Kirk Players The Night of January 16th
Kirk Players Returns to Live Theatre with The Night of January 16th Opening October 15
Submitted by Kirk Players
Kirk Players launches its 56th season and celebrates its return to live theatre with its production of The Night of January 16th on Friday and Saturday, October 15 and 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 17 at 2:00 pm. To welcome back the in-person audience, KP is reducing its ticket prices; prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (62+), and $5 for children under 18, which includes students. All performances will take place at Mundelein High School. Please note that Kirk Players will be adhering to the safety mandates of Mundelein High School, which requires that anyone entering the building must wear a mask. Other procedures may be required and implemented if MHS regulations change. You can order tickets at the Kirk Players website www.kirkplayers.org; you can also purchase tickets at the door.
The Night of January 16th by Ayn Rand is a courtroom drama recounting the trial of Karen Andre, accused of murdering her employer (and lover), the brilliant and ruthless business executive Bjorn Faulkner. As the play opens, the Court Clerk calls members of the audience to serve as the jurors. These jurors, who will remain on stage for the duration of the trial, will hear the case, including the witnesses’ conflicting testimonies, decide the verdict, and thus determine the ending of the play.
With this production, Kirk Players is, in a sense, returning to its roots, as The Night of January 16th was the first play ever staged by the organization, way back in 1966. Libertyville resident Bob Olsen, who appeared as witness Lieutenant Sweeney in the 1966 production, recalled how Director and Kirk Players Founder Jon Lynn recruited members of Mundelein’s Kirk of the Lakes congregation to form the cast. “Few, if any, of us, had any theatrical experience,” Bob remembered, “but Jon was persuasive and worked with each of us individually to mount a successful production.” Bob will be an honored guest the Saturday October 16 performance, and the cast and crew of the current production look forward to meeting him.
Proceeds from the 1966 production raised funds to help Vietnamese children with cleft palates. Kirk Players continues its tradition of returning its profits to the community with the specific purpose of supporting the arts. Over the years the organization has donated more than $100,000 in scholarships and gifts to local schools, artists, and those in need.
After a year and a half during which Kirk Players mounted five virtual productions, the return to live theatre is most welcome. Kat Basso, the director for the current production, summed up the feeling, “I am thrilled to be doing live theatre again. I have missed the thrills, the chills, and the vibes that a live stage production gives an audience. I’m so glad to be back rehearsing and plotting this courtroom drama. The cast and crew are phenomenal. We’re pushing them to raise the bar on this ‘return to the stage’ and they are doing it.” Joining Basso on the creative team are Assistant Director Jess Motyka, Stage Manager Jenny Tomlin, Technical Director Dominick Basso, Artistic Director Gretchen Grassl, Sound Director Martin Hill, Properties Mistress Bev Karns, Costume Mistress Anna Lieberman, and Set Decorator Lisa Willems.
The cast features Karyn Louise of Chicago as Defendant Karen Andre, Tekolya Brown of Mount Prospect as District Attorney Flint, and Matt Anderson of Cary as Defense Attorney Stevens. Court Officers are Gretchen Grassl of Arlington Heights as Judge Heath, Marilee C.C. Rusiniak of Mundelein as the Court Clerk, and Amy Sharer of Vernon Hills as the Bailiff. Witnesses called to testify are Susie Hill of Mundelein as Dr. Kirkland, Martin Hill of Mundelein as John Hutchins, Mike Lieberman of Mundelein as Homer Van Fleet, Patrick Blake of Libertyville as Inspector Elmer Sweeney, Betty Slack of Grayslake as Magda Svenson, Mandy Stebbins of Wauconda as Nancy Lee Faulkner, Peter Grassl of Arlington Heights as John Graham Whitfield, Nicholas Ahlstrand of Grayslake as James Chandler, Edward Voci of River Forest as Siegurd Jungquist, and Terry O’Brien of Lake Villa as Larry “Guts” Regan.
Kirk Players is an Illinois 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich, educate, and entertain our community by providing a superior theatrical experience, to give back to our community with an emphasis on the arts, and to create a safe and inclusive environment. We strive to provide an engaging and memorable theatrical experience to a broad and diverse audience, cultivate an environment where people who are passionate about the performing arts can grow and thrive, and serve as a valued asset through our work and service to the community. For more information, please visit the Kirk Players website at www.kirkplayers.org. Please also check the Kirk Players Facebook page, where we invite you to “Please Like Us!”