"Oh Coward!"

February 22, 2010 10:08:01 AM PST
You're invited to a marvelous party as the suburban Writers' Theater presents Oh Coward! that celebrates one of American theater's greatest entertainers--Noël Coward. Best known for his comic masterpieces Blithe Spirit, Private Lives and Hay Fever, Coward was one of the most prolific songwriters of his day, creating over 300 songs in his 60-year career. Now Writers' Theatre is introducing the 20th Century genius to 21st Century audiences, bringing Coward's effervescent music, satirical quips and witty repartee to life.

Audiences have already responded enthusiastically to Oh Coward! Writers' www.writerstheatre.org has extend it three times, making Oh Coward! the longest-running production in the suburban theater's history. The cast includes Brandon Dahlquist, Kate Fry, Rob Lindley, accompanied by Musical Director Doug Peck. Oh Coward! is directed by Jim Corti and runs through May 2 at Writers' Theatre, 664 Vernon Avenue in Glencoe. Lectures and Post-Show Discussions on February 24 and March 2 will be led by the Writers' Theatre artistic staff and guest scholars to help audience members explore the world of the play.

The popularity of Oh Coward! has prompted Writer's Theatre to release a CD called Bright Young People--The Songs of Noël Coward, featuring Fry, Lindley, John Sanders and Peck on piano. The CD includes: Bright Young People, A Room with a View /Sail Away, Uncle Harry, London Pride, Mrs. Worthington, I Travel Alone, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Three White Feathers, You Were There, John, A Bar On The Piccola Marina, If Love Were All, Mad About The Boy, World Weary/Twentieth Century Blues, I'll Follow My Secret Hear and The Party's Over Now.

"Since the first preview of Oh Coward!, our audiences have been requesting a recording that they can take with them in order to preserve and enhance their experience of this masterful production. We are delighted therefore to be able to fulfill this expectation. It's a perfect companion piece to the performance and a very exclusive and limited edition," says Artistic Director Michael Halberstam.

Fans of Noel Coward and other American Master musicians can also experience Writer's Cabaret -- Four Evenings of Song, special cabaret performances in a beautiful 1930's night club setting. The cabarets are scheduled for March 1, 8, 15 and 22 at 7 p.m. The series includes Rob Lindley with Foiled Again with Doug Peck on piano and Geoffrey Lowe on bass performing Old Black Magic: The Music of Harold Arlen (March 1); An Evening with Ross Lehman with Doug Peck on piano (March 8); Joan Curto with Chuck Larkin on piano, performing Of Thee I Sing, Ira: The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin (March 15); and An Evening with E.Faye Butler with John Blasucci on piano (March 22). Full schedule is listed below.

For to purchase the Bright Young People CD or tickets to Oh Coward! and the Writers' Cabaret, call 847-242-6000; you can also visit the Writers' Theatre box office, 376 Park Avenue, Glencoe or the theater website writerstheatre.org.

Tweet Seats is a day-of ticket discount program exclusive to Writers' Theatre. Follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter (Twitter.com/WritersTheatre) and everyday by 3 p.m., Writers' will Tweet a code that can be used to purchase remaining seats for that day's performance at a discount. Tweet Seats are available for purchase only through the Writers' Theatre website atwriterstheatre.org.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Jim Corti (Director) makes his debut at Writers' Theatre. His most recent work, Cabaret at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace, was preceded there by Sweet Charity (Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Direction), Meet Me in St. Louis, The Full Monty (the inaugural production at Drury Lane Water Tower), Bye Bye Birdie, Damn Yankees, Company and Singin' in the Rain (Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Choreography). Other Joseph Jefferson Awards were received for his direction of Northlight Theatre's Blues in the Night and his performance in Grand Hotel at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Corti has served on productions for Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Second City and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, revues of Irving Berlin, Frank Loessor and George Gershwin at The National Jewish Theatre. At The Cleveland Play House he directed A Day in Hollywood, A Night in The Ukraine followed by Canterbury Tales and A...My Name is Alice. Last summer he directed Steven Dietz's Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure starring Greg Vinkler for Peninsula Players in Door County, Wisconsin where he also directed Crazy for You and Nunsense starring E. Faye Butler. Corti directed The Snow Queen this holiday season at The Biograph for Victory Gardens Theatre, where this spring he will helm Lonnie Carter's The Lost Boys of Sudan. As a Broadway actor, he has appeared in the original New York casts or in the national tours of Urinetown, Ragtime, Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Bob Fosse's Dancin' and Candide.

