Wednesday, March 20, 2019

OPENING: BUYER & CELLAR Featuring Scott Gryder at Pride Films and Plays April 11 – May 19

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

By Jonathan Tolins
Featuring Scott Gryder
Directed by Donterrio Johnson

April 11 – May 19

I'll be out for the Press Opening April 15th so check back soon for my full review. 

Emmy Award winner and Chicago Musical Theatre and Cabaret performer Scott Gryder will star in Pride Films and Plays’ upcoming production of Jonathan Tolins’s one-man comedy BUYER & CELLAR, directed by Donterrio Johnson. Gryder will play all the characters in Tolin’s comedy, but most notably, the role of Alex More - a struggling actor who takes a job managing a make-believe shopping mall in the basement of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu home.

Gryder’s Chicago stage credits include JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Lyric Opera) and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Drury Lane Water Tower), THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES (Hell in a Handbag), AMOUR (Black Button Eyes), and SOUTH PACIFIC (Light Opera Works). He has performed in cabarets at such venues as Davenport's, Victory Gardens Theater, and Auditorium Theatre's Katten-Landau Studio. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University. MeTV’s GREEN SCREEN ADVENTURES earned him three National Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup.

BUYER & CELLAR was a 2013 off-Broadway hit, running for 13 months at the Barrow Street Theatre immediately after its sold-out world premiere at the Rattlestick Theatre. A national tour starring Michael Urie played Chicago for six weeks in 2014. It has been performed in many countries around the world since then. This will be the play’s first Chicago production since the tour’s engagement here.

Tolins, whose other playwriting credits include the gay-themed comedies LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE and THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS, was inspired to write BUYER & CELLAR after reading about Streisand’s real-life faux mall in her book, MY PASSION FOR DESIGN. Tolins’s comedy begins with the truth of the mall – a showcase for her collectibles like dolls and antique clothing – and imagines what it might be like to be the custodian of such a place for such a celebrity. BUYER & CELLAR is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs.

BUYER & CELLAR will be performed in the 85-seat Broadway Theatre of the Pride Arts Center. It will open to the press on Monday, April 15 following previews from Thursday, April 11; and will play through Sunday, May 19, 2019. BUYER & CELLAR joins the schedule of shows previously announced for spring at Pride Arts Center, including the musical SOUTHERN COMFORT, opening to the press on March 4; the drama AFTERGLOW, opening on March 27; and the world premiere of DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE on June 3. 

Scott Gryder (Alex More) has been seen throughout Chicagoland, with appearances including JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Lyric Opera Chicago), THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Drury Lane Theatre at Water Tower Place), and SOUTH PACIFIC (Light Opera Works). He has performed in cabarets at such venues as Davenport's, Victory Gardens Theater, and Auditorium Theatre's Katten-Landau Studio. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University. MeTV’s GREEN SCREEN ADVENTURES earned him three National Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. For more info, visit

Donterrio Johnson (Director) is excited to be back at home with Pride Films and Plays - this time behind the table directing this new exciting production of BUYER AND CELLAR by Jonathan Tolins. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for intricate storytelling that is thought-provoking and modernistic, Donterrio Johnson has created some incredible art as both actor and director over the past 15 years. He was a Jeff Award-winner for his Judas Iscariot in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR with Theo Ubique and has earned raves for his Dan in NEXT TO NORMAL and his Caldwell B. Cladwell in  URINETOWN, both with BoHo Theatre. He has also appeared in the Chicago cast of SPAMILTON and as Leading Player in PIPPIN at Mercury Theater and recently  returned from a year-long stint in the National Tour of WAITRESS. Johnson’s notable directing credits include: THE COLORED MUSEUM, 101 DALMATIANS , EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES WILLY WONKA, LAST FIVE YEARS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS  AND THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Donterrio has worked with companies such as Pulse Theatre Company, Prisco Center, and The REPA Center.

Previews Thursday, April 11 through Saturday April 13 at 7:30 pm, Sunday April 14 at 3:30 pm,

Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm through May 19
Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 (not valid Saturdays)

Flex Passes available for $144 are good for six reserved seats with priority seating for the patron’s choice of shows.
Pride Arts Center – the Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online at

Pride Films and Plays is working to produce year-round theater and film projects that change lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that are essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a five-play season of full productions, shoots one short film each year, and continues our famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center. 

