Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Theatre Thursdays Offer World Premiere Productions And Exclusive Access to Artists.

League of Chicago Theatres Announces
Theatre Thursdays Series for 2016-2017 Season

Series Includes Carroll Gardens (16th Street Theater), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre),
Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites),
The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular (Hell in a Handbag Productions),
Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass Theatre Company),
The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), The Snare (Jackalope Theatre Company),
Linda Vista (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and Relativity (Northlight Theatre)

The League of Chicago Theatres announces the Theatre Thursdays line-up for the 2016-2017 Chicago theatre season including world premiere productions of Carroll Gardens (16th Street Theater), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre), Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites), The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular (Hell in a Handbag Productions), Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), The Snare (Jackalope Theatre Company), Linda Vista (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and Relativity (Northlight Theatre).  Additional information for each event is available at

The Theatre Thursdays initiative, first launched in 2005, strengthens and diversifies the Chicago theatre community by encouraging Chicagoans to explore new venues and companies. Last season, the League revamped the program to focus on new work with twelve Theatre Thursday events, one per month. Each monthly event provides audiences with a world premiere production and an inside look at the creative process behind new works, including exclusive access to artists.

The 2016-2017 series includes:

Thursday, September 22
Written by A. Zell Williams
Directed by Ann Filmer
16th Street Theater at the Berwyn Cultural Center, 6420 16th Street in Berwyn
Event begins at 6:30 pm, Show begins at 7:30 pm
Tickets $18 at with promo code: THRTHURS

Join 16th Street Theater for a world-premiere of A. Zell Williams's comedy, Carroll Gardens. Theatre Thursday guests are invited to a pre-show beer tasting courtesy of Oak Park's Kinslahger Brewing Company at 6:30pm. Stay after the show for a conversation with director Ann Filmer and the cast.

Davis and Robby were childhood friends. But that was a long time ago. Now Davis lives in Brooklyn which is a long way from Stockton, CA, in all ways. When Robby shows up unexpected on Davis' doorstep, Robby's brash nature sparks conflicts amongst Davis' new circle spurring debates of race and class and forcing Davis to question who he has remade himself to be and where his loyalty lies.

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Written by Melissa Ross
Directed by John Gawlik
The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee in Jefferson Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Annabel Anderson McCafferty is an expectant mother who vanishes from her small Ohio town on Christmas Eve. Both mystery and memory play, A Life Extra Ordinary untangles and re-assembles the moments that make a life.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Written by Andra Velis Simon
Based on Cendrillon and other compositions by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Directed by Sean Graney
The Hypocrites at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Adapted from Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s 1904 opera Cendrillon, and many of her other compositions, Andra Velis Simon’s musical-play is an elegantly irreverent exploration of the classic fairy tale. Here, Cinderella’s version of happily-ever-after does not include acceptance by the Prince. In the actor-as-orchestra style of The Hypocrites’ Gilbert & Sullivan opera work, Artistic Director Sean Graney directs this fun holiday-time show, perfect for the whole family. From the co-adapter of H.M.S. Pinafore and director of All Our Tragic.

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Written by David Cerda
Directed by Steve Love
Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Andersonville
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

We close the year with an old friend and Handbag creation, Rip Nelson played by Handbag favorite, Ed Jones (think, the mutant love child of Paul Lynde, Rip Taylor and Charles Nelson Reilly) in The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular, a show that makes The Brady Bunch Variety Hour look like Citizen Kane.

It’s 1982 and a newly sober Rip (ensemble member Ed Jones) manages to land another TV special after the death of his arch-rival, Paul Lynde. Rip is determined to get his career back on track but can he handle the stress of a network television special and stay sober? Luckily he’s got help from a cavalcade of the hottest stars of 1982! Rip pulls every trick in the book to breathe some life in the dying variety series format and save his career but soon questions if his career is worth saving.

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara
Puppetry by Blair Thomas
Lookingglass Theatre Company, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Downtown Chicago
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth captivate audiences with spell-binding tales. But one day, The Big Bad Wolf mysteriously dies before his story is complete. Fairytales disappear from the pages, characters are utterly forgotten, and Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth must journey through the stories to restore order before they are lost forever.

Written and directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara, this world-premiere weaves an exceptional story of adventure, love, and unexpected endings. Influenced by Neil Gaiman and other fantasy writers, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth is brought to life through the wondrous puppetry of Blair Thomas and reveals the transformational power of storytelling.

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Written by Ike Holter
Featuring Ensemble Members Sandra Márquez and Gabe Ruíz
Teatro Vista at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Chicago. Fall. One night, a boarded up bar on the dark side of the block becomes a terrifying crime scene. In the following 48 hours, the neighborhood digs deep into escalating mystery, working against time to separate fact from fiction. But as the clock ticks down, the clues spiral into a razor sharp jigsaw, and what began as a simple mystery quickly twists into a personal, pointed and political thriller. The Wolf at The End of The Block is a full-length play with five characters, three of which are Latino. The play explores the issues of racial profiling, media manipulation and family relationships. Highly charged, Holter’s story is brutally raw, funny and deftly pierces universal truths.

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Written by Samantha Beach
Directed by Elana Boulos
Jackalope Theatre Company at the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway in Edgewater
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Ruth is your average eighth-grader, keeping busy with basketball, preparing for her school’s Civil War Day, and trying to be more like her babysitter. One night, in the quiet of her bedroom, Ruth hears the voice of the devil, telling her to take action. Unprepared, Ruth’s pastor mom and family struggle to walk a path between pragmatism and faith. In this world premiere play about good vs. evil, and growing up, the question is: who will you believe?

Thursday, April 13, 2017
A world premiere by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Featuring ensemble members Ian Barford and Tim Hopper
Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted in Lincoln Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from the cot in his ex-wife’s garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex—complicated, painful and hilarious. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler is a modern misanthrope who must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor and member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. His works include August: Osage CountySuperior DonutsThe Man from NebraskaKiller Joe and Bug, among others. He is also known for his portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in Showtime's Homeland and can be seen in The Big Short and HBO’s Divorce. His play Mary Page Marlowe premiered at Steppenwolf, in March 2016.

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Written by Mark St. Germain
Directed by BJ Jones
Featuring Mike Nussbaum
Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

In 1902 Albert and Mileva Einstein had a baby daughter. After 1904 she was never seen or spoken of again. Forty years later, a reporter interviews Einstein about this mysterious piece of his past, revealing shocking secrets about his family and his personal life. While the reporter questions Einstein on his theory of relativity and his decisions, she also poses a query of her own: to be a great man, does one first need to be a good man?

The author of Freud’s Last Session and Becoming Dr. Ruth showcases his signature blend of insight, intellect, humor and heart in this fictional account of a legendary figure.

Please note that Theatre Thursdays event information and dates are subject to change.  Theatre Thursday events for June, July and August will be announced later in the year.

The 2016-2017 Theatre Thursdays sponsors are the Chicago Reader and Chicago Splash.
About Chicago theatre
Chicago theatre is a leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 5 that have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. In the 2014-2015 season, Chicago theatre companies produced more than 100 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year, Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world.

About the League of Chicago Theatres
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres which leverages its collective strength to promote, support, and advocate for Chicago's theatre industry locally, nationally, and internationally. The League of Chicago Theatres Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the art of theatre in the Chicago area through audience development and support services for theatres and theatre professionals.

Additional information about Theatre Thursdays is available at

For a comprehensive list of Chicago theatre productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website,  Half-price tickets are available at or at one of three downtown locations.

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