City Lit’s 2022-23 season to include a classic by Pinter and two world premieres: a Kingsley Day/Philip LaZebnik musical and the first installment of a trilogy
City Lit Theater today announced its lineup for the 2022-23 season – its 42nd. The season will begin in October with the world premiere of THE MARK OF KANE, by Chicago playwright/actor Mark Pracht, continue in January and February with Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY and conclude in late spring with the world premiere of Kingsley Day and Philip LaZebnik’s musical AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE. In a departure from previous years, this season will include three rather than four productions, as the company’s previous season of four plays had its start delayed until January 2022 due to COVID and will conclude in early October when its current production of HAY FEVER closes. City Lit’s eclectic three-show season announced today by the company’s Producer and Artistic Director Terry McCabe will return the company’s scheduling to the more common industry pattern of beginning in fall and continuing into late spring and summer. Future seasons will include four productions.
Pracht's play, ranging in setting across eight decades, begins in 1939 as Bob Kane and Bill Finger create the comic book character Batman; one of them goes on to fame and fortune while the other languishes in obscurity THE MARK OF KANE is the first play of "The Four-Color Trilogy," a set of plays Pracht is writing for City Lit that will make their world premieres over the next three seasons and will highlight major turning points in the history of the comic book industry, once a denigrated art form but now at the center of American pop culture. McCabe will direct. THE MARK OF KANE will open to the press on Sunday, October 30, following previews from October 21 and will play through December 4, 2022.
City Lit will return after the holidays with Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, his first full-length play and the work which established him as a major writer. McCabe will direct this dark comedy, which like Pinter’s later work, is ambivalent in its plotting, presentation of characters, and ending, but is a work of undeniable power and originality. Like Pinter’s later plays, it is often called “a comedy of menace,” in which a character is suddenly threatened by the vague horrors at large in the outside world. It is an unquestioned classic of 20th Century theater. THE BIRTHDAY PARTY will open to the press on Sunday, January 22, following previews from January 13. It will play through February 26, 2023.
The season will end with the world premiere of AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE, a musical by Chicagoan (and City Lit regular performer) Kingsley Day and Hollywood screenwriter Philip LaZebnik (POCAHONTAS, MULAN, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT), authors of the legendary Chicago musical comedy SUMMER STOCK MURDER. The musical, rescheduled from its previously announced slot in City Lit’s 41st season, concerns the “Chosen One” to be sacrificed to the Sun God, but who has instead run off with the Emperor’s daughter. The community pursues the young man, who must be found and sacrificed so that the world does not end. AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE will open to the press on Sunday, May 14, 2023, following previews from May 5, and will play through June 18, 2023.
Subscriptions for the three-show season are available at $75.00, good for all performances, or $58.50 for preview performances. Subscriptions may be ordered online at www.citylit.org. Single tickets for the 22-23 season are priced at $30 for previews and $34 for regular performances and will be on sale at www.citylit.org. Senior prices are $25 for previews and $29 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances.
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT CITY LIT
Everyone at City Lit--casts, crews, and office staff alike--is or will be fully vaccinated by the time performances begin. Patrons will be required to show their vaccination cards and wear masks at all times while in the building. We will also be following CDC ventilation guidelines on a daily basis to ensure a complete exchange of air in the theatre between performances. City Lit will of course comply with the full set of whatever official health guidelines are in place at any time.
THE MARK OF KANE By Mark Pracht WORLD PREMIERE Directed by Terry McCabe October 21 – December 4, 2022 Previews October 21 – 29, 2022 Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm. Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees) PRESS OPENING Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 3 pm Regular run October 30 – December 4, 2022 Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays November 21 and 28 at 7:30 pm Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees) Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church) Info and tickets at www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.
In 1939, two young friends huddled in a Bronx apartment and created a legend – the comic book character Batman. One, Bob Kane, goes on to fame and fortune while the other, Bill Finger, languishes in obscurity. THE MARK OF KANE is the first play of "The Four-Color Trilogy," a set of plays Mark Pracht is writing for City Lit that will make their world premieres over the next three seasons and will highlight major turning points in the history of the comic book industry, once a denigrated art form but now at the center of American pop culture.
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY By Harold Pinter Directed by Terry McCabe January 13 – February 26, 2023 Previews Jan. 13 – 21, 2023 Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm. Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees) PRESS OPENING Sunday, January 22, 2023 – 3 pm Regular run January 22 – February 26, 2023 Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays February 13 and 20 at 7:30 pm Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees) Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church) Info and tickets at www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.
A comedy of menace. Stanley may or may not play the piano, and today may or may not be his birthday, and he may or may not be hiding from someone in Meg's boarding house where he's lived for a year. But he's definitely made nervous by news that two new boarders are about to arrive, and she's definitely throwing him a party.
AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE Music & Lyrics by Kingsley Day Book by Kingsley Day and Philip LaZebnik May 5 – June 18, 2023 Previews May 5 – 13, 2023 Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm. Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees) PRESS OPENING Sunday, May 14, 2023 – 3 pm Regular run May 14 – June 18, 2023 Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays June 5 and 12 at 7:30 pm Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees) Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church) Info and tickets at www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682
It’s the night before the beginning of the Aztec empire’s new millennium, and the Chosen One – so named because he is to be sacrificed in order to make the sun rise next morning - has run off with the Emperor’s daughter. If he is not found, the sun will not rise and the world will end. By the writer of the legendary Chicago musical comedy SUMMER STOCK MURDER.
