Upcoming Theatre

Victory Gardens Theater announces the lineup for the 2017 IGNITION Festival of New Plays, including Tuvaluor The Saddest Song by Antoinette Nwandu; This Land Was Made by Tori Sampson; Spin Moves by Ken Weitzman; Tell Them I'm Still Young by Julia Doolittle; Wolf Play by Hansol Jung; and Suspension by Kristiana Rae Colón. The 2017 Festival runs August 4-6, 2017 at Victory Gardens Theater, located at 2433 N Lincoln Avenue. All readings will be free and open to the public, though a reservation is encouraged. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.victorygardens.org/ignition or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.
 
INGITION’s six selected plays will be presented in a festival of readings and will be directed by leading artists from Chicago. Following the readings, any number of the plays may be selected for intensive workshops during Victory Gardens Theater’s 2017-18 season, and Victory Gardens may produce these plays in an upcoming season.
 
“At Victory Gardens,​we bridge Chicago communities through innovative and challenging new plays by giving playwrights the time and space to develop their work. We are thrilled to welcome these six remarkable and unique voices in the American theater to our IGNITION Festival,” comments Artistic Director Chay Yew. “These playwrights not only reflects the challenges in our current political climate, but push us to imagine a greater future.”
 
"This year’s lineup exemplifies the current political and cultural zeitgeist of our city and country: a young girl’s journey to self-empowerment, a movement towards a revolution, the role basketball plays in international peace, how to recover from the loss of a child, America’s role in Korean adoptions, and the ancestral power of #blackgirlmagic. Come experience these new plays and hear what they have to say about the world in which we live," remarks Director of New play Development Isaac Gomez.  
 
The 2017 Lineup Includes:
 
Friday, August 4, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Tuvalu, or The Saddest Song by Antoinette Nwandu
It is Los Angeles in the mid-nineties, and Jackie-girl is at a crossroads. This lyrical and powerful coming of age story with a soundtrack asks how the girls whose mothers’ lives have been tainted by abuse, violence, poverty and shame ever grow into healthy and empowered women. 
 
About Antoinette Nwandu
Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright via Los Angeles. Her play Pass Over is currently receiving its World Premiere production at Steppenwolf in June 2017, and her play Breach will receive a World Premiere at Victory Gardens in February 2018. She is currently under commission from Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles. Antoinette’s plays have been supported by the Cherry Lane Mentor Project (mentor: Katori Hall), Kennedy Center, Page73, Ars Nova, PlayPenn, Space on Ryder Farm, Southern Rep, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, and The Movement Theater Company. Honors include a spot on the 2016 Kilroys list, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, and a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Antoinette is an alum of the Ars Nova Play Group, the Naked Angels Issues PlayLab, and Dramatists Guild Fellowship. Additional honors include being named a Ruby Prize finalist, PONY Fellowship finalist, Page73 Fellowship finalist, NBT’s I Am Soul Fellowship finalist, and two-time Princess Grace Award semi-finalist. Education: Harvard, The University of Edinburgh, Tisch School of the Arts.
 
IGNITION Opening Night Kick-Off at 9:30 p.m.
Victory Gardens Theater Lobby
Stick around for this opening night celebration with a live DJ, delicious appetizers, and complimentary drinks as we raise a glass to kick off our IGNITION Festival of New Plays.
 
Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
This Land Was Made by Tori Sampson
Oakland in 1967 was a powder keg of social activism about to boil over into radical action that would soon change how the whole country engaged in politics. For the patrons of Miss Trish’s Bar, however, these ain’t nothing but talking points—that is, until the full seductive and explosive force of the revolution walks through the door.
 
