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 The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon and directed by Jessica Thebus. The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley runs November 7 – December 15, 2019 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. The press opening is Friday, November 15, 2019 at 8pm.
From the authors of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley comes a charming new companion piece!
While the Bennets and Darcys are celebrating upstairs, the servants below stairs find themselves in the midst of a holiday scandal. Lydia’s ne’er-do-well husband Mr. Wickham has arrived, and it’s up to the loyal housekeeper, footman, and new maid to keep the festivities running smoothly without revealing the unwelcome guest. As old misunderstandings and new secrets start to spiral out of control, the residents of Pemberley prove that family, forgiveness, and the true spirit of giving always win the day.
BJ Jones comments, “Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon have done it again, reimagining the Bennet sisters and their lives during Christmas at Pemberley. What a delightful and imaginative confection by these two smart and savvy creators, continuing Northlight’s rich relationship with them.”
The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley is a rolling world premiere commissioned and originally produced by Northlight Theatre with The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis, MN; and Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley, CA.
The cast includes Jennifer Latimore (Lydia Wickham), Jayson Lee (Brian), Will Mobley (George Wickham), Aurora Real De Asua (Cassie), Penny Slusher (Mrs. Reynolds), Luigi Sottile (Fitzwilliam Darcy) and Netta Walker (Elizabeth Darcy).
The creative team includes William Boles (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Christine A. Binder (lighting design), and Kevin O’Donnell (sound design). The production stage manager is Katie Klemme and the assistant stage manager is Abigail Medrano.
The 2019-20 Season is supported by BMO Harris and ComEd, An Exelon Company.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jessica Thebus (Director) is a director of theater and an educator based in Chicago. Past Northlight credits include The Book of Will, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Shining Lives: A Musical, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Inherit the Wind and Red Herring. At Steppenwolf, she has directed Sex with Strangers, Intimate Apparel, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, No Place Like Home, When the Messenger is Hot (also at 59 E 59th in NYC) and Sonia Flew. Other favorite projects: Richard III (Gift), In the Garden by Sarah Gmitter (Lookingglass), Buzzer by Tracy Scott Wilson (Goodman), Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next), As You Like It (Oregon Shakespeare), and The Feast: an intimate Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare with Redmoon). She is Director of the Graduate Directing Program at Northwestern University.
Lauren Gunderson (Playwright) is the most produced living playwright in America for 2016, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Co. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit, Pursued By A Bear, and Toil And Trouble), Dramatists (Silent Sky, Bauer) and Samuel French (Emilie). She is a proud Dramatists Guild member. She is from Atlanta, GA and lives in San Francisco.
Margot Melcon (Playwright) is the Program Executive for Promoting Culture at the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Previously, she was the literary manager and dramaturg at Marin Theatre Company where she produced the New Works Reading Series and administered two annual new play prize competitions in addition to acting as production dramaturg on all shows. Prior to joining Marin Theatre in 2008, she worked in the literary and publications departments at A.C.T. in San Francisco. She is a freelance writer for American Theatre magazine and was a fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Playwrights Festival. She is a graduate of California State University, Chico.
Jennifer Latimore (Lydia Wickham) returns to Northlight after appearing in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley as Lydia Wickham. She is a Georgia peach at heart, but actually enjoys the cold of the Midwest. Her most recent credits include Ann in The African Company Presents Richard III and Chloe in Arcadia (American Players Theatre).
Jayson Lee (Brian), making his Northlight Theatre debut, completed his BFA Acting training from The Theatre School at DePaul University this past June. Some of his favorite credits include Hooded; or being black for dummies (First Floor Theatre) that received Jeff Nominations for Best Play and Best Ensemble and also earned him BTAA nominations for Most Promising Actor and Best Actor in an Ensemble; A Dybbuk: or between two worlds, Into the Woods, and Oresteia (The Theatre School) the US premiere by Robert Icke. You can see Jayson next in Victory Gardens’ production of How to Defend Yourself.
