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Next Theatre produces plays that are socially relevent and artistically adventurous.
Since 1981, Next Theatre Company has brought socially provacative and artistically adventurous work to the North Shore of Chicago. We strive to be a national destination for those who share our belief that theater can challenge audiences to reconsider their place in the world better than any other art form. To that end we produce a four play mainstage season, with accompanying discussions and panels, we commission a playwright a year to develop new work that speaks to the issues of the day in an artistically exciting fashion and we mount Next Communities, an outreach effort that uses theater to discuss the issues facing the Evanston community.
Residing in a 134-seat space in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Next has produced over 100 productions reaching nearly a quarter of a million theatergoers over the course of its history. The Joseph Jefferson Awards, Chicago's premiere celebration of theatrical excellence, regularly recognizes Next Theatre with nominations in nearly every category. Most recently, last year's Chicago premiere of John Patrick Shanley's DEFIANCE was nominated for Best Production. Next regularly produces the Chicago-area premieres of important, contemporary works including THE LARAMIE PROJECT, A NUMBER and, HEATHER RAFFO'S 9 PARTS OF DESIRE.
Additionally, Next frequently presents world premieres significant to the ongoing development of American theater. Last year, THE ADDING MACHINE, adapted by Jason Loewith and directed by David Cromer, ran for six months in off-Broadway's Minetta Lane. THE ADDING MACHINE won four Lucille Lortel Awards including Outstanding Musical; three OBIES including a Best Director for David Cromer; and an Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Award from the Outer Critics Circle. Time Out New York proclaimed it "The best new musical of 2008" and led the critical charge extolling THE ADDING MACHINE.
Because theater, more than any other art form, has the capacity to raise public debate on the important issues facing our society, Next began its outreach program, Next Communities. Next Communities brings local citizens together each year to discuss an important issue facing Evanston and the surrounding area. Their conversations are then adapted into a dramatic work by a professional playwright. The resulting play is then performed by those same local citizens and tours the area. In years past Next Communities has explored race, gentrification and the future of education in our community.
- Kevin Heckman
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