Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, continues its 2019-2020 season with the World Premiere of How A Boy Falls, written by Steven Dietz and directed by Halena Kays. How A Boy Falls runs January 23 – February 29, 2020 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. The press opening is Friday, January 31, 2020 at 8pm.
A newly hired au pair named Chelle is thrust into the midst of a mystery when the sudden disappearance of a young boy casts suspicion on her and the boy's wealthy parents. The parents are seeking answers—and possibly revenge—while Chelle is hatching a dangerous scheme of her own. No one is exactly who they seem to be in a taut psychological thriller that asks who we can trust... if we can trust anyone.
BJ Jones comments, “As my artistic team and I read through as many thrillers as we could find, it occurred to me that perhaps a new one would be an opportunity too ripe to pass up. So I reached out to Steven Dietz who had several shows produced in Chicago last year and who has written many enjoyable mysteries and thrillers. It just so happened that he had one under construction and was excited to let us take a look. Moreover, he was amenable to working on it with us along with one of his foremost students and interpreters, director Halena Kays. The partnership felt right, and the opportunity to work with Steven, whose last play at Northlight was Lonely Planet in 1993, felt long overdue. Steven is one of America's most prolific playwrights and it is an honor to have him with us.”
The cast includes Tim Decker (Paul), Michelle Duffy (Miranda), Travis A. Knight (Mitch), Sean Parris (Sam) and Cassidy Slaughter-Mason (Chelle).
The creative team includes Lizzie Bracken (Set Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Jason Lynch (Lighting Design), Rick Sims (Sound Design), and Jared Davis (Props). The production stage manager is Rita Vreeland, the assistant director is Ben Raanan and the dramaturg is Tanya Palmer.
Northlight’s production of How A Boy Falls is supported in part by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and Tom Stringer Design Partners. The 2019-20 Season is supported by BMO Harris and ComEd, An Exelon Company.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Halena Kays (Director) has previously directed Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Hypocrites); The Magic Play, Feast as part of a collaborative directing effort with The Albany Park Theatre Project (Goodman); Lord of the Flies (Steppenwolf); On Clover Road (American Blues Theater). Halena is an Artistic Associate with the Neo-Futurists where she directed Comfortable Shoes, Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, Daredevils, Daredevils Hamlet and Fake Lake. Regional credits include: The Magic Play (The Olney Theater Center, Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Portland Center Stage and Syracuse Stage), Love Song (Nashville Story Garden), and Secretary (Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Festival). Halena has been nominated for Jefferson awards for Best Supporting Actress, Best Direction, and Best Production and is a recipient of the prestigious 3Arts award. She is an assistant professor at Northwestern University and proud member of SDC.
Steven Dietz (Playwright) returns to Northlight where his play Lonely Planet received its world premiere. Recent Chicago productions include: Bloomsday (Remy Bumppo), On Clover Road (American Blues), Mad Beat Hip & Gone (Promethean). Recent Premieres include: This Random World, Dracula: Mina’s Quest, The Great Beyond and The Ghost of Splinter Cove. Off-Broadway credits include: Fiction (Roundabout Theatre Company). He has had thirty-plus plays and adaptations produced at America’s most prominent resident theatres. His work has been produced in over twenty foreign countries and translated into a dozen languages. Awards include: Steinberg New Play Citation (Bloomsday); Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award (Fiction, Still Life with Iris); PEN USA West Award in Drama (Lonely Planet); Edgar Award® for Best Mystery Play (Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure). In 2019, Dietz was once again named one of the 20 most-produced playwrights in America. He currently serves as a Dramatists Guild “Traveling Master” – teaching workshops in playwriting, story-making and collaboration around the country.
Tim Decker (Paul) returns to Northlight after appearing in City of Conversation. Other notable work includes Hamlet, Mary Stuart, Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare); Spill (Timeline); Stop.Reset (Goodman); Million Dollar Quartet (Apollo Theatre); Peoples Temple, Dark at the Top of the Stairs (ATC); Complete History of America Abridged (Noble Fool); All My Sons (Milwaukee Rep); Toys in the Attic (Lead Actor-Jeff Award, American Blues). Film credits include: Slice, Later Days, Thrill Ride, Bad City, Uncle John, and Ash. TV credits include: Chicago Justice, Empire, Chicago Fire, Boss, Detroit 187, Turks, Cupid and online work with The Onion.
