Monday, May 18, 2015

EXTENDED: Piven Theatre Workshop's Melancholy Play: a chamber musical through 6/21 #Review #GuestPost

Piven Theatre Workshop extends Melancholy Play: a chamber musical through June 21, 2015

Playwright Sarah Ruhl to conduct post-show talk-backs June 18 and 21; Ruhl and composer Todd Almond return for Poetry Foundation conversation, June 24   

In this lighthearted farce, bank teller Tilly’s (Stephanie Stockstill) melancholy is of an exquisite quality. She turns her melancholy into a sexy thing, and every stranger she meets falls in love with her. One day, inexplicably, Tilly becomes happy, and wreaks havoc on the lives of her paramours, while Frances, Tilly’s hairdresser, becomes so melancholy that she turns into an almond. It is up to Tilly to get her back. Other members of the Equity production include Chris Ballou (Frank, a tailor who deeply loves Tilly’s melancholia); Lauren Paris (Frances, her hairdresser); Emily Grayson (Joan, the helpless nurse who watches her girlfriend Frances devolve into a nut), and Ryan Lanning (Lorenzo, Tilly’s eccentric therapist from an undetermined European country).  

Guest Post by Flo Mano- Exclusive to ChiIL Live Shows

"Melancholy  play" is an opera worthy musical. Four strings and a piano, come alive as Tilly, is "melancholy" and sees her European "happy" therapist, who has a "transference" on her.
And that starts the "Amelie" like happenstance of happy go lucky with a twist of "almonds". When her path crosses the tailor, who makes daily visits to the bank where she works, they fall in love. Then a hairstylist falls for Tilly, as does her lesbian nurse lover. To the dismay of the psychotherapist, she informs him that she no longer needs his services, because she's happy and leaves him a few hair strands he'd asked her for. So, this strange, outlandish farce takes us through a journey of Tilly becoming "not melancholy", but the now happy Tilly brings despair on those who love her, want her, and fight over her. 

In this utterly unique show, Tilly’s hairdresser gets so distraught, taking a downward emotional plunge, she literally turns into an "almond", A REAL ALMOND! Now her morphing brings sadness to her friends, for her altered state, and the "tears" that brought on the transformation. Yet her friends are not hopelessness or helpless as they band together in their quest to retrieve and reverse, discovering hidden secrets of the past that bond them even more.

So this surrealistic story swerves and spirals, twists and turns, and audiences following the course are anything but melancholy. Recommended.

Piven Theatre Workshop will extend performances of the critically-acclaimed Melancholy Play: a chamber musical by Tony™-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl, with music by prolific New York composer Todd Almond and direction by Polly Noonan. The production will continue through Sunday, June 21, at Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes Street in Evanston.  The new musical was originally scheduled to close June 7.

The Piven Theatre Workshop is also pleased to announce that Melancholy Play playwright (and Piven alumna and longtime supporter) Sarah Ruhl returns to the Piven stage for post-show “talk- backs” on both Thursday evening, June 18, and Sunday afternoon, June 21.  She will be joined by the cast, plus members of the creative team on the 18th, and Piven Theatre Workshop Founder Joyce Piven on the 21st. 

Also of note, immediately following the run of Melancholy Play, Ruhl and Almond will discuss their collaboration and the transformation of Ruhl's original text with Almond’s music at the Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, Wednesday evening, June 24, at 7 p.m.  This program is free and open to the public. For more information about this free public program at the Poetry Foundation, please visit:

Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play had its world premiere in 2002 at Piven Theatre Workshop and starred Noonan in the lead role as Tilly.  A decade later, Ruhl teamed up with Almond and developed Melancholy Play as a new chamber musical.  It was workshopped in 2012 via 13p in Brooklyn, and returned to Piven Theatre Workshop for its Midwest Premiere. It will have its official World Premiere at Trinity Rep Theater in Providence, RI, on May 28, 2015.

Noonan, director of the highly acclaimed production of The Language Archive last year at Piven, returns to helm the show she once starred in over a decade ago. 

