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Jenny Avery Artistic Director

Jim Davis Producing Director

Proudly presents the Midwest Premiere of

By Julia Cho Directed by Lisa Portes Scenic Designer Keith Pitts

Costume Designer Alex Meadows

Lighting Designer Gina Patterson

Composer/Sound Designer Victoria DeIorio

Production Stage Manager Richard Lundy* The Piano Teacher runs one hour and ten minutes. There is no intermission. The Piano Teacher is presented by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Company. The Piano Teacher was commissioned and first produced by South Coast Repertory. The Piano Teacher was produced by the Vineyard Theatre. Douglas Aibel, Artistic Director, New York City, October 2007 The 2010-11 Season is sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, state agency.

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation The Schubert Foundation The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation The Alphawood Foundation Next Theatre Company 1


T H E P I A N O T E AC H E R Time: Now. Mrs K’s living room and kitchen. Cast (in order of appearance) Mrs. K...................................................................................................................Mary Ann Thebus* Mary................................................................................................................................. Sadieh Rifai Michael..................................................................................................................... Manny Buckley Production Staff Production Manager..................................................................................................Patrick Fries Technical Director..................................................................................................Dan Matthews Assistant Stage Manager................................................................................... Alfredo Aguilar Properties Master.............................................................................................Doug Kupferman Master Electrician.....................................................................................................Mac Vaughey Charge Scenic Artist........................................................................................Coco Ree Lemery Sound Engineer....................................................................................................Kara Goldsmith Assistant Director....................................................................................................... Azar Kazemi Next Theatre Staff Artistic Director........................................................................................................... Jenny Avery Producing Director..........................................................................................................Jim Davis Audience Services Manager...................................................................................Amy Buckler Production Manager..................................................................................................Patrick Fries Public Relations Consultant...................................... Shout Marketing & Media Relations Graphic Designer................................................................................................... Robert Waters Insurance.................................................................................................Paczolt Financial Group *Member Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

N E X T T H E AT R E B OA R D A N D A S S O C I AT E S Board of Directors Judy Kemp, President Jeff Emrich, Treasurer Ann Zastrow, Secretary Robert Andalman Muriel Chalem Arnold Kanter Jordan Nerenberg Greg Rothman David Saunders Ralph Segal Adrienne Voltattorni John Wertymer 2 Next Theatre Company

Artistic Associates Jenny Avery David Cromer Victoria DeIorio Diane Fairchild Laura T. Fisher Jennifer Gadda Allen Gilmore Cindy Gold Sarah Gubbins Tim Hendrickson Scotty Iseri Celise Kalke Carson Kreitzer

Richard Lundy Bill McGough Michael Montenegro Bill O’Connor Justin D.M. Palmer Keith Parham Lisa Portes Wendy Robie Joshua Schmidt Kimberly Senior Michelle Tesdall Penelope Walker Natalie West Joseph Wycoff


N O T E F R O M T H E A R T I S T I C D I R E C TO R Dear Theatregoer, One of the rare pleasures of being the Artistic Director is being a part of the alltoo-important script selection process. While reconfiguring our season, the director Lisa Portes and I worked hard to find a script that would be worthy of the first slot in our 30th Anniversary Season. When Lisa gave me the script for The Piano Teacher, I was immediately swept up in the character of Mrs. K and her very touching, very unsettling journey. It seems like the perfect story to share with all of you. “my story by contrast is a small one.” Playwright Julia Cho has said in interviews that the impetus for writing this play was a phone call from one of her old piano teachers.  As a teacher myself, I have also had the urge to contact former students – to see how they are getting on, if they have continued to pursue a career in the arts, if I had any sort of lasting impact on their lives.  I must admit I have never acted upon that impulse – how would I find them?  What would I say?  What would they say?  Would they think I was sad and pathetic?  I have had a couple of former teachers reach out to me over the years, and although I have been pleased to hear from them, the experience has often been bittersweet – an immediately ironic rush of memory and pleasure at being thought of, with an aftertaste of sadness. But for what?  My youth?  My potential?  Or do my memories release other memories? “Really, what is so wonderful about honesty.” When Mrs. K reaches out to her former students she doesn’t know exactly what she will unleash.  Her desire to connect is seemingly innocent, but is it?  Does Mrs. K. know somewhere inside her what will happen when she makes those phone calls?  Does she, on some level, want the truth to finally come out?   “and if he was really all those things, what does it say about me that I loved him?” I hope that as you watch this amazing, mysterious, and scary play you will ponder the same questions I do – Did Mrs. K. know what was happening in her kitchen all those years ago and if she did, should she be held responsible for her husband’s actions?  Can atrocities perpetrated a world away reach us inside the comfort of our own homes and if so, what is the antidote? As Next officially launches our 30th Anniversary season, I am honored to be the first to share this vital and provocative piece with all of you.  I look forward to a thought-provoking conversation!

