For full disclosure, let me note that I once submitted a play to Court. Which I cannot recall. Some of my earlier efforts were "comic inventions" based on pre-existing "classical" material. In July of 2000 I got a rejection note from Celise Kalke:
Thank you very much for your interest in Court Theatre, and for contacting Artistic Director Charles Newell about your work. Unfortunately, we do not accept unsolicited scripts and also are a classical theatre and do not produce original plays. I do, however, encourage you to consider sending your work to one of the Chicago theatres devoted to new plays. I also urge you to become familiar with the work of Chicago Dramatists, which is devoted to new play and developing writers.
I wish you the best of luck with your career.
I consider myself a fan of Stoppard's stagecraft—but there was no way, at that time, to presume his work a "classic." So of course Kalke's statement reeked to me of hypocrisy. (Let me not go so far as to suggest that Desire Under the Elms may not be a classic—supposing, at least in the mind of Charles Newell at the time, or his predecessor in choosing the season, that it was so.) Fair Ladies at a Game of Poem Cards was a well-crafted play, and an excellent production; but it was an original play by Peter Oswald, based on a classic by Chikamatsu—I believe he even expressed that it was disconcerting to him that Court Theatre persisted in misrepresenting his play.
(Also incendiary, but not germane to this post, was Kalke's disingenuous condescension urging me on to Chicago Dramatists Workshop—a parasitical outfit that bills itself as "helping" playwrights but actually serves as a gatekeeper exacting not insignificant access tolls, as I have written. Nor, for all its vileness, is Chicago Dramatists the lone predatory player in Chicago's or the national theater scene.)
If you look at this year's season—or many of the intervening years'—Court Theatre under Charles Newell's stewardship continues in the abdication of its touted function. Next up is Satchmo? [Originally here I listed titles from last and current seasons, followed by snarky comments; but the theater publicizes its production history—the names are available and tell the story. Adaptations of whichever relatively "classic" text, or even plays written in the last several decades, do not, in any form, constitute "classical theater": if not misrepresentation then severe ignorance is afoot.]
A company truly invested in "classic theatre" would probably need to produce at least one ancient Greek play per season to justify its standing. Newell, after a long tenure of all-over-the-map, is giving Chicago that for three consecutive seasons and should be praised for it (amidst the effluvia). In this Newell resembles nothing so much as a strip-miner who designs a beautiful garden. Go see Agamemnon if you can; but understand that under his tenure Court Theatre has contributed its share of decimation on the "classical" environment in a most impactful way.
I wrote previously, I presume Charles Newell's intentions to be good, and that he operates as he does based on sound financial considerations. It's not easy keeping a classical theater company afloat these days.