Buzz News Chicago

Buzz News Chicago

Lincolnshire, IL – The global phenomenon seen by over 60 million people all around the world and one of Broadway’s longest running hits, MAMMA MIA!, kicks off Marriott Theatre's 2017 Season, running February 8 through April 2, 2017 with a press opening on February 15 at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. Multi Jeff Award Winner Rachel Rockwell (World Premiere of October Sky and 42nd Street at Marriott Theatre; Ride the Cyclone at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and MCC Theatre, New York; and Brigadoon at Goodman Theatre), returns to direct the much-loved  piece, with music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA, and book by Catherine Johnson.Rockwell, who has an extensive history with the show, having performed it many times including on Broadway, joins forces with longtime collaborators Set Designer Scott Davis, who will re-imagine the signature theatre-in-the-round space, and Costume Designer Theresa Ham who returns to the Marriott following the success of October Sky, along with Choreographer Ericka Mac and Musical Director Ryan T. Nelson.


“I’m really excited to put my spin on this exuberant celebration of music and friendship,” says Rockwell. “The show is a story of the enduring female relationships in our lives – mothers and daughters, women supporting each other. Paired with these songs that we all love, it brings such joy. It truly is a love letter to that ABBA sound."


MAMMA MIA!is the story of the dynamic relationship between independent and carefree mother, Donna Sheridan, and her spirited daughter, Sophie, who she has raised alone on an idyllic Greek island. While Donna invites her two best friends to her daughter's wedding, practical and no-nonsense Rosie and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya, Sophie has plans of her own up her sleeve. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna’s past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier, hoping to build a bond with the father she’s never known. Chaos ensues over the next 24 hours as new love blooms and old flames are rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities. Fusing explosive dance numbers with timeless songs, including “Dancing Queen”, “S.O.S.”, “Money, Money, Money” and “Take a Chance on Me,” MAMMA MIA! will have audiences singing along to all the classic favorites in this feel-good story full of laughs, love, family and friendship.


MAMMA MIA! stars Danni Smith as “Donna Sheridan” (The Marriott Theatre: Man of La Mancha and City of Angels; Paramount: A Christmas Story; Porchlight: Chess), Meghan Murphy as “Tanya” (The Marriott Theatre: City of Angels; Drury Lane Oakbrook: Smokey Joe’s Café), Cassie Slater as “Rosie” (The Marriott Theatre: Man of La Mancha and City of Angels), Tiffany Tatreauas “Sophie Sheridan” (The Marriott Theatre: Sister Act and Spring Awakening; Chicago Shakespeare Theater/MCC: Ride the Cyclone), Peter Saide as “Sam Carmichael” (Chicago Shakespeare/Old Globe: Sense and Sensibility; Paramount: Oklahoma!; Las Vegas: Jersey Boys), Karl Sean Hamilton as “Harry Bright” (The Marriott Theatre: For the Boys and The Full Monty; Goodman Theatre: Wonderful Town; Chicago Shakespeare Theater/MCC: Ride the Cyclone), Derek Hasenstab as “Bill Austin” (The Marriott Theatre: How To Succeed…, Spring Awakening, October Sky; Lookingglass Theatre Company: Eastland), Russell Mernagh as “Sky” (The Marriott Theatre: Evita; Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Ride the Cyclone; The Mercury Theatre: The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes), Kayla Kennedy as “Ali,”Lillian Castillo as “Lisa,” Liam Quealy as “Pepper,” and Gerard Salvador as “Eddie.” Also featuring Ari Aaron, William Carlos Angulo, Aramie, Julie Baird, Nathaniel Braga, Colte Julian, Tommy Lucas, Ericka Mac, John Marshall, Jr., Zoe Nadal, Hanah Rose Nardone, Laura Savage, Colette Todd and Kylah Williams.


The production will feature set design by Scott Davis, costume design by Theresa Ham, lighting design by Jesse Klug, sound design by Bob Gilmartin, properties design by Sally Weiss, musical supervision and orchestra conducted by Patti Garwood.


The performance schedule for MAMMA MIA!is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Ticket prices range from $50 to $60, including tax and handling fees. Call for student, senior and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of FREE dinners available with the purchase of a full-priced theatre ticket, which can only be purchased through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to Visit for more information.


January 5, 2016 (Chicago, IL)— The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Avenue, kicks off its 2017 Season with the world premiere of Mona Mansour’s play Unseen. Ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner directs a cast featuring ensemble members Brittany Burch (Mia) and Alexandra Main (Jane) with guest artist Ashley Agbay (Derya).  Unseen runs from February 10 - April 9, 2017 (Press opening: Thursday, February 16).    


Conflict photographer Mia wakes up in the Istanbul apartment of her on-again, off-again girlfriend after being found unconscious at the scene of a massacre she was photographing. Mia can’t even remember being there, but she wired photos of the site hours before being found. The two women resume their volatile push-pull when Mia’s well-meaning Californian mother arrives from the United States, trying to help unravel the mystery of what happened to her daughter.


“When I first read this play, it took my breath away,” says Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton. “To recognize each other’s humanity, to see each other’s pain and say ‘I love you completely for who you are’ is the highest gift we can give each other. As wars continue to rage on our planet, Unseen is a masterwork about love, trauma, and repair in the lives of those for whom war is not just a story, but real life. We are humbled and thrilled to tell this story at The Gift.”


Unseen’s design team includes Sarah Watkins (set), Rachel Sypniewski (costumes), John Kelly (lights), Sarah Ramos (sound), Sarahi Salazar (props) and Brock Alter (projections).


Performance schedule

Previews: Friday, February 10 – Wednesday, February 15

Press Opening: Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Regular Run: Friday, February 17 – Sunday, April 9

Curtain: Thursdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.


Tickets for Unseen range from $30-$40 and are available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting Season subscriptions are also on sale now and range from $75-$190, with special pricing available for members under the age of 30.


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 takes 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 or call 773-283-7071.



 CHICAGO, January 5, 2017 - Starting in January, what was the former 12th District police station in Chicago's West Loop will reopen as a newly transformed, centrally located, inclusive destination for Chicago children to free their minds, explore their creativity and become the artists of the future.


Registration is now open for a rich, diverse roster of live performing arts classes to be offered at the new home of Chicago Children's Theatre, The Station,

100 S. Racine Avenue. Be among the first to sign your child up for courses in theater, storytelling, film making, craft, modern movement, hip hop, craft, aerial circus arts and vocal instruction at Chicago Children's Theatre, The Station. Classes begin Monday, February 6. The first eight-week session runs through April 1.


With five brand new classrooms devoted to performing arts instruction, it's clear education and community engagement are the heart and soul of Chicago Children's Theatre's first-ever permanent home. 


What's more, CCT will finally have its own dedicated, year-round space at The Station for Red Kite programming for children with autism. This spring, children on the autism spectrum will participate in a brand new Red Kite Adventure, a multi-sensory theatrical experience tailored to the needs and whims unique to each child who attends. The Station will also be the new home of Camp Red Kite, the only summer arts camp of its kind in Chicago for children on the autism spectrum.


Frank Maugeri, Community Programs Artistic Director, Chicago Children's Theatre,leads all curricula, teaching artists and community partnerships at The Station.

"This former police station will now be used to amplify hope, explore personal identity and promote creative expression," said Maugeri. "Our intention is that

The Station's educational programming be as diverse as our city and as unique as its children."


