Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, continues to engage audiences with its commitment to developing new work with free Interplay readings. Wright/Rand, the new play by Jeffrey Hatcher and Eric Simonson, is directed by David Ira Goldstein and features Artistic Director BJ Jones as Frank Lloyd Wright and Tracy Michelle Arnold as Ayn Rand, to premiere Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 6:30pm. A Distinct Society, written and directed by Kareen Fahmy, premieres Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 6:30pm.
The readings are part of Northlight’s Interplay New Play Development program, providing customized support for new work in the critical stages of early play development. The premieres will be followed by a live Q&A with the director and playwright. Recordings of each play will be available for 96 hours following the premiere.
Interplay events are FREE with a suggested donation, but registration is required to receive a viewing link. To sign-up, and for additional details, visit www.northlight.org.
Frank Lloyd Wright and Ayn Rand: two artistic figures that loomed large over the 20th century. After years of brush-offs from the already accomplished architect to the emerging author, the two iconoclasts finally met and, perhaps surprisingly, became friends. With witty badinage and delicious posturing, we see the shared ideals and aspirations of these thorny giants, as well as the darker sides that plagued them both.
Wright/Rand premieres Sunday April 18, 2021 at 6:30pm with a live post-show discussion, streaming through April 22, 2021. www.northlight.org/events/interplay-wright-rand/
BJ Jones comments, “Frank Lloyd Wright and Ayn Rand seem an unlikely pairing on the surface. Though Rand’s best seller Fountainhead was a fictionalized glimpse of a world-famous architect, she maintained it was not Wright that she had written. The conflict both aesthetic and personal makes for a smart and witty war of words by two award-winning playwrights.”
The cast includes BJ Jones (Frank Lloyd Wright) and Tracy Michelle Arnold (Ayn Rand). The Dramaturg is Leean Kim Torske, who will also read stage directions. The Zoom Coordinator is Sophia Danielle-Grenier.
Jeffrey Hatcher (Playwright) Broadway: Never Gonna Dance (book). Off-Broadway: Three Viewings and A Picasso at Manhattan Theatre Club; Scotland Road and The Turn of the Screw at Primary Stages; Tuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom) at The Minetta Lane; Murder by Poe, The Turn of the Screw, and The Spy at The Acting Company; Neddy at American Place; and Fellow Travelers at Manhattan Punchline. Other Plays/Theaters: Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Mrs. Mannerly, Murderers, Mercy of a Storm, Smash, Armadale, Korczak's Children, To Fool the Eye, The Falls, A Piece of the Rope, All the Way with LBJ, The Government Inspector, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and others at The Guthrie, Old Globe, Yale Rep, The Geffen, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Arizona Theater Company, San Jose Rep, The Empty Space, Indiana Rep, Children's Theater Company, and dozens more in the U.S. and abroad. Film/ TV: Stage Beauty, Casanova, The Duchess, and episodes of Columbo. Grants/Awards: NEA, TCG, Lila Wallace Fund, Rosenthal New Play Prize, Frankel Award, Charles MacArthur Fellowship Award, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Barrymore Award Best New Play. He is a member and/or alumnus of The Playwrights Center, the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild, and New Dramatists.
Eric Simonson (Playwright) is an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theatre, where his writing/directing credits include Lindiwe, Nomathemba (written with Ntozake Shange and Joseph Shabalala), Carter’s Way, Honest and Fake. For Broadway, he wrote Magic/Bird, Bronx Bombers and Lombardi, which was the longest running play of the 2010-11 season. His production of Steppenwolf’s The Song of Jacob Zulu received six Tony Award nominations, including one for best direction. Simonson has also served as a Writer/Producer on television shows including Homecoming and The Man in the High Castle (both on Amazon), and the upcoming Swagger (Apple+). His documentary films include A Note of Triumph: the Golden Age of Norman Corwin, which won an Academy Award.
David Ira Goldstein (Director) is the former Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Company where he produced and/or directed over 200 mainstage plays, workshops, readings, and presentations. ATC directing credits include Next to Normal, The Sunshine Boys, Hair, Much Ado about Nothing, My Fair Lady, Valley Song, The Illusion, The Pajama Game, Side Man, [title of show], How I Learned to Drive, and Wait Until Dark, as well as many world premieres including The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (winner of the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America), Inventing van Gogh, Rocket Man, Private Eyes, Over the Moon and Dracula by Steven Dietz; and Ten Chimneys, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of The Suicide Club by Jeffrey Hatcher. Mr. Goldstein has been a guest director at theatres all across the country including Northlight, Arizona Opera, Pasadena Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Florida Stage, Center Repertory Theatre, and Kansas City Rep, among others. His musical A Marvelous Party: The Noël Coward Celebration, played extensively across the U.S., including at Northlight where the production won four Jeff Awards.
Tracy Michelle Arnold (Ayn Rand) makes her home in Spring Green, Wisconsin (home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin), where she is a member of American Players Theatre’s Core Acting Company. Since 1999, she has spent 21 seasons at APT, and is humbled to have such an extraordinary artistic home. Credits with the company include Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra, Julie in The Royal Family, and Linda Lohman in Death of a Salesman, among many others. Other Regional credits include Nora in Doll’s House, Part Two at Indiana Rep, Emily in The Lifespan of a Fact and Regina in The Little Foxes at Asolo Rep, Brooke in Other Desert Cities at the Goodman, Amanda in Private Lives at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Miss Madrigal in in The Chalk Garden at Northlight.
