Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, announces its 43rd season, opening with the World Premiere of Bruce Graham’s Sanctions, directed by BJ Jones and featuring Mary Beth Fisher. The season continues with the Midwest Premiere of The Book of Will,Lauren Gunderson's new play about the creation of Shakespeare's First Folio, directed by Jessica Thebus; followed by the Chicago Premiere of the third play in Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy, Skeleton Crew, directed by Ron OJ Parson; and Martin McDonagh’s Tony Award-winning dark comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane,directed by BJ Jones and featuring Kate Fry. Closing out the season is the Midwest Premiere of the heartwarming, music-filled comedy The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez, directed by Vanessa Stalling.
“Our 2017-18 Season brings back playwrights whose work we have been proud to present over the last few years. We're excited about our next world premiere with Bruce Graham, whose writing never fails to jolt us with topicality and humor. We'll also welcome back Lauren Gunderson, who brought us the wildly successful Miss Bennet; Dominique Morisseau, with the final installment of her Detroit trilogy; and Matthew Lopez, author of Northlight audience favorite The Whipping Man. I will be directing Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane with the incomparable Kate Fry playing Maureen. It's a play I have always wanted to do, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary,” comments BJ Jones. “What thrills me the most is how generously our audience has embraced our efforts to discover new voices, new work, and new talents. In the last few years we have surprised audiences with work that has found its way into the canon nationwide. Our audience is our collaborator in creating art, and for that we are most grateful.”
The 2017-18 Season includes:
The World Premiere of
By Bruce Graham
Directed by BJ Jones
Featuring Mary Beth Fisher
September 14 – October 22, 2017
As a university nears the end of its probation for past NCAA violations, the athletic department gets back to the big business of college football: recruitment, alumni donations, and games on ESPN. Administrator Claire Torrance is responsible for improving player academics—despite resistance to her methods from the university dean. But when an overeager freshman tutor gets too close to some of the players, a new scandal threatens to blow up the whole program.
This biting world premiere comes from the author of Funnyman, White Guy on the Bus and The Outgoing Tide.
THE BOOK OF WILL
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Jessica Thebus
November 9 – December 17, 2017
William Shakespeare wrote some of the world’s most beloved plays – but without his friends, they may have been lost to history! Follow the members of Shakespeare’s own company as they cunningly navigate the production of the First Folio in 1623. They may not have any money or clear-cut rights to his work, but they’re armed with wit, humor, a deep camaraderie and a passion to preserve the plays that shaped their lives. With the help of their wives and colleagues, two actors set out not only to print a collection, but to uphold a legacy for the world.
By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Ron OJ Parson
January 25 – March 4, 2018
At the start of the Great Recession, rumors of impending closure surround one of the last auto plants in Detroit. The nation’s financial crisis gets personal as each of the workers confronts the life-altering choices they must make if their plant goes under, while the supervisor is torn between allegiances to his makeshift family of co-workers and management’s “cost-saving” demands. When pushed to the limits of survival, how far over the lines are people willing to cross?
The third play in Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy, Skeleton Crew was named one of Time Magazine’s 10 Best Shows of the Year.
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE
By Martin McDonagh
Directed by BJ Jones
Featuring Kate Fry
March 15 – April 22, 2018
This Tony Award-winning dark comedy is set in the provincial Irish town of Leenane. Forty-year-old spinster Maureen Folan lives with her manipulative ageing mother Mag, stuck in a caretaking relationship that has them both seething with resentment. When a romantic encounter finally sparks Maureen’s hopes for an escape from her dreary existence, Mag’s interference sets in motion a chain of events that is as tragically funny as it is terrifying.
THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE
By Matthew Lopez
Directed by Vanessa Stalling
May 10 – June 17, 2018
A down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator has an overdrawn checking account and a baby on the way. When a drag show takes over the entertainment at the Florida Panhandle bar where he performs, he’ll also be out of a job…unless he’s willing to step into some high heels. This heartwarming, music-filled comedy celebrates the unexpected path to finding your true voice.
Curtain times are: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Subscriptions to the 2017-18 Northlight Season are available through the box office, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, by phone at 847.673.6300 or online at northlight.org. Renewals are currently available. New subscriptions will be available beginning in May 2017. With its wide range of ticket prices, discounted subscription packages and complimentary parking, Northlight remains of one of the best theatrical values in Chicagoland.
Subscriptions range in price from $99-$250. A limited number of season subscriptions for the Opening Night performances (also includes a reception with the cast) are available for $325, subject to availability. Northlight subscribers will have the first chance to purchase additional tickets before they go on sale to the general public. For more information, visit northlight.org.
Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.
Now in its 42nd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 198 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 34 Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.
Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.
Hold the presses! Hell in a Handbag Productions announced today it will open its 15th season with the world premiere of LADY X – A MUSICAL, a shocking exposé ripped from the headlines of yesteryear! LADY X will replace the previously announced musical VALLEY!, from April 21 – June 11, 2017 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago.
Based on Handbag’s 2010 play of the same name, LADY X – A MUSICAL takes on the black and white crime melodrama films of the ‘30s and ‘40s. It’s the story of seedy nightclubs, the menacing gangsters that run them and the loose women that keep the customers coming back for more! Co-directed by Tommy Bullington and Steve Love with music direction by JD Caudill, the campy new musical parody features a book by Artistic Director David Cerda, music by Cerda and Scott Lamberty. Join Handbag for a glimpse into the world of the 'clip-joint' from days gone by filled with sassy dames, crooked hoods and the regular Joes trying to make a buck. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org or by calling (800) 838-3006. The press opening is Friday, April 28 at 7:30 pm.
Mary Dwight is a gorgeous dame and a tough cookie who knows the score (and then some). Mary spends her nights as a 'clip-joint hostess,' making the customers feel welcome, whether it's sharing a drink with them – or the evening. Mary's got all the angles figured out, until Scarlett Fontanelli (David Cerda) enters the picture. As deadly as she is beautiful, Scarlett will stop at nothing to gain control over this world of underground crime. But Frank Graham, a young idealistic Assistant District Attorney, will stop at nothing to bring Scarlett and the Fontanelli syndicate to its knees. Frank wants justice for decent citizens everywhere and for his sister Barbara, a casualty of the Fontanelli family business.
Join Mary and her unforgettable pals, the not so bright Emmy Lou (Elizabeth Lesinski), Estelle (Ed Jones), the good natured tramp with a penchant for funnels and all the good time gals in a tale so startling... so lurid... that only Hell in a Handbag Productions would dare tell it!
The production team for LADY X – A MUSICAL includes Austin Lemoine (costume design) and Mealah Heidenreich (props).