Brandon Dahlquist makes his Writers' Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Cabaret (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace), Knute Rockne: All American (Theater at the Center), 5th of July (Oak Park Festival Theatre), American Dream Songbook (Next Theatre Company), Meet Me in St. Louis (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace and Drury Lane Watertower), Assassins (Porchlight Music Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Noble Fool Theatricals at Pheasant Run Resort), King of Coons (Congo Square Theatre Company), Grand Hotel (Drury Lane Watertower) and Side Show (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble). Dahlquist is an active theatrical and headshot photographer with credits at Next Theatre Company, Raven Theatre Company, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble and Route 66 Theatre Company, where he is a company member.

Doug Peck (Musical Director) makes his Writers' Theatre debut. Additional Chicago credits include Animal Crackers (Goodman Theatre), Caroline, or Change (Joseph Jefferson Award), Carousel, Man of La Mancha (Joseph Jefferson Award), Raisin, Guys and Dolls (After Dark Award), The Importance of Being Earnest and 2003's James Joyce's the Dead (Court Theatre), Cabaret, Curtains, Seussical! The Musical (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrence), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Little Women, Shenandoah, All Night Strut, State Fair (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), Wings, Dessa Rose, Hello Again for which he won an After Dark Award (Apple Tree Theatre), Grey Gardens (Northlight Theatre), Fiorello!, (TimeLine Theatre Company), Willy Wonka and Seussical! The Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Camelot, Most Happy Fella (Ravinia Festival) and Assassins (Porchlight Music Theatre). Regional credits include Carousel, Man Of La Mancha (Long Wharf Theatre), Into The Woods (Peninsula Players) and fifteen shows over five summers at the Wagon Wheel Theatre in Warsaw, Indiana. Peck can be heard on the original cast album of Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty's Loving Repeating: A Musical Of Gertrude Stein, and is a proud Northwestern University graduate who also trained at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Up next are Fiddler on the Roof and The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

Kate Fry recently performed at Writers' in the World Premiere of A Minister's Wife as Candida. Chicago area credits include Caroline, or Change, Arcadia, The Romance Cycle, My Fair Lady and Twelfth Night among others (Court Theatre), Henry IV Parts I & II, The Merchant of Venice, The Moliere Comedies, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Love's Labour's Lost and The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Uncle Vanya, Pygmalion, Kindertransport and Falsettos (Apple Tree Theater) as well as work with Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, StreetSigns Productions, Candlelight Playhouse and Theater at the Center. Regionally, she has worked at The Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles), McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton, NJ) and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. She is married to actor Timothy Edward Kane.

Rob Lindley previously appeared at Writers' Theatre in Bach at Leipzig. Other Chicago credits include Carousel, Caroline or Change, The Wild Duck (Court Theatre), Cabaret (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Wings (Apple Tree Theatre), Urinetown (Mercury Theatre), The Most Happy Fella (Ravinia Festival), A New Brain, Sweeney Todd and Closer than Ever (Porchlight Music Theatre). Regional credits include Carousel (Long Wharf Theatre). He won the 2003 Outstanding Cabaret Artist After-Dark award. Lindley is also an instructor at The Second City in the musical improv program and a member of the musical improv troupe Baby Wants Candy.

