— First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83) presents Tom Stoppard’s hysterical farce ROUGH CROSSING previewing January 29, opening Saturday, February 1 at 8 p.m., and running through March 2, 2014. Directed by Jeff Award nominee and First Folio Theatre favorite Alison C. Vesely, ROUGH CROSSING is a musical romp on the high seas. Jeff Award winner Christopher Kriz (“The Turn of the Screw”) will be composing three new jazz songs to Stoppard’s original lyrics. Evanston resident, Brian Claggett serves as Technical Director in the production.
The Jazz Age musical is set in the early 30’s aboard the S.S. Italian Castle on its way to New York, while two playwrights struggle to finish their latest musical hit as they maneuver around a jealous composer, the screen star he loves, and her lothario co-star. Aided by the most inept steward ever to tread the deck of a cruise ship, the trio must save both their show and their stars from disaster.
The Chicago Tribune raved that ROUGH CROSSING is “Filled with verbal pyrotechnics, shameless puns, outrageous literary allusions…ineffably charming!” Written by Tony and Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard, ROUGH CROSSING is based on “Play at the Castle” by Ferenc Molnár. Stoppard has written several highly acclaimed plays such as “Arcadia” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” and has been named one of the greatest living English playwrights by several publications, including The New York Times.
The production features First Folio Theatre Artistic Associates Kevin McKillip (The Merchant of Venice, The Turn of the Screw and Unnecessary Farce at First Folio Theatre, Making God Laugh at Theatre at the Center), René Ruelas (Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Design for Living at First Folio), Christian Gray (The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe and The Jeeves Trilogy at First Folio) and David Rice (H.C. Curry in The Rainmaker, Knuckles McCann in Jeeves Takes a Bow, and Boolie in Driving Miss Daisy at First Folio Theatre). It also features First Folio favorites Gail Rastorfer (Twelfth Night at First Folio, Ten Chimneys at the Cleveland Playhouse, and You Can’t Take it With You at Asolo Rep) and Jeff-Award winner Alex Weisman (Jimmy Curry in The Rainmaker at First Folio, The History Boys and The Normal Heart at Timeline Theater).
Scenic Design is by Angela Weber Miller with Sound Design by Christopher Kriz and Costume Design by Rachel Lambert. Ethan Vail is the Lighting Designer and Cassy Schillo is the Props Designer. Lynne M. Harris serves as Equity Stage Manager, Ricky Harbecke as Master Electrician, and Sarah West as Assistant Stage Manager.
First Folio Theatre is entering its 18th season of bringing high-quality performances of Shakespeare and other classics to the stage. During that time, the theater has expanded from an annual summer production to a year-round operation with three separate and distinct stages at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate. The Shakespeare Book of Lists names First Folio Theatre one of the “150 Great Places to See a Shakespeare Play.” The Chicago Tribune raved that their “Shakespeare Under the Stars” summer series “offers something Navy Pier can’t...plenty of greenery, gentle breezes and the chance to stretch out on a blanket with family and friends while being transported to Shakespeare’s otherworldly romance.”
ROUGH CROSSING runs January 30 through March 3. All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 W 31st St., off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook. First Folio is easy to get to from via the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds. Preview tickets are $22. Regular priced tickets are $30 Wednesdays and Thursdays (seniors and students are $26), and $37 on Fridays through Sundays (seniors and students are $32). Three and four show subscriptions are available for $57-$105 (subscribers will receive $5 off each subscription if they are purchased by August 1, 2013). Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at www.firstfolio.org.