About Tori Sampson
Tori Sampson is a recent graduate of Yale School of Drama, where her credits include This Land Was MadeSome Bodies Travel and If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka. Her plays have been developed at Great Plains National Theater Conference and Berkeley Repertory Theater’s The Ground Floor residency program. She holds an Honorable Mention from the 2016 Relentless Award, is the Kennedy Center’s 2016 Paula Vogel Playwright and second-place Lorraine Hansberry recipient. She is a 2017 finalist for the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Prize. Tori’s other plays include, Cadillac Crew, Black Girl Nerd and Cottoned Like Candy. Her short play, She’s our President, will be produced by Baltimore Center Stage as part of the My America: She commission. Tori is currently working on a commission from Berkeley Repertory Theater and will spend the next year as a Jerome Fellow at The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis.  A native of Boston, Massachusetts, she holds a B.S. in sociology from Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
 
Bringing New Plays To Life at 5:00 p.m.
Panel Conversation
Richard Christiansen Theater
Victory Gardens is home to some of the richest and boldest new plays premiering across the country. In a city where audiences are hungry for new theatre work, what is the current state of new play development and its future? What are the best practices for new play collaborations? Join this timeless conversation on the new play process featuring IGNITION playwrights Antoinette Nwandu, Tori Sampson, Ken Weitzman, Julia Doolittle, Hansol Jung, and Kristiana Rae Colón.
 
Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Spin Moves by Ken Weitzman
It's 1996, the inaugural year of the WNBA, and Maja dreams of playing high school basketball - but having escaped to the U.S. from the war in Bosnia, panic attacks prevent her from playing the game she loves. That is, until a new coach appears at her high school. He helps Maja to face her fears, but his unorthodox tactics alarm Maja’s fiercely protective mother.
 
About Ken Weitzman
Ken Weitzman’s most recent play, Halftime with Don is in the midst of a 2017 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Ken's previous productions include, among others, The Catch (The Denver Center Theatre Company), Fire in the Garden (Indiana Repertory Theatre), The As If Body Loop (Humana Festival), Arrangements (Atlantic Theatre Company). His devised work includes, Memorabilia (Alliance Theatre), Hominid (Out of Hand Theatre/Theatre Emory/Oerol Festival Netherlands), and Stadium 360 (Out of Hand Theatre).  Plays-in-progress include Spin Moves (New Harmony Project) and seal boy (Keen Company Playwrights Lab, The Lark’s Meeting of the Minds, (Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis). National Awards include The L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting for Arrangements, TCG Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award for The Catch, the Fratti/Newman Political Play Contest Award for Fire in the Garden, and South Coast Repertory’s Elizabeth George Commission for an Outstanding Emerging Playwright Organizations who have commissioned Ken’s work include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Arena Stage, the Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Emory, Out of Hand Theatre, and South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ken is a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, and a former board member of The New Harmony Project. Ken received his MFA from University of California, San Diego and has taught at UCSD, Emory University, Indiana University (head of MFA in Playwriting) and, currently, at Stony Brook University.  
 
Artist Meet, Greet, & Ice Cream Social at 9:30 p.m.
Victory Gardens Theater Lobby
Hang out with the playwrights and artists while cooling off with boozy ice cream floats at this post-show artist meet & greet. 
 
Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
Tell Them I'm Still Young by Julia Doolittle
Allen and Kay are approaching sixty-five when their only daughter is killed in a car crash. Now parents without children, the two struggle to renegotiate their identities and their marriage, as the entrance of two young people revives a painful longing for what's been lost: their family and their futures.  
 
About Julia Doolittle
Julia Doolittle is a Brooklyn-based playwright and screenwriter whose work has been developed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre, The Tank, Tiny Rhino, The Women's Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, and Rogue Machine Theatre. She is a 2016 recipient of the Elizabeth George Commission from South Coast Rep. Upcoming, the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Play Festival.
 
Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
Wolf Play by Hansol Jung
An American father un-adopts a Korean boy but just before he leaves the new house, the ex-father finds out that the new couple to whom he has “re-homed” his ex-son, is lesbian. This doesn't sit well with ex-father at all. The boy is actually not a real boy. He is a puppet. And his puppeteer is the Emcee of the evening, and spinner of the night’s tale: a lone wolf. 
 
About Hansol Jung
Hansol Jung is a playwright and director from South Korea. Productions include Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), and No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre, and Boise Contemporary Theatre). Commissions from Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Artists Repertory Theater, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant with Ma-Yi Theatre and a translation of Romeo and Juliet for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been developed at The Public Theater, Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Repertory’s Ground Floor, Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill Theater Center’s New Play Conference, Lark Play Development Center, Salt Lake Acting Company, Boston Court Theatre, Bushwick Starr, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Asia Society New York, and Seven Devils Playwright Conference. She is the recipient of the Page 73 Playwright Fellowship, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theater Workshop, MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, and International Playwrights Residency at Royal Court. She has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean, including Evita, Dracula, Spamalot, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, while working on several award winning musical theatre productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul, South Korea. Hansol holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab.
 