Title: LADY X – A MUSICAL
Book: David Cerda
Music: David Cerda and Scott Lamberty
Co-Directors: Tommy Bullington and Steve Love
Music Director: JD Caudill
Choreographer: Steve Love
Cast: David Cerda (Scarlett Fontanelli), Ed Jones (Estelle) and Elizabeth Lesinski (Emmy Lou). Additional casting to be announced.
Dates: Previews: Friday, April 21 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, April 23 at 6 pm and Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Saturday, April 29 – Sunday, June 11, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6:00 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Sunday, May 7 or Sunday, June 4.
Tickets: Previews $12. Regular run $26 in advance, $30 at the door. VIP tickets with cocktail $38 and up. Group rates $21 for or more. Tickets are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org or by calling (800) 838-3006.
Ten years after their critically acclaimed collaboration on King Lear, Artistic Director Robert Falls and stage and screen star Stacy Keach—both 2015 Theater Hall of Fame inductees—reunite for the world premiere of Pamplona by Jim McGrath. Keach stars as Ernest Hemingway, one of the most acclaimed novelists and short story writers of the 20th century, in this explosive tour de force drama, set during the author’s haunted years following his Pulitzer and Nobel Prize honors. Pamplona marks Keach’s second exploration of the literary legend: he earned a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Hemingway in the eponymous 1988 television mini-series. Pamplona appears May 19 – June 18 in the Owen Theatre. Tickets ($20-60, subject to change) go on sale Monday, February 20 at 10am online at GoodmanTheatre.org and at 12 noon by telephone, 312.443.3800, or in person at the Goodman Box Office (170 N. Dearborn). Note: The previously-announced Lady in Denmark by Dael Orlandersmith will be rescheduled TBA; Goodman subscribers will receive tickets to Pamplona.
“I am honored to work with Stacy on the world premiere of Jim McGrath’s beautifully rendered work about one of our most charismatic yet complicated literary titans—and a Chicagoland native—Ernest Hemingway,” said Robert Falls who, in addition to King Lear (2006), also directed Keach in Arthur Miller’s Finishing the Picture (2004). “Stacy is a voracious reader, and Hemingway has fascinated him for a long time. The opportunity to dive deep with him to reveal this troubled artist and amazing man—at once a father, husband, lover, wartime correspondent and adventurer—is thrilling.”
In McGrath’s new play, after the prize comes the pressure. Basking in the glory of career-defining awards—the 1953 Pulitzer Prize and the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954—legendary writer Ernest Hemingway insists his best work is yet to come. Five years later, holed up in a Spanish hotel with a looming deadline, he struggles to knock out a story about the rivalrous matadors of Pamplona. But his real battles lie outside the bullfighting arena; in declining health, consumed by his troubled fourth marriage and tormented by the specter of past glories, he must now conquer the deepening despair that threatens to engulf him.
“My fascination with Hemingway began when I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley, where I read In Our Time. I felt as if the author was inside my head, expressing himself with words and attitudes that reflected how I felt—and I became inspired to read everything he wrote,” said Stacy Keach. “When I played him in the 1980s, I was somewhat intimidated; I felt simply too young to fully appreciate the emotional turmoil he had experienced, due to his failing health and his inability to continue writing. This is why I am so excited with the prospect of revisiting this literary giant now, at the right age to fully explore the essence of his later years. The opportunity to work with Bob, with whom I’ve been blessed to collaborate twice before, and work again at Goodman Theatre—so close to where Hemingway grew up—is perfect.”
Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961) was born in Oak Park, IL, and got his start as a journalist writing for The Kansas City Star after attending Oak Park and River Forest High School. Shortly after, he joined the Red Cross during World War I, receiving the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery in 1918 for assisting soldiers, an experience that would inspire one of his most beloved works A Farewell to Arms (1929). Following the war, he spent time in Paris, befriending the likes of Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and published his first collection of stories Three Stories and Ten Poems (1923). Next came his first novel The Sun Also Rises (1926), about a group of British and American expatriates traveling to Pamplona, Spain. Among his many other great works are the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Old Man and the Sea, For the Whom Bell Tolls (Pulitzer Prize nomination), Green Hills of Africa, Death in the Afternoon and To Have and Have Not. On assignment, Hemingway was also present for some of World War II’s most noted events including the liberation of Paris, and received a Bronze Star for bravery for his coverage of the war. Following the war, he spent an extensive amount of time in Cuba and in 1954, shortly after publishing The Old Man and the Sea, received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Hemingway was married four times, often tumultuously, to Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gelhorn and Mary Welsh Hemingway. He had three sons, Jack, Patrick and Gregory. Troubled by financial issues, familial burdens and alcohol abuse, Hemingway took his own life in Idaho in 1961.
Stacy Keach has maintained a series of performances in motion picture and television projects while continuing to add to his significant achievements on the stage—both classical and Broadway. His most recent motion pictures are director Stephen Gaghan’s Gold, starring Matthew McConaughy, Edgar Ramirez, and Bryce Dallas Howard, and Gotti with John Travolta. Other recent films are Truth (with Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford), Stephen King’s, Cell, (with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson,) and Netflix’s Girlfriend’s Day, starring and directed by Bob Odenkirk. His filmography includes John Huston’s Fat City, co-starring Jeff Bridges, Alexander Payne’s Academy Award nominated big screen drama, Nebraska, If I Stay, Bourne Supremacy, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Ninth Configuration, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Doc, Up In Smoke, American History and the classic western, The Long-Riders, which he produced with his brother James Keach. Keach was one of the stars of the NBC comedy series, Crowded. He recently finished filming a few episodes of award winning Man With A Plan alongside Matt LeBlanc and Kevin Nealon. Prior television includes: Showtime’s Ray Donovan, Starz’s Blunt Talk, CBS’s, Blue Bloods, Fox’s Titus, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, Two and a half Men, Prison Break, NCIS: New Orleans, and Hot In Cleveland. As a narrator his voice has been heard in countless documentaries and numerous books on tape. He is the narrator on CNBC’s American Greed. Keach has portrayed a constellation of the classic and contemporary stage's greatest roles, and he is considered a pre-eminent American interpreter of Shakespeare. His Shakespearian roles include Hamlet, Henry V, Coriolanus, Falstaff, Macbeth, Richard 3, and King Lear. He also headed the national touring company cast of Frost/Nixon, portraying Richard M. Nixon. Keach’s memoir All in All: An Actor’s Life On and Off the stage, received the Prism Literary Award. Other awards include: Golden Globe, three Obies, three Vernon Rices, two Drama Desks, three Helen Hayes, Emmy and Tony Award nominations, and he won the Prestigious Millineum Recognition Award, the Will Award. Keach was recently inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame, and received a Hollywood Film Award for Best Ensemble in the film Gold. He also received the 2016 Best Narrator from The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences in the category of Crime and Thriller for his work on Mike Hammer audio novels. Keach was a Fulbright scholar to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, attended the University of California at Berkeley and the Yale Drama School. Of his many accomplishments, Keach claims that his greatest accomplishment is his family: his wife of 30 years, Malgosia, and children Shannon and Karolina.
