Thursday, November 16, 2017

REVIEW: Blistering Lizzie Burns With Intensity as Firebrand's Inaugural Production at The Den Theatre Through 12/17/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 

Firebrand Theatre Presents 
the Chicago Premiere of
Through December 17, 2017 at The Den Theatre

All Production Photos by Marisa KM

Hell hath no fury like a woman sexually abused and about to lose her inheritance to a wicked stepmother. 

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we're loving Lizzie so hard right now, after an epic opening night. With the current public outcry of long silenced victims taking down powerful men who have assaulted and harassed them, this 1892 period piece is terrifically timely. Lizzie has killer punk and metal tunes, along with melodic ballads, an all femme band on stage, and vocals to die for. This powerful production has plenty of mystery, gore, a lesbian love interest, trial lying, intrigue, vindication, revenge, and a scorching score. Firebrand is the scream into the void, and we're so excited they're here.

Liz Chidester as Lizzie, Leah Davis as Bridget, Jacquelyne Jones as Alice and Camille Robinson as Emma are all fantastic, and it's especially enjoyable to see Lizzie evolve from cowering victim to exonerated lady. The set design is sparse but ingenious, with a solidly scary looking wooden throne of a chair serving as many locals. We also loved the symbolism of the entrapped lights in a cluster of hanging bird cages that flickered and flared, paralleling Lizzies love for the pigeons in the barn who met a grizzly end at the hands of her abusive undertaker father, and her own desire to fly free. The costume design is fabulous too, interspersing and ultimately merging late 1800's period piece dresses with corseted, black leather rock looks. Lighting and sound are also quite impressive for a storefront theatre.

Do note, there IS a splash zone in the front row. We had a lively debate on the way home, about just how Firebrand created the faux melon massacre and we're still baffled. Just know it's messy and effective.

Lizzie is a cathartic cacophony of creative energy, colliding art forms, and a magnificent merging of past and present. We highly recommend catching Lizzy and we're eagerly anticipating more from Firebrand. With their first offering, they have certainly lived up to their name.

Firebrand Theatre, the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage, is pleased to present its inaugural production, the Chicago premiere of LIZZIE, the rock musical based on the true-life story of accused axe-murderess Lizzie Borden. LIZZIE will play November 11 – December 17, 2017 at The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Single tickets for LIZZIE and season subscriptions (including 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL) are currently available at 

Directed by Victoria Bussert with music direction by Julia A. Miller and Andra Velis Simon and choreography by Janet Louer, LIZZIE features music by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner, book by Tim Maner, additional music by Tim Maner, additional lyrics by Alan Stevens Hewitt, based on an original concept by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer and Tim Maner with orchestrations by Alan Stevens Hewitt. 

LIZZIE features Liz Chidester as Lizzie, Leah Davis as Bridget, Jacquelyne Jones as Alice and Camille Robinson as Emma. The late night cast/understudies, who will appear in four 11 pm performances, include Kyrie Anderson as Lizzie, Tatiana Bustamante as Bridget, Elle Walker as Alice and Dakota Hughes as Emma.

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty-one." So goes the nursery rhyme describing the crime of the century that took the nation by storm when Lizzie Borden murdered her parents with an axe in 1892. Or did she? LIZZIE is a musical that reimagines that bloody legend with four women fronting a female rock band. LIZZIE is American mythology set to a blistering rock score with rage, sex, betrayal and bloody murder. 

Comments Artistic Director Harmony France, “We knew pretty early on that we wanted Lizzie to open our season. It fits our mission perfectly. It's one of the few musicals that feature all women. The characters are flawed and complicated in a way that women don't normally get to portray in musical theatre. There is an unapologetic blistering rock score that will be played by our all femme band. It's sexy and scary and vulnerable and there's a splash zone. The alleged axe-murderess, Lizzie Borden, has captured our imagination for centuries. She is a fascinating historical figure who lived a very unconventional life and she is one of the few women in America responsible for a ‘crime of the century.’ At Firebrand, we are committed to illuminating women's stories whether they're good, bad or ugly – and Lizzie is definitely all of the above.”

The production team for LIZZIE includes: Eleanor Kahn (scenic design), Charlotte M. Yetman (costume design), Maya Michele Fein (lighting design), Victoria Deiorio (sound design), Jon Martinez (assistant director), Danielle Stack (production manager) and Jean E. Compton (stage manager).

Cast: Liz Chidester (Lizzie), Leah Davis (Bridget), Jacquelyne Jones (Alice) and Camille Robinson (Emma).
Late Night Cast/Understudies: Kyrie Anderson (Lizzie) Tatiana Bustamante (Bridget) Dakota Hughes (Emma) and Elle Walker (Alice). 

Location: The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Regular run: Thursday, November 16 – Sunday, December 17, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving Day).

Late Night Performances (featuring understudies): Friday, December 1 at 11 pm, Saturday, December 2 at 11 pm, Friday, December 8 at 11 pm and Saturday, December 9 at 11 pm.