Pride Arts Center produces events complementing the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions or feature national treasures like Charles Busch.  PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation. 

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Critically-Acclaimed Summer Presentations Include “Wiesenthal,” “Hitler’s Tasters” and Renée Taylor’s “My Life on a Diet”

Michael Pauken, General Manager of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, announced today that this summer three critically hailed Off-Broadway hits will come to the venue’s Northlight Theatre space.  Productions include “Wiesenthal,”  a gripping one-person retelling of the story of the legendary Nazi-hunter, Simon Wiesenthal; “Hitler’s Tasters,” the story of a group of young women who were enlisted to sample the Nazi Führer’s meals to ensure they are not poisoned and Renée Taylor’s “My Life on a Diet,” an autobiographical look at her many memorable roles, replete with juicy anecdotes about – and weight loss tips from – Hollywood legends.

“Our summer offerings feature three plays that are both moving and entertaining, sometimes in unexpected ways,” said Pauken.  “Both ‘Wiesenthal’ and ‘Hitler’s Tasters’ powerfully address the most difficult era of the 20th century in gripping and fascinating ways but also deftly employ moments of humor as they recount their protagonist’s stories. ‘My Life on a Diet’ is hilarious and revealing, yet also unexpectedly tender thanks to Ms. Taylor’s tremendous talent.” 

A Play about Nazi-Hunter, Simon Wiesenthal
Written by and starring Tom Dugan
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
Wednesday, June 26 - Sunday, June 30, 2019
Wed.-Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Ticket Range: $40-$60

Kicking-off the summer series will be a return engagement of “Wiesenthal,” a one-person play about Simon Wiesenthal, the tenacious holocaust survivor who was responsible for bringing more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice.  Written and starring Tom Dugan, the play was hailed by The New York Times as “moving…Wiesenthal’s persistence and hard-won humor are well conveyed” while the Huffington Post called it “heartfelt, deeply moving and compelling; (Dugan) makes history come alive.” “Wiesenthal” gives equal weight to its subject’s wisdom and wit, as he recounts stories from his long and purposeful life, including locating Adolf Eichmann (who oversaw the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps) and Karl Silberbauer, who found and arrested Anne Frank and her family. The production played two performances at the North Shore Center in October 2018 and is returning due to audience acclaim and demand.

“Hitler’s Tasters”
Written by Michelle Kholos Brooks
Directed by Sarah Norris
Friday, July 5 - Sunday, July 14, 2019
Tue.-Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Ticket Range: $32-$46

Three times a day, every day, a group of young women had the opportunity to die for their country. They were Adolph Hitler's food tasters. Based on true historical events, “Hitler’s Tasters” is a dark comedy about the young women who were forced to sample food to be sure it was safe to eat before it was presented to the Nazi Führer. What do girls discuss as they wait to see if they will live through another meal? Like all girls, they gossip and dream, they question and dance; they want to love, laugh, and above all, they want to survive.

Michelle Kholos Brooks’ script, which will be presented at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival following its Skokie engagement, was greeted with critical accolades upon its New York engagement.  American Theatre Magazine called it “a great essay on the banality of evil and how people sign up to do evil as long as it serves their purpose. And I also found myself to be extremely entertained."  New York Theatre Review called it “nothing short of breathtaking,” and Tony Award-winning director Susan Stroman hailed it as “one of the best evenings I’ve spent in the theater in a long time. It was interesting, entertaining, upsetting and made you think.”

“My Life on a Diet”
Written by Renée Taylor & Joseph Bologna
Originally directed by Joe Bologna.
Tuesday, July 16 – Sunday, August 4, 2019
Tue.-Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Ticket Range: $45-$92

Rounding out the summer series will be Renée Taylor’s autobiographical “My Life on a Diet.”  The Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actress looks back on a life full of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway and just as many fad diets. A self-described “diet junkie,” Taylor dishes out juicy anecdotes about—and weight loss tips from—Hollywood legends such as Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Marlon Brando and Cary Grant. By sharing her highs and lows—on and off the scale—as only she could, Taylor proves how the ability to laugh will get you through it all.

