TimeLine Theatre Company announces members of the cast and creative team for Master Class, Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play about the formidable opera star Maria Callas, inspired by a series of classes she taught at Julliard in the 1970s.
TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks (she/her) stars as the legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Brooks is a six-time Jeff Award nominee for her roles at TimeLine including 33 Variations, A Walk in the Woods, and All My Sons. She most recently played to critical acclaim last season as Queen Elizabeth II in TimeLine’s extended run of Peter Morgan’s The Audience.
TimeLine’s Master Class will also feature Eric Anthony Lopez (he/him), a past American Idol contestant with credits on Broadway and London’s West End, as Tenor/Tony; Molly Hernandez (she/her), named one of the Chicago Tribune Theater Loop’s “Hot New Faces of Chicago Theatre” in 2017, as First Soprano/Sophie; and Keirsten Hodgens (she/her), who recently wowed audiences in Ragtime at Marriott Theatre, as Second Soprano/Sharon. Raymond Hutchison (he/him) will also appear, as Stagehand. One additional cast member is still to be announced.
TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling (he/him), who also directed The Audience, will stage McNally’s glorious, raw, and bittersweet look at one of opera’s most iconic talents. Bowling is a seven-time Jeff Award recipient for Outstanding Direction, including for TimeLine’s memorable productions of The History Boys, The Normal Heart, and Fiorello!
TimeLine’s Master Class will be music directed by six-time Jeff Award recipient Doug Peck (he/him), who previously music directed Fiorello! and Juno at TimeLine. Peck’s extensive credits include work at Chicago’s Court, Goodman, and Chicago Shakespeare theaters, and regional theaters across the United States.
The production team includes Arnel Sancianco (Scenic Designer, he/him); Sally Dolembo (Costume Designer, she/her); Jessica Neill (Lighting Designer, she/her); TimeLine Associate Artist Andrew Hansen (Sound Designer and Composer, he/him); Katie Cordts (Wig and Hair Designer, she/her); Vivian Knouse (Properties Designer, she/her); TimeLine Associate Artist Eva Breneman (Dialect Designer, she/her); Lucas Garcia (Co-Dramaturg, they/them); Maren Robinson (Co-Dramaturg, she/her); and Miranda Anderson (Stage Manager, she/her).
Previews of Master Class begin October 19. Press and Opening Night is Thursday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through December 9.
Performances are at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue in Chicago, TimeLine’s alternate location for one production each season. For tickets and information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the Stage 773 Box Office at (773) 327-5252.
MORE ABOUT MASTER CLASS
Witness a master class conducted by legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Glamorous, demanding, and unapologetically herself, Callas critiques and regales a new crop of opera’s finest. Both frustrated and amazed by the students thrust before her, she escapes into recollections of the glories and failures of her past, remembering her rise as one of opera’s biggest underdogs. This authentic and musically rich Master Class presents a portrait of a fading star who refuses to be anything but the indomitable woman she once was.
Master Class debuted in 1995 at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, followed by productions at the Mark Taper Forum and the Kennedy Center. It premiered on Broadway under the direction of Leonard Foglia at the John Golden Theatre on November 15, 1995 and closed on June 29, 1997 after 598 performances and 12 previews. The play won the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, the 1996 Tony Award for Best Play, plus Tony Awards for original cast members Zoe Caldwell (as Callas) and Audra McDonald (as Sharon) for Actress and Featured Actress, respectively. Since its Broadway debut, such luminaries as Patti LuPone, Faye Dunaway, Dixie Carter, and Tyne Daly have all essayed the coveted lead diva role in Master Class, and there have been countless tours and international and regional productions since.
MASTER CLASS PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE/EVENTS
Previews of Master Class are Friday, October 19 and Saturday October 20 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, October 21 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday October 23 and Wednesday, October 24 at
Press and Opening Night is Thursday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular performances continue through December 9: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. (except no performance on Thanksgiving, November 22); Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (except no performance October 27 at 4 p.m.); and Sundays at 2 p.m. There is an added 4 p.m. performance on Friday, November 23.
DISCUSSION & ACCESSIBILITY EVENTS:
— Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring a production dramaturg and members of the cast on Thursday, November 1; Sunday, November 4; Thursday, November 15; Thursday, November 29; and Wednesday, December 5.
— Pre-Show Discussions: Starting one hour before these performances, a 30-minute introductory conversation hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and the production dramaturg on Wednesday, November 7, and Sunday, November 11.
