TimeLine Theatre Company announces the cast and creative team for the Chicago premiere of Cardboard Piano, Hansol Jung’s powerful story of faith, love, and the human capacity for forgiveness set amidst violent conflict in northern Uganda, playing January 9 – March 17, 2019.
The first Chicago staging of Cardboard Piano, a breakout hit when it premiered at the 2016 Humana Festival of New American Plays, will be directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe.
The play features a quartet of actors, all making their TimeLine debut: Adia Alli (she/her) has previously appeared at Stage Left, Jackalope and Court Theatre; Kai Ealy (he/him) performed in Migration for eta Creative Arts Foundation and Frankinland at Jackalope Theater; Kearstyn Keller (she/her) was featured in MadKap’s Equus, Organic Theater’s King Ubu, and is co-artistic director with MUSE Collective where she appeared in The Love Talker. Freedom Martin (he/him) is a senior at ChiArts, the Chicago High School for the Arts, and is making his professional debut in Cardboard Piano.
TimeLine’s production team includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec (Scenic Designer, he/him); Elle Erickson (Costume Designer, she/her); Brandon J. Wardell (Lighting Designer, he/him); David Kelepha Samba (Sound Designer, he/him); Amy Peter (Properties Designer); Kristina Fluty (Intimacy Choreographer, she/her); Eva Breneman (Dialect Designer, she/her); Jared Bellot (Dramaturg, he/him); Dina Spoerl (Lobby Designer, she/her); and Luci Kersting (Stage Manager, she/her).
Cardboard Piano begins previews on January 9. Press Night is Wednesday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is January 17. Performances run through March 17 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. For tickets and information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the TimeLine Box Office at
(773) 281-8463 x6.
MORE ABOUT CARDBOARD PIANO
At the dawn of the millennium in a darkened church in northern Uganda, the daughter of American missionaries and a local teenage girl prepare to exchange vows in a secret, makeshift wedding ceremony. But when the brutality of the war zone around them encroaches on their fragile union, the two are faced with a reality they cannot escape. Confronting the religious and cultural roots of intolerance, Cardboard Piano explores violence and its aftermath, as well as the human capacity for hatred, forgiveness, and love.
Cardboard Piano premiered as a part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2016. The Louisville Courier-Journal called it “haunting” and “authentic,” writing that “Jung’s characters never offer clear answers to what is to be done when hearts and lives are broken from violence and denunciation, but this promising playwright’s story suggests a power in facing the damage done and picking up the pieces to inform each step forward.” And Louisville Insider reflected, “Jung leaves herself plenty of room for questions and accusations that reach far beyond the borders of Uganda.”
Mechelle Moe (Director) is a Company Member at TimeLine, where her credits include directing last season’s acclaimed production of In the Next Room or the vibrator play, an earlier reading of the same play with The Chicago Inclusion Project, a reading of Cardboard Piano in artistic alliance with The Yard, and Experiment with an Air Pump, and appearing in Boy, The Apple Family Plays, My Kind of Town, The Front Page, The Children’s Hour, Not Enough Air and Paradise Lost. She is co-artistic director of The Yard, a youth-based theater company that produces theater relevant to young people, performed by young people. She directed columbinus for The Yard at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre last spring. She is also a founding member of The Hypocrites, and currently is a part of its ensemble. Moe is a Jeff Award recipient for Actress in Principal Role for her performance in Machinal (The Hypocrites) and received a Jeff Award nomination for Actress in Principal Role for Stage Door (Griffin). She has directed and devised numerous works at Senn Arts and with The Yard, including Milk Like Sugar, The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide, Eclipsed, Our America: Ghetto Life 101: Remorse (which she also adapted) and Metamorphoses, both of which were selected for the 2014 and 2015 Illinois High School Theatre Festivals, as well as the docudrama Broken Text, an original work by Moe based on her interviews with men recently released from incarceration and living in a transitional facility. Moe graduated with honors from the University of Illinois Chicago with both a bachelor’s degree in Theater as well as Anthropology.
