What do a Founding Father, a Victorian novelist and a Russian revolutionary have in common? Not much, but each of these notoriously great minds was once brazen enough to pen his own Gospel. Brought together, they debate the meaning of life and the nature of God in a whip-smart comedy that illuminates the brilliance, flaws and humor of three unforgettable philosophers.

at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077

“Hugely entertaining! As funny as it is brainy. Kimberly Senior’s animated direction and pitch-perfect casting also could not be more ideal.”

- Chicago Sun-Times

REVIEW

Vibrant ‘Discord’ among big thinkers Jefferson, Dickens, Tolstoy

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
By HEDY WEISS

 

No, it’s not a joke (although it often is as funny as it is brainy), but here’s the premise: Three men with radically different personalities and histories are catapulted, one by one, into a cold, gray interrogation room where the door slams shut quite decisively behind them. One is a founding father of the United States (not that Hamilton guy), one is the most famous British novelist of the Victorian era, and the third is a towering Russian novelist who seems to be irrationally jealous of Shakespeare.

 

The result is the very best production of Northlight Theatre’s current season, a philosophical debate bristling with mischief, mania, hubris and flamboyance, penned by a writer (best known for his work on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” and as the producer of the first 1,100 episodes of Maher’s “Politically Incorrect”) with a grand gift for making profound intellectual arguments at once accessible and hugely entertaining. Kimberly Senior’s animated direction and pitch-perfect casting also could not be more ideal.

 

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REVIEW

In smart ‘Gospel,’ Jefferson, Dickens and Tolstoy duke it out in hell

CHICAGO TRIBUNE
By CHRIS JONES

 

Did you know Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy all wrote their own versions of the Bible? Ah! The ego of the refined mind! Hello, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thomas, Charles and Leo!

 

This 2014 play was penned by Scott Carter, the longtime writer and executive producer for “Real Time With Bill Maher,” which indicates both the pedigree and the wonkish bona fides of the scribe. But Carter actually has written an amusing little play, cheerfully anachronistic and irreverent, that imagines Jefferson (Nathan Hosner in Kimberly Senior’s production), Dickens (Jeff Parker) and Tolstoy (Mark Montgomery) all stuck together in purgatory, here aptly defined as three towering egos obliged to argue with one another for eternity.

 

If you like some catnip for the noggin, this is your show.

 

Read the full review>

Cast

nathan-hosner
Nathan Hosner

Thomas Jefferson

Nathan returns to Northlight after appearing in Discord. Chicago credits include productions with Lookingglass, Court, Writers, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Paramount, About Face, First Folio, Shaw Chicago and Shakespeare Project of Chicago. Other credits include: Peter and the Starcatcher (first national tour) and productions with American Players Theatre, New Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, BoarsHead Theater, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Door Shakespeare. Nathan is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London

mark-montgomery
Mark Montgomery

Leo Tolstoy

Mark returns to Northlight where he appeared in DiscordOutside Mullingar (Jeff nomination, Best Actor), As Bees in Honey Drown and Experiment with an Air Pump. Other select Chicago credits: 2666Rapture, Blister, BurnCamino Real and Stage Kiss (Goodman); Hedda Gabler, The Letters, Buried Child and The Scene (Writers); Agamemnon, Iphigenia in Aulis, and M. Butterfly (Court) and productions with Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Journeymen and Remy Bumppo among others. New York credits: Mamma Mia! (Broadway), Our Town (Barrow Street), Macbeth (Public). Regional credits: Julius Caesar (American Repertory) as well as the show’s French tour. Television: Law & Order, Chicago Fire and Empire.

jeff-parker
Jeff Parker

Charles Dickens

Production Team

Scott Carter

Playwright

Scott is Executive Producer/Writer for “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO. He produced the first 1,100 episodes of “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” from its 1993 Comedy Central debut to its 1997 move to ABC. While at “P.I.,” producer/writer Carter won eight Emmy nominations and three consecutive Cable Ace Awards for Best Talk Series. In 1997 Variety named him one of “50 Creatives to Watch.” In 2007, he won the Producers’ Guild of America’s Johnny Carson Award for “Real Time.” In addition to his two full-length monologues Heavy Breathing and Suspension Bridge, Carter’s full-length play, The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy had an extremely successful 2014 and was produced at both the NoHo Arts Center and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

Kimberly Senior

Director

Jack Magaw

Scenic Design

Nan Zabriskie

Costume Design

Nan returns to Northlight, where she has designed many productions including Mauritius, The Good War, Sky Girls and Visiting Mr. Green. Her frequently Jeff-nominated costumes have been seen at Writers, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Court, Indiana Repertory, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Peninsula Players, Victory Gardens, Colorado Shakespeare, Joffrey, Hubbard Street, River North, Gus Giordano and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where she designed costumes for Welcome Yule for 20 years. She designed the makeup and prosthetics for Grace on Broadway with Michael Shannon. She formed and runs the makeup and wig program at the Theatre School of DePaul University and is the Director of Wigs and Hair Chicago. In 2014, Nan formed the Chicago Green Theatre Alliance, which operates within the League of Chicago Theatres to help theatres produce theatre with a reduced carbon footprint.

Sarah Hughey

Lighting Design

Sarah pleased to be working on her seventh design with Northlight after The City of Conversation, Discord, Butler, The Commons of Pensacola, Tom Jones and Black Pearl Sings!. Recent Chicago credits include Dutchman / TRANSit, Grounded (American Blues – Artistic Affiliate); Moby Dick (Blair Thomas & Co.); Cocked, The Who and the What, Samsara (Victory Gardens); Le Switch, Methtacular!, Brahman/i (About Face); Doubt: A Parable, The Diary of Anne Frank (Writers); and Martyr (Steep). Upcoming projects include Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass), Straight White Men (Steppenwolf), and The Scene (Writers). Ms. Hughey has received a Jeff Award (2011, Scorched, Silk Road Rising), and was the 2013 recipient of Chicago’s Maggio Emerging Designer Award. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University where she also teaches.

Andrew Hansen

Sound Design

Andrew returns to Northlight where he previously collaborated on DiscordFunnyman, Outside Mullingar, White Guy on the Bus, Tom Jones, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide, She Stoops to Conquer and Mauritius. Andy is an Associate Artist at TimeLine where he has been designing since 1999.  Regionally he has composed for American Players, Indiana Rep, Summer Shakespeare at Notre Dame and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.

Stephan Mazurek

Projection Design

Rita Vreeland

Production Stage Manager

Rita is proud to continue her 11th season at Northlight where she is fortunate to have been the stage manager for 29 productions as well as two trips to Galway. Recent credits elsewhere in the Chicagoland area include productions at Theatre at the Center (Munster, IN), Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre Company, Goodman, and the annual Christmas Schooner at the Mercury Theater. She is the proud wife of actor Tom Hickey and mom to five-year-old Charlie, and has been a member of Actors’ Equity for over 17 years. Thank you for supporting live theatre!