Writers' Cabaret--Four Evenings of Song

March 1 at 7 pm

Rob Lindley with Foiled Again

Old Black Magic: The Music of Harold Arlen

Music by Harold Arlen

Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, Ira Gerswhin, Peggy Lee and Ted Koehler

With Doug Peck on piano and Geoffery Lowe on bass

Oh Coward! cast member Rob Lindley is joined by Foiled Again (Allison Bazarko and Anne Sheridan Smith) to present a salute to the music of Harold Arlen. This amazing vocal-trio brings their unique and sophisticated touch to some of the world's most beloved songs, such as: Stormy Weather, Come Rain or Come Shine, One for My Baby, Blues in the Night and of course Arlen's most famous song Over the Rainbow. The night promises to be an evening of some of your favorite standards with an elegant and hip edge.

About Foiled Again

Foiled Again is Allison Bazarko, Rob Lindley and Anne Sheridan Smith. Formed in 2001, they have played at Davenport's Piano Bar, Speakeasy Supper Club, Chicago Cultural Center, The Drake Hotel, as part of the City of Chicago's Miles of Music, the Sondheim in the Park celebration, The Chicago Humanities Festival and even opened for Lesley Gore at Acorn Theatre. Their shows include Hit Factory: The Songs of the Brill Building, Dark Café Days: The Music of Joni Mitchell (for which they won a 2003 After Dark Award), Old Black Magic: The Music of Harold Arlen and an annual holiday show now in its ninth year. In December 2009 they released their first CD, Foiled Again Live. Their vocal arrangements are the creation of member Allison Bazarko and the group is often accompanied by Joseph Jefferson Award-winning Musical Director Doug Peck.

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March 8 at 7 pm

An Evening with Ross Lehman

With Doug Peck on Piano

Enjoy an evening of standards, witty family stories of Ross' beloved Aunt Dibby and an unforgettable 16th century Scottish ballad. Often performing his set at Davenport's Piano Bar and the Wilmette Theatre, Ross is also a veteran of the stage having worked on Broadway and locally at Marriott Lincolnshire, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre and Apple Tree Theatre.

About Ross Lehman

Lehman has performed his cabaret show at Davenport's Piano Bar and the Wilmette Theatre. He is currently appearing at the Marriott Lincolnshire as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and recently performed there as Edna in Hairspray. Other credits at Marriott Lincolnshire include All Shook Up, Max in The Producers and Koko in Hot Mikado (Joseph Jefferson Award). Other Chicago credits include Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors, Troilus and Cressida, King Lear and The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Mizlansky/Zilinsky, The Man Who Came to Dinner, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Form (Joseph Jefferson Award) and The Rover (Goodman Theatre); A Man of No Importance (Joseph Jefferson Award), The Dresser (After Dark Award), Syncopation Sugar, Waiting for Godot, Where's Charlie (Joseph Jefferson Award) and Amadeus (Apple Tree Theatre). Broadway credits include Trinculo in The Tempest (with Patrick Stewart), Harding in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

March 15 at 7 pm

Joan Curto

Of Thee I Sing, Ira: The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin

With Chuck Larkin, Musical Director on piano

Praised as "an evening of pure magic" by New York's Cabaret Scenes Magazine, Curto pays homage to the other Gershwin brother--Ira. One of the most distinguished lyricists of his time, Ira wrote for his brother George as well as many of the great composers of the early 20th century: Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill among others. A showcase for Curto's musical versatility, Of Thee I Sing, Ira features Great American Songbook classics such as Fascinating Rhythm, Embraceable You, Long Ago and Far Away, My Ship and S'Wonderful.

