Northlight Theatre announces 40th anniversary season

Thomas J. Cox, John Mahoney and Rondi Reed in "The Outgoing Tide" at Northlight Theatre.

Thomas J. Cox, John Mahoney and Rondi Reed in "The Outgoing Tide" at Northlight Theatre. ( / May 23, 2011)

In the first of the major 2014-15 season announcements from Chicago’s theaters, Northlight Theatre said Wednesday that its 40th anniversary season will include a fall production of Amanda Peet’s “The Commons of Pensacola,” an off-Broadway play inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal; a holiday production of Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit “The Mousetrap;” a winter world premiere of “White Guy on the Bus” by Bruce Graham; and the spring world premiere of a new, Chicago-based musical with book and lyrics by Jessica Thebus and music by Andre Pluess and Amanda Dehnert.

Titled “Shining Lives: A Musical,” the Thebus project is based on the Melanie Marnich play “These Shining Lives,” which follows the travails of the young female workers of Chicago’s Radium Dial Company in 1922, women with seemingly good jobs until the radium they thought was harmless extracts its price. Both Thebus and Dehnert teach at Northwestern University.

Peet’s play, a dark comedy, was a major box office hit for the actress-turned-scribe at the Manhattan Theatre Club last fall, where it starred Blythe Danner and Sarah Jessica Parker. The 80-minute drama focuses not on Madoff himself, but on the post-facto struggles of the family members of the newly notorious.

Graham, a Philadelphia playwright, also wrote “The Outgoing Tide,” a big hit for Northlight Theatre in 2011 with John Mahoney in the lead role, as well as "Stella & Lou."

“The Mousetrap” has been playing in London’s West End since 1952, with more than 25,000 performances.

Northlight Theatre, which produces at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, has yet to announce one additional title.

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