Tuesday, December 6, 2016

PHOTO RECAP: CLUTCH at House of Blues Chicago 10/25/2016

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

It was our great pleasure to catch an epic CLUTCH concert during their 2016 fall tour, on their annual Chicago stop. We got to celebrate a dual birthday night, with lead singer, Neil Fallon, and tour manager, Oscar, both born on October 25th! Direct support on this tour was Zakk Sabbath and Kyng. 

Some of the crowd in the know broke into a spontaneous rendition of "happy birthday" as the band returned from set break, and the enthusiasm was contagious. We were all treated to a high energy set with plenty of old CLUTCH classics and quite a few songs in rare rotation, along with requisite favorites from their latest release. 

HOB Chicago 10/25/16 set list (This is the only photo here that's not mine. It was publicly posted by Tim Sult, guitarist for CLUTCH, who makes a point of sharing most, if not all, set lists on his Facebook page, as the band tours.)

We love that the band members trade off writing the set list for the night, so this show left me wondering if we were along for a ride through Neil Fallon's favorites for his birthday. 

Check out our full set of CLUTCH shots in the slideshow here:
More favorites are embedded below.

This meteoric metal band keeps getting better with age, and their last 2 albums were the most commercially successful, yet they're no sell outs. CLUTCH, often called stoner metal, defies easy categorization, with intelligent, intelligible lyrics of mythic proportion and riffs that cross metal, rock, funk, blues, folk and then some. Unlike many bands who have been touring together 25 years, CLUTCH is no washed up nostalgia act. We've been enjoying their quirky brand of genius since the early 90's an have even road tripped to 3 neighboring states to see them, in addition to catching every Chicago regional show we could. Check out these Maryland badasses. CLUTCH is the real deal and always a good time live.

A bit of CUBS luck must have rubbed off on this long time Clutch fan who caught not only a guitar pick, but a drumstick too! 

Clutch fans are the best! Unlike most metal bands, Clutch manages to cross gender, age, race and socioeconomic factors to reach a unique and varied fan base of loyal rockers.  We've even met 2 and sometimes 3 generations of families at shows together!

Neil has the steely eyed stare of an old time preacher on the tent revival circuit. 

With Tim Sult laying down tight and tasty lead guitar riffs, Neil's hands are free for intense gestures of conviction, and he can focus all his energy on his distinct, growling vocals so many fans have come to love, with an occasional foray into cow bell or guitar.

With JP (Jean-Paul Gaster) and Dan Maines on drums and bass respectively, this band is a force to reckon with. These 4 have a long history and chemistry that can not be denied.

More Favorite CLUTCH Show Shots 10/25/16:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

OPENING: King Charles III at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Through January 15th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Mike Bartlett's West End and Broadway sensation
Winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Play
Featuring Downton Abbey's Robert Bathurst in the title role

Tonight we'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's renowned Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier for opening night of King Charles III. Robert Bathurst, Downton Abbey's Sir Anthony Strallan is cast in the lead. We can't wait to check it out! 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces the cast and creative team for the Chicago premiere of Mike Bartlett’s new West End and Broadway sensation King Charles III, directed by Gary Griffin as part of the Theater’s 30th Anniversary Season. 

Queen Elizabeth II is dead. Long live the King—that is King Charles III. With Camilla at his side—and William, Kate and Harry anxiously looking on—Charles tries to take his rightful place in a long line of British monarchs. Appearing in the title role is Robert Bathurst, best known by American audiences for playing Sir Anthony Strallan on the hit series Downton Abbey. Winner of London’s Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2015 and nominated for five Tony Awards in 2016, King Charles III is performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, November 5, 2016–January 15, 2017.

