Showing posts with label The Hard Problem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Hard Problem. Show all posts

Saturday, April 8, 2017

LAST CALL: Three Stellar Shows Closing This Weekend Include Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane, A Disappearing Number at Timeline, and The Hard Problem at Court Theatre

Don't Miss This:

Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane,  A Disappearing Number at Timeline, and 

The Hard Problem at Court Theatre

If you still haven't made it to these shows, it's your final chance. We caught the press openings of all 3, and they all made our highly recommend list. All must close this Sunday, April 9th.

Drury Lane's Saturday Night Fever has been extended 3 weeks due to high demand, but it must close this Sunday. This new rewrite is a delight on stage and a welcome respite from the current exhausting political climate. Drury Lane's high energy production leaves everyone grinning, and harkens back to the disco days of the 70's with an instantly recognizable score. I'd forgotten the still timely pro-immigrant, pro-tolerance twist, the teen angst of changing blue collar neighborhoods, underemployment, and the trauma and drama of accidental death. As always, Drury Lane does a stellar job casting the best and brightest local talent. 

We'll be back out on the 28th, for the press opening of Chicago, so check back soon for our full review.

Don’t miss out on the hottest ticket in town! This critically-acclaimed new version, rewritten for the Drury Lane stage, features music and lyrics by The Bee Gees, based on the smash-hit Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn, and adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oaks. This North American version was written by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti and is helmed by Tony-nominated director and choreographer Dan Knechtges with musical direction by Roberta Duchak. 

Tickets, priced $43 - $60 are available by calling 630.530.0111 or at 

Alex Newell (Glee) joined the cast of Saturday Night Fever in the role of disco singer Candy. He stars alongside Adrian Aguilar as Brooklyn teen Tony Manero and Erica Stephan as Stephanie Mangano. Newell is an actor and singer best known for playing the transgender student Wade “Unique” Adams on the Fox musical series Glee. He has also appeared at the North Shore Music Theater and is a recording artist with Atlantic Records.

Based on the 1977 hit film, Saturday Night Fever follows Tony Manero in his attempt to escape his troubles by spending weekends at the local disco. Watch Tony win the admiration of the crowd, as well as his heartthrob Stephanie Mangano, as he burns up the dance floor with his electric moves. This new production features favorite Bee Gees songs from the movie such as “Night Fever,” "Stayin' Alive,” and "Jive Talkin’.”

To accommodate the extension of Saturday Night Fever, Drury Lane's electrifying new production of Chicago, featuring a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, will now run April 20 – June 18, 2017. The Press Opening is Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. This fiery new take on Chicago is directed by Drury Lane Theatre’s Artistic Director William Osetek with choreography by Jane Lanier, the Tony-nominated student of Bob Fosse.

Season and Subscription Information
Drury Lane Theatre’s 2017-2018 season will open with Chicago – the first professional Chicagoland production of the hit musical in 30 years. The season continues with the Pulitzer-winning play The Gin Game featuring Chicago theatre legends John Reeger and Paula Scrofano, followed by the powerhouse musical tribute to the 1980s Rock of Ages. For the holiday season Drury Lane will stage beloved tap classic 42nd Street and then close its 17-18 season with the iconic Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The 2017/2018 season runs March 30, 2017 through March 25, 2018 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.

Subscriptions for the 2017 - 2018 Season are priced from $144.60 to $175.80. Subscribers receive special offers on dining, flexible ticket exchanges and early notification and priority seating for added events and concerts. For more information, visit

The performance schedule for all productions is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $40 for matinees. Dinner and show packages are also available. For individual ticket on-sale dates and ticket reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit

About Drury Lane Theatre
Under the leadership of President Kyle DeSantis and Artistic Director William Osetek, Drury Lane Theatre is a major force in the Chicagoland theatre scene, presenting world-class productions in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading actors, artists, writers and directors. Over the past 30 years, Drury Lane has staged more than 2,000 productions and has been nominated for more than 350 Joseph Jefferson Awards. Drury Lane is committed to breathing new life into beloved classics and introducing audiences to exciting new works.

Throughout its 30-year history, Drury Lane has employed more than 7,500 actors and 10,000 musicians, designers and crewmembers to entertain upwards of nine million audience members. Originally founded by Anthony DeSantis, Drury Lane Theatre remains a family-run organization known for producing breathtaking Broadway classics, top-rated musicals, bold new works, hilarious comedies and unforgettable concert events.