Under his guidance, Chicago Children's Theatre has assembled a deep roster of classes for toddlers to teens, plus innovative camps, dynamic family experiences and public participatory opportunities, all staffed by Chicago's finest teaching artists.


Weekday morning courses target the still-at-home, stroller set, with "Baby Stages" classes for parents and children ages 0 to 3 to enjoy together. These include:


Baby Boogie, a special dance party for babies to practice fine motor skills and experience delightful songs with their parent or caregiver.

Teeny Tales, a class full of fairy tales, myths and legends told by master storytellers, with magical elements like puppets and more to bring the stories to life.


Mr. Nick's Planet of Song, where tots and their caregivers join in on the jams by singing, strumming and drumming away, exploring songs from around the globe and beyond with noted Chicago musical theater artist Nicholas Davio.


Morning "Growing Stage" classes for ages 3 to 5 include:


Hip Hop for Tots, taught by Chicago's own Yuri "The Human Beatbox" Lane, in which children interact with stories, riddles and fairytales through beatboxing: making sounds through voice and body.


Campfire Songs, where children gather around and enjoy the fun of sing-alongs and classic campfire stories.


Kid Craft, an art class designed to introduce small children to the magical world of making, painting and play.

In addition, Koga - Kid Yoga, is an all-ages class offered Wednesday and Friday over the lunch hour, from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy the experience of mindfulness and stretching with your child in this class focusing on motor-skill development, body awareness and interactive play between parent (or caregiver) and child.

The Station is sure to be a top new destination for older kids ages 6 through 14 on afternoons after school and weekends as well. "Younger Stages" classes for ages 6 to 9 and "Later Stages" classes for ages 10 to 14 include:


Circus & Aerial Arts, an energetic introduction to circus and aerial arts presented with Evanston's acclaimed Actors Gymnasium, including basic and intermediate instruction in silks, trapeze and lyra.


West Loop Story, a celebratory new exploration of the Broadway classic West Side Story in partnership with the local youth dance company Move Me Soul, in which children will expand their musical theater singing and dance skills, concluding with a showcase presentation for parents and caregivers.


Taking the Stage, for young performers interested in learning how to bravely take the stage by performing text, exploring movement and using objects to illustrate stories.


MOVE IT! MOVE IT!, for kids who want to bust the latest dance moves in this fun, all-inclusive dance party.


S.T.E.A.M TV, a hands-on multimedia experience guided by experienced filmmakers in which children will produce their own epic videos, in a class emphasizing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) principles, concluding with a red carpet premiere of the shows.


Saturday mornings at The Station promise to be busy as well, with Baby Boogie, Taking the Stage and Circus & Aerial Arts courses, along with even more, all-ages special educational events such as:

Homemade Plays, the first Saturday of each month. With cardboard, tape and imagination, participants will collaborate to cut, fold, construct, design and devise completely original 3-5 minute plays. Parents are encouraged to join the fun.

Open Build, the second Saturday of each month. Sew a costume, create a prop, build a set and get your hands dirty as a vital part of the CCT community. Work alongside family members, neighbors and professional artists to create scenery for professional productions staged at The Station.


Master Classes, the third Saturday of each month. During the run of select CCT productions, artists from the show will share their knowledge and experience in a one-time-only workshop.


In addition to being a lot of fun, Chicago Children's Theatre's classes help kids build confidence, overcome fears, solve problems, boost creativity, think fast on their feet, be better team players and, ultimately, gain a competitive edge.

The first eight-week class session at The Station runs February 6-April 1. Go for prices, times, to learn more about CCT's teacher community, and to register online. Scholarship and tuition assistance is available.


Plan ahead: Registration for spring break and summer camps is already open


In addition to classes, The Station will also be home to the Make a Scene Camp over CPS spring break, April 10-14, 2017. Kids ages 5 to 14 will work together to find a story they want to tell, conceive a set, rehearse and prepare to perform their workshop presentations at the end of the week.


Smart moms and dads know it's not too early to make summer camp plans for kids. In response, Chicago Children's Theatre will offer six different intensive and immersive camps this summer, each offering an amazing opportunity to bring their imagination to life while creating innovative theater arts experiences throughout the Chicago community.


CCT Summer Camps run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with before and after care included to help working parents, starting at 8:30 a.m. through final pick up at 5:30 p.m. Most camps group sections by age range: Section 1 (ages 3 to 5), Section 2 (ages 6 to 9) and Section 3 (ages 10 to 14).


Tuition is $300 per week for ages 3 to 5, and $475 per week for most other camps. Some scholarship assistance is available. Registration is already open and complete details about CCT Summer Camps are now posted at 



The six different CCT Summer Camp sessions, June 26-August 25, are:


Musical Theater Camp  

June 26 - June 30 (week one); July 3-July 7 (week two)

A fun introduction to musical theatre style vocal and dance training for your budding thespian culminating in a "revue" style performance for parents and caregivers at the end of each week. 


Make a Show Intensive  

July 10-July 21 (two weeks)

An immersive, two-week camp where your child creates a show top to bottom, concluding with a final performance of a miniature musical.


Parade and Performance Camp

July 24-July 28 (week one); July 31-August 4 (week two)

Campers explore, create, and spread joy through parade and performance in this hands-on camp. Campers craft objects and learn song and dance that help represent their delight in a final parade-style performance through the West Loop.


Camp Red Kite

August 7-25 (three weeks, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm daily)

A summer arts camp tailored specifically to the unique interests and needs of children on the autism spectrum. The program is led by a team of artists, administrators, and special education teachers dedicated to creating a safe, welcoming, and comfortable environment for children. Campers share arts experiences that encourages self-expression, social engagement, creative exploration, and above all, fun. Note: Camp Red Kite is $825 for the full three-week engagement.


Young Filmmakers Camp

August 7-11 (one week)

Young filmmakers have the opportunity to channel their inner Spielberg conceiving, writing, storyboarding, and filming mini-movies in small groups, exploring technique and collaborative storytelling. Ages 9 to 14 only. 

Improv & Comedy Camp

August 21-25 (one week)

Campers are introduced to improvisation games, stock characters, and sketch comedy -  a great way for children to build confidence before heading back to school. Ages 9 to 14 only.



About Chicago Children's Theatre, The Station


"After a decade of staging awe-inducing productions and educational programs at museums, theaters and other venues throughout the city and suburbs, Chicago Children's Theatre is beginning a new chapter," said Jacqueline Russell, Co-Founder and Artistic Director."At last we are moving into a space of our own, where we will create a centrally located, dynamic new family destination for all of Chicago's children and families, regardless of their circumstances or ability to pay."


Set to open in late January, the adaptive reuse of the former police station at

100 S. Racine, aka The Station, is Phase One of what will eventually be the new, expanded footprint for Chicago Children's Theatre. Phase Two will be completed in 2020, and will boast an all-new addition to the building, anchored by a second, 299-seat theater for the company's mainstage programming.


Chicago Children's Theatre is calling its new home The Station in homage to its history as a former police station, and to underscore the building's focus on education and community engagement. In addition to spaces devoted to education, The Station boasts a lobby with box office and concessions, and Chicago's newest theater space, the flexible, 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre.