Michelle Duffy (Miranda) returns to Northlight where she appeared in Blues in the Night, Quilters, and Hedda Gabler. Other Chicago credits include First Wives Club (Oriental); Cry, The Beloved Country, Riverview, Vivisections from the Blown Mind (Goodman). She appeared on Broadway in Leap of Faith and Off-Broadway in Heathers, The Musical (New World Stages). Regional credits include: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Guthrie); Sweat (Pittsburgh Public); Other Desert Cities (Rubicon Theater); Getting the Band Back Together (George Street Playhouse); Next to Normal (Farmers Alley Theatre); Legacy of Light (Cleveland Playhouse); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Milwaukee Rep); A Streetcar Named Desire (American Conservatory Theater); Suddenly Last Summer (Berkeley Rep); MASK, Can-Can (Pasadena Playhouse); The Boswell Sisters, Some Lovers (Old Globe); among others. Select TV/Film credits include Succession, The Night of, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Elementary, The Closer, The Hudson Tribes, The Haunting Hours, and Pitching Tents. Proud member of Actors’ Equity.
Travis A. Knight (Mitch) is making his Northlight Theatre debut. He is a proud member of the artistic ensemble at A Red Orchid Theatre where he has appeared in Small Mouth Sounds and Grey House. Other credits include: The Crucible (Steppenwolf); Ah, Wilderness!, Christmas Carol, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Measure for Measure, and Camino Real (Goodman); Camelot (Drury Lane); The Brothers Size (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); and A Streetcar Named Desire (Uprooted Theatre). He also spent five seasons at American Players Theatre appearing in The Tempest, Glass Menagerie, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Richard III. TV and web series include: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Mind Games, and Dad Man Walking. Film credits include: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and Runner.
Sean Parris (Sam) returns to Northlight where he was previously seen in Curve of Departure and The Whipping Man. Other Chicago credits include a two man show entitled Space Age with real life intimate partner Ricardo Gamboa (Free Street Theatre); Blues for an Alabama Sky (Court); The Magic Play (Goodman, Portland Center Stage at the Armory, Syracuse Stage); Compass, Animal Farm, The Drunken City (Steppenwolf); and A Girl With Sun in Her Eyes (Pinebox Theatre). TV credits include: Chicago PD (NBC), The Chi (Showtime), and Brujos (OpenTV’s original web series). Sean was born in L.A., raised in Miami and Georgia by his amazing mom, and currently lives in Chicago. Sean received his MFA from Depaul University’s Theatre School, is a graduate of Black Box Acting Academy and is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
Cassidy Slaughter-Mason (Chelle) is a Chicago based artist by way of Portland, OR. Recent regional acting credits include Kiss (Haven Theatre), Killed a Man (Joking) (The Sound Theatre/First Floor); Natural Affection (Eclipse Theater); Significant Other (Theatre Wit/About Face Theatre); Scapegoat (New Colony); Rapture Blister Burn (Goodman, Jeff nominated for supporting actress); Animal Farm (U/s for Steppenwolf for Young Adults). Film and TV credits include: Later Days, Soundtrack, Chicago Fire, APB, Easy, Mom and Dad. Cassidy is a co-creator of the OTV web series The Exquisite Corpse, a founding ensemble member of One Year Chekhov, and a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf. She is represented by Paonessa Talent.
Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (January 28 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except February 19) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except January 25); and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm; and 7:00pm (January 26 and February 23 only).
Inside Look: How A Boy Falls
Tuesday, January 14 at 7:00pm
at Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton St
Explore the thoughts, ruminations, and inspiration behind the mystery thriller through a discussion and Q&A with artists from the production. This event is free and open to the public.
Backstage with BJ: How A Boy Falls
Friday, January 17 at noon
at Northlight Theatre
Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Backstage with BJ for How a Boy Falls will last approximately one hour. The event is free, but reservations are required. Visit https://northlight.org/events/backstage-with-bj/ to reserve your spot.
Post Show Discussions will be held after the following performances:
January 28 and February 13 & 20 following the evening performances and January 26 and February 5, 9 & 12 following the matinees.
An Open Captioning performance will be held on Saturday, February 22 at 2:30pm.
Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.
Now in its 45th season, the organization has mounted over 220 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 208 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as ten Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.
Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; NorthShore University HealthSystems; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; PNC Bank; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.
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