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review by Ed Vincent coming

 March 27 through April 28, 2013

 OAK BROOK, IL — First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83) presents the acclaimed play UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL, directed by Jeff Award nominee Alison C. Vesely, previewing March 27, opening March 30 and running through April 28, 2013. The production stars Kristine Thatcher, a member of the 2001 Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble, where her play Voice of Good Hope premiered and was nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work in 2000. Thatcher most recently appeared as Terri in Jeffrey Sweet’s new play Immoral Imperatives. Prior to that, she appeared in First Folio Theatre’s production of Macbeth. Other credits include “Hannah Jarvis” in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at the Goodman Theatre, “Candida” in George Bernard Shaw’s Candida at Writers’ Theatre, and “Regan” in King Lear and “Kate” in Taming of the Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

 Written by Emmy Award-winner Glen Berger, who recently co-wrote the book for the musical adaptation of Spider-Man on Broadway, UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL was named one of the Top Ten Plays of the Year by Time Out New York when it opened in 2001, and has had successful runs in Ireland, London’s West End, and Canada. The Chicago Tribune raved that UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL is “Fascinating and picaresque!” and The New York Times said “There is something innately compelling in this tale of an unlikely discoverer of a secret thread who is instinctively moved to pull it and pursue the consequent unraveling.”

 The play focuses on a Dutch librarian who opens a book returned 113 years overdue and finds a ticket for a Chinese laundry in London. Her curiosity compels her to redeem the ticket for a pair of abandoned trousers, which contain another clue that leads her on an adventurous journey around the world and into surprising revelations of a long-forgotten past, where she ultimately discovers what can only be described as a miracle.

 Led by Jeff Nominated Director Alison C. Vesely, the Artistic Team for UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL includes Sound Designer Christopher Kriz (First Folio Artistic Associate and winner of two Jeff Awards), Costume Designer Elsa Hiltner (First Folio Artistic Associate and Jeff Award nominee) and Scenic Designer Angela Miller (First Folio Artistic Associate and Jeff Award nominee).

 First Folio Theatre is entering its 16th 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.” 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 either the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds.

 UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL previews March 27, opens March 30 and runs through April 28, 2013. Tickets range from $26-37 and preview tickets are $22. Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630-986-8067 or online at www.firstfolio.org.

All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, which is owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. Situated on the lawn next to the lovely Portiuncula Chapel, First FoIio’s outdoor mainstage is the perfect venue for Shakespeare under the stars. The gates open at 6:45 p.m., giving audience members plenty of time to enjoy a picnic before the 8:15 p.m. start time. Featuring unlimited lawn seating, attendees are invited to bring their own chairs or blankets, or rent one for $2 each at the concession stand. Not only will audiences see some of the best Chicago-
area actors on stage, they may also catch sight of local wildlife, such as hawks, owls, deer, swifts and foxes. Biweekly mosquito abatement is conducted to ensure comfort, and free repellent is offered at the site. Concessions as well as pre—ordered box suppers from La Cuisine (prepaid 48 hours in advance) are also available. Located at 1717 W 31st St., just off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook, First Folio is easy to get to from either the East-West Tollway (I—88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I—55). Free parking is available on the grounds.

Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at vvww.firstfolio.org.


First Folio Theatre

 at Mayslake Peabody Estate Forest Preserve
 1717 W 31st St
 Oak Brook, IL 60523
  (630) 986-8067

First Folio History

First Folio Theatre is in its 13th season of bringing high-quality performances of Shakespeare and other classics to the Chicagoland suburbs. During that time, the theater has grown from an annual summer show to a year-round operation with three separate and distinct stages. As a professional, not-for-profit organization, First Folio relies upon the support and donations of friends and businesses to continue its efforts and build upon its success.

There was never any doubt that David Rice and Alison Vesely had the passion necessary to open and operate their own theater. Afterall, the lifelong Chicagoland residents met while working on a production together. Now married with a daughter in DuPage County, they had dedicated their lives to the arts and were well-versed in what it would take to be successful.

But as they considered launching Oak-Brook based First Folio Theatre in 1996, Rice and Vesely did not know whether the community would support a not-for-profit, professional theater dedicated to bringing high-quality Shakespeare and other classics to the suburbs. They could build the organization – but would the audience and donations follow?

Always up for a challenge, the couple launched First Folio with a performance of The Tempest on an outdoor stage at the scenic Mayslake Peabody Estate Forest Preserve in the summer of 1997.

They have not looked back since.

Now in its 13th season, First Folio Theatre has evolved into a year-round operation with two intimate indoor theaters and an outdoor stage – all at the same historic Mayslake Peabody Estate located just off of either I-88 or I-355. While the theater has opened new performance spaces, broadened its production offerings and even changed its name slightly over the years, it has never lost sight of its original commitment to quality productions. In fact, First Folio last year exceeded its previous record for attendance and earned a personal best 5 Jeff Nominations for theater excellence. The theatre also earned a listing in The Shakespeare Book of Lists as one of the “150 Great Places to See a Shakespeare Play.”

In all, First Folio productions have included everything from Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the outdoor Shakespeare Under the Stars mainstage to indoor productions such as The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe, Driving Miss Daisy and Design for Living.

Beyond production excellence, though, is the reality that from the charming Forest Preserve grounds to outdoor performances of Shakespeare Under the Stars, First Folio offers more than great entertainment – it offers an “experience.” The theater regularly encourages potential visitors to come to the theater and “experience it,” – because history has shown that once they do, they always return.

None of First Folio’s success would be possible without strong community support. As a professional, not-for-profit theater, First Folio is dependent on fundraising to fuel everything from the talent and sets on stage, to seats and risers for the audience, to mosquito abatement efforts during the summer months. As a result, the organization periodically hosts special performances and other fundraising events to supplement its budget.

First Folio also makes it a priority to be a part of its community. The theater is currently in its 14th year of school touring, offering four educational shows and an artist-in-residence program. The touring shows include Master Shakespeare and His Stories, designed for grade school aged children, Shakespeare’s Warring and Wooing, designed for middle and high schools, to The Fifty-Minute Midsummer Night’s Dream, geared towards high school students and our newest show, Edgar Allan Poe and the Tell-Tale Heart.  In all, First Folio has given over 200 performances at more than 100 Illinois schools and reached more than 100,000 students.

In addition, the theater is a member of the Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce, and continues to form new partnerships with area restaurants and hotels to attract more visitors to the region – and ensure the maximum value for First Folio customers.

With a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, First Folio has developed a long-range strategy to further grow the theater, invest in staging and equipment and enhance performances. Ultimately, First Folio Theatre looks to build upon its tradition of excellence with Rice and Vesely still leading the way after 14 years – and there is little doubt they have the necessary passion to be successful.

Nick Sandys (Charles Condomine), Melanie Keller (ElviraCondomine) & Erin Noel Grennan (Ruth Condomine)
Photos by D. Rice

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