Jim McGrath’s first short play, Trail of the Westwoods Pewee, was presented at the West Bank Theatre in New York City in 1987. The next year saw the production of his first full-length play, Bob’s Guns, at the Director’s Company in New York. In 1992, New Jersey’s Passage Theatre produced his play Roebling Steel. In 1995, the Met Theatre in Los Angeles premiered The Ellis Jump, which won McGrath the Ovation Award for Best Writing of a World Premier Play. For television, he wrote detective stories for Simon & Simon, The Father Dowling Mysteries, Matlock, Mike Hammer and Over My Dead Body, as well as the children’s series Wishbone and Liberty Kids, science fiction series Quantum Leap, Codename Eternity and Dark Realm and the television films Elvis: The Early Years and Silver Bells (starring Anne Heche). He also co-wrote the screenplay for the feature film Kickboxer: Vengeance. In 2012, he produced and wrote the documentary Momo: The Sam Giancana Story, which won Best Documentary Awards at the Bel Air Film Festival and The Monaco International Film Festival. He has taught creative writing courses at Patton State Prison in San Bernardino, California State Home for Veterans in Los Angeles and The Center Theater in Chicago. He was trained as an artist leader with Imagination Workshop, by founders Margaret Ladd and Lyle Kessler in 1983, for which he worked with mentally ill and homeless clients for decades as a theater artist. In 2010, he became Executive Director of Imagination Workshop. McGrath is a native of Dallas, Texas. After graduating SMU, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary for two years before embarking on his playwriting career.
Robert Falls is celebrating 30 years as Goodman Theatre Artistic Director this season. His current production, Annie Baker’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya, is on stage now in the Owen Theatre through March 12. Last season, he directed Rebecca Gilman’s Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976, and co-adapted/directed the world premiere of 2666, based on Roberto Bolaño’s internationally celebrated novel, earning a Jeff Award for Best Adaptation. Previous credits include the critically acclaimed production of The Iceman Cometh at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Gilman’s Luna Gale at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles; and a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other recent productions include Measure for Measure and the world premiere of Beth Henley’s The Jacksonian. Among his other credits are The Seagull, King Lear, Desire Under the Elms, John Logan’s Red, Jon Robin Baitz’s Three Hotels, Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio and Conor McPherson’s Shining City; the world premieres of Richard Nelson’s Frank’s Home, Arthur Miller’s Finishing the Picture (his last play), Eric Bogosian’s Griller, Steve Tesich’s The Speed of Darkness and On the Open Road, John Logan’s Riverview: A Melodrama with Music and Gilman’s A True History of the Johnstown Flood, Blue Surge and Dollhouse; the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden and the Broadway production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Falls’ honors for directing include, among others, a Tony Award (Death of a Salesman), a Drama Desk Award (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), an Obie Award (subUrbia), a Helen Hayes Award (King Lear) and multiple Jeff Awards (including a 2012 Jeff Award for The Iceman Cometh). For “outstanding contributions to theater,” Mr. Falls has also been recognized with such prestigious honors as the Savva Morozov Diamond Award (Moscow Art Theatre), the O’Neill Medallion (Eugene O’Neill Society), the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award (Lawyers for the Creative Arts) and the Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Award.
About Goodman Theatre
America’s “Best Regional Theatre” (Time magazine) and “Chicago’s flagship resident stage” (Chicago Tribune), Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit organization distinguished by the quality and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Founded in 1925, the Goodman is led by Robert Falls—“Chicago’s most essential director” (Chicago Tribune), who marks 30 years as Artistic Director this season—and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, who is celebrated for his vision and leadership over nearly four decades. Dedicated to new plays, reimagined classics and large-scale musical theater works, Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned hundreds of awards for artistic excellence, including: two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, nearly 160 Jeff Awards and more. Over the past three decades, audiences have experienced more than 150 world or American premieres, 30 major musical productions, as well as nationally and internationally celebrated productions of classic works (including Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, King Lear and The Iceman Cometh, many in collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy). In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” For nearly four decades, the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has created a new generation of theatergoers.
The 2016 opening of the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement (“the Alice”) launched the next phase in the Goodman’s decades-long commitment as an arts and community organization dedicated to educating Chicago youth and promoting lifelong learning. Programs are offered year-round and free of charge. Eighty-five percent of the Goodman’s youth program participants come from underserved communities.
Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.
Today, Goodman Theatre leadership includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. Joan Clifford is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.
Visit the Goodman virtually at GoodmanTheatre.org—including OnStage+ for insider information—and on Twitter (@GoodmanTheatre), Facebook and Instagram.
Gorilla Tango Originals proudly presents a new take on an old story: “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” by Jason Peck and directed by Drew Alexander Echales. “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” is family friendly (best for ages 5 and up), and performs Saturdays at 1pm, March 4-April 22, 2017, at Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL 60647). Tickets are $15; lap children (i.e. ages 1 and under) free. Please visit www.gorillatango.com or call 773-598-4549 for tickets and more information.
Oh no! Princess Rose has been kidnapped by the Giant, Blunderbore. Oh my! Jack’s magical beans grew a gigantic beanstalk to the Giant’s castle in the sky. Can Jack climb the beanstalk and rescue the Princess? Or will she have to rescue him instead? Find out in this fun, interactive, gender-bending British Panto*, suitable for the whole family.
*ABOUT BRITISH PANTO (pantomime): British Panto refers to a traditional family-friendly genre that includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy, gender-bending actors, and plenty of topical humor for the adults. Anglophiles will be particularly big fans of this lesser-known theatrical genre making its reappearance and the rest of the audience will be delighted as well. Panto is loud, energetic fun and the perfect family activity.
Says Gorilla Tango Originals Executive Producer, Ellen Domonkos White: “I am very appreciative of the way this particular genre embraces the complexity of gender identity by making it approachable and acceptable. The British Pantomime Dame is fascinating because she is not a Drag Queen; this is a male-identifying actor playing a woman. The actor playing in our Pantomime is very well versed in this style of performance and thoroughly enjoys embracing his feminine side on stage. I am also a big fan of ‘Jack’ being played by a female-identifying actor – it’s refreshing to see the hero played by a woman. I think it’s important for children to see genders in a nontraditional way. And we don’t do it in a way that brings attention to it and turns the show into a political statement; rather, we treat gender in an accessible way. Maybe it’ll spark a conversation or it might simply help a child embrace different gender-identities. Or maybe they won’t even notice it at all. Ha!”
