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The 60-year-old veteran of the Chicago’s lively theater scene won accolades here for his slapstick take on “Pride and Prejudice” in 2008.

He is directing another Jane Austen adaptation at the Play House, “Emma,” which is in previews and opens Wednesday. Both Austen projects have brought some of the Windy City’s leading stage performers to town.

In next season’s lineup – which the Play House will officially announce this week – Amster will direct the season opener, an adaptation of “The 39 Steps,” and the holiday show, a one-man adaptation of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Play House artistic director Michael Bloom, on the other hand, won’t direct in his home theater at all next season, scheduled to be the last for the country’s oldest professional theater in its historic 1927 digs at 8500 Euclid Ave.

That’s at least in part because Bloom will be helping to lead the Play House’s capital campaign (the amount is not yet set) to renovate PlayhouseSquare’s Allen Theatre and move there in time for 2011-12.

And he’ll perhaps be recovering from heavy lifting this season at the Play House. He already directed “Lost in Yonkers,” wrote the “Emma” adaptation and will direct the season finale, “Bill W. and Dr. Bob,” opening in April.

“Peter has been a great collaborator,” Bloom said of their joint work on “Emma.”

Next season will be a continuation of Bloom’s penchant for literary adaptations, the most prominent of which looks to be Matthew Spangler’s version of “The Kite Runner,” Khaled Hosseini’s critically acclaimed and popular novel about a boy in Afghanistan.

Next year’s seven shows will all be on the Mainstage Season subscription schedule, unlike the current season, which has six subscription shows plus the holiday spectacle “A Christmas Story,” which was presented in its final iteration at the Play House as an off-subscription offering.

All shows begin previews on a Friday and close with a Sunday matinee. Subscriptions go on sale to the general public Monday at prices ranging from $241 to $346, with students getting a special rate of $70. For more information, call 216-795-7000 or go to