Upcoming Theatre

“Late Company” is the fairly literal title of a new play by Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill. Presented by COR Theatre, Jessica Fisch directs the regional premiere at Pride Arts Center. The 80-minute play is a response to the uptick in teen suicides triggered by cyberbullying.

“Late Company” takes on the weighty issue of LGBT teen suicide. The play begins with political couple Michael (Paul Fagen) and Debora (Tosha Fowler) setting up for some dinner guests. Over the course of their cryptic conversation, we glean that their son has killed himself and the dinner guests are the parents of the bully they blame for their son’s suicide.

The implausibility of the situation is troubling. It’s hard to imagine that a grieving family would cordially invite over the parents of the bully they blame for the loss of their son. It’s even harder to imagine anyone taking that invitation. What transpires over the course of 80 minutes is a structurally unsound one-liner competition. Some highlights include “you were always more interested in the spin, than the spin cycle.”

This is not a play without heart. This is a play without a clear message. While most of us can generally agree that suicide is a heartbreaking thing to happen to any loved one, this play treats it as nearly incidental. The playwright struggles to flesh out a clear central argument. These characters are rarely having conversations, sometimes they’re just reading letters to each other. Great plays are exchanges of revelatory dialogue in which bigger issues are addressed. “Late Company” stays so specific to its own characters that it rarely acknowledges the outside world.

Tannahill’s play is ambitious and maybe more remarkable in other productions. The storyline is very relevant and has the opportunity to say much more than it does in its current form. There’s a lot to discuss on this topic and plenty of work still to do to prevent teen suicide. The playwright would be wise to dig a little deeper than anger in order to express that moral.

At COR Theatre through July 16th at Pride Arts Center. 4147 N Broadway St

 

Published in Theatre in Review

About Face Theatre is pleased to present the world premiere of BRAVE LIKE THEM, a punk-infused exploration of the underground “riot grrrl” movement of the 1990s, devised and performed by members of the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble and co-directed by AFT Education and Outreach Director Ali Hoefnagel and Education Coordinator Kieran Kredell. BRAVE LIKE THEM will play seven performances only, July 26 – August 6, 2017 at the Pride Arts Center (The Buena), 4147 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets for BRAVE LIKE THEM ($20 or Pay-What-You-Can) are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling (773) 784-8565. 
 
This year, the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble, ages 13-23, investigates how systems of oppression function within queer subcultures – specifically the underground “riot grrrl” movement of the 1990s that gave rise to bands such as Bikini Kill, Bratmobile and Sleater-Kinney. While the music and literature of this movement sought to forge a space for all girls – typically characterized by an unapologetic expression of female power and an aggressive dismantling of the patriarchy – the voices at its forefront were almost exclusively white and middle-class. BRAVE LIKE THEM aims to celebrate the “riot grrrl” movement for all the good that came out of it – but also dissect its inherent racial and class discrepancies.
 
Comments Co-Director Ali Hoefnagel, “This play is loud, sweaty and unapologetically queer as we shock ourselves with our own honesty, get messy with the truth and be brave like them.”
 
The production team for BRAVE LIKE THEM includes: Scott Penner (scenic design), Jeanine Fry (costume design), Kaili Story (lighting design), Brandon Reed (sound design), Meghan Erxleben (props design), Erin Kilmurray (movement direction), Nick Davio (music direction), Donny Acosta (asst. director), Liv Haman (asst. costume design), Kasey Trouba (stage manager) and Serena Dully (asst. stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: BRAVE LIKE THEM
Devised and performed by: About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble
Co-Directors: AFT Education and Outreach Director Ali Hoefnagel and Education Coordinator Kieran Kredell
 
Location: Pride Arts Center (The Buena), 4147 N. Broadway. Chicago
Dates: Previews: Wednesday, July 26 at 7 pm and Thursday, July 27 at 7 pm
Regular run: Saturday, July 29 – Sunday, August 6, 2017
Curtain Times: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 7 pm; Sunday at 3 pm
Tickets: $20 or Pay-What-You Can. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Tickets are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com or by calling (773) 784-8565.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

On the heels of critically-acclaimed sold-out runs at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and The Miracle Center in Logan Square, Teatro Vista’s La Havana Madrid by Sandra Delgado extends its run at Goodman Theatre this summer, July 21 – August 20. Chicago’s fabled 1960's nightclub, La Havana Madrid, comes bursting back to life in “an immersive, wholly enjoyable experience” (Chicago Reader) complete with live music and “enough dancing and bonhomie to tempt you away from your little table down front” (Chicago Tribune). Directed by Teatro Vista ensemble member Cheryl Lynn Bruce, the production was inspired by true stories of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Colombian immigrants who found refuge in the nightclub. Delgado leads the eight-member cast (a full list appears below) as a mystical woman who conjures stories and vibrant songs performed live onstage each night by Colombian-American musician Roberto "Carpacho" Marin and his band of 30 years, Carpacho y Su Super Combo.

La Havana Madrid appears July 21 - August 20 in the Owen Theatre (Opening Night is Wednesday, July 26 at 7:30pm). Tickets ($30-$50; subject to change) go on sale Wednesday, June 28; visit GoodmanTheatre.org/LaHavanaMadrid or call the box office at (312) 443-3800. La Havana Madrid is recommended for ages 12 and up.
 
“My journey with La Havana Madrid is a dream come true. It has been an absolute joy and honor to share this story with my fellow Chicagoans and I am incredibly grateful that we get to keep the love alive this summer,” said playwright and co-star Sandra Delgado. “It is especially sweet to come home to Goodman Theatre, where I wrote La Havana Madrid as part of the Playwright's Unit in the 2015/2016 Season. I cannot wait to invite audiences into the Owen Theatre, which will be transformed into the La Havana Madrid nightclub, night after night.”
 
In addition to Delgado, the eight-member cast also includes Teatro Vista ensemble members Tommy Rivera-Vega and Marvin Quijada; and newcomers Mike Oquendo, Donovan Diaz and Krystal Ortiz, who round out the cast as Cuban, Colombian and Puerto Rican patrons, staff and musicians who all met, danced, loved and lost at La Havana Madrid. Original cast members Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel and Phoebe González are unable to continue with the production and their roles are being recast for the Goodman remount. The design team includes Ashley Woods (set), Elsa Hiltner (costumes), Heather Sparling (lights), Mikhail Fiksel (sound), Liviu Pasare (projections and video design) and William Carlos Angulo (choreography).
 
