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Raven Theatre Announces 2024-25 Season

Award-winning director Georgette Verdin directs Chicago Premiere of IRONBOUND by Martyna Majok;

Director Azar Kazemi’s reimagined revival of Sam Shepard’s classic A LIE OF THE MIND layers an immigrant story onto searing critique of American Dream;

World Premiere of Keiko Green’s GORGEOUS comedy comes to stage


Chicago, Illinois (May 13, 2023) – Chicago’s Raven Theatre Company today announced its upcoming productions and programming during the company’s 42nd season in 2024 - 2025, featuring bold stories that connect us to our cultural landscape. The upcoming season includes three Raven-produced shows, two limited engagements, ongoing educational programming and partnerships with other organizations to further serve the community through the arts. 


“Our 2024-2025 season showcases several tremendous plays, including the emotional and witty Chicago premiere of Martyna Majok’s IRONBOUND, the American classic A LIE OF THE MINDby Sam Shepard - whose work I’ve been wanting to produce for decades - and finally the world premiere of GORGEOUS by Keiko Green bringing some comedy to our stage next spring,” said Sarah Slight, Artistic Director of Raven Theatre Company. 


“In ushering in this new era of Raven Theatre, we are trying something new with the addition of two limited engagements. The first one, Philip Dawkins’ THE COMEDIANS, is the first staging of this Audible commission, and the second is dear to me, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s THE BEATRIX POTTER TEA PARTY. Bringing family programming back to our stage is essential to our mission of connecting people to culture. We are also debuting new subscriptions and perks that will help ensure we can continue to provide the quality of work you enjoy on our stage. Alongside our own programming, we will partner with theatrically-rooted organizations including revamping our residency program in partnership with The Story Theatre, which will be in residence for the next two years. I hope you will laugh with us, think with us, feel with us, and join us next season,” continued Slight.


IRONBOUND

By Martyna Majok

Directed by Georgette Verdin

September 26 - October 27, 2024

A Chicago Premiere

At a bus stop in a run-down New Jersey town, Darja, a Polish immigrant cleaning lady, is done talking about feelings; it’s time to talk money. Over the course of 20 years, and three relationships, Darja negotiates for her future with men who can offer her love or security, but never both. Award-winning playwright Martyna Majok’s IRONBOUND is a darkly funny, heartbreaking portrait of a woman for whom love is a luxury—and a liability—as she fights to survive in America. Starring Lucy Carapetyan (Right to be Forgotten and Nice Girl) and directed by Georgette Verdin (Night Watch).


Martyna Majok was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, Cost of Living, which debuted on Broadway this fall. Other plays include Sanctuary CityQueens and Ironbound. Other awards include The Obie Award for Playwriting, The Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Exceptional Playwriting, Hull-Warriner Award, Lanford Wilson Prize, Lilly Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Helen Merrill Prize, Helen Hayes Award, Jean Kennedy Smith, two Jane Chambers Awards, The Hermitage/Greenfield Prize, Francesca Primus Prize and NYTW's 2050 Fellowship. She is currently writing a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and developing projects for TV and film.


A LIE OF THE MIND

By Sam Shepard

Directed by Azar Kazemi

February 13 - March 22, 2025

A Reimagined Revival

The full moon over the highway. A pay phone call in the middle of the night. And a terrible act of violence that forever changes the trajectory of eight people's lives. Sam Shepard's A LIE OF THE MIND follows two families, connected by marriage, as they grapple with the pain and fear of loving and living. Famous for his imagery, language, and tour-de-force roles for actors, Shepard's plays dig deep into the ideas of family, destiny, and American idealism. Raven's production, directed by Azar Kazemi, deepens the questions at the heart of the play by layering an Immigrant story on top of the already searing critique of the American Dream at the heart of this American Classic. 


Sam Shepard had his first New York plays, Cowboys and The Rock Garden, produced by Theatre Genesis in 1963. For several seasons, he worked with Off-Off-Broadway theatre groups including La MaMa and Caffe Cino. Eleven of his plays have won Obie Awards including Chicago and Icarus’s Mother (1965); Red Cross and La Turista (1966); Forensic and the Navigators and Melodrama Play (1967); The Tooth of Crime (1972); Action (1974); and Curse of the Starving Class (1976). Shepard was awarded a Pulitzer Prize as well as an Obie Award for his play Buried Child (1979). Fool for Love (1982) received the Obie for Best Play as well as for Direction. A Lie of the Mind (1985) won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award in 1986 and the 1986 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play. A revived Buried Child under the direction of Gary Sinise opened on Broadway in April 1996 and was nominated for a Tony Award. Kicking a Dead Horse (2007) and Ages of the Moon (2009) both received their world premieres at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Kicking a Dead Horse transferred to The Public Theater in New York and to the Almeida Theatre in London, and Ages of the Moon received its US premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in 2010. Shepard’s latest play, Heartless, premiered in 2012 at Signature. 


Shepard wrote the screenplays for Zabriskie Point; Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas; and Robert Altman’s Fool for Love, a film version of his play of the same title. As writer/director, he filmed Far Northand Silent Tongue in 1988 and 1992 respectively. As an actor he has appeared in the films Days of HeavenResurrectionRaggedy ManThe Right StuffFrancesCountryFool for LoveCrimes of the HeartBaby BoomSteel MagnoliasBright AngelDefenselessVoyagerThunderheartThe Pelican BriefSafe PassageHamlet and, most recently, Don’t Come Knocking, also co-written with Wim Wenders. In 1986, Shepard was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1992, he received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy, and in 1994, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.


