“The Adult in the Room,” a new play by Bill McMahon about the life of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will receive its world premiere Jan. 26 at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater’s Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, starring acclaimed Broadway, television and film actress Orlagh Cassidy. Directed by Heather Arnson and Conor Bagley, the play is produced by Tony/Emmy/Olivier Award-winning producer Jim Kierstead (“Kinky Boots,” “Pippin,” “Hadestown”) Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Karn (“Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine”) and Broadway producer William Fernandez (“The Inheritance,” “The Great Comet”). Previews begin Jan. 22. The press performance will be Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m.
How did Nancy Pelosi become the first female Speaker of the House – and perhaps more importantly, how has she managed to stay there? First elected to Congress in 1987, Speaker Pelosi is a woman about whom everyone has an opinion, and yet who almost no one truly knows. In the play, she recounts her personal story and political journey while trying to balance the forces of extreme left and extreme right, using all of her power and talents to preserve that rarest of rare birds in D.C. of this moment – consensus. That is, until her brand of consensus fades into the rear-view mirror. This up-to-the-minute, galvanizing play is not just about Madame Speaker herself, but about the convulsive political climate that currently permeates the United States. Told with wit, irony, emotion and leavening doses of humor, “The Adult in the Room” is no mere history lesson, but a reflection on where we are, and how we got here.
"We've been in communication with Speaker Pelosi and she has received the script,” said Producer Jim Kierstead. “With this production, we feel we are shining a spotlight on her authentic personality and lesser-known aspects of her life that influenced the powerful woman she has become. We hope she will come see this production."
Portraying the bold and determined Speaker Pelosi will be Orlagh Cassidy. Her Broadway and Off Broadway credits include “Present Laughter” with Frank Langella, “God Of Carnage,” “Our Country’s Good,” “Acolyte,” “The Hundred We Are,” “Hamlet,” “Ruins Of Civilization,” “When We Were Young And Unafraid” (understudying Cherry Jones), “Bright Ideas,” and “The Field.” She portrayed Doris Wolfe on “Guiding Light,” and has made appearances on “Law and Order,” “A Gifted Man,” “Unforgettable,” “Veep,” “Gotham,” “The Good Wife,” “Billions,” “Homeland,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Sinner,” “Instinct,” “The Loudest Voice” and “Bull.” Her film work includes “St. Vincent,” “Sisterhood of Night,” “Beachhouse,” “Catching Up,” “LOVE40” and the upcoming films “Shirley” with Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg and “After Yang” with Colin Farrell. She is the award-winning voice of numerous audiobooks, television and radio commercials.
Playwright Bill McMahon is the author of “Cover,” which is currently in development with Kierstead Productions, as well as “(Parantheticals),” “Blind Corner,” “A Winter Beauty,” and “Random.” The creative team for “The Adult in the Room” includes New York-based directors Heather Arnson (“Apartment Block,” “Your Title Goes Here,” “WASP”) and Conor Bagley (Off-Broadway productions of “Two by Friel” and “Sarah Sits Shiva for Herself.”
Producer Jim Kierstead is an Emmy, Olivier, and three-time Tony Award-winning producer of the Broadway, touring, Toronto, and London productions of “Kinky Boots,” the revival of “Pippin” and “Hadestown.” He is currently represented on Broadway as a co-producer of Tony-nominated “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Waitress” and “The Inheritance.” In addition, he has been a co-producer of 25 Broadway productions including “The Visit,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” “Indecent,” and “The Great Comet” (all Tony nominated) as well as “Be More Chill,” “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” “Pretty Woman,” “Side Show,” “It Shoulda Been You,” “M. Butterfly” and “Rocky,” among others.
Producer William Fernandez is a former newspaper editor who led the team that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and is a two-time Emmy nominee. He just finished executive producing Miami’s biggest hit, “Amparo the Experience,” an immersive theatrical play that deals with the plight of immigrants. Other New York and London producing credits include “The Inheritance,” “Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune,” “American Son,” “Unexpected Joy” “The Great Comet of 1812,” “Anastasia” and “Spring Awakening.” In the spring of 2020, he will be co-producing the musical version of the hit movie “Mrs. Doubtfire.”
Producer Linda Karn is an Emmy-winning producer of “Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine” and currently is a producer of the Netflix Original Documentary Series “Happy Jail.” She was a Production Sponsor for the world premiere of “HeLa,” written by award winning playwright J. Nicole Brooks and Playwright Sponsor of “Cambodian Rock Band” at Victory Gardens Theater.
Previews begin Jan 22, with the world premiere performance scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. The performance schedule is Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. The final performance will be Saturday, Feb. 15.
Tickets to “The Adult in the Room” are on sale now. Tickets are priced at $49 and are available through victorygardens.org or by calling the box office at 773.871.3000.
For more information visit theadultintheroomplay.com.
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