Called “the most insightful and engrossing new history play in decades” by The New York Times and “bracingly provocative and outrageously entertaining” by The Independent, Bartett’s compelling new comedy–drama blurs the line between truth and tragedy. In the aftermath of the death of England’s present-day monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles ascends to the throne. His first official act is to rubberstamp Parliament’s bill restricting freedom of the press, but Charles refuses in a provocative act of conscience. England is thrown into crisis, absurdly escalating with tanks guarding the palace gates. In the midst of plays for power, how will Charles rule over his once-united kingdom? Written in blank verse and sprinkled with rousing soliloquies and rhyming couplets, King Charles IIIinvokes the heightened stakes of Shakespeare’s greatest works in an inventive present-day setting.

Stage and screen actor Robert Bathurst makes his Chicago Shakespeare debut in the title role as the beleaguered monarch-to-be. He is best known to US audiences as Sir Anthony Strallan on the hit PBS series Downton Abbey, in which he appeared regularly throughout the first and third seasons. Throughout his distinguished 30+ year career, he has performed extensively at the National Theatre, on the West End and on tour, as well as at the Lyric Hammersmith, London Playhouse and Bath Theatre Royal. Among his many popular television and film roles, Bathurst has had leading roles in My Dad's the Prime Minister, Coup!, The Stepfather, The Pillars of the Earth mini-series and the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. He stars in the cult classic series Cold Feet, which ran for five seasons 1997–2003—and reprises his role alongside the original cast in a sixth season this year.

Leading director of Broadway and Chicago stages, Gary Griffin returns to Chicago Shakespeare where, as Associate Artistic Director, he stages his twenty-third production. The ten-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner’s CST directing credits feature a diverse body of work spanning musicals (Gypsy, Road Show, Follies); Shakespeare plays (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It); and modern classics (Private Lives, Amadeus). His landmark production of Pacific Overtures went on to the Donmar Warehouse in London, where it garnered the Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production and a nomination for Best Director. Griffin’s work has also been seen on Broadway in Honeymoon in Vegas, The Color Purple and The Apple Tree, as well as at Canada’s Stratford Festival and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Portraying members of the Royal Family, Jordan Dean and Amanda Drinkall make their Chicago Shakespeare debuts as Charles’s eldest son Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, both set on carrying forward tradition. Dean has been seen on Broadway in American Psycho, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Mamma Mia!, and in Lincoln Center Theater’s Cymbeline. Drinkall has appeared on Chicago stages at Steppenwolf Theatre, the Goodman Theatre and Victory Gardens. Alec Manley Wilson portrays a conflicted Prince Harry who must find his role in the new family dynamics; he has previously appeared at American Repertory Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club. Rae Gray—with credits at Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre and on Showtime’s Shameless and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire—plays Jess, Harry’s working-class love interest who is met with disapproval from the Royal Family. Kate Skinner performs the role of Camilla; Skinner is a regular at Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC and has appeared on Broadway in The Graduate and Uncle Vanya. Sarah Chalcroft, recent London transplant to Chicago, makes an appearance as Princess Diana.
In his 23rd Chicago Shakespeare production, Sean Fortunato appears as England’s Prime Minister, Mr. Evans. David Lively portrays Mr. Stevens, the head of the opposition party, in his 22nd CST performance. Jonathan Weir(James Reiss), Lawrence Grimm (Clive/Sir Gordon/Speaker of the House) and Demetrios Troy (Spencer/Paul) all return to Chicago Shakespeare. Jen Johansen (Sarah/TV Producer) and Sam Pearson (Couttsey/Sir Michael) make their CST debuts. Grant Niezgodski, Jeff Parker, Tyrone Phillips and Megan Storti make up the ensemble.

Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld channels the real-life fashions of the British Royal Family, from highly ornamental state uniforms to the daily wear of Kate, Harry and William. Blumenfeld is a frequent collaborator with Griffin, having previously designed Road Show, Sunday in the Park with George and A Midsummer Night’s Dreamat CST. Scenic Designer Scott Davis, along with Associate Scene Designer Alan Schwanke, creates a world that evokes the distinctive settings of the play—including Buckingham Palace, the British Parliament, and 10 Downing Street. King Charles III is Davis’ twenty-fifth production at Chicago Shakespeare, an extensive history that includes Tug of War: Foreign Fire and Civil Strife, Ride the Cyclone, Pericles and Road Show. Also on the award-winning design team are Lighting Designers Philip Rosenberg and Joel Shier and Sound Designers Rob Milburn and Michael BodeenKing Charles III is Rosenberg’s 15th production, including recent designs for Othello, Henry Vand Gypsy. Milburn and Bodeen have been collaborators for over thirty years, with joint credits on and off Broadway. The duo was recently awarded New York’s Lucille Lortel for Outstanding Sound Design in 2016. King Charles III marks the return of Wig and Make-Up Designer Richard Jarvie, who with this production takes over as Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Wig Master. Jarvie designed 28 productions in CST’s early history, most recently The Tempest in 2002. Jarvie has also worked extensively with Canada’s Stratford Festival, the Guthrie Theater and was with the Lyric Opera of Chicago for 28 years—11 of them as Wig Master and Make-up Designer. Rounding out the creative team is Assistant Director Lavina Jadhwani and Dialect Coach Eva Breneman.

For more information about the production, visit

King Charles III will be performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theater November 5, 2016 – January 15, 2017. Tickets are on sale now for $48–$88 (subject to change). Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35.For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. King Charles III will have an Audio-described performance on December 4, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. (with Touch Tour at 12:00 p.m.), Open-captioned performances on December 29, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. and December 30, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. and an ASL Duo-interpreted performance on Friday, January 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and a recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. During 2016, CST has spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. 

Major Knee Surgery Imminent 11/17

ChiIL Live Shows On Hiatus:

I'll be taking a bit of a medical related break from reviewing and shooting events, blogging and social media. I'm going in tomorrow for major left knee surgery. I hope to be back to promoting events from home within a week and out and about in a month or so, but that may be optimistic. We'll have to see how the healing's going. I am still running quite a few giveaways so enter early and often and we'll pick most of the winners in a couple weeks. 

Today I'll be catching up on as much as humanly possible before surgery. Apologies if my 3" thick pile of to do lists doesn't get completely done. It's a fine juggling act between parenting, paid work, and passions like theatre and live music! See ya on the flip side.

Monday, November 7, 2016

OPENING: Sophocles' Electra Dramatic Conclusion of Court’s groundbreaking Greek Cycle

Court Theatre continues its 62nd Season with
By Sophocles
Translated by Nicholas Rudall
Directed by Seret Scott

November 10 – December 11, 2016

Ever since I was in Aristophanes' Ladies' Day way back in high school, I've had an affinity for Greek plays. They're still fairly rarely performed and we're elated to see the inimitable Court Theatre is taking on Sophocles' Electra! Don't miss this.

Court Theatre, under the leadership of Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Stephen J. Albert, presents Electra by Sophocles, translated by Nicholas Rudall and directed by Seret Scott. Electra runs November 10 - December 11, 2016 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue in Chicago. 

Previews: November 10 – 18, 2016
Regular Run: November 20 – December 11, 2016
Schedule:     Wed & Thurs7:30 p.m. (except November 24)
Fridays: 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sundays2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Location: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.
Tickets: $38-$48 previews
     $48-$68 regular run

Box Office: Located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago; (773) 753-4472 or

"More than three years ago, we began planning for our 60th Anniversary Season. We dreamed big, imagining a three-year cycle of plays that would tell a single narrative of the fall of the House of Atreus. After successful productions of Iphigenia in Aulis and Nick’s world premiere translation of Agamemnon, we now complete the cycle with Sophocles’ Electra. This massive undertaking is emblematic of Court Theatre’s mission, ambition, and opportunity as the professional theatre of the University of Chicago," comments Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell

The cast of Electra includes Caren Blackmore, Thomas J. Cox, Kate Fry, Emjoy Gavino, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Rashaad Hall, Sandra Marquez, Michael Pogue, Tracy Walsh and Dexter Zollicoffer

The creative team for Electra includes Scott Davis (scenic design), Jacqueline Firkins (costume design), Paul Toben (lighting design), Andre Pluess (sound design) and Tracy Walsh (choreography). Amanda Weener-Frederick is the Production Stage Manager. 

