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Chicago Premiere

January 31 – March 24, 2024

Witness the powerful stories of 19 individuals fighting to overcome and transform America’s education and criminal justice systems.

THIS STRIKINGLY INTIMATE PIECE presents snapshots from a variety of real people, documenting their intersections with the American dream and the obstacles that work to block them from it. Utilizing verbatim dialogue pulled from more than 250 accounts from students, faculty, prisoners, activists, politicians, and victims’ families, Notes from the Field takes audiences on an emotional journey through the faults and injustices of an American criminal justice system that seems more focused on incarceration over education. Deeply human, profoundly moving, and full of moments of humor, compassion, and resilience, it’s a masterful work that asks you to observe, be present, and join the call for urgent and necessary change.

Originally performed by creator Anna Deavere Smith as a one-woman show, in TimeLine’s Chicago premiere, three actors weave together narratives of change makers, activists, and those caught within the system for an evening of theatre unlike anything you’ve experienced before.


CONTENT ADVISORY: To learn more about the specific content and themes of this production, please visit our content advisory page.


Runs approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, with one intermission

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Chicago Premiere

November 1 – December 23, 2023

A comedic showdown between truth and fact set in the world of non-fiction publishing.

JIM FINGAL IS AN EAGER YOUNG INTERN at a high-profile magazine hoping to impress his demanding editor-in-chief, Emily Penrose. When assigned the job of fact-checking legendary writer John D’Agata’s essay about the city of Las Vegas, Jim discovers a huge problem: many of the essay’s details were made up. As the publication deadline looms, a battle between truth and fact ensues in a gripping and fast-paced comedic showdown.

Drawing from true events surrounding real-life Jim Fingal’s fact-checking of the John D’Agata essay “What Happens There,” The Lifespan of a Fact has been praised as “a smart and engaging exploration of the nature of truth and the role of the media in society,” (Chicago Tribune) and “a tightly written and expertly crafted play that keeps the audience riveted from start to finish” (The New York Times).

The book on which the play is based, The Lifespan of a Fact, received critical attention from national media including NPRThe New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. It was subsequently named a “Top 10 Most Crucial Book” by the editors of Slate, a “Best Book of the Year” by The Huffington Post, and an Editor’s Choice by The New York Times Book Review. 

The stage adaptation opened on Broadway in 2018, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Bobby Cannavale, and Cherry Jones.


CONTENT ADVISORY: To learn more about the specific content and themes of this production, please visit our content advisory page.

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Chicago Premiere

September 19 - November 26, 2023

TimeLine presents the Chicago premiere production of the 2022 Tony Award winner for Best Play!

Told in three parts over one evening, The Lehman Trilogy is the quintessential story of western capitalism, rendered through the lens of a single immigrant family. On a cold September morning in 1844, a young Jewish man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is soon joined by his two brothers, and an American epic begins. 163 years later, the firm they establish—Lehman Brothers—spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, triggering the largest financial crisis in history. Weaving together nearly two centuries of family history, this theatrical event charts the humble beginnings, outrageous successes, and devastating failure of the financial institution that would ultimately bring the global economy to its knees.

Throughout its production history, The Lehman Trilogy has been met with extraordinary international acclaim. The Guardian proclaimed the original production “a kaleidoscopic social and political metaphor” and “an intimate epic about the shifting definition of the American Dream.” The Chicago Tribune praised it as “a masterwork” and The New York Times as “a vivid tale of profit and pain.” Vanity Fair raved that it is “true blockbuster theatre that will hold you captive until the final curtain call,” with Time Out New York saying “it leaves you dazzled.” And the Wall Street Journal declared that The Lehman Trilogy “surpasses all praise.”

The Lehman Trilogy is supported in part by Richard and Diane Weinberg

Single tickets to The Lehman Trilogy are only available through Broadway In Chicago. Please visit their website to purchase.


A digital lottery for a limited number of $25 seats will be held for every performance of The Lehman Trilogy. Seat locations and the number of tickets awarded by the lottery are always subject to availability. Click here for details and to enter.


CONTENT ADVISORY: To learn more about the specific content and themes of this production, please visit our content advisory page.

May 10 – July 2, 2023

The first Chicago-based production of the Tony Award-nominated Pulitzer Prize finalist!

Fifteen-year-old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and guttingly human debate-meets-play, she resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the relationship between four generations of women—all while grappling with the founding document that, for better and worse, shapes their lives.

