City Lit Theater Company, in association with the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, will present BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, a celebration of BANNED BOOKS WEEK, September 24 – 30, 2017, at various locations in and around Chicago. Thanks to increased support from funding sources, the number of performances has been doubled for the 2017 festival over the 2016 schedule. All events are free to the public.
Every year since 1982 the American Library Association has released a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books as reported to their Office of Intellectual Freedom. BANNED BOOKS WEEK, held during the last week of September, features those books. The week celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. The event draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted restriction of access to books across the United States.
City Lit Theater’s BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is a 60-minute program consisting of five-minute readings of short excerpts from the top ten challenged books of 2016. Each book is introduced with background on the book, including the reason it got challenged. The readings are followed by an audience discussion. City Lit Theater will present the 2017 BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK at the Harold Washington Library, 12 Chicago Public Library branches, the DePaul University Library in Lincoln Park, the Evanston Public Library, the Mt. Prospect Public Library and on a live radio broadcast on WLPN-FM.
The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2016:
City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe believes that BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK actively celebrates the books most at risk and call attention to the would-be censor's threat to an educated democracy. “Our focus is literate theater, so we are naturally concerned by attempts to keep books away from people,” McCabe says. “We are privileged to continue our alliance with the ALA in this important work.” Funding for BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK is provided by the Seabury Foundation and the Freedom to Read Foundation.
For thirty-eight years, City Lit Theater has been dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination. City Lit produces theatrical adaptations of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material developed especially for City Lit.
The 2017 performance schedule for BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
Sat., 9/23 – 1:00 pm, Richard J. Daley, Bridgeport Branch – 3400 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60608
Sat., 9/23 – 2:00 pm, Kelly Branch, 6151 S. Normal Blvd., Chicago, IL 60621
Sun., 9/24 - 1:00 pm, Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St, Chicago, IL 60605
Mon., 9/25 – 6:30 pm, Budlong Woods Branch Library, 5630 N Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
Mon., 9/25 – 4:00 pm, Back of the Yards, 2111 W. 47th Street, Chicago IL 60609
Tues., 9/26 - 4:00 pm, Lozano Branch, 1805 S. Loomis Street, Chicago IL 60608
Tues., 9/26 – 4:00 pm, Chinatown Branch, 2100 S. Wentworth Avenue, Chicago IL 60616
Wed., 9/27 – 6:30 pm, Austin Irving Branch, 6100 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60634
Wed., 9/27 – 4:00 pm, Hall Branch, 4801 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60615
Thu., 9/28 – 1:00 pm, West Belmont Branch, 3104 N. Narragansett Avenue, Chicago IL 60634
Thu., 9/28 – 4:30 pm, Edgewater Branch, 6000 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
Fri., 9/29 – 1:00 pm, DePaul University Library, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
Fri., 9/29 – 4:00 pm, West Lawn Branch, 4020 W. 63rd Street, Chicago IL 60629
Sat., 9/30 -11:00 am, Bezazian Branch Library, 1226 West Ainslie St., Chicago, IL 60640 -
Sat., 9/30 – 2:00 pm, Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Sun., 10/1 – 2:00 pm, Mt. Prospect Library, 10 S. Merson, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056
Live radio broadcast on WLPN, 105.5 FM. Date and time to be announced.
City Lit’s 2017-18 season will open on September 10, with DEIRDRE OF THE SORROWS, by J.M. Synge – a play based on Irish mythology by the author of THE PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD that has not been produced in Chicago in 100 years. It will be followed in November and December by Archibald MacLeish’s J.B., in a production that will be performed by a cast consisting entirely of women over the age of 55. In March and April 2018, City Lit will produce a new adaptation by Paul Edwards of Oscar Wilde’s novel THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. The season will close in April/May/June with a world premiere translation by Nicholas Rudall of PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus.