Monday, March 28, 2016

REVIEW: The New Sincerity at Theater Wit Must Close April 17th

Last Call
Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 
The New Sincerity at Theater Wit

★★★ Genuinely funny! Feels authentically connected to Americans currently in their mid-20s, and it deals with a question I find to be exceptionally germane to the moment. A VERY SMART PIECE!
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Brutally honest and fiercely funny!

The cast is darn near close to perfect!
 Reserve your tickets for any performance 
with offer code "NSTREET" for $5 off EACH ticket!
(offer expires 4/5)

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we adore this production and highly recommend it. We had a number of friends involved in the Occupy Chicago movement and when I initially read the premise of this show I couldn't see how Theater Wit could convincingly pull this off on stage. I should never have doubted. They came through in spades!

Theater Wit's stage has been beautifully and convincingly transformed into a New York worthy live/work loft space, while the protests were effectively portrayed by screens streaming news from Occupy New York, and by a steady stream of fascinating characters entering and exiting from the Occupy "battlefields.

Yes, this show is laugh out loud funny, but it's also complex and multilayered enough to leave you thinking about snatches of dialogue days later. Rose (Maura Kidwell) is well cast as the naive geek girl, smart, driven and eager to prove herself. Sadly, in her inexperience, she confuses power in one crush and a zen like aimlessness with sexiness, instead of finding someone to truly treat her decently and appreciate her gifts. Natasha (Erin Long) is also brilliant as the eternal unpaid intern whom everyone writes off. She comes across as an almost ditzy and cliche millennial, but as the play unfolds, it's apparent that under her flakey persona, she's actually quite bright, insightful and more than competent.

Nobody is quite who they seem in this show. The wild eyed, perennially  unemployed Occupy idealist just may turn out to be a trust fund baby, taking a break from the Bentleys to play rebel with a cause in a tent city full of free love and fun times. Maybe some violent acts are deserved. Maybe some "activists" are not arrested for their heartfelt ideals, but for a byline and a power grab at fame. History is constantly rewritten, movements are coopted, and you can't always believe what you read or see, even if you were there. Whether the press is mainstream or under the radar, reporting is subjective and often filtered through dogma, opinions, and ulterior motives, consciously or subconsciously.

It's eerily appropriate that Benjamin (Drew Shirley) ends the show by donning a Guy Fawks mask for his black tie, big donor dinner for the Occupy movement. The iconic face has been appropriated by Anonymous, the on line hacktivist group, and pop culture in general. The mask has come to stand as an easily recognizable symbol for protest, yet the element of disguise, secrets, and lies is still present too. Don't miss this!


Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
Featuring Maura Kidwell, Erin Long, 
Drew Shirley and Alex Stein

Arguably the play of our current political moment, 
Wit's Midwest premiere of Alena Smith's new play about love, sex and protest is perhaps the first drama to deal with the idealism of the Occupy Movement, and explores the personal motivations for why people pursue dissent.

Erudites among us know "New Sincerity" is an actual term used in music, aesthetics, film criticism, poetry and philosophy, generally to describe art or concepts that run against prevailing modes of postmodernist irony or cynicism. 

Theater Wit is excited to introduce Chicago to one of the nation's top young women playwrights with The New Sinceritya comedy by rising dramatist Alena Smith (Tween Hobo, The Newsroom, The Affair) about love, sex and protest, and perhaps the first drama to deal with the idealism of the Occupy Movement.

Performances run through April 17. Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at  2 p.m. Tickets are $12-$36. Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont, in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.To purchase single tickets, a Theater Wit Membership or Flex Pass, visit or call 773.975.8150.

In The New Sincerity, Smith investigates the fine line between sincerity and self-promotion through the story of Rose, a young journalist who has to untangle a sticky quagmire of politics, ambition and love. The year is 2011, and an Occupy-style movement has sprung up near the offices of the literary journal where Rose works. She gets swept up in the movement, but can she behave honestly in a context that may only be an unending performance? Her attempt to navigate her personal life in the midst of political, social and romantic upheaval is a poignant and comic drama for a rising generation.

Wit's cast for The New Sincerity includes Maura Kidwell as Rose, Erin Long as Natasha, Drew Shirley as Benjamin and Alex Stein as Django. Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler directs. The production team includes Adam Veness (set), Izumi Inaba (costumes), Sarah Hughey (lights), Sarah Putts (sound), Vivian Knouse (props), Majel Cuza (production manager) and Katie Klemme (stage manager).
Alena Smith (playwright) is one of Variety's 10 TV Writers to Watch in 2014. She lives in Los Angeles, where she writes for Showtime's The Affair and previously wrote for HBO's The Newsroom.  She created the Twitter character Tween Hobo (featured in Paste, The Believer, A.V. Club and elsewhere), which begat the novel Tween Hobo: Off The Rails published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster. 

Her playThe New Sincerity premiered in 2015 at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York. The New York Times called it "a splendid new play...this is comedy with a poignant edge." Her plays have been produced internationally, including The Bad Guys, which was made into an independent film. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, and studied philosophy at Haverford College and Oxford. Her essays about writing for theater, TV, and the internet have been published in Grantland and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Jeremy Wechsler (director) most recently staged Theater Wit's The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Madeline George's Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, and that show's summer remount at Art Square Theatre in Las Vegas. Wechsler also staged Wit's acclaimed 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. His productions have been nominated for and won multiple awards for design, performance, adaptation and best new work. 

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

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. Recent critical and box office hits include Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses, and perennial holiday favorite The Santaland Diaries.

As an institution, Wit seeks to be the hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago. Theater Wit brings together Chicago's best storefront companies, including 2015-16 resident companies Stage Left, About Face, Shattered Globe and Kokandy Productions.

For more information, visit or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.

Smart and well acted. Captures the spirit of an age. RECOMMENDED!
— New City

★★★1/2 A beautifully written, terrifically staged play. “The New Sincerity” is the work of an important new voice in the American theater. A continual delight.

Recommended! A great cast with screwball sensibility throughout.

                  Don't miss this!

ChiIL Tips:

Green box street parking is fairly cheap and plentiful if you leave a bit of extra time. If you're running late, love convenience, dread parallel parking, or money's no option, there is a reasonably priced valet service right in front.

This is not your typical lackluster theatre bar with minimal choices or a chug in the lobby policy. Theater Wit has some seriously tasty local micro brews. I'm partial to IPAs and have tried a variety of great ones here. They also have a full cocktail and wine bar, and non alcoholic choices if you're not a fan of the hop heavy. They feature handmade chocolates and baked goods by local artisans (even a Theater Wit chocolate bar!) and a variety of top-shelf liquors. All drinks may be taken into the performance.

"Netflix" for Theatre (Just put some pants ON please!)
Here at ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows we think this is an awesome idea! Theatre has the reputation of being expensive and it's easy to stay home on the couch. We're here to tell you to GET UP AND OUT THE DOOR. It's so worth it, and with Wit's Netflix-like "all the theater you can eat" membership deal, it's waaaaay affordable. Members can "binge watch" as many plays at they want at any of Theater Wit's three, 99-seat spaces for one low monthly fee of $36/$22 for students, along with many exclusive member perks! 

The best way to secure seats at Theater Wit is by signing up for a Theater Wit Membership. Wit also offers a 10-play Flex Pass for $215 to anything presented in the building, a savings of up to 40%. Single tickets for Wit's 2015-16 productions start at $12, and will go on sale approximately two months before the first preview of each production. Do it. You know you want to!

I'm going to close with a recent e-mail from the production's director, Jeremy Wechsler, who is also Theater Wit's Artistic Director, and a frequent fixture at performances. This speaks to the invaluable talk backs and conversations that multilayered productions invoke and Theater Wit is happy to foster. It's one of my favorite elements of live theatre. There's something compelling in the dynamic nature of a show and the idea that audience energy and attitudes influence each show in the moment, and vice versa. Jeremy's letter moved me and I think he is on to something.