A Brief History about La Havana Madrid Nightclub (Originally Located on Belmont and Sheffield)
 
In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Latinos from Caribbean countries such as Puerto Rico and Cuba settled all along Chicago's lakefront, from North Avenue to Devon. Although from different countries, music brought them together. Their shared rhythms—African rhythms—became the guaguanco, the mambo and the merengue. Now in the United States, these rhythms merged with traditional big band sounds and eventually became salsa. On the North side of Chicago, a handful of Latino music clubs opened up: Coco Loco on Lincoln Avenue, The Mirror Lounge on North Avenue and La Havana Madrid on Belmont and Sheffield. Luis “Witto” Aloma, a Cuban-born player for the Chicago White Sox, opened the club in the early 1960s to create a place for his Cuban friends to drink coffee and play cards and dominoes. Along the way, La Havana Madrid grew into a more lavish supper club with live Cuban musical acts, before it changed hands and Puerto Rican TV and radio host took over the club. La Havana Madrid closed in the late 1960s and later became the popular folk club The Quiet Knight. Today, the same second floor space is occupied by Milio’s Hair Studio.
 
About Teatro Vista

Teatro Vista’s 2017/2018 season opens with The Goodman Theatre remount of La Havana Madrid. Teatro Vista produces, develops and commissions plays that explore the wealth and variety of the human experience from a Latinx perspective. The company provides work and professional advancement opportunities for Latinx theater artists, with special emphasis on the company’s ensemble members, and seeks to enhance the curricular goals of Chicago students through theatre. Teatro Vista was recently celebrated as one of “Chicago’s Cultural Leaders” by the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and received the League of Chicago Theatre’s Artistic Leadership Award.

For the development of La Havana Madrid, Teatro Vista and Delgado received from The Chicago Community Trust, and the 2015 Joyce Award. Delgado also received a 3Arts 3AP Project Grant and developed the script as a member of the 2015/2016 Playwright’s Unit at Goodman Theatre.

Teatro Vista is supported by The Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago, The Shubert Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance, Purple Group, Cumberland Irving and Vidal & Associates, Inc. and The Saints.

For more information, visit TeatroVista.org, on Twitter (@TeatroVista), Facebook and Instagram.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

In Akvavit Theatre Company's Hitler On The Roof, playwright Rhea Leman has devised the perfect post-mortem punishment for the man behind the Nazi propaganda machine. It’s spring of 1945, Berlin, infamous Fuhrerbunker; the war is all but lost, Hitler had just committed suicide, Dr. Joseph Goebbels and his wife have followed his lead, first having poisoned their six children. Everybody’s dead. But, wait: Dr. Gobbels’ ghost (played by Amy Gorelow) is still hanging around refusing to cross onto the next world. Seventy-two years had passed, it’s now 2017, yet, Dr. Goebbels believes that the war is still going on and that he’s got some important work to do.


I’d like to note that Strawdog Theatre is a very intimate space with just two double rows of seats on each side of the stage. The stage itself is made to look like a bunker (set design by Chad Eric Bergman), empty food cans strewn around, Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien” blasting in the background, and muffled old radio recordings of Hitler’s speeches occasionally chiming in (sound design by Nigel Harsch).


Ducking under the table each time a bomb goes off above the bunker, Dr. Goebbels keeps himself busy reciting Hitler’s and his own accomplishments and quotes, playing radio broadcasts to non-existent audiences, and boasting about his past, unable to let go and “move on”. Pacing around the bunker and reflecting on Germany’s past (“in 1931 Hitler turned dying country into a thriving country” and “created a new DNA, designed a new Germany”), he also analyzes propaganda’s manipulative power. As Minister of Propaganda and Peoples Enlightenment, Dr. Joseph Goebbels would know: he controlled arts, media, news and information in Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945.


Playwright Rhea Leman uses this original way to shine the light on the media and how it may be used as a tool to shape people’s perceptions and opinions, creating our reality. History is always there to remind us of our past and warn about the future. Born and raised in New York City, Rhea Leman moved to Denmark in 1981. She wrote Hitler On The Roof in 2011 in response to rise of Danish Nationalism. The original production of the play by the company Folketeatret toured Denmark for two years, winning the prestigious Reumert award for Best Leading Actress. Rhea Leman is the winner of multiple awards, including the Allen Prize award for “excellent dramatic writing”. Her writings focus on serious subjects which she presents in humorous ways, not unlike the current piece.


Mid-way through the play, Dr. Gobbels is joined in the bunker by the ghost of artist and filmmaker Leni Reifenstahl (Jay Torrence in drag), and the play picks up quite a bit. Together these two actors have such great chemistry on stage, and the gender role reversal of the two actors makes the premise of the play even more comical. Dressed like clowns, they dance (adorable!), flirt, and slap each other around (choreography by Susan Fay), all the while engaging in conversational battles to try and out-manipulate one another. But Leni Reifenstahl didn’t just drop in to chat; she’s there on a self-serving mission that, ultimately, doesn’t go as well as planned. Let’s just say the two “living dead” might just end up passing an eternity together, stuck in the bunker. Well done.


Hitler on the Roof is being performed at Strawdog Theatre (1802 W. Bernice Ave) through July 9th. For more information on this show or to purchase tickets, visit www.chicagonordic.org.

Published in Theatre in Review
Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:42

Taylor Mac's HIR at Steppenwolf

Rehearsals are underway for Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere production of Hir, a subversive comedy by celebrated playwright, actor, singer-songwriter and performance artist Taylor Mac. Directed by Steppenwolf Artistic Producer Hallie Gordon, the cast features ensemble members Francis Guinan (Arnold) and Amy Morton (Paige) with Em Grosland (Max) and Ty Olwin (Isaac). Previews begin June 29, 2017 and the show runs through August 20, 2017 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Opening night is Sunday, July 9. Tickets ($20 - $89) are available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org.
 
The classic dysfunctional family story has just crashed through into a wholly original place. Meet Paige, a wife and mother liberated from an oppressive and abusive marriage; Max, her newly out transgender child; and Isaac, Max’s PTSD-addled older brother, who discovers a brand new war zone when he comes home from Afghanistan. Hir’s crusade to shake up the patriarchy is disarmingly funny, absurd and surprising as it looks at an American family forced to build a new world out of the pieces of the old.   
 
“I started Hir in 1997, after seeing the Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child on Broadway.  Although the two plays are extremely different in style, tone, and theme, I was wildly inspired by Mr. Shepard’s play and his poetic inquiry into the broken and hidden parts of our culture. It’s thrilling to get to bring the play full circle round to Steppenwolf and to participate in the conversation about working class America that they and Mr. Shepard have been involved with for decades,” shares Taylor Mac.
 