Open Captioned Performances (by Molly Brennan): Sunday, November 26 at 3 pm and Sunday, December 3 at 3 pm

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $45. Late night shows $30. Students $20. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at

About The Creative Team
Victoria Bussert (Director) balances the professional and academic worlds working as an award-winning freelance director while serving as Director of Music Theatre for Baldwin Wallace University.  Her work has been seen at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodspeed Opera, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Dallas Theatre Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Dobama Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Pegasus Players, Beck Center for the Arts, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, among others.  Victoria serves as Resident Director for Cleveland's Great Lakes Theatre and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  She has directed seven national tours including Into The Woods, Once On This Island and The Who’s Tommy. Her international directing credits include The Adventures of Friar Tuck in Russia, the Danish premieres of Avenue Q and [title of show], as well as the European premiere of Lizzie for Fredericia Theatre which moves to London in February 2017. Victoria received a BA in Theatre and Dance from Barat College and an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Julia A. Miller (Music Director) performs as a guitarist with the electroacoustic trio Auris, with Gimlet Eye, and as a frequent soloist and collaborator in experimental and avant garde chamber music. Auris’s current CD has been released on Artco Records (2009). Julia completed the performance half of a double Master of Music in Classical Guitar Performance at Northwestern University, and served as the Jazz, Folk and Contemporary Guitar Department Chair at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she was also a Suzuki Guitar specialist. As a composer, Julia is active with the Chicago Composer’s Consortium and New Music Chicago, and has a CD of acoustic chamber music on the Southport Composer’s label. Julia’s music has been performed by artists including guitarist Fareed Haque, piano trio The Lincoln Trio, guitar and mandolin duo Ahlert & Schwab, and sopranos Toni Arnold and Julia Bentley, and has been featured at such festivals and venues as the Aspen Music Festival, May In Miami, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Depaul University, Northwestern University, and Oberlin University, as well as rock clubs, cabarets, bars and alternative spaces internationally. Julia has received awards and fellowships from the Chicago Tribune Foundation, the New York Art Ensemble, the United Arts Council, the American Composer’s Forum, and Meet the Composer.  Julia has been a member of the composition faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and has also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Sound and Liberal Arts, at The School of the Art Institute, Chicago.

Andra Velis Simon (Music Director) is a music director, adapter, arranger, vocal coach and pianist based in Chicago. Regionally, her work has been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Rep, Olney Theatre Center in Maryland and Three Oaks in Michigan. In Chicago: The Goodman Theatre (The Iceman Cometh and Camino Real), Theater Wit (Mr. Burns: a post-electric play and 10 out of 12), Chicago Children’s Theatre (The Hundred Dresses, A Year with Frog and Toad, Goodnight Moon), The Hypocrites (Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes, American Idiot, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore), Windy City Playhouse, and many others. Andra is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches several musical theatre performance courses, and where she served as the staff Musical Director for the Theatre Department from 2008-2016.

Janet Louer (Choreographer) has been responsible for launching many careers’ over the past 35 years that she has worked in the industry. Some of them are now Artistic Directors, Directors, Agents, Casting directors in Chicago, New York, and all over the country. Janet was the former manager of Tony Award Winner Heather Headley. Janet created the Musical Theatre Division at ATC and is currently the Artistic Director/Creator for Another Door theatre Project; The Ensemble Conservatory, a comprehensive training/performance opportunity for young actors. Janet is the Development Director of a new approach to acting called Acting;out of and through the Human Condition. National Tours: (all under direction of Victoria Bussert) BUDDY (Jeff Award for choreography), Assassins, The Secret Garden, Once On This Island, Barnum, Into The Woods and Anyone Can Whistle. Regional: The Frogs, You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow, Pacific Overtures, Company, Goblin Market, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Little Shop of Horrors, A Little Night Music and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Mission Statement
FIREBRAND THEATRE is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Firebrand is a 501(c)(3) Equity theatre.

Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France, Managing Director: Kimberly Lawson, Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Brenda Didier, Kate Garassino, Emjoy Gavino, Amber Mak, Danni Smith, Company Members: Kasey Alfonso, Sydney Charles, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Carly Glenn, Amanda Horvath, Jon Martinez, Eric Martin, Amelia Jo Parrish and Andra Velis-Simon.

HELP OUT: Gift Gala 2017 REVOLUTIONS Friday, December 1, 2017 at The Copernicus Center

The Gift Theatre is pleased to present its 16th annual benefit, GIFT GALA 2017: REVOLUTIONS on Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6 pm – 10 pm at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. in Chicago. 

Since 2001 and over 70 productions, The Gift Theatre has pioneered the frontiers of the American theatre via the most intimate professional theatre in the country, leading to national acclaim and a cultural revolution on Chicago’s northwest side. Join The Gift family for this celebratory evening at the Copernicus Center, named after the astronomer whose theory about revolutions changed everything. Tickets for GIFT GALA 2017: REVOLUTIONS are currently available at

The elegant evening will feature hors d'oeuvres, irresistible auction items and delectable desserts. Entertainment will include live jazz and classical music, a DJ and dancing and a short performance charting The Gift’s evolving place in the cosmos from Copernicus to NASA, SpaceX and beyond. The evening also includes the presentation of the Sheldon Patinkin Total Gift Award, which recognizes a key supporter and friend of The Gift. The theatre is pleased to announce Greg and Anne Taubeneck will be the recipients of this year's award.

This Gala Co-Chairs include Michelle Boone, Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer at Navy Pier Inc. and Chicago’s First Lady Amy Rule.

The Gala Committee incldues Lori Dimun, Laura Gale, George Karzas, Sharon Martwick, Rita Thornton and Shannon Wallace 


Date/Time: Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6 pm – 10 pm
Location: Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago
Details: Coctkails, hors d'oeuvres and dessert, auction items, live music, a DJ and dancing and a performance. Festive attire encouraged.
Tickets: Individual $150; Table $1500; VIP Table $3000. Tickets are currently available at

Gala food donors include: Gale Street Inn, Community Tavern, Pasta D'arte and Cafe Marbella.

About The Gift Theatre
The Gift’s 17th season consists of Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of Hang Man, directed by ensemble member Erica Weiss (February 9 – April 8, 2018); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Monty Cole (June 1 – July 29, 2018); and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s Cosmologies, directed by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton (October 12 –December 9, 2018). The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or by calling (773) 283-7071. 