"It's been fascinating to hear the audience and critical response to The New Sincerity. In our history, this show has been unique in it's response. While the praise for the production, script and performances has been near unanimous, people's takeaway from the evening has been surprisingly varied. Is the play a call to action? Dismissive of the impact of protest? Full of caricature or completely honest characterization?

We've had some of our best post-show conversations ever. Sitting around drinks, our audience has argued with each other about these questions. I've rarely seen a play amplify individual perspectives this strongly. Nor have I had the pleasure of seeing so many people, cross-generational and politically divided, really reach out to each other for understanding and compassion. A lot of this has to do with the complexity of Alena Smith's writing. The work is no way polemic, choosing instead to treat the politics of the moment through very messy human lenses. 

I suspect that your Facebook feed is as awash in political posts as mine right now. In the midst of all the didactic absolutism that substitutes for public discourse in our presidential elections, The New Sincerity offers a refreshing space to embrace the complex, multi-faceted and harmoniously conflicted beauty of our individual desire for change and growth.

I want to invite you to catch Theater Wit's latest work before it closes on April 17th. We could all use its compassion and empathetic perspective in the eight months ahead."

Jeremy Wechsler,
Artistic Director
Theater Wit

OPENING: Silk Road Rising Presents Mosque Alert

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


Silk Road Rising and Executive Director Malik Gillani are proud to announce the World Premiere of Mosque Alert, a new play written by Jamil Khoury and directed by Edward Torres. Mosque Alert runs March 24 - May 1, 2016, in Pierce Hall at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St, Lower Level, in Chicago.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we're looking forward to catching this timely tale. We're living in surreal times, where the Republican presidential candidates' debates resemble day time talk show smackdowns, and open racist vitriol is becoming commonplace. We're huge advocates of the politics of theatre, as a thought provoking tool to spark real discussions and empathy. True change can come from created characters and situations.

Inspired by the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy in New York City, Mosque Alert tells the story of three fictional families living in Naperville, Illinois, whose lives are interrupted by a proposed Islamic Center on the site of a beloved local landmark. Mosque Alert explores the intersections of zoning and Islamophobia with humor, family drama, and refreshingly blunt honesty.

Performance Details
Previews of Mosque Alert are Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 pm, Friday, March 25 at 8:00 pm, Saturday, March 26 at 8:00 pm, Sunday, March 27 at 4:00 pm, Thursday, March 31 at 7:30 pm and Friday, April 1 at 8:00 pm.  

The production runs through Sunday, May 1. 
Curtain times are Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 4:00 pm. 

Tickets are $25.00 - $35.00. Tickets for Mosque Alert ($25 for previews, $35 for regular run) are now on sale and can be purchased at or by phone: 312.857.1234 x 201.

About the Playwright, Director & Cast
Cast & Design Team
The cast of Mosque Alert includes: Rengin Altay*, Rom Barkhordar*, Amy J. Carle*, Mark Ulrich*, Sahar Dika, Nina Ganet, Rula Gardenier, Riley McIlveen, Andrew L. Saenz, Frank Sawa, and Steve Silver.
The design team includes: Dan Stratton (Set Designer), Elsa Hiltner (Costume Designer), Lindsey Lyddan (Lighting Designer), Thomas Dixon (Sound Design), and Michael Stanfill (Video Designer).
* Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

JAMIL KHOURY (Playwright) is the Founding Artistic Director of Silk Road Rising. He received the 2013 ChangeMaker Award from South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for the unique, online interactive new play development and civic engagement project that shaped Mosque Alert. His short play 63rd and Kedzie: The Arab American Cultural Center was commissioned and produced as part of Theatre Seven’s The Chicago Landmark Project (2011).  He also conceived of and was a featured playwright in Silk Road’s production of The DNA Trail: A Genealogy of Short Plays about Ancestry, Identity, and Utter Confusion (2010) for which he wrote the short play WASP: White Arab Slovak Pole. Other plays include: Precious Stones (2003) (Gay Chicago Magazine’s 2003 After Dark Award for Outstanding New Work); Azizati (1997) ; and Fitna: Women and Chaos in the Arab World (1995). He also conceived of and devised two critically acclaimed cabarets: Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret (2012) and Broadway Sings the Silk Road (2009). Khoury’s video/film work includes the video plays Multi Meets Poly: Multiculturalism and Polyculturalism Go On a First Date (2014), The Balancing Arab (2012), and both/and (2011).  His documentary films include Sacred Stages: A Church, a Theatre, and a Story (2014) and Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness (2012).  He is the 2015 recipient of the Community Leader Award from the Association for Asian American Studies, the 2013 recipient of the Actor’s Equity Association’s Kathryn V. Lamkey Award for promoting diversity and inclusion in theatre, and the 2010 recipient of the 3Arts Artist Award for Playwriting.