Jenny Avery Artistic Director

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PROFILES Mary Ann Thebus* (Mrs. K) Mary Ann Thebus has been active in Chicago area Stage, Film and TV productions for over 20 years. She has performed on most off loop stages as well as the Goodman, Court and Northlight and has done stints in Wisconsin, California and New York. Her last performance at Next was in the play Well. She was most recently seen in Chicago Shakespeare’s Richard III and in January will be doing Joel Johnson’s The Boy’s Room at Victory Gardens. She is a 2002 recipient of an After Dark Award, is a 10 time Jeff nominee and is a teacher of acting both privately and at The Artistic Home.

outstanding performance. Other credits include understudying the role of Johnna Monevata in August: Osage County and Ski Dubai (Steppenwolf Theatre). Sadieh is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf. This spring you can see her in the original Grease at American Theater Company. She is also very proud to be part of the web series Bad Sides. Sadieh would like to thank her family, Lisa and Dan. Lisa Portes (Director) is thrilled to return to Next Theatre, where she has been an Artistic Associate for nearly a decade.  Previously at Next: In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks and Far Away by Caryl Churchill. Recent credits:  Ghostwritten (Goodman Theatre) and After a Hundred Years (Guthrie Theatre) both by Naomi Iizuka, Ski Dubai by Laura Jacqmin and Spare Change by Mia McCullough (Steppenwolf Theatre First Look Repertory of New Work), Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue by Quiara Hudes (Rivendell Ensemble & Teatro Vista), Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons (Northlight Theatre) and Electricidad, Hamlet, Cloud Nine and Three Sisters (DePaul University). New York credits: Wilder by Erin Cressida Wilson and The Red Clay Ramblers (Playwrights Horizons), Hurricane by Erin Wilson and Fur by Migdalia Cruz (Soho Rep). Upcoming:  don’t miss the outrageously indulgent Pinkalicious at Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences.  Lisa serves as Artistic Director for Chicago Playworks and heads the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Manny Buckley (Michael) is delighted to join Next Theatre. He also appeared in Of Mice and Men (Steppenwolf ), Streamers and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Gift Theatre and Victory Gardens), The Rant (Mary Arrchie), The Boys Next Door (Jedlicka), and The Lost Boys of Sudan (u/s) (Victory Gardens). Before Chicago, Manny toured with Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, appearing in multiple roles including the lead in The Satchel Paige Story. Manny has also performed in Slovokia in the English Language Theatre Festival and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Manny was honored to be hailed by the Chicago Tribune as one of six hot new stars to watch on the Richard Lundy* (Production Stage Chicago theater scene. Manager) returns to Next Theatre after stage managing Oh Coward and The Sadieh Rifai (Mary) is Maids at Writers’ Theatre. Chicago credits delighted to be include The U.N. Inspector, 9 Parts of Desire, making her Next American Dream Songbook, Defiance, Theatre debut. The Busy World is Hushed, Frozen, The Chicago credits Adding Machine: A Chamber Musical, Miss include Welcome to Witherspoon, Helen, Fabulation, The Long Arroyo’s, Hedwig and Christmas Ride Home (Next), Suburban the Angry Inch, Motel (Famous Door), Pyretown (Victory Distracted and Speech and Debate Gardens Theater), Speed the Plow, Chicago (American Theater Company) for which Conspiracy Trial, Mishuganismo (Remains), she received an After Dark award for Mrs. Warren’s Profession, From the Missis4 Next Theatre Company


