The third production of City Lit Theater's 2008-2009 season, Lillian Hellman's memoir Scoundrel Time, in a world premiere adaptation by artistic director Terry McCabe, will begin previews at City Lit Theater on Friday, January 30 and open for the press on Tuesday, February 3. The production, directed by Adrianne Cury, runs through Sunday, March 8.
Scoundrel Time is a memoir both acclaimed and controversial. In 1952, at the height of the McCarthy era, Hellman was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Refusing to name names, she told the Committee, "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." She was blacklisted for years, but lived to tell the taleher way. When Scoundrel Time was published in 1976, it was greeted by both praise and condemnation, equally strong. The City Lit adaptation is written for two characters: The Memoirist, who is the autobiographical character depicted in Hellman's writing; and The Memoir, who portrays all the other people depictedDashiell Hammet, Joseph Rauh, Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets, Mark Blitzstein and a host of others.
Lillian Hellman is the playwright of the American classics The Children's Hour, Another Part of the Forest and Toys in the Attic, among other plays. She contributed lyrics to the Leonard Bernstein musical Candide, and was nominated twice for the Academy Award as a screenwriter, for the World War II drama The North Star and for the screen adaptation of her play The Little Foxes. From 1935 through 1946, she wrote regularly for Hollywood studios, but by the late '40s she had fallen victim to the blacklist and did not write another movie until she adapted The Children's Hour for the screen in 1961. A vocal Stalinist, she was spied on by the FBI at various points from 1938 to at least 1970. Her first memoir, An Unfinished Woman, won a 1970 National Book Award. A chapter from her second memoir, Pentimento, was made into the film Julia, though a scandal ensued when it became known that the chapter was fictional. She lived off and on for most of three decades with the mystery writer Dashiell Hammett, who based the fearless and playful Nora Charles in The Thin Manas well as that book's villainess, the compulsive liar Mimi Jorgensonon her.
The cast for Scoundrel Time is Jerry Bloom and Sheila Willis. The design team is Kyle Anderson (lighting), Rebecca Hamlin (set), Terry McCabe (sound) and Nathan Rohrer (costumes).
Scoundrel Time will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM, January 30 through March 8, plus two Thursday performances, February 26 and March 5, both at 8:00 PM. Press opening is Tuesday, February 3, at 7:00 PM. Ticket prices arte $18 for previews and $25 after opening. Discounts are available for seniors, students and groups of ten or more. Tickets can be reserved by going to www.citylit.org or by calling (773) 293-3682.
City Lit's production of Scoundrel Time is the third production of its twenty-ninth season. City Lit receives funding from the Alphawood Foundation, the Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs CityArts program, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Its outreach program is funded in part by A.R.T. League.
City Lit specializes in literate theatre, including stage adaptations of literary material.
City Lit Theater is located in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, one block west of Sheridan Road and a block and a half east of the Bryn Mawr Red Line L stop. The 84 Peterson bus, the 147 Lake Shore Express bus and the 151 Sheridan bus all stop within a few steps of City Lit. Valet parking is available for theatre customers for all performances. Discounted self-parking is available for theatre customers with validation from the Edgewater Beach Cafe, located in the Edgewater Beach Apartments building one block east of the theatre.
City Lit Theater
1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
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