EDWARD TORRES (Director) recently directed Macbeth for The Public’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit. Previously, he directed the CA premiere of Water by the Spoonful at the Old Globe Theatre and the world premiere of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ The Happiest Song Plays Last for Goodman Theatre. He directed the world premiere of Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Victory Gardens Theater (produced in association with Teatro Vista), which was named Best Play of 2009 by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Time Out Chicago, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and earned Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Production and Best Director. He also directed subsequent productions Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre (2011 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and Obie Award for Best New American Play) and at Geffen Playhouse to critical acclaim. Torres has been a producer for 18 years and is the cofounder and former artistic director of Teatro Vista. He was the recipient of a 2010 Arts Artist Award and was featured as guest director at the 2011 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference. Torres has a B.A. in Theatre from Roosevelt University and an M.F.A. in film from Columbia College Chicago. He served on the Illinois Arts Council and on the National Endowment for the Arts Theater Panel (2005-07) (2013) and the MAP Fund Theatre Panel (2008).

RENGIN ALTAY (Emily Baker) has Chicago credits that include: Awake and Sing (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Gypsy, Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Float (About Face Theatre); The Vagina Monologues (Apollo Theater Chicago); Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Irish Repertory and Galway Arts Festival); A Little Night Music, The Iceman Cometh (Goodman Theatre). Regional credits include: As You Like It (Huntington Theatre) and Arms and the Man (Madison Repertory Theatre). Film credits include Light It Up and Stranger than Fiction. Television and voiceover credits include: Chicago Fire, E.R., Early Edition, The Human Factor and Yeesha in the Myst computer-game series.

ROM BARKHORDAR (Tawfiq Qabbani) appeared this past summer in Ayad Akhtar's The Who and the What at Victory Gardens. Other notable Chicago credits include In a Garden at A Red Orchid Theatre (Jeff nomination for best Actor), Night Over Erzinga at  Silk Road Rising, Around the World in 80 Days at Lookingglass, The Elephant Man at Steppenwolf, and Pravda at Timeline. Rom Barkhordar has also worked at the Goodman, Griffin, Lifeline, Eclipse, Defiant, Trap Door, City Lit, and Writer's theatres. TV credits include Chicago Fire, Mind Games, Boss, and The Beast.

AMY J. CARLE (Aisha Khalil) is a founding member of Roadworks Productions. Her Chicago credits include Gidion’s Knot (Profiles); Sex With Strangers (Steppenwolf); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Trust (Lookingglass); Season’s Greetings (Northlight); Orlando (Court Theatre); Rock ‘N’ Roll, Desire Under the Elms (The Goodman Theatre); Refuge (CollaborAction); SubUrbia (Roadworks Productions). Regional credits include The Diary of Anne Frank (Madison Rep.) and Morning Star (Kansas City Rep.). Off Broadway National Tour: The Vagina Monologues. Television: Boss (STARZ), Chicago Code (FOX), Law & Order, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, CRISIS (NBC), The Guiding Light (CBS). Film: Who Gets the Dog?

MARK ULRICH (Ted Baker) recently appeared as Musa in Yasmina’s Necklace at 16th Street
Theater, and FBI Agent Zack Shelton in the long running Assassination Theater. Other Chicago credits include Mariela In The Desert and The Sins Of Sor Juana (The Goodman), The Book Thief and How Long Will I Cry (Steppenwolf), A View From The Bridge (Teatro Vista), American Wee Pie Falling: A Wake, These Shining Lives, The Walls, and Silence (Rivendell Theatre), where he is a proud member of their ensemble. He is also a proud Artistic Associate at Chicago Dramatists.