The Race Race at 5:00 p.m.
Panel Conversation
Richard Christiansen Theater
In a country so divided and polarized by topics of race, how are these conflicts reflected in the dramatic arts? What role does theater play in conversations around race and how can it begin the process of healing and understanding? Join IGNITION and Chicago-based playwrights as we begin to uncover the role race plays in creating new work. 
 
Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Suspension by Kristiana Rae Colón
On the 100th day of 45's first term, two Black teen girls stage a coup of the authoritarian regime of Climb & Succeed Charter Academy, a not-so-dystopian high school where campus security patrols the halls in riot gear and a new disciplinary code takes in-school suspension to a haunting extreme. Voltaire & Yansa, guided by a mystic teaching artist, learn to wield their ancestral magic and blackgirl badassery to combat the harrowing militarization of public education. 
 
Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Admission to all festival readings and events is free, though an RSVP is required. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.victorygardens.org/ignition/ or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.
 
For more information about Victory Gardens, visit www.victorygardens.org.  Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram at instagram.com/victorygardenstheater/

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2017-18 Season, launching next spring with the Chicago premiere of Mia Chung’s absurdly inventive smash-hit YOU FOR ME FOR YOU, directed by artistic associate Elly Green. The season concludes next summer with the world premiere of Kristiana Rae Colón’s spectacular and fearless indictment TILIKUM, directed by Lili-Anne Brown.
 
Sideshow Theatre’s Company’s 2017-18 Season will be presented at its resident home, Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, visit sideshowtheatre.org.
 
Comments Sideshow Artistic Director Jonathan L. Green, "We are living in an unprecedented time in the United States and in Chicago – every day feels like a state of emergency. In our eleventh season, Sideshow is focusing on the issues over which we are most divided and amplifying the stories that might allow us to see each other more fully. In You for Me for You and Tilikum, we are telling stories of enemies of the state, displacement, violence, exile and rebellion."
 
Sideshow’s 2017-18 Season will also include “The Freshness Initiative,” the company’s commissioning and new play development program, now in its fourth year (dates to be announced) and the wildly-popular semi-annual event CLLAW (Chicago League of Lady Arms Wrestlers). The next CLLAW match will be held Saturday, July 29 at Logan Square Auditorium.  For more information, visit cllaw.org.
 
Sideshow Theatre Company’s 2017-18 Season:

March 4 - April 8, 2018
YOU FOR ME FOR YOU – Chicago Premiere!
By Mia Chung 
Directed by artistic associate Elly Green 
Press opening: Thursday, March 8, 2018 
 
Two North Korean sisters plan an elaborate escape from the “Best Nation in the World,” only to be separated at the border. Now in two strange and separate worlds filled with outrageous characters, they must navigate barriers of language and bureaucracy, reckon with the ways that culture and country can shape us, and discover that survival requires sacrifice. Playwright Mia Chung weaves myth and striking imagery into a deeply affecting and surprisingly funny adventure, portraying the endless lengths to which two sisters will go to find one another again.
 
June 22 - July 29, 2018
TILIKUM – World Premiere!
By Kristiana Rae Colón 
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown 
Press opening: Thursday, June 28, 2018
 
Tilikum was a king, and the oceans of the world were his. Now, he is a captive in a marine amusement park, doomed to live as an opportunity for profit. Alone behind bars he forgets the feel of freedom, but when fellow prisoners ignite the fires of his memory, he starts down a path that threatens to consume everything. Ripped from the headlines, Kristiana Rae Colón’s Tilikum explores captivity, savagery and rebellion in a vital and visceral blend of theatre, drumming and dance. Poetic and lyrical, Tilikum calls out the power structures – both corporate and human – that ensure continued oppression, and the complicity of those willing to stand by and do nothing. 
 