Magic City, created by Chicago's internationally acclaimed shadow puppet theater Manual Cinema, will inaugurate CCT's new studio theater, January 27-February 19, 2017. Loosely based on the 1910 novel by Edith Nesbit about a girl who builds a miniature city that comes to life in her attic, Manual Cinema's new adaptation will update the story for a contemporary audience using overhead projectors, paper shadow puppets, live actors in silhouette, miniature toy theater and live musical accompaniment.


On stage in the spring in the Pritzker Family Studio Theatre is a new staging of Pinocchio, presented with Chicago's Neverbird Project. This production, which originated at Chicago's Bell Elementary School in 2016, will feature young hearing and Deaf actors in a signed and voice performance of this all-new take on the classic fairy tale. Performances are April 20-May 7.

Wheeler Kearns Architects, a Chicago firm led by Larry Kearns, principal, has been collaborating with associate architect Melissa Neel, Working Group One Architects, to create a new facility for Chicago Children's Theatre that emphasizes accessibility and transparency to the community. Theater planning is by Schuler Shook. Pepper Construction is the general contractor.


While Chicago Children's Theatre is offering courses, camps, family experiences and more inside The Station, the company's 2016-17 mainstage productions will continue to be presented at CCT's current performance home, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago.


For more information, visit or call (773) 227-0180.




CHICAGO – Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne and former Live Bait Theater Artistic Director Sharon Evans are pleased to announce the 20th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, running January 13–29, 2017. Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline brings 15 storytelling collectives and numerous solo performers together for a three-week, multi-venue selection of powerful personal stories.

The 2017 Fillet of Solo festival will perform January 13-29, 2017, in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood at Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.) and Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.). Free parking and shuttle available. Performance times are Fridays at 7 and 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 4, 5:30, 7, and 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 4 and 5:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Sunday performances only at Heartland Studio). Ticket prices are $10 for regular single tickets, and $50 for a Festival Pass (allows admission to any performance). Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting


The 20th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival will feature the work of:

·         GayCo ( An ensemble that specializes in creating sketch-comedy revues based on gay/lesbian themes. Since starting as a lesbigay focused workshop at the Second City Training Center in 1996, they’ve performed for massive, enthusiastic, sexy gay audiences in Chicago and across the country.
·         GeNarrations ( personal narrative story performance workshop hosted at Goodman and in senior centers around Chicago.
·         the kates ( An all-female comedy showcase that provides an intimate night of comedy dedicated to showcasing talented and hilarious female-identified performers by creating inclusive and positive environments. Artists are encouraged to express their comic point of view in unique and non-apologetic ways - proving that women are equal in the eyes of comedy.
·         The Lifeline Storytelling Project ( The Lifeline Storytelling Project produces monthly live music & storytelling events designed to develop and showcase young artists affiliated with Lifeline Theatre.
·         Loose Chicks ( Loose Chicks is a collection of courageous women who share experiences that most women keep to themselves. Each show features six exceptional writers and performers who allow themselves to be vulnerable as they share with uncommon honesty.
·         OUTspoken ( OUTspoken! is comprised of storytellers who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or queer recalling true personal events. Stories are often funny, heartfelt, and sometimes historically significant. 
·         Sappho’s Salon ( A monthly performance salon at Chicago's Women and Children First bookstore featuring expressions of queerness, gender and feminism.
·         Serving the Sentence ( Different storytellers take the same first sentence -- each in their own direction. At the end of the show, a new sentence is drawn that the next show's storytellers will embark from!
·         Stir-Friday Night! ( One of the country’s premier Asian-American comedy troupes, Stir-Friday Night! is made up of an ensemble of Asian-American actors/writers that travel the nation performing improv and sketch shows that educate all audiences, from an Asian-American perspective.
·         The Stoop ( The Stoop is an off book (no notes/reading) storytelling show. Featured storytellers are given a theme. They take that theme and share a 7-10 minute story related to that theme. Hosted by Moth GrandSLAM champion Lily Be and Badass Clarence Browley. 

 Featured performers, continued:

·          Story Club ( “We give you a mic and 8 minutes. You tell us a story.” Story Club is a non-fiction storytelling show. Story Club mixes the spontaneity  of an open mic with the experience of live theatre.  Each show has both featured performers and open mic performers.

·         Sweat Girls ( The Sweat Girls speak with honesty, authenticity and humor about the human condition as they’ve experienced it. They have been writing and performing storytelling shows in Chicago for over 20 years.
·         Tellin’ Tales Theatre, featuring Tekki Lomnicki ( Tellin' Tales Theatre builds community through story — adult solo performances as well as "Six Stories Up,” a mentoring program and show featuring kids and adults, with and without disabilities. Tekki Lomnicki is a solo performer, playwright, director and educator. 
·         That’s All She Wrote ( Chicago's only live lit show held in a tattoo shop. They are a non-competitive venue for storytellers of all stripes, co-produced by Angela Benander and J.H. Palmer, who share the mic with a new lineup of readers on the second Sunday of every month at Great Lakes Tattoo.
·         You’re Being Ridiculous ( “Good stories are better than good times!” A group of real people telling real funny stories about their lives with a theme as their guide. They laugh at themselves and with each other.
·         With solo performances by Nestor GomezKevin Krispin, and Annalise Raziq.


WEEK ONE (January 13-15):

 Friday, January 13

Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
7:00 p.m.      Story Club                                               7:00 p.m.         Lifeline Storytelling Project
8:30 p.m.      You’re Being Ridiculous                         8:30 p.m.         GayCo
Saturday, January 14
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
4:00 p.m.      Sweat Girls                                             4:00 p.m.         That’s All She Wrote
5:30 p.m.      The Stoop                                              5:30 p.m.         Stir-Friday Night!
7:00 p.m.      Annalise Raziq (“I Know A Place”)                      7:00 p.m.         OUTspoken
8:30 p.m.      Nestor Gomez (“Nestor Has Arrived:         8:30 p.m.         Kevin Krispin (“Invisible Now”)
                     Stories from the Front Seat”)
Sunday, January 15
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
4:00 p.m.      Tellin’ Tales Theatre/Tekki Lomnicki      4:00 p.m.         GeNarrations
                                                                                    5:30 p.m.         Serving the Sentence
WEEK TWO (January 20-22):
Friday, January 20
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
7:00 p.m.      the kates                                                 7:00 p.m.         Lifeline Storytelling Project
8:30 p.m.      You’re Being Ridiculous                         8:30 p.m.         GayCo
Saturday, January 21
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
4:00 p.m.      Sweat Girls                                             4:00 p.m.         That’s All She Wrote
5:30 p.m.      The Stoop                                              5:30 p.m.         Stir-Friday Night!
7:00 p.m.      Annalise Raziq (“I Know A Place”)                      7:00 p.m.         OUTspoken
8:30 p.m.      Nestor Gomez (“Nestor Has Arrived:         8:30 p.m.         Kevin Krispin (“Invisible Now”)
                     Stories from the Front Seat”)
Sunday, January 22
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
4:00 p.m.      Tellin’ Tales Theatre/Tekki Lomnicki      4:00 p.m.         GeNarrations
                                                                                    5:30 p.m.         Serving the Sentence
WEEK THREE (January 27-29):