SAHAR DIKA (Samar Qabbani) is a Detroit native who comes from a primarily musical background. Her theater credits include Hairspray, Grease, Footloose, and The Female Odd Couple performed in various theaters around the Metro Detroit area.

NINA GANET (Jennifer Baker) is a Naperville native who started her professional career at the American Girl Theater in Chicago at age 13. She recently graduated with a BA in acting from Illinois State University. She played the principal role, Julie, in Michael Glover Smith's independent film Cool Apocalypse (Best Dramatic Feature winner at the Illinois International Film Festival 2015.) Her role as Autumn Gamble, in Stephen Cone's Henry Gamble's Birthday Party, has also been proudly circuiting film festivals around the country. 

RULA GARDENIER (Amina Qabbani) has theater credits that include for you were a stranger, which she wrote, performed, and produced with Donna Blue Lachman. She was seen last year on the TV show The Following opposite Michael Ealy. Rula will be seen in the feature film Imperfections and the short film Changing Tides in 2017. She is a member of SAG/AFTRA. 

RILEY MCILVEEN (Carl Baker) has theater credits that include We Gotta Bingo! at Chicago Theatre Works, A Nice Indian Boy at Rasaka Theatre, Inventing Van Gogh at Strange Bedfellows, and Hair at The Hideout. Riley received his BFA from the University of Evansville and is a proud graduate of The School of Steppenwolf, class of 2014.

ANDREW L. SAENZ (Farid Qabbani) received his BFA in Performance from Baylor University. He is an ensemble member of The Ruckus. His Chicago credits include Barbecue Apocalypse at the The Ruckus Theater, Exit Strategy at Jackalope Theatre Company, Blood and Gifts at TimeLine Theatre Company, and Hellcab at Profiles Theatre. Television credits include Chicago P.D. (NBC) and Sirens (USA Network).

FRANK SAWA (Mostafa Khalil) studied with the Bonstelle Theatre’s BFA program and briefly abroad with the Moscow Art Theatre (Stanislavsky School).  He has been a part of Chicago’s theatre scene for the last 8 years and was recently seen at Timeline Theatre in Inana and at Remy Bumppo in Love and Information.

STEVE SILVER (Daniel Baker) has theater credits that include Guys and Dolls at Light Opera Works, The Other Place at Profiles Theatre, Nineteen Eighty-Four at Steppenwolf Theatre, Bells are Ringing at Porchlight Music Theatre, From Up Here at Towle Theater (a US premiere), Sylvia and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play at Oil Lamp Theater, and A Crime in the Neighborhood at City Lit Theater (a world premiere). Film/TV credits include Chicago Fire as well as several independent films. 

Box Office
To purchase tickets visit, or call 312.857.1234 x 201
Click HERE for more information about Mosque Alert.

Production Sponsors:
The world premiere production of Mosque Alert is proudly sponsored by: The Bass Fund, ComEd, Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust, and The Left Tilt Fund.

About Silk Road Rising
Silk Road Rising creates live theatre and online videos that tell stories through primarily Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses. In representing communities that intersect and overlap, we advance a polycultural worldview.

For more information on Silk Road Rising visit

Monday, March 21, 2016

OPENING: Cor Theatre Presents Christina, The Girl King

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

ChiIL Mama will be there to review for opening night tonight. I'm especially excited for this opening since I've been to Sweden several times and am half Swedish in ancestry. This show sounds fascinating on many levels, particularly since I'm not familiar with this 17th century European monarch, and so called flamboyant intellectual and feminist before her time.

**NOTE: Christina, The Girl King is for adult audiences only. Contains sex, full nudity (both female and male), violence and blood.**

Cor Theatre, hailed for "Most Promising Debut" last season by Time Out Chicago, plans to surprise and amaze Chicago theater fans with its U.S. debut of Christina, The Girl King. 

