3745 N Southport Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60613


Special birthday bash performance will feature a panel discussion with

C.S. Lewis experts and cake and coffee for the audience

Chicago - THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, the hit drama based on C.S. Lewis’ classic novel, now playing at The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Avenue, will host a birthday celebration in honor of C.S. Lewis’ 110th birthday on Thursday, December 4. Following the 8 p.m. performance, a panel of leading C.S. Lewis experts will discuss his influence as one of the most provocative theologians of all time. Audience members will also be invited to enjoy birthday cake and coffee provided by Cullen’s Bar and Grill.

The panel will include co-creator and star Max McLean; co-creator and director Jeffrey Fiske; Sandy Rios, host of The Sandy Rios Show on Chicago’s Christian Talk Radio, WYLL 1160 AM; Dr. Jerry Root, C.S. Lewis scholar, Assistant Professor at Wheaton College, and editor of The Quotable Lewis and author of C.S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil; Marjorie Mead, Associate Director of the Wade Center at Wheaton College. The Wade Center houses the largest collection of C. S. Lewis’ papers and archives in the world (including his writing desk and the wardrobe that inspired the Chronicles of Narnia); and C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Bioethics & Contemporary Culture at Trinity International University and a previous member of the Templeton Oxford Summer Symposium on Religion and Science. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which had sold-out runs in New York and Washington, D.C., recently made its Chicago premiere in October and has extended into January.

In addition to the December 4 celebration, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS also plans to honor Lewis’ actual birthday on November 29 by offering special $35 tickets for the first 110 callers who book tickets for performances Thanksgiving weekend.

Presented by Fellowship for the Performing Arts and adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Fiske and Max McLean, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is set in an office in hell. The play follows a senior devil, Screwtape, and his secretary, Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on how to “undermine faith and prevent the formation of virtues” in a young man who has just converted to Christianity.

Critics have raved that the show is “Very smart…richly rewarding…exuberant theatricality!,” (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune), “Phenomenal! Sizzling entertainment…wonderfully clever. Sensational!,” (Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times), “A first rate production…Terribly entertaining… Screwtape boils over with wit” (Jayne Blanchard, The Washington Times), a “Hell of a good time…imaginative theatricality…wonderful performances” (Frank Scheck, New York Post), “Sly, funny, handsomely produced” (Celia Wren, Washington Post) and “A thought-provoking, engaging, entertaining, intelligent, bitingly satirical and funny exploration of profound issues of right and wrong,” (Daniel Kelley, NYTheatre.com.)

When first published in 1942. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS brought immediate fame to C.S. Lewis, a little known Oxford don whose field of study was Medieval English and literature. Over the past sixty-five years its wit and wisdom have made it one of his most widely read and influential works. One of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day, C.S. Lewis was a Fellow and Tutor of English literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. His major contributions in literary criticism, children’s literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract millions of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include: The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, and Mere Christianity.

The initial production of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS opened at Theatre 315 in New York City in January 2006 for a limited three-week run. Due to popular demand it ran for eleven sold-out weeks. After building on its success it reopened in the fall of 2007 at the Theatre at St. Clement’s for another twelve sold-out weeks to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. In April 2008 it transferred to The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. for a five week run. Again it played to sold out and standing room-only audiences.

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is directed by Jeffrey Fiske and stars Max McLean as Screwtape and Yvonne Gougelet as Toadpipe. Scenic design is by Cameron Anderson, costumes are by Michael Bevins, lighting by Tyler Micoleau, and sound is by Bart Fasbender. For more biographical or production information, visit www.ScrewtapeOnStage.com.

The performance schedule for THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets range in price from $29.00 to $48.50. Tickets are available by calling The Mercury Theater Box Office at 773.325.1700, TicketMaster at 312.902.1500, or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Discounted tickets for students and groups of 15 or more are also available by calling 773.477.7666.


Added by boleary on November 24, 2008

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