Reviewing the recent Off-Broadway run, The New York Times called “My Life on a Diet” a “lighthearted look at Taylor’s self-image and her quest for love…is a fascinating evocation of a woman with a weak body image and a strong sense of humor. A veritable depository of old-fashioned zingers…one-liners and well-timed pauses.” New York Stage Review awarded the show four stars, raving “You say you want a good laugh. If you’re truly serious about laughing heartily, you’ll get to Taylor recounting ‘My Life on a Diet’ real fast. It’s LOL funny.”

Renée Taylor, the play’s star and co-author, wrote 22 plays, four films and nine TV movies and series with her late husband Joseph Bologna. The two appeared together on Broadway in their plays “Lovers and Other Strangers” (1968), “It Had to Be You” (1981) and “If You Ever Leave Me … I’m Going with You!” (2001); and Off-Broadway in “Bermuda Avenue Triangle” (Promenade Theatre, 1997). For film, the couple received an Academy Award-nomination for the 1970 film adaptation of “Lovers and Other Strangers.”  Known for her Emmy nominated role of Sylvia Fine in “The Nanny,” her other notable TV acting credits include “Daddy Dearest,” “Dream On” and recurring roles in “How I Met Your Mother,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Happily Divorced” and currently Amazon’s “Gown and Out in Beverly Hills.” Her many film credits also include: Jerry Lewis’ “The Errand Boy,” Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” Elaine May’s “A New Leaf,” Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Lovesick,” “White Palace,” “Life During Wartime,” Tyler Perry’s “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” and more recently, “The Do-Over” and “How To Be a Latin Lover.” She last appeared at the North Shore Center with her late husband Joseph Bologna in 2005 in their Broadway play “It Had to Be You.”

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 22 at 10 a.m. at or by calling 847-673-6300. Two and three-show discounted packages are also available for purchase. Groups can book tickets by calling Group Theater Tix at (312) 423-6612.

About The North Shore Center
The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie is a dynamic two-theater complex designed by Boston architect Graham Gund and opened in November 1996. The North Shore Center is managed by Professional Facilities Management, Inc. and operates as part of the Village of Skokie’s plan to provide cultural, literary and educational programs to benefit the citizens of Skokie and Chicago’s North Shore. The facility features an 867-seat main theater, and a convertible 318-seat theater, which serves as the home to Northlight Theatre. In addition, there is a 6,000 square foot grand lobby, rehearsal hall and conference rooms. The North Shore Center presents a Feature Series and the curriculum-based Youtheatre program, which has provided supplemental arts education to over a million Chicago area students since its launch in 1980. Located 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop and conveniently across from Westfield Old Orchard Mall, the Center is in close proximity to many excellent dining, shopping and hotel options. Free parking is also abundantly available. For more information or tickets to its diverse programming, please visit

Casting Announced: The Second City e.t.c.’s 43rd Revue

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
The Second City e.t.c.’s 43rd Revue

I'll be out for the press opening April 13th, so check back soon for my full review.

The Second City is thrilled to announce casting for The Second City e.t.c.’s 43rd Revue. Under the direction of Anneliese Toft with music direction by Jacob Shuda, The Second City e.t.c.’s 43rd Revue features returning cast member Andrew Knox along with first-time resident stage ensemble members Atra Asdou, E.J. Cameron, Mark Campbell, Laurel Krabacher, and Chuck Norment. The stage manager is Laura Hum. 

Since opening its first revue in 1983, Cows on Ice, The Second City e.t.c. has continued to produce edgy, thought-provoking, hilariously original shows. Notable alumni of The Second City e.t.c.’s resident productions include Aidy Bryant, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Keegan-Michael Key, Jack McBrayer, Adam McKay, and Nia Vardalos.

