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Stages set for new plays

Publication: Pioneer Press
Published: August 30, 2007
Client: Northlight Theatre


Tired of seeing the same old plays? Then the North Shore is the place to be in the coming months, as local theaters present a slew of premieres and less familiar shows.

In fact, only a few plays on the 2007-08 schedules could be described as tried and true.

Northlight Theatre is celebrating its 10th year with BJ Jones as artistic director, and Jones says he is thrilled by the season's "strong lineup." He adds, "I can't believe it's been 10 years. I have so much more I want to do."

The Skokie playhouse begins with James Magruder's recent translation of the Moliere classic "The Miser" (Oct. 3-Nov. 11). "The language is much more contemporary," Jones says. "It's the story of the struggle of young love finding itself."

"Ella" (Nov. 28-Jan. 6) stars E. Faye Butler as Ella Fitzgerald. "It's a wonderful, wonderful collection of tunes," Jones says. "If you look over the last 10 years, I am particularly obsessed with jazz and rhythm and blues."

"Gee's Bend" (Jan. 30-March 9) is the story of African-American quilters in Alabama who sing gospel tunes as they sew. "It's a simple, austere, beautiful, poetic piece of theater," Jones says.

One season highlight is likely to be the world premiere of "Better Late," by Larry Gelbart (famous for the "M*A*S*H" television series) and Craig Wright, who wrote last season's Northlight drama "Lady." With Jones directing, John Mahoney and Mike Nussbaum will star in this comedy about a man forced to move in with his ex-wife and her new husband. "Larry Gelbart is one of American's premiere comedic writers, but it's comedy with a point, and the same is true with Craig," Jones says.

Judith Ivey plays advice columnist Ann Landers in "The Lady With All the Answers" (May 21-June 29). "Judy's a world-class actress," says Jones, who is directing. "She works in miniature. It's astonishing in its specificity."



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