The Off-Broadway hit Churchill will celebrate its 100th performance this Monday, May 4 at New World Stages and has just announced extended performances through September 13. Adapted and performed by Ronald Keaton, longtime Chicago actor and regular at the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and more, Churchill is based on the life and writings of one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th Century.
Today, when we think of Winston Churchill, we imagine the respected politician, the longtime Prime Minister and Nobel Prize winner, one of the great world leaders. But cleverly, Keaton has set Churchill in March of 1946, just as he has shockingly been defeated for re-election as Prime Minister.
After his triumph in WWII, Churchill is now in forced retirement, and everything he has fought for is threatening to slip through his fingers. When he receives an invitation from United States President Truman to speak in Fulton, Missouri, he rediscovers his strength in a speech that impacts the world forever, the iconic “Iron Curtain” talk. In this highly charged new play, Churchill discusses his failures and his successes; his love of art, liquor and women; and the bravery of Britain’s finest hour.
When you step into the theater to witness Keaton’s engaging performance, you won’t simply see a cloned version of the historical figure on stage. “I didn’t approach playing Churchill to imitate him” he told the Clyde Fitch Report. “It is the spirit of the man that I wish to share; the physicality is secondary…it’s not how he says it, but what he says that becomes him most, and is therefore most important to the man’s spirit and substance.”
Churchill opened on February 18 to rave reviews. “Britain’s wartime leader gets a compelling portrayal from Ronald Keaton,” announced New York Daily News, while the Huffington Post branded the show “Engaging! Entertaining! Excellent!” “Surprisingly warm, witty and inviting” according to nytheater now, Churchill delves into history and comes back with a story that feels more relevant than ever.
Churchill is a joint production of the Greenhouse Theater Center, SoloChicago and the Wendy & William Spatz Charitable Foundation, with the support and permission of The Churchill Centre.