The designers of Melancholy Play: a chamber musical are Jacob Watson (set), Rachel Levy (lighting), Alex Palma (sound), Stephanie Cluggish (costumes), and Austin Kopsa (properties). Musical Direction is by Aaron Benham.

About the Playwright:

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, a cycle (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, and most recently, Stage Kiss, The Oldest Boy, and Dear ElizabethMelancholy Play, Eurydice, Orlando, Three Sisters, and Late: a cowboy song have all been produced at Piven Theatre Workshop.

About the Composer:

Writer/performer Todd Almond’s work includes the World Premiere of IOWA, an original musical play with playwright Jenny Schwartz and director Ken Rus Schmoll, officially opening at Playwrights Horizons, April 13, 2015.  Other theatrical credits include original music for Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, also at Playwrights Horizons; original music and lyrics for the Public Theater/Public Works’ The Tempest at the Delacorte, in which Almond also starred as Ariel; original book for Girlfriend (music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet) at Actors Theater and Berkeley Rep; original music and lyrics for On the Levee at LCT3; original music and lyrics for Yale Rep’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle; original music and lyrics for The Odyssey at the Old Globe in San Diego; and original music and lyrics for Kansas City Choir Boy, performed by Almond with rock icon Courtney Love as part of the Prototype Festival.

About Piven Theatre Workshop:
With Melancholy Play: a chamber musical, Piven Theatre Workshop continues its ongoing mission of premiering original works, and its history of celebrating the emerging voices of women. Piven Theatre Workshop has excelled as a leader in the arts community for 44 years, maintaining a distinguished legacy in the training of children and adults in the theatre arts. Annually, between onsite and off-site programming, the theatre trains over 1,000 students, provides approximately $30,000 in need-based scholarships, and maintains a professional theatre and numerous outreach programs throughout the Chicago area.

Performance schedule & tickets:
Melancholy Play: a chamber musical will be performed at the Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, through June 21, 2015. The performance schedule is: Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are priced from $20-$35, and are available at the box office, by calling 847-866-8049, or online at

Monday, May 4, 2015

OPENING: THE LITTLE FOXES at The Goodman Theatre 5/2-6/7/15




Greed and familial betrayal is at the darkly comic heart of The Little Foxes by Tony Award-winning playwright Lillian Hellman—“an expertly constructed, grippingly paced plot machine that pits good against evil and lets evil win” (The New York Times). Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper directs the classic 1939 play about wealth’s corrupting power—one of Hellman’s most notable works, which was adapted into a 1941 film starring Bette Davis—centering on the Hubbard family’s ruthless pursuit in the South’s post-bellum economic slump. The Little Foxes appears May 2 – June 7 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, May 11). Tickets ($25-$81; subject to change) are on sale now at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman Theatre Women’s Board is the Major Production Sponsor, Ernst & Young LLP and Interactive Health are the Corporate Sponsor Partners and Towers Watson is the Opening Night Sponsor for The Little Foxes.

“The Little Foxes is a vivacious, bitingly funny American drama whose central idea—that greed can rot community, family and human beings—transcends the decades that separate us from Hellman’s characters,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Henry has demonstrated an affinity and dexterity with previous classic stage works, including Charles Dickens and August Strindberg, and I’m excited for him to sink his teeth into this juicy masterwork.”

A 10-member all-star Chicago cast brings the rapacious Hubbard clan to life. Shannon Cochran, Larry Yando and Steve Pickering portray the well-to-do siblings Regina, Ben and Oscar Hubbard, who aim to compound their family fortune by opening an industrialized cotton mill in their small southern town. The venture, however, will prove impossible without the financial support of Horace (John Judd), Regina’s dying husband. In an attempt to secure the money, Oscar initially suggests Leo (Dan Waller), his son with his troubled wife Birdie (Mary Beth Fisher), marry Regina’s and Horace’s daughter Alexandra (Rae Gray). When Horace refuses to endorse the marriage, an explosive series of betrayals shatters the Hubbard clan’s genteel façade and exposes their merciless intentions. Rounding out the cast is Michael Canavan as William Marshall; Cherene Snow as Addie; and Dexter Zollicoffer as Cal. The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (set), Jenny Mannis (costumes), David Lander (lighting) and Richard Woodbury (sound). Joseph Drummond is the production stage manager and Neena Arndt is the dramaturg.