Based on the true life of Queen Christina of Sweden, Christina, The Girl King is a daring, sensitive reintroduction to the enigmatic 17th century European monarch, flamboyant intellectual and feminist before her time.

Christina, The Girl King runs March 17 through April 10 at the Frontier Theatre, 1106 W. Thorndale in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. 

Performance times through March 27 are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. 

Show times March 30 through April 10 are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. 

Tickets are $25; $10 students and industry. For tickets and information, visit or call (866) 811-4111

After 30 years of war, Christina, the Girl King of Sweden, armed by the power of her crown and whip-smart intellect, is pushing her people to become a forward thinking nation. But when an unspeakable passion begins to burn underneath her androgynous visage, the Girl King's power is put to the test. Should she meet the demands of her country and birth its next heir? Should she fight the established patriarchy to rule as her own woman? Will she change? Or will she change the world around her? One thing is certain: the choice she makes will change her identity forever, and could mean certain death for the woman that she loves.

Chicago's Cor Theatre is the first U.S. theater to present Linda Gaboriau's new translation of French playwright Michel Marc Bouchard's 2012 play Christine, la reine-garcon, which premiered in an applauded, extended run at the 2014 Stratford Festival. 

Cor Theatre Artistic Director Tosha Fowler directs the play's U.S. debut. The cast features Toya Turner as Christina, with Laura Resinger as Ebba, Adam Gutkin as Karl Gustav, Will Von Vogt as Johan, Tony Bozzuto as Axel, Meg Elliot as Maria Elenora, Danny Taylor as Descartes, Bridget Schreiber as Erika and Scott Shimizu as Chanut. 

Designers are Elyse Balogh (set and props), Alarie Hammock (costumes), Eric Vigo (lights), Jeffrey Levine (sound), Adam Gutkin (technical director), Elyse Cowles (dramaturg), Janelle Bourdreau (stage manager) and Stefin Seberl (production stage manager).

Tosha Fowler (director) is co-founder and artistic director of Cor Theatre, where she directed last season's A Map of Virtue and acted in Love and Human Remains. As a result, Fowler debuted on New City's "Player's 2016 The Fifty People who really perform for Chicago" list as "the fearless leader of Chicago's most dangerously sexy new company." Fowler also produced and starred in Cor's acclaimed Skin Tight in 2012, under the direction of Victoria Delorio, and co-produced, wrote and performed in her original solo show, Mami, Where'd my O go?  She has produced theatre for almost ten years for companies including Mary-Arrchie Theatre, The Chicago Fringe Festival, Academy Theatre in Atlanta, and her founding company, Fowl Brick in Savannah, Georgia. Other directing credits include A Doctor's Stories, Poof! and Bash and Bully Breakdown in HD. As an actress, Fowler has performed in Chicago with Lifeline Theatre, Emerald City, MPAACT, Cock & Bull and Circle Theatre. She has worked as a playwright with American Theatre Company's "Chicago Chronicle Project," the DePaul University Diversity Initiative and the Academy Theater. She is an adjunct professor in Theatre at DePaul University, and holds an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul.

Sweden's Queen Christina has already been the subject of theatrical and cinematic speculation. Greta Garbo portrayed her in the 1933 film Queen Christina. So did Liv Ullman in 1974 in The Abdication.  History remembers her best for helping end the 30 Years War and for making Stockholm a major European capital. 

Toward the end of her reign, Queen Christina summoned René Descartes to share his new ideas about science and philosophy at the time. His radical ideas about free will and reason appealed to Christina, who was struggling to reconcile tensions between her rational self and emotions she dared not name. 

Rather than conform, the 26-year-old queen chose to abdicate her throne and convert to Catholicism, rendering her ineligible to rule. Was it an act of madness? Or a bold gesture of autonomy by a modern woman born ahead of her time? 

Christina, The Girl King underscores Cor Theatre's mission to explore the inner truth of the human experience through storytelling that defies convention, and to engage audiences by telling stories that take courage to tell.

