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Lookingglass Theatre Company Announces
The company’s 32nd season features
the World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne by J. Nicole Brooks
and celebrates the return of two favorites
Mary Zimmerman’s new holiday classic The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the signature production Lookingglass Alice by David Catlin
Lookingglass Theatre Company announces its complete 2019–2020 season lineup, with three shows created by Lookingglass Ensemble Members. From high-flying spectacle, to gorgeous storytelling, and provocative reflections on our city, the season begins with the new holiday tradition The Steadfast Tin Soldier, written and directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman from the story by Hans Christian Andersen. The World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks, takes a look back at Chicago’s first woman Mayor and how times are different—and exactly the same. Concluding the 2019-2020 season is the return of the signature Lookingglass production Lookingglass Alice, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin, from the works of Lewis Carroll, and produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium.
“As an Ensemble, we’ve talked a lot about why humans tell the same stories again and again. I think it’s because as we get older and the world changes, and our viewing point changes, these stories inherently change. They are so deeply human that they continue to resonate with us in different ways,” comments Artistic Director Heidi Stillman. “As we move into our next season, we feel encouraged to tell stories that made us who we are, and stories that will help pave our path into the future.”
Next season will be quintessentially Lookingglass—-shows you couldn’t see anywhere else. Subscriptions to Lookingglass’ 2019-2020 season are on sale now and may be purchased through the box office at (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org.
The Lookingglass 2019–2020 Season up close:
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman
From the Story by Hans Christian Andersen
November 1, 2019–January 26, 2020
Recommended for Ages 5+
True to his loyal and resolute nature, The Steadfast Tin Soldier returns! Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up comes back to Lookingglass for a winter-time curtain call. Ensemble Member Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses, Treasure Island) fashions an extravagant and exhilarating spectacle, infused with music and movement. Don’t miss the triumphant return of Chicago’s newest Holiday tradition, The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
“I’m very glad that our little Tin Soldier managed to march his way into the hearts of so many, and that he’ll be coming back again in the Holiday season steadfast as ever. We wanted to make something that was visually and emotionally overpowering—as well as very funny—and do that with no spoken language at all,” says Mary Zimmerman. “People of all ages and from around the world are able to watch the show and feel it all the same, no English required. I think the silence of the characters—and the beautiful music that accompanies their adventures—allows older members of the audience to fall into a private, younger part of themselves; and for children, they are watching something in the manner they are used to: gathering up the story through the intensity of their earnest attention, through their intelligence which has no words.”
Her Honor Jane Byrne
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks
February 26–April 12, 2020
Recommended for Ages 13+
Chicago is “The City That Works”—but does it work for everybody? It’s 1981, the city’s simmering pot of neglected problems boils over, and Chicago’s first woman mayor is moving into Cabrini-Green. Is this just a PR stunt, or will it bring the City together? For the next three weeks, residents, activists, media, the “Machine,” and the Mayor herself will collide as the City’s raw truths are exposed. Who will come out on top? Lookingglass Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks creates this smoldering new take on Her Honor Jane Byrne.
J. Nicole Brooks comments, “When you grow up in a city that’s hyper segregated, run amuck with corruption, and political stunts and discord, you have to work hard to love it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the history. I’m fascinated by ethnic clans. I’m curious about patronage, councils, aldermen, and committeemen. Who gets elected and how? Who gets to lead us, and will they actually listen to us? Though I was very little, I can remember when it was announced that Mayor Jane Byrne was moving into Cabrini-Green. Can she stop the violence? Well, no one person can. Here we are decades later, asking the same questions. I hope our audiences walk away with a bit of the past, so they may know how to shape our future.”
Lookingglass is excited to partner with a number of cultural institutions including Chicago History Museum, National Public Housing Museum, Rebuild Foundation, and others as part of the Community Engagement work around the production.
Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin
From the Works of Lewis Carroll
Produced in Association with The Actors Gymnasium
May 13–August 16, 2020
Recommended for Ages 5+
Lookingglass Alice returns for a fantastical trip down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, and deep into your heart. The New York Times calls this circus-infused adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories “eye-catching entertainment.” This signature Lookingglass production, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin (The Little Prince, Moby Dick), has toured the country, enchanting audiences of all ages. Now, after a five-year hiatus, the awe-inspiring production comes back home for a new generation to discover.
David Catlin notes, “If you put Lookingglass DNA under a high-powered microscope, you’d find zinging molecules composed of nonsense, curiosity, and invention. You’d find a pair of black-and-white stripe-y tights, a tardy rabbit in a waistcoat and bowler, a stuttering old soul who believes as many as six impossible things before breakfast, and a fearsome girl named Alice soaring high above our heads and into the heart of wonder. So back we go, to the other side of the Lookingglass, to the utterly essential and glorious nonsense of Wonderland—bring a friend, it’s a little cuckoo in there!”