Azar Kazemi is first-generation Persian American and a freelance director and educator based in Chicago. She directs socially-charged plays where the political and personal collide, most recently directing the Jeff Award winning world premiere of Motherhouse by Tuckie White at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Some of Azar’s other Chicago directing credits include: the U.S. premiere of debbie tucker green’s dirty butterfly, the Midwest premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s Jack’s Precious Moment, and Sarah Kane’s Crave. Azar received her MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she is also on faculty and received the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award. Azar has worked at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Victory Gardens, American Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In New York City Azar worked at The New Group where she assistant directed three Off-Broadway productions, two under the direction of her mentor Ethan Hawke. Azar is a proud member of SDC. azarkazemi.com


GORGEOUS

By Keiko Green

Director to be announced

May 1 - June 7, 2025

A World Premiere

Jenny has a simple life; she takes care of the elderly and shows dogs professionally. When her just-a-little-bit-older boyfriend Bill dies in the middle of a dog show, all Jenny wants is to get rid of his stuff and continue to show his champion Bulldog, Gorgeous. But then his ex-wife, Bernie, shows up talking about taking back the house...and the dog. Amid the boxes of things that made up Bill's life and rants about his shortcomings (both are numerous), Jenny and Bernie must find a way forward for themselves and the dog. This funny and complicated world premiere asks questions about forgiveness and accountability in the face of grief. 


Keiko Green is a playwright, screenwriter, and performer based out of Los Angeles and Seattle. Productions of her plays include: Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play (Old Globe), The Bed Trick (Seattle Shakespeare Company), Hells Canyon (Theater Mu), Sharon (Cygnet Theatre), Hometown Boy (Actor's Express, Seattle Public Theater), and Nadeshiko (Sound Theatre Company). Her plays have been developed by the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Kennedy Center, National New Play Network, Playwrights Realm, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Atlantic Theatre Company. Awards/Honors: Kilroys List, as well as a Gregory Award and San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play. She holds commissions from the Old Globe and Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan Foundation. TV: Keiko wrote on the upcoming Hulu series Interior Chinatown. As an actor, she has performed at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT Theatre, NAATCO, and others. BFA: NYU Drama - Experimental Theatre Wing, MFA: UCSD Playwriting.


LIMITED ENGAGEMENTS:


THE COMEDIANS

An Audible Original

By Philip Dawkins

Directed by Colm Summers

November 14 - November 24, 2024

Two comedians walk into a comedy club.. it's the start of a bad joke and a serious relationship. Chauncy and Jose are both comedians and both working hard at the comedy grind, but when Jose's career starts to take off, will Chauncy be left behind? Told through a series of hilarious stand-up sets, The Comedians examines the shifting dynamics of a relationship tested by fame. Originally commissioned by Audible, Raven's production of this queer love story marks the first time the play will be staged for an audience. 


Philip Dawkins is a Chicago playwright and educator whose plays include Failure: A Love StoryLe SwitchThe HomosexualsThe Burn; Dr.Seuss’s The SneetchesThe Musical (with composer David Mallamud); Spamtown, USAThe Gentleman CallerCharmMiss MarxOr The Involuntary Side Effect of Living and The Happiest Place on Earth. Philip has won some awards and not won some others. He’s taught playwriting at his alma mater, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, Victory Gardens Theater and the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Many of Philip’s plays, including his scripts for young performers, are available through Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Inc. and Dramatic Publishing. 


Colm Summers is an award-winning Irish director based in NYC, and Artistic Director of the Working Theater. Recent Credits include Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan MacMillan, starring Daniel K Isaac (Billions), featured on Theaterly's BEST OF 2023. Colm has developed work with Berkeley Rep, Rattlestick Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, New York Stage and Film and more. He was a 2023 Groundfloor cohort member at Berkeley Rep and was the inaugural Resident Director at both the Geffen Playhouse and at the Abbey, the National Theater of Ireland. In 2023, he won Ireland's most prestigious bursary for emerging artists, the Next Generation Artist Award


THE BEATRIX POTTER TEA PARTY

By Chicago Children’s Theatre

April 5 - April 20, 2025

Four favorite Beatrix Potter stories, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tailor of Gloucestor, The Tale of Jeremy Fisher, and The Tale of Tom Kitten, come to life in this mesmerizing puppet show, complete with Potter’s original text and live, original music. Various instruments, such as mandolin, violin, toy piano, and banjo, create the score and melodies behind each story. The set is filled with dynamic suitcases and trunks where levers are pulled and cranks are turned to reveal images that surprise and delight. Three charming performers interweave classic narration and puppetry with gentle interactive moments, recruiting the audience to join the adventure and encouraging young watchers to think about these iconic animal characters’ big emotions. 


For more information on purchasing tickets or subscribing to Raven’s 42nd Season, visit www.raventheatre.com/season42 or call the Box Office at 773-338-2177. Raven Theatre Company offers three different subscription models and various perks, giving patrons discounts on season tickets, limited engagements, resident companies, special events, concessions, and more. Single tickets will be available for each show one month prior to the first public performance, allowing subscribers and groups to book before the public. 


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Images available for download at this link.


ABOUT RAVEN THEATRE COMPANY

Raven Theatre tells stories of today and the past that connect us to our cultural landscape. Through its plays, as well as its educational programming, Raven is committed to serving our communities’ needs through the arts. Raven Theatre Company is funded in part by The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, S&C Electric Company Fund, Paul M. Angell Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. For more information:www.raventheatre.com

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