THIS SATURDAY 11/18: Free Readings! AstonRep Theatre Company Presents 9th Annual WRITER’S SERIES

Free Readings!
AstonRep Theatre Company Presents 9th Annual
Saturday, November 18 at The Vagabond School of the Arts

AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to present its 9th annual WRITER’S SERIES, a daylong festival of staged readings of new works by local writers. This year’s series will showcase three productions on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 12 pm – 5 pm at The Vagabond School of the Arts, 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave. #504 in Chicago. Patrons are invited to attend individual readings – or stay for the entire event. Readers are free – no reservations required. For additional information, visit or call (773) 828-9129.  

The 2017 WRITER’S SERIES Line-Up includes:

12:15 pm
By Lyn Lesch

As Albert Einstein develops his theory of relativity, he and his wife Mileva are growing apart. Michele Besso, a long-time friend to both, acts as an intermediary. The play draws parallels between Einstein’s relativity theory and the couple's evolving perspective of their relationship. They are not only moving apart from each other in space and time, but perceiving their relationship differently as their marriage proceeds. 

1:30 pm
By Lauren Sagendorph

Camryn is a strong but unfocused college student drifting through her life. Her career-driven boyfriend tries to support her but somehow makes her feel lamer by comparison. It takes a real spark in the person of Ellie, a 65 year-old student of life, to shock Camryn out of her daydreams. Ellie introduces Camryn to a world of art, community and passion that sets her on a path to a successful career as an artist in her own right. 

3:00 pm
By Molly Pease

After six years on a deserted island, Natalie is rescued with her companion, a large piece of driftwood named Stick. But when Stick (rebranded STIX) becomes a media darling back in LA, Natalie has to learn how to survive all over again. Stix is more than just a comedy, it is a deeply relevant piece of social satire which explores movement, survival and our misplaced worship of celebrities.

About the Playwrights

Lyn Lesch (Albert and Mileva) was founder and director for 12 years of The Children’s School in Evanston. A progressive, democratically run school, it received widespread attention in the Chicago print and electronic media as a unique approach to education. He has written four books on education reform, published by Rowman & Littlefield; all of them stressing the importance of what occurs inside a student while he or she is learning. He is now working on a book concerning consciousness expansion in the digital age, and recently finished work on a play concerning nihilism/terrorism in the modern world relative to the writer Dostoevsky. 

Lauren Sagendorph (Little Fingers with Red Strings) graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Theatre and Drama with a concentration in Acting and Playwriting in 2016. She is currently working as the Education Programs Manager for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Lauren considers herself a playwright, actor, administrator, educator and model.

Molly Pease (STIX) is a queer southern comedy writer from Atlanta, Georgia. She holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern and Bachelor's degrees in Public Relations and Theatre from the University of Georgia. Molly has done pretty much every form of comedy. During her time at Northwestern, she created original sitcom pilots, plays, screenplays and a sock puppet web series. She helps produce the annual showcase Queergasm at Northwestern. Her full-length play STIX received a stage reading at Northwestern in Spring 2017. Her feature length dramedy Can I Finish? won second place for the Krevoy Screenwriting Award. 

About AstonRep Theatre Company:

AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced 19 full-length productions and eight annual Writers’ Series. AstonRep Theatre Company is an ensemble of artists committed to creating exciting, intimate theatrical experiences that go beyond the front door to challenge audiences and spark discussion where the show is not the end of the experience: it is just the beginning.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

OPENING: Red Carpet Pre-Broadway Opening Night of Escape to Margaritaville at Oriental Theatre Through 12/2/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar


Tonight ChiIL Live Shows will be ChiILin' in Chi, IL with the king of chill, iconic singer-songwriter-author Jimmy Buffett, who has made indolence an art form. The man sells out stadium shows packed with otherwise sane adults, sporting pool floats and parrot hats. As Chicago heads into the deepfreeze months, I'm more than happy to embrace a little slice of palm trees and paradise, even if it's just a few hours of escape. 


Check back soon for our full review and our recap of opening night adventures, catching this pre-Broadway production in Chicago with Jimmy Buffett and numerous Emmy and Tony Award winners collaborating on this production including:

o   Co-book writer and Emmy® Award winner Greg Garcia (“My Name Is Earl,” “Raising Hope”)
o   Co-book writer and Emmy® Award nominee Mike O’Malley (“Survivor’s Remorse,” “Shameless”)
o   Choreographer and Tony Award® nominee Kelly Devine (Come From Away, Rock of Ages)
o   Director and Tony Award® winner Christopher Ashley (Come From Away, Memphis)

Escape to Margaritaville, the new musical featuring the songs of iconic singer-songwriter-author Jimmy Buffett, opens tonight, November 15, in Chicago at Broadway In Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) and plays through December 2.  

Escape to Margaritaville is the musical comedy getaway featuring both original songs and the most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Come Monday,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and many more.  With a book by Emmy® Award winner Greg Garcia (“My Name Is Earl,” “Raising Hope”) and Emmy® Award nominee Mike O’Malley (“Survivor’s Remorse,” “Shameless”), this new production is choreographed by Tony Award® nominee Kelly Devine (Come From Away, Rock of Ages) and directed by Tony Award® winner and La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley (Come From Away, Memphis).

Individual tickets for ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE are currently on sale to the general public. A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000 and online at  

Imagine a place where the sun is hot, the water’s warm and the drinks are as cold as they are plentiful. Welcome to Margaritaville, the island paradise where city folk get away from it all, and the locals get into the kind of trouble you can almost always sweet talk your way out of. Take a break from your troubles, make some new friends at the bar and kick back to the soothing sounds of the kettledrum. It doesn’t get much better than this.

