TimeLine Theatre Company presents The Chicago Classic The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles Macarthur, April 12-June 12, 2011

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Chicago, IL – TimeLine Theatre Company presents The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, April 16 – June 12, 2011 (previews April 12 through April 15) at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. Press Opening performances are Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 at 2 p.m.

In this landmark comedy set inside the crowded pressroom at Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building during the 1920s, a group of reporters covers a controversial execution and exposes the rampant corruption, scandal and hi-jinx associated with Windy City politics and journalism. In reviving this quintessential Chicago classic, TimeLine will highlight the wealth of local history embedded in Hecht and MacArthur’s semi-autobiographical script and bring to life the toughness and grittiness inherent in its tale of rough-and-tumble reporters and politicians jockeying for control of a story and the city.

“I am so excited to be bringing The Front Page to TimeLine’s stage, a play we have been talking about for a long time,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “It’s a treasure trove of Chicago history with extraordinary — and often hilarious — insight into the political and media machines of 1920s Chicago.”

“This play has characters who are beautiful and ugly at the same time,” said director Nick Bowling. “The beauty comes through in the ways that they love their jobs and the ugliness sometimes in the ways that they do their jobs. This production goes back to the original text of the script so it can live in the real and sometimes dark place that Hecht and MacArthur wanted to expose when they wrote it.”

The 18-member cast of The Front Page features TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers as Hildy Johnson and TimeLine Associate Artist Terry Hamilton as Walter Burns, with Bill McGough, Rob Riley, Larry Baldacci, Don Blair, Angela Bullard, Malcolm Callan, Rob Fagin, Alex Goodrich, John Gray, Michael Kingston, Laurie Larson, Loren Lazerine, Mike McNamara, Mechelle Moe, Bridgette Pechman Clarno and Mark Richard.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the TimeLine Theatre Box Office at 773.281.8463 x6 or buy online via timelinetheatre.com.


The Front Page is supported in part by The Pauls Foundation.

Performance Schedule/Events

Preview performances of The Front Page are Tuesday, April 12 through Friday, April 15 at 8 p.m. The play opens on Saturday, April 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 at 2 p.m. and then runs Wednesdays (5/25, 6/1 and 6/8 only) and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through June 12, 2011. Note that the performance on Thursday, April 21 will start at 8:30 p.m.

POST-SHOW DISCUSSIONS: Free post-show discussions led by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the production dramaturg and members of the cast on Thursdays, April 21, 28, and May 5, 12, 19; Sundays, April 24 and May 8 and 15; and Wednesday, May 25.

SUNDAY SCHOLARS SERIES: A free hour-long post-show panel discussion with experts on the themes and issues of the play on Sunday, May 1.

DISCUSSION WITH TIMELINE COMPANY MEMBERS: Free post-show discussion with TimeLine Company members on Sunday, May 22.

Buying Tickets

Tickets are $28 (Wednesday – Friday) or $38 (Saturday & Sunday). Preview tickets are $18. Student discount is $10 off the regular ticket price with valid ID. Group rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Advance purchase is recommended as performances may sell out. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the TimeLine Theatre Box Office at 773.281.8463 or buy online via timelinetheatre.com.


TimeLine Theatre is located at 615 W. Wellington Ave., inside the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. CTA El stops at Wellington (Brown/Purple lines) and Belmont (Red/Brown/Purple lines) are nearby. CTA busses #36-Broadway, #76-Diversey, #77-Belmont, #22-Clark and #8-Halsted stop nearby. TimeLine offers parking for $8 with validation at the Standard Parking garages at Broadway Center (2846 N. Broadway, at Surf) or the Century Mall (2836 N. Clark), both within two blocks of TimeLine. There is also limited street parking and other paid parking lots nearby. Visit timelinetheatre.com for complete directions and parking information. There are two flights of stairs totaling 18 steps between the street and the theater space, with no elevator.

Production Staff

The production staff for The Front Page includes Collette Pollard (Scenic Design), Lindsey Pate (Costume Design), Heather Gilbert (Lighting Design), Andrew Hansen (Sound Design), Julia Eberhardt (Properties Design), Aaron Carter (Dramaturg), Ana Espinosa (Stage Manager), Brittainy Barattia (Production Assistant), John Kearns (Productions Manager), Bridget Dehl (Assistant Director), Eva Breneman (Dialect Coach), Dina Spoerl (Lobby Designer), Caleb McAndrew (Technical Director) and Mac Vaughey (Master Electrician).


Ben Hecht (Playwright) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright and novelist who during his prolific career is credited with writing more than 70 films, 35 books and numerous other works. Called “one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures,” Hecht was the first to receive an Academy Award for Original Screenplay, for Underworld in 1927. Films that he wrote or worked on include many of the great classics, including Scarface, Twentieth Century, Stagecoach, Some Like It Hot, Gone with the Wind, His Girl Friday, Notorious, Angels Over Broadway and Mutiny on the Bounty, among others. He began his career as a journalist in Chicago, writing for the Chicago Journal and later the Chicago Daily News. It was from these early experiences that Hecht drew inspiration for The Front Page. Other works include the books 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, Erik Dorn and his autobiography A Child of the Century. Hecht died in 1964, at the age of 70.

Charles MacArthur (Playwright) was an American playwright and screenwriter best known for his collaboration with Ben Hecht on plays such as Ladies and Gentlemen, Twentieth Century and The Front Page. Like Hecht, he spent part of his career as a journalist, including at the City News Bureau of Chicago. With Edward Sheldon, he also co-wrote the play Lulu Belle. His credits as a screenwriter include Wuthering Heights, Gunga Din, Angels with Dirty Faces and Barbary Coast, among others. MacArthur was married to the stage and screen actress Helen Hayes from 1928 until his death in 1956.

Nick Bowling (Director) was the founding Artistic Director and is now a Company member and Associate Artistic Director of TimeLine Theatre. He is the recipient of an Equity Jeff Award for Outstanding Direction (The History Boys at TimeLine) and four Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (Fiorello!, This Happy Breed and The Crucible at TimeLine, Another Part of the Forest at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for The Farnsworth Invention, Hauptmann and The Lion in Winter at TimeLine and for Closer Than Ever at Porchlight Music Theatre. Recent credits at TimeLine include In Darfur, The Farnsworth Invention, When She Danced, Not Enough Air, and Fiorello! Other Chicago credits include Writers’ Theatre’s Bach at Leipzig, Shattered Globe Theatre’s Time of the Cuckoo and Frozen Assets and Rivendell Theatre’s Factory Girls, among others.

About TimeLine Theatre Company

Founded in April 1997, TimeLine Theatre Company’s mission is to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. During its first 13 seasons, TimeLine has presented 45 productions, including seven world premieres and 13 Chicago premieres. Recipient of the 2006 Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the 2009 Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 43 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production eight times.

TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers and Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, David Parkes, PJ Powers and Benjamin Thiem. TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group and the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

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