The Second City e.t.c.’s 43rd Revue plays on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 11pm, and Sundays at 7pm in the e.t.c. Theater, located at 230 W North Ave, 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley, Chicago. Tickets, starting at $21, are available at The Second City Box Office (230 W. North Ave, 1st Floor, Piper's Alley), by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at

About the Artists
ATRA ASDOU (Ensemble; Pronouns: She/Her/Hers) is a home-grown Chicago performer. Some of her TV credits include South Side (Comedy Central) Chicago Med, and Chicago P.D. (NBC). She stars in the award-winning comedic web series Other People’s Children, is an artistic associate at Lookingglass Theatre, contributes weekly satire to The Paper Machete, wrote and performed her solo sketch show A Poodle in People Clothes and directed the critically acclaimed sketch show Teen Cudi Presents: Black Boy Joy. She improvises regularly at iO Chicago with Lil' Tooties and Whirled News Tonight. At The Second City, Atra has understudied for the e.t.c.’s 40th revue A Red Line Runs Through It, performed in Second City's She The People at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in D.C. and is a 2017 Bob Curry Fellowship recipient. Special thanks to Gary Pascal, Kela, and this outstanding cast and production team.

E.J. CAMERON (Ensemble; Pronouns: He/Him/His) is very excited to be a part of this show. He's lived in Chicago for six years, where he has graduated from and performed at The Second City, iO, Comedy Sportz. He was a recipient of The Second City Training Center’s Bob Curry Fellowship in 2016. Before moving to Chicago, E.J. received his BFA in Acting at Columbus State University (not Ohio!) and performed with multiple troupes. He is represented by Paonessa Talent and is an avid pro-wrestling fan who loves the color purple. Follow @Ej_Cam19.

MARK CAMPBELL (Ensemble; Pronouns: He/Him/His) is so grateful to be a part of The Second City! Originally from Glen Ellyn, he has performed all over the country with The Second City Touring Company and all over the ocean aboard the Norwegian Dawn and Gem. Mark is a member of The Improvised Shakespeare Company and is proudly represented by Paonessa Talent. Huge thank yous to his family, and he hopes Smitty is proud. Follow him on Twitter @themarkcampbell! 

ANDREW KNOX (Ensemble; Pronouns: He/Him/His) is originally from Shelburne, Vermont. An ensemble member in the e.t.c.’s 41st and 42nd revues, Fantastic Great Super Nation Numero Uno and Gaslight District, Andrew is also a Second City Touring Company alum and a member of the Improvised Shakespeare Company. He’d like to thank the many teachers, coaches, and directors he’s had over the years, as well as Mom, Dad, Amanda, Tyler, and his incredible wife Catherine for their unending love and support. And also his dog, Izzy, who is too young to see his shows. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @softknox.

LAUREL KRABACHER (Ensemble; Pronouns: She/Her/Hers) is very happy to be a part of The Second City! A Second City Touring Company alum, she is a Colorado native and a theater graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. If you want more Laurel, you can see her at CIC with Little Gary and at iO with Tone and Revolver. She is represented by BMG Talent.

CHUCK NORMENT (Ensemble; Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs) hails from Newport News, Virginia. They can also be seen performing at iO with Virgin Daiquiris, Your Fucked Up Relationship and Meridian. Chuck was a featured performer in The Second City and NBCUniversal's Break Out Comedy Festival in 2016. They are a proud alumni of Second City’s National Touring Company (BlueCo will forever be the best co). They are single as hell, so slip into their DMs on Instagram @masculinehair.

ANNELIESE TOFT (Director; Pronouns: She/Her/Hers) returns to direct her second resident stage production for The Second City after regularly contributing as a director for Second City Theatricals. Her recent projects include The Second City e.t.c.’s 42 revue Gaslight District, Fast, Loud, & Funny at UP Comedy Club, The Second City’s collaboration with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Longer! Louder! Wagner! and a four-year tenure with The Second City Touring Company. She also directs sketch comedy in venues all over Chicago, including the Annoyance, Theater Wit, Stage 773, The Public House Theatre, and iO.

JACOB SHUDA (Original Music, Sound Design, Musical Director; Pronouns: He/Him/His) is a moon worshiper from Wisconsin.  He started live-scoring improv when he was 16 years old, and since has traveled the world with The Second City Touring Company. This is his sixth resident stage revue. Outside of Second City, catch him leading the synth dance rock band Veil Surfer.