Hansol Jung (Playwright) is a playwright and director from South Korea. Her plays include Wild Goose Dreams, opening this month at New York’s Public Theatre in a co-production with LaJolla Playhouse, directed by Leigh Silverman. Other works include No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, Chicago and Boise Contemporary Theatre), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre) and Wolf Play. She has received commissions from Playwrights Horizons, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant with Ma-Yi Theatre and a translation of Romeo and Juliet for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court (London), New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, O’Neill Conference, Sundance Theatre Lab, Lark Play Development Center, Salt Lake Acting Company, Boston Court Theatre, Bushwick Starr, Asia Society New York, and Seven Devils Playwright Conference. She is the recipient of the P73 Playwright Fellowship at Page 73 Productions, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop, MacDowell Colony Artist Residency and International Playwrights Residency at Royal Court (London). Her plays have received the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award, Honorable Mention from the 2014 Arch and Bruce Brown Playwriting Competition, and was named 2014 finalist for the Ruby Prize. She has translated more than 30 English musicals into Korean, including Evita, Dracula, Spamalot, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, while working on several award-winning musical theater productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul, South Korea. Jung holds an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab.
CARDBOARD PIANO PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE/EVENTS
Previews of Cardboard Piano are Wednesday, January 9 through Saturday, January 12 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, January 13 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday January 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Press Night is Wednesday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night is Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular performances continue through March 17: Wednesdays and Thursdays at
7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. Exceptions: Show time on Wednesday, March 6 is 8:30 p.m. There is an added performance on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. No shows on Saturday, January 19 at
4 p.m. and Friday, March 15.
DISCUSSION & ACCESSIBILITY EVENTS:
Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the production dramaturg and members of the cast on Wednesday, January 23; Sunday, January 27; Thursday, January 31; Thursday, February 21; Wednesday, February 27; and Sunday, March 3.
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, February 6 and Sunday, February 17.
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, February 10.
Captioned Performance: An open-captioned performance with a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance on Saturday, February 16 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, February 24.
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 Cardboard Piano is to purchase a 2018-19 TimeLine FlexPass Subscription, still available and on sale now, offering four amazing shows, starting as low as $44.
Single tickets go on sale Tuesday, November 13. Preview tickets are $25. Single tickets to regular performances are $40 (Wednesday through Friday), $49 (Saturday evenings) and $54 (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 $25 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.
To purchase a FlexPass, single tickets or for more information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.
Cardboard Piano will take place at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway, inside the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building. TimeLine is served by multiple CTA trains and buses. TimeLine offers discounted parking at the Standard Parking garages at Broadway Center ($8 with validation; 2846 N. Broadway, at Surf) or the Century Mall ($9 with validation; 2836 N. Clark), with other paid parking options nearby, plus limited free and metered street parking.
TimeLine Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Two wheelchair lifts provide access from street level to the theatre space and to lower-level restrooms. Audience members using wheelchairs or who need to avoid stairs, and others with special seating or accessibility needs should contact the TimeLine Box Office in advance to confirm arrangements. See DISCUSSION & ACCESSIBILITY EVENTS above for information about the open-captioned performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
MORE ABOUT TIMELINE’S 2018-19 SEASON
In addition to Cardboard Piano, TimeLine’s Theatre’s 2018-19, four-show subscription season includes:
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, now extended by popular demand through December 2, 2018.
Master Class, Terrence McNally’s acclaimed play about the formidable opera star Maria Callas, inspired by a series of classes she taught at Julliard in the 1970s, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, music directed by Doug Peck, and starring TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks (The Audience), presented at Stage 773, now playing through December 9, 2018.
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 $44 to $204, are still on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com.
PLUS, TIMELINE PARTNERS WITH FIREBRAND THEATRE’S PRODUCTION OF CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, NOW EXTENDED THROUGH NOVEMBER 11
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 current, smash hit 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 has been extended through November 11 at Firebrand’s resident home, The Den Theatre, located at
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. For information and tickets visit firebrandtheatre.org.
PLEASE NOTE: Caroline, or Change is not included in TimeLine’s 2018-19 FlexPass Subscription, but the partnership includes 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 Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Wardell Julius Clark, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, 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, Bayless Family Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg 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 National Endowment for the Arts, 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.