New American Theater is proud to present Around the World in 80 Days, the fun and fast-paced play chronicling the amazing journey of Phileas Fogg and his manservant Passpartout to win a wager and make it around the world in 80 days. The play is adapted from the Jules Verne novel and runs from Feb. 1-27 on the NAT MainStage.
Director Tony Vezner says the story is a special treat on stage. Its just such a fantastic story, and part of what makes it exciting for us is its huge scope, he said. Fogg and his friends travel by every means possiblesteamer ship, sledge, locomotive, and even on an elephant! They pass through so many countries, cultures and scrapes that the fun becomes figuring outOK, how are we going to do this? Shakespeare said that All the worlds a stage. Were going to fit the entire world onto the NAT stage.
Vezner and the design team are employing a number of theatrical tricks to make each of Foggs many adventures come to lifepuppets both large and small, an ensemble of professional and youth performers who play multiple roles, and graphic images projected by the theaters new digital video projector. Its been a huge challenge for all of us, said Vezner, but its been very rewarding. The production has such a childlike playfulness to it. Its quite refreshing.
Vezner noted that Around the World in 80 Days is great for families: Its full of adventure, romance, daring acts, exciting fight scenes, storms, great characters, and a story the whole family can enjoy. It is entertainment thats wholesome for children, yet has substance and fun for adults to enjoy, too.
The adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days by John Hildreth won a Joseph Jefferson Citation for Best Adaptation after its staging in 2002 at Lifeline Theater in Chicago. Vezner then staged the play at the Theatre of Western Springs while he was artistic director there. It was a big hit, and a tremendous amount of fun to stage. Audiences are so taken with all of the spectacle and fun, he recalled. Hildreth will be attending the production on Feb. 26 and staying afterwards with the cast and crew to attend a talk-back with the audience. He will also attend a special cocktail party thrown for the NAT donor club known as the Directors Club.
Call the NAT box office at (815) 964-6282 for specific information on performance dates, times and ticket pricing and availability.