LAURA HUM (Stage Manager; Pronouns: She/Her/Hers) is thrilled to be a part of the e.t.c.’s 43nd revue, which is her fifth resident stage production with The Second City. Previous credits on this stage include Gaslight District, Fantastic Great Super Nation Numero Uno, A Red Line Runs Through It, and Soul Brother, Where Art Thou? She is an alumna of the Ohio State University and The Second City Touring Company.

About The Second City
Since opening its doors 1959, The Second City has grown to become the world’s premier comedy club, theater and school of improvisation, entertaining 1 million theatergoers a year around the globe. Alumni of The Second City’s resident stages, touring companies, and theatrical divisions include some of the biggest names in entertainment, and in addition to the sold-out shows playing nightly on resident stages in Chicago and Toronto, the comedy empire has staged productions with a wide range of illustrious creative partners and theatre companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, Center Theater Group Los Angeles, Portland Center Stage, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and even the Chicago Bulls.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

ADULT NIGHT OUT: FOUR CHORDS AND A GUN, The Story of Phil Spector and The Ramones

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar



I spent my early adulthood adoring The Ramones and when I had kids of my own, the Ramones were in heavy rotation. Our anthem for getting two, stubborn, pint sized punks out of the house was “Hey Ho Let’s Go!”.  They could both spell "R-A-M-O-N-E-S... Ramones", right on key, before their own names. I even got summoned to see the teacher when my preschool age daughter was belting out inappropriate Ramones lyrics like "...beat on the brat with a baseball bat. Oh yeah." Can't wait to catch this Chicago premiere on tour. Theatre has tackled the hell out of the Elvis era, Jersey Boys, Motown, and even 80's metal hair bands, so it's about time the early roots of punk got a boot in the spotlights. Don't miss the stage version of the drama-filled 1979 recording session that led to The Ramones album, End of the Century, produced by Phil Spector.

Broadway In Chicago and Starvox Touring, Inc. are pleased to announce FOUR CHORDS AND A GUN will play at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut) beginning May 18, 2019. Individual tickets will go on sale to the public March 20, 2019.

Debuting in Toronto, FOUR CHORDS AND A GUN written by actor John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory, Speechless) reveals the drama-filled 1979 recording session that led to The Ramones album, End of the Century, produced by Phil Spector.

Based on Bowie’s exhaustive research, the script delves into the personal tensions between the punk band members as well as their often-violent struggles with Spector. It’s a powerful story both funny and touching - which explores the Ramones, Linda Daniele (the woman who loved two of them) and the charismatic, destructive Spector.

“Hey Ho Let’s Go!” to a play about the Ramones followed by a concert. Not a f***ing musical.

Individual tickets will go on-sale to the public on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 and range in price from $39.95 - $69.95 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing For more information, visit 

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 19 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres.  Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre. Broadway In Chicago proudly celebrates 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre. For more information, visit

Facebook @BroadwayInChicago ● Twitter @broadwaychicago ● Instagram @broadwayinchicago ● #broadwayinchicago

Shows On Our Radar: HERLAND Rolling World Premiere at Redtwist Through April 14th

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

A queer coming of age comedy with a Bruce Springsteen
Rock n’ Roll soul.

After graduating from high school, Natalie gets a summer internship working for Jean, her elderly neighbor, on a special project: creating a DIY retirement home for Jean and her two best friends. They set up shop inside Jean's garage, the former home of Jean’s ex-husband’s Bruce Springsteen cover band, and plan for the next chapter of their lives. Herland is a comedy about women growing up, growing old, and rocking out to the beat of their own drums.