The creative team includes Scenic Designer Walt Spangler, Tony Award®-winning Costume Designer Paul Tazewell, two-time Tony Award®-winning Lighting Designer Howell Binkley, two-time Tony Award®-winning Sound Designer Brian Ronan, Tony Award® nominee Christopher Jahnke as Music Supervisor, and 101 Productions, Ltd. as General Management.

ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE will begin previews on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre (210 West 46th Street) on Friday, February 16, 2018, with the official Broadway Opening Night set for Thursday, March 15, 2018.

ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE travel packages are available via the show's official travel provider, The Travel Team, at For more information, please visit
Facebook: @BuffettMusical
Twitter: @BuffettMusical
Instagram: @BuffettMusical

It was also my great pleasure to be invited to a press conference on November 7th where we had a chance to meet some of the major players, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy some tasty treats from Warm Belly Bakery. 

Can't wait to see the "tropical fruits" of their labor at Chicago's opening night tonight!

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 17 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including The PrivateBank Theatre, Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

For more information, visit

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

OPENING: 30th Anniversary Season for Griffin Theatre Company Kicks Off With Revival of Musical VIOLET at The Den 11/26/17-1/13/18

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Casting Announced!
Griffin Theatre Company Launches 30th Anniversary Season with
Book & Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Music by Jeanine Tesori 
Directed by Scott Weinstein 
Music Direction by John Cockerill

November 26, 2017 – January 13, 2018 at The Den Theatre

We'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Griffin Theatre Company for the press opening of Violet on December 3rd. Check back soon after for our full review. In the meantime, save the dates.

Griffin Theatre Company is pleased to launch its 30th anniversary season with a revival of the Tony-nominated musical VIOLET, with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley (A Little Princess), music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Caroline, or Change), direction by Scott Weinstein (Ragtime, Bat Boy: The Musical) and music direction by John Cockerill (Bonnie & Clyde). VIOLET will play November 26, 2017 – January 13, 2018 at The Den Theatre's Upstairs Mainstage, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. 

Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830. 

PHOTO CREDIT: The cast of Griffin Theatre Company’s production of VIOLET: (top, l to r) Nicole Laurenzi as Violet, Will Lidke as Monty, Stephen Allen as Flick, Matt Miles as Father and Maya Hlava (Young Violet) with (bottom, l to r) Connor Baty, Brianna Buckley, Nick Druzbanski, Sarah Hayes, Anthony Kayer and LaShera Moore.

Based on the short story "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts, this award-winning musical fuses a powerful rock, folk and gospel score. With a ticket, a suitcase and a heart full of expectation, Violet Karl, facially disfigured since childhood, boards a bus and travels across the deep south in 1964 to see if a faith healer can transform her life. Along the way, she forms unlikely friendships with her fellow passengers, who teach her about beauty, love and courage and that it's the journeys you take in life that help you discover who you are.

The production team for VIOLET includes: Lauren Nigri (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Alexander Ridgers (lighting design), Keegan Bradac (sound design), Jamie Karas (properties design), Kasey Alfonso (choreographer), Catherine Allen (production manager), Laura McClain (asst. director) and Jon Ravenscroft (stage manager).

Dates: Previews: Sunday, November 26 at 3 pm, Monday, November 27 at 7:30 pm, Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 pm, Friday, December 1 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, December 2 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run: Thursday, December 7, 2017 – Saturday, January 13, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3pm. 

Please note: there will not be a performance on Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) or Sunday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve); there will be an added performance on Saturday, January 13 at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews $30. Regular run $42. Students, seniors & veterans $37 ($25 previews). Group discount are available for groups of ten or more. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830.

About the Creative Team
Scott Weinstein (Director) is an award-winning director whose upcoming work includes Sex With Strangers (Cardinal Stage), Million Dollar Quartet (Phoenix Theatre) and Frost/Nixon (Redtwist Theatre). Favorite Chicago credits include Rock of Ages (Drury Lane Theatre), a new chamber version of Ragtime, Titanic (Jeff Nomination – Best Director, Best Musical) and Bat Boy: The Musical (Jeff Nomination – Best Director) all with Griffin Theatre; Rent (Theo Ubique, Jeff Award – Best Director & Best Musical); She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Theatre Garage Rep); and Seussical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Favorite New York and regional credits include Million Dollar Quartet (Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival); Baristas (New York International Fringe Festival) Knights of The Sales Office and Murder For Two (Adirondack Theatre Festival). He is a company member with Redtwist Theatre where he has directed Circle Mirror Transformation, All-American and The Drawer Boy. Scott is the Associate Director for the National Tour, Las Vegas, Chicago and Norwegian Cruise Line productions of Million Dollar Quartet and directed the first regional production currently running at the Lawrence Welk Theatre. Scott is a proud graduate of Northwestern University and member of SDC.

John Cockerill (Music Director) is a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and music director. Recent credits include: Bonnie & Clyde (Kokandy Productions). María de Buenos Aires (Des Moines Metro Opera), Xanadu (American Theatre Company), and High Fidelity (Refuge Theatre Project). He was a featured pianist on the premiere recording of Ross Crean’s opera, The Great God Pan (Navona Records, 2017), and he’ll be joining Chicago Fringe Opera for their upcoming season of As One and The Great God Pan. 

The Griffin Theatre Company's 2017/2018 Premiere Season Sponsors are Michael and Mona Heath.

The Griffin Theatre Company is a Blue Star Theater and is proud to support our military enlisted and veterans. 

About Griffin Theatre Company
Established in 1988 and celebrating its 30th season, the mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.

The Griffin Theatre Company is the recipient of 115 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for theater excellence in Chicago. The Griffin was the repeat winner of the 2016 Jeff Award for “Best Production of a Play” for London Wall having won the same award in 2015 for its production of Men Should Weep.

