Fans of the Theatre of Western Springs can plan on laughing heartily at the lineup of shows planned for the community theater company’s 86th continuous season.
Drawing the very best in local talent to perform some of the most exciting plays available, Theatre of Western Springs will hit the boards with five comedies and a drama on its Mainstage and Forum stages.
The company will also mount a special holiday show -- “A Christmas Story” -- involving actors from TWS adult theatre and young people from the Children’s Theatre of Western Springs (CTWS).
“This is the season of comedies,” said Jennifer Jermano Miller, chair of the TWS Board of Governors. “We want to hear our audiences laugh, so one Forum play and four of our Mainstage plays are comedies. And, we start off with Neil Simon. Our second Mainstage show, however, is a murder mystery set a century ago.”
The five Mainstage shows will be performed in TWS’s 417-seat auditorium:
Mainstage 1 - “The Dinner Party” by Neil Simon, directed by David Knezz; Sept. 11 – 21, 2014. A mysterious invitation brings six divorcees together for dinner at a fancy restaurant in Paris where they wonder about their absent host, the apparent secrecy surrounding the invitation and the real reason for the staging of the party told in Simon’s trademark chaotic style.
Mainstage 2 - “Design for Murder” by George Batson, directed by Judy DiVita; Oct. 23 – Nov. 2, 2014. If “Downton Abbey” were a murder mystery, it would be this play, which has everything a murder mystery needs, including murder, romance, comedy and even a dark and stormy night. There is a stately mansion; a dead body; a seductive and saucy maid with a secret; a family trying to hold onto its wealth while dealing with skeletons in the closet; a sleazy low-class blackmailer; a motley cast of other characters with dubious pasts and a trench coat-clad detective.
Mainstage 3 - “Don’t Dress for Dinner” by Marc Camoletti, directed by Eddie Sugarman; Jan. 22 – Feb. 1, 2015. A high speed farce, set at a romantic dinner, Jacqueline and Bernard are a married couple, each planning separate romantic trysts with their respective lovers on the same night. Everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside.
Mainstage 4 - “The Man Who Came to Dinner” by Kaufman and Hart, directed by Tripp Burton; April 16 – 26, 2015. A noted radio personality and egotistical tyrant, Sheridan Whiteside, slips and falls on the steps of the Stanley family residence. He’s forced to spend several weeks of recuperation, wreaking havoc and mischief to the lives of everyone with whom he comes in contact.
Mainstage 5 - “Is He Dead?” by Mark Twain as adapted by David Ives, directed by Greg Kolack; May 28 – June 7, 2015. Since only dead painters are successful, Jean-Francois Millet stages his own demise and dresses as his “twin sister” to boost sales. Picture Huck Finn by way of “Some Like It Hot.”
The Forum series presents two plays each season, each providing audiences a more challenging theatre experience.
Forum shows are performed in the intimate, 150-seat Cattell Theatre:
Forum 1 - “Time Stands Still” by Donald Marguiles, directed by Greg Kolack; Oct. 2 – 12, 2014. A bomb blast in Iraq initiates a personal tug-of-war for a photojournalist.
Forum 2 - “Becky’s New Car” by Steven Dietz, directed by Greg Kolack; Feb. 12 – 22, 2015. A witty new comedy tells of a woman’s escape from midlife doldrums.
Holiday Show - “A Christmas Story,” by Phil Grecian, based on the 1983 PBS teleplay by by Jean Shepherd, directed by David Knezz; Dec. 5 – 14, 2014. This irresistible piece of Americana comes to the TWS stage in all its pink-bunny-suit, glowing-leg-lamp, triple-dog-daring glory. It’s guaranteed to warm the heart and tickle funny bones.Get your tickets now for this popular holiday show -- TWS frequently sells out early.
“There is nothing like seeing live theater,” says Executive Artistic Director Eddie Sugarman. “I can’t wait for everyone to come and enjoy this season of laughter and thrills at Theatre of Western Springs. I triple-dog dare you not to love it.”
Subscriptions for five Mainstage plays range from $66 - $76 until July 15. July 16 prices rise to $74 - $82. The 7-play series (Mainstage and Forum) is $92 - $105 until July 15. July 16, prices rise to $103 - $114. Call the TWS box office at 708-246-3380 or purchase tickets online on the TWS website.
Theatre of Western Springs is located at 4384 Hampton Ave., in Western Springs.