Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Civil War Sesquicentennial Project collects its fourth Jeff nomination.

Comrades Mine: Emma Edmonds of the Union Army by Maureen Gallagher, our 2013 Civil War Project world premiere play, has been nominated for a Jeff Award in the Best New Work category.  The play is based on the true story of Emma Edmonds, who served with the Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry for the first two years of the Civil War disguised as a man.

Congratulations, Maureen.

The awards ceremony is June 2.  Details for those who wish to attend are here

Update:   As coincidence would have it, the New York Times Disunion blog entry for today is about Emma Edmonds.  It repeats as true some stuff she made up for her memoir, like the yarn about her tending to a dying soldier who is also a woman in disguise.  It also says the war broke out in 1860!  But it's worth reading anyway.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

City Lit's press release for CONFEDERATES IN THE ATTIC


          Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz, in a world premiere adaptation by City Lit artistic director Terry McCabe, will begin previews at City Lit on Friday, April 25, 2014 and open for the press on Tuesday, April 29. It is the fourth and final production of City Lit Theater’s 34th season, four productions playing in serial repertory, each show’s scheduled run overlapping that of the one opening before and/or after it in daisy-chain fashion through the season.  Confederates in the Atticdirected by McCabe, runs through Saturday, June 7, 2014.
          Confederates in the Attic, called “the best book that has been written on the Civil War in modern culture” by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and “the freshest book about divisiveness in America that I have read in some time” by the New York Times, is a memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Tony Horwitz.  When he leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he's put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again, this time from the unfinished Civil War.
          Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.  In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' re-enactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and hears calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandished a rebel flag; and he takes a marathon trek through the War’s eastern theatre in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'
Confederates in the Attic is the fourth show in City Lit’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Projecta series of productions—most of them world premieres—that explore the war’s legacy.  The Project’s shows so far have been 2011’s The Copperhead, 2012’s Opus 1861, and 2013’s Comrades Mine, all Jeff-recommended.  The Project concludes in 2015 with the world premiere of Kristine Thatcher’s The Bloodhound Law.
In City Lit’s world premiere adaptation of Confederates in the Attic, a cast of fourteen plays 106 characters.  When the show begins previews on April 25, it will run in rotating repertory with The Haunting of Hill House, the already-opened third show of City Lit’s season; the two shows will run in rep through Hill House’s closing on May 11.  (A full season schedule is available at www.citylit.org.)
          Tony Horwitz won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his stories about working conditions in low-wage America published in the Wall Street Journal. He also wrote for the Journal as a foreign correspondent covering wars in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.  His most recent book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, won the William Henry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography.
          Terry McCabe has been City Lit’s artistic director since 2005.  He has directed plays professionally in Chicago since 1981.  His City Lit adaptations of Holmes and Watson, Gidget,  (co-adapted with Marissa McKown),The Hound of the BaskervillesScoundrel Time, and Opus 1861(co-adapted with Elizabeth Margolius) were Jeff-nominated.  He won two Jeff Citations for directing at the old Stormfield Theatre and has been thrice nominated for the Jeff Award for Best Director, for shows at Court Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, and Victory Gardens.  His book Mis-Directing the Play has
been denounced at length in American Theatre magazine and from the podium at the national convention of The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, but is nonetheless used in directing courses on three continents and is now in paperback. 
          The cast for Confederates in the Attic is Nick Ferrin, Kevin Gladish, Peter Goldsmith, Varris Holmes, Christian Isely, Elizabeth Krane, Adrienne Matzen, Christopher McMorris, Charles Schoenherr, Megan Skord, La’ren Vernea, Evan Voboril, Johnathan Wallace, and Freddy Lynn Wilson.    
The design team is Devin Carroll (lighting), kClare Kemock (costumes), and Dustin Pettegrew (set).  The dialect coach is Catherine Gillespie.

          Confederates in the Attic will play twenty-one performances from

April 25 through June 7.  The full schedule follows:

Friday, April 25              7:30            First preview
Saturday, April 26         3:00            Second preview
Sunday, April 27            6:30            Final preview

Tuesday, April 29         7:00            Press opening

Friday, May 2                 7:30
Saturday, May 3            3:00
Sunday, May 4               6:30

Friday, May 9                 7:30
Saturday, May 10           3:00
Sunday, May 11             6:30

Friday, May 16               7:30           
Saturday, May 17           7:30           
Sunday, May 18             2:00           

Friday, May 23               7:30
Saturday, May 24           7:30
Sunday, May 25             2:00

Friday, May 30               7:30           
Saturday, May 31          7:30           
Sunday, June 1             2:00

Friday, June 6               7:30           
Saturday, June 7           7:30            Closing performance

          Ticket prices are $22.00 for previews and $29.00 after opening. A limited number of $25.00 general admission tickets ($18.00 for previews) are available for each performance through the City Lit website.
          Discounts are available for telephone orders by seniors, students, members of the military, and groups of ten or more. Tickets can be reserved by going to www.citylit.org or by calling (773) 293-3682.
          City Lit receives funding from the Alphawood Foundation, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), and The Saints. Its outreach program is sponsored in part by A.R.T. League.
          City Lit specializes in literate theatre, including stage adaptations of literary material. It 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 is available for theatre customers at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr restaurant across the street from City Lit. Discounted parking is available for theatre customers, with validation from the Edgewater Beach Café, in the Edgewater Beach Apartments’ underground parking lot one block east of the theatre.  A limited amount of free parking is available for theatre customers who dine at That Little Mexican Café one block west of the theatre.


Note:  Some of'this press release's biographical information on Tony Horwitz and description of the book was taken from tonyhorwitz.com.  The photograph at top is copyright 2012 by John Murden Jr. and used by permission.