Adaptation is an art all in itself.
As a book nerd, one of the great joys of theater for me is when I get the chance to see a story/book I’ve read and admired adapted to the stage.
Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending Idle Muse Theatre Company’s well-directed, well-acted, Jeff-recommended production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, and this piece got me curious about what other book-y theater events are coming up in Chicago in the coming months.
Here’s what I found – all of which are exciting to me:
#1 – Lifeline Theatre‘s 2010-2011 season is called “Unforgettable books brought to life,” which set my heart a-patter as soon as I saw the flyer. The three shows in their mainstage season are three books I revere – Wuthering Heights, The Moonstone, and Watership Down. Seriously, I’m so in love with this season I debated subscribing – and I never do that. If you bring me Bronte, I will follow you anywhere, seriously.
#2 – Livewire Theatre will be presenting Emily Dendinger’s Hideous Progeny beginning in late August at the Storefront Theater downtown. The piece is apparently supposed to be about the infamous weekend when Mary and Percy Shelley joined Lord Byron in a ghost story competition – which is where Frankenstein was created. The show is right up my alley, and I’m looking forward to seeing it. (Also, I happen to know two of the cast members – and they’re terrifically talented performers.)
#3 – The Goodman Theatre is in rehearsals for a new take on Candide. Apparently using Bernstein’s score, but a whole new book, Mary Zimmerman is directing a cast that includes Chicago favorite Hollis Resnick, as well as Lauren Molina (who was so ethereal in the John Doyle Sweeney Todd revival.)
#4 – Chekhov-wise (there’s always some Chekhov in Chicago) Strawdog will be tackling Uncle Vanya this year, while Raven Theatre does The Cherry Orchard. (Interestingly, last time I saw the Cherry Orchard done was at Strawdog, directed by Kimberly Senior, who is helming Uncle Vanya. Small World, right?)
#5 – Steppenwolf Theatre’s Young Audiences program will open To Kill a Mockingbird in October. July 11, 2010 was the 50th anniversary of the publication of the perennial novel, and theater is a great way to bring Scout, Atticus, Boo, and the other classic characters to young audiences.
#6 – TimeLine Theatre will be presenting Mastering the Art, beginning in October. The show is about Julia Child and her life in France. As Julia Child fever is a thing right now, this show should find a sizable audience.
#7 – If I didn’t include CityLit Theatre, something would be wrong with me. The Company’s 2010-2011 season includes a Sherlock Holmes pieces, as well as a production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow just in time for Halloween.
#8 – First Folio Theatre is producing The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe in October/November. People who present Poe around Halloween are always in my good graces.
Also — in the pipeline are four projects that sound promising.
*Babes with Blades is going to be doing an all-female production of Romeo & Juliet. As this group often features incredible Chicago female performers and impeccable stage fights, this show is most likely going to rock. (Apparently Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and at least two other groups are currently performing or planning to perform R&J in the coming months, so if you’re a fan of the show, you should have plenty of opportunities to catch a production – but my money’s on The Babes.)
*It seems that the good people at Idle Muse (whose Sherlock spawned this blog post) are going to be tackling Steven Dietz’s Dracula adaptation as their next project. Dietz’s script for Dracula is widely acclaimed, and it’ll be neat to see this clever young company take their turn at it.
*Last season, Redtwist Theatre had announced that they were bringing Stephen King’s Misery to their stage. That, however, was before their knock-out production of The Pillowman ran for a hundred years (and might still be running, I’m really not sure?) so at present it appears Misery may have gotten shoved to the back-burner. However, with as great as that group is, whenever they decide to bring on the Misery, my a$$ is there.
*Last but definitely not least, my friends at GreyZelda Theatre Co are adapting Denise Giardina’s fantastic novel Storming Heaven for the stage in their 2011/2012 season. It’s a far way off, but I’ve a feeling it’ll be incredibly worth it.
I’m truly excited to see as many of these pieces as possible. If I’ve missed something particularly book-y, please let me know! I’m just one little person and there’s a whole boatload of theater in Chicago to follow, so I admittedly miss stuff.