-minded father dead set on writing their stories himself. Less entangled by these family expectations and with ambitions to give her son the life he deserves, John’s young wife Mary is determined to upend the cycle, whatever it takes.
Playing on the conventions of the period with wit and creative edge, RUTHERFORD AND SON is a play ahead of its time, asking us to question if our “place” in life should be anything but what we ourselves determine it to be.
Originally produced under the pen name K.G. Sowerby, RUTHERFORD AND SON premiered in 1912 at London’s Court Theatre with four performances. It soon re-opened at London's Little Theatre, where it became a massive, critical success. Literary critic Barrett Harper Clark, writing in 1915, declared it "among the most powerful works of the younger generation” and Sowerby’s writing was compared to that of Henrik Ibsen. It was also produced in New York, Canada and Australia, and translated into numerous other languages, including German, French, Italian, Russian, and Bohemian.
It was only later revealed that the author of the hit play was a woman, which may have been a factor in its fall into obscurity until the 1980s. It has since had successful productions including at the National Theatre in 1994 and New York’s Mint Theatre in 2001, among others, and will be revived at the National Theatre again in May 2019. TimeLine’s production will be the play’s Chicago premiere and among only a handful of productions ever presented in the United States.
The Globe and Mail has called RUTHERFORD AND SON “engaging and splendid … works magic ... as a family drama.” And the Ottawa Citizen wrote that “the reason it continues to intrigue us is that it is first and foremost a study in character, an examination of how patriarchal despotism and the prevailing culture of the day can ensnare human beings.”
KILL MOVE PARADISE
by James Ijames
directed by Wardell Julius Clark
February 20 – April 5, 2020 (previews 2/12 – 2/19)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
James Ijames' New York Times Critic Pick play is a powerful and provocative reflection on recent events, illustrating the possibilities of collective transformation and radical acts of joy.
Torn from the world they know without warning, Isa, Daz, Grif, and Tiny discover themselves stuck in a nebulous waiting room in the afterlife. While balancing the reality of their past and the uncertainty of their future, their souls try to find peace from senseless action and hope in the life they left behind.
Inspired by the ever-growing list of slain unarmed black men and women, KILL MOVE PARADISE is a portrait of those lost—not as statistics, but as heroes who deserve to be seen for the splendid beings they are.
Playwright James Ijames has described his play as “an expressionistic buzz saw through the contemporary myth that ‘all lives matter.’” KILL MOVE PARADISE has been seen at National Black Theatre in Harlem, The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, and Know Theatre of Cincinnati, among others. The New York Times wrote that the work “radiates an urgent and hypnotic theatrical energy.” Philadelphia Magazine called it “a deeply touching evening of theater” and wrote that “Ijames’ writing is vividly, singularly his own [and] has something profound and important to tell us. You shall be moved.” And the Cincinnati Inquirer advised audiences to “lean back and allow the impact of it all to wash over you.”
by Tyla Abercrumbie
directed by Ron OJ Parson
May 14 – June 27, 2020 (previews 5/6 – 5/13)
presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave.
Developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, this world premiere is a startling and vibrant look at the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love most.
After the death of their mother, two sisters return home to Philadelphia in 1918 to settle her estate. Annelle is a happy socialite desperate to return to the safe illusion of a perfect life with her husband in Boston. Janet is a single, professional nurse, determined to change history and propel black women to a place of prominence and respect. Upon discovering a series of diaries left by their late mother, they find themselves confronted with a woman they never really knew, exposing buried truths from the pasts that are chillingly, explosively Relentless.
Playwright and TimeLine Company Member Tyla Abercrumbie weaves a mother’s past with her daughters’ present in a complicated tale of family, legacy, and progress.
This world premiere play was developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine’s mission of presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues. RELENTLESS is the second play developed through the Collective to receive a full production, following Brett Neveu’s To Catch a Fish, which was presented at TimeLine in 2018. RELENTLESS received its first public reading as part of TimeLine’s inaugural First Draft Playwrights Collective Festival in December 2018.
