Now Playing

Chicago Premiere

November 6, 2019 - January 12, 2020

Named one of the “100 plays of the century” by the Royal National Theatre, Githa Sowerby’s rarely produced family drama is a smart and absorbing twist on a woman’s “place” in a male dominated society.

In the industrial north of England in 1912, the patriarch of the Rutherford family has spent decades building a respected glass works company to pass on to his children, without any say from them. Caught between passion, purpose, and expectation, John, Richard, and Janet struggle to break free from an oppressive and narrow-minded father dead set on writing their stories himself. Less entangled by these family expectations and with ambitions to give her son the life he deserves, John’s young wife Mary is determined to upend the cycle, whatever it takes.

Playing on the conventions of the period with wit and creative edge, Rutherford and Son is a play ahead of its time, asking us to question if our “place” in life should be anything but what we ourselves determine it to be.

The estimated run time is 2 hours and 10 minutes, including one intermission.
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Chicago Premiere

September 10 - October 20, 2019

“A riveting political thriller.”
— Associated Press

Don’t miss TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of the 2017 Tony Award® winner for Best Play—a remarkable story about the unlikely friendships, quiet heroics, and sheer determination that pushed two foes to reach something neither thought truly possible—peace.

When the Israeli prime minister and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993, the world had no idea what it took to orchestrate that momentous occasion. Behind the scenes, a Norwegian diplomat and her social scientist husband hatched an intricate, top secret, and sometimes comical scheme to gather an unexpected assortment of players at an idyllic estate just outside Oslo. Far from any international glare, mortal enemies were able to face each other not as adversaries, but as fellow human beings.

J.T. Roger’s’ Oslo is a humorous, surprising, and inspiring true story about the people inside politics, and the incredible progress that is possible when we focus on what makes us human—together.

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Chicago Premiere

January 9 - March 17, 2019

A hopeful and moving story of loss, love, and the power of faith.

At the dawn of the millennium in a darkened church in northern Uganda, the daughter of American missionaries and a local teenage girl prepare to exchange vows in a secret, makeshift wedding ceremony. But when the brutality of the war zone around them encroaches on their fragile union, the two are faced with a reality they cannot escape. Confronting the religious and cultural roots of intolerance, Cardboard Piano explores violence and its aftermath, as well as the human capacity for hatred, forgiveness, and love.

Cardboard Piano premiered as a part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays in March 2016. The Louisville Courier-Journal called it “haunting,” writing that “this promising playwright’s story suggests a power in facing the damage done and picking up the pieces to inform each step forward.”


Cardboard Piano includes incidents of stage violence, gunshots, water-based theatrical haze, and flashing lights. If you would like more information, please call the Box Office.

 
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October 19 - December 9, 2018

This glorious, raw, and bittersweet look at one of opera’s most formidable talents was the Tony Award winner for Best Play in 1996.

Witness a master class conducted by legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Glamorous and demanding, Callas critiques and regales a new crop of opera’s finest. Both frustrated and amazed by the students thrust before her, she escapes into recollections of the glories and failures of her past, remembering her rise as one of opera’s biggest underdogs. This authentic and musically rich Master Class presents a portrait of a fading star who refuses to be anything but unapologetically herself.

TimeLine’s production stars Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks, a six-time Jeff Award nominee for roles at TimeLine (including 33 Variations, A Walk in the Woods, and All My Sons), where she mostly recently appeared last season as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience.

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October 20 – December 16, 2017

“Leave behind the stranglehold of convention and loosen your corset, you will breathe much better.”

This intimate and humorous story of awakening, equality, and the need for connection was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award nominee for Best Play. It is the 1880s and Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light has begun to change the fabric of daily life. Inspired by Edison’s discovery, scientist and inventor Dr. Givings experiments with a piece of machinery to treat the increasingly common affliction of female hysteria. When he starts to see a new patient regularly, his wife’s curiosity with the invention and what occurs “in the next room” grows, leading to discoveries of her own. Don’t miss this entertaining night of self-discovery which shows that human connection is not simply a means to an end, but a vital part of life itself.