Will Mobley (George Wickham) is making his Northlight debut. Chicago credits include The Winter’s Tale U/S (Goodman); Ragtime (Marriott); My Fair Lady (Lyric Opera); SS! Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare); Days Like Today, Antony and Cleopatra (Writers). Regional: Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley (Theatre Squared); The Legend of Georgia McBride (Cardinal Stage Company); The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Christmas Carol, Other Desert Cities (Indiana Repertory Theater); Other Desert Cities (Arizona Theatre Company); The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night, Richard III, The Admirable Crichton, The Taming of the Shrew, The Critic, and Of Mice and Men (American Players Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (tour), Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, and Great Expectations (Utah Shakespeare Festival); and The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Artists Repertory Theatre). Will is also a member of the Chicago band The Winchesters (thewinchestersband.com).
Aurora Real De Asua (Cassie) is making her Northlight debut. Previous credits include The Adventures of Augie March (Court); Pipeline (Victory Gardens); The Wolves (Goodman); Dracula, You On the Moors Now (Hypocrites); Firebirds Take the Field (Rivendell); and Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Metropolis Performing Arts). She has understudied for productions at Lookingglass and Chicago Shakespeare. She is also a playwright and her play The Pride Before was part of the 2019 Freshness Initiative at sideshow theatre. Film credits include Knives and Skin and Workingman. She received her BA from Northwestern University and is represented by Gray Talent.
Penny Slusher (Mrs. Reynolds) last appeared at Northlight in Into the Breeches!. Other Northlight productions include By the Water, You Can’t Take It With You, Chapatti, Sense & Sensibility and A Life. Chicago credits include: Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman); Uncle Vanya (After Dark Award), The Importance of Being Earnest, James Joyce’s “The Dead” (Court); Old Glory, Another Part of the Forest (Jeff Award), Bus Stop, The Subject Was Roses (Writers). Regional credits include: Silent Sky, A Murder is Announced, Chapatti, The Hollow (Peninsula Players); My Fair Lady (Asolo Repertory); Sense & Sensibility (Actors Theatre of Louisville and Saint Louis Repertory). International Theatre: Chapatti and Stella & Lou (Northlight at Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland), August: Osage County (Steppenwolf at Sydney Theatre, Australia). Film and television credits include: Virginia, Meet the Browns, Grace is Gone and The Connie Banks Show.
Luigi Sottile (Fitzwilliam Darcy) returns to Northlight after appearing in The Book of Will. Other Chicago credits include The Tempest, Othello, Shakespeare In Love (Chicago Shakespeare); and Buena Vista (Steppenwolf). Regional credits include: Sex With Strangers (Signature Theatre DC); Zombie: The American (Woolly Mammoth); The Three Musketeers, Much Ado About Nothing (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Angels In America Parts I & II, In the Next Room Or The Vibrator Play, Leaving (Wilma Theater); The Three Sisters, Cyrano (Arden Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep); The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, Troilus And Cressida (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival); An Ideal Husband (Walnut Street Theatre); Seminar (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Nathan the Wise, Cherry Orchard (People’s Light & Theatre); The Lonesome West, Hothouse, The School For Wives, The Government Inspector (Lantern Theater); and The Mystery Of Irma Vep (Act II Playhouse).
Netta Walker (Elizabeth Darcy) Recent credits include Yen (Raven Theater, Jeff Award for Best Supporting Performer); Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Hamlet, Grapes of Wrath (The Gift Theatre); No Child (Definition Theatre); Continuity (Goodman, New Stages); Great Expectations (Silk Road Rising/Remy Bumppo); Puff: Believe it or Not! (Remy Bumppo); Spin Moves (Victory Gardens, Ignition Festival); truth and reconciliation (Sideshow Theatre); and Coriolanus (Commission Theatre). Film: Come As You Are (2019). She is proudly represented by the incredible women of Paonessa Talent. She dedicates everything she does to her late father, Tony Walker.
Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (November 12 & 26 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm (except November 28); Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 9); and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm; and 7:00pm (November 10 and December 1 only).
Backstage with BJ: The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley
Friday, November 1 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 The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley 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:
November 12 and December 5 following the evening performances and November 10, 20, 24 and 27 following the matinees.
An Open Captioning performance will be held on Saturday, December 7 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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