About the Playwrights:
 
Mia Chung’s (You For Me For You) plays include You For Me For You, Catch as Catch Can and This Exquisite Corpse. She recently received the Stavis Playwright Award, the Frederick Loewe Award in Music-Theatre, and a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowship. You For Me For You had a UK premiere at The Royal Court Theatre, a U.S. premiere at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and multiple productions around the U.S., including Company One (Boston), Crowded Fire Theater (San Francisco), InterAct (Philadelphia), Mu Performing Arts/Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis), Portland Playhouse (Oregon); the play is published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. In 2018, the play will run in Chicago, Michigan, and upstate NY. Mia’s work has been supported by awards, commissions, fellowships, residencies and workshops, including BAPF, Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Blue Mountain Center, Civilians’ R&D Group, Hedgebrook, Huntington Theatre, Icicle Creek, Inkwell, JAW, LAByrinth, Ma-Yi Writers Lab, NEA, Playwrights Realm, RISCA, South Coast Rep, Southern Rep, Stella Adler Studio, and TCG. During the coming year, she will develop work with the support of the Orchard Project, P73, NYTW and the Playwrights’ Center. She is a New Dramatist.
 
Kristiana Rae Colón (Tilikum) is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow and executive director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. Her play Octagon, winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work, had its world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London in September 2015. Her work was featured in Victory Gardens' 2014 Ignition Festival. In 2013, she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, she opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf at Teatro Luna in Chicago while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London and American premiere in 2016 at The Flea in New York. Kristiana is a part of the Goodman Theatre's Playwrights Unit, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. She appeared on the fifth season of HBO's “Def Poetry Jam.”
 
About the Directors:
 
Elly Green (You for Me for You) is a freelance director, whose previous work with Sideshow includes the co-world premiere of Hansol Jung’s No More Sad Things and a Freshness Initiative workshop series of Janet Burroway’s Boomerang. She recently directed The Distance by Deborah Bruce for Haven Theatre and After Miss Julie by Patrick Marber for Strawdog Theatre. Other Chicago credits include: The Woman Before (Trap Door), Rabbit (Stage Left – Jeff nominated), Happy (Redtwist), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Theatre Seven) and The Tomkat Project (Playground Theatre & NY Fringe). Elly was assistant director on Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Proof (Court Theatre). She is an artistic associate with Stage Left theatre and a reader for Steppenwolf theatre. Elly originally trained in London on the MFA in Theatre Directing from Birkbeck College. Her UK directing credits include: Our Country’s Good, My Balloon Beats Your Astronaut, Beyond Therapy, About Tommy, Copenhagen, Skylight, The Beach and The Zoo Story. ellygreendirector.com.
 
Lili-Anne Brown (Tilikum) is a native Chicagoan who works as a director, actor and educator, and has performed in, directed and produced many award-winning shows, both local and regional. She received the Joseph Jefferson Award in 2014 for her direction of Ahrens & Flaherty’s Dessa Rose, and a BTA Award in 2011 for her direction of Passing Strange. She is the former Artistic Director of Bailiwick Chicago, an Artistic Associate of Timber Lake Playhouse and a graduate of Northwestern University and St. Ignatius College Prep. She is a member of Actors’ Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and an Associate of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC).
 
About Sideshow Theatre Company:
It is the mission of Sideshow Theatre Company to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.
 
From its first production, 2008’s Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird) to its Jeff Award-winning productions of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Idomeneus (named one of the best plays of 2012 by Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times) and Elizabeth Meriwether's runaway robotic hit Heddatron at Steppenwolf Theatre, to the recent re-mount of its smash hit Stupid F##king Bird, Sideshow has consistently produced engaging, transcendent works across Chicago. Sideshow continues its multi-year residency at Victory Gardens in the historic Biograph Theater in the 2017/18 season.
 
Sideshow also produces the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW), a wildly popular interactive fundraising event that benefits Sideshow Theatre Company and other local charities. CLLAW has been featured in local and national press, including The Washington Post, Reuters, Penthouse Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times and on WGN Morning News, ABC 7’s Windy City Live and CBS 2. The next CLLAW will be held Saturday, July 29 at Logan Square Auditorium. For more information about CLLAW, visit cllaw.org.
 
For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit sideshowtheatre.org.
 

 

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