The Griffin Theatre Company is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

For additional information, visit

Monday, November 13, 2017

OPENING: Annual Holiday Favorite Hell in a Handbag's RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER 2017 Returns To Mary's Attic

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Back by Popular Demand!
Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents the Holiday Hit
By David Cerda

Co-Directed by Becca Holloway & AJ Wright
November 25 – December 30, 2017 at Mary’s Attic

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to conclude its 15th Anniversary Season with its most popular show ever: the holiday hit RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER 2017 by David Cerda*, co-directed by Becca Holloway and AJ Wright*. Handbag’s irreverent parody of the 1967 Rankin Bass children’s television special will play November 25 – December 30, 2017 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are on currently available at (through Brown Paper Tickets) or by calling (800) 838-3006.

RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER will feature Graham Thomas Heacock as Rudolph, Kristopher Bottrall* as Herbie, Allison Petrillo as Jane Donner, Chase Wheaton-Werle as Tom Donner, Michael Hampton as Santa, Tommy Bullington as Mrs. Claus, Sydney Genco* as Elfina, Colin Funk as Spike, Michael Rawls as Score, Josh Kemper as Coach Comet, Lori Lee* as Yukon Cornelia, Terry McCarthy* as Connie Blitzen, David Cerda* as Gladys Dasher, Christea Parent* as Clarice and Matthew Sergot as Sam the Snowman.

Chicago’s favorite cross-dressing reindeer is back and he’s 20 years old! RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER had its first reading in 1996 and has evolved into one of Chicago’s most popular anti-holiday, holiday shows. Join Rudolph and all of his misfit friends as they struggle with fitting in and being ‘normal’ in an increasingly abnormal world. Playwright David Cerda* always adjusts the show to fit the current social climate. 

The production team for RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER includes: Roger Wykes (set design), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Cat Wilson* (lighting design), Ralph Loza (sound design), Adrian Hadlock* (props design), Lauren Griffith (choreography), Keith Ryan* (wig design), Sydney Genco* (make-up design) JD Caudill* (music director) and Drew Donnelly (stage manager).

*Denotes Hell in a Handbag Ensemble Members

Cast (in alphabetical order): Kristopher Bottrall* (Herbie), Tommy Bullington (Mrs. Claus), David Cerda* (Gladys Dasher), Colin Funk (Spike), Sydney Genco* (Elfina), Michael Hampton (Santa), Graham Thomas Heacock (Rudolph), Josh Kemper (Coach Comet), Lori Lee* (Yukon Cornelia), Terry McCarthy* (Connie Blitzen), Christea Parent* (Clarice) Allison Petrillo (Jane Donner), Michael Rawls (Score), Matthew Sergot as (Sam the Snowman) and Chase Wheaton-Werle (Tom Donner).

Location: Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Saturday, November 25 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 26 at 7:30 pm and Thursday, November 30 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, December 7 – Saturday, December 30, 2017

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6 pm. Please note: there will not be performances on Saturday, December 2, Sunday, December 3 or Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve); there will be an added performance on Wednesday, December 20 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets: Previews $13. Regular run $25 in advance, $30 at the door. VIP tickets with cocktail $40 and up. Group rates $20 for 10 or more. Tickets are currently on sale at (through Brown Paper Tickets) or by calling (800) 838-3006.

About the Creative Team

David Cerda (Playwright) is the Jeff Award winning co-founder and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions. He has written and appeared in POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical (Jeff Recommended), The Birds, Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE The Musical, Caged Dames (Jeff Recommended), Lady X, How Whatever Happened to Baby Jane Happened, TROGG! A Rock and Roll Musical, Christmas Dearest (Jeff Recommended), Scream, Queen! SCREAM!, The Rip Nelson Halloween Spooktacular, Sexy Baby (Jeff Award Nomination – Best New Work), Lady X: The Musical (Jeff Recommended) and his new hit, The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes. His plays have been produced around the country. He has also worked as a songwriter/lyricist with Amazon Films on an animated project and as an actor with various theater companies throughout the city of Chicago. Cerda was recently inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for his contributions to Chicago theatre.

Becca Holloway (Co-Director) is thrilled to be working with Hell in a Handbag again after assistant directing Bewildered this past fall. Directing credits include: 44 Plays for 44 Presidents (Oil Lamp Theatre) and Buried in the Bahamas (Artistic Home). Becca has also had opportunities to work around Chicago and surrounding areas with: The Comrades, Refuge Theatre Project and Big Noise Theater. Stay tuned for her choreography in Brown Paper Box Co.'s Speech and Debate this February.

AJ Wright (Co-Director) is a proud ensemble member with Hell in a Handbag Productions. Directing credits with Handbag include: Caged Dames (Jeff Recommended), Christmas Dearest (Jeff Recommended), and Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer (2011 & 2012). Around Chicago, AJ has also had the pleasure of directing/assistant directing with Kokandy Productions, Pride Films and Plays and Waltzing Mechanics.  You may also recognize AJ from his work as an actor in Handbag’s Bewildered (Darrin G), The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Blanche), Rip Nelson’s Holiday Spectacular (Peggy Lennon), Sexy Baby (Kyle Kennedy) and SCARRIE (Tommy Ross).  AJ holds a degree in theatre from Ball State University.

About Hell in a Handbag Productions
Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit.

For additional information, visit

Friday, November 10, 2017

OPENING: The Belle of Amherst at Court Theatre Through December 3, 2017

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Court Theatre continues its 63rd Season with
The Belle of Amherst
By William Luce
Directed by Sean Graney
Featuring Kate Fry as Emily Dickinson 

November 2 – December 3, 2017

This Saturday, ChiIL Live Shows will be ChiILin' at a Court Theatre, a long time pillar of Chicago's theatre scene that's been around for an impressive 63 seasons! We looking forward to catching Court Theatre's next production, The Belle of Amherst, directed by one of our long time favorites, Sean Graney. Check back soon for our full review.