Author Jason Peck, hailing from London, states: “I've been a fan of the pantomime genre for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until I became a teenager that I discovered more of the background to it through vaudeville, the U.K equivalent British Music Hall, and the Italian theatrical movement, Commedia dell 'arte. I've wanted to write a pantomime for quite a few years, but with all of the disparate elements that make up a pantomime, it wasn't something that was easy to do. Having been a comedy writer for a while now, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to go back to a genre that I've always wanted to write.”
As Sir Ian McKellen, who twice played Widow Twankey in a Panto version of “Aladdin”, once said: “Panto has everything theatrical–song, dance, verse, slapstick, soliloquy, audience participation, spectacle, cross-dressing and a good plot, strong on morality and romance – what more could you want from a family outing?”
“Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” runs one hour in length.
www.gorillatango.com 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647/773-598-4549
“Spamilton,” the critically acclaimed off-Broadway parody of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sensation, “Hamilton,” has set casting for its regional premiere in Chicago at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted). Created by Tony Award honoree Gerard Alessandrini, the mastermind behind “Forbidden Broadway,” the “smart, silly and compulsively funny show” (The New York Times) features an all-Chicago ensemble including Donterrio Johnson, Adam LaSalle, Michelle Lauto, Eric Andrew Lewis, Yando Lopez and David Robbins. “Spamilton” begins performances Friday, March 3 at the Royal George Theatre’s Cabaret/Studio Theatre. The Press Opening is set for Sunday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($59 – $99) can be purchased at the Royal George Theatre’s box office online or by calling 312.988.9000.
“We couldn’t have been more thrilled by Chicago’s pool of incredible talent,” said Alessandrini. “We hope ‘Spamilton’ will be as lively and hysterically funny as ‘Hamilton’ is provocative. It is a tall order, but we are going to try to make Chicago a happier town than ever and keep the audience roaring with delight.”
“Spamilton” celebrates, roasts and eviscerates the Broadway blockbuster with its versatile cast of six. In its world-premiere production off-Broadway in New York, the show has been extended three times and is now in its fifth smash month at the Triad. The New York production earned rave reviews across the board, hailed as "the next best thing to seeing ‘Hamilton’” (The New York Times), “so infectiously fun,” (The Hollywood Reporter) and had Lin-Manuel Miranda exclaiming “I laughed my brains out!”
In addition to Alessandrini, the creative team includes Gerry McIntyre (Choreography), Dustin Cross (Costume Design), Fred Barton (Musical Director), and Richard Danley and Fred Barton (Musical Arrangements). “Spamilton” is produced in Chicago by John Freedson, David Zippel, Gerard Alessandrini, Margaret Cotter and Liberty Theatricals, in association with JAM Theatricals. Chuckie Benson is the understudy for the production.
The performance schedule for “Spamilton” is as follows: Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
About the Artists of “Spamilton”
Gerard Alessandrini (Creator) is best known for creating and writing all 25 editions of “Forbidden Broadway” in New York, Los Angeles, London and around the world. Alessandrini was featured in the original 1982 cast of “Forbidden Broadway” and can be heard on four of the 12 “Forbidden Broadway” cast albums. He also sings on the soundtracks of the Disney classics “Aladdin” and “Pocahontas.” Television credits include writing comedy specials for Bob Hope, Angela Lansbury and Carol Burnett. Directing credits include Maury Yeston’s musical “In the Beginning.” Recent musicals which he co-wrote and/or directed include “Madame X” (NYMF 2011) and “The Nutcracker and I,” featuring a complete Tchaikovsky score with all new lyrics by Alessandrini. As a director, he’s currently working on an upcoming revue focusing on the songs of Maury Yeston entitled “Anything Can Happen (In the Theater).” Alessandrini is the recipient of an Obie Award, two Lucille Lortel Awards, a Lifetime Achievement award from the Drama League, and seven Drama Desk Awards. Alessandrini was also awarded an Honorary Tony Award for Excellence in the Theatre.
Donterrio Johnson (Male Two) is an alumni of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of Los Angeles and an Artistic Ensemble Member of Pride Films and Plays. Johnson’s theater credits include “Annie Warbucks” (Theatre at the Center); “Next To Normal” and “Urinetown” (Boho Theatre); “The Hundred Dresses” and “Mr. Chickee's Funny Money” (Chicago Children's Theatre); “Sweeney Todd” (Denver Center for the Performing Arts); “Murder Ballad” (Cardinal Stage); “Lookingglass Alice” (Lookingglass Theatre); “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Theo Ubique); “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Golden Boy” (Porchlight Music Theatre); “The Color Purple” and “Avenue Q” (Mercury Theatre); “Rent” (Brightside Theatre); “Under a Rainbow Flag” (Pride Films and Plays); “Hairspray” (SRO Productions); and “Urinetown,” “Aladdin The Musical,” “Into The Woods” and “Kennedy The Musical” (Broadway Workshop). His TV credits include USA’s “Sirens.”
Adam LaSalle’s (Pianist/King George) Chicago musical direction and piano credits include “24 Words” (Stage 773); “Nunsense” (Beverly Arts Center); “Rebel” (Theatre Wit); and a number of revues, concerts, and cabarets at the Promontory and as a regular at Davenport's Piano Bar and Cabaret in Wicker Park. Some favorite roles he's performed include Jesus in “Godspell,” Tommy Albright in “Brigadoon” and the Pirate King in “Pirates of Penzance.” LaSalle has also accompanied and music directed with Memphis' Playhouse on the Square Musical Theatre Education Program, The Chicago Children's Choir, ChiArts, SummerSing's International Choral Festival in Cork City, Ireland and a number of musicals for the Souza Scholarship Theatre Program in Orange County, New York.
Michelle Lauto’s (Female Performer) recent credits include “In the Heights” (Porchlight Music Theatre); “Xanadu” (American Theater Company); “35mm” (Circle Theatre); “The Boy From Oz” (Pride Films and Plays); and “Murder Ballad” (Bailiwick Chicago). Lauto is a proud graduate of The Second City Training Center Conservatory.
Eric A. Lewis (Male Three) was last seen in Theatre at the Center's production of "My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra." His Chicago credits include “The Little Mermaid,” “In the Heights” and “Tommy” (Paramount Theatre); “Dreamgirls” (Porchlight Music Theatre); “Once Upon a People” (Black Ensemble Theater); “Parade” (BoHo Theatre); “How to Succeed in Business,” “Sister Act” and “Suessical the Musical” (Marriott Theatre); and “Dreamgirls” (Milwaukee Repertory Theater).