Cor is also proud to have been selected by Jackalope Theatre Company to receive a prime time, four-week, rent-free run of Christina, The Girl King in The Frontier through The Pioneer Series, Jackalope's continuous initiative to cultivate bold new theatre in Chicago.

Up Next: The Good Person of Szechwan, August 11-September 11 at 
A Red Orchid Theatre

Cor's second production in 2016 will be The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Tony Kushner. Ernie Nolan will direct, and ensemble member Will Von Vogt will defy traditional casting in the title role of Brecht's parable of good and evil. Performances are August 11 through September 11 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Street in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood.

About Cor Theatre
Cor Theatre ( debuted in September 2012 with a vision to create theatrical experiences that are rarely presented in Chicago by artists who seek to defy expectation. 

The company's first production, Skin Tight by Gary Henderson, produced by Tosha Fowler and Victoria Delorio, was rewarded with enthusiastic audiences, critical acclaim and made just enough money to establish a not-for-profit corporation. The company named itself Cor Theatre, deriving its name from the Latin root of courage - meaning heart.

In 2015, Cor expanded to a two-show season launched by an acclaimed production of Erin Courtney's A Map of Virtue, named Most Promising Debut by Time Out Chicago, and nominated for several Time Out Chicago Theatre Awards including Best Supporting Actress (Scottie Caldwell) and Best Design (Tierra G. Novy, set; Stefin Steberl, costumes and props; Eric Vigo, lights; and Jeffrey Levin, sound.) 

Cor's second 2015 production, Love and Human Remains, the first professional staging of Brad Frasier's controversial play in Chicago in 20 years, played to numerous sold-out houses and was listed as one of the top plays to see by Windy City Times and New City.

Today, Cor is one of Chicago's newest and most ambitious Chicago professional theatre companies with a growing board and strong experience behind it. Cor Theatre company members are Chris Brickhouse, Elyse Cowles, Tosha Fowler, Adam Gutkin, Claire Meyers, Ernie Nolan, Stefin Steberl and Will Von Vogt.

For more information, visit, like Cor Theatre on Facebook, follow the company on Twitter, @CorTheatre, or call (866) 811-4111.


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

MARCH 25 – MAY 1, 2016
Written by Abe Koogler; Directed by Jonathan Berry

Opening soon, American Theater Company's Midwest Premiere of Kill Floor, a contemporary drama written by Abe Koogler and directed by Jonathan Berry, being presented March 25 - May 1, 2016  

The cast, all making their ATC debuts, includes: Audrey Francis (as Andy), Sol Patches (B), Eric Slater (Rick), Darci Nalepa (Sarah), and Louie Rinaldo (Simon).

Kill Floor takes place in a small town in 2003. Following a long incarceration, a mother returns to her hometown to restart her life. After securing a job at the local slaughterhouse, the challenges of re-entry unfold as she reunites with her teenage son, a staunch vegetarian. Koogler’s thought provoking, surprising and moving search for connection in modern America had its World Premiere at New York’s LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater in October 2015.

Said newly named ATC Artistic Director Will Davis: “I'm thrilled to be joining ATC as the company begins work on Abe Koogler's Kill Floor. I had the pleasure of listening to this play develop in Austin where Abe and I were both in grad school.  Even then it was clear to me that Abe was in the midst of writing a deeply moving and difficult new play that beautifully illustrates what it feels like to never have enough. Kill Floor takes a close up look at what it means to be the working poor in our country and this lens puts the piece in deep conversation with ATC’s mission question: What does it mean to be an American?” 

Performance schedule
Previews: Friday and Saturday, March 25 and 26 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 27 at
2 p.m.

Regular Run: March 31- May 1: Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.

Single tickets for Kill Floor at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron Street, range from $38-$48 and are available by calling the ATC box office at 773-409-4125, or visiting

About American Theater Company
American Theater Company (ATC) challenges and inspires its community by exploring stories that ask the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" ATC’s Ensemble includes Patrick Andrews, Kareem Bandealy, Jaime Castañeda, Kelly O’Sullivan, Tyler Ravelson, and Sadieh Rifai.

