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CTC presents a one-woman tour-de-force with The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Tickets are available NOW at www.city-theater.org


For Immediate Release: January 11, 2023


Media Contact: Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Arts in Media LLC, 302-377-3156 or


City Theater Company returns to the Wings Black Box at The Delaware Contemporary this

February with Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. The one-woman show is based on

the beloved author’s award-winning bestseller of the same name.


Adapted by the author for Broadway in 2007, the play is a riveting and heartfelt elegy that

expands on the memoir, which won the National Book Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. It is an exploration of Didion’s grief following the deaths of her husband John Gregory Dunne and daughter Quintana Roo. The NY Times calls it “a report back from an emotional abyss, yet for all its intensity, it isn’t grim or overwrought. It’s rigorously self-scrutinizing, dryly self-mocking, fairly stunned — somehow both unsentimental and consumed with love.”


Mary Catherine Kelley stars as the Joan Didion character in the play, and agrees with this

assessment. “Joan Didion has a tragic story to tell that is neither maudlin nor laced with grief. The book and this play are unlike any other survivor story. A gifted writer and researcher, she recounts the events that changed her life forever. Ever the detached observer, she casts a cold eye on her own journey: how it happened, how she survived, and how she found the absurdity and humor in the midst of personal horror.”


Kerry Kristine McElrone, CTC’s Artistic Director, directs. She notes that she chose the play, in

part, for its unflinching honesty about the nature of grief - something ever-present since the

early days of the Covid-19 lockdown.


“As the pandemic wore on, I found myself gravitating toward the singular comfort of my favorite books - which includes Didion’s canon and especially The Year of Magical Thinking and its companion piece Blue Nights. The singular yet universal experience of navigating supreme, all-encompassing grief she relates feels especially relatable after everything that was 2020. Collectively and individually, our lives have forever changed, and in many ways it seems we are all still trying to make sense of that.”


Kelley is a member of CTC’s Fearless Improv team. She and McElrone have worked together

frequently for the past 20 years, acting opposite one another for CTC (James Joyce’s The Dead, Sunday In the Park With George, Merrily We Roll Along) and elsewhere. Kelley has also often directed McElrone at both CTC (Mamma Mia!) and for Arden Shakespeare.


Says McElrone “I floated the possibility of doing this piece to Mary Catherine about a year ago - you don’t do this play unless you have the exactly right actor to tackle this material - so it’s been a creative collaboration from the start. Given our history as friends and as colleagues, we speak the same language. In many ways that is the language of Didion - analytical, sly, practical, humorous, and always in service of the muse. For us that muse is theater, for Didion it was prose. This is a challenging play for both actor and director, and it’s an honor to be bringing this author’s words off the page and onto the stage for CTC audiences.”


Kelley echoes this. “I am old enough to know first-hand the America that Didion inhabited and how that America touched all of our lives. Working on this play gives me a sense of respect for her talent and kinship for her worldview. It is a great challenge and honor to inhabit her on stage and to make her voice my own.”


The Year of Magical Thinking stars Mary Catherine Kelley. Directed by Kerry Kristine McElrone. Set design by Rick Neidig. Lighting design and stage management by Stuart Thomas. Sound design by Stephen Mannochio. Original music by Joe Trainor. Featured artist Lauren E. Peters. Promotional art and photos by Joe del Tufo and Jim Coarse of Moonloop Photography.


TICKET DETAILS: General admission $45. Military with ID and Student with ID $35.


Limited engagement: Production runs February 10, 11, 16, 17, 2023. All shows 8:00 P.M.

There will be an Opening Night Reception immediately following the performance at The

Delaware Contemporary.


All shows at The Delaware Contemporary, 200 South Madison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.

Tickets available now at city-theater.org.


City Theater Company, founded in 1993, performs contemporary comedies, new works, and

classic musicals to critical acclaim in an intimate black box theater on the Wilmington waterfront. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on DelawareScene.com.

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