Yando Lopez (Male One) was last seen in “The Christians” at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Recent credits include “In the Heights” and “Sondheim on Sondheim” (Porchlight Music Theatre); “Little Shop of Horrors” (American Blues Theatre); “In the Heights” (Paramount Theatre); and “Barney the Elf” (Other Theatre Company). Lopez has also worked with Court Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Emerald City, Brown Paper Box, Black Ensemble Theatre and Goodman Theatre. Lopez is a proud Northwestern alum.
David Robbins (Male Four) is a Chicago native, an alumni of The Chicago Academy for the Arts and attended Baldwin Wallace University. Robbins’ regional credits include “Memphis,” “Rent,” “Once on this Island,” “Avenue Q” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
For more information, visit Spamilton.com.
The Gift Theatre’s artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton, co-founder William Nedved and associate artistic director Paul D'Addario are proud to announce Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe has joined the ensemble. Conceived in 1997 by Michael Patrick Thornton and William Nedved, The Gift Theatre’s mission was to grow and nurture an ensemble while laying roots in an artistically underserved Chicago neighborhood. Today, The Gift Theatre thrives in Jefferson Park as Chicago’s most intimate Equity theater, home to a nationally respected ensemble and daring new plays.
Rabe received a Tony Award for Best Play in 1972 for Sticks and Bones and also received Tony Award nominations for Best Play in 1974 for In the Boom Boom Room, 1977's Streamers and 1985's Hurlyburly. His critically acclaimed play Good for Otto received its world premiere at The Gift Theatre in 2015.
“Working with The Gift on Good for Otto, holed up in a hotel, pouring over text, and forging many more rewrites than I'd anticipated, more than anything I'd ever written before on a play already in rehearsal, I went into our ongoing rehearsals every day knowing that the actors of the ensemble would be there ready to take an enthusiastic run under Mike's simpatico eye at whatever I'd come up with,” says Rabe. “And then at a recent reading of a play whose scary, elusive tone escapes many actors, the ensemble members seated at the table with Mike and me found that tone within a few pages so effectively that their performances prompted such contagious laughter in all of us that it brought things to a halt more than once. It was some time ago that Mike invited me into the ensemble, but I'm hesitant to join anything other than unions or guilds. But a few days ago, remembering the reading, I thought: David, wake up. What are you waiting for? I wrote Mike to see if the door was still open. He checked with the cocker spaniel who he said makes these decisions, and I was told he approved. I'm ready to go.”
Similarly thrilled, Thornton comments, “Today marks the culmination of over a decade of producing and collaborating with David Rabe and his stunning works of art. From the earliest days of The Gift, David’s ouevre—powerfully searching, poetic, magical, haunted, and yearning—has always felt absolutely central to the emotional and ethical heart of The Gift. He has been such an aesthetic north star for us for so long that we are humbled and vivified to call David Rabe an ensemble member of The Gift. We’re excited to get to work.”
The ensemble is composed of actors, directors, writers and improvisers. For more than 15 years, The Gift Theatre has earned and deepened its reputation as an ensemble dedicated to acting of the highest caliber and a welcome home for new plays.
The now 32-member ensemble also includes: Danny Ahlfeld, Maggie Andersen, Cyd Blakewell, Brittany Burch, Hillary Clemens, John Kelly Connolly, Paul D’Addario, Jenny Connell Davis, Brendan Donaldson, Will Eno, James D. Farruggio, Ed Flynn, Gabriel Franken, John Gawlik, Andrew Hinderaker, Marti Lyons, Alexandra Main, Laura Marks, Kenny Mihlfried, Benjamin Montague, Darci Nalepa, Keith Neagle, William Nedved, Lynda Newton, Sheldon Patinkin (in loving memory), Maureen Payne-Hahner, Mary Ann Thebus, Michael Patrick Thornton, Erica Weiss, Jay Worthington and Kyle Zornes.
About the Gift Theatre
TEN, The Gift’s annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and associate artistic director Paul D'Addario took place in January. The all-new season consists of three world premieres and kicks off in February with Mona Mansour’s war-torn drama Unseen, directed by ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner (February 10–April 9), followed by Claire Kiechel’s futuristic Pilgrims, co-directed by ensemble member Michael Patrick Thornton and guest artist Jessica Thebus (June 2-July 30). The season closes with Janine Nabers’ time-hopping love story A Swell in the Ground, directed by guest artist Chika Ike (October 13-December 10). Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at http://thegifttheatre.org/ or call 773-283-7071.
The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet in collaboration with Chicago Public Library present four world premieres in the seventh annual Winning Works program, the culmination of Joffrey’s national call for ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab and Native American) artists to submit applications for the Joffrey Academy’s Seventh Annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition. This year’s Competition winners – Shannon Alvis, Sean Aaron Carmon, Karen Gabay and Jimmy Orrante each have choreographed an original work created on the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company. The Joffrey Academy of Dance’s Winning Works program is presented at the Cindy Pritzker Theater, Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Center, 400 South State Street, over three performances only: Saturday, March 11, at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM and Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 PM.
“The artistry and diversity of the Winning Works choreographers provide an inspiring look at the world in which we live allowing us to deepen our understanding of the art form”, said Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “The Winning Works program is an invaluable experience for our Joffrey Trainees and Studio Company providing them the opportunity to grow artistically and perform works created by important voices of dance today.”
“Winning Works empowered me as a female choreographer”, said Mariana Oliveira, 2016 Winning Works Choreographer. “Being a part of this program has opened many other doors for my career. It was a pleasure to work with fearless young talent. I will always hold this experience close to my heart.”
Shannon Alvis is originally from Greenwood, Indiana and received her training at Butler University and the University of Utah. She began her career with the second company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC), then went on to dance and perform professionally with HSDC for nine years. In 2009, Ms. Alvis went on to further her growth as a dancer at Nederlands Dans Theater under the direction of Jim Vincent and Paul Lightfoot.
Her world premiere for the Joffrey Academy of Dance - Moonlight - is a contemporary piece with 5 men and 5 women featuring solo and partner work set to music by Debussy's Clair de Lune. Moonlight is inspired by the poem Clair de Lune by Paul Verlaine, and the beautiful potential that lies within each of the dancers.
Sean Aaron Carmon is originally from Texas and joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2011 and has performed major solos and featured roles in ballets by many notable choreographers. His choreography has been performed all across the U.S. and internationally and is lauded as "everything and then some...", "powerful," and "seriously flawless" by major national print and online publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, JET Magazine, BroadwayBlack, Dance Spirit, and
His world premiere for the Joffrey Academy of Dance - Suite Hearts explores young love in all its varieties — romantic, friendly, playful, emotional, heartbreak, resilience, and the interconnectivity between each. This piece will be performed by 6 men and 10 women.