P R O F I L E S ( c o n t .) sippi Delta (Northlight ) Other Chicago credits include: Organic Theater, Halstead Theatre Center Wisdom Bridge. Regional credits include: Cleveland Play House, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare & Company. National tour credits include Miss Saigon (Cameron Mackintosh). 24year member of Actors Equity. Married to Carmel Carroll for 17 years.

directed for Gale Edwards on Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.  Last winter she assistant directed for Ethan Hawke on A Lie of the Mind, off-Broadway at The New Group.  Some of her directing credits include: Crave by Sarah Kane, Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, Dying City by Christopher Shinn, The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute, and Tape by Stephen BelJulia Cho (Playwright) plays include ber.  This February she will be directing The Language Archive, The Piano Teacher, the Chicago premiere of Christopher Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, The Shinn’s adaption of Hedda Gabler by Architecture of Loss and 99 Histories. Her Henrik Ibsen.   work has been produced at The Public Theater, The Vineyard Theatre, Long Victoria DeIorio (Sound Design) is Wharf Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, thrilled to return to The Next afSouth Coast Repertory, New York Theter designing Defiance, Frozen (Jeff atre Workshop, East West Players, The Award Nomination), Helen, God of Hell, Theatre@Boston Court, Theater Mu and Omnium Gatherum and Yellow Man. OffSilk Road Theatre Project among others. Broadway credits: The Bluest Eye with Honors include the 2010 Susan Smith Steppenwolf Theatre at the Duke TheBlackburn Award, the Barrie Stavis atre, and Ophelia at The Connelly. AsAward, the Claire Tow Award for Emerg- sociate Off-Broadway credits: Primary ing Artists and the L. Arnold Weissberg- Stages, Urban Stages, Ensemble Studio er Award. An alumna of the Juilliard Theatre, and the Actor’s Studio Theatre. School and NYU’s Graduate Dramatic Writing Program, Julia is a member of New Dramatists. Her plays are available from Dramatists Play Service and www.playscripts.com. Alfredo Aguilar (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to be joining Next Theatre for the first time. He is a graduate from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Ma where he received his BFA in Arts Management and Theatre. Since graduating he has traveled the U.S. Stage Managing for various theatre and production companies such as Jonny Staxx Presents: Big Top Jojo; Northwestern Opera Department; Collaboraction; Pegasus Players; Trumpet in the Land; North Shore Music Theatre; Missoula Children’s Theatre; Naples Dinner Theatre; Zeitgeist Stage; and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Alfredo is excited to make Chicago his new home and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their love and support. Azar Kazemi (Assistant Director) is a 3rd year MFA director at DePaul University.  Most recently she assistant

Growing together. College preparatory education for age 3 through Grade 12.