Under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Stephen J. Albert, Executive Director, presents The Belle of Amherst by William Luce, directed by Sean Graney and featuring Kate Fry as Emily Dickinson. The Belle of Amherst runs November 2 - December 3, 2017 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. 

Emily Dickinson's own original poems, diary entries, and letters welcome us into her Massachusetts home, where she shares snippets of joy and creation amongst the heartache of an isolated and misunderstood life. 

This 1976 play by William Luce offers a glance into the complex life of one of the most prolific poets of our time. Playwright and director Sean Graney returns to Court for the fourth time to direct The Belle of Amherst, with Kate Fry (Electra; Caroline, or Change) starring as Emily Dickinson.

"Sean Graney and I have been working on finding the perfect project to bring one of Chicago's most creative directors back to Court," notes Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. "The Belle of Amherst was a perfect combination of Sean's passion and our theatre's strengths, and we can't wait to see how the talented Kate Fry brings Emily Dickinson to life for our audiences this fall."

The creative team includes Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Samantha C. Jones (costume design), Mike Durst (lighting design), and Christopher M. LaPorte and Andre Pluess (sound design). The production stage manager is Amanda Weener-Frederick. 

About the Aritsts
WILLIAM LUCE (Playwright) wrote his Broadway and London success The Belle of Amherst for Julie Harris, who won her fifth Tony Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Emily Dickinson. For American soprano Renée Fleming, Luce wrote My Business Is To Love, which Fleming premiered in Lincoln Center and London’s Barbican Centre, with Harris and Bloom co-starring. Luce’s Broadway hit Barrymore starred Christopher Plummer as legendary John Barrymore. Plummer won a Tony Award for Best Actor. Barrymore’s UK production, titled One Helluva Life, starred Tony Award winner Tom Conti. For her portrayal of Isak Dinesen in Luce’s play Lucifer’s Child, Julie Harris received a Tony nomination. Harris also starred in Luce’s play Brontë, written for WGBH and Irish Television. The WGBH production won the Peabody Award and Columbia University’s Armstrong Award. Lillian, Luce’s Broadway play on Lillian Hellman, starred Tony Award actress Zoe Caldwell, with productions again in London and the Sydney Opera House. Luce’s play Bravo, Caruso! celebrated The Cleveland Play House’s 75th anniversary. Luce’s play Zelda starred Olga Bellin off-Broadway; later as The Last Flapper, the play starred Piper Laurie. Luce’s two plays, Chanel and Nijinsky, premiered at Parco Theatre in Tokyo. Luce’s Sound Portrait of William Shakespeare for NPR starred David Warner, David Dukes, Peter Donat, Arthur Hill, Julie Harris, Joan Hackett and Marian Mercer. Baptiste, Luce’s comedy about Moliére, premiered at Hartford Stage. Luce is twice a Writers’ Guild Award nominee for his CBS movies The Last Days of Patton and The Woman He Loved. To composer Henry Mollicone’s music, Luce wrote the libretti for two works: their new opera Gabriel’s Daughter, which premiered in Colorado; and A Rat’s Tale for orchestra, chorus and narrator, with its premiere in California. Their latest work for orchestra, chorus and soloists is Beatitude Mass.

SEAN GRANEY (Director) is the Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, a company he started in 1997. New York: Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses (The Flea; adapted and directed). Court Theatre: The Mystery of Irma Vep, The Comedy of Errors, and What the Butler Saw.  Chicago: The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore with The Hypocrites; American Repertory Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Goodman Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Steppenwolf for Young Audiences, Chicago Children’s Theatre. Regional:  Utah Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Awards: A year-long fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where he completed All Our Tragic, his 12-hour adaptation combining all 32 surviving Greek tragedies; participated in the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors, won four Joseph Jefferson Awards.

KATE FRY (Emily Dickinson) has performed in over a dozen productions at Court, most recently Electra and The Hard Problem. Other Chicago credits: Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Victory Gardens, Theatre at the Center, Marriott Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, and Candlelight Playhouse. Regional credits: McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ, Center Theatre Group in LA, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Lincoln Center. TV credits: Boss (Starz), Empire (Fox), and Chicago PD (NBC).  She received 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.

Regular Run: November 12 – December 3, 2017

Schedule: Wed & Thurs: 7:30 p.m.

Fridays: 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sundays: 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Location: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.

Regular Run: $50-$68
*Student, military, and senior discounts available.

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

Subscription Information
Five, four, and three play subscriptions to Court’s 2017/18 season range from $96 to $300 and are on sale now. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court’s website at Individual tickets for all shows will be available on August 1st. 

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.

FEST ALERT: Chicago Comedy Film Fest This Weekend

It's a big weekend for indy film in Chicago. Come in from the cold and enjoy a few laughs with these highlights of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival.

The Manny (29 Min) (USA) Pilot Saturday 12pm The New 400 Theater

Starring: Monty Franklin, Buddy Lewis, Pippa Black, Rob Schneider. A laissez faire Aussie surfer finds himself answering to Malibu's most desperate housewife after marrying her for a green card during a drunken night out.

For fans of Miranda, Outsourced

Something Out of Nothing (51 min) (Chicago) Saturday 1pm The New 400 Theater

Starring: Young talent at Chicago Public Schools, Deonna Griffin (The Second City Outreach Program) and Susan Messing (Messing with a Friend)

Art is as incredibly important aspect of society. However, not everyone has access to art programs or the means to express themselves through art. This film takes a look at an afterschool program that provides kids an opportunity to explore their talents in improv – and pays them a stipend upon completion.

For fans of Hoop Dreams and Waiting for Superman.