Karen Gabay grew up in San Diego and has had a career as a ballerina that spans over 35 years. Ms. Gabay made her professional debut at the age of 18 as a principal dancer with Ballet San Jose (BSJ). Her repertoire includes Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Giselle in the title role and her most favorite role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. As a choreographer, she created numerous ballets for the company including the 2012 production of BSJ’s annual production of The Nutcracker which led to her first children’s book, The Nutcracker: A Story in Verse. Gabay is the co-founding Artistic Director of her own ballet troupe, Pointe of Departure, which performs in the bay area and in Northeast Ohio.
Her world premiere for the Joffrey Academy features 10-15 dancers with the women dancing en pointe. The concept of the piece explores the lives of coming-of-age teenagers and will feature a combination of classical and neo classical ballet, acting, and theatrics.
Jimmy Orrante is a native of Los Angeles andhas danced with Nevada Ballet Theatre, Memphis Ballet, and 20 years with BalletMet where he had the opportunity to choreograph 15 premieres for the company. In addition to BalletMet, he has created ballets for Ballet Austin, Motion Dance Theatre, Rochester City Ballet, Ballet Arkansas, Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, and UC Irvine’s National Choreographers Initiative. Mr. Orrante’s repertoire includes two full-length ballets, The Great Gatsby, which premiered with BalletMet in 2009 and was reprised in 2015, and the children’s ballet The Ugly Duckling for Rochester City Ballet.
His world premiere for the Joffrey Academy features 6 men and 6 women with the women dancing en pointe. The movement is inspired by the energy within the music, a combination of cascading momentum and a more formal, processional quality.
“The Joffrey is honored to collaborate with the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center for the first time to present this meaningful and innovative program”, said Greg Cameron, Executive Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “We are grateful for the support of Brian Bannon, Chicago Public Library Commissioner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel as we embark on fulfilling our shared mission and commitment to empowering the community through dance and storytelling.”
"By co-hosting these ambitious programs with The Joffrey Ballet, we are remaining dedicated to supporting lifelong learning for patrons of all ages, in this case, through performing arts”, said Brian Bannon, Chicago Public Library Commissioner. “We hope to inspire people of all backgrounds and ages to engage with both the Joffrey and the library in new and exciting ways.”
Tickets for “Winning Works” at the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center are FREE. Tickets can be reserved at WinningWorks2017.Eventbrite.com.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its Winning Works Sponsor, The Edward and Lucy R. Minor Family Foundation, Video Production Sponsor Big Foot Media and to its Official Provider of Physical Therapy, Athletico.
About the Joffrey Studio Company
The Joffrey Studio Company is a scholarship program of the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet. The Joffrey Studio Company consists of 10 outstanding students selected by Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program Raymond Rodriguez. The Joffrey Studio Company and Trainees have performed on some of the most prestigious stages, including Lincoln Center in NY, the Auditorium Theatre, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Cadillac Palace Theatre and MCA Stage in Chicago, Music Hall in LA, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and more. The individualized training and performance opportunities provided by the Joffrey Studio Company offers students unique insight into the life of a professional dancer, assisting students in preparation for a professional career in dance and helping them expand their technique and artistry.
About the Joffrey Academy Trainees
The Joffrey Academy Trainee Program is a one to two-year program for students ages 17 and older who are preparing for a professional dance career. Students are selected to participate in the Trainee Program by invitation from Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and the Head of Studio Company and Trainee Program Raymond Rodriguez. This esteemed and rigorous program gives students a unique and well-rounded experience to prepare them for the next step in their careers. Trainees rehearse and perform classical and contemporary works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire and have the opportunity to work with guest choreographers throughout the year. Graduates of the Academy have gone on to dance professionally with companies throughout the world including The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin, Dresden Semperoper, Complexions, Milwaukee Ballet, Memphis Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, BalletMet, Polish National Ballet, Slovak National Ballet, and many more.
For more information on the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet and its programs please visit joffrey.org/academy.
About Chicago Public Library
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; and was ranked number one in the U.S., and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit chipublib.org.
According to a recent study, only 25% of the plays produced in Chicago's 2015-16 theater season had female authors. Only 36% were directed by women. A deeper dive into the numbers suggests larger theaters cast fewer ratios of women than smaller non-equity companies, a sobering reality for female actors thinking about job advancement.
Disappointing stats like these and how the recent presidential election put misogyny and gender equity squarely in the media spotlight spurred 10 female identified performers and an all-female identified production and design team to devise Gender Breakdown.
A compilation of true, absurd, uncomfortable and gut-punching stories culled from more than 200 Chicago theater artists, Collaboraction Theatre Company's first world premiere of 2017 is a response to the lack of gender equity on and offstage.
Vivid tales of violence, miseducation, segregation, and the ongoing disrespect and marginalization of women - even in Chicago's acclaimed theater industry - pull back the curtain on real issues of misogyny, gender politics and racism within the theater industry and beyond.
Ultimately, via deeply personal stories from training, auditions, and the rehearsal room, Gender Breakdown theatricalizes the question "How is this possible, that in 2017, females are still marginalized in our community?"
Gender Breakdown is created by Dani Bryant and directed by Erica Vannon - the lead artists behind Spanx You Very Much, an exploration of female body empowerment through a 45-woman dance explosion, and the break-out hit from Collaboraction's 15th and Final SKETCHBOOK Festival in 2016.
Previews are Thursday through Saturday, February 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m., and Tuesday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. Preview tickets are only $5.
Performances run through March 19: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. No show Thursday, February 23.
Industry Town Halls are Monday, February 27 and March 13 at 7:30 p.m. On February 27, researcher Kay Kron will lead a post-show panel discussion with Deb Clapp, Executive Director, League of Chicago Theatres; Lori Myers, Not in Our House; Laura T. Fischer, Not in Our House; and Kimberly Senior, Collaboraction Founder and Director. The March 13 post-show panel features Kay Kron, Willa Taylor of the Goodman Theatre and more guests TBA.
Gender Breakdown is presented in The Vault at Collaboraction Studios in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets to performances are $20-30; $10-$15 for students, educators and industry.
For tickets and information, visit collaboraction.org or call (312) 226-9633.
More about Gender Breakdown
Gender Breakdown is a compilation of true, absurd, uncomfortable and gut-punching stories about gender inequity culled from more than 200 Chicago theater artists, many gathered at Off Menu potlock dinners at Collaboraction.
"Female identified artists continue to fight for equal representation, equal pay, three-dimensional characters and rehearsal environments that are free from micro-aggressions and commodification," said creator Dani Bryant. "Gender Breakdown harnesses the same artistic vision and raw electricity of Spanx You Very Much to explore how, even in an oftentimes liberal-leaning business, inequities based on gender pervade the theater."
