Here’s the press release from Next:
Next Theatre Company Announces
a Season of Premieres for 2009-10
World Premiere by Artistic Director Emeritus Jason Loewith
to Join American and Chicago Premieres by Provocative New Writers
[April 8, 2009 – EVANSTON, IL] – New Artistic Director Jason Southerland has announced his first full-season’s roster of plays at Evanston’s Next Theatre Company, Chicago’s destination for socially provocative, artistically adventurous work. In the offering, theater-goers will find the highly-anticipated world premiere of Jason Loewith’s (Adding Machine) latest adaptation, Israeli playwright Boaz Gaon’s poignant drama Return to Haifa, and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s off-beat, but resonant apocalyptic comedy boom, which will begin performances on the 8th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on NYC and Washington. Southerland has also added a holiday program by his past artistic collaborator and friend Kyle Jarrow, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant. The final play of the 29th season will be announced shortly. (Updated 8-19-09 with “End Days”)
Founded in 1981 by Harriet Spizziri and Brian Finn, Next has made its reputation as a metropolitan destination for some of the country’s most provocative writers and plays, among them The Normal Heart, Among the Thugs, In the Blood, Omnium Gatherum, Adding Machine: A Musical, Defiance, 9 Parts of Desire and Dying City. The company’s 29th season continues that tradition with an exciting slate of new plays by a diverse group of writers.
“I am thrilled to share my first full season with the amazing patrons I’ve come to know since joining Next in November,” said Southerland. “Chicagoland has been so welcoming of me and I look forward to making my directorial debut on the Next stage with boom. Peter is an extraordinary young writer whose work has yet to be seen in Chicago. So it will be a first for both of us!”
Southerland is also pleased to reunite with Kyle Jarrow to present a revised version of his holiday comedy, which the two developed together in Boston, and to bring Next’s Artistic Director Emeritus Jason Loewith and puppetmaker Michael Montenegro back to Next’s stage. In addition, Southerland is adding an international flair to his first season at Next with Boaz Gaon’s Return to Haifa, which he saw in Tel Aviv while attending the IsraDrama Festival in December. He said that he was instantly convinced that it would be the ideal play to engage Next Theatre’s audiences in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a most personal and moving way. “So much more than a political piece, I am truly captivated by this work’s deep debate about nature vs. nurture in the development of a person’s identity,” remarked Southerland.
Subscriptions to Next Theatre Company’s 2009-2010 season are on sale now, ranging in price from $85 to $125. A Sponsor Flex subscription for $225 is partially tax deductible. To purchase a subscription or receive more information, call Next Theatre at 847-475-1875, or visit Next’s website at http://www.NextTheatre.org.
Next Theatre is located inside the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston, right next to the Noyes Street stop on the Evanston “el.” Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the theater and the Evanston Civic Center.
The 2009-2010 season schedule is as follows:
By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Directed by Jason Southerland
September 11 – October 11, 2009
It’s the end of the world. Do you have a date?
As an undiscovered comet hurtles towards earth, a lone scientist takes it upon himself to preserve the human race through a personal ad. But his plan for “intensely significant coupling” is more than his first date bargained for, food is running out, and his marine lab-turned-shelter is now beyond repair. This darkly funny experiment is an off-beat and hilarious look at the end of the world and how we might start anew.
“Mr. Nachtrieb has a gift for darkly funny dialogue and an appealing way of approaching big themes sideways.” – New York Times
“Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s play flips from pants-around-the-ankles comedy to hipster ‘Twilight Zone’ takeoff…boom is imaginative and easy to like. -The New Yorker
By Deborah Laufer
Directed by Shade Murray
October 29 – November 29, 2009
Press night: Monday Nov. 2 at 7pm
When Elvis knocks, will you be ready? The Stein’s are having an identity crisis: Mom has been “born again” and spends all day chatting with Jesus in the kitchen; Dad hasn’t gotten out of his pajamas in weeks and is starting to smell; and 16 year old Rachel is coping by going “goth.” Who will save this family? Jesus? Stephen Hawking? Or Rachel’s awkward new classmate who shows up at their door in his Elvis jumpsuit? To everyone’s surprise, the invasion of his big heart and blind optimism might be their best hope for a new beginning. End Days is both “enormously funny, warm and uplifting” (CurtainUp) and also a thoughtful examination of faith, renewal, and the needs of ordinary people.
“Who knew the rapture could be so funny?” -Theatremania
Special Holiday Program
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant
By Kyle Jarrow
Based on a concept by Alex Timbers
December 5 – January 3, 2010
A jubilant cast of children celebrates the life of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the controversial religion, in uplifting pageantry and song. The actual teachings of The Church of Scientology are explained and dissected against the candy-colored backdrop of a traditional nativity play. Avant-garde performance art and children’s theater meet in a musical that the New York Times called “…A spooky, sharp-toothed smile of a show… a halo of hipness and daring,” while the Los Angeles Times hailed it as “An instant cult classic.” Winner of the 2004 OBIE Award for Outstanding Musical.
RETURN TO HAIFA
By Boaz Gaon
Based on the novella by Ghassan Kanafani
February 4 – March 7, 2010
1948 marked the birth of the Jewish state and the exodus of 500,000 Palestinians from Israel. Safiyeh and Said fled during the fighting and were forced to leave their infant son behind in his crib. Holocaust survivors Ephraim and Miriam arrive in Haifa where they are given a new last name, the abandoned home and the baby to raise as their own. Now 20 years later, the boy’s birth parents return, hoping to recover what they once lost. Adapted by Israeli Playwright Boaz Gaon from the seminal 1968 Palestinian novella, Return to Haifa is an intensely intimate story about how we draw the lines of home, family and identity across time and politics. Return to Haifa debuted at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv as a kickoff to the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of Israel.
“At the beginning it seems impossible that these people would sit down to have a dialogue. But the child is a sort of allegory. Who does he belong to? And there is a moment of grace where perhaps they could become one family.”
– original director, Sinai Peter
WAR WITH THE NEWTS
By Jason Loewith and Justin D.M. Palmer
Based on the novel by Karel ?apek
Directed by Jason Loewith
April 15 – May 16, 2010
Can one man stop an empire? In 1936, Czech-born Karel ?apek wrote a spooky, fantastical novel about the discovery of an intelligent race of giant salamanders, which humanity enslaves for profit and national advantage. This highly-anticipated adaptation comes to us from Artistic Director Emeritus Jason Loewith (Adding Machine: A Musical) and Artistic Associate Justin D.M. Palmer in collaboration with puppet designer Michael Montenegro. Brought to life with pools, puppets and projections, War With the Newts is an incredibly timely satire about a global economy planting the seeds of its own destruction.
“?apek’s satire aims, above all, at human blindness and greed. The enemy is always within, he reminds us.” -Heda Kovaly, New York Times Book Review