Theater on the Lake Announces Its 61st Season of Revived Productions from Local Companies
The Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake: The Chicago Summer Theater Festival kicks off its 61st anniversary with a USO dance before the first of eight encore presentations from artistically diverse Chicago theater companies June 12 – Aug. 11, 2013. Each production will be performed for five evenings only at the theater at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.
The season opens with The New Colony’s The Bear Suit of Happiness (June 12-16) and continues with MPAACT’s Blackademics (June 19-23); Manual Cinema’s Lula del Ray (June 26-30); Theater Oobleck’s There Is a Happiness That Morning Is (July 10-14); Barrel of Monkeys’ That’s Weird, Grandma (July 17-21); The Den Theatre’s The Quality of Life (July 24-28); Jackalope Theatre’s Long Way Go Down (July 31 – Aug. 4); and Chicago Physical Theater’s The Chi-Town Clown Revue featuring Honeybuns (Aug. 7-11).
This season is selected by co-artistic curators: Halena Kays, artistic director of The Hypocrites, and Joanie Schultz, freelance director of numerous operas and plays.
Theater on the Lake is part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks initiative, which features more than 750 citywide cultural and arts activities this summer, making parks a safe haven and a hub of activity.
In addition to the regular season, Theater on the Lake programming highlights include:
Opening Night USO Dance
Wednesday, June 12, 6 p.m.
Admission included with ticket to The Bear Suit of Happiness
During World War II, Theater on the Lake was used as a USO Center and regularly hosted USO dances. The New Colony honors this history by welcoming big band Mike P's and the Cool Breeze with jazz vocalist Abigail Riccards for a night of swing dancing. The dance is followed by the production of The Bear Suit of Happiness at 7:30 p.m.
Live Lit on the Lake
Thursdays and Fridays at 9:30 p.m.
After the main stage performance every Thursday and Friday, stay to hear Chicago’s literary all-stars read their stories, personal essays and commentaries. Live Lit is curated and hosted by Ian Belknap, founder and host of WRITE CLUB, which features a rotating lineup of Chicago’s most audacious writers/performers.
Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Admission included in ticket price
In partnership with The League of Chicago Theaters, Theater on the Lake will be hosting Theater Thursdays every Thursday night with pre-show cocktails, appetizers, and a chance to meet the artists.
Declaration YOUth Arts Fest
Time and schedule to be announced
Recommended for teens ages 14 and up
Through four evenings of spoken word, music, dance, theater, and visual art, Chicago's teens will have an opportunity to celebrate the abundance of young talent within their city and within themselves.
The 2013 Theater on the Lake season is as follows:
The New Colony
The Bear Suit of Happiness by Evan Linder
Directed by Sean Kelly
June 12 - 16
In 1943, Woody, a young gay American, enlists in the army. After being shipped to a remote Pacific Island, he is given an order: “Put up a show to entertain the men. Keep it simple. Needs music. And they like drag.” Woody becomes a one-man war as he fights to write a show worthy of his fellows’ last laughs. Torn between fantasy and reality, his silly camp show grows to be a dream of an impossibly hospitable world.
Blackademics by Idris Goodwin
Directed by Shepsu Aakhu and Marie Cisco
June 19 – 23
Two female African-American scholars break down ideas while breaking bread, celebrating black history month in their favorite bistro. They become deeply engrossed in spirited discourse, weaving personal and political, academic and pop culture, and boasts and criticisms. This metaphysical comedy dramatizes one of our longest running debates: what does it mean to be a Black in America?
Lula del Ray based on original text by Brendan Hill
Designed and Directed by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, and Julia Miller
June 26 – June 30
This feature-length shadow play is performed with overhead projectors, shadow puppets, actors in silhouette, live music and almost entirely without dialogue. When Lula, a lonely adolescent girl, discovers a soulful country music duo on the radio, she leaves home and enters a world of danger and deception to find them. Lula del Ray is a mythic reinvention of a classic coming-of-age story.
There Is a Happiness That Morning Is by Mickle Maher
July 10 – 14
This comedy in rhymed verse unfolds via two lectures on the poetry of William Blake: one given by a middle-aged, barely published poet of scant scholarship, and the other by his lover, a reputable Ph.D. Having just engaged in a highly inappropriate public display of affection, the two undergraduate lecturers must now either apologize for their behavior, or justify it if they want to keep their jobs.
Barrel of Monkeys
That’s Weird, Grandma by student authors; adapted by ensemble
July 17 – 21
Barrel of Monkeys is an ensemble of actors/educators who hold creative writing workshops with Chicago Public School students and perform these imaginative stories. The result is smart and funny, hailed by chicagotheater.com as “part pep rally, part musical theater extravaganza - and one of the most real, uplifting and engaging theatrical experiences in town.”
The Den Theatre
The Quality of Life by Jane Anderson
Directed by Lia Mortensen
July 24 – 28
Red and blue state worlds collide in this compassionate and humorous drama that confronts the human challenge of losing a loved one. After the death of their daughter, church-going conservatives visit left-wing cousins who continue to celebrate life despite hard times. But sympathy turns to rage when religious and moral values about life and death are put to the ultimate test.
Long Way Go Down by Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Kaiser Ahmed
July 31 – Aug. 4
An imaginary line at the edge of America fosters a dangerous story of trust between two truckers and two Mexican immigrants smuggled into Arizona. In a business this dangerous, someone has to pay up. Fast-paced and sharp-tongued, this play is a poignant reminder that life requires large sacrifices for large changes.
Chicago Physical Theater
The Chi-Town Clown Revue featuring Honeybuns
conceived by Dean Evans
Aug. 7 – 11
This special edition of Chi-Town Clown Revue’s visceral, hilarious, and unrepeatable theatrical event features Honeybuns, a gigantic creature billed as "The World's Greatest Mime." To share space with Honeybuns is to experience a highly physical, interactive piece of performance art that has impressions of mime, improv, and electro shock treatment with physical comedians and circus clowns.
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 12 – Aug. 11 is Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m.
Single tickets are $18 and a season subscription to all eight plays is available at a discounted price of $110. Patrons can buy the Weekend Flex Pass, which includes tickets for three different shows for $35, for Friday-Sunday performances only. Best seats available and subject to availability.
All individual tickets go on sale June 4, 2013 at the Theater on the Lake box office at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Michigan or via phone at (312) 742-7994. Beginning June 4, 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.
About Theater on the Lake
Constructed in 1920, the Theater on the Lake building was originally a recuperation ward for babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases. During World War II, the structure was then used as a USO Center. 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 year, the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee honored Theater on the Lake for its commitment to fostering live theater performed by local performing arts companies. The Jeff Committee bestowed a Special Award to Theater on the Lake for its commitment to presenting a cross section of Chicago’s diverse theater scene.