Taylor Mac (who uses “judy”, lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. Named “one of the most exciting theater artists of our time” by Time Out NY, judy is the author of 17 full-length plays and performance pieces including A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (Kennedy Prize in Drama), Hir (placed on the top ten theater of 2015 lists of The New York Times, New York Magazine and Time Out NY; published by North Western University Press and in American Theater Magazine), The Lily’s Revenge (Obie Award), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (named One of the Best Plays of 2011 by The New York Times), The Young Ladies Of (Chicago’s Jeff Award nomination for Best Solo), Red Tide Blooming (Ethyl Eichelberger Award) and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (Edinburgh Festival’s Herald Angel Award).
 
Mac is the recipient of multiple awards including the Kennedy Prize, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Award, the Herb Alpert Award in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and an Obie.  An alumnus of New Dramatists, judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the Resident playwright at the Here Arts Center.
 
Hallie Gordon (Director) is currently the Artistic Director for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, where she has directed many productions for the program including the world premiere of Monster by Walter Dean Myers; George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm; the world premiere of The Book Thief; To Kill a Mockingbird; and the world premiere of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. She has directed for Northlight Theatre and is an ensemble member for Rivendell Theatre where she directed the critically acclaimed Dry land and Eat Your Heart Out.
 
About the Cast & Creative Team
Ensemble member Francis Guinan has appeared in more than 30 shows, most recently John Steinbeck’s East of Eden last season. Amy Morton has been a Steppenwolf ensemble member since 1997 and received Tony nominations for her roles in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and August: Osage County. Em Grosland makes his Steppenwolf debut in Hir and most recently appeared Off-Broadway in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Masterworks Theatre Company. Ty Olwin is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and was previously in Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ productions of The Burials and Lord of the Flies. Olwin was featured in the 2016 film Personal Shopper starring Kristen Stewart.
 
The Hir production team includes Collette Pollard (scenic design), Jenny Mannis (costume design), Ann G. Wrightson (lighting design), Richard Woodbury (sound design and original music) and Gigi Buffington (company vocal coach). Other credits include Anna D. Shapiro (artistic producer), JC Clementz (casting director), Laura D. Glenn (stage manager) and Mary Hungerford (assistant stage manager).
 
Tickets & Production Info
Single tickets ($20-$89) available at 312-335-1650 or steppenwolf.org. Previews: $20 - $54 and Regular Run: $20 - $86. Prices subject to change. Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket; steppenwolf.org/students. Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season; steppenwolf.org/groups. Flex Card Memberships: Black Card memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility with six tickets for use any time for any production. Black Card ticket credits are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts for pre- and post-show socializing. Red Card memberships are available for theatergoers under 30.  To purchase a Card Membership, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org.
 
Accessible performances includean American Sign Language interpretation on Sunday, July 30 at 7:30pm, Open Captioning on Saturday, August 12 at 3pm and a Touch Tour on Sunday, August 13 at 1:30pm. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/access. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance. An induction loop is installed in the Downstairs Theatre and the 1700 Theatre.
 
Visitor Information
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. The parking facility consists of both a covered garage ($11 cash or card) and an open-air lot, located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance at 1650 N Halsted St starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12 noon before Wednesday matinees. Street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at (312) 335-1774.

Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks
Connected to the main lobby is Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks offers a warm, creative space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night. Open daily from 8am to midnight, Front Bar serves artisanal coffee and expresso is provided by La Colombe and has a new menu for this spring and summer with food prepared by Goddess and Grocer. The menu focuses on fresh, accessible fare, featuring grab-and-go salads and sandwiches for lunch and adding shareable small plates and desserts for evening and post show service. www.front-bar.com.

For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

"Are we still who we thought we were?"

"How much do we still value the culture we embraced a year ago?"
 
These are the questions that guided Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler as he assembled the company's 2017-18 "smart art" season of contemporary, comedic plays: the return for the holidays of Mitchell Fain's tour-de-force This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles) (November 24-December 30, 2017), the world premiere of Eric John Meyer's The Antelope Party, a comedy for our times with a My Little Pony theme (January 5-February 24, 2018), and the Chicago debut of Women Laughing Alone with Salad, the Internet meme turned satirical play by Sheila Callaghan (March 9-April 29, 2018).
 
"This has been a year of tsunami-sized cultural change. So many American ideals - media independence, social services, feminism, LGBTQ rights, anti-racism - seem under assault," said Wechsler. "But we have to stay true to ourselves, and that means comedies of reason and compassion. Our 2017-18 season offers three such vantages: the personal story of how a city became a sanctuary, a comedy of ponies and normalization, and a whirling examination of media culture and sexual politics. It's a set of three plays that you won't soon forget, comic works by contemporary artists timed to the exigencies of this moment."
 
Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. The best way to secure seats to Theater Wit's 2017-18 season is to sign up for a Theater Wit Membership. Wit's Netflix-like "all the theater you can eat" deal lets members see as many plays at they want in any of theater's three spaces for one low monthly fee of $29/$22 for students, along with many exclusive member perks. Single tickets to Wit's 2017-18 season go on sale ten weeks before each show.

To purchase a Membership, inquire about Flex Pass options or to buy single tickets, visit theaterwit.org or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.
More about Theater Wit's 2017-18 season

The return of
This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles)
Written and performed by Mitchell Fain
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
November 24-December 30, 2017

After completing an amazing workshop last year, Chicago's favorite holiday performer returns for a mainstage tour-de-force of his unique blend of storytelling, improvisation and cabaret.

This Way Outta Santaland (and other Xmas miracles), written and performed by Mitchell J. Fain, pulls together a host of holiday stories from the audience along with his own autobiographical war stories about how family, drunks, jewelry, funerals, 250 performances and the holiday spirits collide.

Chicago's newest holiday tell-all is this sweet, sentimental evening of hard truths that change night to night, with lovely cameos by Chicago cabaret powerhouses like Meghan Murphy and madcap pianist Julie B. Nichols.

"Highly recommended. A brand new, indispensable tradition, at once hilarious, tragic, moving and profane." - Chicago Theater Review


A World Premiere
The Antelope Party
By Eric John Meyer
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
January 5-February 24, 2018
It's sometime in the 2010s. The Rust Belt Ponies Meet Up Group for Adult Fans of My Little Pony has gathered in Ben's Philadelphia apartment, but two members have not yet arrived. A new recruit seems unusually shy and curiously paranoid about a local neighborhood watch group. What happened to their Pegasister, Maggie? Why is Brony Doug so paranoid? What does it all have to do with the 9/11 Truthers and an emerging group of "concerned citizens?" In the midst of increasing violence and authoritarianism, how can our heroes see the magic in Everypony? And, even worse, what if they do? 
 
