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New Works, Timeless Classics: Illinois Theatre’s 2023-24 Season at Krannert Center

The Illinois Theatre 2023-24 season offers comedy, satire, music, and powerful emotional resonances with adaptations of dazzling new works and iconic classics. “These productions explore gamesmanship and gameplaying—whether we see characters who win or lose at playing pretend, watch the rise of a demagogue or the return of a devil who learn to game corrupt systems, or play the games ourselves,” said Associate Professor Valleri Robinson, Head of the Department of Theatre.  “This season invites you to roll the dice and see what’s in store!”


The season kicks off in September with Birds of North America, a new play-in-progress by Illinois alum and New York-based playwright Matthew-Lee Erlbach. Erlbach returns to Illinois as the theatre department’s 2023 Sullivan Playwright-in-Residence to develop his latest work prior to the opening of his play Revelations on Broadway this fall. Birds of North America, a searing dark comedy-drama about immigration, technology, and the American Dream, will be directed by Latrelle Bright and presented as readings on September 15 and 16 in the Studio Theatre.


The fall season continues in October with a production of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer-Prize winning rock musical Rent, directed by Lisa Gaye Dixon and J. W. Morrissette and staged at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign. Rent tells the story of a group of young artists struggling to make a life in New York City during a time of political and cultural instability, under the shadow of the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis. In November, director Aaron Munoz brings audiences a captivating theatrical experience in The Realness: A break beat play, by Idris Goodwin. The Realness combines spoken word, rap, and traditional dialogue in a hip-hop tale of love and authenticity set in the late 1990s.


Illinois Theatre’s Spring 2024 productions include Witch, by Jen Silverman, a darkly comedic adaptation of a Jacobean drama with Faustian echoes directed by Latrelle Bright; Airness, Chelsea Marcantel’s exuberant comedy about the competitive air guitar circuit directed by Jordan Coughtry; and I Wish, an original escape room experience directed by Genesee Spridco and Amber Dewey Schultz. The season will wrap up in April with The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, Bertolt Brecht’s satirical allegory of Hitler’s rise to power set in 1930s Chicago, directed by Robert G. Anderson.


Tickets for fall productions are now available at; spring production tickets will go on sale to the public on November 15.

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