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P R O F I L E S ( c o n t .) Regionally: The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Syracuse Stage, Indiana Rep, LA Theatre Works, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Victory Gardens Theatre, Chautauqua Theatre Company, and various theatres in and around Chicago, NY, and LA. She has been nominated for 10 Jeff Awards, receiving 5; and has received two After Dark Awards. Victoria is the head of Sound Design at The Theatre School of DePaul University. Alex Meadows (Costume Designer) is excited to be designing for Next Theatre’s production of the Piano teacher. Alex is currently the Costume Shop Manager/ Instructor for Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts and holds an MFA from North Carolina School of the Arts and a BA from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Alex is also an Associate Artist at Timeline Theatre, and was the assistant to the costume designer staff from 2000‘05 at the Goodman Theatre. Design credits include: Montana Shakespeare in the Parks; Loyola University Chicago; Timeline Theatre; Organic Theatre; A Shattered Globe, Monomoy Theatre in Chatham Mass. Alex received a Jeff nomination for Best Costume Design for the production of General from America at Timeline Theatre. Gina Patterson (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be working on her first show for Next Theatre. Gina most recently designed lights for Aiming for Sainthood and Ignition 2010! at Victory Gardens Theater, The Gin Game at Lincoln Square Theatre and Comedy of Errors and Aida at Interlochen Center for the Arts where she spends her summers teaching. Other Chicago area designs include Chaste, 12 Ophelias, Beholder and The Unconquered at Trap Door Theatre, Wings, Mountain, Uncle Vanya, Two Sisters and a Piano, A Man of No Importance, Jammin’ With Pops, Dirty Blonde and Indian Ink at Apple Tree Theatre, On The Verge with Remy Bumppo Theatre, and Bourbon at the Border with Eclipse Theatre. She has also served as assistant lighting designer on many shows, including Detroit, Endgame, The 6 Next Theatre Company

Brother/Sister Plays, and The Tempest at Steppenwolf Theatre, and The Good Negro, A True History of the Johnstown Flood, The Long Red Road and King Lear at the Goodman Theatre. Keith Pitts (Scenic Design) is pleased to be designing at The Next Theatre. Professional Theatre credits include shows at: Milwaukee Rep; Steppenwolf; Court Theatre; Writers Theatre; Victory Gardens; American Theatre Company; Northlight Theatre; Timeline Theatre; A Red Orchid Theatre; Peninsula Players Theatre; First Stage theatre; Skylight Opera; and Chambers Theatre. Film: Static with Galatrax Pictures. Current Shows: To Master the Art at Timeline Theatre. Upcoming Shows: My Son Pinocchio at First Stage, Jaques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at Skylight Opera, and Heart Break House at Writer’s Theatre. Jenny Avery (Artistic Director) has been an Artistic Associate with Next for the past five years and performed in a number of Next productions, including The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, The Long Christmas Ride Home and most recently, War with the Newts. Jennifer brings a rich experience in arts administration, having served as Development Director and Managing Director for Roadworks Productions, the Director of Education at American Theater Company, and the assistant to the Executive Director of the Harris Music and Dance Theater. She is an Associate Artistic Director of Strawdog Theatre Company, where she has been a company member for the past 11 years. Jim Davis (Producing Director) joined the Next Theatre Company staff in 2006 as Production Manager, a position he held until this last summer when he became the Producing Director. Jim has several hundred productions on his resume that span over 25 years in show business, working here in Chicago, St. Louis, New York and on tour in offBroadway, regional, stock, industrials, festivals and trade shows. Jim relocated to the Chicagoland area in the fall of 2006 from St. Louis, Missouri where he


P R O F I L E S ( c o n t .) served as the Managing Director of St. Louis Shakespeare. Also while in St. Louis, Jim found time for a busy freelance career as a Production Manager for the Working Women’s Survival Show, Executive Producer of the St. Charles Christmas Traditions Festival. As a freelancer here in Chicago he has worked for the Chicago Festivals Association as the Route Marshal Chairman the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade from 2006-2009 and is in his third season as the Production Stage Manager of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Welcome Yule! at Orchestra Hall. Jim is a proud Evanston resident and enjoys gardening in his spare time. Amy Buckler, (Audience Services Manager) re-joins the Next Theatre Company staff after starting her Chicago career as their intern. Amy has worked in marketing and development with About Face Theatre, Broadway in Chicago, the American Music Theatre Project, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre where she also managed their 2009-2010 telemarketing campaign. Additionally, Amy worked with The Neo-Futurists on their annual Pride benefit production. Amy graduated from Northwestern University where she served as the Artistic Director of Spectrum Theatre Company and directed, stage managed, and performed in numerous productions. Amy also directs with local companies including Serendipity and Twenty Percent Chicago. Patrick Fries (Production Manager) is thrilled to be working with Next Theatre once again. Pat has worked with Next on The UN Inspector, Dying City, Boom, End Days and War With the Newts. Previous credits include These Shining Lives, The Walls, Mary’s Wedding and 26 Miles (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Generic Latina 2010 and Lunatic(a)s (Teatro Luna); and Welcome Yule! (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Thanks to the usual suspects.

