Citadel Theatre will continue its 2017-18 season with Laura Eason’s SEX WITH STRANGERS, in its first area production since its 2009 and 2011 stagings at Steppenwolf Theatre. The play received its World Premiere as part of Steppenwolf’s “First Look Repertory of New Work” in 2009 and was restaged as one of the company’s regular season offerings in 2011. It was produced off -Broadway in 2014 at New York’s Second Stage and was one of the most produced plays in the U.S. in the ’15-’16 and’16-’17 seasons with more than 50 separate productions. SEX WITH STRANGERS has been performed internationally at Hampstead Theatre, London; Sydney Theatre, Sydney, Australia and Blackwing Productions, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In SEX WITH STRANGERS, Olivia is an attractive middle-aged author whose career is reaching the end of its shelf life. Ethan, a young internet phenom, is making a huge online splash with his sex-fueled blog. Their meeting in a secluded cabin results in an instant physical connection that evolves into something more as their adventures online and off raise a whole host of modern moral questions. Laura Eason (Netflix's HOUSE OF CARDS) wrote this sexy, provocative expose that playfully explores what happens when private lives become public domain.
Reviewing the 2014 New York production, THE NEW YORK TIMES called SEX WITH STRANGERS “A twisty and timely two-character drama about lust, love and the complex nature of identity in our digital-dominated era.” THE NEW YORKER said it was “A thoughtful comedy about privacy and publicity. Eason offers resonant observations about how technology both eases and complicates relationships.” THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS said, “Just like a page-turner, this smart comedy pulls you in and keeps you wondering what’s coming next…well-crafted, with sly wit and pitch perfect dialogue.”
SEX WITH STRANGERS will be directed by Scott Westerman, who has directed plays for Chicago companies such as The Artistic Home, City Lit, and Northlight Theatre Academy. He has just completed his acclaimed leading performance in WEDDING BAND at The Artistic Home.
The cast includes Nina O’Keefe as Olivia and Rich Holton as Ethan. O’Keefe, a member of Actors’ Equity Association is known for her leading roles in productions including Sideshow Theatre Company’s STUPID FUCKING BIRD and Griffin’s GOLDEN BOY, for which she earned a Jeff nomination. Holton has appeared with 16th Street Theatre, Court Theatre, Northlight, and in a national tour with Griffin Theatre’s production of LETTERS HOME.
Westerman’s design and production team will include Sotirios Livaditis (Set Designer), Sandie Bacon (Scenic Artist), Eric Watkins (Lighting Designer), Bob Boxer (Sound Designer), Paul Kim (Costume Designer), Devon Green (Properties Designer), Adam Karstens (Master Carpenter), Samantha Tink (Stage Manager).
The Press Opening is Friday, February 2 at 8:00pm at Citadel’s West Campus Theatre at 300 S. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest, following previews on Tuesday, January 30, Wednesday, January 31 and Thursday, February 1 at 7:30pm. SEX WITH STRANGERS will run February 2 through March 4, 2018with performances Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Additional matinees have been scheduled for Wednesdays February 7 and 21 at 11am. Citadel Theatre (300 S. Waukegan Rd) is a 144-seat venue with a thrust stage and comfortable stadium seating. Tickets are available online at www.CitadelTheatre.org or over the phone by calling the Citadel Theatre box office at 847.735.8554. Tickets are $20.00 for previews, $37.50 for regular run Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and $40.00 for Saturdays and Sundays. Discounts are available for seniors, students, theatre industry professionals and groups.
Scott Westerman (Director) is a freelance theatre director, actor, teacher, and new works facilitator based in Chicago. Other directing credits include shows with The Artistic Home, City Lit, Chimera, beyond this point, Barter Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company (Camp Shakespeare), Stage Left (Downstage Left), Northlight Theatre Academy, The Smithsonian Institution, American Theatre Company (Bridge), Impulse Theatre Company, Cherubs, ChiArts, and Reverie Theatre Company, of which he was a co-founder and co-Artistic Director.