As a complement to the production, the Goodman presents a reading of Another Part of the Forest—the play Hellman wrote as a prequel to The Little Foxes and a work the theater previously produced in its 1956/1957 season. This one-time special event takes place on Saturday, May 16 at 2pm at the Goodman. Tickets are free but reservations are required via the Goodman box office (contact information above).

Though a work of fiction, the environs The Little Foxes depicts were part of Tony Award-winning playwright Lillian Hellman’s (1905 – 1984) formative years. Born into a successful southern family in New Orleans, Hellman spent her childhood shuttling between the South and New York City and later attended New York University and Columbia University. Blacklisted after refusing to sign a loyalty clause with Columbia Pictures, she was summoned to testify in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1951, but refused to plead the fifth amendment or deny her brief involvement with the Communist party. She memorably delivered a statement in which she wrote, “I was raised in an old-fashioned American tradition…to try to tell the truth, not to bear false witness, not to harm my neighbor, to be loyal to my country… I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”

Hellman’s celebrated works include The Children’s Hour, Watch on the Rhine, Another Part of the Forest, The Autumn Garden, Toys in the Attic (Tony Award), My Mother, My Father and Me, Montserrat, The Searching Wind and Days to Come. She also won a Tony Award for the book of the musical Candide. Her many accolades include the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Gold Medal for Drama from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Book Award for her memoir, An Unfinished Woman. She also subsequently wrote two more volumes of her memoirs, Pentimento: A Book of Portraits and Scoundrel Time.

EVENTS AND SPECIAL PERFORMANCES (Contact the Goodman Theatre Box Office for tickets/reservations)

May 10, Artist Encounter with Director Henry Wishcamper, 5pm discussion ($5; FREE for Subs/Donors/students)
May 13, College Night – 6pm pre-show pizza party, 7:30pm show ($10 promo COLLEGE w/valid student ID)
May 13, Sign Interpreted performance, 7:30pm; a professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as performed
May 16, Reading of Another Part of the Forest, 2pm; Lillian Hellman’s prequel play to The Little Foxes
May 14 and 19, Student Matinee Performances, 11am (free for students in the Student Subscription Series)
May 20, Audio Described Performance, 7:30pm; the action/text is audibly enhanced via a special headset  
June 6, Open-Captioned Performance, 2pm; an LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance
May 15, 22 and 29, June 5, PlayTalks – Pre-show discussions with members of the Goodman’s Artistic Staff
Every Wednesday and Thursday evening, PlayBacks – Discussions with actors immediately following the show 

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

This Dark Comedy About Family, Fame and Rock-n-Roll is Directed by Mitch Golob with Music Direction by Mucca Pazza’s Jefferey Thomas 
and Original Music by Tony-Nominated and Obie-Winner Heidi Rodewald

InFusion Theatre Company is proud to announce Crystal Skillman’s Another Kind of Love, directed by InFusion Artistic Director Mitch Golob with music direction by Jefferey Thomas and original music by Tony-nominated and Obie-winner Heidi Rodewald, lyrics by Caroline Dorsen and Crystal Skillman, May 10 – June 14, at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division Ave. 

Preview performances are Sunday, May 10, Monday, May 11 and Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. with the opening/press night Friday, May 15 or Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $14. Tickets are $28 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and industry professionals (Thursdays and Sundays only). Tickets are on sale now at

After being apart for 15 years, sisters (and band mates) reunite for a one-night concert commemorating the anniversary of their rock legend mother’s suicide. Featuring live performances of an original score by Rodewald, past regrets, present emotions and future doubts converge with punk and family in Skillman’s new play developed around the country this year at IAMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles, LiveWire in Chicago, Live Girls! in Seattle, Women’s Project Theater in New York City and, most recently, at New York Stage and Film as part of the Lark Play Development Center’s retreat this summer.