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Chicago Premiere

Jan 11, 2017 - Apr 9, 2017

TimeLine presents a new and rare staging of this exquisite, internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. In 1913, a clerk in rural India named Srinivasa Ramanujan sends a letter to famed mathematician G.H. Hardy, filled with astonishing mathematical theorems. In the present, a math professor and a businessman fall in love. Told in a mesmerizing whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, A Disappearing Number is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos.

Winner of the 2007 Critics’ Circle Theatre, Evening Standard, and Laurence Olivier awards for Best New Play.

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Chicago Premiere

May 3 - July 31, 2016

In June 1989, as the Chinese government cracked down on a pro-democracy rally in Tiananmen Square, the iconic image of one man standing alone in front of a military tank captivated the world. Twenty years later, a photojournalist searches for the truth about that mysterious “Tank Man” in an epic, global adventure that explores the complex relationship between twin superpowers China and the United States.

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Spill

Midwest Premiere

Oct 24, 2015 - Dec 19, 2015

From the Emmy Award-nominated head writer of The Laramie Project, acclaimed as “a pioneering work and a powerful stage event” by Time magazine. This can’t-miss theatrical event goes beyond the headlines to tell vivid personal stories from all sides of the country’s greatest environmental disaster.

Inana

Chicago Premiere

May 6, 2015 - Jul 26, 2015

On the eve of the United States’ invasion of Baghdad in 2003, an Iraqi museum curator plots to save treasured antiquities from destruction—including the statue of ancient mother goddess Inana. Fleeing to London with his young, mysterious bride, he makes a life-altering deal to ensure the statue’s preservation. Against this background of international and personal intrigue, the couple’s poignant and beautiful love story opens a window of hope and healing.

Chicago Premiere

Sep 23, 2014 - Dec 21, 2014

Acclaimed as a “rip-roaring, grit-your-teeth production” (Chicago Sun-Times), “a refreshingly political piece” (Chicago Tribune) and an “urgent, cinematic, and breathlessly intense … dose of thinking theater” (Stage and Cinema), this show is a political conspiracy thriller (based on true events) in the vein of House of Cards, Kill the Messenger and All the President’s Men.

Juno

Chicago Premiere

Apr 23, 2014 - Jul 27, 2014

Originally on Broadway in 1959, this timeless musical has never been seen in Chicago, until now!

During the Irish Civil War in the 1920s, the fearless matriarch of a destitute household holds her family together in the face of her husband’s carousing. With fortunes about to turn, the family strives to rise above the political and social unrest around them. This epic, humorous and heartbreaking tale of survival is told through honest and powerful anthems such as “I Wish It So,” “We’re Alive” and “On a Day Like This.”

The Normal Heart

Oct 26, 2013 - Dec 29, 2013

Originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1985, TimeLine’s production is the first Chicago staging of this landmark play that “blasts you like an open, overstoked furnace” (The New York Times) since its Tony-Award winning Broadway production in 2011. Set at the height of the public and private indifference to the AIDS plague in the early 1980s, this searing drama will feature acclaimed actor/director David Cromer in his return to the Chicago stage as a passionate activist leading the fight to awaken the world to the crisis. Along the way he, and the community he leads into the battle, must face the deeply held fears that led so many to remain silent for too long.

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce TO MASTER THE ART will play the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place for a limited engagement beginning September 10, 2013. The Chicago Commercial Collective will produce the 2010 TimeLine world premiere hit.

Blood and Gifts

Chicago Premiere

Apr 30, 2013 - Jul 28, 2013

This spy thriller—named one of the Top 10 plays of 2011 by The New York Times — goes deep inside the secret United States intrigue that powered the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s. A CIA operative struggles against conditions on the ground and politics in the halls of Washington to stop the Soviet Army’s destruction of Afghanistan. As alliances shift and the outcome of the Cold War appears to hang in the balance, he and an Afghan warlord find that the only one they can trust is each other. This bold new play unmasks the actions of men behind one of recent history’s greatest events — the repercussions of which still shape our lives.

Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West

Chicago Premiere

Jan 15, 2013 - Apr 14, 2013

This sexy, multi-faceted puzzle of a play travels from East to West and across time, exploring provocative themes in both epic scope and human scale. In the 1880s, a Victorian woman visiting Japan is fascinated by a new invention — the camera — that allows people to own images of distant lands they never dreamed they would be able to see. In modern-day Tokyo, a collector navigates shifting relationships in search of physical memories of the past. Along the way we gaze as if through a lens at the mysterious intersection of art and authenticity, where very little is what it appears to be.

33 Variations

Chicago Premiere

Aug 24, 2012 - Oct 21, 2012

TimeLine’s 2012-13 season opener is an elegant waltz between past and present, fact and speculation, a mother and daughter, and art and life. One of classical music’s enduring riddles is why Ludwig van Beethoven devoted four years of his diminishing life writing 33 variations of a mediocre waltz. Two hundred years later, a modern-day music scholar is driven to solve the mystery even as her own health and relationship with her daughter crumbles.

The result is an extraordinary new American play — accompanied throughout by a live pianist playing the variations themselves — about passion, parenthood, and the moments of beauty that can transform a life.

Enron

Chicago Premiere

Jan 17, 2012 - Apr 15, 2012

One of the most infamous scandals in financial history becomes a dynamic new theatrical event that was a sold-out sensation in London. Crafted as sprawling tragedy mixed with savage comedy, Enron follows a group of ambitious men and women through the breathtaking rush of greed and fraud that led to a legendary financial collapse. Along the way we gain disturbing insight into the backroom secrets of big business and confront a world where appearance has little relation to reality.

The Front Page

Apr 12, 2011 - Jul 17, 2011

In this landmark comedy set inside the crowded pressroom at Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building during the 1920s, a group of reporters cover a controversial execution and expose the rampant corruption, scandal and hi-jinx associated with Windy City politics and journalism. TimeLine is thrilled to revive a quintessential Chicago classic and to highlight for audiences the wealth of local history embedded in Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s hilarious and semi-autobiographical script.

In Darfur

Chicago Premiere

Jan 19, 2011 - Mar 20, 2011

Playwright Winter Miller’s experiences accompanying Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in Sudan inform this provocative account of the horrors of genocide. In a camp for internally displaced persons in Darfur, three lives intertwine — an aid worker trying to save lives, a Darfuri woman searching for safety and a journalist who believes that one front-page story can help stop the madness. Together they tell an intense, inspired-by-real-life story that demands international attention.

To Master the Art

World Premiere

Oct 26, 2010 - Dec 19, 2010

Commissioned by TimeLine in 2008, this world premiere recalls the adventure and romance of Julia and Paul Child’s journey of discovery to Paris during the 1950s. From the bistro where Julia fell in love with food, to the kitchen table where she recreated everything learned during cooking class, to a room where Paul was grilled by U.S. agents about alleged Communist contact, this is the story of a larger-than-life culinary icon and her remarkable husband as they struggle to find themselves as Americans abroad.

The Farnsworth Invention

Chicago Premiere

Apr 14, 2010 - Jun 13, 2010

From Aaron Sorkin, the creator of The West Wing and A Few Good Mencomes this fascinating new play direct from Broadway. Two ambitious visionaries — Philo T. Farnsworth, an Idaho farmboy, and David Sarnoff, head of RCA — battle through corporate espionage, family tragedy, financial disaster and the thrill of discovery for the rights to one of the greatest inventions of all time: the television.

When She Danced

Nov 4, 2009 - Dec 20, 2009

Visit Paris in 1923 to eavesdrop on the bohemian life of international star Isadora Duncan — renowned as the “mother of modern dance” — in this evocative and incredibly funny portrait. A multi-lingual script of great heart mixes the high comedy of a colorful cast of characters with a poignant view of how art can move and inspire us.