Previews $15: Mar 13-15, 7:30pm
Opens Sat Mar 16, 3pm
Runs thru April 14, 2019
(no evening show on Mar 16)
Thu, Fri, Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 3pm
Tickets: $35-40
(seniors/students: $5 off)

Top row: Valerie Gorman, Simi Bal, Kathleen Ruhl
Bottom row: Deanalis Resto, marssie Mencotti.
Photos by Gracie Meier

CAST (in alphabetical order)
Simran Bal (Natalie), Valerie Gorman (Terry), marssie Mencotti (Louise), Deanalís Resto (Becca), and Kathleen Ruhl (Jean)
Barbara Button (Jean U/S), Mishell Livio (Becca U/S), Julie Mitre (Louise U/S), Esme Perez (Natalie U/S), and Patricia Tinsley (Terry U/S)
Understudy Show Tuesday April 9, 7:30pm

Grace McLeod (Playwright), James Fleming (Director), Bex Ehrmann (Assistant Director), Kate Cuellar (Dramaturg), Julia Skeggs (Casting Director), Evan Sposato (Technical Director), Alyssa Mohn (Scenic Designer), Shelbi Ardnt (Lighting Designer), Joe Palermo and Stephen Severn (Sound Designers), Elle Erickson (Costume Designer), Erin Gautille (Props Designer), Tara Huffman (Scenic Charge), Zachary Payne (Fight and Intimacy Choreographer), Megan Chaney (Stage Manager) Ari Craven (Graphic Designer), Gracie Meier (Photographer), Jan Ellen Graves (Marketing), Brennan T. Jones (Producer)

Redtwist is located at 1044 W Bryn Mawr, 2 blks W of LSD, 2 blks E of the Red Line EL station. Valet parking for Redtwist is available across the street in front of Francesca’s Bryn Mawr for most performances—hours vary. Dining is not required. Limited FREE street parking is available on side streets. There is metered street parking via app or 3-hour Paybox on Bryn Mawr Av and 2-hour Paybox on side streets. Free on Sundays, and after 10pm Mon thru Sat. Parking & Policies

Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago, 773-728-7529,

Monday, March 18, 2019

OPENING: Canadian Icon Margaret Trudeau to Stage Debut ‘CERTAIN WOMAN OF AN AGE’ at The Second City Mother’s Day Weekend

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Canadian Icon Margaret Trudeau to Stage Debut
Directed by Kimberly Senior 
at The Second City
will run Mother’s Day weekend
 May 9- May 12, 2019

The Second City invites you to celebrate Mother’s Day with Margaret Trudeau, the mother of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In a world premiere engagement, Margaret Trudeau is coming to Chicago to bring her intimate staged performance Certain Woman of an Age exclusively to UP Comedy Club at The Second City, 230 W. North Ave. Co-written by Ms. Trudeau, herself, and directed by Kimberly Senior, this solo performance follows the compelling story of one of the world’s most fascinating figures, chronicling her courageous public and private journeys.

Through vividly told anecdotes recounting her experiences as the mother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former wife of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, catapulting her to feminist icon status, and suffering tremendous personal loss, Ms. Trudeau bravely and humorously paints a surprisingly universal picture that will empower audiences with the perspective that mental illness affects all families, no matter who they are.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of sharing Margaret's story in this intimate setting. Through her courage, insight, and humor, we all stand a little taller and are better able to face the ever-challenging world around us," said director Kimberly Senior.

Co-written by award-winning playwright Alix Sobler, the stripped-down performance will be supported by simple lighting design, projections, and photographs from historic sources as well as Ms. Trudeau’s personal archives. Following 2018’s developmental run of Julia Sweeney: Older & Wider, Certain Woman of an Age is the latest development project from The Second City, and the new work shares a Canadian connection. Canadian Andrew Alexander started the Toronto Second City in 1974, and he and his partner Len Stuart acquired The Second City Chicago in 1985.

“I first met Margaret Trudeau 25 years ago. I was asked to meet her after writing a screenplay which featured her as one of the main characters. The film never happened, but a friendship was born. As the years went by, I realized her real-life story of grace, forgiveness, love, and determination in the face of unspeakable tragedy is a magnificent story of survival and more compelling than any fiction,” said executive producer Diane Alexander. “Margaret is also one of the most charming and funny people I have ever met."

Tickets start at $45 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at The show schedule is as follows: Thursday, May 9 at 8pm; Friday, May 10 at 8pm; Saturday, May 11 at 8pm; and a special Mother’s Day performance on Sunday, May 12 at 4pm.

