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Pictured (from left): Boulevard of Bold Dreams playwright LaDarrion Williams, director Malkia Stampley, and cast members Charles Andrew Gardner, Mildred Marie Langford, and Gabrielle Lott-Rogers.
TimeLine’s 2022-23 subscription season returns February 1 – March 19, 2023 with the world premiere of Boulevard of Bold Dreams by LaDarrion Williams, a Los Angeles-based playwright new to Chicago audiences, with a story about dreamers overcoming obstacles and fighting for recognition amidst the racism and inequity of Hollywood. I'll be there for opening night on February 9th, so check back shortly after for my full review.
The date is February 29, 1940, the night Hattie McDaniel made history at the Oscars. Bartender Arthur Brooks, an ambitious Black man from rural Alabama, dreams of becoming a movie director. His best friend, Dottie Hudson, is a maid at the Ambassador Hotel and a cynic of all dreams. But when the actress Hattie McDaniel stops in the bar and decides not to attend the biggest event in show business, Arthur and Dottie must do everything in their power to convince her to claim her historic win—all while confronting their dark pasts and making their own dreams come to life.
Malkia Stampley directs Williams’ riveting new play about dreamers, obstacles, and the not-so-changing landscape of Hollywood. The cast features TimeLine Theatre Company Members Charles Andrew Gardner (he/him) as Arthur and Mildred Marie Langford (she/her) as Dottie. Gabrielle Lott-Rogers (she/her) plays Hattie McDaniel. The production team includes Ryan Emens (Scenic Designer, he/him), Christine Pascual (Costume Designer, she/her), Jason Lynch (Lighting Designer, he/him), Rasean Davonté Johnson (Projections Designer, he/him), Daniel Etti-Williams (Co-Sound Designer, they/them) and Andre Pluess (Co-Sound Designer,he/him), Lonnae Hickman (Properties Designer, she/her), Rueben D. Echoles (Wig and Hair Designer, he/him), Khalid Y. Long (Dramaturg, he/him), Dina Spoerl (Dramaturgical Display Designer, she/her), and Madeline M. Scott (Stage Manager, she/her).
“Earlier this season, TimeLine explored the intersection of politics, race, and entertainment in the 1930s and 1950s with Campaigns, Inc. and Trouble in Mind,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “Now, we’re thrilled to delve further into those topics through the lens of 1940 with the world premiere of Boulevard of Bold Dreams, shining a light on the trailblazer Hattie McDaniel on the historic night she won the Oscar for Gone with the Wind. We’re delighted to introduce playwright LaDarrion Williams to Chicago, and welcome director Malkia Stampley to TimeLine for the first time to helm this play about conviction, representation, and the pursuit of artistic passion.”
Tickets to Boulevard of Bold Dreams are now on sale. Previews begin February 1, 2023. Press Night is Wednesday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through March 19 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. For tickets and information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.
Preview tickets are $25. Single tickets to regular performances start at $42 (Wednesday through Friday), $49 (Saturday evenings) and $57 (Saturday and Sunday matinees). Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine is also a member of TCG’s Blue Star Theatre Program and is offering $25 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family.
Ticket buyers ages 18-35 may join TimeLine’s free MyLine program to obtain access to discounted tickets, special events and more. Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are also available. Visit timelinetheatre.com/discounts for more about available discounts.
Boulevard of Bold Dreams will take place at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway, inside the former Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building, now Chabad East Lakeview.
TimeLine is served by multiple CTA trains and buses. There are multiple paid parking options nearby, plus limited free and metered street parking. Visit timelinetheatre.com/timeline-theatre for details and available discounts.
BOULEVARD OF BOLD DREAMS PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE/EVENTS
Previews are Wednesday, February 1 through Friday, February 3 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 4 at 4 p.m.; Sunday, February 5 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. Press Night is Wednesday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is Thursday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. Regular performances continue through March 19: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. Exception: No 4 p.m. show Saturday, February 11.
Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the dramaturg and members of the production team on Wednesday, February 15; Sunday, February 19; Thursday, March 2; and Wednesday, March 8.
Pre-Show Discussions: Starting one hour before the performance, a 25-minute introductory conversation hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and the dramaturg on Sunday, February 26, and Thursday, March 9.
Company Member Discussion: A post-show discussion with the collaborative team of artists who choose TimeLine’s programming and guide the company’s mission on Sunday, March 5.
Sunday Scholars Panel Discussion: A one-hour panel discussion featuring experts on the themes and issues of the play alongside a member of the production team in a moderated discussion, following the performance on Sunday, March 12.
All discussions are free and open to the public. For details, visit timelinetheatre.com.
Distanced Performances: Performances on Sunday, February 12 and Wednesday, March 1 will have a capacity cap and seating chart so that patrons can sit with additional space allocated between parties.
Captioned Performances: Open-captioned performances with a text display of words and sounds heard during performances are Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11 at 4 p.m.
Audio-Described Performance: On Friday, March 17, the performance will feature narration about visual elements of the production around the dialogue, available for individual patrons via headphones.
