NEW YORK — Out of the Box Theatre Company opens its 2022-23 season with an Actors’ Equity Association–approved showcase production of the rarely seen but classic comedy Chicago: The Play by Maurine Watkins, October 13-23. The live, in-person performances will take place at the Bernie Wohl Center, 647 Columbus Avenue (between 91st and 92nd Streets), New York, N.Y. Tickets are $25 and $20 (seniors and students) and can be purchased at http://ShowTix4U.com/OutOfTheBoxTheatre.
Chicago: The Play will be performed ten times only, and the Saturday, October 22 matinee performance will feature ASL interpretation:
Thursday, October 13 & 20 at 8pm
Friday, October 14 & 21 at 8pm
Saturday, October 15 & 22 at 3pm
Saturday, October 15 & 22 at 8pm
Sunday, October 16 & 23 at 3pm
Before the Kander & Ebb musical directed by Bob Fosse, there was a hit Broadway comedy by a female playwright.
Chicago: The Play tells the story of Roxie Hart, “the prettiest woman ever charged with murder in Chicago,” who kills her lover in a fit of rage and becomes a media sensation. Written by Maurine Dallas Watkins and produced on Broadway in 1926, Chicago was later adapted into two films, the Broadway musical, and the film version of the Broadway musical.
The play, while fiction, is a satire based on two unrelated 1924 court cases involving two women, Beulah Annan (the inspiration for Roxie Hart) and Belva Gaertner (the inspiration for Velma), who were both suspected and later acquitted of murder, whom Watkins had covered for the Chicago Tribune as a reporter.
“Chicago: The Play is an American treasure,” said Lin Snider, director of the production. “Sadly, the play — which is very funny — does not get produced that often. I have no idea when was the last time it was produced in New York. What I do know is that anyone who loves the musical will love seeing the play that it was based on, and anyone who has never seen the musical will have a great time too. For a play that is almost 100 years old, it is still timely and relevant today.”
The cast includes Susanne Brinnitzer, Stephanie Byer*, Sheila Dehner*, Kelly Gilmore, James Harter*, Mark Hofmaier*, Kubbi*, Jane Marx, Eric Moreland*, Eve Packer, Roger Rifkin*, and Jenny Tucker.*
The production is directed by Lin Snider. Fight direction is by Jo DiNozzi, scenic design is by Harlan Penn, costumes are by Katherine Robertson, lighting design by Stephen Cornelius, and sound design by Nicholas Wilson. The production’s wardrobe/costume assistant is Omar Sama’ey, property manager is Sanath Wijeratne, lead ASL interpreter is Cathleen Markland, ASL interpreters are Dylan Geil and Aisha Simpson. The producer is Halina Malinowski and associate producer is Susan Case.
The mission of Out of the Box Theatre Company, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, is to feature working professionals at their peak and in their prime: seasoned actors, directors and designers primarily past 50 years of age, and to present new interpretations of period plays and contemporary classics: works written in the last century and earlier. Out of the Box also distributes free tickets to senior citizen organizations.
More information about the company, including previous and future productions, can be found at OutOfTheBoxTheatre.com.
*Equity Member appearing with permission of Actors’ Equity Association without benefit of an Equity contract in this Off-Off Broadway production.
LIVE PERFORMANCES AT THE BERNIE WOHL CENTER
OUT OF THE BOX THEATRE COMPANY’S
CHICAGO: THE PLAY
BY MAURINE DALLAS WATKINS
DIRECTED BY LIN SNIDER
WITH PERFORMANCES BY
Susanne Brinnitzer, Stephanie Byer, Sheila Dehner, Kelly Gilmore,
James Harter, Mark Hofmaier, Kubbi, Jane Marx, Eric Moreland,
Eve Packer, Roger Rifkin, Jenny Tucker