A Disappearing Number

Timeline Theatre's A Disappearing Number and Court Theatre's The Hard Problem are both Chicago premieres with a scholarly bent, strong female protagonists, and psychological real world applications for the studies of academia. Let's hear it for the brainy blondes. Both shows have striking similarities and are thought provoking, multilayered explorations in human nature that are utterly compelling. Highly recommended. 

A Disappearing Number

The Hard Problem

A Disappearing Number 
If the thought of higher math classes gives you hives, never fear, you won't be called to the white board to solve equations. A Disappearing Number deals with the cool side of mathematics, too, like coincidence and synchronicity. As always, we recommend you come early and explore Timeline's lobby. They delve into the artistic side of math with fractals, math in art and architecture, optical illusions and more! We adored this production, based on a real life occurrence from 1913, expertly interwoven with the present day.

Check out more of my original photos of Timeline's lobby at the bottom of this feature.

“A mathematician, like a painter, or a poet, is a maker of patterns 

… and beauty is the first test.”
The long-awaited Chicago premiere of this exquisite, internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. In 1913, a clerk in rural India named Srinivasa Ramanujan sends a letter to famed mathematician G.H. Hardy, filled with astonishing mathematical theorems. In the present, a math professor and a businessman fall in love. Told in a whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, A Disappearing Number is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos.
Winner of the 2007 Critics’ Circle Theatre, Evening Standard, and Laurence Olivier awards for Best New Play, TimeLine’s production is a new and rare staging of this mesmerizing play.

The Hard Problem

I don't want to give away any spoilers, because this production benefits from the mystery. Suffice it to say, there are some craftily wrought plot twists that make this drama a delight. Don't miss this. The Hard Problem is classic Tom Stoppard and a thrill to see. Kudos to Court Theatre for producing this Chicago Premiere.

ChiIL Mama's Adventures in Timeline's lobby
at A Disappearing Number:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of Tom Stoppard's The Hard Problem at Court Theatre 3/9-4/9

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Court Theatre presents the Chicago Premiere of
The Hard Problem
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Charles Newell

March 9 – April 9, 2017

Court Theatre, under the leadership of Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Stephen J. Albert, announces casting for the Chicago premiere of The Hard Problem by Tom Stoppard, directed by Charles Newell. The Hard Problem runs March 9 – April 9, 2017 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue in Chicago. 

Court Theatre is proud to bring award-winning and renowned playwright Tom Stoppard’s highly-anticipated new play to Chicago. His new work introduces Hilary, a young psychologist working at the prestigious Krohl Institute for Brain Science. She struggles to bear the burden of her regrets as she works through a troubling issue in her research. Where does our biology end and our personhood begin?

If there is nothing but matter, what is consciousness? Will the computer someday answer all questions psychology can ask? This “hard problem” sets Hilary at odds with her colleagues, but she prays for a miracle to lead her to the solutions.

"Court Theatre has produced more of Tom Stoppard’s plays than any other contemporary playwright’s work because he such a great fit for our audience," says Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. "He is a writer who asks complicated questions, but our job as theatre artists is to find the heart in it all. The Hard Problem is no exception."

The cast for the Chicago premiere of The Hard Problem includes Owais Ahmed (Amal), Celeste M. Cooper (Julia), Chaon Cross (Hilary), Kate Fry (Ursula), Emjoy Gavino (Bo), Jürgen Hooper (Spike), Nathan Hosner (Jerry), Brian McCaskill (Leo), and Sophie Thatcher (Cathy).

The creative team includes John Culbert (Scenic Design), Nan Cibula-Jenkins (Costume Design), Keith Parham (Lighting Design), Eva Breneman (Dialect Design). Amanda Weener-Frederick is the Production Stage Manager.

About the Artists
TOM STOPPARD (Playwright) began his career in England in 1954 as a journalist, soon moving to London in 1960 to start work as a playwright. Plays: The Hard Problem, The Real Inspector Hound, After Magritte, Jumpers, Travesties, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (with André Previn), Dirty Linen, New-Found-Land, Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia, Rock’n’Roll, and The Hard Problem. Adaptations: On the Razzle (Nestroy), and Rough Crossing (Molnar). Tom’s most recent work for TV was Parades End; for radio, Darkside (with Pink Floyd); and for film, Anna Karenina. His film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead won the Venice FIlm Festival Prix d’Or, and Shakespeare in Love won an Academy Award.

