An exciting 20th anniversary season set for The Hypocrites

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The directors for shows in The Hypocrites’ 20th anniversary season. include (from left), Geoff Button, Devon de Mayo, Sean Graney, Marti Lyons and Jess McLeod. (Photo: Courtesy of The Hypocrites)

The Hypocrites will be be pulling out all the stops for their 20th anniversary season. But what else would you expect from the theater company that has staged a day-long marathon of Greek tragedies, a slew of Gilbert & Sullivan mash-ups and its current remarkable musical theater production, “The Adding Machine”?

Featured in the 2016-2017 lineup will be five productions, including a world premiere musical adaptation and two Chicago premieres. The company also will be launching a new play development initiative, with its first-ever new play commissions.

In a prepared statement, artistic director Sean Graney noted: “Our 20th anniversary season is about looking to the future, not the past. In deciding what to program, I asked myself, ‘What will the next 20 years look like?’ This season is the next step on a pathway of permanent and exciting change for the company. We will be producing and commissioning more new work in order to focus on contemporary voices, and the theater-makers of the future. We want to encourage new artists to work in dialogue with historical theater, questioning its relevance for us living today.”

Here’s what will be on tap:

<strong ” YOU ON THE MOORS NOW” (Sept. 9-Oct. 30), the Chicago premiere of  Jaclyn Backhaus’ comical mash-up of mythology and 19th century literary heroines drawn from the novels of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, directed by Devon de Mayo. When these heroines, who dwell in the mythical place of Moors, receive proposals of marriage, they decide to escape. The men wage war on them, initiating the Moors Wars.

CINDERELLA AT THE THEATER OF POTATOES” (Nov. 12, 2016 – Jan. 8, 2017), a world premiere adaptation by Andra Velis Simon, based on the 1904 opera, “Cendrillon” (“Cinderella”) and other compositions by Pauline Viardot-García, to be directed by artistic director Sean Graney. This new spin on a fairy tale classic gives us the heroine “as you’ve never seen her before,” with the cast, in signature Hypocrites style, acting as their own orchestra in this family-friendly musical play.

“WIT” (Jan. 20 – March 12, 2017), the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Margaret Edson, directed by Marti Lyons. This look at one woman’s unique and transformative battle with terminal cancer was selected as a way to pay homage to the many recent losses in the Chicago theater community.

“THE HOUSE OF MARTIN GUERRE” (Feb. 18 – April 2, 2017), a rare revival of this epic musical with a book by Leslie Arden and Anna Theresa Cascio, music and lyrics by Arden, and direction by Geoff Button. Inspired by the famous 16th century French court case about Martin Guerre (who may or may not have been the man who returns to his wife, Betrande, after years of absence). This musical drama was first seen two decades ago in a memorable world premiere at the Goodman Theatre.

“LAS MENINAS” (March 24-May 21, 2017), the Chicago premiere of a play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lynn Nottage (of “Ruined” fame), directed by Jess McLeod. This rarely performed memory play tells the true story of an illicit affair between Queen Marie-Therese, wife of King Louis XIV, and an unlikely love interest (and African dwarf) that scandalized the French court.

In addition: The Hypocrites are commissioning writers Lavina Jadhwani and Rohina Malik to create three new plays that reflect the company’s mission. Jadhwani will adapt the classic Sanskrit drama, “Shakuntala “by Kalidasa, while Malik’s new work is inspired by Syrian musicians facing the current international refugee crisis.

The season will be presented at The Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee, with the exception of “The House of Martin Guerre,” which will be staged at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont.

Season subscriptions and single tickets are  on sale at, with the exception of “The House of Martin Guerre,” which will go on sale May 1.

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