Another Kind of Love cast includes Alison Hixson, “Max/guitar;” Brady Johnson, “Roger/guitar;” Courtney Jones, “Tanya/bass;” Amber Kelly, “Collin/drums;” Annie Prichard, “Kit/guitar” and Tyler Young, “Nate."

The production staff includes Sarah Watkins, scenic designer; Charles Cooper, lighting designer; Claire Chrzan, co-lighting designer; Rachel Sypniewski, costume designer; Eric Backus, sound designer; Angela Campos, props designer and Rose Sengenberger, dramaturg.

ABOUT CRYSTAL SKILLMAN, playwright and co-lyricist
Crystal Skillman is an award winning Brooklyn based playwright. Her three recent plays, King Kirby, co-written with Fred Van Lente, Geek! and Cut, have all earned Critics Picks from The New York Times. Wild earned three 2014 New York Innovation Theater Award nominations for its sold out production at IRT Theater this spring, (following a critically successful run in Chicago with Kid Brooklyn Productions and Off Broadway in MCC Theater’s Playlabs at the Lucille Lortel.) Skillman’s other plays include: The Vigil or The Guided Cradle, winner of the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full-Length Script and Drunk Art Love, now a web series directed by Sanjit De Silva. She is currently at work on a new play, Rain and Zoe Save the World, about two teenage activists on a cross-country mission. She is writing the books for two musicals with award-winning composer Bobby Cronin: The Concrete Jungle and the musical theater adaption of the film Mary and Max, to be directed by Outer Critics Circle Award-winning Stafford Arima with mask work by Joseph Osheroff. In Chicago her work has also been seen with The New Colony, Collaboraction, DePaul University and LiveWire Chicago Theatre. 

Mitch Golob has directed many InFusion productions: the world premieres of The Improv PlayPluto is Listening, Ghostbox and Créole (nominated for five Black Theatre Alliance Awards), the United States premiere of The Last Supper and the Midwest premieres of Intrigue With FayeRhymes With Evil, Soul Samurai, and Fight Girl Battle World and Ithaka. Other directing projects include 8 By Tenn at Hartford Stage Company, working with Tony Award Winners Elizabeth Ashley and Amanda Plummer, the U.S. premiere of Jump to Cow Heaven at Profiles Theatre, And Then They Came For Me at Apple Tree Theatre, and was associate director of the award winning world premiere of Hannah & Martin at TimeLine Theatre.  Golob was also a member of Naked Eye Theatre Company, where he assistant directed the Jeff Award winning production of Waving Goodbye, in a co-production with Steppenwolf.  He has also directed at Pegasus Players, Stage Left Theatre and Chicago Dramatists.  Mitch holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre & Drama from the University of Wisconsin. 

Jefferey Allen Thomas is a composer and guitarist.  He is a founding member of Mucca Pazza, and has worked with Greek composer Michael Karras, Punk legend Excene Cervenka, Cynthia Plaster Caster and Bobby Conn. He has written incidental music for Redmoon Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Neo-Futurists, as well as dozens of independent films.  His current project is a group of symphonies called “The Work of Jack Daedalus Edwards”.  The first of these symphonies, “Rumour, “premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in February 2014. 

Heidi Rodewald is the Tony Award nominated, Obie Award winning co- composer of the musical Passing Strange, which transferred from The Public Theater to Broadway in 2008. She is a Sundance Institute Alum and the co-writer with Stew of the screenplay "We Can See Today". Rodewald composed music for Karen Kandel's Portraits: Night and Day (2004); Brides of the Moon by The Five Lesbian Brothers (2010) and co-composed music with Stew for Shakespeare’s Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet (2010-12). Rodewald joined the band The Negro Problem in 1997 and has collaborated with Stew in a range of capacities: as a co-composer, producer/arranger and performer. She is the co-composer with Stew of the new musical Family Album, which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival last summer. She is also the co-composer of their new musical, The Total Bent, which will open in 2015 at the Public Theater. She has two new projects which have been in development at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA: The Good Swimmer, a pop-opera, co-written with librettist, Donna DiNovelli and The Stacks, a two-person musical co-written by singer- songwriter Mary McBride. She just finished scoring her first film "I Dream Too Much", written and directed by Katie Cokinos. 

