One of America’s most beloved writers will be celebrated when the Saint Sebastian Players present the world premiere of Mark Twain: Patriot, Teacher, Philosopher by SSP company member John Oster. Performances take place February 17–March 11 at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, Chicago. In addition to the regular schedule, SSP will offer a Theater Thursday performance on February 23.
Mark Twain: Patriot, Teacher, Philosopher is an evening of drama, humor, innocence and wit, including The War Prayer, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, The French Duel, Running for Governor and more. “The emphasis of the text is on Twain’s patriotism, his philosophy and his lifelong quest to change the world and make it a better place as he tries to make the people in it better,” commented Oster. “We want audiences to see the Twain beyond Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The production features live music that will get your feet stompin’ and your blood pumpin’!”
Making his SSP directing debut is Stephen F. Murray, whose past Chicago directing credits include The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Fall of the House of Usher for City Lit, and Spring Awakening and Our Country’s Good for Promethean Theatre Ensemble, where he was artistic director from 2005 through 2009. The cast includes SSP members Victoria Montalbano and Todd Parkhurst, as well as Keith Glab, Brian Hurst, Kelsi Karch, Dylan Parkes, David Pass, Eric Prahl, Judi Schindler, Jim Shinkle, Catherine Stegemann, Laura Stephenson and Emily Vallillo. David Fink is music director, Ashley Ann Woods is scenic designer, Emma Weber is costume designer, Michael Trudeau is lighting designer, Josh Hurley is props designer, SSP member Jonathan Hagloch is multimedia designer, Jaci Entwisle is stage manager, Renee Keen is assistant director, and SSP member John Oster is producer and sound designer.
SSP began producing theatre in 1982 at its original home, the St. Sebastian parish, located at the corner of Halsted Street and Wellington Avenue on Chicago’s North Side. When the parish closed, SSP relocated to its current home, St. Bonaventure, at 1625 W. Diversey. During its history, the company has produced original and previously produced dramas, comedies and musicals; original audience-participation murder mysteries for special events; and the Monologue Matchup Competition, as well as provided support for smaller Sebastian Studio Projects produced by company members. A complete history and a complete list of mainstage productions are available on SSP’s website.
Mark Twain: Patriot, Teacher, Philosopher runs February 17–March 11, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at St. Bonaventure, 1625 W. Diversey, at Marshfield just west of Ashland, in Chicago. Free parking is available in two lots. Full-priced single tickets are $15, $10 for students with valid IDs and $7 for seniors and children younger than 12. Group rates also are available. The “Theater Thursday” performance, which includes refreshments and conversation with production team members, takes place February 23 at 7 p.m. The cost is $20. All programming is subject to change. For information, call 773-404-7922 or visit saintsebastianplayers.org.