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TimeLine Theatre does it again: A fascinating lineup for 2016-17

Director Ron OJ Parson (Photo: Courtesy of TimeLine Theatre)

TimeLine Theatre, one of the recipients of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, is pulling out all the stops for its 20th anniversary season with a series of widely varied and audacious productions, and a roster of top writers, directors and actors.

Mike Nussbaum | COURTESY TIMELINE THEATRE
Mike Nussbaum | COURTESY TIMELINE THEATRE

Kicking off the season will be the Chicago premiere of the two-character “Bakersfield Mist” (Aug. – Oct. 2016, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont), written by Stephen Sachs. Directed by Kevin Christopher Fox, it will feature Janet Ulrich Brooks (now on stage in the Goodman Theatre production of “2666”), and Mike Nussbaum (who needs no further introduction to anyone who saw the company’s stellar revival of Arthur Miller’s “The Price” last year). Inspired by a true story, this look at what makes art (and people) authentic, in this case, homing in on an unemployed bartender living in a trailer park, who has bought the ugliest thrift store painting she could get her hands on as a gag gift. When she is told that the painting might in fact be the “find of the century” she invites a world-class art expert to decide if it’s a forgery or the real thing, worth millions.

Director Nick Bowling. (Photo courtesy of TimeLine Theatre)
Director Nick Bowling. (Photo courtesy of TimeLine Theatre)

Next up will be the U.S. premiere of “The Last Wife,” (Sept. – Dec. 2016 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington), a new play by Kate Hennig that is a modern take on the story of Katherine Parr, sixth wife to England’s King Henry VIII. A funny and timely examination of politics, sex, and women’s rights, this bold and contemporary return to Tudor England confronts issues as relevant today as they were 500 years ago. Nick Bowling will direct.

It will be followed by the Chicago premiere of “A Disappearing Number,” (Jan. – April 2017 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington), a fascinating work set in 1913 about two brilliant mathematicians of the 20th century —one Indian, one British, in a study about love, math, and how the past and future connect. Told in a whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, the play is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos. Originally conceived and directed by Simon McBurney and his fabled Complicite company, it will be seen here in a new production directed by Bowling.

Actress Mildred Marie Langford. (Photo courtesy of TimeLine Theatre)
Actress Mildred Marie Langford. (Photo courtesy of TimeLine Theatre)

Finally, there will be the Midwest premiere of “Paradise Blue,” (May – July 2017, at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington), a dynamic, jazz-infused drama by Dominique Morisseau (whose “Sunset Baby” is now on stage in a scorching TimeLine production). Ron OJ Parson directs; Mildred Marie Langford and Tyla Abercrumbie star. Set in 1949 in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, a gifted trumpeter and troubled owner of the Paradise jazz nightclub is contemplating a buyout offer for the city’s urban renewal plan. As the inhabitants of the famed but faltering jazz club ponder their options, relationships are tested, new challengers emerge, and they must decide whether to fight to save what’s theirs, or risk it all for a chance at redemption. This is the latest play from Morisseau’s cycle of plays about Detroit.

NOTE: Four-admission FlexPass subscriptions,$80 to $204, are now on sale. Call (773) 281-8463 (ext. 6) or visit www.timelinetheatre.com.