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Production History
Current Season

2012-2013 Season


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Chicago Premiere
by Moisés Kaufman
directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling

Aug. 24 – Oct. 21, 2012

At Stage 773
1225 W. Belmont Ave.

In a journey spanning 200 years, 33 Variations is a waltz between past and present, fact and speculation, a mother and daughter, and art and life. One of classical music's enduring riddles is why Ludwig van Beethoven devoted four years of his diminishing life writing 33 variations of a mediocre waltz, all for little financial reward. Playwright Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project) tracks a modern-day music scholar driven to solve the mystery even as her own life and relationship with her daughter crumbles, elegantly juxtaposing her obsession with the composer's creative struggles. The result is an extraordinary new American play about passion, parenthood and the moments of beauty that can transform a life.

33 Variations will feature TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks as the music scholar Katherine Brandt (a role played on Broadway and in the play's Los Angeles premiere by Jane Fonda) and TimeLine Company Member Juliet Hart as Dr. Gertrude Ladenburger, with TimeLine Associate Artist Terry Hamilton as Ludwig van Beethoven. The play will also feature a live pianist sharing the stage and underscoring the action.

World Premiere
by Susan Felder
directed by TimeLine Associate Artist
William Brown

Oct. 12 – Dec. 30, 2012

At TimeLine Theatre
615 W. Wellington Ave.

Two soldiers — both named Joe but distinct in most other ways — are thrust into each other's lives after being captured by the enemy in Vietnam. Held in underground cells with a barred ceiling grate as their only access to the outside world, the two are separated by a solid wall as well as divergent backgrounds, politics, world views and opinions about the war they've fought. But over two years of captivity and with little expectation of rescue, the two are drawn together as they battle dire conditions, loneliness, loss of faith, and each other. This emotionally stirring new play affirms the extraordinary power of human connection to forge hope in even the darkest hours.

Wasteland marks the return of William Brown (To Master the Art, Not About Nightingales) as a director at TimeLine. The cast will feature Nate Burger (TimeLine's 'Master Harold' ... and the Boys) and Steve Haggard (Writers' Theatre's Old Glory).

Chicago Premiere
by Naomi Iizuka
directed by Lisa Portes

Jan. 15 – Apr. 14, 2013

At TimeLine Theatre
615 W. Wellington Ave.

During the 1880s, an unprecedented new invention changed the world. The camera allowed people to see images of distant lands they never dreamed they would be able to see. Images of geishas, monks and shrines were transmitted far from their origin, where foreigners sought meaning in them through the filter of exoticism and xenophobia. Shifting between 19th Century Japan and present-day United States, Naomi Iizuka's highly original triptych of a play provides philosophical, cultural and historical themes to ponder in both epic scope and human scale. It's a sexy, multi-faceted puzzle that explores the intersection of art and authenticity, where things are never quite as they appear to be.

Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West marks the TimeLine debut of director Lisa Portes, whose recent credits include directing the world premieres of Naomi Iizuka's Ghostwritten at the Goodman Theatre and After A Hundred Years at Minneapolis' Guthrie Theatre.

Chicago Premiere

by J.T. Rogers
directed by
TimeLine Associate
Artistic Director
Nick Bowling

April 30 – July 28, 2013

At TimeLine Theatre
615 W. Wellington Ave.

Heralded as one of The New York Times' Top 10 plays of 2011, Blood and Gifts takes you inside the secret spy war behind the official Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s. Spanning a decade and playing out in Washington, D.C., Pakistan and Afghanistan, the play follows a CIA operative as he struggles to stop the Soviet Army's destruction of Afghanistan. The ground constantly shifts for him and his counterparts in the KGB and British and Pakistani secret service as political and personal alliances keep changing. And as the outcome of the entire Cold War comes into play, he and an Afghan warlord find that the only one they can trust is each other. This bold and provocative new play tells the story of the unknown men behind one of the greatest historical events of recent history, the repercussions of which continue to shape our world.

J.T. Rogers is also the author of the plays The Overwhelming and Madagascar, seen in Chicago at Next Theatre, and White People, seen at Gift Theater.