CHARLES NEWELL (Director/Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director) was awarded the SDCF Zelda Fichandler Award, “which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in theatre.” Charlie has been Artistic Director of Court Theatre since 1994, where he has directed over 50 productions. He made his Chicago directorial debut in 1993 with The Triumph of Love, which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Charlie’s productions of Man of La Mancha and Caroline, or Change have also won Best Production Jeffs. Other directorial highlights at Court include Man in the Ring; One Man, Two Guvnors; Satchmo at the Waldorf; Agamemnon; The Secret Garden; Iphigenia in Aulis; The Misanthrope; Tartuffe; Proof; Angels in America; An Iliad; Porgy and Bess; Three Tall Women; Titus Andronicus; Arcadia; Uncle Vanya; Raisin; The Glass Menagerie; Travesties; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; The Invention of Love; and Hamlet. Charlie has also directed at Goodman Theatre (Rock ‘n’ Roll), Guthrie Theater (The History Cycle, Cymbeline), Arena Stage, John Houseman’s The Acting Company (Staff Repertory Director), the California and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, Juilliard, and New York University. He has served on the Board of TCG, as well as on several panels for the NEA. Opera directing credits include Marc Blitzstein’s Regina (Lyric Opera), Rigoletto (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Don Giovanni and The Jewel Box (Chicago Opera Theater), and Carousel (Glimmerglass). Charlie was the recipient of the 1992 TCG Alan Schneider Director Award, and has been nominated for 16 Joseph Jefferson Director Awards, winning four times. In 2012, Charlie was honored by the League of Chicago Theatres with its Artistic Achievement Award.

OWAIS AHMED (Amal) makes his Court debut. He is a Chicago native and ensemble member of Definition Theatre Co. Theatre credits include: The Invisible Hand (Milwaukee Rep), Orange (Mixed Blood Theatre), The Qualms (Steppenwolf Theatre), Heartland (PlayPenn), Blood & Gifts (Timeline Theatre), The Reckoning of Kit (First Floor Theater), Red Handed Otter (A Red Orchid Theatre), and Samsara (Victory Gardens). Other theatre credits: Anon(ymous), The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing and Passion Play. Film/TV credits: Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Age Of Ice and Empire. Owais is represented by Gray Talent.

CELESTE M. COOPER (Julia) returns to Court Theatre. Celeste most recently played Delia in Blues for an Alabama Sky. Some theatre credits include: Measure for Measure (Goodman); Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse/ nominated for Best Featured Actress from BTAA), Never the Sinner (Victory Gardens Theater), Ruined (Eclipse), understudying Animal Farm (Steppenwolf); The Hammer Trinity (House/ Adrienne Arsht in Miami),The Mecca Tales (Chicago Dramatists); How We Got On (Citadel), Our Lady of 121st Street (Eclipse), her original one woman shows- Fight 4 Your Life, and later The Incredible Cece (MPAACT & Stage 773). Celeste is a recipient of The Most Promising Actress Award from the Black Theater Alliance for her portrayal of Josephine in Ruined, which led her to becoming an ensemble member and casting associate with Eclipse Theatre Company. Her TV/ Film credits include a recurring role as the Medical Examiner on Chicago PD (NBC), Spike Lee’s Chiraq, Sense8 (Netflix), and various other projects. Ms. Cooper has a B.A. in Speech Communications & Theatre from Tennessee State University and an M.F.A. in Acting from DePaul University Theatre School.

CHAON CROSS (Hilary) Chicago credits include: Life SucksBrothers Karamazov (Lookingglass Theatre Company); One Man, Two GuvnorsProof (Joseph Jefferson Nomination), Uncle VanyaThe Glass MenagerieScapinThe Romance Cycle, and Phèdre (Court); Cyrano (Court Theatre and Redmoon Theater); As You Like ItPrivate LivesCymbelineTroilus and CressidaThe Two Noble Kinsmen, and The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare); The Wheel and The Cherry Orchard (Steppenwolf); Macbeth (Lyric Opera of Chicago); and Grace (Northlight Theatre). Regional credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and Pride & Prejudice (Cleveland Play House). TV credits: The Exorcist (FOX), Chicago Fire (NBC), Boss (Starz), and Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC). Film: My Dog Skip (Warner Bros).