American Theater Company is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, and the Shubert Foundation.

OPENING: Collaboraction's Connected 4/21-5/29

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're utterly intrigued with the concept and can't wait to catch this show. What other production actually asks audience members to bring headphones and a smart phone, if they have them, in order to experience a pre-show silent disco?! Each performance will also be followed by a town hall discussion with an expert in astrophysics, technology or human evolution. Audience members also can join the Connected community, share content to be included in the show and find information that deepens the experience of seeing the performance at

For its 20th anniversary show, Collaboraction is exploring mankind, technology and our connection to it all with the world premiere of Connected, the story of humankind as told by the nine planets in our solar system, starting with the Big Bang and stopping at numerous historical and future campfires along the way.

Part historical docudrama, part science fiction, Connected soars through the history of space and time for an exciting new immersive theatre experience illuminating our relationship with technology and each other, and how a special tribe used its unique connection to one another to survive it all. 

Performances are April 21 through May 29 at Collaboraction, in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Room 300, in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Press opening is Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. 

Tickets are on sale now. Tickets are $15-$30. For tickets and information, visit or call (312) 226-9633.

Led by Collaboraction Artistic Director Anthony Moseley, Connected will be a milestone production that takes on the critical social issue of technology and whether we allow it to bring us together or isolate us further. Connected features intimate staging where the audience of 50 sits in a circle around a metaphorical campfire as the action takes place all around them. The production uses puppets, 3-D mapped video projections, meta-theatrics, social media, audience interaction and story-telling.

"For our 20th anniversary show, we wanted to explore and celebrate the origin of theatre itself, the ancient phenomena of coming together around a campfire to share stories and dream about the unknown, a uniquely human endeavor which speaks to our need for community and our penchant for asking the questions 'why'," said Moseley. "We aim to make this a show really about community and our connection to one another. I can promise it will be a truly unique piece of Chicago theatre history in its staging and scope."

Connected features an ensemble cast included Collaboraction company members Antonio Brunetti and Luis Crespo, along with Justin Dietzel, Amber Hughee, Warren Levon, Mary Mikva, Annie Prichard, Rasika Ranganathan, and introducing Stella Moseley.

The design team includes Anthony Moseley (writer/director), Jen Ellison (assistant director), Ashley Woods (set design), Erik Barry (lighting design), Elsa Hiltner (costume design), Matthew Reich (sound design), Rachel Watson (puppet and prop design), Sam Porretta (Outside Eye), Sarah Moeller (producer), Erica Bush (production manager), Caitlin Body (stage manager), Ian Downing-Beaver (dramaturg) and Stephanie Svarz (artistic intern).

Previews of Connected are April 21-26: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Press opening is Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. Performances run through May 27: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Industry Night performances are Monday, April 28 and May 23 at 7:30 p.m. No show Thursday, April 28. Single tickets are $30; $15 for students, educators and industry. Purchase tickets online at or call 312.226.9633.

About Collaboraction
Collaboraction ( collaborates with artists, community activists, and citizens from throughout the city to create original theatrical experiences that push artistic boundaries and explore critical social issues with a diverse community of Chicagoans. Collaboraction has worked with more than 3,000 artists to bring more than 60 productions and events to more than 100,000 audience members.

Production highlights include Collaboraction's acclaimed series of Crime Scene productions responding to Chicago's current crime epidemic, 15 years of the SKETCHBOOK Festival, Sarah Moeller's Forgotten Future: The Education Project in 2014, 2010's Chicago premiere of 1001 by Jason Grote, 2008's world premiere of Jon by George Saunders and directed by Seth Bockley, and 2007's The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow: an instant message with excitable music by Rolin Jones.

Collaboraction, based on the 3rd floor of Wicker Park's historic Flat Iron Arts Building with three theatre spaces, is led by Artistic Director Anthony Moseley, Executive Director Darcy Addison and a dedicated staff and board of directors. 

Collaboraction is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation via the MacArthur Foundation, and the Wicker Park & Bucktown SSA #33 Chamber of Commerce. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For tickets and information, visit or call 312.226.9633.   

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