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4-Admission FlexPass Subscriptions for TimeLine's 2012-13 season are now on sale, priced from $108 to $168. Click here for more information ...

2012-13 Season Artist Biographies

Nick Bowling (Director, 33 Variations, Blood and Gifts) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of an Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction (The History Boys at TimeLine) and four Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (Fiorello!, This Happy Breed and The Crucible at TimeLine, Another Part of the Forest at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for The Farnsworth Invention, Hauptmann and The Lion in Winter at TimeLine and for Closer Than Ever at Porchlight Music Theatre. Recent credits at TimeLine include A Walk in the Woods, The Front Page, In Darfur, When She Danced, Not Enough Air and Fiorello!. Other Chicago credits include Writers' Theatre's Bach at Leipzig, Shattered Globe Theatre's Time of the Cuckoo and Frozen Assets, Rivendell Theatre's Factory Girls and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's Angels in America, among others. His production of the musical A Catered Affair is now playing at Porchlight Music Theatre, and he will next direct the world premiere of My Kind of Town by John Conroy at TimeLine.

William Brown (Director, Wasteland) is an Associate Artist at TimeLine, where he previously co-wrote (with Doug Frew) and directed the world premiere of To Master the Art (Equity Jeff Award nomination – New Work) and directed the Midwest premiere of Not About Nightingales (Non-Equity Jeff Awards – Production and Direction) and the Chicago premieres of Halcyon Days and Paragon Springs. Recent credits include the world premieres of Brett Neveu's Old Glory and Do the Hustle at Writers' Theatre, where he has directed many other productions, including As You Like It, Another Part of the Forest and Our Town. At Northlight Theatre he directed his own adaptation with original music of She Stoops to Conquer (After Dark Award; also a partnership with Doug Frew). He has directed 13 productions at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. (most recently The Critic) and is the Associate Artistic Director of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. He has acted and directed at many theatres across the country, including the Goodman, Indiana Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Court, Cincinnati Playhouse, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Lincolnshire, La Jolla Playhouse, the Ahmanson, the Ordway, and New York's Public Theatre. He received an Equity Jeff Award for Actor in a Principal Role for his portrayal of Henry Kissinger in Nixon's Nixon, and the Chicago Tribune named him Chicagoan of the Year for Theatre.

Susan Felder (Playwright, Wasteland) has been a professional actor, director and educator for more than 20 years. She has taught theatre at Montana State University, Northwestern University, Notre Dame, and Loyola University Chicago. She holds an MFA degree in Shakespeare studies and language from the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. Felder's original play Temple Spirit was work-shopped by Chicago's House Theatre. She wrote and directed the short play Jumping Mouse for Kids in Distress (an organization for homeless and at-risk foster kids). In 1999, Camp-Make-A-Dream (a summer program for children surviving cancer) adopted her short story Mooky the Flying Camel as a camp staple. She has written music for the Attic Theatre in Detroit, CT20 Ensemble, Barto Productions and Montana Shakespeare. Selections from her musical Waking Eden were chosen to be performed at the Royal George for Chicago Musical Theatre Works. Recent Chicago directing credits include The Quiet Man Tales (Chicago Theatre); the world premiere of A Love Lost Life – The Marlon Brando Story (Theatre Building Chicago); several one acts for the Steppenwolf One Act Festival in association with Northwestern University and Remy Bumppo; and several productions for Loyola University Chicago and Montana Shakespeare. As an actor, Felder has appeared around Chicago, including at the Goodman, Northlight, Next, Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Remy Bumppo and Writers' theaters. Regionally she has appeared at Orlando Shakespeare, Boarshead Theatre (Mother's Day, Thespie Award - Best Supporting Actress), Indiana Repertory, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Peninsula Players, Attic Theatre, and 15 seasons at Montana Shakespeare. She is a member of Actors' Equity.