And that's just the first ten minutes of Meyer's amazing and timely new comedy. With its My Little Pony cult prism, Meyer explores the rise of a new social order and how the currents of history, normalization and fear can sweep up even the most Generous ponies of Celestia.
 
Eric John Meyer is a playwright and performer/director/producer based in New York City. His work has been developed or presented by Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Vineyard Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea, Dutch Kills Theater Company and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, among others. He is a member of the Actor's Studio Playwright/Director Unit and a recipient of a new play commission from Playwrights Horizons. Meyer is a co-founder of Human Head Performance Group and The Truck Project, both of which he established with his partner, Jean Ann Douglass. He received his MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College.

 

A Chicago Premiere
Women Laughing Alone with Salad
By Sheila Callaghan
Directed by Devon De Mayo
March 9-April 29, 2018
Dangerous, fierce and funny, Women Laughing Alone with Salad bursts out of the bounds of internet meme-dom and onto the stage in a four person comic tour-de-force about friendship, salad, sex, bodies, yoga, salad, men, envy, women, pharmaceuticals, diets, salad and uppers and salad.
DC Theatre Scene called this hilarious satire about how we live with ourselves, or possibly, how we can't, a "fresh, funny play...the poster child for what feminist theatre should be: a great night out on the town watching a slambam comedy which is also a serious conversation about the society we oh-so-currently live in."
 
Devon de Mayo makes her Theater Wit directorial debut with Women Laughing Alone with Salad. Her recent directing credits include Court Theatre's Harvey and Raven Theatre's world premiere Sycamore.

Sheila Callaghan's plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, Yale Rep, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre, among others. Callaghan is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright's Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the prestigious Whiting Award. Her plays have been produced internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. These include Scab, Crawl Fade to White, Crumble, We Are Not These Hands, Dead City, Lascivious Something, Kate Crackernuts, That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play, Fever/Dream, Everything You Touch, Roadkill Confidential, Elevada, Bed and Women Laughing Alone with Salad. She is published with Playscripts.com and Samuel French, and several of her collected works are published with Counterpoint Press. She has taught playwriting at Columbia University, The University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Florida State University, and Spalding University. Callaghan is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb and a member of the Obie winning playwright's organization 13P. She is also an alumni of New Dramatists. In 2010, Callaghan was profiled by Marie Claire as one of "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World." She was also named one of Variety magazine's "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010. Callaghan is currently a writer/producer on the hit Showtime comedy Shameless and a founder of the feminist activist group The Kilroys. She was nominated for a 2016 Golden Globe for her work on the Hulu comedy series Casual and a 2017 WGA Award for her Shameless episode "I Am A Storm."

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 seventh 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 include 10 Out of 12 and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, and Completeness 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 2017-18 resident companies About Face, Kokandy Productions and Shattered Globe.

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

Published in Upcoming Theatre

The Gift Theatre is proud to announce Adithi Chandrashekar's Open Season as the first play chosen to pilot 4802 - the new play research and development wing of The Gift named after its storefront address located on N Milwaukee Ave in Jefferson Park. Director Mara Stern and Chandrashekar will be given residency in the Gift Theatre's 40-seat storefront and provided with dedicated tailor-made time, space, and support for their work. The residency will take place over a span of 6 weeks and will be supported with a budget of $7,000.  Performances for Open Season are free and open to the public from September 15-17.

Open Season has been in development since December 2015 and explores the abuses of power and the universal nature of loneliness in all creatures, large and small. In 4802, The Gift will serve as the artists laboratory where they can experiment, explore, and broaden the boundaries of their work.

A young deer is struck and badly injured on a dark, suburban road one winter night. The sheriff-a new mother, only recently back to work after her maternity leave-arrives on scene. After some assessment, the sheriff decides she must put the deer down and shoots it in the head. Whether the shooting was just, we're not quite sure. One thing is for certain, deer, in general, have become a problem in society. They are reckless, bread constantly and threaten human safety. But when the humans design laws to regulate "population control," nature's course is disrupted.

"The 4802 residency is an exciting opportunity to bring the strange story of a deer and a sheriff to life," says Chandrashekar. "We're experimenting with a few different storytelling devices-from live performances to video and sound elements-and we know some of our ideas will work, and some may not. We're so grateful to have support and encouragement from The Gift to tell this story, test ideas, learn from mistakes and hopefully, innovate."

Stern adds, "The Gift has given us this amazing opportunity to collaborate on this non-traditional piece that focuses on creation by the ensemble. They have given us the room to try what none of us has done before in a safe and incredibly supportive environment. This is a rare jewel in theatre that makes the folks at The Gift so special."

Since opening its storefront in 2005, The Gift has defied preconceptions of what's possible in an intimate space. Their production of Grapes of Wrath, the world premieres of David Rabe's Good for Otto, Mat Smart's Royal Society of Antarctica, ensemble member Laura Marks' Mine, as well as Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9, Stephen Adly Guirgis' Last Days of Judas Iscariot, ensemble member Will Eno's Oh, the Humanity (and other exclamations), and Marco Ramirez's Broadsword are projects that have challenged rational storefront logic in terms of size, scope, cost, and ambition. With the development of 4802, the Gift will pioneer the boundaries of storefront theater even further.

"The vision and challenge of 4802 is to invest in artists we believe in, and to provide them with the opportunity to stage the impossible in a storefront space. We're thrilled to work with Mara and Adithi, and to have Open Season launch our 4802 program. This is a highly ambitious piece, innovative in storytelling and form - and we're deeply inspired by Adithi and Mara's passion. We're thrilled to provide them a lab space where they can experiment, innovate, and challenge the constraints of the storefront theater," said 4802 Producer Monty Cole.

Performance schedule
Friday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 17 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for Open Season are FREE And are available by calling the Gift's box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting thegifttheatre.org.

About The Gift Theatre

The Gift's 16th season consists of three world premieres and kicked off in February with Mona Mansour's war-torn drama Unseen, directed by ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner, followed by Claire Kiechel's Pilgrims, co-directed by ensemble member Michael Patrick Thornton and guest artist Jessica Thebus (June 2-July 30). The season closes with Janine Nabers' time-hopping love story A Swell in the Ground, directed by guest artist Chika Ike (October 13-December 10). Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night "Natural Gas" improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at http://thegifttheatre.org/ or call 773-283-7071.