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NEXT ER A SOCIET Y The Next Theatre Company salutes the members of the Next Era Society – the Next’s premiere individual giving program. Safeguarding our long tradition of hard-hitting thought-provoking plays, the following individuals receive exclusive access to Next artists and events as well as special ticketing privileges. Anonymous (3) Robert & Carrie Andalman Bob & Trish Barr Susan T. Bart Muriel M. Chalem Lynne Curtis Linda W. Dillman Jeff Emrich Julianne Fahey Susan & Sy Frolichstein Edith Gaines Virginia & Gary Gerst Morris Goodman Paula Harbage David & Beth Hart Jill Huchital Ra Joy Arnold & Carol Kanter

John Keller Judy & Robert Kemp Irene Kogan Dede Kokolis John & Connie Lyman John Mahoney Fred & Una Malkinson Douglas Doetsch & Susan Manning Floyd Mittleman Jordan & Jean Nerenberg Norma Olsen Joe Goodwin & Michael Pellecchia Michael & Sandra Perlow Eleanor & William Revelle Marvin & Harriet

Robinson Neal & Denise Robinson Gregory Rothman David & Judy Saunders Carol Sittler Hugh Smith James & Sylvia Southerland David & Ingrid Stalle Elizabeth Tisdahl JoAnn & James Tomes Adrienne & Jack Voltattorni John & Karen Wertymer Ann & Jim Zastrow

If you are interested in how you or your business can support the Next Theatre, contact us at 847-475-1875 x10.

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DONORS The Next Theatre Company extends its gratitude to the following individuals, corporations, and foundations whose support enables us to continue serving as Chicagoland’s home for socially provocative and artistically adventurous work. This reflects gifts received between May 1, 2009 and October 15, 2010. NEXT ERA PRODUCERS ($5000+) Judy & Bob Kemp Jean & Jordan Nerenberg Fund For The Future Rothman Family Foundation Ralph & Nancy Segall NEXT ERA WRITERS ($3,000 – 4,999) Anonymous Robert & Carrie Andalman Jeff Emrich David & Beth Hart Arnold & Carol Kanter Norma Olsen David & Judy Saunders NEXT ERA DIRECTORS ($1,000 – 2,999) Anonymous Muriel M. Chalem Lynne E. Curtis Linda W. Dillman Joe Goodwin & Michael Pellecchia John Mahoney Fred & Una Malkinson Floyd Mittleman Eleanor & William Revelle Brady Twiggs Adrienne & Jack Voltattorni John & Karen Wertymer Nancy Williams Ann & Jim Zastrow BENEFACTORS ($500 – 999) Anonymous Marilyn Berdick Carmie & George Callobre Inge de la Camp Virginia & Gary Gerst Paula Harbage and David Gilingham 10 Next Theatre Company

