Chicago Premiere

August 16 – December 3, 2017

“If you stick round long enough, the same ideas come round again and again. Wearing a different coloured tie.”

A portrait of a dynamic and provocative woman—the symbol of a nation—as she weathers decades of history and political strife. Every Tuesday afternoon for more than 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has met with her Prime Ministers in a private audience, a gesture of unity between government and Crown. Through moments of tension, negotiation, war, and unrest, these conversations with political leaders from Winston Churchill to Harold Wilson to Margaret Thatcher have remained a constant across the years. Playwright Peter Morgan re-imagines these meetings, giving us a glimpse at the queen’s role in guiding the circumstances that have shaped Great Britain, and a window into the mystery, compassion and humor of the woman behind the iconic crown.

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Production Team


  • Caron Buinis
    Queen Elizabeth II; Thatcher, Bobo, Secretary, Security Officer (Aug 16 - Nov 20)
  • Vince Kracht
    Equerry; Churchill, Wilson, Blair, Archbishop (Nov 24 - Dec 3)
  • James Sparling
    Major, Brown, Eden, Cameron, Detective
  • Sarafina Vecchio
    Queen Elizabeth II; Thatcher, Bobo, Secretary, Security Officer (Nov 24 - Dec 3)

* Member of Actors Equity Association

# Member of United Scenic Artists

~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

+ TimeLine Company Member

^ TimeLine Associate Artist

§ TimeLine Playwrights Collective


  • Chicago Tribune

    August 28, 2017

    ★ ★ ★ “A smart, juicy and gossipy exploration of the queen’s complex relationship with decades of democratically elected heads of state. … Nick Bowling, who directs TimeLine Theatre’s simple but enjoyable Chicago premiere, has both a more intimate toolbox at his behest and a few fresh ideas, including a cheeky final sequence. I won’t spoil the surprise.”

    —Chris Jones

  • Daily Herald

    August 25, 2017

    ★ ★ ★ ½ “In poker, a royal flush beats all. For the theatrical equivalent, look to the cast of TimeLine Theatre’s impeccably executed production of The Audience … [an] affectionate, eloquent revival, astutely staged in-the-round … It makes us believe we know a woman raised to be unknowable.”

    —Barbara Vitello

  • Chicago Theatre Review

    August 27, 2017

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.Sheer theatrical heaven … This accomplished, three-dimensional portrayal of Queen Elizabeth given by Janet Ulrich Brooks should place her in contention for Chicago’s own award for Best Actress in a Play. She is, in a word, incredible. … An evening of royal splendor.”

    —Colin Douglas

  • Stage and Cinema

    August 25, 2017

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “Employing five of Chicago’s top thespians, Nick Bowling superbly conducts the dramatic orchestrations of Morgan’s The Audience. It’s a perfect choice for TimeLine … The bravura result is a feat of cunning contrasts, glorious gossip, intellectual imaginings, and pyrotechnical performances.”

    —Lawrence Bommer

  • Newcity Stage

    August 29, 2017

    RECOMMENDED. “Peter Morgan’s script finds an unexpected, but satisfactory, marriage with director Nick Bowling’s intimate look at a leader who is known for her privacy. It is the delicate balance of presenting a sheltered, privileged royal yet a meticulous, empathetic civil servant that distinguishes [Janet Ulrich] Brooks’ portrayal of the Queen.”

    —Danielle Levsky

  • Picture This Post

    August 25, 2017

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. “TimeLine Theatre company brings history alive, as always…Janet Ulrich Brooks’ performance as this Queen Elizabeth II through the decades animates The Audience with both gravitas and sizzle. … If you too are the kind of theater junkie that will always get a thrill from watching super talented actors morph seamlessly into multiple characters you will also find much of that here too. … If you adore historical fiction or are a history buff, The Audience should likely be your top pick for a night out on the town.

    —Amy Munice

  • Around the Town Chicago

    August 25, 2017

    “Under the clever direction of Nick Bowling, this two-hour-fifteen minute [play] never seems to drag … The cast is superb! The acting is all Jeff-Award ‘worthy’ for sure.”