The History Boys

Chicago Premiere

Apr 22, 2009 - Oct 19, 2009

The recipient of more than 30 major awards, including Tony and Olivier awards for Best New Play, The History Boys follows a rambunctious group of clever young men as they pursue higher learning, games, sexual identity and a place at university under the guidance of three wildly different teachers and a headmaster obsessed with results. Set during the 1980s in northern England, it is a hilarious and provocative play about the anarchy of adolescence and the purpose of education — specifically, how history should be taught.

The History Boys premiered in London at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre in May 2004. It played to sell-out audiences for an extended run before touring to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia in 2006. The play premiered on Broadway in April 2006 and received six Tony Awards. It has also been adapted into a feature film.

Not Enough Air

World Premiere

Jan 21, 2009 - Mar 22, 2009

This world premiere drama Not Enough Air follows famed journalist-turned-playwright Sophie Treadwell as she is drawn into the real-life tragedy of Ruth Snyder’s 1928 murder trial. Treadwell is haunted by Ruth’s story and finds herself compelled to bring it to the stage in the form of her landmark play Machinal, acclaimed as one of the high points of expressionist theater on an American stage. In this astonishing exploration of media sensationalism and ethics as well as interpretation and manipulation in the creative process, Obolensky illuminates the lives of two women who pushed against the limitations and expectations imposed upon them by society.

Weekend

Chicago Premiere

Aug 20, 2008 - Oct 12, 2008

Written and set during the 1968 presidential campaign, Weekend is a witty comedy about a Republican Senator who is about to announce his candidacy for his party’s nomination when his son arrives with shocking — and potentially politically damaging — news. Prejudice, blackmail, self-righteousness and opportunism become a potent mix as the candidate and his handlers conspire with well-calculated maneuvers to save the day.

Fiorello! (remount)

Apr 13, 2008 - Jul 20, 2008

Ahead of its time when it premiered in 1959 and now often called a neglected masterpiece, Fiorello! is a classic Broadway musical that features heartbreaking ballads (“When Did I Fall in Love”), rousing chorus numbers (“Politics and Poker”) and melodic showstoppers (“Little Tin Box”) to tell the story of one small, honest man’s struggle against corruption in big-city politics.

With guts and perseverance, Fiorello H. LaGuardia put a bright, new shine on “The Big Apple” and became one of the most enduring figures of the 20th century.

Dolly West's Kitchen

Chicago Premiere

Jan 22, 2008 - Mar 22, 2008

During World War II in Ireland’s County Donegal, the close-knit West family has love and laughter in the safety of Dolly’s kitchen to distract itself from fears of the war nearby. But their plan to escape involvement is shattered when one of their own brings a British and two American soldiers across the border and into their midst. Soon clashes over issues of loyalty, jealousy, sexual identity and love invade the neutrality of Dolly West’s kitchen. This hilarious and poignant play invites us to feel the souls of its characters and reflect on the uncharted paths we’re led to by our choices.

Tesla's Letters

Chicago Premiere

Nov 6, 2007 - Dec 23, 2007

Ideas about war and peace, the uses of science and the exercise of humanity reverberate in this witty, suspenseful, intellectual puzzle of a drama. An American student travels to the former Yugoslavia in 1997 to research the work of Nikola Tesla, the Croatian-born Serbian scientist who invented electricity as we use it today. But as she delves deeper into Tesla’s life and homeland, she is soon forced to make a decision about whether to get involved with the unexpected world of turmoil and suffering around her.

Paradise Lost

Aug 21, 2007 - Oct 21, 2007

Reportedly considered by Odets himself to be his best and most significant work,Paradise Lost is an intense family drama set amid the vast landscape of social and economic challenges faced during the Great Depression. How will financial misfortune affect the values, personalities, relationships and aspirations of the well-educated, middle-class Gordons and their close circle of friends?

Odets’ passionate characters speak with a fast-talking language that sings with big dreams and optimism for the future, despite daunting odds.