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, opens its 2017/18 season with the World Premiere of TREVOR the musical. The production is directed by Marc Bruni (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway), with book and lyrics by Dan Collins, music by Julianne Wick Davis, music direction by Matt Deitchman, orchestrations by Greg Pliska and choreography by Josh Prince, by special arrangement with U Rock Theatricals. TREVOR the musical runs August 9 – September 17, 2017 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 
 
Tickets for TREVOR the musical are currently on sale. Subscriptions and individual tickets, priced $35-$80, may be purchased online at www.writerstheatre.org, by phone at 847-242-6000, or in person at the box office, 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.
 
Meet Trevor, a 13-year-old boy in 1981 whose vibrant imagination drives a turbulent journey of self-discovery. As he deals with adolescence and all that goes with it, Trevor begins to explore what it means to be himself, influenced by his friends, parents . . . and Diana Ross.
 
Based on the story that inspired the Academy Award-winning film, the charity and the national movement, TREVOR the musical is a coming-of-age story about identity, emerging sexuality and the struggles of growing up in a world that may not be ready for you. This world premiere musical is directed by Marc Bruni, who helmed the Tony Award-winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway.
 
The Trevor Project was created as a result of the Academy Award-winning film that also inspired TREVOR the musical. The Trevor Project is the nation’s only accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on saving young LGBTQ lives. www.TheTrevorProject.org.
 
"TREVOR the musical represents an important step in the evolution of Writers Theatre," said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. "This ambitious new musical, which we are producing in association with U Rock Theatricals, takes our literary development initiative into a whole new arena. Director Marc Bruni has assembled a superb team of local and national artists. He brings his sophisticated ability to develop new work to the table, along with his trademark gifts for precision in dramaturgy and creating a nurturing and joyous process. Based on Peggy Rajski's Oscar-winning film, book writer Dan Collins and composer Julianne Wick Davis will transport us all back to our adolescence, and into a world of heartache, hilarity and humanism. This is an important story to share and an important time to tell it.
 
The cast includes: Nathaniel Braga (Ensemble), Ariana Burks (Ensemble), Declan Desmond (Pinky), Timothy Eidman (Ensemble), Sophie Grimm (Mom/Mrs. Kerr), Maya Lou Hlava (Frannie), Isabel Kaegi (Ensemble), Eloise Lushina (Mary), Carly Meyer (Ensemble), Jhardon DiShon Milton (Jack), Justin O’Brien (Ensemble), Reilly Oh (Jason), Jerome Riley, Jr. (Ensemble), Salisha Thomas (Diana Ross), Eli Tokash (Trevor), Matthew Uzarraga (Walter), Tori Whaples (Cathy), Graydon Peter Yosowitz (Trevor) and Jarrod Zimmerman (Dad/Father Joe/Others).
 
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Dan Collins (Book and Lyrics) wrote book and lyrics with composer Julianne Wick Davis for Southern Comfort, which was produced by the Public Theater in Spring 2016 following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. For his work on Southern Comfort, Dan received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLADD Media award. Other projects include Wood (starring Tony Award © Winner Cady Huffman), TREVOR the musical (currently in development with U Rock Theatricals and director Marc Bruni), based on the Academy Award winning film of the same name, and When We Met (The Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference; CAP 21 Theatre Company). Dan was selected along with Wick Davis as a Dramatist Guild Fellow as well as for TheatreWorks Palo Alto's Writer's Retreat. He received his M.F.A in Musical Theater Writing at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and his B.F.A. in Playwriting at The Theatre School of DePaul University.
 
Julianne Wick Davis (Music) is a composer/lyricist who wrote music for Southern Comfort (book & lyrics by Dan Collins), which was produced by the Public Theater in Spring 2016 following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. For her work on Southern Comfort, Julianne received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLADD Media award. Julianne wrote music and lyrics for When We Met with Dan Collins (book), which was developed at the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, the York NEO Development Series and had a developmental production at CAP21 in 2014. She is currently writing music for TREVOR the musical (Collins, book & lyrics) based on the Oscar-winning film short for U Rock Theatricals, as well as writing music and lyrics for a song cycle based on Jon Crispin’s photographs of the Willard Asylum Suitcases. She is a York Theatre’s NEO 9 emerging writer, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, and a 2015 Sundance Fellow at UCross. Julianne has an MFA from NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
 
Greg Pliska (Orchestrations) is a composer, conductor and orchestrator who diverse career includes award-winning work in theater, film, television and other media. His recent orchestration work includes new themes for CBS Evening News, IMAX, HBO Feature Presentation and Hulu, along with the films The Infiltrator (featuring Bryan Cranston), Manhattan Nocturne (featuring Adrien Brody), Beethoven’s Treasure Tail, The Little Rascals Save the Day, The Wildest Dream and the BAFTA-winning documentary Flying Monsters 3D. He previously co-orchestrated (with Michael Starobin) Julianne Wick Davis' musical When We Met. Greg’s compositions include music for the Broadway play Sylvia and Shakespeare in the Park productions of Twelfth Night, Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It (co-composed with Steve Martin, Drama Desk nomination). He contributed music and orchestration to the BAFTA-winning TV series Life, along with other Discovery Channel and National Geographic programs and several short films. His off-Broadway scores include The Government Inspector, School for Scandal, Vigil, The Window Man, Ice Island, Oy!, and Pericles. He is composer of the theme music for Audible’s podcasts Presidents are People Too and Authorized. He wrote an opera with David Ives, The Secret Garden, and is currently developing a new piece on the life of labor leader Walter Reuther. Greg was the music director for the Tony-winning play War Horse (as well as the Toronto and North American tour productions), for which he also won a web award for Best Musical Direction of a Play. He has conducted off-Broadway and regionally, including the national tour of Jekyll and Hyde, and acclaimed New York productions of Tintypes, The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show, and Michael Gordon’s Chaos.
 
As an educator, Greg is a frequent festival artistic director and workshop leader for the International Schools Theater Association, which has brought him to more than 35 countries to date. He is a former faculty member of the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University, and a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Manhattan School of Music and the national school reform initiative Different Ways of Knowing. He helped developed the highly acclaimed Creating Original Opera program for the Met, as well as curriculum for schools in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Chicago and Washington, DC, through the organization Arts for Anyone. Greg was a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Grants for Young Composers and a Fellow at the Sundance Documentary Composers Lab. He has served on the Board of the Society of Composers and Lyricists for two years, and is the chair of the organization’s New York chapter.
 
In his other life, Greg creates puzzle hunts for corporate and private clients, including two events per year at New York resort Mohonk Mountain House. He is a contributor and puzzle guru for NPR’s Ask Me Another, and a commentator and competitor for Will Shortz’s annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Greg grew up in California and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Jessica, and two children, Margot and Nicholas.
 
