Full casting and production team have been announced for City Lit’s forty-third season opener - the world premiere of THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION by Chicago playwright Mark Pracht. It is the second play in his projected “Four-Color Trilogy” of plays set during the early years of the comic book industry. The first play in the trilogy, THE MARK OF KANE, opened City Lit’s forty-second season. THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION examines the 1950s Congressional investigation into the supposed link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, and the effect of the investigation on the careers of three persons: William Gaines, the originator of the horror genre of comic books; Matt Baker, a Black closeted gay artist of romance comics; and Janice Valleau, creator of a pioneering comics feature starring a woman detective. THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION will run from August 25 through October 8, 2023. Press opening will be September 3, 2023, at 3 pm.
Leading the cast will be Sean Harklerode (THE MARK OF KANE, The Artistic Home’s REQUIEM FOR A HEAVUWEIGHT) as William Gaines), Brian Bradford (City Lit’s FUENTE OVEJUNA and THE BLOODHOUND LAW) as Matt Baker, and Megan Clarke as Janice Valleau. Also in the cast are Charlie Diaz (Invictus Theatre’s THE CRUCIBLE) as Al Feldstein, Frank Nall (Invictus Theatre’s THE CRUCIBLE, The Artistic Home’s MALAPERT LOVE) as Dr Frederic Wertham, Zach Kunde (Invictus Theatre’s THE CRUCIBLE) as Lyle Stuart, Artistic Home ensemble member Laura Coleman as Shirley Norris, Ron Quade (Citadel Theatre’s BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS) as Max Gaines, LaTorious Givens (Invictus Theatre’s THE CRUCIBLE) as Connie, John Blick (Promethean Ensemble Theatre’s BLUE STOCKINGS) as Archer St John and Henry Valleau, Invictus Theatre Company member Chuck Munro as Judge Charles F Murphy and Barry Walsh, Paul Chakrin (THE SAFE HOUSE and many other roles at City Lit) as John L Goldwater and Senator Robert C Hendrickson, Robin Trevino (Invictus Theatre’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF) as Everett M "Busy" Arnold and Senator Estes Kefauver, Andrew Bosworth as Frank Guisto, Reed Crandall and Jack Davis, and Jessica Lauren Fisher (Black Button Eyes’ MARY ROSE) as Jessie Gaines and Gertrude St John.
Top Row: John Blick, Andrew Bosworth, Brian Bradford, Paul Chakrin, Megan Clarke
Middle Row: Laura Coleman, Charlie Diaz, Jessica Lauren Fisher, LaTorious Givens, Sean Harklerode
Bottom Row: Zach Kunde, Chuck Munro, Frank Nall, Ron Quade, Robin Trevino
The production team includes G. "Max" Maxin IV (Scenic, Lighting and Projection Design), Beth Laske-Miller (Costume Designer), Petter Wahlbäck (Composer and Sound Design), Alison Dornheggen (Violence and Intimacy Design), Jeff Brain (Props Design), and Zachary Osterman (Stage Manager).
Single tickets for THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION are priced at $30 for previews and $34 for regular performances and are on sale now at www.citylit.org or by phone at 773-293-3682. Senior prices are $25 for previews and $29 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances. City Lit Season 43 subscriptions are available at $99.00, good for all performances, or $77.00 for preview performances.
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT CITY LIT
City Lit requires masks for the Sunday matinee performances. Masks are encouraged but no longer required for Friday, Saturday and our two Monday performances. City Lit staff will continue to mask for all performances. City Lit will of course comply with the full set of whatever official health guidelines are in place at any time.
THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION
Written and directed by Mark Pracht
August 25- October 8, 2023
Previews August 25- September 2, 2023
Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
PRESS OPENING Sunday, September 3, 2023 - 3 pm
Regular run Sunday, September 3 – October 8, 2023
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm; Mondays Sept 25 and Oct 2 at 7:30 pm.
Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12 (all plus applicable fees)
Performances at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660
Info and tickets at www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.
The second play in Mark Pracht’s projected “Four-Color Trilogy” of plays set during the early years of the comic book industry, THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION examines the 1950s Congressional investigation into the supposed link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, and the effect of the investigation on the careers of three persons: William Gaines, the originator of the horror genre of comic books; Matt Baker, a Black closeted gay artist of romance comics; and Janice Valleau, creator of a pioneering comics feature starring a woman detective.
ABOUT MARK PRACHT
Mark Pracht (Playwright, Director) has worked as an actor, director and playwright in Chicago since 2001. THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION is part of his Four-Color Trilogy, which also include THE MARK OF KANE, which premiered at City Lit in fall 2022, and THE HOUSE OF IDEAS, about the 1960s rise of Marvel. He has appeared on stage at City Lit in the title role of PROMETHEUS BOUND, as The Creature in FRANKENSTEIN, and as Milt Shanks in THE COPPERHEAD, among other roles. Most recently, he appeared as John Proctor in THE CRUCIBLE with Invictus Theatre Company. He was a company member of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, where he helped develop and produce seven world premiere productions, including his own full-length play, NEON.He is an ensemble member of The Artistic Home, where he won a Jeff Award for Leading Performer in a Play for REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT.
ABOUT CITY LIT THEATER COMPANY
City Lit is the seventh oldest theatre company in Chicago, behind only Goodman, Court, Northlight, Oak Park Festival, Steppenwolf, and Pegasus theatres. It was founded in 1979 with $210 pooled by Arnold Aprill, David Dillon, and Lorell Wyatt. For its current season, its 43rd, it operates with a budget slightly over $260,000. It was the first theatre in the nation devoted to stage adaptations of literary material. There were so few theatres in Chicago at the time of its founding that at City Lit’s launch event, the founders were able to read a congratulatory letter they had received from Tennessee Williams.
For four decades and counting, City Lit has explored fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoirs, songs, essays and drama in performance. A theatre that specializes in literary work communicates a commitment to certain civilizing influences—tradition imaginatively explored, a life of the mind, trust in an audience’s intelligence—that not every cultural outlet shares.
City Lit is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. Its work is supported in part by the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Ivanhoe Theater Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and is sponsored in part by A.R.T. League. An Illinois not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt organization, City Lit keeps ticket prices below the actual cost of producing plays and depends on the support of those who share its belief in the beauty and power of the spoken written word.