BIOGRAPHIES (in alphabetical order)
Tyla Abercrumbie (Playwright, RELENTLESS) is a TimeLine Company Member and 2016-2018 Playwrights Collective member who has appeared as an actor in PARADISE BLUE and IN DARFUR, served as assistant director of A RAISIN IN THE SUN, and directed the TimePieces reading of REPAIRING A NATION. Her plays include WHO’S AFRAID OF DEEPAK CHOPRA, ASYLUM (AKA LIFE), PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRORISM, NAKED AND RAW, THE STRAW, AFFAIR OF AMBIGUITY, and NORMALITY. Abercrumbie’s work has been produced by Pittsburgh Playwright’s Theatre, MPAACT Theatre and Chicago Cultural Center, and THE STRAW received a professional Staged Reading with Chicago Dramatists. As an actor in the Chicago area, she recently starred in productions of SWEAT (Goodman) and PIPELINE (Victory Gardens), and has also worked at Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Next, and Northlight, among others. She has also worked at Florida’s Asolo Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Milwaukee Rep and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Television credits include THE CHI (recurring role), PROVEN INNOCENT, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED, SHRINK, EMPIRE, EASY, CRISIS, MOB DOCTOR, DETROIT 187, CHICAGO CODE, SHAMELESS, and PRIVATE PRACTICE. You may also have seen her at comedy clubs around town testing jokes for her stand-up show, NAKED & RAW 3 (The Takers and the Tooken). Her book RED WINE AND THE BLES’SED MONKEY, a collection of prose and poetry, established her as a respected poet invited to showcase her work around the country, and as an opener for keynote speakers like the Reverend Jesse Jackson. She has a BA degree with a focus in Theatre and Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago, and is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Nick Bowling (Director, OSLO) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre, where he has directed 30 productions. He is the recipient of eight Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (THE HISTORY BOYS, THE NORMAL HEART, FIORELLO!, THIS HAPPY BREED, and THE CRUCIBLE at TimeLine, RAGTIME at Marriott Theatre, SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM at Porchlight Music Theatre, and ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for BLOOD AND GIFTS, THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION, HAUPTMANN, and THE LION IN WINTER at TimeLine; CLOSER THAN EVER at Porchlight Music Theatre; and CITY OF ANGELS, THE KING AND I, and Man OF LA MANCHA at Marriott Theatre. Other recent credits at TimeLine include MASTER CLASS, THE AUDIENCE, A DISAPPEARING NUMBER, THE LAST WIFE, DANNY CASOLARO DIED FOR YOU, JUNO, and BLOOD AND GIFTS. Other Chicago credits include Marriott’s THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, Paramount's A CHRISTMAS STORY, Northwestern University’s GUYS AND DOLLS and CABARET, Porchlight’s A CATERED AFFAIR, Writers Theatre's BACH AT LEIPZIG, and Shattered Globe Theatre's TIME OF THE CUCKOO and FROZEN ASSETS. His upcoming projects include OLIVER! (Marriott).
Wardell Julius Clark (Director, KILL MOVE PARADISE) is a TimeLine Company Member who will make his TimeLine mainstage directing debut with KILL MOVE PARADISE. He first appeared on stage at TimeLine in A RAISIN IN THE SUN, works as a Teaching Artist with TimeLine’s Living History Program in Chicago Public Schools, and directed the TimePieces play reading of NAT TURNER IN JERUSALEM and the First Draft Festival reading of KENT STATE JACKSON STATE. An actor, director, teaching artist, and social justice activist, Clark’s recent directing credits in Chicago include THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM–1963 (Chicago Children’s Theatre), DUTCH MASTERS (Jackalope), THE SHIPMENT (Red Tape), SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY (Redtwist), and INSURRECTION: HOLDING HISTORY (Stage Left). He was also Associate Director for GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER and Assistant Director for GEM OF THE OCEAN and SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF (Court). His Chicago acting credits include FLYIN’ WEST (American Blues); SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (Raven); APARTMENT 3A (Windy City Playhouse); SILENT SKY (First Folio); INVISIBLE MAN (Court); THE WHIPPING MAN (Northlight); WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT… and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES (Victory Gardens); THE BEATS (16th Street); GHOSTS OF ATWOOD (MPAACT), for which he received the Black Theater Alliance Denzel Washington Award for Most Promising Actor; and TOPDOG/UNDERDOG (American Theater Company/Congo Square). Regional credits include OTHELLO, MACBETH, and THE LEARNED LADIES (Theater at Monmouth); THE WHIPPING MAN (Cardinal Stage); CYMBELINE (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival); and FENCES (Carver Theatre). His television and film credits include SHAMELESS and CHICAGO FIRE. Originally from Fairfield, Alabama, Clark earned his BFA degree in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.
James Ijames (Playwright, KILL MOVE PARADISE) is a Philadelphia-based performer and playwright. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre. Ijames’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Ally Theatre (Washington, D.C.) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater. He is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he also won two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for SUPERIOR DONUTS and ANGELS IN AMERICA, and one Barrymore for Outstanding Direction of a Play for THE BROTHERS SIZE with Simpatico Theatre Company. Ijames is a 2011 Independence Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for THE MOST SPECTACULARLY LAMENTABLE TRIAL OF MIZ MARTHA WASHINGTON and a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award. He is a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective and a mentor for The Foundry. He received a BA degree in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and an MFA degree in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, Penn. Ijames is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and resides in South Philadelphia.