Proclaiming justice, Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus murdered her husband, Agamemnon, after his triumphant return from the Trojan War. Now, many long, quiet years have passed and she cannot anticipate the judgments that will soon arrive in Argos. Her vengeful daughter Electra and son Orestes reunite and scheme to confront their mother—upholding the House of Atreus’ eternal mission to balance the scales, they seek to reclaim their father’s throne. 

Translated by renowned scholar and Founding Artistic Director Nicholas Rudall, Electra presents the third and final tragic chapter of Court’s groundbreaking Greek Cycle.  Electra is directed by Seret Scott, who is welcomed back to Court following her incredibly successful direction of Native Son in 2014. 

About the Artists
NICHOLAS RUDALL (Translator) is the Founding Artistic Director of Court Theatre, having led the theatre from 1971 to 1994. He led the growth of Court from a community theatre to a leading professional Equity theatre. In addition to his achievements as an actor and director, Rudall is a Professor Emeritus in Classics at the University of Chicago, where he taught for over forty years. His translations for the theatre—known for their stage-friendly language and “playability”—are myriad and span many languages, but he is best known for his translations of ancient Greek tragedy. Court is producing three translations by Rudall over three years. Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides began the series two years ago, and last year featured the world premiere of his Agamemnon by Aeschylus. We now conclude with Sophocles' Electra.

SERET SCOTT (Director) is directing her third show at Court Theatre, having previously directed Spunk and Native Son. Directing credits: Old Globe Theatre (San Diego–Associate Artist), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, New Victory Theatre and Second Stage Theatre (Off-Broadway), Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Studio Theatre (DC), American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco), South Coast Repertory and L.A. Theatreworks (CA), Long Wharf Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre (New Haven), Two River Theatre Company (NJ), Hartford Stage (CT), Indiana Repertory Theatre, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and National Black Theatre (NYC), Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Alley Theatre (Houston), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Virginia Stage Company, New Mexico Repertory, and Playmakers Repertory Company (NC). She is a member of the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographer’s Society and a recipient of a TCG/PEW Residency Grant (Long Wharf Theatre) and Drama Desk Award in acting (My Sister, My Sister). Ms. Scott’s play Second Line was produced by Passage Theatre (NJ) and Tribute Productions (DC).

CAREN BLACKMORE (Chorus) returns to Court Theatre, where she was last seen in Jitney. Some of her Chicago Theatre credits include: Spill(Timeline Theatre), The MLK Project:The Fight For Civil Rights (Writers Theatre),Bulrusher (Congo Square), Bodies and MiLK (MPAACT), I Gotcha!:The Story of Joe Tex and The Soul Clan (Black Ensemble Theater), and Checkmates (eta). Caren is a proud graduate of Oberlin College and has attended The National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and Freedom Theatre.

THOMAS J. COX (Orestes) returns to Court Theatre, where he has previously appeared in Fräulein ElseRaisinMa Rainey's Black Bottom,Orlando,Agamemnon, and Man in the Ring. He is an ensemble member with Lookingglass Theatre, where he has worked on more than forty productions since 1988. Regionally, he has performed in End of the Rainbow (Milwaukee Rep); Elephant Man(Steppenwolf Young Audiences); Rock n Roll (Goodman); Season on the Line(House); Pride and PrejudiceJekyll and Hyde, and Outgoing Tide (Northlight); andRichard III (Gift); as well as seven seasons at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont. He serves as Master Teacher for Lookingglass, and teaches theatre around the Chicago area. Film/TV:Since You've Been Gone (Miramax); Brotherhood(Showtime); Chicago Fire (NBC).