About the Artists
J. Nicole Brooks (Her Honor Jane Byrne playwright and director/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is an author, actor, director and educator. As a playwright her works for the stage include HeLa, Fedra: Queen of Haiti, Shotgun Harriet, and Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten. As a director she has staged productions of Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting, Black Diamond, Thaddeus & Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure, Clash, and Becky Shaw. As an actor she has created original work throughout the US, China and Hungary. As a screenwriter, J. Nicole has a crime drama in development with partner Milauna Jackson. Selected stage credits include: Ike Holter’s Lottery Day, Lookingglass Theatre’s Beyond Caring in association with David Schwimmer and Alexander Zeldin (National Theatre UK), and Immediate Family directed by Phylicia Rashad. In tv-land, J. Nicole has recurring roles as Sgt. Clemmons on Showtime’s The Chi, and as Olivia on Comedy Central’s South Side. Awards and honors include: Black Ensemble Theatre Playwright of the Year, LA Ovation, League of Chicago Theatres, Jeff Award, TCG Fox Foundation Fellowship, 3Arts Make a Wave Grant, NEA Grant, and Black Theatre Alliance.
David Catlin (Lookingglass Alice adaptor and director/Founding Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is an, actor, writer, director, and former Artistic Director of Lookingglass. David adapted and directed Moby Dick, which debuted at Lookingglass in summer 2015 (winner of four Jeff Awards including Production—Large), toured nationally, and returned to Lookingglass for the summer of 2017. In 2018, he directed his new adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Alliance Theatre at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. David’s next project, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, will have its world premiere at Lookingglass this summer.
Additional Lookingglass directing credits include: Lookingglass Alice, The Little Prince, Icarus, Black Diamond (co-director), Metamorphosis, Her Name was Danger, the idiot (Jeff Citation for New Adaptation), and West (Jeff Citation for Directing). Regionally, David has directed work at McCarter Theatre, The New Victory on 42nd Street, Arden Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage, Syracuse Stage, South Coast Repertory Theatre, and the Getty Villa. Recent Lookingglass acting credits include: Hard Times, The Arabian Nights, Our Town, Argonautika, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, La Luna Muda, Third Voyage, The Scarlet Letter, The Odyssey, and The Jungle. David has appeared on stage with Actors Gymnasium, Chicago Children’s Theatre/Redmoon, and The House Theatre of Chicago. David’s film work includes Since You’ve Been Gone for Lookingglass/Miramax and Humanoid with Dark Harbor Stories. David is an Artistic Associate with Actors Gymnasium and serves on the acting faculty at Northwestern University.
Mary Zimmerman (The Steadfast Tin Soldier playwright and director/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is a writer and director and has worked with Lookingglass for more than 25 years. For Lookingglass, she adapted and directed The Odyssey, The Secret in the Wings, The Arabian Nights, S/M, Metamorphoses, Eleven Rooms of Proust (Co-production with About Face Theatre), Argonautika and Treasure Island. Mary is also part of the Goodman Theatre artistic team where she adapted and directed The White Snake, The Jungle Book, Candide, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Silk, Journey to the West, Mirror of the Invisible World and a re-creation of The Odyssey, as well as directing Wonderful Town, Pericles, The Baltimore Waltz, and All’s Well That Ends Well. She has twice directed for the New York Shakespeare Festival in the Park. Regionally, her work has appeared at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, Arena Stage, and Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. In New York, her work has appeared at Lincoln Center, Second Stage Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre.
In the world of opera, she directed and co-wrote the libretto Galileo Galilei (composed by Philip Glass) that was produced at Goodman Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Barbican Theatre in London. Additionally, she has directed four operas at Metropolitan Opera in New York City: Rusalka, Lucia Di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula, and Rossini’s Armida, each of which has been broadcast live into movie theatres worldwide. In 1998, Mary received a MacArthur Fellowship and in 2002, the Tony Award for Best Director of a Play for Metamorphoses on Broadway.
Subscriptions are on sale for the 2019-2020 Season. Current subscribers who renew before May 1, 2019 will receive a 5% discount on their 2019-2020 subscription. Performances will be held at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
Subscribers can choose between a 3-play subscription, 2-play subscription, or two flex pass options: the Gglasspass, or for those under 35, the Madhatter’s Club. For the 2019-2020 season, 3-play subscriptions range from $116–$170, and 2-play subscriptions range from $77–$113. 2-play subscriptions include Her Honor Jane Byrne and Lookingglass Alice.
The Gglasspass is a flex pass available to all ages. For $150, Gglasspass holders receive 3 tickets that can be used in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2019-2020 season.
The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is available to those 35 or younger. The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is $75 and includes 3 tickets that members can use in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2019-2020 season, including Theatre Night Out events.
Lookingglass also offers a 3-play subscription for Accessible performances for $75, and a 2-play subscription for $50 during the 2019-2020 season. Patrons can choose between the Touch Tour/Audio Described performances or the Open Captioned performances.
Subscription benefits include access to the best seats in the house, pre-sale opportunities and savings before single tickets go on sale to the general public, special perks at restaurant partners, unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking at 875 N Michigan, Water Tower Place, and Olympia Centre Garage, reduced tuition for Lookingglass’ renowned classes and summer camps, and access to exclusive subscriber-only events. For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 31st Season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 68 world premieres, received 151 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Artistic Achievement Award.
Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Director of Community Engagement Andrew White, General Manager Michele Anderson, a 24-member artistic ensemble, 23 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Nancy Timmers and President Richard Chapman. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
Year of Chicago Theatre
Lookingglass is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Learn more at chicagoplays.com/year-of-chicago-theatre/.