— Company Member Discussion: A post-show discussion with the collaborative team of artists who choose TimeLine’s programming and guide the company’s mission on Sunday, November 18.
— Captioned Performance: An open-captioned performance with a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance on Saturday, November 10 at 4 p.m.
— Sunday Scholars Panel Discussion: A one-hour post-show discussion featuring experts on the themes and issues of the play on Sunday, December 2.
All discussions are free and open to the public. For further details about all planned discussions and events, visit timelinetheatre.com.
The best way to secure seats to Master Class is to purchase a 2018-19 TimeLine Theatre FlexPass Subscription, on sale now, offering four amazing shows, starting at only $88.
Single tickets are scheduled to go on sale Wednesday, August 22. Preview tickets are $27.50. Single tickets to regular performances are $42.50 (Wednesday through Friday), $51.50 (Saturday evenings) and $56.50 (Saturday and Sunday matinees). Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine is also a member of TCG’s Blue Star Theatre Program and is offering $27.50 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family.
Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Ticket buyers age 18-35 may join TimeLine’s free MyLine program to obtain access to discounted tickets, special events and more. Visit timelinetheatre.com/discounts for more about Blue Star, MyLine and other available discounts.
For more information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the Stage 773 Box Office at (773) 327-5252.
Master Class will take place at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Stage 773 is located one-half block west of the corner of Belmont and Racine and immediately east of Theater Wit in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. The theater is accessible via the CTA El stop at Belmont (Red/Brown/Purple lines). CTA bus #77-Belmont stops at Racine. Valet parking is available for $12 and there is also limited free and metered street parking nearby. Visit timelinetheatre.com for complete directions and parking information. Stage 773 is accessible for people with disabilities.
Terrence McNally (Playwright) is a recipient of the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award. He has won four Tony Awards, for his plays Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! and his musical books for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. The Kennedy Center recently produced three of his plays under the title Terrence McNally’s Nights at the Opera: Master Class, The Lisbon Traviata, and the world premiere of Golden Age. He has written a number of TV scripts, including Andre’s Mother, for which he won an Emmy Award. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1996, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He recently wrote the book for the Tony Award-nominated musical, The Visit, which opened on Broadway in the spring of 2015 with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb. He wrote the libretto for the opera Great Scott as well as Dead Man Walking, both with music by Jake Heggie. His play It’s Only a Play opened on Broadway in the fall of 2014. He is the writer of the book for the musical Anastasia, which is currently playing on Broadway. His newest play, Fire and Air, premiered at Classic Stage Company in the winter of 2018. Other plays include Tony Award-nominated Best Play Mothers and Sons; And Away We Go; Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Corpus Christi; The Ritz; Some Men; A Perfect Ganesh; and Deuce.
Nick Bowling (Director, he/him) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of seven Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (The History Boys, The Normal Heart, Fiorello!, This Happy Breed and The Crucible at TimeLine, Sondheim on Sondheim at Porchlight Music Theatre, and Another Part of the Forest at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for Blood and Gifts, The Farnsworth Invention, Hauptmann and The Lion in Winter at TimeLine; Closer Than Ever at Porchlight Music Theatre; City of Angels, The King and I and Man of La Mancha at Marriott Theatre. Other recent credits at TimeLine include The Audience, A Disappearing Number, The Last Wife, Danny Casolaro Died for You and Juno. Other Chicago credits include Marriott’s The Bridges of Madison County, Paramount's A Christmas Story, Northwestern University’s Cabaret, Porchlight’s A Catered Affair, Writers Theatre's Bach at Leipzig and Shattered Globe Theatre's Time of the Cuckoo and Frozen Assets.
Doug Peck (Music Director) is one of Chicago’s leading music directors, having received six Joseph Jefferson Awards (The Jungle Book; Porgy and Bess; Caroline, or Change; Carousel; Fiorello!; and Man of La Mancha) and two After Dark Awards (Guys and Dolls, Hello, Again), as well as the Sarah Siddons Award and the Siddons Award and the Guy Adkins Award, for his music direction and orchestrations in Chicago and across the country. Other favorite projects include Dreamgirls; Animal Crackers; Shenandoah; Candide; Fiddler on the Roof; Hair; Cabaret; Oh, Coward!; James Joyce’s The Dead; A Catered Affair; Grey Gardens; and Raisin. Peck’s work has been heard in Chicago at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Writers Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Porchlight Music Theatre, and the Ravinia Festival. Regional credits include work at the Huntington Theatre Company, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Peninsula Players Theatre, among others. Peck can be heard on the recordings Bright Young People: The Songs of Noël Coward, Foiled Again Live, and Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein. For the Chicago Humanities Festival, he was part of presenting Assassins and Follies in concert, as well as the original concert evenings Birds Do It, Bees Do It and A Night At The Oscars, a chronological survey of every single song that has won the Academy Award. Peck is a graduate of Northwestern University and also trained at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is a creative partner with the Goodman, an artistic associate with Porchlight Music Theatre, and a faculty member of the National High School Institute of the Arts. Additional projects include Juno at TimeLine Theatre, the world premiere musical Days Like Today at Writers Theatre, and Carousel at the Glimmerglass Opera.