Dani Bryant (creator) is a devised method playwright and process facilitator who specializes in using social practice as an artistic entry point - letting collaborative discussion shape each project. In addition to creating over 20 pieces of devised theater, she holds great passion for leading facilitated community conversations about gender parity, mental health, arts education and food and body politics. Originally from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, she attended The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and received her BFA from the Hartt School of Theater. She is currently pursuing her Master's and certification in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Drama Therapy. She is the founder of Knife & Fork, co-creator of For Fork's Sake Live and Cabaret Vagabond and is an Artistic Ensemble Member at Adventure Stage Chicago.
Erica Vannon (director) is a director, producer and collaborative artist. She is the founder of Lost Geneva Project, a project based theater company committed to telling women's stories, and a co-founder for Knife & Fork, a food and social practice theater company. For the past three years, Vannon has directed for Shimer College. She served as a co-artistic director for Blank Line Collective, a collaborative, movement-based theater company from 2007-2010. She has worked with Collaboraction, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Chicago Fringe Festival, Rhino Fest, and 20% Theatre. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Directing from the University of North Texas and a Graduate Laban Certificate of Movement Analysis (GL-CMA) from Columbia College Chicago.
Gender Breakdown stars Brianna Buckley, Jazmin Corona, Kamille Dawkins, Rula Gardenier, Kate Hawbaker-Krohn, Priya Mohanty, Siobhan Marguerite Reddy-Best, Carolyn Sinon, Aimy Tien and Mia Vivens.
The all-female design and production team includes Sarah JHP Watkins (set designer), Carley Walker (lighting designer), Katherine Pavlovna Goldberg (costume designer), Karli Blalock (sound designer), Sarah Moeller (producer), Kelly Butler (production manager), Caitlin Body (stage manager), Brittany T. Jasper (assistant stage manager) and Becca Venable (technical director).
Breaking down the numbers
Statistics cited in Gender Breakdown and in this press release shed light on hiring parity across theater professions during Chicago's 2015-16 theater season. The research was undertaken by Kay Kron and Mariah Schultz as a part of Kron's Master Thesis at DePaul University. The study includes the full Jeff eligible season for Equity and Non-Equity theaters nominated for a Jeff Award in any category during Chicago's 2015-16 theater season. (Musicals were not included, because their generally larger cast sizes would have made them overly influential on the overall percentages.) In total, the study encompassed 52 theatres, collects statistics on over 250 plays, resulting in over 4,500 data points.
Gender Breakdown Lounge
The Gender Breakdown Lounge is a performance arts venue for an eclectic range of arts programming to complement Collaboraction's Gender Breakdown.
After every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night performance, starting at 9:30 p.m., there will be additional performances in Collaboraction's Salon space featuring female-identified artists, including theater, story telling, music, comedy, dance, opera and more.
Following is the Gender Breakdown Lounge line-up (at press time, check collaboraction.org for updates):
Friday, February 24
Music with MICHA
Poetry with Kay Kron
Saturday, February 25
Womanscape pre-show reception at 7 p.m.
featuring poetry by Arica Hilton
Saints & Sinners at 9:30 p.m.
Curated by Sandra Delgado, featuring Sandra Delgado, Minita Gandhi, Sadieh Rifai, DeAnna Brooks, Ilana Faust, Nancy Garcia, Rose McInerney and Theo Allyn
Thursday, March 3
The Things We Were Learned
Featuring Michelle Leatherby, Paige Maney and Olivia Perry
Friday, March 4
Beautifully Broken by Ashley J. Hicks
Spoken word with Khloe Janel
Saturday, March 5
Any of my Enemies by Molly Brennan
Thursday, March 9
Token by Kaye Winks
Phone Calls with John Kasich by Eileen Tull
Friday, March 10
Hair Crownicles by Medina Perine
Stand-up with Edith Lule
Saturday, March 11
Music with Layla Frankel
Thursday, March 16
Music with Soft Ledges
Dance with Ms. Miscellanea
Friday, March 17
Baby Crow Productions presents 13 & Not Pregnant by Joy Donze,
directed by Mia Capotorto Sommese
Saturday, March 18
Baby Crow Productions presents 13 & Not Pregnant by Joy Donze,
directed by Mia Capotorto Sommese
Route 66 Theatre Company is pleased to launch its ninth season with the world premiere of Gabe McKinley’s psychological drama THE SOURCE, directed by Jason Gerace, playing March 2 – April 2, 2017 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets for THE SOURCE are currently available at route66theatre.brownpapertickets.com. The press opening is Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm.
THE SOURCE features Kristina Valada-Viars and Cody Proctor.
On the hunt for the biggest story of their careers, two journalists are summoned to travel across the world to meet with The Source: an unidentified leaker of hacked documents and information on the U.S. government. As these strangers probe one another for the truth and information, they find themselves in a thrilling psychological drama that leads them to examine their motives, their country and themselves… all while waiting for The Source.
Director Jason Gerace comments, "The question of ‘privacy versus security’ is central to our time, and I could not be more pleased that Route 66 Theatre Company has agreed to take it on. McKinley's play tackles this question with urgency and frames it in a way that resonates in the current moment, while building a thrilling theatrical experience for the audience. I am beyond excited to be at the helm of the world premiere of this important new play."
The production team for THE SOURCE includes: Jack McGaw (scenic design), Claire Margaret Chrzan (lighting design), Christopher Kriz (sound design), Mark Comiskey (projection design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Pauline Oleksy (props design), Catherine Allen (production manager), Brian Sprague (technical director), Nancy Staiger (stage manager) and Matthew Bonaccorso (asst. stage manager).
Title: THE SOURCE
Playwright: Gabe McKinley
Director: Jason Gerace
Cast: Kristina Valada-Viars (Laura) and Cody Proctor (Vernon).
Location: The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, March 2 at 7:30 pm, Friday, March 3 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 4 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 5 at 3 pm
Press Opening: Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, March 9 – Sunday, April 2, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: Previews: $25 adults. Regular run: $35 adults; $20 students. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available at route66theatre.brownpapertickets.com.
Creative Team Bios
Gabe McKinley’s (Playwright) plays have been produced and developed by companies nationally and internationally, including Atlantic Theater Company, Naked Angels, Premiere Stages, The Old Vic, American Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theater, The LARK, Keen company, Williamstown Theater Festival and Red Dog Squadron, among others. His plays include The Kitchen Sink Play, Welcome Home Rock Rogers, Funny, Floodplains, Skopje, The Source, as well as the critically acclaimed Extinction and CQ/CX (John Gassner Outer Critics Award nomination). His short play, The Grave, was the winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Gabe was the recipient of the Samuel French/New School for Drama Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and his play CQ/CX was included in the Smith and Krause anthology "New Playwrights: The Best New Plays." A graduate of NYU and The New School for Drama, Gabe lives in New York.