BJ Jones (Frank Lloyd Wright) is in his 22nd season as Artistic Director of Northlight. Mr Jones is a two-time Joseph Jefferson Award Winning actor and a three-time nominated director. He has directed the world premieres of Relativity, Charm, Faceless, White Guy on the Bus, Chapatti, The Outgoing Tide (Jeff Nomination,) Better Late, and Rounding Third. Notably he has directed productions of Outside Mullingar, Grey Gardens, The Price, The Lieutenant of Innishmore, Curve of Departure, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. As a producer he has guided the world premieres of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Shining Lives, The Last Five Years, and Studs Terkel’s ‘The Good War.’ Additional directorial credits include Pitmen Painters (Jeff Nomination, Timeline); 100 Saints You Should Know (Steppenwolf); Glengarry Glen Ross (Susie Bass Nomination, Alliance Theatre, Atlanta); The Lady with All the Answers (Cherry Lane, New York); Animal Crackers (Baltimore Center Stage); Three Musketeers, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing (Utah Shakespeare Festival), and four productions at the Galway International Arts Festival. As a performer, he has appeared at Northlight, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court and other theatres throughout Chicago. Film/TV credits include The Fugitive, Body Double, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Early Edition, Cupid, and Turks, among others.
ABOUT A DISTINCT SOCIETY
A quiet library that straddles the border of the U.S. and Canada becomes an unlikely crucible for five people from around the world. When an Iranian family, separated from one another by the "Muslim ban," use the library as a meeting place, the head librarian, a U.S. border patrol officer, and a local teenager have to choose between breaking the law and saving themselves.
The reading premieres Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 6:30pm with a live post-show discussion, streaming through May 20, 2021. northlight.org/events/interplay-distinct-society/
Kareem Fahmy is a Canadian-born director and playwright of Egyptian descent. He has directed a number of world premiere productions including James Scruggs’s 3/Fifths (3LD, New York Times Top 5 Must-See Shows), Sevan K. Greene’s This Time (Sheen Center, New York Times Critics’ Pick), Bess Welden’s Refuge*Malja (Portland Stage), Adam Kraar’s Alternating Currents (Working Theater), Nikkole Salter’s Indian Head (Luna Stage), and Victor Lesniewski’s Couriers and Contrabands (TBG Theatre, also co-creator). Kareem’s plays, which include A Distinct Society, The Triumphant, Pareidolia, The In-Between, and an adaptation of the acclaimed Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building, have been developed or presented at The Atlantic Theater Company, Target Margin Theater, The Lark, Fault Line Theater, and Noor Theater. He has been a fellow or resident artist at the Sundance Theatre Lab, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Phil Killian Directing Fellow), Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center (National Directors Fellow), Second Stage (Van Lier Directing Fellow), Soho Rep (Writer/Director Lab), Lincoln Center (Directors Lab), The New Museum (Artist-in-Residence), and New York Theater Workshop (Emerging Artist Fellow & Usual Suspect). He has developed new plays at theaters around the country, including MCC, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Dramatists, The Civilians, Geva Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, Silk Road Rising, and Berkeley Rep. Kareem is the co-founder of the Middle Eastern American Playwrights Lab at The Lark and a co-founder of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. MFA: Columbia University.
Since its inception in 2006, Northlight’s Interplay Program has invested in provocative new works by American and international playwrights, providing customized support in the critical stages of early play development.
Through Interplay, Northlight seeks to serve the specific needs of the play and can provide playwright commissions, workshops with actors, and private or public readings. The public reading series is an instrumental part of the Interplay program, providing audiences the opportunity to participate in a part of the evolutionary process from initial idea to full theatrical production, including first-hand insight from the playwright. Also through the reading series, the playwright has the opportunity to hear audience response that is integral to shaping the play for full production.
As of 2020, Interplay has provided support for 40 new plays, 33 of which have gone on to full productions – some at Northlight and others around the country, including the Goodman Theatre, the Humana Festival, TheatreWorks, and off-Broadway. Four plays have continued on to acclaim at Ireland’s famed Galway International Arts Festival.
That staggering success rate has established Interplay as a valuable incubator for new work in the American theatre, and has helped cement Northlight’s national reputation as an important contributor to the American theatrical canon.
Support for new play development and this reading, available at no cost to general and student audiences, comes from The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; BMO Harris Bank; The Sullivan Family Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; the John R. Halligan Fund; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; and Evanston Community Foundation.
Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.
Founded in 1974, the organization has mounted over 220 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 208 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as ten Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.
Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Bulley and Andrews; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Evanston Arts Council; Evanston Community Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; John R. Halligan Fund; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Illinois Humanities; Katten Muchin Roseman LLP; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; Margaret and Paul Lurie; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Jackie Mack and More; Colonel Stanley R. McNeil Foundation; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; NorthShore University HealthSystems; Northwestern University; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; PNC Bank; Polsinelli; Ralla Klepak Trust for the Performing Arts; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; Skokie Community Foundation; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.