Caroline Dorsen is an award winning writer, poet and educator who lives in Brooklyn, NY. A ghost writer for numerous late 1980s/early 1990s bands in the Bay Area, Another Kind of Love marks the first time Dorsen has allowed her name to be linked to her lyrics. She brings to the project an extensive knowledge of the psychology of trauma, loss and addiction. Her experience working in this area is reflected in the authenticity and emotional resonance of her lyrics.

InFusion Theatre Company seeks out new plays and “infuses” them with other elements of entertainment such as music, dance and film. “We strive to create dynamic performances by combining different forms of entertainment that will result
InFusion Theatre Company’s Crystal Skillman’s Another Kind of Love, May 10 – June 14, at The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division Ave. Preview performances are Sunday, May 10, Monday, May 11 and Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. with the opening/press night Friday, May 15 or Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $14. Tickets are $28 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and industry professionals (Thursdays and Sundays only). Tickets are on sale now at

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HELP OUT: Option Up! to host Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest, A Benefit Concert for Howard Brown Health Center, May 10 Featuring Wicked’s Heidi Kettenring, Les Miserables’ Marya Grandy and more!

Option Up!, the acclaimed musical theater cabaret and talk-show, celebrates co-host Christopher Pazdernik’s birthday with Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest, a concert to benefit Howard Brown Health Center on Sunday, May 10 at 7:30 in The Cab at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago. Featuring award-winning musical theater performers from across Chicago, the evening will be music directed by co-host Aaron Benham. Tickets are $10 and available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting

In February 2014, Jeff Award and Broadway World Award nominees Christopher Pazdernik and Aaron Benham teamed up to create a unique event for the Chicago musical theater scene.  A new show is performed one night each month, featuring both performances and interviews with guest musical theater performers alongside musical theater analysis and trivia. Over the past year, Option Up! has been featured in publications ranging from New City Stage to Glossed & Found, as well as a special mention from renowned theatre historian Peter Filichia.  

For the May 10 edition, leading ladies from every theater in town will join together to belt for a good cause, Howard Brown Health Center, in honor of HBHC’s medical care for Christopher since he was diagnosed HIV+ in 2009. Currently schedule to perform are multiple Jeff Award nominee Heidi Kettenring (Wicked in Chicago), Drama Desk nominee Marya Grandy (Broadway’s Les Miserables and off-Broadway’s The Great American Trailer Park Musical) and Jeff Award winner Alexis J. Rogers (Court Theater’s Porgy and Bess; Porchlight’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill) as well as Jeff Award nominee Charissa Armon (Porchlight’s Ragtime), Neala Barron (Griffin’s Titanic), Lillie Cummings (Paramount’s Les Miserables), Jeff nominee Landree Fleming (Drury Lane’s Spelling Bee), Kristen Freilich (Second City’s Jewsical!), Jeff Award nominee Angela Ingersoll (Chicago Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor), Jessica Kingsdale (Paramount’s Grease), Molly Kral (Paramount’s Cats), Jeff Award winner Elizabeth Lanza (Marriott’s South Pacific; Chicago Shakespeare’s Sunday in the Park with George), Samantha Pauly (Marriott’s Godspell), Lauren Paris (Piven’s Melancholy Play), Jeff Award nominee Laura Savage (Porchlight’s Pal Joey), and Wisconsin actress Amanda Petersen Fails, one of Christopher’s life-long best friends. More performers to be announced shortly! (Line-up subject to change.)

About Howard Brown Health Center
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) community and its allies. It is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves adults youth and children throughout the region. An innovative and patient-centered health home, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.