Widowers' Houses

May 5, 2007 - Jun 1, 2007

Written and set in 1892, Widowers’ Houses is a hilarious yet scathing look at the ethics of making money. When a young doctor learns that his future father-in-law has earned his wealth by renting slum housing to the poor, the doctor refuses the dirty dowry that awaits him. But he must reconsider his righteous stance when he discovers alarming news about the source of his own income. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see George Bernard Shaw’s first play — the one that launched his career as one of the wittiest and most widely produced writers of his generation.

The Children's Hour

Oct 31, 2006 - Dec 17, 2006

Inspired by a 19th-century legal case, Lillian Hellman’s landmark drama premiered in 1934 to great acclaim amid tremendous controversy — the play was initially banned in several major cities and the Pulitzer committee refused to attend.

When an angry student accuses two female boarding school teachers of having an affair, the results are devastating. As their lives fall apart, the women struggle to clear their stained reputations amidst a flurry of attacks and questions about the basis of the allegations. Director Nick Bowling delivers a bold, innovative staging of this provocative classic.

The General from America

Chicago Premiere

Aug 22, 2006 - Oct 8, 2006

Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Nelson’s powerful drama about the early, uncertain birth of America introduces us to the new country’s most notorious traitor, General Benedict Arnold. Betraying his reputation as a Revolutionary War hero, Arnold makes an uncharacteristic decision to defect to the British and surrender West Point, a plot that threatens to derail the war. What caused this founding father to betray his fellow colonists? The General from America delves into the complex story of one man’s life, his honor, and the stunning choice that would make him infamous.

Time praised The General from Americaas one of the 10 best plays of 2002, calling it “politically savvy, morally complex and theatrically cunning” and The Spectator praised it and its author as “a rich, rare and remarkable triumph on the stage … in play after play, Nelson has established himself as that contemporary stage rarity, a civilized, urbane, literate, acidic ironist in an age of urban thuggery.”

Fiorello!

May 2, 2006 - Jun 18, 2006

Ahead of its time when it premiered in 1959 and now often called a neglected masterpiece, Fiorello! is a classic Broadway musical that features heartbreaking ballads (“When Did I Fall in Love”), rousing chorus numbers (“Politics and Poker”) and melodic showstoppers (“Little Tin Box”) to tell the story of one small, honest man’s struggle against corruption in big-city politics.

With guts and perseverance, Fiorello H. LaGuardia put a bright, new shine on “The Big Apple” and became one of the most enduring figures of the 20th century.

Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom

Chicago Premiere

Feb 7, 2006 - Mar 26, 2006

Originally produced to great acclaim in London in 2004 and a subsequent hit Off-Broadway, Guantanamo is based on interviews with the families of men detained in Guantanamo Bay. This stirring drama weaves together riveting personal stories, legal opinion and political debate, putting a human face on the world’s headlines and examining the divisive line between maintaining national security and protecting human rights.

A Man for All Seasons

Nov 1, 2005 - Dec 18, 2005

First staged in 1960, Robert Bolt’s masterpiece is a ferocious battle between church and state, faith and politics, and one man’s struggle to maintain his principles when he is pressured to abandon them. When England’s Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, is asked by Henry VIII to annul his marriage so he can re-marry, More is torn between serving his King or staying true to his beliefs. His defiance of Henry ignites a political firestorm and forces More to pay the price of his disloyalty.

Martin Furey's Shot

World Premiere

May 3, 2005 - Jun 19, 2005

Written by veteran Chicago actor Maureen Gallagher, MARTIN FUREY’S SHOT takes us into the life and work of a photojournalist as he moves between his home in Chicago and the violence of the war zones he covers. Martin tries to balance the horrors he has seen in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and pre-election South Africa with the normalcy he is expected to return to with his family and girlfriend. With his fellow photographers, Martin captures the struggles and dreams of a nation awaiting Nelson Mandela even as his own life falls apart.

This Happy Breed

Nov 3, 2004 - Dec 19, 2004

A rarely produced gem, THIS HAPPY BREED exposes a different side of Noel Coward. This touching and emotional drama focuses on the conflict, frustration and love within a middle class British family during 20 years of peace between the two World Wars.