Friday, January 27
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
7:00 p.m.      the kates                                                 7:00 p.m.         Lifeline Storytelling Project
8:30 p.m.      You’re Being Ridiculous                         8:30 p.m.         GayCo
Saturday, January 28
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
4:00 p.m.      Sweat Girls                                             4:00 p.m.         That’s All She Wrote
5:30 p.m.      The Stoop                                              5:30 p.m.         Stir-Friday Night!
7:00 p.m.      Annalise Raziq (“I Know A Place”)                      7:00 p.m.         Loose Chicks
8:30 p.m.      Nestor Gomez (“Nestor Has Arrived:         8:30 p.m.         Kevin Krispin (“Invisible Now”)
                     Stories from the Front Seat”)
Sunday, January 29
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.)                   Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
4:00 p.m.      Tellin’ Tales Theatre/Tekki Lomnicki      4:00 p.m.         GeNarrations
                                                                                    5:30 p.m.         Sappho’s Salon

Lifeline Theatre presents the 20th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, January 13-29, 2017, in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood at Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.) and Heartland Studio Theatre (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.). Free parking and shuttle available. Performance times are Fridays at 7 and 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 4, 5:30, 7, and 8:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 4 and 5:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Sunday performances only at Heartland Studio). Ticket prices are $10 for regular single tickets, and $50 for a Festival Pass (allows admission to any performance). Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting


#          #          #


Now in its 34th season, Lifeline Theatre is driven by a passion for story. Our ensemble process supports writers in the development of literary adaptations and new work, and our theatrical and educational programs foster a lifelong engagement with literature and the arts. A cultural anchor of Rogers Park, we are committed to deepening our connection to an ever-growing family of artists and audiences, both near and far. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close. 


Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by Alphawood Foundation; A.R.T League Inc.; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust: Persons with Disability Fund; The Common Cup; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Flex Print, Inc.; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Grover Hermann Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Poubelle Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of Renaissance Charitable Foundation; Rogers Park Social; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

CHICAGO, December 22, 2016 - Chicago theater luminaries Martha Lavey, John Mahoney, Barbara Robertson and Peter Sagal will play key roles in Theater Wit's much anticipated Midwest debut of 10 Out of 12, the newest, most adventurous work by Anne Washburn, author of Wit's 2014 smash hit Mr. Burns, a post-electric play.


Hailed by the New York Times as a "wholly original love song to the maddening art of the theater," 10 Out of 12 is an extraordinarily funny and touching workplace comedy. With its story of the challenges of bringing a new play to life, Washburn'snear-perfect recreation of a technical rehearsal is also a moving tribute to the complexity and beauty of human endeavor.  


"No one in Chicago has ever seen anything like 10 out of 12. Simultaneously exactingly real-to-life and riotously funny, Anne Washburn's detonation of a single technical rehearsal is promising to be a unique and thrilling viewing experience," said Jeremy Wechsler, Artistic Director of Theater Wit and director of 10 Out of 12. 


"This is the most technically extravagant piece of design we've ever done at Theater Wit," he added. "For instance, armed with 98 individual headsets, our audience will get to experience the play in three distinct auditory spaces simultaneously. As a special bonus, Anne is working with us to customize the play to our city's own rich theatrical history (and contemporary reality), which is going to provide an immediacy and context that will make 10 out of 12 a must-see show for every Chicago theatergoer who loves Chicago Theater."


Performances are March 3-April 23, 2017: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Press opening is Tuesday March 14 at 7:30 p.m. Exceptions: Sunday previews on March 5 and March 12 are at 7 p.m. There is no performance on March 16. 


Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. Tickets are $12-$70. To purchase tickets, a Theater Wit Membership or Flex Pass, visit or call 773.975.8150. 


Behind the scenes of  

10 Out of 12


10 Out of 12 will feature the recorded voices of a clutch of Chicago on stage icons cast in key backstage roles:


Former Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey will voice the lighting designer.


John Mahoney, best known for TV's Frasier, will play back stage crew person #3.


Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, is the sound designer.


Noted Chicago classical actor Barbara Robertson will voice the costume designer.


At every performance, each audience member will be given their own headset to hear their pre-recorded backstage chatter, mixed in real time with live actors on stage for a very meta look at seemingly the most mundane of processes and the hopes and visions that emerge from the 10 hours commonly known as "tech."


On stage, one of the city's edgiest storefront theater pioneers, Dado, takes on the role of the stage manager. Dado is joined by Gregory Fenner as Jake, an actor; Kyle Gibson as another actor, Ben; Shane Kenyon as the director; Erin Long as the assistant stage manager; Riley McIlveen as electrician #2, Adam Shalzi as assistant director; Stephen Walker as the troublesome lead actor, Paul; Eunice Woods as supporting actor, Siget; and Christine Yrem-Ydstie as the female lead, Eva.


For a show that pulls the curtain on the tech process, major props are due for Wit's production team: Adam Vesness (set), Izumi Inaba (costumes), Diane Fairchild (lights), Brenda Didier (choreography), Andra Velis-Simon (original music and music director), Joe Court (sound), Vivian Knouse (props), Greg Pinsoneault (scenic charge), Andrew Glasenhardt (technical director), Kristof Janezic (master electrician) Majel Cuza (production manager) and Katie Klemme (stage manager). 

Anne Washburn (playwright) play, Mr. Burns...a post electric play, was produced by Theater Wit, Playwrights Horizons, Woolly Mammoth (DC) and The Almeida (London). Her other plays include Antilia Pneumatica, The Internationalist, A Devil at Noon, Apparition, The Communist Dracula Pageant, I Have Loved Strangers,The Ladies, The Small and a transadaptation of Euripides' Orestes. Awards include the 2015 Whiting Award, 2015 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theater Award, the Guggenheim, a NYFA Fellowship, a Time Warner Fellowship, Susan Smith Blackburn finalist, and residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. She is an associate artist with The Civilians, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Chochiqq, and is an alumna of New Dramatists and 13P. 


Jeremy Wechsler (director) most recently staged Theater Wit's workshop of Mitchell Fain's This Way Outta Santaland and the extended Midwest premiere of Mat Smart's Naperville. Other directing credits at Wit include the company's election night reading of The Trump Card by Mike Daisey, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Madeline George's Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show's summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit's acclaimed Completeness and The Four of Us (Itamar Moses), Tigers Be Still (Kim Rosenstock), This (Melissa James Gibson), Spin (Penny Penniston), Feydeau-Si-Deau (Georges Feydeau), Men of Steel (Qui Nguyen), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Will Eno), Two for the Show (James Fitzpatrick and Will Clinger) and The Santaland Diaries. A veteran director in Chicago with over fifty productions, his work has been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new plays.


About Theater Wit


Theater Wit, Chicago's "smart art" theater, is a major hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago.

"A thrilling addition to Chicago's roster of theaters" (Chicago Tribune) and "a terrific place to see a show" (New City), Theater Wit is now in its sixth season at its home at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. 


The company's most recent hits there include Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, andCompleteness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses. 


In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater. Theater Wit also brings together Chicago's best storefront companies at its Lakeview home, including 2016-17 resident companies About Face and Shattered Globe.


In addition to its popular Membership program, Theater Wit also offers a 10-play Flex Pass for $215 to anything presented in the building, a savings of up to 40%. To purchase a Theater Wit Membership, inquire about a Flex Pass or to buy single tickets, visit or call 773.975.8150.