    —Alan Bresloff

  • TheaterMania

    August 25, 2017

    ” [Janet Ulrich] Brooks rises to the task with grace and skill, using precise variations in her voice and posture to move between decades … In the capable hands of its director and leading lady, The Audience offers an engrossing glimpse into the mind and heart of the world’s longest-reigning monarch.”

    —Adelaide Lee

  • PerformInk

    August 25, 2017

    “An accomplished actor, Ulrich Brooks is indefatigably watchable … The ensemble joining Ulrich Brooks’ Queen could be considered Chicago acting royalty unto themselves.

    —Bec Willett

  • Chicago Theater Beat

    August 29, 2017

    ★ ★ ★ “A fascinating must-see for fans of the British monarchy … Well-written and thoroughly researched, The Audience is a refreshing reminder that most leaders take their lot in life incredibly seriously and are forever called to serve their country.”

    —Lauren Whalen

  • Windy City Times

    August 30, 2017

    “Director Nick Bowling embraces their commercial-savvy expedience to create a milieu allowing the formidable Janet Ulrich Brooks and the sturdy Matt DeCaro, Marc Ulrich and Carmen Roman to lend their personae a playful charm never spilling into caricature.”

    —Mary Shen Barnidge

  • Buzz Center Stage

    August 31, 2017

    RECOMMENDED.You don’t need to be an Anglophile to love The Audience. … [An] engaging stroll through history … Janet Ulrich Brooks is so seriously good here.”

    —Bill Esler

  • The Hawk Chicago

    August 30, 2017

    RECOMMENDED. “Giving one of the best Chicago performances of 2017, Brooks somehow manages to physically and emotionally alter her portrayal for each time period expertly. … [She] offers up a performance worthy of a packed audience.”

    —Emily Schmidt

  • Hyde Park Herald

    September 13, 2017

    “[A] stellar actress surrounded by a highly capable cast in a production that’s especially commendable for its intimacy.”

    —Anne Spiselman

  • Chicago Onstage

    November 16, 2017

    ★★★★ “Thoroughly marvelous … A Queen Elizabeth who is real and emotional and honest and, most of all, human.”

    —Karen Topham

  • Arts and About

    August 29, 2017

    “Director Nick Bowling’s staging is masterful. … Janet Ulrich Brooks gives a commanding performance as Elizabeth. It is a performance not to be missed. … You, reader, should make a beeline for TimeLine to catch this totally satisfying drama while the Queen remains in residence.”

    —Tom Mullaney


  • Chicago Sun-Times

    August 17, 2017

    Mary Houlihan sits down with TimeLine Company Member and The Audience star Janet Ulrich Brooks in this Chicago Sun-Times feature on Janet’s unusual path to the stage, her rise in Chicago, and her “chameleon like” work to become England’s iconic ruler.

    —Mary Houlihan

    Read the full feature

  • AScene Chicago

    September 24, 2017

    Meet one of the young actresses that plays Young Elizabeth in TimeLine’s premiere of The Audience, Sophie Ackerman.

    —Mia Park

    Read the full feature

  • WDCB 90.9

    August 29, 2017

    WDCB’s Gary Zidek talks to actress Janet Ulrich Brooks about playing the Queen in TimeLine’s production of The Audience.

    —Gary Zidek

Discussions & Events

  • MyLine Preview Pizza Party: THE AUDIENCE
    Thursday, August 17 at 6:45 pm

    Pizza, drinks and a special pre-show discussion before THE AUDIENCE.

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  • Open Captioned Performance of THE AUDIENCE
    Saturday, September 16 at 4pm

    Featuring a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance.

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  • THE AUDIENCE: PRE-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for an informal sneak peek into THE AUDIENCE with members of the production team.

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  • THE AUDIENCE: Company Member Discussion
    Sunday, September 24

    Join us for an informal chat with TimeLine’s Company Members after today’s performance.

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  • THE AUDIENCE: Sunday Scholars Series
    Sunday, October 1 at 4:00 pm

    This one-hour post-show panel discussion features experts on the themes of the play.

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  • THE AUDIENCE: Post-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for informal post-show discussions with members of the production team and cast.

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