KATE FRY (Electra) returns to Court Theatre, where she has performed in over a dozen productions, including The Romance Cycle, Twelfth Night, The Cherry OrchardMy Fair Lady, and Caroline, or Change. Other Chicago area credits include work with Writers’ Theatre (ArcadiaMarjorie PrimeHedda GablerThe LettersOh, Coward!A Minister’s Wife); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (several productions, including As You Like ItHenry IV Part One and TwoThe Merchant of Venice, The Moliere Comedies); Northlight Theater (Outside MullingarThe Miser); Victory Gardens (In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play); as well as work with Theater at the Center, Marriott Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, and Candlelight Playhouse. Elsewhere, she has worked at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, Center Theatre Group in L.A., Repertory Theatre of St Louis, and Lincoln Center. She is the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson awards, an After Dark award, Chicago Magazine’s actress of the year, and the Sarah Siddons award for Chicago’s leading lady. Fry is married to actor/teacher Timothy Edward Kane. They have two sons.

EMJOY GAVINO (Chrysothemis) returns to complete Court Theatre's Greek Cycle, having been in its first chapter, Iphigenia in Aulis. She was last seen at Court as Bethany in The Good Book and looks forward to the upcoming production of A Hard Problem as Bo.  Representative Chicago credits include The Hypocrites, Second City (national tour), Northlight, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Remy Bumppo, Paramount, Broadway Playhouse, Lookingglass, The Neo-Futurists and The Goodman. Regional credits include Repertory Actors Theatre, Book-It Repertory, ACT and Village Theatre.  Film/TV: The ExorcistMob Doctor, Chicago Fire, Empire and Chicago Med.  Emjoy is the casting director of Gift Theatre, a company member with Barrel of Monkeys and is the founder and producer of The Chicago Inclusion Project.

CRUZ GONZALEZ-CADEL (Chorus) makes her Court Theatre debut. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cruz received her degree in acting from the Universidad del Salvador. Chicago credits include: You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), The Compass (Steppenwolf Theatre), The Grown Up (Shattered Globe Theatre), The Life and Death of Madam Barker (Red Tape Theater), i put the fear of Mexico in ‘em (Teatro Vista), and Your Problem With Men (Teatro Luna). Film Credits include: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Cruz is an artistic associate at Teatro Vista and is represented by Stewart Talent. 

RASHAAD HALL (Pylades) is an actor, teaching artist, poet and visual and performance artist in Chicago. He has worked at  Goodman Theatre, Hypocrites Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens, Chicago Slam Works, and Black Ensemble Theatre among others since graduating from DePaul's BFA program in 2010. Recently, he was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award with the cast of The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neil. Film credits include his guest starring role on Brown Girls, a web series premiering in 2017. He is a company member of For Youth Inquiry, providing sexual health and wellness forum theatre to students across Chicago with Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health. He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. 

SANDRA MARQUEZ (Clytemnestra) returns to the Court Theater stage as Clytemnestra. She is an actor, director and educator, as well as a longtime ensemble member and former Associate Artistic Director (1998-2006) of Teatro Vista. Last spring she had the honor of joining the ensemble of Steppenwolf Theater where she most recently appeared in the world premiere of Mary Page Marlowe. As a director, Ms. Marquez’ credits include Teatro Vista’s production of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinnerand the critically acclaimed production of Our Lady of the Underpass, which went on to receive a Jeff nomination for best production. More recently she directed the very well received productions of My Mañana Comes (Chicago premiere, Teatro Vista), andMen on the Verge of Hispanic Breakdown (Pride Films and Plays). As an actor, Ms. Marquez has worked at respected venues in Chicago and beyond including The Goodman Theater; Steppenwolf Theater; Victory Gardens; the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Madison Repertory; and New York’s off-Broadway house, Second Stage Theater, Uptown. A proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, she has also worked in numerous industrial films and national commercials. Film and TV credits include: The Big Bang TheoryChicago CodeBossChicago Med and Timer. She has been a member of the theater faculty at Northwestern University since 1995.