To receive an "artisanal selection of consonants and vowels from Theater Wit," sign up at for exclusive updates, flash deals and behind-the-scenes production scoop every few weeks.

CHICAGO, December 15, 2016 - National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants this week as part of the NEA's first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. 


Included in this announcement is an Art Work grant of $10,000 to Thodos Dance Chicago to support the March 2017 restaging of legendary West Coast choreographer Bella Lewitzky's seminal work Nos Duraturi.  


The grants also helps fund a comprehensive education outreach initiative to teach the Lewitzky technique to Chicago professional and youth dancers.


The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. 


"The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as Thodos Dance Chicago, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer."


"We are delighted that the NEA has awarded Thodos Dance Chicago a $10,000 grant to support our newest work to emerge from our American Dance Legacy Project, Bella Lewitzky's Nos Duraturi," said TDC founder and artistic director Melissa Thodos. "We so appreciate the NEA's endorsement of our work, and we look forward to introducing a new generation of audiences to the work of Bella Lewitzky, a true icon of modern dance."



More about the NEA's support of  Nos Duraturi


The NEA Arts Work grant will support Thodos Dance Chicago's restaging and presentation of Bella Lewitzky's Nos Duraturi, premiering Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre as part of Thodos Dance Chicago's 25th Anniversary FULL CIRCLE concert.


Former Lewitzky dancer Walter Kennedy, who was featured in a poignant duet in the 1984 premiere of Nos Duraturi, along with former Lewitzky company member Amy Ernst, will spend three weeks in residence at Thodos Dance Chicago's studio setting the work on the full company, working with the company's lighting and costume designers to honor the dramatic lighting and costumes for the piece and creating a lecture presentation for education outreach.


The grant also will help fund a series of Lewitzky technique master classes to be offered to the Chicago dance community. Walter Kennedy will personally teach master classes with youth dancers at the Chicago High School for the Arts and Whitney Young Magnet High School, with the pre-professional and company trainees at the Joffrey Ballet Academy, an open class for advanced and professional dancers at Visceral Dance Center, and three open classes at Thodos Dance Chicago's own rehearsal studio.


Bella Lewitzky (1916-2004) was a legendary teacher, choreographer, and powerful force for arts advocacy and dance education. Her artistic and political voice remains powerful to those who remember but is unknown to many. Nos Duraturi, choreographed by Lewitzky to Stravinsky's heroic "Symphony of Psalms" is a life affirming, triumph of brotherhood over violence. The work premiered at the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival in Los Angeles. 


Thodos Dance Chicago's recreation of Nos Duraturi is the fourth work to emerge from the company's American Dance Legacy Project, which seeks to keep the works of renowned American dance artists alive on stage.


Tickets to its Chicago premiere of Nos Duraturi, one of several exciting works sure to delight as part of Thodos Dance's 25th Anniversary FULL CIRCLE concert on March 11 at the Auditorium, are $29-$68. To purchase, visit, call (312) 341-2300 or buy in-person at Auditorium Theatre's Box Office, 50 E Congress Parkway, Chicago.


AURORA, December 6, 2016 - Some call Sweeney Todd Stephen Sondheim's most perfect score, filled with ravishing beauty. Others describe this Victorian melodrama as a pitch-black comedy, filled with thrills and terrors. Many herald this musical about an English barber, who murders his customers with a straight razor and, with his accomplice Mrs. Lovett, processes their corpses into meat pies, one of the single greatest achievements of American theater in the last 50 years.


Some, others, many and bloody well everyone need to strap themselves in for Paramount Theatre's bold new production of Sweeney Todd-The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. 


Artistic Director Jim Corti - who staged last season's Jeff winning best musical West Side Story, winner of 2015 Jeff Awards for director and musical for Les Misérables, and the only Chicago theater artist to win Jeffs for directing, choreography and acting, will stage and choreograph Paramount's new take on Sondheim's beautiful, yet terror-filled musical. Paramount favorite Tom Vendafreddo returns for his tenth consecutive Paramount production as music director and conductor.


Previews start February 8. Press opening is Saturday, February 11 at 8 p.m.

Performances run through March 19: Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Single tickets are $44 to $59. Sweeney Todd is rated PG-13.


The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, is surrounded by affordable parking and new restaurants for pre- or post-show dining. To purchase tickets, go to, call (630) 896-6666, or visit the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances. 



Behind-the-scenes of Paramount's  

Sweeney Todd


It's just another day in 19th Century England. Benjamin Barker has returned home. The only thing is, it's been 15 years since the once fresh-faced barber has seen his family. Barker was unjustly imprisoned on trumped up charges by the corrupt Judge Turpin, who had his leering eyes on the barber's beautiful wife. Upon his arrival to the pie shop where he and his family once lived above, Barker's old friend and confidant Mrs. Lovett unravels the events of the past decade. She explains about the seduction of his wife by the Judge, which led her to take her own life. And to sharpen the pain, she breaks the news that the Judge adopted and is raising Barker's daughter as his own. Barker vows revenge and turns to the tools with which he'll exact his plan: a razor and a barber chair. While the ensuing events are unfortunate for some, others - including Mrs. Lovett, her struggling pie shop and her customers - quickly prosper from the body count.


"Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece resonates powerfully and creepily with penny dreadful gallows humor not unlike today's political satire," said director Jim Corti. "The leads, Todd and Lovett, are examples of how ordinary humans can become monsters capable of atrocity when vengeance and survival are forced upon perfectly good, wholesome people. Poisoned and toxic, they approach us to tell their tale. It's all perfectly, grotesquely beautiful. Perfectly human."


Paramount's principal cast members are Paul-Jordan Jansen as Sweeney Todd,

Bri Sudia as Mrs. Lovett, Matt Deitchman as Adolfo Pirelli, John Herrera as Judge Turpin, Cecilia Iole as Johanna, Anthony Norman as Tobias Ragg, Emily Rohm as Beggar Woman, Patrick Rooney as Anthony Hope and Craig W. Underwood as Beadle.


Ensemble members are Julie Bayer, Harter Clingman, Nathan Maurice Cooper, Evan C. Dolan, Thomas Forde, Emily Glick, Emily Goldberg, Alana Grossman, Teressa LaGamba, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, Matthew Thomas Provencal, Rob Riddle, Dan Riley, Will Skrip, Jason Slattery and Abby Murray Vachon.


The Sweeney Todd production team includes Trent Stork, associate director; Kory Danielson, assistant music director/associate conductor; Jeff Kmiec, scenic designer; Theresa Ham, costume designer; Nick Belley and Jesse Klug, co-lighting designers; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and make-up designer; Amanda Relaford, properties designer; Patrick Ham, special effects designer; Ryan Bourque, fight choreographer; Jinni Pike, stage manager; and Nora Mally, assistant stage manager. 


Sweeney Todd is a fictional character who first appeared as the villain of the Victorian penny dreadful "The String of Pearls" (1846-47). Claims that Sweeney Todd was a historical person are strongly disputed by scholars, although his tale became a staple of London urban legend. 


His story has been retold many times since, including in Sweeney Todd-The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, Sweeney Todd has been nominated for Tony Awards in three different decades. The original 1979 production received nine Tonynominations and brought home eight including best musical, score and book. A 1990 remount saw four more Tony nominations. Tim Burton directed Johnny Depp in the lead role in the acclaimed 2007 musical fantasy horror film. Back on Broadway, a 2016 New York revival landed six more Tony nods. Popular musical numbers include "A Little Priest," "My Friends," "Epiphany," "Worst Pies in London" and "Pretty Women."