Janet Ulrich Brooks (Maria Callas) is a TimeLine Company Member, and Master Class marks her 12th production with the company. She most recently appeared at TimeLine as Queen Elizabeth II in the extended hit The Audience last season, and in Bakersfield Mist with Mike Nussbaum in 2016. She received Jeff Award nominations for her work at TimeLine in 33 Variations, A Walk in the Woods, All My Sons, Not Enough Air, When She Danced and Weekend. Other recent credits include The Lady with all the Answers at Theatre at the Center, Plantation at Lookingglass Theatre, 2666 and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike at the Goodman Theatre (Equity Jeff Award nomination, Actress in a Principal role – Play), and Women Laughing Alone with Salad at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nomination, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play). Other credits include the remount of TimeLine’s To Master the Art (Chicago Commercial Collective and Broadway in Chicago at the Broadway Playhouse); A True History of the Johnstown Flood, Teddy Ferrara, and The Seagull (Goodman); Native Gardens and Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens); South of Settling (Steppenwolf); Ten Chimneys (Northlight); and portraying Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony (Pegasus Players, Non-Equity Jeff Award, Outstanding Solo Performance). Brooks’ television credits include the Netflix series Sense8, Chicago Fire, Boss, Underemployed, and The Playboy Club. Film credits include Divergent, Conviction, Polishbar, One Small Hitch, The Middle Distance, I Heart Shakey, and Recursive Pictures’ short film For a Good Time. Brooks was the first recipient of the Ed See Outstanding Theatre Alumnus Award from the University of Central Missouri. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA and is represented by Gray Talent Group.
MORE ABOUT TIMELINE’S 2018-19 SEASON
In addition to Master Class at Stage 773, TimeLine’s Theatre’s 2018-19, four-show subscription season includes three more shows at the company’s home base,
615 W. Wellington in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood:
— A Shayna Maidel by Barbara Lebow, directed by Vanessa Stalling, a poignant story about two sisters reunited after years of separation brought on by the rise of the Nazis; August 22 – October 9, 2018.
— The Chicago premiere of Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung, a powerful story of faith, love, and the human capacity for forgiveness set amidst violent conflict in northern Uganda, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe, January 9 – March 17, 2019.
— The Chicago premiere of Too Heavy for Your Pocket by Jiréh Breon Holder, a hopeful and moving story taking place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement that explores family, responsibility, and the personal sacrifices that enable progress, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, April 24 – June 29, 2019.
Save on tickets to TimeLine’s 2018-19 season with a FlexPass Subscription. Four tiers, priced from $88 to $204, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase a FlexPass, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com.
PLUS, TIMELINE PARTNERS WITH FIREBRAND THEATRE’S FALL PRODUCTION OF CAROLINE, OR CHANGE:
In addition to its 2018-19 four-show subscription series, TimeLine Theatre is excited to be partnering with Firebrand Theatre—Chicago’s new musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women—on Firebrand’s upcoming fall production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Caroline, or Change, featuring music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Violet), book and lyrics by Tony Kushner (Angels in America), and direction by Lili-Anne Brown. Rashada Dawan stars in the title role as Caroline. Riveting, moving and awe-inspiring, Caroline, or Change features music ranging from Motown to Klezmer, and
storytelling from political to magical. This production will be presented at Firebrand’s resident home, The Den Theatre, located at 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.
PLEASE NOTE: Caroline, or Change is not included in TimeLine’s 2018-19 FlexPass Subscription, but the partnership will include exclusive ticket opportunities for TimeLine subscribers and patrons.
ABOUT TIMELINE THEATRE COMPANY
TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. To date over 21 seasons, TimeLine has presented 75 productions, including 10 world premieres and 33 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 12th year of bringing the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 54 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.
TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Eileen LaCario. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Behzad Dabu, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.
Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.
TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Choose Chicago, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Green Theatre Alliance, and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.
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