MICHAEL POGUE (Aegisthus) returns to Court Theatre with Electra. He has appeared in their productions of AgamemnonTartuffeThe MisanthropeAngels in America, and Spunk. Other theater credits include: Dutchman (American Blues);  Carter's Wayand Venus (Steppenwolf); Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse); Night and Day (Remy Bumppo); Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista); The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Hamlet(Oak Park Festival); Ruined and Six Degrees of Separation (Eclipse);  Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Prologue); As You Like It and King Lear (Lakeside Shakespeare); Radio Golf (Raven); Lobby Hero (Redtwist); Panther Burn (MPAACT). Television credits include: Chicago Fire and Crisis (NBC).

TRACY WALSH (Choreographer/Chorus) returns to Court Theatre where she recently choreographed Agamemnon and choreographed and appeared inIphigenia in Aulis. She is an ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre Company where she has written, directed, acted in and choreographed shows over the years.  Tracy has also written and directed several shows for the Lookingglass Young Ensemble. She modified her most recent project with them, Handle With Care, into a two woman play which is now being performed at locations in the Chicago area. The play was commissioned by The Working Women's History Project and is about the importance of quality, affordable childcare. She and her husband own Lighthouse Yoga in Evanston.

DEXTER ZOLLICOFFER (Paedagogus) Other Court Theatre appearances include Water by the Spoonful and The Mystery Cycle: Creation and Passion. Most recently, Dexter appeared in Charm for Northlight Theatre in the Steppenwolf Garage (Jeff nominations for Best Actor, Best Ensemble, Best Production). Other theatre credits include: The Little FoxesDartmoor PrisonThe OdysseyBlues for an Alabama Sky, and A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre; To Kill a MockingbirdA Lesson Before Dying, and Pudd’nhead Wilson at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Relatively Close,Knock Me a Kiss and The Sutherland at Victory Gardens Theater; The Overwhelming at Next Theatre Company. Regionally, Mr. Zollicoffer appeared in Blues for an Alabama Sky at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Odyssey at McCarter Theatre Center and Seattle Repertory Theatre, Our Country’s Good at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Recruiting Officer and Our Country’s Good at Madison Repertory Theatre, Voice of Good Hope at BoarsHead Theater, and Permanent Collection at Indiana University Northwest. On television, Mr. Zollicoffer has been seen on Chicago Fire, Detroit 1-8-7,and the upcoming feature, Who Gets the Dog. He is an administrator at The Theatre School at DePaul University where he received best director, best ensemble, and Special Jury Prize nominations for his original work, Ma Fille, Ma Naturelle at the 6th annual International Theatre Festival of University Theatre in Tangier, Morocco. He is a 2011-2012 recipient of the Spirit of DePaul award given by DePaul’s Office of Mission and Values.

Now in its 62nd season, Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.

Court Theatre's 2016/17 Season is sponsored by Barbara and Richard Franke. Electra is sponsored by The Karla Scherer Foundation.

OPENING: World Premiere Roz and Ray at Victory Gardens Theater

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Victory Gardens Theater announces casting for 
The World Premiere of 
Roz and Ray
By Karen Hartman
Directed by Artistic Director Chay Yew

November 11-December 11, 2016

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 42st season with the world premiere of Roz and Ray, written by Karen Hartman and directed by Artistic Director Chay Yew. Roz and Ray features Mary Beth Fisher (Roz) and James Vincent Meredith (Ray). This World Premiere runs November 11 - December 11, 2016, with the press performance on Friday, November 18, 2016, at 7:30 pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

"Karen Hartman’s searing Roz and Ray is an intimate and epic play about an ambitious doctor and a father who fight for the lives of his hemophiliac boys against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and pharmaceutical malpractice," states Artistic Director Chay Yew. "Karen is one of American Theatre's foremost political playwrights and I'm proud to give a home to this relevant and moving new play at Victory Gardens."

