I had a great drive up to Writers' Theatre along Chicago's North Shore Neighborhood in Glencoe on Tuesday to catch one of the finale performances of a fantastic production.
Just an hour's drive away, Writers' Theatre is concluding its 20th Anniversary Season with "The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" by Robert Hewett, directed by Joseph Hanreddy and featuring the out-of-this-world talented Deborah Staples.
The seating space is intimate, just 50 seats and this production is currently running through Sunday at the Writers' Theatre space in the back of a quaint bookstore at 664 Vernon Ave. in Glencoe.
I'm told tickets, which run $45 to $65, are sold-out for the rest of the dates, but there's the option of getting on a waiting list (just in case) by calling the box office at (847) 242-6000 or visit writerstheatre.org for more details.
This is the two-hour and 15 minute (which includes one intermission) tale of thwarted housewife Rhonda Russell, who loses herself in a heated moment of passion, setting into motion an unbelievable series of events that ripple through the lives of everyone around her.
It's all told through the compelling and passionate performance of Staples, with her as the lone performer, intricately weaving together the many different sides of Rhonda's story with engrossing narrative, wit and compassion.
She steps into the shoes, wigs and minds of eight various characters, all part of this sad and revealing story.
Dubbed as an international hit, "The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" is described as "a surprising and touching tale of loss and ultimate redemption."
"Robert Hewett's play was crafted in order to showcase the talents of a marvelous actress and Writers' Theatre is very lucky to be presenting this work with the considerable talents of Deborah Staples at its center," Artistic Director Michael Halberstam said.
"Having previously performed the play to great acclaim at Milwaukee Repertory, Deborah and the Rep's former artistic director Joseph Hanreddy reunite in Glencoe to stage an all new production of this perfect celebration of word and artist in the intimate confines of our bookstore venue."
As for Staples, who is making her Writers’ Theatre debut, she began her career in Chicago, where her credits include Cressida in "Troilus And Cressida," Desdemona in "Othello," Celia in "As You Like It" and Portia in "Julius Caesar" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Staples relocated 90 miles north of Chicago when she became a company member with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and married David Cecsarini, who is Next Act Theater's Artistic/Producing Director.
She has been with The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre for 16 seasons, where she has just appeared as Emilia in "Othello" and as Jean Louise in "To Kill A Mockingbird."
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Potempa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 852-4327.