Mechelle Moe (Director, RUTHERFORD AND SON) is a Company Member at TimeLine, where her credits include directing CARDBOARD PIANO and IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY. She has appeared on stage in many TimeLine productions, including BOY, THE APPLE FAMILY PLAYS, MY KIND OF TOWN, THE FRONT PAGE, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR, NOT ENOUGH AIR, and PARADISE LOST. She is co-artistic director of The Yard, a youth-based theater company that produces theater relevant to young people, performed by young people, with whom she directed last year's critically acclaimed production of COLUMBINUS as part of Steppenwolf's LookOut series. Other directing credits with The Yard include MILK LIKE SUGAR, THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE SUICIDE, and SNACK BREAK (an annual short plays festival). She also recently co-wrote/co-directed a new TYA production of THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF AESOP IN THE LAND OF FABLES for Raven Theatre. Moe is a Jeff Award recipient for Actress in Principal Role for her performance in Machinal (The Hypocrites) and received a Jeff Award nomination for Actress in Principal Role for Stage Door (Griffin). She is an artistic associate of Griffin Theater and a founding member of The Hypocrites. Moe graduated with honors from the University of Illinois Chicago with both a bachelor’s degree in Theater as well as Anthropology.
Ron OJ Parson (Director, RELENTLESS) became a TimeLine Company Member in 2016. His TimeLine credits include Jiréh Breon HOLDER’S TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET, Brett Neveu’s TO CATCH A FISH, Dominique Morisseau’s PARADISE BLUE and SUNSET BABY, and Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN. He is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theater program. He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago and a co-founder and co-director of Ripe ManGo Productions. Parson is a Resident Artist at Court Theatre and an Associate Artist with Teatro Vista, and an Associate Artist at Writers Theatre. Since moving to Chicago from New York in 1994, he has worked as both an actor and director. His Chicago credits include work with The Chicago Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight, Court, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square, Northlight Theatre, Urban Theatre Company, City Lit Theater, ETA Creative Arts, and Writers. Regionally, Parson has directed shows at Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Virginia Stage, Roundabout Theatre, Wilshire Theatre, The Mechanic Theatre, CenterStage, St. Louis Black Repertory, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Signature Theatre (New York), Kansas City Rep, and Portland Stage, among others. In Canada, he directed the world premiere of Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Stratford Festival. He is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. For further information, visit ronojparson.com.
J.T. Rogers (Playwright, OSLO) plays include OSLO (Lincoln Center Theater, then Broadway; National Theatre, London, then West End); BLOOD AND GIFTS (Lincoln Center Theater; National Theatre; Chicago premiere at TimeLine Theatre in 2013); THE OVERWHELMING (National Theatre, then UK tour with Out of Joint; Roundabout Theatre); WHITE PEOPLE (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and MADAGASCAR (Theatre 503, London; Melbourne Theatre Company). For OSLO he won the Tony, New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lortel, and Obie awards, and was nominated for the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards. As one of the playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London’s THE GREAT GAME: Afghanistan he was also nominated for an Olivier Award. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, South Korea, and Israel. Rogers’s essays have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, and the New Statesman. He is a Guggenheim fellow and has received three NYFA fellowships in playwriting. Rogers is a member of the Dramatists Guild, where he is a founding board member of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund. He is an alum of New Dramatists and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Githa Sowerby (Playwright, RUTHERFORD AND SON, 1876-1970), also known under her pen name K.G. Sowerby, was an English playwright, children's writer, and member of the Fabian Society. A feminist, she was well-known during the early 20th century for her play RUTHERFORD AND SON, which was received as a work of major importance and became a hit in England, New York, and elsewhere, but lapsed into obscurity in later decades. She spent her childhood in Tyne and Wear in northeast England, where her family was involved in the glass-making business. She moved to London in her early twenties, where it is believed that she wrote RUTHERFORD AND SON, which premiered in 1912. Her plays have been described as exploiting realist techniques to address social and economic problems, often from a feminist perspective. Her other plays include BEFORE BREAKFAST (1912), A MAN AND SOME WOMEN (1914), SHEILA (1917), THE STEPMOTHER (1924), and THE POLICEMAN’S WHISTLE (1934). She also wrote numerous books for children with her elder sister, Millicent, as well as some plays for young audiences.
ABOUT TIMELINE THEATRE COMPANY
TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. Now in its 22nd season, TimeLine has presented 78 productions, including 10 world premieres and 34 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 12th year of bringing the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 54 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Eileen LaCario. Company members are Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Wardell Julius Clark, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.
Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.
New Uptown Home In The Works:
For more information, visit timelinetheatre.com or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@TimeLineTheatre).