Ra Joy Paul Lehman Bobbie & Warren Ruby

Nicholas Weingarten and Cynthia Winter Mary & Raymond Wexler

SUPPORTERS ($150 – 499) Anonymous Masoom Ahmed Anngail Anglum Peggy Bagley & Rabbi Douglas H. Goldhamer Kathy Berger & Louis Schorsch Joan & Julian Berman Steven & Karen Bloomberg Alvin & Barbara Chester Mary Chlebowski Stephany Creamer Sydney & Marlene Eisen Paul & Mary Finnegan Kendal & Ken Gladish Michelle & Gerald Gordon Joan & Guy Gunzberg John & Patricia Hartmann Tim Hendrickson & David De Castro Laurie Howick Janet & Michael Jablon Jeff Jens Matthew J. Keller, Jr. Tom & Joan Lindsey Wendy & Jeremy Margolis Jerry Proffit Henry & Dolores Rosenbaum Bernard & Judith Rosenstein Shirlee S. Rubenstein Natalie & Melvin Seglin Judy Silverman Lawrence & Shirley Solomon Micki Somerman & Philip Zawa Charles A. Tausche

FRIENDS ($50 – 149) Anonymous Liz & Bill Andrews Karl & Diane Berolzheimer Camille & James Blachowicz Barbara Auerbach & Anne Borish Brigid Brechling Joan & Thomas Broderick Roger & Ann Cole Tasha Deutsch Carol Doctor Howard & Carol Ellegant Ellen & Jerry Esrick Jan Feldman Yvonne & Jim Fogerty Karol Gibbs-Novy In Honor of Linda W. Dillman Sanjay & Valerie Godhwani Lois & Melvin Goldstein Sheila Goode Holly Wathan & Kenneth Green Libby Hill Lynn & Douglas Jackson Alan & Linda Jacobson In Honor of Judy Kemp Claudia Katz Pamela Kaul & Andrew Berman Phillip & Maryjane Klein Eugene & Janet Lerner Judy Levin Steven & Maureen Lewis Kathi & Fred Lieb Warren & Sally Lupel Arni & Robin Miller Ron & Beverly Offen Sheldon Patinkin Norman & Sally Raedle


D O N O R S ( c o n t .) Mary Beth & Wolfgang Roth Phil & Pat Rowland Robert & Joyce Schmit Robert & Joyce Schmit

Sandra and Richard Siegel Roxann & Jerry Specht Bill & Ingrid Stafford Jacqueline & John

Thompson Penelope Trowbridge Val True Rosalie Weiner Anne Whipple

IN KIND SUPPORT Next Theatre Company gratefully acknowledges substantial in-kind support from the following businesses and individuals: PPM America Arts and Buisness Council of Chicago Brook Weiner LLC Jim Davis Jeff Emrich Joseph Freed Associates Judy & Bob Kemp The Orrington Hotel Paczolt Financial Adrienne & Jack Voltattorni John & Karen Wertymer Whole Foods Market Ann Zastow C O M M U N I T Y PA R T N E R S Whole Foods Market, Evanston Public Library, Evanston Athletic Club

SPECIAL THANKS Next Theatre would like to thank the individuals and businesses whose generous donation of time, talent and other items have helped to make this production possible Carlos Murillo, Jermey Ramey P L E A S E V I S I T O U R D I N I N G PA R T N E R S Lulu’s Dim Sum and Oceanique are conveniently located in downtown Evanston. See their ads on pages 7 and 8 of the program for the special discounts and offers given to Next Theatre patrons on the day of theatre attendance. MISSION AND VISION Next Theatre Company produces socially provocative, artistically adventurous work. Our vision is to become a national destination for artists and audiences who share our belief that theatre can promote awareness and provoke change with more power than any other medium of expression. Next Theatre Company 11


What A Deal! It’s not too late to subscribe! Visit the box office tonight after the show to learn how you can see the rest of the season at a substantial savings

by J.T. Rogers Jan. 20 - Feb. 20, 2011

by Adam Rapp Apr. 7 - May 8, 2011

Subscriptions range from $65 to $175 for the full season depending on the performances that you choose to attend. Next Theatre Company is celebrating 30 years of professional theatre in Evanston with three exciting midwest premieres on the mainstage as well as additional performances in our What’s Next Series and What’s Next Lab. Visit our website for all of the details at www.nextttheatre.org.

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Next Theatre-The Piano Teacher