Circle Theatre departing suburbs for itinerant status in Chicago
In a major shift, Circle Theatre announced tonight it's giving up its current venue in Oak Park in favor of itinerancy in the Chicago city limits. The company's 28th season, beginning with the calendar year in January, will be produced at various venues in Chicago, beginning with the previously announced remount of last spring's much acclaimed Chicago-area premiere of Andrew Bovell's at the Greenhouse Theater Center.
Circle Theatre has produced in a handful of resident venues in Forest Park and Oak Park for most of its life; it's long been the only theater company outside of the city limits eligible for the Non-Equity Wing of the Jeff Awards, thanks to a grandfather clause in the Jeffs' rules. When the company moved to its current digs in Oak Park a couple of years ago, the word was it would be a temporary stop on the way to a new permanent home, but resources remained tight. The move into the city and away from a permanent address coincides with another sea change for the company, with Kevin Bellie stepping down last week after nine years as artistic director. Company member Jon Landvick has picked up the reins.
In addition to When the Rain Stops Falling (January 16–February 24), Circle's season will include the Chicago premiere of the Maury Yeston-Peter Stone-Thomas Meehan musical Death Takes a Holiday, directed by Bellie at Stage 773 for an April opening; Abi Morgan's Lovesong, directed by When the Rain helmer John Gawlik at a venue to be determined in July and August; and a fall 2013 production of Evil Dead: The Musical, staged by Matthew Gunnels at another unnamed venue.
Bellie's last show as artistic director, a "Bollywood spectacular" edition of the musical Pippin, opened last week amid some controversy over its largely Caucasian casting and charges of cultural appropriation.