About the Hosts
Previous collaborations between Pazdernik and Benham include four hit cabaret revues at Davenport’s:  It’s an Art: the Songs of Stephen Schwartz; Nobody’s Side: Broadway’s Cult Classics (Vol. I)Un-Type Cast; and Carol and Patti: Together Again for the First Time. They also worked together on Anyone Can Whistle and City of Angels for Porchlight Revists—Porchlight Music Theater’s staged concert series of lost Broadway musicals.

Option Up: Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest performs one night only on Sunday, May 10, 7:30 PM, at Stage 773—The Cab, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.  Cover charge is $10. Cash bar is available one hour before and after the performance. Tickets are available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weeknight Premiere "In The Dust" Video On NOISEY Kicks Off Spring Tour April 24th 'In The Dust' Cassette Single Out April 21st On Dead Stare Records

Chi, IL Live Shows on Our Radar
INCOMING: Weeknight 4/29 at 
The Owl in Chicago
Tour Dates Below

US Spring Tour
4/24 - Bennington, VT - Bennington College
4/25 - Burlington, VT - Fort Sheen
4/26 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz PDB
4/28 - Toronto, ON - Nocturne
4/29 - Chicago, IL - The Owl
4/30 - Columbus, OH - Double Happiness
5/01 - Cleveland, OH - Now That's Class
5/02 - Wilkes-Bare, PA - The Other Side
5/05 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool

Photo by William Nixon


Weeknight is releasing a brutally haunting new music video for the track "In The Dust". NOISEY describes, "The duo manages to extract the elements of 80s goth and new-wave, and re-appropriate them in a context that isn't reliant on nostalgia." The song is the title-track off their upcoming cassette single due out April 21st on Dead Stare Records. Be sure to catch the synth-goth duo when they hit the road for their spring tour on 4/24 starting in Bennington, VT.

Following the success of last year's debut LP Post-Everything, the New York duo, consisting of Andy Simmons and Holly MacGibbon, took a break to create two hauntingly beautiful tracks. Both tracks showcase the duo's ability to emulate their dark-synth influences while creating tracks with their signature contrastingly melodic vocals woven thoughout hard beats and dreamscape guitar work.
Weeknight hops between genres effortlessly, creating an evocative mystique with lingering vocals and plucked solos. Truly mastering the ability to mix, Weeknight delivers a glorious phantasm to lose yourself in. Static synth lines bubble between the knocking beat of the drum, nudging you into an ephemeral trance. With each effort, Weeknight truly push the envelope, bringing audiences a dreamlike atmosphere.

Weeknight's In The Dust cassette single is out April 21st on Dead Stare Records. Spring tour kicks off 4/24 in Bennington, VT.

Press Quotes
The duo boss that same male-female vocal chemistry that saw Mosshart and Hince rise to prominence with The Kills, they boast a lyrical glumness that could rival the likes of Matt Berninger and Paul Banks, and in turns they are as melodiously miserable as The National and as sublimely macabre as Interpol.” - The Line of Best Fit

“The duo Weeknight make elegant synth pop that doesn’t let any of their darkness get in the way of beautifully orchestrated melodies.  - Stereogum

"The music on this debut disc falls into a category of its own (or deftly meshes a bunch of au courant ones), infusing dark-pop and shoegaze elements with pulsating synth beats and the blend of Holly and Andy’s disparate vocals." - CMJ

Saturday, April 18, 2015


APRIL 24 - JUNE 7, 2015

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're looking forward to Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews, a smart, savage comedy about the holy and holier-than-thou, which closes Wit's 2014-15 season April 24-June 7, 2015. 

Hailed by Charles Isherwood of The New York Times in 2013 as "the best comedy of the season," Harmon's critically acclaimed play asks questions about what you choose to believe, when you're chosen.

Bad Jews tells the story of Daphna Feygenbaum, a "Real Jew" with an Israeli boyfriend. When Daphna's cousin Liam brings home his shiksa girlfriend Melody and declares ownership of their grandfather's Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. Stir in the identity curation of the Facebook generation and Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Bad Jews, directed by artistic director Jeremy Wechsler, promises to be one of the funniest, wisest, most excruciating comedies on a Chicago stage this year.