About Joan Curto and Chuck Larkin

Chicago based Joan Curto has appeared across the nation in concerts and clubs celebrating the music of the Great American Songbook. She is a familiar face to Chicago audiences, most recently opening the 2009 On Stage Series at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University with her new show, Shaking the Blues Away. Curto has garnered a reputation for her thoughtful interpretations of the American Songbook and performs regularly at venues throughout Chicago including Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Davenport's Piano Bar, Drury Lane Theater, Thorne Auditorium and the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center. She has been seen in numerous Chicago Humanities Festivals and the Mabel Mercer Foundation's Cabaret Conventions. Nationally, Curto has performed in some of the top cabaret clubs and concert series including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Gardenia, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Overture Center for the Arts and The Colony Hotel. Awarded the Chicago After Dark Award for Outstanding Cabaret Artist, Curto's 2004 debut CD release May I Suggest is a winning collection of classic ballads, standards and new songwriters.

Chuck Larkin is a mainstay in Chicago musical theater and cabaret. Larkin was the associate conductor in the long running Jersey Boys and a prolific composer in his own right.

??????????March 22 at 7 pm

An Evening with E. Faye Butler

With John Blasucci on piano

E. Faye Butler performs a sumptuous evening of songs in her trademark style. A recent recipient of the Joseph Jefferson award for Best Actress in a Musical for her gut wrenching portrayal of Caroline in Caroline or Change at the Court Theatre, Ms. Butler is also a Recipient of five additional Joseph Jefferson Awards, two Black Theatre Alliance Awards, After Dark Award, John Barrymore Award, Rockford Area Music Industry Award, three Helen Hayes Nominations, in addition to an Excellence In Arts Award and an Ovations Nomination.

About E. Faye Butler

National and regional tour credits include Mamma Mia, Dinah Was.., Ain't Misbehavin, Nunsense, Nunsense2, Don't Bother Me. Regional theatre credits include Trouble In Mind (Yale Repertory and Centerstage); Dancing With The Holy Ghosts (New York Film and Play Festival); Saving Aimee, Gospel According To Fishman (Signature Theatre); The Wiz (La Jolla Playhouse); Suessical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Shop Of Horrors (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre); Once On This Island (Centerstage); Purlie (Pasadena Playhouse and Goodman Theatre); Polk County (Arena Stage); Crumbs From The Table Of Joy (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre); Caroline or Change, Little Foxes, La Bete, Once In A Lifetime (Court Theatre); Could It Be Magic (Barry Manilow Songbook) (Mercury Theatre); Comfortable Shoes (Royal George Theatre); Ruthless (Forum Theatre); Showboat (Sacramento Music Theatre); Blue Sonata (Victory Gardens Theatre); The Wizard Of Oz (Arkansas Repertory); Hello Dolly, Hot Mikado, Sophisticated Ladies (Drury Lane Theatre); A... My Name Is Alice (Ivanhoe Theatre and Mixed Blood Theatre); Bingo Long... (Dreamstreet Theatre) and Hair (Vic Theatre).

Writers' Cabaret tickets, $35, are available for purchase through the Writers' Theatre box office, writerstheatre.org; 847-242-6000; 376 Park Ave or at 664 Vernon Avenue in Glencoe.

ABOUT WRITERS' THEATRE

Writers' Theatre is a professional company focusing on the Word and the Artist. Remaining true to the intention of the playwright and nurturing the artist stand at the center of the mission. Now in its 18th season, the company both revives classic scripts and cultivates new works and adaptations while invigorating them with fresh energy in the intimacy of its venues. Founded in 1992, Writers' Theatre performed exclusively at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Avenue for the first 12 years. In the fall of 2003, the organization opened a new 108 seat performance venue at 325 Tudor Court. Today, Writers' Theatre continues to produce in both spaces, maintaining an intimate theatrical experience for audiences. Since 2000, the subscriber base has grown almost 250%, from 1,500 to more than 5,200 today. With an operating budget of $3.3 million, Writers' Theatre is supported by a staff of 18 full-time employees and a 31-member Board of Trustees.

You can find Writers' Theatre on Facebook or follow Writers' Theatre on Twitter at Twitter.com/WritersTheatre. For more information, visit writerstheatre.org.


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