Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Stephen J. Albert present the World Premiere of Invisible Man, adapted from Ralph Ellison's novel by Oren Jacoby, and directed by Christopher McElroen. Invisible Man will run January 12 – February 19, 2012 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue. Press Opening is Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8 PM.
"I am an invisible man." In this world premiere stage production, the first authorized by The Ralph and Fanny Ellison Charitable Trust, a landmark American novel comes to life. Ralph Ellison's classic story of a young African American's search for his identity blazes with luminous theatricality and truth.
Adapted by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby, Invisible Man marks the first Chicago appearance by award-winning New York City director Christopher McElroen, a founding artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. Invisible Man is produced in association with Christopher McElroen Productions.
"It's an honor to help bring MR. Ellison's novel to the stage for the first time," says director Christopher McElroen. "It's an epic journey that we are approaching with the utmost respect, and with the awareness that we are standing on the shoulders of many. I can't think of a more fitting space to develop and premiere the play than Court Theatre on the campus of the University of Chicago, where Ellison himself once taught."
"Invisible Man has thrived for a long time as an American classic. So long, perhaps, that some of its timeless insights about the search for identity are now taken for granted," says adaptor Oren Jacoby. "I'm grateful to the Court Theatre, Chris McElroen, the Ralph Ellison Foundation and literary executor, John Callahan for this opportunity to work with them, adapting the novel for the stage on its 60th anniversary, so that a 21st century audience can be startled from its sleep by Ellison's troubling revelations."
The World Premiere of Invisible Man features Lance Baker (MC, Emerson Jr., Brother Jack, Ensemble), Kimm Beavers (Ensemble), Tracey N. Bonner (Miss Mary, Ensemble), Teagle F. Bougere (Boo Zhay, Invisible Man), Chris Boykin (Son, Tatlock, Sylvester, Ralston, Todd Clifton, Ensemble), Kenn E. Head (Grandfather, Burnside, Yam Man, Peter Wheatstraw, Squat Man, Ensemble), Bill McGough (Jackson, Mr. Norton, Marshall, Factory Director, Brother Hambro, Ensemble), Paul Stovall (Trueblood, Ras, Barrellhouse, Ensemble), A.C. Smith (Preacher, Big Halley), and Julia Watt (Stripper, Nurse, Secretary, Emma, The Woman in Red, Ensemble).
The creative team includes Troy Hourie (scenic design), Alex Koch (projection design), Josh Horvath (sound design), Jacqueline Firkins (costume design), and John Culbert (lighting design). Jonathan Nook is the Stage Manager and Sara Gammage is the Production Stage Manager. Drew Dir is the Production Dramaturg.
Lance Baker (Mc, Emerson Jr., Brother Jack, Ensemble, et al.) is appearing in his twelfth production at Court Theatre, having appeared in Thyestes, Travesties, The Importance of Being Earnest, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Guys and Dolls, Cymbeline, Pericles, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Piano, and The Invention of Love. He recently received a Jeff nomination for his performance as Charlie in Speed-The-Plow at American Theater Company. Other recent credits include Becky Shaw at A Red Orchid Theatre (where he is an ensemble member), Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of Around the World in 80 Days at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Amadeus at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Mauritius at Northlight Theatre. Film credits include Unsettled, Public Enemies, The Express, and Road to Perdition.