Oscar Wilde Salon Series: Examining Wilde Through the Queer Lens

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 6 – 8 pm

40 E. Erie
Nickerson Mansion
Chicago, IL 60611

BUY TICKETS Members: $25 Adult: $35 Students: $15

Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” No-one could accuse Wilde of being anything but his unique self. Oscar Wilde was a brilliant and witty dramatist, a passionate socialist, a father, a husband and fantastically queer—arguably one of the greatest writers of the English language. Join Michael Halberstam, founder and Artistic Director of Writers Theatre (described by Terry Teachout as the country’s finest theatre company), together with Dr. Jeffrey Kessler of University of Illinois Chicago, as they lead an evening of dramatic readings and discussion of Wilde’s controversial life as see through his writings and key biographical moments.

Michael Halberstam is the co-founder of Writers Theatre. He has directed over thirty-five productions for the company and has appeared in numerous Writers Theatre productions. Previously, he spent two years at The Stratford Festival in Ontario. Halberstam’s other Chicago acting credentials include productions with Wisdom Bridge Theater, Court Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Elsewhere he directed for Northlight Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Jean Cocteau Repertory in New York, Drury Lane Theatre, OIff-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Lincoln Center Theater in New York and San Jose Repertory Theatre. His forays into opera have included Chicago Opera Theater and the Ravinia Festival. He spent two and a half years teaching Shakespeare at The Theatre School at DePaul University and has received awards for excellence in theater management and/or artistic achievement from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council of Chicago, Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and The Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival. He also received the 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award, the 2013 Artistic Achievement Award from the League of Chicago Theatres, was named the Chicago Tribune’s 2013 “Chicagoan of the Year” for Theater, and received the 2016 Award of Honor for Outstanding Contributions to the Field from the Illinois Theatre Association, a special award for 2016 from the Joseph Jefferson Award Committee for outstanding theatrical accomplishments and contributions to Chicagoland theatre for the past 25 years; and a distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois.

Jeffrey C. Kessler works at the intersection of fiction, criticism, and art in the nineteenth century. He is currently working on two book projects. Portraits of the fin-de-siecle examines portraiture across media as part of emerging modern conceptions of subjectivity in the nineteenth century. He is also coauthoring a textbook, tentatively titled A People’s Grammar, which marries traditional grammar instruction with democratic principles of style. His work has appeared in several academic journals including Nineteenth Century Contexts, English Literature in Transition, and Victorian Studies. He received his PhD in English from Indiana University and taught at DePaul University for several years. Currently, he is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Pictured Above: Aaron Todd Douglas (Reverend Canon Chasuble), Anita Chandwaney (Miss Prism), Rebecca Hurd (Cecily Cardew), Alex Goodrich (Jack Worthing), Steve Haggard (Algernon Moncrieff), Shannon Cochran (Lady Bracknell) and Jennifer Latimore (Gwendolen Fairfax) in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Michael Halberstam at Writers Theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow.


Image: Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Photograph by Napoleon Sarony ca. 1882.