Jim Corti (director) was hired in 2011 to be the first-ever artistic director in the Paramount's 80+ year history. He was instrumental in launching Paramount's inaugural Broadway Series and directed and choreographed Paramount's first self-produced Broadway Series show My Fair Lady, which played to rave reviews. Corti's 2013 Paramount production of Fiddler on the Roof was a smash hit, and his Miss Saigon was the only musical to make the Chicago Tribune's Top Ten Shows of 2013. RENT in 2014 was a critical and box office success, followed by consecutive productions of The Who's Tommy and Les Misérables ,  which collectively garnered five Jeff Awards for Paramount in its first year of eligibility, including Best Production - Musical - Large for Les Misérables and Best Director - Musical for Corti. He also staged Paramount's 2015-16 opener Oklahoma! and closer West Side Story, Paramount's second-consecutive Jeff Award winning Best Musical. Earlier this season Corti directed Mamma Mia!. Before Paramount, Corti was a seasoned Broadway veteran, appearing in the New York casts of Ragtime, A Chorus Line and Candide and national tours of Urinetown, Cabaret and Bob Fosse's Dancin'. Career highlights over three decades include being the only director in Chicago to have two productions at the same time in the Chicago Tribune's list of 10 Best Shows in 2009 - Drury Lane's Cabaret and Writers Theatre's Oh, Coward!. He remains the sole honoree to have garnered a Jeff Award as an actor (in Marriott's Grand Hotel), a choreographer (Drury Lane's Singin' in the Rain) and director (Paramount's Les Misérables, Drury Lane's Sweet Charity and Northlight's Blues in the Night).

Tom Vendafreddo (music director and conductor) is helming his tenth consecutive musical at Paramount, preceded by In the Heights, Mary Poppins, The Who's Tommy, Les Misérables (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), Oklahoma! (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), A Christmas Story - The Musical (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), Hairspray - The Broadway Musical, West Side Story (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), Mamma Mia! and Disney's The Little Mermaid. Other credits include Company and Sweet Charity (Writers Theatre); On the Town andGodspell (Marriott Lincolnshire); Road Show and Shrek: The Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Spitfire Grill (BoHo Theatre - Jeff Nomination for Music Direction); and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Metropolis Performing Arts Center). Regional credits include RENT (San Diego Musical Theatre), Odyssey (Old Globe Theatre), Forever Plaid (Chestnut Fine Arts) and It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Cygnet Theatre). As a cabaret artist, he has performed in Chicago, New York, San Diego and Melbourne. In 2014, he became the Founding Artistic Director of the Chicago Artists Chorale, a choral ensemble of working professionals in the Chicago theatre community. He received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Eastman School of Music and a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University.


Paramount's 2016-17 Broadway Series is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and The Dunham Fund. Broadway Series Orchestra Sponsor is Rush-Copley Medical Center. Broadway Series Lighting Sponsor is ComEd. Broadway Series Costume Sponsor is Gerald Kia.



More about Paramount's 2016-17 Season


Paramount's 2016-17 season line-up is anchored by its acclaimed Broadway musical series. Following Sweeney Todd is Jesus Christ Superstar, Apr. 19-May 28, 2017. 


In addition, Paramount's 2016-17 season also includes Defending the Caveman(Jan. 20), God Save The Queen (Jan. 21), Home Free (Mar. 24), Madeleine Peyroux and Rickie Lee Jones (Mar. 25), Golden Dragon Acrobats (Mar. 26), Riverdance: 20 Years (Mar. 31-Apr. 2, five shows), Piano Men: A Tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel(Jun. 10, two shows) and Barbra and Frank: The Concert That Never Was... (Jun. 11).


Back in 2016-17 is Paramount's popular Classic Movie Monday series, presenting everyone's favorite flicks in one of Chicago's top former movie palaces on a two-story screen, for just $1. Paramount also serves the community with low-cost children's shows designed to entertain while they educate: Miss Nelson is Missing(Mar. 22) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (Mar. 23). 


For subscriptions, single tickets or more information, go to, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.



About The Paramount Theatre 


Inside the historic Paramount Theatre


The Paramount Theatre ( is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. Named "One of Chicago's Top 10 Attended Theatres" by the League of Chicago Theatres, the 1,888-seat Paramount, located in downtown Aurora at 

23 E. Galena Blvd., is nationally recognized for the quality and caliber of its presentations, superb acoustics and historic beauty.   


The Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. Designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp, the theater captures a unique Venetian setting portrayed in the art deco influence of the 1930s. The first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago, the Paramount offered the public a variety of entertainment, including "talking pictures," vaudeville, concerts and circus performances for more than 40 years. 


In 1976, Aurora Civic Center Authority purchased the Paramount and closed the theater for restoration. The $1.5 million project restored the Paramount to its original grandeur. On April 29, 1978, the Paramount Arts Center opened, offering a variety of theatrical, musical, comedy, dance and family programming. In 2006, a 12,000-square-foot, two-story Grand Gallery lobby was added, with a new, state-of-the-art box office, café and art gallery.


Today, the Paramount self-produces its own Broadway Musical Series, presents an eclectic array of comedy, music, dance and family shows, and on most Mondays, screens a classic movie.


The Paramount Theatre is one of three live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA). ACCA also oversees the Paramount's "sister" stage, the intimate, 173-seat Copley Theatre located directly across the street from the Paramount at 8 E. Galena Blvd., as well as RiverEdge Park, downtown Aurora's summer outdoor concert venue.


The Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals. 


For tickets and information, go to or call 

(630) 896-6666.


Saturday, 03 December 2016 10:59

First Folio to Present Captain Blood

OAK BROOK, IL — Experience the novel come alive, as First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83) presents the world premiere stage adaption of CAPTAIN BLOOD, opening Saturday, January 28, 2017 and running through February 26, 2017, with previews January 25-27. This action-packed adaptation of the novel by Rafael Sabatini is written by Jeff Award winner David Rice, the author of the critically-acclaimed original drama The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story and the Shakspearean adaptation Cymbeline: A Musical Folk Tale (Jeff Awards for Original Adaptation and Original Music.)


Set on a Caribbean island, CAPTAIN BLOOD follows the unjustly enslaved Dr. Peter Blood as he falls in love with the lady of the plantation, the lovely Arabella Bishop. This lively adaptation replete with swordfights and pirate battles as Blood escapes and takes up the treacherous life of a pirate, it then appears fate has separated them forever… or has it?


The cast of CAPTAIN BLOOD is led by Nick Sandys (Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Travesties at Remy Bumppo) as “Captain Peter Blood”; Heather Chrisler (Rutherford’s Travels World Premiere at First Folio Theatre) as “Arabella Bishop”; and an ensemble which includes Aaron Christensen (The Taming of the Shrew at First Folio), Barbara Charlene (Spring Awakening National Tour), Austin England, Christopher Jones, Sam Krey (Circus Juventas), Kevin McKillip (The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe at First Folio Theatre), Jennifer Mohr, Almanya Narula (The Persians at Columbia College Chicago), and Chris Vizurraga (Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters at Lifeline Theatre).