In 1976, Ray, a newly single parent of twin hemophiliac boys, has only one goal: keep his sons alive. His days are filled with endless trips to the hospital, rigorous testing, and frequent blood transfusions. This all changes when Ray meets Roz, an optimistic and caring doctor with a miracle drug. Roz appears to be Ray’s savior until the miracle turns into a nightmare. Roz and Ray tells the profound story of love, trust, sacrifice, and forgiveness between two friends. Victory Gardens Theater’s Artistic Director Chay Yew (The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Death and the Maiden) pairs with playwright Karen Hartman to unearth a tragic and little-known event in medical history.

Full Performance Schedule
Previews for Roz and Ray are November 11 - 17, 2016. Previews are $15-$40. The Press opening is Friday, November 18 at 7:30pm. Regular performances run November 19 – December 11, 2016: Tuesday — Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3:00pm.  Regular performances are $15-$60. Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.
Victory Gardens has partnered with mobile theater ticketing app TodayTix to offer free tickets for the first preview of Roz and Ray. Free Tickets will be available via TodayTix mobile lottery, launching one week before the first preview. Winners will be notified by email and push notification between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the day of the first preview.

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000, email, or visit Ask the Box Office about student tickets ($15), senior, and Access. For group discounts, call 872.817.9087.

The creative team includes Timothy Mackabee (Scenic Design), Christine Pascual (Costume Design), Diane Fairchild (Lighting Design), Chris Kriz (Sound Design), Alec Long (Properties Design), Arianna Soloway (Assistant Director),  and Isaac Gomez (Dramaturgy). The Production Stage Manager is Amanda Davis. 

About the Artists
Karen Hartman (Playwright) 
Karen Hartman has four productions of three world premieres next season: Roz and Ray at Seattle Rep and Victory Gardens, The Book of Joseph at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Project Dawn at People’s Light. In 2014-15 she held the Playwright Center’s McKnight Residency and Commission. Some other works: Goldie, Max, and Milk (Steinberg and Carbonell nominations), Goliath (Dorothy Silver New Play Prize), Gum, Leah’s Train, Going Gone (N.E.A. New Play Grant); Girl Under Grain (Best Drama in NY Fringe); Wild Kate, ALICE: Tales of a Curious Girl (Music by Gina Leishman, AT&T Onstage Award); Troy Women; and MotherBone, score by Graham Reynolds (Frederick Loewe Award). Publications: Theater Communications Group, Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Backstage Books, and NoPassport Press. Awards: Hedgebrook, Sustainable Arts, Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, the N.E.A., Helen Merrill Foundation, Daryl Roth "Creative Spirit" Award, Hodder Fellowship, Jerome Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship. Her prose has been published in the New York Times and The Washington Post. Alumna of New Dramatists and longtime Brooklynite, now Senior Artist in Residence at the UW School of Drama.