About The Artists

Margaret Trudeau
Canadians fell in love with Pierre Elliott Trudeau's beautiful bride when he brought her to the world stage as the youngest First Lady in the history of the country. Yet, as time went by, Margaret was unprepared for public life, and plagued by mood swings. After three sons with Pierre, the marriage ended. She then remarried and had two more children. But the tragic loss of her son, Michel, in a skiing accident and the passing of Pierre Trudeau a few years later were too much to bear, and she became severely ill.

Today, Margaret has rebuilt her life once again. Now, she brings her formidable life story to the stage in her quest to help others, sharing her message of resilience with the goal of helping to inspire others and to erase the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Margaret is the author of four books, including her bestselling title, Changing My Mind, which charts her life’s ups and downs, and her latest title, The Time of Your Life, which offers women an inspirational and practical approach to creating a healthy, happy, secure and satisfying future.

Kimberly Senior is a freelance director and the director of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar. Most recently, Kimberly made her HBO debut with Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Kimberly was awarded the 2016 TCG Alan Schneider Award. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Primary Stages Einhorn Award and 2016 Special Non-Equity Jeff Award for her work as a trailblazer, champion, and role model for emerging artists.

New York Credits: Disgraced (Broadway); Chris Gethard: Career Suicide (Judd Apatow); The Niceties (Manhattan Theatre Club); Sakina's Restaurant (Audible); The Who and The What; Disgraced (LCT3); Discord (Primary Stages); Engagements (Second Stage Uptown). Regional Credits: Christmas at Pemberley (Milwaukee Rep); The Niceties (Huntington and McCarter); Sheltered (Alliance Theatre); Support Group for Men; Disgraced; Rapture, Blister, Burn (Goodman Theatre); Buried Child; The Scene; Marjorie Prime; Diary of Anne Frank; Hedda Gabler; The Letters (Writers Theatre); Other Than Honorable (Geva); Sex with Strangers (The Geffen Playhouse); Disgraced (Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre); The Who and The What (La Jolla Playhouse); Little Gem (City Theatre); Want; and The North Plan (Steppenwolf), among others. She is the proud mother of Noah (12) and Delaney (10). Kimberly is a member of SDC. Find more at

Alix Sobler is a writer and performer who lives in New York City. Her play Sheltered won the 2018 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and received a world premiere at Alliance Theater in 2018. Other recent work includes The Great Divide, which won the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, was named as a finalist in the Henley Rose Playwriting Competition, and was the runner-up for the 2017 Jane Chambers Award. It received its world premiere in September of 2016 at The Finborough Theatre in London. Her play The Secret Annex was most recently produced at the Segal Centre in Montreal in 2016. It was originally produced in 2014 at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. A two-time finalist for the Eugene O’Neill NPC, she has had work read or produced in theaters across North America and England, including Roundabout Theater Company (New York, NY), the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), The Print Room (London, UK), The Stratford Festival (Stratford, ON), South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, CA), Theater J (Washington, DC), Gulfshore Playhouse (Naples, FL), Theatre Seven (Chicago, IL), Mad & Merry Theater Company (New York, NY), Prairie Theatre Exchange (Winnipeg, MB), Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep (Providence, RI), The Tank (New York, NY), Theatre Or (Minneapolis, MN), and others. BA: Brown University, MFA: Columbia University. Find more at

About UP Comedy Club

Since opening its doors as part of The Second City’s resident stages in 2012, UP Comedy Club has developed and produced a diverse array of sketch comedy shows, stand-up performances, festivals, and original works from voices of every kind. Programming has included the box office smash #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment, critic and audience favorite She the People: Girlfriends’ Guide to Sisters Doing It for Themselves, The Second City’s Black History Month Show, and The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue. The theater is also home to the annual NBC Universal + The Second City’s Break-Out Comedy Fest, which showcases the hottest emerging and seasoned comedic acts in the worlds of stand-up, sketch, and improv.