Marc Bruni (Director) is currently represented on Broadway and the West End by Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, winner of two 2014 Tony Awards and currently on National Tour. Upcoming: Roman Holiday (Golden Gate Theatre), TREVOR the musical (Writers Theatre). Off Broadway: The Explorers Club (MTC), Old Jews Telling Jokes (NY and Chicago, Jeff Award Nomination). Other directing credits include Other People’s Money (Long Wharf), Presto Change-O (Barrington Stage), Paint Your Wagon (Encores!), The Sound of Music (Chicago Lyric Opera), Pipe Dream (Encores!), Fanny (Encores!), Ordinary Days (Roundabout), In the Mood (Berkshire Theatre Festival), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Paper Mill/Philadelphia Theatre Company), Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Paper Mill), Such Good Friends (NYMF Directing Award), High Spirits (York Mufti), Glimpses of the Moon (Oak Room) and 7 shows for the St. Louis MUNY: My Fair Lady, The Music Man, Sound of Music (Kevin Kline Nominations), Legally Blonde, My One and Only, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He has been associated with Walter Bobbie, Kathleen Marshall, Jerry Mitchell, Casey Nicholaw, and Jerry Zaks on 15 Broadway shows including The Book of Mormon, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Anything Goes, Legally Blonde, The Pajama Game, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Sweet Charity, High Fidelity.
 
Matt Deitchman (Music Director) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously served as the conductor for Parade, and understudied for The Hunter and The Bear. Deitchman is a Chicago based actor, composer, and music director whose work can also be seen in She Loves Me (Marriott Theater) and Ragtime (Griffin Theater). Other recent Chicago music/acting credits include Tug of War, Road Show, Murder For Two (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Spring Awakening, October Sky (Marriott Theater), Sweeney Todd, The Who’s Tommy (Paramount Theater), Adding Machine, Into The Woods (The Hypocrites), Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Oakbrook), The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes (Mercury Theater) and Wonderland (Chicago Children’s Theatre). He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s musical theater department. mattdeitchman.com
 
Josh Prince (Choreographer)most recently finished choreographing the new hit Broadway show, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which was nominated for a Tony in 2013. For his work on Beautiful, he was nominated for the Fred and Adele Astaire Award and played in London’s West End and on a National US Tour. Josh was part of the creative team of the Tony nominated Shrek, The Musical, which opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theater in 2009 and went on to tour the US and play in London’s West End at the Theater Royal Drury Lane. For his choreography in Shrek, The Musical he received an Outer Critics Circle Nomination. Since then, he has had the pleasure of working at Carnegie Hall (The Jerry Springer Opera, starring Harvey Keitel), Lincoln Center (Camelot, starring Gabriel Byrne – PBS), The Kennedy Center (Spring Gala, hosted by Liza Minelli; Latino Inaugural Celebration in 2013 with Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno), Town Hall (All Singing All Dancing, co-director), The Brooklyn Academy of Music (The Bridge Project 2009/10, directed by Sam Mendes), and The New Group (The Kid; Bunty Berman Presents). In London, he has worked at The Old Vic (The Bridge Project), The Royal Festival Hall (Singin’ In The Rain) and The Royal Albert Hall (My Fair Lady, Chor.; BBC Prom 59 starring Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane. Dir./chor.)
 
Ariana Burks (Ensemble) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Film credits include Chicago Med, Chicago Fire (NBC), The Jr. Cuisine Cooking Show (2011 Emmy nomination) and PrankStars (Disney). Theatre credits include Clara in The Nutcracker (The House Theatre of Chicago), Marjan in The Compass (Steppenwolf Theatre), Little Inez in Hairspray (Paramount Theatre), Alice in Wonderland: Alice's Rock and Roll Adventure (Chicago Children's Theatre), Emma in The Black & White Ball (FWD Theatre Project), Elf in Rudolph (Broadway Playhouse), Belinda/Fan in A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre) and Little Inez in Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook).
 
Nathaniel Braga (Ensemble) Chicago credits include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Wonderful Town (Goodman Theatre), M. Butterfly (Court Theatre), Sweet Charity, The King and I (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Mamma Mia and The Producers (Marriott Theatre). New York credits include Turandot (The Metropolitan Opera), New York Spring Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall), It's a Bird...It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (City Center Encores!) and the dance lab of The SpongeBob Musical. Regional Theaters include Guthrie Theater, Theater Under The Stars, North Shore Music Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Maltz Jupiter Theater (Carbonell Award nominee), The Wells-Metz at IU, Asolo Theater, as well as two seasons at The Muny in St. Louis. He appeared in HMS Pinafore as part of PBS’ Fall Arts Festival. He is a Minnesota State Gymnastics Champion, and plays the violin professionally.
 
Declan Desmond (Pinky) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Declan has had the honor of working with The Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Gift Theatre. He has also had the good fortune to study voice at Northwestern University and the Merit School of Music. In his free time, he studies violin and piano.
 
Timothy Eidman (Ensemble, Dance Captain) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Mary Poppins, The Bardy Bunch and The Producers (Mercury Theater Chicago). Other credits include Joseph… DreamcoatDisney’s Aladdin, Dreamgirls, Pirates! or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder’d (The Muny), Oklahoma! and The Addams Family (Tibbits Opera House). Timothy holds a B.A. in Dance and Theatre from Loyola University Chicago, and is a recent alum of The School at Jacob’s Pillow where he studied under the direction of Chet Walker.
 
Sophie Grimm (Mom/Mrs. Kerr) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Originally a Twin Cities performer (Ellsworth, WI) alongside her family, Colleen Raye, Trey, Jennifer and Reed Grimm, Sophie is now a Chicago-based vocalist and actor, with credits including Desdemona in the critically acclaimed Othello: The Remix (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Les Miserables (Paramount Theatre), Frederick (Chicago Children's Theatre), The Sound of Music (Drury Lane Oakbrook) and I Love Lucy: Live! (Broadway Playhouse), as well as across the country in jazz, cabaret and concert settings. Teaching and assisting are also passions of Sophie and she enjoys making them a part of daily life.
 
Maya Lou Hlava (Frannie) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Other Chicago credits include The Nether (A Red Orchid Theatre), White Christmas and Bye Bye Birdie (Drury Lane Theater), Jake's Women (Spartan Theatre Company), The Secret Garden (Court Theatre), The Talking Cure (Idle Muse Theatre Company), Jane Eyre (Lifeline Theatre), and The Wheel (Steppenwolf Theatre). Maya is also a principal voice over artist for Disney’s World of English and was seen in the film The Life of Penny Cyclone within the US Premiere of Ride the Cyclone (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Maya studies voice with Roberta Duchak, dance with Matt Crowle, and on camera at Vagabond School of the Arts. 
 