TimeLine Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Two wheelchair lifts provide access from street level to the theatre space and to lower-level restrooms. Audience members using wheelchairs
or who need to avoid stairs, and others with special seating or accessibility needs, should contact the TimeLine Box Office in advance to confirm arrangements.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, TimeLine continues to work to ensure the safety of artists, audiences, and staff through safety protocols at its performances. For Trouble in Mind, the theatre will require mask-wearing in order to attend. These protocols are subject to change as the pandemic evolves. For current information about TimeLine’s COVID-19 safety protocols, visit timelinetheatre.com/health-and-safety.
MORE TIMELINE 2022-23 SEASON PRODUCTIONS
Following Boulevard of Bold Dreams, TimeLine just added an exciting fourth production, the first Chicago-based production of What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck, directed by Helen Young, May 10 – June 24, 2023. Press Night is Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Only TimeLine FlexPass Subscribers get advance, priority access to tickets for TimeLine’s What the Constitution Means to Me. Two-admission FlexPasses good for remaining 2022-23 Season productions Boulevard of Bold Dreams and What the Constitution Means to Me are now available, priced
$52 – $121.
To purchase a FlexPass and secure your seats for these sure-to-be-in-demand productions, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6. Tickets for What the Constitution Means to Me will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.
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. Currently celebrating its 26th season, TimeLine has presented 85 productions, including 12 world premieres and 39 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, which brings 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 58 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.
The company has long been bursting at the seams of its current leased home located at 615 W. Wellington Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, where the theatre has been in residence since 1999. In December 2018, TimeLine announced the purchase of property at 5033-35 North Broadway in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood to be the site of its new home. Plans feature an intimate black box theater seating up to 250 audience members, expanded area for the immersive lobby experiences that are a TimeLine hallmark, new opportunities for education and engagement, room to allow audience members to arrive early and stay late for theatergoing experiences that extend far beyond the stage, and more. TimeLine is working with HGA as architect for its new home project, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Executive Director Mica Cole, and Board President John Sterling. TimeLine Company members are Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, and Maren Robinson.
Major corporate, government and foundation donors providing season support via TimeLine’s Annual Fund include: Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, John A. Cable Foundation, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Polk Bros. Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince, The Shubert Foundation, Van Dam Charitable Foundation, and Walder Foundation. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
For more information, visit timelinetheatre.com or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@TimeLineTheatre).
LaDarrion Williams (Playwright) is a Los Angeles based-playwright, filmmaker, author, and screenwriter whose goal is to cultivate a new era of Black fantasy, providing space and agency for Black characters and stories in a new, fresh and fantastical way. His first play, Katrina, won first place at the Alabama State Thespian Conference. It was also a part of A Noise Within Theatre for their Noise Now Reading Series. His adaptation of the best-selling memoir, Feeding A Monster, was directed by award-winning actor and director Art Evans at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood, CA. In 2019, he was invited to be a guest writer for Center Theatre Groups’ August Wilson Monologue Competition. His play Black Creek Risin’ was a part of the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. In September 2019, his play, Coco Queens, was a part of the Sundance Institute’s Playwriting Intensive and was also a semi-finalist for the 2020 Eugene O’Neill National Playwriting Conference. In 2021, his play Boulevard of Bold Dreams had previous public readings, both featuring Mildred Marie Langford, at The Echo Theatre Company in 2020, and the New Works Festival at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, California in 2021. After TimeLine’s production, it will also premiere at Greater Stage Boston in March 2023. Williams is currently a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators Collective where his play UMOJA made its West Coast premiere in January 2022, and he also produced North Hollywood’s first Black playwrights festival at the Waco Theater Center. Serving as a writer-producer, Williams has curated three short films on YouTube. His viral and award-winning short film Blood at the Root is anticipated to become a Young Adult fantasy novel.
Malkia Stampley (Director) was born and raised in Milwaukee where she attended Marquette University for Theater Arts. She is Goodman Theatre's BOLD Artistic Producer (since October 2021) after serving as founding Artistic Producer for the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival. Directing credits include STEW at Shattered Globe Theatre; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Farmers Alley Theatre); Shakesfest: A Community Cabaret (Chicago Shakespeare in the Park); The Gift of the Magi (American Players Theater); Black Nativity (Black Arts MKE, three years); STEW (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); Nunsense (Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Five Guys Named Moe (Skylight Music Theatre); Antarctica, WI (First Stage), IN:FLUENCE/SPIRATION (University of Wisconsin-Madison) with workshops and readings at American Players Theatre, Northern Sky, Milwaukee Fringe Festival, #ENOUGH and Texas State University's Black and Latino Playwright Celebration. As a budding playwright, Stampley co-authored Lines, commissioned by Theatre LILA in 2018. Stampley is a co-founder of Milwaukee Black Theater Festival and Bronzeville Arts Ensemble, a theater established in Milwaukee, where she served as Producing Artistic Director for three seasons. Malkia is a BOLD artist, a member of a cohort of emerging women arts leaders around the country.