Theater on the Lake Announces 2011 Season of Revived Productions From Local Companies
The Chicago Park District’s 59th annual Theater on the Lake season features reprisals of eight artistically diverse Chicago theater companies June 15 – Aug. 7, 2011. The season opens with The Improvised Shakespeare Company (June 15-19) and continues with popular productions by Infamous Commonwealth Theatre (June 22-26); At Play Productions in association with Chicago Dramatists (June 29-July 3); Griffin Theatre Company (July 6-10); Eclipse Theatre Company (July 13-17); Collaboraction (July 20-24); Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (July 27 – 31); and Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre (Aug. 3-7). Each production will be performed for five evenings only at the theater at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan.
Hallie Gordon, Artistic Director of Theater on the Lake, comments, “Theater on the Lake is a perfect way to enjoy two great Chicago gems -- the diverse cultural community and the beautiful lakefront -- combined into a unique experience.”
The 2011 Theater on the Lake season is as follows:
The Improvised Shakespeare Company
June 15 – 19
Based on an audience suggestion (the title has yet to be written), The Improvised Shakespeare Company creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes. Nothing is planned, rehearsed, or written. Dialogue is said for the first time, the characters are created as you watch, and if you're wondering where the story is going, so are they. Come see the show TimeOut Chicago calls, ""staggeringly brilliant"" and ""downright hilarious.” You've never seen the bard like this before.
Infamous Commonwealth Theatre
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Chris Maher
June 22 – 26
New York City, 1962. As America hovers on the cusp of a second-wave feminist movement, Nora Helmer is a woman lost. Her entire life, Nora has defined herself by what she is to others – daughter, mother, wife, friend. Now she lives in a beautiful home with a husband and children who adore her, yet often feel like strangers. But after a dark secret from the past comes back to haunt her, Nora is finally forced to face the underlying realities of her carefully constructed existence.
At Play Productions in association with Chicago Dramatists
Dental Society Midwinter Meeting by Laura Jacqmin
Directed by Megan Shuchman
June 29 – July 3
Following a scandal of molar-sized proportions, the North Shore Regional Dental Society has gathered to debate their Midwestern dentistry future. After NSRDS president Morris J. Morris, Jr., is caught with his pants down, the dentists ask: in a field obsessed with profit over health, where morality has taken a backseat to the latest fads in composite fillings, how can a group of upright dental professionals (looking for something more filling) actually make a difference?
Griffin Theatre Company
Letters Home adapted by Bill Massolia
Directed by Jennie Cleghorn
July 6 – 10
The Afghanistan and Iraq wars are brought to life through actual letters written by soldiers serving in the Middle East. The production is inspired by The New York Times article “The Things They Wrote;” subsequent HBO documentary Last Letters Home; and letters and correspondences from Frank Schaeffer’s books Letters Home From America’s Military Family, Faith of Our Sons and Keeping Faith. The play gives audiences a powerful portrait of the soldier experience in our ongoing wars.
Eclipse Theatre Company
After the Fall by Arthur Miller
Directed by Steve Scott
July 13 – 17
Eclipse Theatre Company presents Arthur Miller's ambitious and personal 1964 masterpiece that explores a new sense of non-linear theatricality in its powerful study of one man's search for meaning through his memories and relationships. Images and scenes intertwine, illuminating his humanity and probing into the revealing, often painful events of his past.
1001 by Jason Grote
Directed by Seth Bockley
July 20 – 24
A theatrical mash-up that mixes Middle East politics with a modern tale of young love, 1001 asks the question, can passion conquer history? Six actors play a dizzying variety of roles, including the fabled princess Scheherezade, Sindbad the sailor, an American Jew named Alan, Gustave Flaubert, a princess with a lisp and even Osama Bin Laden. Featuring Collaboraction's signature blend of modern media and visceral storytelling, expect a theatrical journey into uncharted territory.
Bohemian Theatre Ensemble
Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Music and lyrics by Roger Miller
Book by William Hauptman
Directed by Peter Marston Sullivan
Music Directed by Nicholas Davio
July 27 – 31
When the irrepressible Huck Finn runs away from home and his friend Jim escapes slavery, the two embark on a thrilling voyage of freedom down the mighty Mississippi. Their adventures along the way are hilarious, suspenseful, and heartwarming, while reminding us of the tenacity of the human spirit. Propelled by an award-winning score from country music legend Roger Miller, Big River's jaunty journey provides a theatrical celebration of pure Americana.
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Sweet and Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen
Directed by Fred Anzevino
Music Directed by Steve Carson
August 3 – 7
This musical revue of Harold Arlen’s famous, toe-tapping songs sung by a musical troupe of three women and three men, presents some of the 20th century's most popular tunes in two sets in two hours. His “Over the Rainbow,” considered Judy Garland’s signature song, is ranked first in the Songs of the Century list and with more than 400 composed songs, such as “Stormy Weather,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Get Happy,” and “That Old Black Magic,” the 37-song revue is bound to strike a chord.
Performance schedule and pricing
The Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake is located at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in a historic building that offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
The schedule for all performances June 15 – Aug. 7 is Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m.
Single tickets are $17.50 and a season subscription to all eight plays is available at a discounted price of $110. Subscriptions are available beginning April 25 via the brochure. All individual tickets go on sale June 7, 2011 at 2 p.m. at the Theater on the Lake box office at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan or via phone at (312) 742-7994. Beginning June 7, the box office is open Tuesdays – Saturdays, 2 - 8 p.m. and Sundays, 3:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Paid parking is available at the Lincoln Park Zoo located at Fullerton Avenue and Cannon Drive. CTA bus routes 151 or 156 both serve the area; for schedules, contact the RTA/CTA at (312) 836-7000. For patrons with special needs, please contact the box office at 312-742-7994 to arrange for valet parking services.
For more information about the Chicago Park District, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call (312) 742-PLAY.
History of Theater on the Lake
Designed in 1913 and constructed in 1920, the Theater on the Lake building was originally built as a recuperation ward for babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases. During World War II, the structure was then used as a USO Center for soldiers and sailors. After the war, the Chicago Park District used the venue for then-popular barn dances. In 1952, it was converted into the Theater on the Lake performance venue and showcased productions staged by the Park District’s many community theater organizations. In 1996, the programming evolved into its current format, and the Chicago Park District began inviting professional theater companies to remount their best works.
Last summer, a historically accurate restoration of the low masonry walls surrounding the perimeter terraces was completed at Theater on the Lake. This involved complete reconstruction of the walls using as much of the original bricks and terra cotta as possible. An anti-graffiti coating was applied to the reconstructed walls upon completion. Work was made possible due to federal funding secured by former congressman Rahm Emanuel.