Isabel Kaegi (Ensemble)makes her Writers Theatre debut. Isabel was recently seen as The Narrator in Winnie the Pooh (Ravinia Festival) and Debbie in Billy Elliot (Highland Park Players). Additional credits include Wednesday in The Addams Family (Palatine High School), Cinderella in Into the Woods Jr. and Ugly Duckling in Shrek The Musical (The Performer's School), Annie in Annie, Chip in Beauty and the Beast, Little Fiona in Shrek The Musical and Ladybug in James and the Giant Peach. She trained with The Performer’s School and is a member of the International Thespian Society. 
 
Eloise Lushina (Mary) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits include Mary Beth in A Christmas Story, Jane Banks in Mary Poppins (Paramount Theatre), Carrie Nawlins in Bedknobs and Broomsticks workshop (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Other stage credits include Young Bonnie in Bonnie & Clyde , Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, (Wilmette Theater/Actor’s Training Center), Children’s Chorus in Dead Man Walking (Cahn Auditorium, Northwestern University), Alice in Through the Looking Glass and Young Elizabeth Lavenza in Frankenstein (Mudlark Theater). Film credits include lead roles in Addicted, Break My Bones, Happy Snow Day Franny, Graybeard and Free Man. Eloise is a freshman at Evanston Township High School.
 
Carly Meyer (Ensemble) makes her Writers Theatre debut. A sophomore at Glenbrook North High School, Carly was recently named best actress by Broadway in Chicago at the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards for her role as Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. This earned her the honor of performing at the Jimmy Awards in New York. Some of her other favorite roles include Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors (Glenbrook North High School) Fiona in Shrek The Musical (The Performer's School), Joanne in Godspell (Actor's Training Center), Mary in Secret Garden (Lake Forest Theatre) and Bare: A Pop Opera (Another Door Theatre Project). Carly was a featured vocal performer for KIDZ ROC at the Clay Cooper Theater in Branson, Missouri and fan favorite winner of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent. In addition, she received the top honor in Sinfonietta Bel Canto Voice. Carly has been privately studying musical theatre, classical repertoire, and dance since the age of seven.
 
Jhardon DiShon Milton (Jack) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Credits include Bye Bye Birdie and Monty in Saturday Night Fever at (Drury Lane Oakbrook), La Cage aux Folles and Madagascar (Marriott Theatre) and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (Tantrum Theatre Ohio). He’s also been seen in various productions at Black Ensemble Theatre and Theatre at the Center.
 
Justin O'Brien (Ensemble) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Previous credits include Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods (Encore Music Academy), Ensemble in Anything GoesCinderella, Evita (CGHS), 42nd Street (Fremont St. Theater Co.) and Guys and Dolls (Music On Stage). He has also been seen with Judith Svalander Dance Theatre performing leading roles in the ballets The Nutcracker and Cinderella and Centennial Dances. Justin is currently a Senior at Cary Grove High School and studies dance at Judith Svalander School of Ballet.
 
Reilly Oh (Jason/Ensemble) makes his Writers Theatre debut. A rising sophomore at New Trier High School, some of Reilly's favorite roles include Danny in Grease (New Trier High School), Josh in Big: The Musical, Judas in Godspell (Actors Training Center) and Donkey in Shrek The Musical (Children's Theatre of Winnetka).
 
Jerome Riley, Jr. (Ensemble) is a queer artist originally from St. Louis, where he found his passion for… thrifting! He is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where he received his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre with a Minor in Women & Gender Studies. Jerome was recently seen as Roy Wright in The Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre). He is also a part of a queer performance group: The Chanel’s, who can be seen every second Wednesday of the month at DURO, at Berlin Nightclub.
 
Eli Tokash (Trevor) makes his Writers Theatre debut. He has performed on Broadway as Peter Llewelyn Davies in Finding Neverland and Theo in Pippin. He was also seen across the country in the national tours of Finding Neverland as Peter Llewelyn Davies, in A Christmas Story as Ralphie Parker and in Mary Poppins as Michael Banks. Television credits include Limitless (CBS), I Love You... But I Lied (Lifetime) and Forever (ABC). He can be seen in the feature films Blood Ties, and the upcoming Benji the Dove. One of his proudest moments was performing for First Lady Michelle Obama in Broadway at the White House.
 
Salisha Thomas (Diana Ross) makes her Writers Theatre debut. California native and Miss California World 2016. Credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, principal vocalist for Disney. Regional credits include Deena Jones in Dreamgirls, TiMoune in Once On This Island, Martha in Spring Awakening, Dynamite in Hairspray, to name a few. BA Theatre from Cal State Fullerton.
 
Matthew Uzarraga (Walter) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Chicago area credits include John Webster in Shakespeare in Love, Flounder in The Little Mermaid, Young Shrek/Baby Bear in Shrek the Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Prince Chulalongkorn in The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago and Marriott Theatre), Gavroche in Les Misérables, Workhouse Boy/Pick Pocket in Oliver! (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Schwartz in A Christmas Story the Musical and Children’s Chorus in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Paramount Theatre). Commercial and industrial credits include Wisconsin Dells Tourism, Chrysler, Kyle Dine & Friends allergy awareness DVD, Accenture, Pearson Education, Toys R Us, Shout, Incredible Islands and Cap Gun Collective. His voiceover work is featured in the animated short film Moose. He has trained at Vagabond School of the Arts, The Performer’s School, Kaneland Arts Initiative, Xplore Tumbling and Gymnastics and tap with Matt Crowle.
 
Tori Whaples (Cathy) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Regional theatre credits include Into the Woods (Woodstock Opera House), Annie (Steps P.A.C), Far from Heaven (Porchlight Music Theatre) and The Secret Garden (Court Theatre). Tori is a recent 8th grade graduate and is ready to start her exciting journey as high school freshman at Grayslake Central High School. She is a student at the Steps Performing Arts Center and would like to thank Mr. Phil, her voice teacher who challenges her to always be her best. She also loves to perform with her friends at the RLAPD Performing Arts Center. Thanks to all of her family and friends who make time to come see her perform and to Paonessa Talent.
 
Graydon Peter Yosowitz (Trevor) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Off-Broadway credits include The Light Years (The Debate Society/Playwrights Horizons), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (York Theatre), The Gold (Pearl Theatre), The Odyssey (The Public/Delacorte Theatre). Concert series performances include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (NY Pops/Carnegie Hall), Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz (Symphony Space NYC). Television credits include Nightcap (POP TV), Kevin Can Wait (CBS), The Jim Gaffigan Show (TV Land).
 
