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Stages set for new plays

Publication: Pioneer Press
Published: August 30, 2007
Client: Writers' 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.

Writers' Theatre
Writers' Theatre in Glencoe starts its season with a world premiere -- the first time the theater has ever done that with a wholly original work. In the past, its premieres have always been new adaptations or translations of classic works.

The new show is "The Savannah Disputation" (Sept. 18-Nov. 25) by Evan Smith, who wrote "The Uneasy Chair," a hit comedy at Writers' in 2005. Two sisters forget all about Southern charm when a young evangelist comes proselytizing at their door.

Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, who will direct "Savannah," says it tackles potentially touchy religious topics with smarts and humor. "It doesn't offer any pat answers because there are no pat answers," he says. "Because he's an exquisitely tuned comedian, Evan always manages to lift a serious moment, at just the right time, to make you laugh."

Jessica Thebus directs "The Turn of the Screw" (Nov. 28-March 30), Jeffrey Hatcher's two-actor adaptation of Henry James' classic ghost story. Halberstam says it's perfect match for the intimate space at Books on Vernon.

William Brown directs Shakespeare's "As You Like It" (Feb. 5-April 13) with a cast including Tracy Michelle Arnold, Marcus Truschinski, Joel Hatch and Larry Yando. "It's one of the most exciting casts we've ever had," Halberstam says.

Rick Snyder directs James Goldman's "The Lion in Winter" (May 27-Aug. 3). Halberstam says the production will show the costume drama's "gritty and real" side.

Meanwhile, Writers' will present Halberstam's annual one-man "Christmas Carol" Dec. 19-23. And the theater is also taking a show to New York for the first time, with Halberstam directing "Crime and Punishment" off-Broadway Nov. 1-Dec. 2.



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