Jason Gerace (Director) is a freelance director in Chicago, and has been Artistic Associate of American Theater Company since 2008. He was the recipient of the 2014 Non-Equity Jeff Award in Outstanding Direction for his work on Great Expectations with Strawdog Theatre Company. Regional directing credits include Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre, Chicago), Wrecks (with John Judd, Profiles Theatre, Chicago), Opus and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (RedTwist Theatre, Chicago), Hamlet (Oklahoma Shakespeare Chautauqua), Pygmalion (Oak Park Festival Theatre). Jason originally hails from Anchorage, Alaska and holds an MFA in Directing from The University of Oklahoma. He is a resident of Oak Park, and an associate member of SDC.
Route 66 Theatre Company
Route 66 Theatre Company introduces, develops, produces, and exports new work for the stage. The road begins with our new play development process and reaches west, where our World and Chicago Premiere shows are given an advocate for further regional productions along the road less traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles. Since the company’s founding, Route 66 has produced 10 productions, 2 in two cities including an Off-Broadway premiere, been nominated for ten Jeff Awards and won two. Route 66 is now a resident company of The Den Theatre. www.route66theatre.org
Route 66 is Stef Tovar, Founder and Artistic Director; Rachel Wendte, Managing Director; Deborah Blumenthal, Director of New Play Development; Alana Parvey-Zalas, Business Manager; Matthew Bonaccorso, Company Manager and Kelly Parker, Casting Director
Route 66 Theatre Company Artistic Associates: Brian Sidney-Bembridge, Audrey Billings, Johnny Clark, Brandon Dahlquist, Raymond Fox, Damon Kiely, Ron Klier, Jenni Lamb, Tyler Meredith, John Mohrlein, Kelly Parker, Geoff Rice, Emily Rohm, Tricia Small, Jeremy Sonkin, Alex Stage, Nancy Staiger, Erica Stephan, Bethany Thomas, Rita Vreeland, Steven Wilson, Rachel Wendte and Emily Woods.
Route 66 Theatre Company Board of Directors: Jennifer Baumann, President; Deborah Haimes, Vice-President of Communications; Nicholas Stone, Treasurer; Molly Crabtree, Secretary; Elizabeth Derrico, David and Monica Byrd, Lee Dickson, James Frenzel, Laurie Hamilton, Tammy Rosenszweig, Pat Turnbull and Robert Veasey.
Route 66 Theatre Company’s 9th Season is presented by generous grants from MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency and DCASE CityArts.
Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to announce that its 2017 – 2018 season will be performed at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Ave. as one of Ruth Page Center’s Artists In-Residence. The Ruth Page Center will be Porchlight’s new home for its mainstage and Porchlight Revisits series. In addition to the programming, Porchlight will provide the box office and all audience services for its performances at the venue. Events celebrating this new move will coincide with the launch in September 2017 of Porchlight Music Theatre’s 23rd season, to be announced.
“Over the last few years, Porchlight has experienced an increase in subscribers and single ticket buyers that has accompanied an increase in the volume and scope of Porchlight Music Theatre programming. These factors pointed to the need for a larger capacity venue that would still retain the intimate approach for our musical productions, as we work to expand our audience and supporter base for future seasons," Jeannie Lukow, Porchlight Music Theatre’s executive director said. “Stage 773 has been an invaluable venue for us and we've truly enjoyed their partnership in our being a resident company there. As Porchlight grows and our artistic and audience needs change, being an Artist In-Residence at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts offers Porchlight significant opportunities for our production capabilities and exposure not only to the community around the Center, but also to Chicago’s tourism and travel markets.”
Porchlight Music Theatre’s Artistic Director Michael Weber added, “In addition to presenting our 2017/18 Mainstage and Porchlight Revisits productions at the Ruth Page Center, our School at Porchlight faculty look forward to collaborating with the Ruth Page staff on creating exciting new educational programs that bring together our individual focuses on music theatre and dance training. We look forward to announcing our first season at the Center and more details soon.”
"Our Artist In-Residence Program has acted as an incubator for a number of Chicago's top theater companies – Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lookingglass Theatre Company, and most recently Chicago Children's Theater." notes Venetia Stifler, executive and artistic director of the Ruth Page Center. "Music Theater complements the other disciplines present in our Center, and Porchlight's long history of artistic excellence make for an exciting new collaboration for both our organizations. We are so pleased to welcome them as our newest Artist In-Residence."
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE
Porchlight Music Theatre, now in its 22nd season, is nationally recognized for developing innovative new works, reimagining classic productions and showcasing musical theatre’s noted veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre in Chicago by providing intimate and powerful theatrical experiences for its growing and diverse audiences. With the vision of Artistic Director Michael Weber, Porchlight builds on its role as Chicago’s only Equity not-for-profit company exclusively specializing in music theatre. Porchlight’s rich history includes the staging of more than 60 productions with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Through Porchlight’s “Off the Porch” new works program, the musicals of the next generation are developed and given a first audience. The School at Porchlight is Chicago’s new center for music theatre training in the areas of performance, writing and appreciation. The company’s many accolades include 17 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and three awards, as well as a total of 126 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 39 Jeff Awards including four consecutive Best Production awards for Dreamgirls (2016), Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2014) and A Class Act (2013).
For more information on Porchlight Music Theatre’s current season and performance schedule go to PorchlightMusicTheatre.org.
ABOUT THE RUTH PAGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Venetia Stifler, Emmy-nominated choreographer and director, is the executive and artistic director of The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, guiding the vision of the organization left to Chicago by the dance icon and pioneer Ruth Page (1899-1991). An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the vision of its founder to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community. Located at 1016 N. Dearborn Street, the Center serves the Chicago dance and performing arts community by providing a home, office space, rehearsal space, performance opportunities, professional dance training and marketing support for the up-and-coming companies and artists of Chicago's vibrant performing arts scene. Emanating from the Illinois heartland, the visionary work of Ruth Page influenced the growth of theater design, opera-ballet and dance. She achieved worldwide recognition as a true pioneer of dance in America by creating at the forefront of social, political and artistic issues.
ABOUT RUTH PAGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS ARTIST IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts’ programming is the Artist In-Residence program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they grow or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and assisting dance and other performing artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within this artist community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a destination for quality performing arts, accessible to a wide community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability.
Current Artists In-Residence are CDI/Concert Dance, Inc., DanceWorks Chicago, Ruth Page Civic Ballet, ShawChicago Theater Company and Hedwig Dances. Previous residents of the Ruth Page Center include Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company.
For more information about The Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts and its programs visit www.RuthPage.org.
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Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from the Actors’ Equity Foundation, the Arts Work Fund at the Chicago Community Trust, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Cooper’s: A Neighborhood Eatery, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, the National Association of Realtors, The Saints and the Service Club of Chicago. The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.
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