Naomi lizuka (Playwright, Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West) is a playwright whose plays include 36 Views, Polaroid Stories, Language of Angels, Anon(ymous), Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Tattoo Girl, Skin, Ghostwritten, After a Hundred Years, Strike-Slip, At the Vanishing Point, Hamlet: Blood on the Brain (a collaboration with CalShakes and Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts), and War of the Worlds (written in collaboration with Anne Bogart and SITI Company). Her plays have been produced by Berkeley Rep, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Cornerstone, Intiman, Children's Theater Company, the Kennedy Center, the Huntington Theater, Actors' Theatre of Louisville, GeVa, Laguna Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, the Public, Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts, Dallas Theatre Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Next Wave Festival," Soho Rep, and the Edinburgh Festival. Her plays have been published by Overlook Press, Playscripts, Smith and Kraus, Dramatic Publishing, Sun and Moon Press, and Theater Communications Group. lizuka is an alumna of New Dramatists and the recipient of a PEN/Laura Pels Award, an Alpert Award, a Joyce Foundation Award, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Stavis Award from the National Theatre Conference, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP grant, an NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residence grant, a McKnight Fellowship, a PEN Center USA West Award for Drama, Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship, and a Jerome Fellowship. She currently heads the MFA Playwriting program at the University of California, San Diego.

Moisés Kaufman (Playwright, 33 Variations) is a Tony and Emmy award-nominated director and playwright. His most recent play, 33 Variations, was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Play. Kaufman directed the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play I Am My Own Wife (Obie Award; Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel nominations). His plays Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Laramie Project have been among the most performed plays in America over the last decade. Kaufman also directed the film adaptation of The Laramie Project for HBO, which was the opening night selection at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and won the National Board of Review Award, the Humanitas Prize and a Special Mention for Best First Film at the Berlin Film Festival. The film also earned Kaufman two Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer. He is the Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project and a Guggenheim Fellow in Playwriting. Other recent directing credits include Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo (Broadway and Mark Taper Forum), Macbeth (Public Theater), This Is How It Goes (Donmar Warehouse), One Arm by Tennessee Williams (Steppenwolf Theater Company), Master Class with Rita Moreno (Berkeley Repertory Theater), and Lady Windermere's Fan (Williamstown Theater Festival).

Lisa Portes (Director, Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West) is a Chicago-based director of new and contemporary American plays and musicals. Her recent projects include The Piano Teacher (Next Theatre); the world premieres of Ghostwritten (Goodman Theatre) and After A Hundred Years (Guthrie Theatre), both by Naomi Iizuka; Ski Dubai by Laura Jacqmin and Spare Change by Mia McCullough (First Look Repertory of New Plays, Steppenwolf Theatre); Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue by Quiara Hudes (Teatro Vista and Rivendell Theatre at Steppenwolf); Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons (Northlight Theatre); Far Away by Caryl Churchill and In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks (Next Theatre); and Wilder: An Erotic Chamber Musical by Erin Cressida Wilson, Jack Herrick and Mike Craver (Playwrights Horizons). Her work for young audiences includes Barrio Grrrl, Pinkalicious, Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans and The Highest Heaven — all for Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences. Portes' work has been seen regionally at Vineyard Arts Project, the Kennedy Center, South Coast Repertory Theatre's Hispanic Playwrights Project, McCarter Theatre Lab, A Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Cape Cod Theatre Project, the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Santa Barbara Theatre Lab, and the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. In New York her work has been seen at Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theatre, the Flea Theatre and the Cherry Lane Alternative Theatre. As Associate Director, Portes mounted the international productions of the Tony Award-winning musical The Who's Tommy. She serves as head of the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University and Artistic Director for Chicago Playworks. Upcoming projects include Night Over Erzinga by Adrianna Sevahn at Silk Road Rising.

J.T. Rogers (Playwright, Blood and Gifts) is an American playwright. His play Blood and Gifts premiered at the National Theater in London and had its American debut last season at Lincoln Center Theater. In Chicago, his plays The Overwhelming (National Theatre premiere, United Kingdom tour with Out of Joint and BBC Radio; Roundabout Theatre, New York City) and Madagascar have been staged by Next Theatre, and White People was seen at the Gift Theater. As one of the original playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London's Great Game: Afghanistan, he was nominated for a 2009 Olivier Award. His works have been seen throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, and Israel, and are published by Faber and Faber and Dramatists Play Service. Rogers' essays have appeared in American Theatre and in London's Independent and The New Statesman. He is a member of New Dramatists and the Dramatist Guild and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.