The artistic team includes Janice L. Blixt as Director (Killer Angels with Michigan Shakespeare Festival), Kevin McKillip (Will Rogers- An American Original at First Folio Theatre) as Assistant Director, Nick Sandys (Joseph Jefferson Nomination for fight direction Romeo and Juliet at First Folio) as Fight Director, Scenic Design by Angela Weber Miller (Dr. Seward’s Dracula at First Folio Theatre), Lighting Design by Greg Freeman (Fooling Buddha, Jeeves at Sea, and The Rainmaker at First Folio and Side Show at Porchlight); Original Music and Sound Design by Christopher Kriz (Roz and Ray at Victory Gardens Theatre), Costume Design by Alexa Weinzierl (Fiddler on the Roof at Light Opera Works Chicago), Projections Design by Erin Pleake (A Midsummer Night’s Dream at University Playhouse), Properties Design by Scott Leaton, Amy Creuziger as Stage Manager, and Sarah West as Assistant Stage Manager.


CAPTAIN BLOODopens January 28th, and runs through February 26th, 2017, and previews January 25-27. All performances take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 W 31st St., off Rt. 83, in Oak Brook. First Folio is easy to get to via the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds. Preview tickets are $23. Regular priced tickets are $29 Wednesdays and Thursdays (seniors and students are $26), and $39 on Fridays through Sundays (seniors and students are $36). Three show subscriptions are available for $58-$101. Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at

The New Colony is pleased to announce its full 2017 Season, featuring four world premiere productions by four Chicago playwrights. The season kicks off this winter with ensemble member Sean Kelly’s fantasy adventure PSYCHONAUT LIBRARIANS, directed by Krissy Vanderwarker. In the spring, TNC presents Connor McNamara’s political thriller SCAPEGOAT; OR (WHY THE DEVIL ALWAYS LOVED US), directed by Kristina Valada-Viars followed by a summer production of Beth Kander’s Kentucky-lore saga THE BLUE, directed by Tony Horne. The season concludes next fall with Michael Allen Harris’ prison drama PUNK, directed by Diana Raiselis. The full 2017 season will be presented at The New Colony’s resident home The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, visit 


Comments The New Colony Co-Artistic Director Evan Linder, “We are thrilled that this season kicks off with the newest creation by ensemble member Sean Kelly. We are equally excited that our other three 2017 playwrights and all four of our directors will be making their New Colony debuts this year. These extraordinary creative teams are filling our ninth season with four world premieres that remind us why The New Colony exists in the first place: New Art, New Artists, New Audiences.”


The New Colony’s 2017 Season includes:


January 11 – February 11, 2017


Written by Sean Kelly

Directed by Krissy Vanderwarker


The library is closed. The curtains are drawn. A Bunsen burner flicks on in the dark. The librarians sip their glowing elixir and the room spins with color and light. One more time. One last fight at the barrier between realiy... and the anyverse.


April 5 – May 7, 2017


Written by Connor McNamara

Directed by Kristina Valada-Viars


When a story leaks revealing he is secretly a Satanist, an idealistic Senator perched for a Judicial Appointment grapples with his family, The Christian Right, and his daughter-in-law (supposedly) returned from the dead, in order to save his life and his legacy.


July 12 – August 13, 2017

THE BLUE – World Premiere!

Written by Beth Kander

Directed by Tony Horne


The Alexander sisters of Worried Creek, Kentucky, have it rough. The eldest, April, a pregnant prize-fighter, refuses to reveal the identity of her unborn baby's father; the youngest, May, is dead (though a very talkative ghost); and the brilliant middle sister June was born with the family curse: bright blue skin. But June hasn't abandoned hope. She writes daily to a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, a man she believes can cure her... but when he shows up at their doorstep, each of the sisters’ lives (and deaths) take unexpected turns.


October 4 – November 5, 2017

PUNK – World Premiere!

Written by Michael Allen Harris

Directed by Diana Raiselis


Set in a maximum-security prison in present day America, Punk is the story of a group of inmates who are protected and housed in a special unit for gay, bisexual and transgender inmates. Tensions rise when Travis, a young man sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a gay man, requests to transfer into the unit. Fear and suspicion hover over the inmates who call this unit home.  Currently in development in The New Colony's Associate Company Intensive Program, Punk will receive a two-week workshop production in December of 2016 before its world premiere in the fall of 2017.


About The Playwrights & Directors


Sean Kelly (Playwright, Psychonaut Librarians) is a Chicago-born writer and director. He is currently leading a collaboration of nearly 50 artists in the creation 100 new stories – deep stories told in silly ways. He has written and directed at Porchlight Music Theatre, Victory Gardens, Collaboraction, The Old Town School of Folk Music and his home, The New Colony.


Krissy Vanderwarker (Director, Psychonaut Librarians) is a freelance director most recently of Thaddeus & Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure at Lookingglass. She is also the Co-Artistic Director of Dog & Pony Theatre Co. D&P directing credits include: Breach, Counterfeiters, The Dinner Party Project, God’s Ear, As Told by the Vivian Girls, Mr. Marmalade, Ape, Osama the Hero, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) and As Much As You Can. Other professional directing credits include: Harry & The Thief (Pavement Group), The Grown-Up (Shattered Globe), CLEAR (About Face Theatre), What Once We Felt (About Face Theatre) and As Much As You Can (Hendel Productions West). She graduated with her MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University and is on faculty there now. 


Connor McNamara (Playwright, Scapegoat; or (Why The Devil Always Loved Us) Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Connor has lived and worked in Chicago for the past five years. His stage work was most-recently seen during the Chicago Home Theatre Festival; his prose published in ink&coda Magazine, as well as shortlisted for The Aeon Award. As an actor, Connor has worked with The Griffin Theatre, Marry-Arrchie Theatre Co., Step Up Productions, among others. He is a graduate of Kent State University and The School at Steppenwolf. 


Kristina Valada-Viars  (Director, Scapegoat; or (Why The Devil Always Loved Us) appeared in a benefit reading of The Warriors with The New Colony. Scapegoat will be her Chicago directing debut. She has worked on new play development projects with New Dramatists in New York and workshop productions with American Theatre Company, About Face, Goodman Theater and others.  Chicago acting credits include The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence (Theater Wit), The Diary of Anne Frank (Writers Theatre); The Great God Pan (Next Theatre); Completeness (Theater Wit) and Pony (About Face Theatre). She also served as Assistant Director on The Matchmaker (Goodman Theatre) and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Theater Wit). Ms. Valada-Viars’ other New York credits include original productions of Monstrosity (13P); Love Drunk (Abingdon Theatre Company); The Music Teacher (New Group) and 516 (New York International Fringe Festival). Her film and television credits include Molly's Girl (Best Actress in a Feature, Iris Prize Film Festival), Written Off (Amazon Prime) The Door in the Floor, BlackBox, Shameless, Law & Order: CI and Animal Husbandry. Upcoming: The Burials at Steppenwolf. She is also currently working in the field of Audience Design and Artist/Audience Engagement with Theater Wit.


