List mania

It’s the end of the year, which means lists, Lists, LISTS! TimeLine’s extraordinary 2009 is being capped by recognition from several sources for our productions of The History Boys and All My Sons. We’ll keep a running, uhhhhh, list, here of it all for you:

Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal. Read the entire Wall Street Journal article …

When it comes to ensemble casts, there’s no contest: Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre put on a production of Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys” staged by Nick Bowling that was so finely acted (and directed) as to overcome most of my doubts about a show that had failed to convince me when I saw the original cast on Broadway in 2006.

Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, “My 10 best theater shows of 2009.”  Read the entire Chicago Tribune article

Among the Chicagoans for whom 2009 was the year of their professional lives: director Jim Corti, actress Brenda Barrie, playwrights Keith Huff and Laura Eason, and the entire TimeLine Theatre Company.

#2 — “The History Boys,” TimeLine Theatre: Some of us were disappointed that Nicholas Hytner’s original production of “The History Boys” never made it to Chicago. No matter. Director Nick Bowling and a cast of extraordinary newcomers created an intimate, Chicago-style take on this great Alan Bennett play about the perils and possibilities of education. It felt fresh, passionate and authentic.

10 more that really should have made the list,  in alphabetical order: “All My Sons” (TimeLine Theatre)

Kris Vire and John Beer in Time Out Chicago, “Ten most wanted.”  Read the entire Time Out Chicago article …

#10 — “The History Boys,” TimeLine Theatre: It wasn’t TimeLine’s only triumph this year—Kimberly Senior’s searing revival of “All My Sons” would follow—but the astounding success of Alan Bennett’s 2004 English-schoolroom drama in Nick Bowling’s Chicago premiere was a phenomenon like no other. The intimate production in TimeLine’s transformed space (scenic designer Brian Sidney Bembridge squeezed an entire boarding school into a single room) made an indelible impression, not least for its eight outstanding young male actors, all practically unknown. We don’t think that’s a problem any of them will have from here on out.

Luke Heiden on, “Play List 2009: In A Bah Year, So Much Great Theatre.” [On this list of the best-reviewed plays of the year, The History Boys ranks #1 and All My Sons ranks #2! Wow. And Wow.] Read the entire article …

We find that, in terms of critics’ ratings, Timeline Theatre’s Midwest Premiere production of “The History Boys” ranks as the best play of 2009. Also a major commercial hit, it ran so long that it forced the next play in Timeline’s planned season to be staged in another venue. That next play was “All My Sons,”  another show that makes our Top Twenty list, giving Timeline a very good year.

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