Acting credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford’s, Everyman, the Warehouse, the Barter, Northlight Theatre, The Artistic Home, Chicago Dramatists, Strawdog, Lifeline, Stage Left, Apple Tree, A Crew of Patches, Mary Arrchie, Festival Theatre of Oak Park, and Reverie. Film credits include MACHINE GUN PREACHER and PRISON BREAK. Scott has an MFA in Classical Acting from The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University. ScottWesterman.org
Laura Eason (playwright) is a Brooklyn-based screenwriter and playwright. She is best known for four seasons as a writer/producer on the Netflix drama HOUSE OF CARDS (WGA nomination for outstanding writing in a drama series, three Primetime Emmy Award nominations for drama series) and SEX WITH STRANGERS. Her award-winning stage adaptations for family audiences include THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (Hartford Stage, CT; New Victory, NY; and more than thirty productions around the U.S.) and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago and many productions in U.S. and London/UK). Eason is an ensemble member and the former Artistic Director of Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago (2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award), and a Dramatists Guild, WGAE, AEA, SAG, and SDC member. Laura is an alumna of Northwestern University and WP Playwright’s Lab. More information at: lauraeason.com or @LEasonNYC
Nina O’Keefe (Olivia) is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre Company, with whom she played Nina in STUPID FUCKING BIRD, playwright Aaron Posner’s updated take on Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL. She received a Jeff Award nomination for her work as Lorna Moon in Griffin Theatre Company’s GOLDEN BOY by Clifford Odets. She understudied the title role in Steppenwolf’s world premiere of Tracy Letts’s play MARY PAGE MARLOWE and appeared in Griffin’s multi-Jeff-Award-nominated play POCATELLO. Nina has also been a co-star on AMERICAN CRIME STORY and CHICAGO PD and just completed filming the leading role in a feature film due out in spring 2018.
Rich Holton (Ethan) is very happy to be with Citadel Theatre for the first time. Recent stage work includes shows at the 16th Street Theatre, Court Theatre, Northlight, and a national tour with Griffin Theatre’s production of LETTERS HOME. Recent television appearances include Chicago PD and various commercials. Rich is a proud graduate of the school at Steppenwolf, and of Luther College where he was a member of the baseball team and studied Pre-Law. He is very grateful to have found a more fun way to get up and yell at people.
SEX WITH STRANGERS
by Laura Eason
Directed by Scott Westerman
February 2 – March 4, 2018
300 S. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest
Cast: Nina O’Keefe, Rich Holton
Creative Team: Scott Westerman (Director), Sotirios Livaditis (Set Designer), Sandie Bacon (Scenic Artist), Eric Watkins (Lighting Designer), Paul Kim (Costume Designer), Bob Boxer (Sound Designer), Devon Green (Properties Designer), Adam Karstens (Master Carpenter), Samantha Tink (Stage Manager). Scott Phelps and Kevin Sherman are Citadel’s Artistic Director and Managing Director, respectively.
Dates: Previews: Tuesday, January 30, Wednesday, January 31 and Thursday, February 1, 2018 all at 7:30 pm
Press Opening: Friday, February 2, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Closing Performance: Sunday, March 4, 2018
Schedule: Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, Wednesdays, February 7 and 21 at 11 am
Location: Citadel Theatre is located at 300 S. Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest
Prices: Weds., Thurs., & Fris. $37.50, Sats. and Suns. $40.00, Previews $20.00. Discounts available for Seniors, Students, and for Groups of 10 or more.
Citadel Theatre is one of Chicagoland’s premier live theatres, producing hundreds of performances annually and inspiring audiences for over 14 years. Founded by Scott and Ellen Phelps in 2002, Citadel Theatre is comprised of its Main Stage performances, its On Tour programs, and its theatre acting classes for children. A proud member of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff ArtsLink, Citadel Theatre offers a unique intimate theatre experience that transports you to another setting and leaves you feeling exhilarated and wanting more. A recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Citadel can accept tax-deductible donations. For more information, ticketing, and to make a donation, please visit Citadel online at www.CitadelTheatre.org or call 847.735.8554.