Chay Yew (Director/Artistic Director) Chay joined Victory Gardens as Artistic Director in July 2011. Victory Gardens Theater: The House That Will Not Stand, Hillary and Clinton, Death and the Maiden, An Issue of Blood, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Mojada, Oedipus el Rey, Universes’ Ameriville. Chicago: Dartmoor Prison, Black N Blue Boys/Broken Men (Goodman Theatre); Po Boy Tango (Northlight Theatre); work at The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, The Playwrights Realm, New York Theatre Workshop, National Asian American Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Regional: Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center; Mark Taper Forum, American Conservatory Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Empty Space Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Boston Court, East West Players amongst others. His opera credits include world premieres of Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang’s Ainadamar (co-production with the Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic); and Rob Zuidam’s Rage of d’Amours (Tanglewood Music Center). Chay is a recipient of the Obie Award and DramaLogue Award for Direction. As a playwright, his plays include Porcelain, A Language of Their Own, Red, A Beautiful Country, Wonderland, Question 27 Question 28, A Distant Shore, 17, and Visible Cities. His other work includes adaptions of A Winter People (based on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard) and Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, and a musical Long Season. His performance works include Viven and Her Shadows and Home: Places between Asia and America. His plays have been produced at The Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Portland Center Stage, amongst many others. Overseas, his plays have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre (London), Fattore K and Napoli Teatro Festival (Naples, Italy), La Mama (Melbourne, Australia), Four Arts (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Singapore Repertory Theatre, Toy Factory, Checkpoint Theatre, and Theatre-Works (Singapore). He is also the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/AFTRA Diversity Honor, and Robert Chesley Award. His plays Porcelain, A Language of Their Own, and The Hyphenated American Plays are published by Grove Press. He recently edited Version 3.0: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Plays for TCG Publications. He was the founding director of the Taper’s Asian Theatre Workshop and producer of Taper, Too. Chay is also an alumnus of New Dramatists and serves on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ Cultural Advisory Council.

Mary Beth Fisher (Roz) Chicago: Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Angels in America, Three Tall Women, The Year of Magical Thinking (Jeff Award), The Wild Duck, What the Butler Saw, Arcadia, Travesties, The Importance of Being Earnest (Court Theatre); Domesticated (Jeff Nomination), Dead Man’s Cell Phone, The Dresser and The Memory of Water (Steppenwolf); Marvin’s Room, The Night of the Iguana, Light up the Sky, Design for Living, Spinning Into Butter, Boy Gets Girl, The Guys, The Rose Tattoo, Heartbreak House, Dinner with Friends, The Clean House, Frank’s Home, Rock ‘n’ Roll, The Seagull, God of Carnage, Luna Gale, The Little Foxes, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Goodman Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Laramie Project, The Little Dog Laughed, Theatre District (About Face Theatre); The Marriage of Figaro (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company); My Own Stranger (Writers Theatre); White Guy on the Bus, Away (Northlight Theatre). TV/Film: Sense8, Chicago Justice, Chicago Fire, Chicago Code, State of Romance, Without a Trace, Numb3rs, Prison Break, NYPD Blue, Profiler, Early Edition, Formosa Betrayed, Dragonfly, Trauma.

James Vincent Meredith (Ray) Broadway: Superior Donuts (Music Box). Off-Broadway, The Bluest Eye (Duke). National Tour: 3 years as Mafala Hatimbi in Book of Mormon. Chicago: Between Riverside and Crazy, The Crucible, Clybourne Park, Hot L Baltimore, Tempest, The Pain and the Itch (Steppenwolf, ensemble member); Othello, Julius Caesar, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Othello, The Duchess of Malfi (Writers Theatre). TV: Betrayal, Chicago Code, Law and Order SVU, BOSS.

Accessible Performances
Word for Word (open caption) performances Friday, November 25 at 7:30pm, Saturday, November 26 at 3:00pm, and Wednesday, November 30 at 2:00pm
Audio Description performances Friday, November 25 at 7:30pm (Touch tour at 6:00pm), Sunday, December 4 at 3:00pm (Touch tour at 1:30pm)
ASL Interpreted and Word for Word (open caption) performance Friday, November 25 at 7:30pm. 

Public Programs
A full and updated schedule of special events, post-show discussions and presentations centered on performances of Roz and Ray is available at . All events are free unless otherwise noted. For more information, call 773.871.3000 or visit the Victory Gardens website.

Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues in Victory Gardens’ plays. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions.

Season Sponsors: Allstate, Alphawood Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Exelon, Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Joyce Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Prince Charitable Trust, The REAM Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Wallace Foundation. Travel Sponsor: Southwest Airlines 

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.  

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis Alfaro, Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater. 

The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens, visit  Follow us on Facebook at, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram at

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from The Wallace Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Shubert Foundation, The REAM Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Exelon, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, LLP, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Saints, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Whole Foods Market, and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association.

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