Here’s City Lit’s press release:
CITY LIT THEATER ANNOUNCES
30th ANNIVERSARY SEASON WILL BE CELEBRATED
WITH HAMMETT, GRAHAME, SHAKESPEARE, FINNEY,
AND THE RETURN OF P. G. WODEHOUSE
The work of P. G. Wodehouse, the most frequently produced author in City Lit Theater’s history, will return as part of the theatre’s Thirtieth Anniversary 2009-2010 Season, artistic director Terry McCabe announced today, along with world premiere adaptations of novels by Dashiell Hammett and Jack Finney, a Shakespeare tragedy, and a musical adaptation of a beloved Kenneth Grahame classic for all ages.
City Lit’s 2009-2010 season consists of The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney and Oh Boy! by P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern.
“City Lit was founded the same year the Grammy Awards instituted a category for Best Disco Recording,” McCabe stated. “That lasted exactly one year, but three decades and six presidents later, City Lit’s still chugging along. We’re celebrating with a thirtieth anniversary season of big shows that will show off our strengths.”
A world premiere City Lit adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s detective novel The Thin Man opens the season. Adapted by McCabe and to be directed by Adrianne Cury, it tells the story of Nick Charles, a retired private eye who is unwillingly drawn into solving a murder in Prohibition-era Manhattan. He and his extremely clever wife Nora share brilliant repartee and much drinking.
Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon and a former Pinkerton detective, based the central relationship in The Thin Man, his final novel, on his own relationship with the playwright Lillian Hellman, with whom he lived off and on for thirty years. “It was nice to be Nora,” Hellman recalled years later. “But I was soon put back in my place—Hammett said I was also the silly girl in the book and the villainess.” The Thin Man begins previews on Friday, August 28, 2009, and runs through Sunday, October 11. Press opening is Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at 7:00 pm.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, in a musical version adapted, composed and directed by Douglas Post, will play during the holidays. It centers on the exploits of Mr. Toad, an amphibian obsessed with motor cars, and his friends Rat, Mole and Badger, who attempt to break him of his terrible habit. It also concerns a class struggle in the Wildwood between these creatures and the weasels, ferrets, and stoats.
Post uses story theater techniques to preserve pieces of Grahame’s narrative, humor to heighten the absurdity of an animal community that carries on like Edwardian gentlemen, and an eclectic score made up of rock, reggae, tin-pan alley, spirituals, and a Gilbert and Sullivan send-up. Post’s adaptation received its world premiere at the Organic Lab Theater in Chicago in 1985, and had Chicago revivals in 1986 and 1989. Since then, it has received over 200 productions around the world. In the U.S. it has been produced at Theater Off Park in New York, The Cleveland Play House, Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities in Colorado, and Lamb’s Players Theatre in California. It has also been produced in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and, most recently, Shanghai, China. It has not been seen in Chicago for twenty years. The Wind in the Willows begins previews on Friday, November 27, 2009, and runs through Sunday, January 3, 2010. Press opening is Tuesday, December 1, 2009, at 7:00 pm.
Macbeth, directed by Susan Hart, is Shakespeare’s most terrifying tragedy and City Lit’s third show of the season. A century ago the critic A. C. Bradley compared the play to “a black night broken by flashes of light and color. And, above all, the color is the color of blood.” The world of Macbeth contains witches and a ghost, but the power of its terror lies in the human capacity for murder, ruthless ambition, madness, heartless betrayal and soul-destroying guilt. “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” says one of the witches; what she sees approaching is a man.
Macbeth begins previews on Friday, January 15, 2010, and runs through Sunday, February 21. Press opening is Tuesday, January 19, 2010, at 7:00 pm.
A second City Lit world premiere adaptation, this one of Jack Finney’s 1950s science fiction classic The Body Snatchers, will be the fourth show of the season. Adapted and directed by two-time Jeff Award-winning adaptor Paul Edwards, The Body Snatchers concerns a small-town doctor in Marin County, California who discovers that the people around him are being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.
Finney’s novel, published in 1955, has been the inspiration for four motion pictures: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Body Snatchers (1993), and The Invasion (2007). As a tie-in to the second film, Finney updated the novel to the 1970s and retitled it to match the movie. City Lit’s adaptation is of the original 1955 novel.
The Body Snatchers begins previews on Friday, April 2, 2010, and runs through Sunday, May 9. Press opening is Tuesday, April 6, 2010, at 7:00 pm.
The 30th Anniversary Season concludes with Oh Boy!, a landmark musical comedy from 1917, with a score by Jerome Kern, lyrics by P. G. Wodehouse, and book by Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. A young man hides his bride—from whom he is also hiding the single woman who has innocently appeared in his bedroom—from the disapproving aunt who controls his finances. Wodehouse and Kern’s songs include “Till the Clouds Roll By.” Sheldon Patinkin will direct, and Kingsley Day will be the show’s music director.
The first and most popular collaboration of its three creators, Oh Boy! was one of the earliest musicals to integrate its songs into the plot, thereby helping pave the way for the modern American musical. Though it has not been produced in Chicago since the original Broadway touring company played the Loop in 1918, a concert version was mounted at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1985, which prompted the New York Times to call Oh Boy! “so wonderfully, tunefully, funnily good.” Oh Boy! begins previews on Friday, May 21, 2010, and runs through Sunday June 27. Press opening is Tuesday, May 25, 2007, at 7:00 pm.
City Lit Theater is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, one block west of Sheridan Road and a block and a half east of the Bryn Mawr Red Line L stop. The 84 Peterson bus, the 147 Lake Shore Express bus, and the 151 Sheridan bus all stop near City Lit. Valet parking and discounted self-parking are available for theatre customers.
City Lit specializes in literate theatre, including stage adaptations of literary material. Subscriptions to City Lit Theater cost $100, for tickets during the regular run, and $75 for tickets during previews. They can be purchased online at www.citylit.org or by phone at 773-293-3682