Wechsler's cast for Bad Jews features Erica Bittner as Melody (credits include The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe for First Folio, Peer Gynt at DCA Storefront Theatre, and seven productions for Redmoon), Ian Paul Custer as Liam (national tour of Peter Pan; Annie Bosch is Missing at Steppenwolf; High Holidays at the Goodman; To Master the Art and 33 Variations for TimeLine; Fiddler on the Roof at Paramount), Cory Kahane as Josh (The Romans: Episode Quartus for Lincoln Square Theatre; A Midsummer Night's Dream at The James Dowling Theatre) and Laura Lapidus as Daphna (Women Beware Women for Two Pence Theatre at The Den Theatre; Griffin Theatre's Golden Boy and Balm in Gilead; Pavement Group's breaks & bikes; Pains of Youth for Odradeck Theater w/Oracle Theatre).

The Bad Jews design team includes Adam Veness (set), Kristof Janezic (lights), Janice Pytel (costumes), Cassy Schillo (props) and Michael Stanfill (lighting). Sarah Luse is stage manager.

Bad Jews:  Dates, Times and Ticket Prices
Tickets to Bad Jews are on sale now. Previews are April 24-May 3: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Previews are $12-$18. Press opening is Monday, May 4 at 7 p.m. Regular performances run through June 7: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. No shows Thursday, May 7 or 14. Regular run tickets are $20-$36. 

Theater Wit is located at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District. For tickets and information, visit or call 773.975.8150.
Bad Jews:  Behind the scenes
Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews received its world premiere at Roundabout Underground and was the first production there to transfer to the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, Best Play). Bad Jews opened in London at the St. James Theatre in January 2015 following an acclaimed run at Theatre Royal Bath. Harmon wrote the book for Radio City Music Hall's upcoming original show, the "New York Spring Spectacular." His work has been produced and developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, Ars Nova, and Actor's Express, where he was the 2010-2011 National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Atlantic Center for the Arts, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and the Eudora Welty Foundation.  Harmon is currently in the Playwrights Program at Juilliard and is under commission from Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater.

Jeremy Wechsler, artistic director of Theater Wit, most recently staged Theater Wit's current smash hit, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, the hit Midwest premiere of Madeline George's Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show's subsequent summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit's acclaimed productions of Completeness and The Four of Us (Itamar Moses), Tigers Be Still (Kim Rosenstock), This (Melissa James Gibson), Spin (Penny Penniston), Feydeau-Si-Deau (Georges Feydeau), Men of Steel (Qui Nguyen), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Will Eno), Two for the Show (James Fitzpatrick and Will Clinger) and The Santaland Diaries. Wechsler's productions have been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new work. He has taught at several universities, is an artistic associate at Collaboraction and currently serves on the board of the League of Chicago Theatres.

About Theater Wit
"A thrilling addition to Chicago's roster of theaters" (Chicago Tribune) and "a terrific place to see a show" (New City), Theater Wit is in its fourth season in its home at 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

Gone But Not Forgotten:

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we adored Theater Wit's smash hit, Chicago debut of Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. We're already chomping at the bit for a remount! It was one of our favorites of the season for sure! The Simpsons is already such a fabulous amalgam of pop culture references, psychology, and the best and worst of humanity, encased in the hilarious that we can't think of a better mythology for a post plague and nuclear meltdown society to follow. Mr. Burnsa post-electric play is wickedly witty and scary insightful. And Theater Wit's casting was stellar! 

Anne Washburn's meta-apocalyptic comedy/drama/musical about America rebuilding itself from the ashes of an apocalypse, and the enduring power of Bart Simpson, was rewarded a 3.5 star review from the Chicago Tribune, which called it "an intellectual rush" and "very funny." Time Out Chicago agreed Mr. Burns is "wonderfully weird... brilliant...trippy...4 out of 5 stars." 