Jarrod Zimmerman (Dad/Father Joe/Others) returns toWriters Theatre, where he previously appeared in Days Like Today and Sweet Charity. Chicago credits include A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Shakespeare in the Parks: The Taming of the Shrew, The Emperor’s New Clothes (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Gypsy (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Merrily We Roll Along (The Music Theatre Company), The Music Man, Little Women, Into the Woods (Marriott Theatre), The Boys Are Coming Home (AMTP) and The Spitfire Grill (Provision Theater). Regional credits include A Minister's Wife (San Jose Repertory Theatre), 1776 (American Conservatory Theatre and Asolo Repertory Theatre), A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine (Peninsula Players), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Totem Pole Playhouse), Big! the musical, Proof, The Mousetrap, Little Women and Arsenic and Old Lace (Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre). Television credits include Boss (Starz). Zimmerman is a graduate of Northwestern University.
 
 
AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
Accessible Performances
ASL-Interpreted performance: Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Open-Captioned performance: Friday, September 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm
 
Sunday Spotlight—Sunday, September 3, 2017
Are you curious about the world that surrounds your favorite plays? Sunday Spotlight offers access to the finest speakers, scholars and cultural leaders. This one-hour event extends the conversation on our stages by featuring an expert in an area connected to the play. Seating is limited. RSVP is required. Save the date!
 
The Making of… Series—Monday, September 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Writers Theatre will once again host its popular The Making of… Series, providing insight into a different aspect of creating the productions seen on our stages. Enjoy a short and lively presentation by our actors, designers or other experts who will walk you through the process of preparing for and executing a production. The Making of… events are FREE and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.
 
Post Show Conversation: The Word
Join us after every Tuesday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute discussion of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
 
Post Show Conversation: The Artist
Join us after every Wednesday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
 
Pre-Show Conversation: Up Close
Join us at 6:45pm before every Thursday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute primer on the context and content of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.
 
For more information about Writers Theatre Audience Enrichment programs visit writerstheatre.org/events.
 
RIDE METRA TO WRITERS THEATRE
In an effort to promote taking public transit to the Theatre, Writers Theatre launched a new promotion in 2013. Any audience member who purchases a ticket to a Writers Theatre production and rides Metra’s Union Pacific North Line to the Theatre may snap a photo of themselves on the train and post it to their Facebook or Instagram page or their Twitter feed with a tag of @WritersTheatre and #[the title of the show], and upon showing the post at the Writers Theatre Box Office, receive $5 in cash to put toward the cost of your fare as a thank you for going green.
 
This promotion is available for a limited time only, and may end without warning. Ticket must have been paid for in advance. Not valid on comp tickets. More information available at writerstheatre.org/metra
 
WRITERS THEATRE PARTNERS
Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the 2017/18 Season Sponsor, and ComEd as the Official Lighting Sponsor of the 2017/18 Season. The Major Corporate Sponsor for TREVOR the musical is Northern Trust. The Major Production Sponsor is Mary Pat Studdert. Additional support for TREVOR the musical is provided by the Director’s Society Sponsors.
 
 
ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE
For 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.
 
Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called “America’s No. 1 theatre company” by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues. 
 
In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.
 
Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at Facebook.com/WritersTheatre or follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter. For more information, visit www.writerstheatre.org.
 
 
Title:                             TREVOR the musical
Book and Lyrics by:        Dan Collins
Music by:                       Julianne Wick Davis
Based on the Academy Award-winning film Trevor
Orchestrations by:          Greg Pliska
Music Direction by:         Matt Deitchman
Choreography by:           Josh Prince
Directed by:                   Marc Bruni       
 
Featuring:                        Nathaniel Braga, Ariana Burks, Declan Desmond, Timothy Eidman, Sophie Grimm, Maya Lou Hlava, Isabel Kaegi, Eloise Lushina, Carly Meyer, Jhardon DiShon Milton, Justin O’Brien, Reilly Oh, Jerome Riley, Jr., Salisha Thomas, Eli Tokash, Matthew Uzarraga, Tori Whaples, Graydon Peter Yosowitz and Jarrod Zimmerman.
 
Dates:                              First performance: Wednesday, August 9, 2017

                                         Closing performance: September 17, 2017
 
Schedule:                         Tuesdays – Fridays: 7:30pm
                                         (with select 3:00pm Wednesday matinees)
                                         Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm
                                       Sundays:2:00pm and 6:00pm
 
Location:                           The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
             
              Prices:                             Prices for all performances range from $35 - $80. Purchase early for best prices                                 
             
Box Office:                       The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe;847-242-6000; www.writerstheatre.org
 
 
Notes of Interest:
TREVOR the musical is based on the Academy Award-winning short film. The film can be seen on YouTube, or by clicking here.
 
Director Marc Bruni and choreographer Josh Prince are fresh from the Tony Award-winning production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway, which has subsequently toured North America, London and an upcoming tour launching this fall in Australia.
 
Dan Collins (book and lyrics) and Julianne Wick Davis (music) worked together on Southern Comfort, which was produced by the Public Theater in Spring 2016 following productions at Barrington Stage and Cap21 (NY Times and Time Out Critics Pick), and development support at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals and Playwrights Horizons. Southern Comfort received the Jonathan Larson Award and GLAAD Media award. They wrote music and lyrics for When We Met, which was developed at the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, the York NEO Development Series and had a developmental production at CAP21 in 2014.
 
The film inspired the creation of The Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization focused on saving young LGBTQ lives. www.TheTrevorProject.org.
 
According to The Trevor Project "suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24; the rate of suicide attempts is 4 times greater for LGB youth and 2 times greater for questioning youth than that of straight youth. Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.”
 
Writers is partnering with U Rock Theatricals, a group of young producers, who aim to create a new generation of intelligent and relevant musicals, ultimately for Broadway audiences. 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Following a sell-out performance in May, CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LIVE returns for one night only on Friday, June 23 at 10 pm at The Greenhouse Theater Center (Downstairs Mainstage), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.  
 
The irreverent night of improv comedy inspired by the popular and politically incorrect party game “Cards Against Humanity” will be co-hosted by Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait, Wait... Don’t Tell Me and the game’s co-founder Max Temkin. After audience members pitch their ideas, the best suggestions will be acted out by the Cards Against Humanity writers and a team of improvisers. The worst suggestions will be mercilessly ridiculed.
 
Tickets, priced at $10 are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the ACLU. 18+ recommended.

 

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.
 

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre
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