What the Constitution Means to Me is a “slyly crafted piece of persuasion and a tangible contribution to the change it seeks” (The New York Times) and a “singularly charming, politically urgent and cathartically necessary play” (Los Angeles Times) that shows “how broad concepts of law and governance effect individual lives in the most intimate ways” (The Guardian)

A sensation upon its premiere at New York Theatre Workshop in 2018, What the Constitution Means to Me went on to a five-month Broadway run. TimeOut New York declared: “Here is something that every citizen must see. It’s theater in the old sense, the Greek sense, a place where civic society can come together and do its thinking and fixing and planning.”

Today, What the Constitution Means to Me is bound to feel even more relevant, profound, and searing than during its original run and Broadway debut. In the end, Shreck’s personal stories reflect our own, as does her passion, her laughter, and her outrage at a document that deserves to be challenged as much as it is upheld.

“Here is something that every citizen must see”


HEALTH AND SAFETY: TimeLine is currently requiring mask-wearing at all Thursday evening, Sunday matinee, and Distanced Seating performances of What the Constitution Means to Me. While masking is no longer required at most performances, TimeLine will support an individual’s choice to mask. For more information, please visit our Health & Safety policies.


CONTENT ADVISORY: To learn more about the specific content and themes of this production, please visit our content advisory page.

What the Constitution Means to Me runs approximately 1 hour, 40 minutes with no intermission

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World Premiere

February 1 – March 19, 2023

An historic night at the Oscars.
A
dream of what could have been.

Set on the night in 1940 that Hattie McDaniel made history at the Oscars, a story of dreamers striving to overcome considerable obstacles and fighting for recognition amidst the racism and inequity of Hollywood.

IT IS FEBRUARY 29, 1940, the night of the Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. Bartender Arthur Brooks, an ambitious Black man from rural Alabama, dreams of becoming a movie director. His best friend, Dottie Hudson, is a maid at the Ambassador Hotel who finds herself to be a cynic of all dreams. When the actress Hattie McDaniel stops in at the bar and decides not to attend the biggest event in show business, Arthur and Dottie do everything in their power to convince her to go and claim her historic win—while confronting their dark past and making their own dreams come to life.

This play about race, class, gender, and the ever-changing landscape of Hollywood has previously had public readings at The Echo Theatre Company (featuring TimeLine Company Member Mildred Marie Langford) and Morgan-Wixson Theatre’s New Works Festival. TimeLine’s production is its world premiere.


Boulevard of Bold Dreams runs 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission

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November 2 – December 18, 2022

A cutting yet humorous behind-the-curtain drama that examines pervasive racial dynamics within the American theatre and the tolls of superficial representation on stage.

ACCLAIMED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES as “a rich, unsettling play that lives up to its title [and] lingers in one’s memory long after its conclusion.”

At a Broadway theater in New York City in the mid-1950s, a group of actors has gathered for their first day rehearsing a new play called Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching Southern drama. But as the cast rehearses, tensions flare between Wiletta, the Black actress in the starring role, and her white director about his interpretation of the play. What emerges is an explosive investigation of interracial politics and the need for a cultural shift in theatre and America.

Written by Alice Childress—the first Black woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City—Trouble in Mind recently enjoyed an acclaimed Broadway production nominated for four 2022 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play. The critics raved that this “masterpiece of astonishing power” (New York Magazine) is “the play of the moment” (The New York Times) and “will take your breath away” (Associated Press).


PLEASE NOTE: TimeLine is currently requiring mask-wearing to attend. These protocols are subject to change as the pandemic evolves. For the most updated information about TimeLine’s Health & Safety policies, click here …


Trouble in Mind runs 2 hours, 15 minutes including one intermission

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World Premiere

August 3 - September 25, 2022

Based on the true story of Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker, who formed the first political consulting firm in U.S. history, Campaigns, Inc. is a hysterical and jaw-dropping inside look at the underbelly of politics through the lens of two of the undeniable founders of “fake news.”

IT IS 1934, and famous novelist Upton Sinclair is all but guaranteed to become the first Democratic governor of the state of California—until a young, unknown pair of consultants from the shadows of the challenger’s campaign attempt to take him down. As Frank Merriam and Sinclair battle it out in the spotlight—seeking endorsements from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and FDR—Baxter and Whitaker work behind-the-scenes to methodically construct one of the most spectacular, unbelievable, and star-studded smear campaigns ever.

This world premiere play was developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine’s mission. Campaigns, Inc. is the third play developed through the Collective to receive a full production, following Brett Neveu’s To Catch a Fish (2018) and Tyla Abercrumbie’s Relentless (TimeLine and Goodman Theatre, 2022). Campaigns, Inc. received its first public reading as part of our inaugural First Draft Playwrights Collective Festival in 2018.

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