For the Love of George (89 Min) Saturday 8:30pm The New 400 Theater

Starring: Nadia Jordan , Rosanna Arquette, Rex Lee, Kristen Johnston

After moving to Los Angeles to get away from a cheating husband, Poppy attempts to have an encounter with George Clooney, the man of her dreams. After many failed attempts to meet him, she realizes that it isn't a new location or a handsome man she needs to make her happy, it's herself.
For fans of George Clooney, Serendipity, and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Love in Moreno Valley (80 Min) (United States) Saturday 3:30 pm The New 400 Theater

Starring: John Ennis.

James Watson is a high schooler who struggles with his self-image and budding sexuality in a Christian school that doesn't make things any easier for him. As he attempts find humor in his life and pursue his passions, he's constantly met with doubt and the hand of authority putting him down.

For fans of Super Bad and angsty teen movies where boys struggle to get girls.

Room for Rent (89 Min) (Canada) Friday 7pm The New 400 Theater

Starring: Bret Gelman, Mark Little, Stephanie Weir, and Carla Gallo.

After blowing through three and a half million dollars won in the lottery, a dead-ended Mitch devises a plan to rent a room from his parent's house to afford living expenses after his father takes an early retirement. hings start off great, but the new roommate proves to be weirder and weirder, landing Mitch in situations that spiral out of his control. In the end, Mitch has to confront more than just a bad living situation.

For fans of Step Brothers.
Bernard and Huey (90 Min) (United States) Friday 8pm The New 400 Theater

With a screenplay by legendary Oscar®- and Pulitzer-winning author and cartoonist Jules Feiffer (Mike Nichols’ “Carnal Knowledge,” Robert Altman’s “Popeye”), “Bernard and Huey” is a comedy about two old friends who reconnect after 30 years apart. The film features Feiffer's recurring characters Bernard and Huey, who first surfaced in the Village Voice in 1957 and made frequent appearances over the years in Voice and Playboy cartoons, a play, and a novel. Middle-age men behaving badly, former nebbish Bernard (Oscar®-winning screenwriter and actor Jim Rash of “Community”) and lothario Huey (David Koechner of “Anchorman”) still view women from the immature perspective of their undergrad selves (played in flashback by Jay Renshaw and Jake O’Connor). Those retrograde attitudes lead to complicated relationships with the women in their lives, who include Zelda (Mae Whitman of “Parenthood”) and Mona (Nancy Travis). “Bernard and Huey” is directed by award-winning filmmaker and Slamdance Film Festival co-founder Dan Mirvish, a Washington U. grad and SLIFF alum (his debut film “Omaha” and 2012’s “Between Us”).

Passes and tickets are now onsale at

OPENING: Teatro Vista's FADE at Victory Gardens Through 12/23/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Victory Gardens Theater Presents
By Victory Gardens Theatre Ensemble Playwright Tanya Saracho
Directed by Teatro Vista Ensemble Member Sandra Marquez
A Co-Production with Teatro Vista
In Association with CLATA

Fade features Teatro Vista Ensemble Member Eddie Martinez (Abel) and Sari Sanchez (Lucia).

November 4 – December 23, 2017

Tonight, ChiIL Live Shows will be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's Victory Gardens Theater for the press opening of Fade, a co – production with Teatro Vista, written by Tanya Saracho and directed by Sandra Marquez. We love it when our favorites play well together and we've enjoyed Victory Gardens and Teatro Vista's thought provoking productions for years. Can't wait to catch this collaboration. Check back soon for our full review.

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 43rd season with Fade runs November 4 – December 23, 2017 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

In this witty behind-the-scenes drama, Mexican-born Lucia is hired to write for a ruthless Hollywood TV series. She soon discovers that the Mexican American custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. Fade, directed by Sandra Marquez, is an acclaimed new play from Tanya Saracho (How to Get Away with Murder, Looking, Girls) whose writing “lands in that sweet spot between comedy and drama” (Chicago Tribune).

The creative team includes Regina Garcia (scenic design), Christine Pascual (costume design), Jesse Klug (lighting design), Victorio Delorio (sound design), and Mealah Heidenreich (properties). The dramaturg is Isaac Gomez and the stage manager is Tina M. Jach.

About the Artists
Tanya Saracho (Playwright) was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México. She is a playwright and Television writer who’s worked on How To Get Away With Murder, HBO’s Looking, Girls, and Devious Maids. Named “Best New Playwright” by Chicago Magazine in 2010, Saracho has had plays produced at: Primary Stages in NYC, 2nd Stage in NYC, Denver Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Saracho was named one of nine national Latino “Luminarios” by Café magazine and given the first “Revolucionario” Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art. She is the founder of Teatro Luna (the first all-Latina Theatre Company in the nation) as well as the founder of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists). She is currently in development STARZ and Big Beach Films and under commission with:  South Coast Repertory Theatre and Two Rivers Theatre. Tanya is proud SAG/AFTRA actor.

Sandra Marquez (Director) is an educator, actor and director who has worked at many theaters in Chicago and beyond including The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Victory Gardens, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Madison Repertory, Second Stage Theater in New York and the Getty Villa in CA. She is a longtime and proud member of Teatro Vista where she received a Jeff Award for her performance in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, and in 2016 she was thrilled to join the esteemed Steppenwolf Theater Company ensemble. Her film and TV credits include Chicago Med, Chicago Justice and Boss. She enjoys teaching and mentoring young people at Northwestern University where she is on the acting faculty.

