Janet Ulrich Brooks, making her Theatre at the Center (TATC) debut, is cast as advice columnist Ann Landers in the TATC production of The Lady With All the Answers. Previews begin July 12 with Opening Night on July 15 and performances continuing through August 12.
The Lady With All the Answers, written by David Rambo, gives a behind-the-scenes look at popular syndicated newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers, whose life seemed letter-perfect. With more than 90 million readers each day, she had a quick wit which could be comical and creative, as well as sharp and shocking, all in the same sentence. The play unfolds in Landers’ Lake Shore Drive apartment in Chicago in 1975 where she shares some of her most fascinating stories as she prepares to write the most difficult column of her career. In 1978, the World Almanac named her “the most influential woman in the U.S.”
Janet Ulrich Brooks received two Joseph Jefferson Equity Award nominations as an Actress in a Principal Role in a Play as Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Goodman Theatre, and as Anya in A Walk in the Woods at TimeLine Theatre. Other theatre credits include 33 Variations, All My Sons, When She Danced, Not Enough Air and Weekend. Brooks’ film credits include roles in Divergent, One Small Hitch and Conviction. Her television credits include roles in Chicago Med and Chicago Fire.
“I’m tickled to get to play this wonderful woman who devoted a career to understanding people and doing her absolute best to help them,” Brooks said. “I feel as though I grew up with Ann Landers in my home through my mother’s sharing of columns she found funny or helpful or as a conversation starter at the dinner table. She was always very informative.”
Larry Wyatt is Director of The Lady With All the Answers. Wyatt’s previous productions at TATC include directing The Odd Couple, Some Like It Hot and Over the Tavern. “This wonderful play captures the straight talking wisdom and humor that so many of us loved about the Ann Landers advice column,” Wyatt said. “Audiences will enjoy this loving tribute to Ann Landers. She was indeed, the lady with all the answers.”
The creative team for “The Lady With All the Answers” includes Scenic Designer Angela Weber Miller, Lighting Designer Denise Karczewski, Sound Designer Michael J. Patrick, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead and Wig Design by Kevin Barthel. Stage Manager is Jessica Banaszak. Linda Fortunato is TATC’s Artistic Director and is teamed with Richard Friedman as General Manager and Ann Davis as Head of Production.
A fascinating free companion exhibit themed with the TATC summer play run is titled Making Headlines: From Ann Landers to Walter Winchell, designed as a nostalgic collection of rare treasures, including items once owned by Landers and other famed media celebrities of the 20th Century. On loan from the collection of journalist Philip Potempa, the exhibit is presented by South Shore Arts June 22 through September 23 in the Atrium Gallery adjoining the theatre lobby. The exhibit features Ann Landers’ 1961 Royal Manual Typewriter, personal correspondence, awards and other interesting items from her estate.
Founded in 1991, the 410 seat TATC is a year-round professional theater at its home: The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. TATC is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking. TATC is located off I-90/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.
Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, with select Thursday and Sunday night performances. Individual ticket prices range from $42-$46. To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or Tickets.com at 800-511-1532. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more, Student tickets are $20 and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com.