Founded in 2004, Theater Wit's mission is to explore contemporary issues with wit and wisdom through new works and Chicago premieres. As a production company, Theater Wit is Chicago's premier smart art theater, producing humorous, challenging and intelligent plays that speak with a vibrant and contemporary theatrical voice.  As an institution, Wit seeks to be the hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene. 

In its three spaces, Theater Wit brings together Chicago's best storefront companies. Here audiences find a smorgasbord of excellent productions, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago. 

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 offers a Flex Pass: 10 admissions for $215 to literally anything presented in the building, a savings of up to 40%. 

To purchase tickets to Bad Jews, Mr. Burns, any resident production, a Membership Program, Flex Pass, single tickets or for information about any production at Theater Wit, call 773.975.8150 or visit

SAVE THE DATES: Pride Films and Plays' THE BOY FROM OZ will Sizzle at Stage 773 in August

Pride Films and Plays will conclude its remarkable Summer Season with The Boy From Oz, the Broadway musical which tells the amazing life story of celebrated songwriter and performer Peter Allen. Featuring songs by Peter Allen, book by Martin Sherman and Nick Enright, Direction by David Zak, and Musical Direction by Robert Ollis, The Boy From Oz tells the exuberant yet heart-warming true story of a young Australian boy who loved to perform and ended up in the glamorous orbit of Judy Garland and her soon-to-be famous daughter Liza.

The Boy From Oz previews Wednesday, August 5 and Thursday, August 6. Press opening is Friday, August 7 at 7:30. Press tickets are also available for Saturday, August 8 at 7:30. Regular performances are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 5 through August 30 only. Tickets are $25 Wednesday, $30 Thursdays and $40 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Seniors can save $5 per ticket. For tickets call Stage 773 (773-327-5252) or order online at

The other main attraction during PFP's Summer Season is a 20th Anniversary Production of Guillermo Reyes' comic one-man show Men On The Verge Of A His-Panic Breakdown. This hilarious collection of monologues features PFP Artistic Associate Nelson Rodriguez directed by Sandra Marquez. Performances are at the Apollo Studio Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln from June 23 to July 26. Tickets will be on sale starting April 15 at 773-935-6100 or Find complete details at

Other events in PFP's Summer Season include:

May 19 -Nominee Night,a celebration of the city's musical theater talent, at Sidetrack. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or

June 1: Queer Bits Film Fest, featuring the Chicago debut of short LGBT films from around the globe. The fest is at The Public House Theater of Chicago, 3914 N Clark. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or

June 22 - Gay Today - A Pride Cabaret, created by PFP Artistic Ensemble Member Robert Ollis and featuring performances by Artistic Ensemble Members of Pride Films and Plays at Mary's Attic, 5400 N Clark. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or .

July 27 - LezFest, the kick off event for PFP's season long LezPlay celebration of plays and performances, screenplays and films written by women with lesbian characters and themes. LezFest features music, drama, comedy, spoken word, and performance art with a multi-generational cast at Mary's Attic, 5400 N Clark. Tickets can be purchased for this event starting June 1. 

About Pride Films and Plays
Founded in 2010, Pride Films and Plays has received 10 Jeff Nominations, and 3 Jeff Awards for productions in our first two Jeff eligible seasons. All of the performances in our 2014-15 seasons were Jeff Recommended, including the Chicago premiers of Terrence McNally's Some Men, Jeff Talbott's The Submission, Topher Payne's Angry Fags, and the world premiere of Leo Schwartz's musical The Book of Merman. Angry Fags is running in the Steppenwolf Garage Rep through April 26 (312-335-1650); The Book of Merman has been extended through May 17 at Apollo Studio Theater (773-935-6100).  

In addition, our script and screenplay development programs continue throughout the year at Center on Halsted, including Gay Play Weekend (May 15 to 17), LezPlay (September 11 to 13) featuring plays and screenplays written by women with lesbian characters or themes, and Gay Film Weekend (November 13 to 15) featuring LGBT screenplays and screenings.
For more information on contests or productions at

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