Mark Pracht (Playwright, THE MARK OF KANE) has worked as an actor, director and playwright in Chicago since 2001. He has appeared on stage at City Lit in the title role of PROMETHEUS BOUND, as The Creature in FRANKENSTEIN, and as Milt Shanks in THE COPPERHEAD, among other roles. He was a company member of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, where he helped develop and produce seven world premiere productions, including his own full-length play, NEON. He is an ensemble member of The Artistic Home, where he won a Jeff Award for Leading Performer in a Play for REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT. Beyond THE MARK OF KANE, his Four-Color Trilogy includes THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION, about the 1950s Congressional investigation of horror comics, and THE HOUSE OF IDEAS, about the 1960s rise of Marvel.
Harold Pinter (Playwright, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY) was one of the most influential modern British dramatists, with a writing career that spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (1957), THE HOMECOMING (1964), and BETRAYAL (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include THE SERVANT (1963), THE GO-BETWEEN (1971), THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN (1981), THE TRIAL (1993), and SLEUTH (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.
Kingsley Day (Composer, Lyricist, Co-bookwriter AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE) has composed the scores for City Lit’s productions of PROMETHEUS BOUND, LONDON ASSURANCE, THE TEMPEST, and VOLPONE. With Philip LaZebnik, he cowrote the comedy TOUR DE FARCE, which premiered at the old Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago starring Steve Carell and Hollis Resnik under the direction of Terry McCabe and has since been performed across the United States and Europe, and the book for the musical STATE STREET, premiered by City Lit as directed by Sheldon Patinkin.
Day’s other collaborations with LaZebnik include writing the music and lyrics and cowriting the books for the musicals SUMMER STOCK MURDER, which ran for 18 months and won a record-setting eight Jeffs in its premiere production; DEAR AMANDA, which starred Alene Robertson at Pheasant Run Playhouse; BYRNE, BABY, BYRNE, which with its sequel ran a total of three years at Zanies Comedy Club; THE JOY OF SOCKS, premiered and revived by the Chicago Premiere Society; and the upcoming AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE.
Philip LaZebnik (Co-bookwriter AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE) has written screenplays for films including POCAHONTAS, MULAN, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, He wrote the book for the musical FAIRY TALE, about Hans Christian Andersen with songs by Stephen Schwartz, and wrote the book and lyrics for DreamWorks' theatrical musical version of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT with songs by Stephen Schwartz. LaZebnik also wrote episodes for WINGS, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, THE TORKELSONS and ALMOST HOME.
Terry McCabe (Producer, Artistic Director, Director THE MARK OF KANE, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY) has been City Lit’s artistic director since February 2005 and its producer since July 2016. He has directed plays professionally in Chicago since 1981. He was artistic director of Stormfield Theatre for four years, resident director at Wisdom Bridge Theatre for five years, and worked at Body Politic Theatre three separate times in three different capacities over a span of 14 years. His City Lit adaptations of HOLMES AND WATSON, GIDGET (co-adapted with Marissa McKown), THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, SCOUNDREL TIME, and OPUS 1861 (co-adapted with Elizabeth Margolius) were Jeff-nominated. He won two Jeff Citations for directing at Stormfield and has been thrice nominated for the Jeff Award for Best Director, for shows at Court Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, and Victory Gardens. He has directed at many Chicago theatres either long-gone or still with us, as well as off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre and at Vienna’s English Theatre. His book MIS-DIRECTING THE PLAY has been denounced at length in American Theatre magazine and from the podium at the national convention of The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas but has been used in directing courses on three continents and is now available in paperback and Kindle e-book.
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT CITY LIT
Proof of vaccination is required for all attendees of all performances (physical vaccination card or legible image of vaccination card. Refunds will not be issued if admittance is refused due to lack of vaccination documentation.
ABOUT CITY LIT
For over four decades, City Lit Theater has been dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination. City Lit produces theatrical adaptations of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material. City Lit Theater was founded with $210 pooled by Arnold Aprill (at the time the Body Politic Theatre’s box office manager), David Dillon, and Lorell Wyatt on October 9, 1979, and was incorporated on March 25, 1980. There were still so few theatres in Chicago that at City Lit’s launch event, they were able to read a congratulatory letter they had received from Tennessee Williams.
City Lit is in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. We are two blocks east of both the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop and the #36 Broadway and the #84 Peterson buses. We are one block west of the #147 Sheridan and #151 Sheridan buses. Divvy bike stations are located at Bryn Mawr & Lakefront Trail, and at Broadway & Ridge at Bryn Mawr. The metered street parking pay boxes on Bryn Mawr have a three-hour maximum duration and are free on Sundays. There are additional details about parking and dining options at www.citylit.org.
City Lit is supported by the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Ivanhoe Theater Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and is sponsored, in part, by A.R.T. League.
For more information and to donate, visit www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.