SEASON 33

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It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!

NOVEMBER 15, 2018 — JANUARY 5, 2019

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: LIVE IN CHICAGO!

THE CHICAGO ORIGINAL

Based on the film by: Frank Capra
Directed by: Gwendolyn Whiteside*
Music direction by: Michael Mahler*

This is the second-longest running holiday play in Chicago! For 17 years, the American Blues Ensemble has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940s radio broadcast. The incredible cast recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score, and holiday carols. Critics call this “perfect Christmas theater” and “first-class holiday fare”. After each performance, milk and cookies are served by the cast.

On Clover Road American Blues Theater

FEBRUARY 1 — MARCH 16, 2019

ON CLOVER ROAD

CHICAGO PREMIERE

Written by: Steven Dietz
Directed by: Halena Kays

At an abandoned motel on a desolate American road, a mother meets with a cult deprogrammer, believing she will be reunited with her runaway daughter.  Featuring Joseph Jefferson Award winners Gwendolyn Whiteside* and Philip Earl Johnson*. DC Metro Arts says this smart, harrowing, edge-of-your-seat thriller will “consume your attention for its full 90 minutes, and you’ll leave the theatre fully entertained.”

Absolute Brightness American Blues Theater

MARCH 29 — APRIL 27, 2019

THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKEY

CHICAGO PREMIERE

Written by: James Lecesne
Directed by: Kurt Johns

Ensemble member Joe Foust* portrays every character in a small Jersey Shore town as he unravels the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant fourteen-year old boy who goes missing. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, Leonard becomes an unexpected inspiration as the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind. L.A. Times says it “shines with humanity”.

TICKETS ON SALE JAN 1, 2019.

The Spitfire Grill American Blues Theater

JULY 12 — AUGUST 17, 2019

THE SPITFIRE GRILL – A MUSICAL

CHICAGO REVIVAL

Based on the film by: Lee David Zlotoff
Book by: James Valeq & Fred Alley
Lyrics by: Fred Alley
Music by: James Valeq
Directed by: Tammy Mader
Music direction by: Malcolm Ruhl

A feisty parolee follows her dreams, based on a page from an old travel book, to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. The New York Times calls THE SPITFIRE GRILL “a soul satisfying…work of theatrical resourcefulness” and The Wall Street Journal heralds its “soaring melodies”.

TICKETS ON SALE JAN 1, 2019.

Flyin' West American Blues Theater

OCTOBER 5 – NOVEMBER 3, 2018

FLYIN’ WEST

CHICAGO REVIVAL

Written by: Pearl Cleage
Directed by: Chuck Smith*

Following the end of the Civil War, many former slaves took advantage of The Homestead Act and went West to build new lives for themselves and their families. Many of these homesteaders were black women who overcame tremendous odds to work their own land and make a place for themselves in an often harsh and forbidding environment. Set in 1898, this is the story of some of these African-American female pioneers who settled, together, in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. “A gripping play…a paean to women…Ms. Cleage writes with amazing grace and killer instinct.” – The New York Times

CLOSED

* Denotes Ensemble member or Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater

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