Chicago Premiere of THE MUSHROOM CURE at Greenhouse Theater Center April 4 – May 5, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Chicago Premiere!
Greenhouse Theater Center,
in association with The Marsh, Presents
Written and Performed by Adam Strauss
Developed with and Directed by Jonathan Libman
April 4 – May 5, 2019

I'll be out for the press opening April 6th, so check back soon for my full review. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center, in association with The Marsh, is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of the off-Broadway hit THE MUSHROOM CURE, the true story of one man's attempt to treat his severe OCD with psychedelics. Written and performed by Adam Strauss and developed with and directed by Jonathan Libman, THE MUSHROOM CURE will play April 4 – May 5, 2019 in The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstairs Main Stage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. 

Inspired by a scientific study showing that hallucinogenic mushrooms may cure obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Adam Strauss embarked on a program of vigilante psychopharmacology. The true tale of Strauss’ hilarious, harrowing and heartrending attempts to treat his debilitating OCD with psychedelics, THE MUSHROOM CURE was named a Critics’ Pick by Time Out New York, which praised it as “riveting… true-life tour de force” and hailed by The New York Times as “mining a great deal of laughter from disabling pain.”

THE MUSHROOM CURE first ran in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe garnering widespread acclaim. Critics called the show “hugely intelligent and incredibly engaging,” (The Scotsman) “outstanding,” (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine), and “a revelation” (Broadway Baby). Strauss’ riotous tale appeared next in the New York International Fringe Festival, winning the Fringe’s Overall Excellence Award for Solo Performance. It then was given its Off-Broadway premiere at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre, where it had a sold-out, extended run, before transferring to The Marsh in San Francisco for its West Coast premiere with a sold-out, extended run. The show then moved to Theatre 80 St. Marks in New York, where it ran for over a year before closing in January.

THE MUSHROOM CURE is produced by the Greenhouse Theater Center, in association with The Marsh, a breeding ground for new performance. 

Dates: Previews: Thursday, April 4 at 8 pm and Friday, April 5 at 8 pm
Press Performance: Saturday, April 6 at 8 pm
Regular run: Saturday, April 6 – Sunday, May 5, 2019
Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: Previews: $25 Regular run: $29 - $35. Discounts: $19 students, seniors, teachers, military and industry. Group discounts are available. Tickets are currently available at, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

About the Artists
Adam Strauss is a writer and performer based in New York City. He won the Leffe Craft Your Character Storytelling Competition and the New York Fringe Festival’s Overall Excellence Award for Solo Performance. He is also a stand-up comedian who performs throughout the US and the UK. Strauss received his BA in psychology from Brown University. His upcoming solo show The Uncertainty Principle will receive its world premiere at The Marsh in May 2019.

Jonathan Libman is currently directing and writing for Amy Schumer's ensemble company The Collective. As a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit, Jonathan is directing Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale) in Palminteri's new play The Bench, and National Endowment for the Arts recipient David Libman’s play The Townhouse, featuring Joey Collins. He recently worked with Christina Masciotti (2016 Guggenheim Fellow) on her play Raw Bacon From Poland, featuring Sean Carvajal (2018 Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards for Best Actor). Jonathan won a scholarship to write and direct at Tony Spiridakis' Manhattan Film Institute, and has just finished writing two original television pilots, The Little People and Accidents Waiting to Happen. In 2019-20 he will be directing new work by Nicole Pandolfo (2017 Dramatist Guild Fellow), Sam Kahn (Chatter), Eli Walker (Drunk Yoga) and Daniel Mitura (The Picture of Dorian Gray).

About the Greenhouse Theater Center

The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones) and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 
As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly-remodeled 198-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, a newly-built 44-seat cabaret space, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, contact Nicholas Reinhart at (773) 404-7336, ext. 13.
About The Marsh

The Marsh, known as a "breeding ground for new performance," was launched in1989 by Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman, and now annually hosts more than 600 performances of 175 shows across the company's two venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. A leading developer and outlet for solo performers, The Marsh's specialty has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “solo performances that celebrate the power of storytelling at its simplest and purest.” The East Bay Times named The Marsh one of Bay Area's best intimate theaters, calling it “one of the most thriving solo theaters in the nation. The live theatrical energy is simply irresistible.”  For more info about The Marsh, visit or email

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