Eddie Martinez (Abel) is an ensemble member of Teatro Vista in Chicago where he has been seen in Parachute Man and In the Time of the Butterflies among others. Select credits include: Fade (Denver Center, Cherry Lane, and TheaterWorks), Big Lake Big City, Cascabel (Lookinglass Theater); Our Lady of 121st Street(Steppenwolf); and Romeo y Julieta (Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Film/TV credits include: Sense8 (Netflix), Sirens (USA Network), Chicago Fire (NBC) and The Dilemma (Ron Howard). Eddie studied at Columbia College in Chicago.

Sari Sanchez (Lucia) is making her Victory Gardens debut.  Recent credits include In The Time Of The Butterflies (Teatro Vista), End Days (Windy City Playhouse), Tamer of Horses (Teatro Vista). Film & TV credits include: Signature Move, The Importance of Doubting Tom, Kill Game, “The Exorcist,” “Empire,” “Sirens,” and “Chicago Fire.”

Performance Schedule
Regular performances run November 11 – December 23, 2017: Tuesday — Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm.  Regular performances are $15-$56.

Victory Gardens has partnered with mobile theater ticketing app TodayTix to offer free tickets for the first preview of Fade. Free Tickets will be available via TodayTix mobile lottery, launching one week before the first preview on Friday, October 27, 2017. Winners will be notified by email and push notification between 12:00pm and 3:00pm on the day of the first preview, Saturday, November 4, 2017. 

Performances are at the Victory Gardens 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.

Public Programs
Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues within Victory Gardens Theater’s productions. 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.

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

Post-Show Town Hall
November 7 | Tuesday | 9:30 p.m.
In Fade, Lucia is white-passing: she is Mexican, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. Many people hold identities that lie underneath the surface in race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability. Still others wear their identities conspicuously on the outside. Join us after tonight’s performance of Fade for a town hall conversation challenging assumptions and breaking open the concept of passing.

Post-Show Conversation 
November 11 | Thursday | 9:30 p.m.
For decades, playwright Tanya Saracho and director Sandra Marquez have developed trust and friendship through their work together, collaborating as playwright-director and as playwright-actor. Join Tanya and Sandra as they give you an exclusive look into their collaboration over the years.

Free Post-Show Performance
November 16 | Thursday | 9:30 p.m.
Women made up just 29% of TV’s screenwriters and just 20% of Broadway’s playwrights last year. Latina writers are scarcely recognized in this field and as successful screenwriter and Fade playwright Tanya Saracho proves, it’s not for lack of skill. Join us for a pre-show celebration in the lobby with free drinks and pizza. Then, stick around after tonight’s performance of Fade for free post-show scenes written by collegiate Latinas and directed and performed by their peers from DePaul University, Loyola University, Northwestern University, and Columbia College.

Free Pre-Show Performance
December 1 | Friday | 5:30 p.m.
For a hilarious play about a woman screenwriter, Fade as a title holds a myriad of literal and symbolic meanings. What lies beneath the surface? Join dynamic Latinx spoken word poets from across Chicago for a free pre-show performance as they respond to the word FADE and what it means for them in their lives and in their work. 

Off-Night Conversation
December 4 | Monday | 6:30 p.m.
More and more, television showrunners and producers are looking for a playwrights’ touch in creating new shows. Programs like House of Cards, How to Get Away with Murder, The Exorcist, American Crime, and many more have working playwrights at the helm. What is the relationship between plays and the screen? How do writers navigate these worlds? Join Chicago-based playwrights and television writers in this off-night conversation event breaking down the realities of writing for the stage vs writing for the screen. 

Post-Show Performance & Celebration
December 8 | Friday | 9:30 p.m.
Join us for an epic evening of performances showcasing the breadth of Chicago’s Latinx performance and storytelling talent. This late-night celebration and party will have free food, compliments of Fiesta Mexicana, and delicious discounted beverages. Cabaret-style performance includes stand-up, performance art, music, dancing, theater, and more!

Accessible Performances: 
Word for Word (open captioning): Friday, November 17 at 7:30pm, Saturday, November 18 at 3pm, and Wednesday, November 22 at 2pm

ASL Interpreted: Friday, November 17 at 7:30pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, November 17 at 7:30pm 
(Touch tour at 6pm), Sunday, November 26 at 3pm (Touch tour at 1:30pm)

Victory Garden Major Season Support: Allstate, Alphawood Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Exelon, Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Ihe Joyce Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Prince Charitable Trust, The REAM Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency

Playwright’s Society Sponsors: Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll and Emrys Ingersoll

17/18 Women’s Series Major Production Sponsors: Janice Miller

17/18 Women’s Series Production Sponsors: Doris Conant, Marcelle McVay and Dennis Zacek, Jeffrey Rappin and Penny Bron, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation

Travel Sponsor: Southwest Airlines

About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels, 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. 

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, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Shubert Foundation, The REAM Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Exelon, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Edgerton Foundation, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, and Illinois Arts Council Agency. Additional funding is provided by: Lloyd A. Fry Foundation,The McVay Foundation, Field Foundation of Illinois, Prince Charitable Trusts, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Susan Payne/Metropolitan Capital Bank & Trust, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Association, Alliance Bernstein, Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Foods, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Mayer Brown LLP,  Roberta Olshansky Charitable Fund, Origin Ventures, Seabury Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Italian Village Restaurants, and Whole Foods Market.

About Teatro Vista
Teatro Vista produces, develops and commissions plays that explore the wealth and variety of the human experience from a Latinx perspective. The company provides work and professional advancement opportunities for Latinx theater artists, with special emphasis on the company’s ensemble members, and seeks to enhance the curricular goals of Chicago students through theatre. Teatro Vista was recently celebrated as one of “Chicago’s Cultural Leaders” by the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and received the League of Chicago Theatre’s Artistic Leadership Award.

Teatro Vista is supported by The Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago, The Shubert Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance and The Saints.

For more information, visit, on Twitter (@TeatroVista), Facebook and Instagram.

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