Beth Kander (Playwright, The Blue) is a Chicago-based writer with Southern and Midwestern roots. Recent playwriting awards and activities include Ashland New Plays Festival (2016 & 2015), The Ruckus’ 2016 summer festival, BechdelFest 2016, The Kilroys List (Honorable Mentions 2016 & 2015), The Writers Room at The New Colony, Leapfest 2015, Downstage Left Residency, Charles M. Getchell New Play Award and three Eudora Welty New Play Awards. She has scripts represented by Stage Rights in Los Angeles and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander writes novels, screenplays and children's literature. She is finishing her MFA in Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women, and has degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Michigan


Tony Horne (Director, The Blue) A proud native of Memphis, Tony is currently freelance stage director and an Associate Professor/Head of Musical Theatre at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  His work encompasses theatre education, arts management, performance, direction and choreography. Tony’s directing credits include both plays and musicals. Career highlights include directing Once on This Island (the inaugural production for the new Hattiloo Theatre building in Memphis), the world premiere of the Theatre for Young Audiences version of The Wiz (First Stage, Milwaukee, WI), winning Ostrander Awards (Memphis Theatre Award) for Direction of a Musical for The Color Purple (Playhouse on the Square, Memphis, TN) and The Wiz (Hattiloo Theatre, Memphis, TN), and directing the Mid-South regional premieres of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean (Playhouse on the Square, Memphis, TN), Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Hattiloo Theatre/Circuit Playhouse, Memphis, TN) and Lee Breuer & Bob Telson’s The Gospel at Colonus (Playhouse on the Square, Memphis, TN). Tony holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Dance from the United States International University (now Alliant International), an MBA in Arts Management from UCLA and an MFA in Directing from the University of Memphis.


Michael Allen Harris (Playwright, Punk) As a playwright, Michael has collaborated with Chicago theatre companies such as Broken Nose Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, Arc Theatre, Stage 773, Fine Print Theatre, Chicago Home Theater Festival and The New Colony. His play, Rocky Road, received its world premiere at the New Studio Theatre of Columbia College Chicago in March of 2013. It was the first production featured in the Main Stage season that was authored by an alumnus. His play, The Velvet Tabernacle, was featured in a development series on behalf of Fine Print Theatre. His most recent play, Kingdom, is currently involved in a season-long development on behalf of Broken Nose Theatre and received its first stage reading at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater. In February 2016, he was part of The New Colony’s Writer’s Room and completed the first draft of his full-length play Ascension. His short plays include: House of Samurai, They Let Him Bleed, Project Agatha and The Woman Who Stared into the Eyes of The Red Horseman. As an actor, Michael worked with Adventure Stage, Eclipse Theatre, Gift Theatre, Teatro Vista, The-Massive, Stone Soup Theatre Project, Infusion Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre and Cold Basement Dramatics. He was nominated for a BTAA for his performance as Fortune in Eclipse Theatre’s Jeff-nominated production of Ruined. He is a proud ensemble member of Eclipse Theatre Company and proudly represented by Lily’s Talent. 


Diana Raiselis (Director, Punk) is a Chicago-based director and community event producer.  Recent directing projects include Resolution (Pride Films & Plays), Punk (workshop production, The New Colony), THIRST: a climate change theater action (Jackalope) and festival premieres with Collaboraction, Jackalope, Prologue and Buzz22 Chicago. As a producer, she co-curates Slaymaker Loft's occasional new-work series party/theater/party, and has served on producing teams for events at Pritzker Pavilion, the Steppenwolf Garage and site-specific locations around Chicago. Proud alumna of Northwestern University and the Steppenwolf Professional Leadership Program.


About The New Colony


The New Colony develops New Art and New Artists in order to educate and build New Audiences.


Founded in 2008, The New Colony has already established itself as “one of Chicago’s essential off-Loop companies” (Chicago Tribune). Through the premiere of over twenty-five world premiere plays and musicals, The New Colony has cultivated a diverse audience of theatergoers eager to have a voice in the storytelling. Conversation, collaboration and innovation remain at the heart of everything they produce. The New Colony’s work has been honored with four Non-Equity Jeff Awards, Broadway in Chicago’s 2011 Emerging Theatre Award and Best Overall Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. The New Colony’s 2017 Season marks their third year as a resident company in the Upstairs Mainstage of The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.


Dennis Začek and Grippo Stage Co., Inc., will present Confessions of a P.I.M.P., written and performed by André De Shields, and directed by Samuel G. Roberson and Dennis Začek. The cast also includes Kimberly Lawson and Donica Lynn. Confessions of a P.I.M.P. runs August 26, 27 at 8pm and August 28 at 7:30pm at Victory Gardens Theater, located at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.


Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at or by calling the box office at 773-871-3000.


From the heat of urban insurrection in Baltimore, Maryland to the incandescent glare of New York’s Great White Way, “Jelly Belly” has many stories to tell. Through song, dance, and spoken word, join Victory Gardens Theater’s Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellow André De Shields in this riveting performance as we follow this adventure from inner city impoverishment to self-actualization.


The creative team for Confessions of a P.I.M.P. includes Doug Peck (musical direction), Jake Ruppert (sound design) and Charles Smith (dramaturg). The band includes Tony Mhoon (bass) and Robert Reddrick (percussion). Tina Jach is the stage manager.


Confessions of a P.I.M.P. originally premiered as part of Victory Gardens’ 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays.


About the Artists

André De Shields in a career spanning forty-six years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator.  He is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, one as Director for Victory Gardens’ 1987 production of The Colored Museum, and two as Featured Performer in a Musical for the Goodman Theatre productions of Play On! (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book (2013).  In fact, André’s professional career began at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre, now the Bank of America Theatre, in the 1969 production of Hair.  From there he moved on to The Me Nobody Knows at the Civic Opera House, and ultimately became a member of The Organic Theatre Company, where he created the role of Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in the cult sensation Warp. A multiple Tony Award nominee, he is best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On! and The Full Monty. His numerous accolades include an Emmy Award for the NBC Special based on Ain’t Misbehavin’, the National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, the Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance and two Doctor of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa one each from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York-College at Buffalo. A triple Capricorn, Mr. De Shields is the ninth of eleven children born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland. Ubuntu. 


Kimberly Lawson appeared in Confessions of a P.I.M.P. during the 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays. A current board member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals, her cabaret shows include WOZ: A Rock Cabaret, Why Can't a Woman: A Feminist Perspective of Broadway, Fancy Meeting You Here andLife, Love, and Faith: A Tribute to Faith Prince. She is currently a student of Nadine Gomes of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Tony Award Winner Faith Prince. In her non-performing life, Kimberly is the Audience Services Manager at Lookingglass Theatre.


Donica Lynn was most recently seen on stage in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Dreamgirls! Previous PMT credits include: Chicago Sings Motown, Chicago Sings Disney and Off the Porch’s Gatecrashers. Chicago credits include: Confessions of P.I.M.P with Tony nominee Andre De Shields (Victory Gardens); The Color Purple, Barnum (Mercury Theater); Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hairspray, Aida (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Once On This Island and Seussical (Marriott Lincolnshire); Lady in Denmark, Crowns and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Goodman Theatre); as well as works with Paramount, Court, Congo Square, Theatre at the Center and ETA Creative Arts. Film/TV credits include: Chicago Fire. She is also a featured vocalist on albums by Ramsay Lewis, Calvin Bridges, Justin Roberts and Cory Goodrich. Donica is a two-time Black Theater Alliance Award nominee, a Black Excellence Award nominee, an alumna of Soul Children of Chicago, proud AEA & AGMA member and represented by Stewart Talent.


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