KATE FRY (Ursula) returns to Court Theatre, where she has performed in over a dozen productions, including Electra, The Romance Cycle, Twelfth NightThe Cherry OrchardMy Fair Lady, and Caroline, or Change. Other Chicago area credits include work with Writers Theatre (Arcadia, Marjorie Prime, Hedda Gabler, The Letters, Oh, Coward!,  A Minister’s Wife); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (several productions, including As You Like It, Henry IV Parts One and Two, The Merchant of Venice, The Molière Comedies); Northlight Theatre (Outside Mullingar, The Miser); Victory Gardens (In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play); as well as work with Theatre at the Center, Marriott Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, and Candlelight Playhouse. Elsewhere, she has worked at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, Center Theatre Group in L.A., Repertory Theatre of St Louis, and Lincoln Center. She is the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson awards, an After Dark award, Chicago Magazine’s actress of the year, and the Sarah Siddons award for Chicago’s leading lady.

EMJOY GAVINO (Bo) returns to Court, where she was last seen as Chrysothemis in Electra. Representative Chicago credits include The Hypocrites, Second City (national tour), Northlight, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Remy Bumppo, Paramount, Broadway Playhouse, Lookingglass, The Neo-Futurists, and Goodman. Regional credits include Repertory Actors Theatre, Book-It Repertory, ACT, and Village Theatre.  Film/TV: The ExorcistMob DoctorChicago FireEmpire, and Chicago Med.  Emjoy is the casting director of Gift Theatre, a company member with Barrel of Monkeys, and is the founder and producer of The Chicago Inclusion Project.

JÜRGEN HOOPER (Spike) makes his Court Theatre debut. Broadway: Brighton Beach Memoirs. Chicago: Life & Limb, Huck Finn (Steppenwolf) Rabbit Hole (Goodman), The Comedy of Errors, AmadeusShort Shakespeare! Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare), Isaac's EyeThe Chosen (Writer's Theatre), The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (American Theatre Company), Paradise Lost (TimeLine Theatre), What's Wrong With Angry? (Circle Theatre, Non-Equity Jeff Award Best Principle Actor - Play). Regional: The Mousetrap, The Game's Afoot (Indiana Rep) The Game's Afoot (New Theatre), Wanamaker's Pursuit (Arden Theatre Co.), The Cherry Orchard (Milwaukee Rep). TV/Film: Chicago Med, Crisis, Chicago Fire (NBC), Suits (USA) and the film Game Day.

NATHAN HOSNER (Jerry) makes his Court Theatre debut. Chicago credits include productions with Writers Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, The Paramount Theatre, About Face Theatre, First Folio Theatre, Shaw Chicago, and The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. Other credits include: Peter and the Starcatcher (first national tour) and productions with American Players Theatre, The New Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, The BoarsHead Theater, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Door Shakespeare, and the Madison Repertory New Play FestivalNathan is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.

BRIAN MCCASKILL (Leo) is making his Court Theatre debut. Previous credits include Windy City Playhouse, Lyric Opera, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Shattered Globe Theatre, TimeLine Theatre and Raven Theatre. He has received one Jeff Award, four Jeff Award nominations and two After Dark Awards for his theatrical work. Film and television credits include Chicago P.D.CrisisPrison Break and numerous commercials.

SOPHIE THATCHER (Cathy) makes her Court Theatre debut in The Hard Problem. Credits include The Diary of Anne Frank (Writers Theatre), Oliver! (Drury Lane Theatre), The Secret Garden (Light Opera Works), and work with Theatre at the Center and Provision Theater. Television credits include Chicago P.D. (NBC), a recurring role on The Exorcist (Fox), and commercials for the Illinois Office of Tourism.

Wed & Thurs:       7:30 p.m.
Fridays:                8:00 p.m.
Saturdays:            3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sundays:              2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Location: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.
Tickets: $38-$48 previews
                        $48-$68 regular run

Box Office:       Located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago; (773) 753-4472 or

Sponsors:         Nuveen Investments; Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Michael Charles Litt

Now in its 62nd season, Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.

Court Theatre's 2016/17 Season is sponsored by Barbara and Richard Franke.

Google Analytics