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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

OPENING: World Premiere of Immigrant Stories, DON’T LOOK BACK/MUST LOOK BACK Via Pivot Arts 10/20-11/19

Pivot Arts Presents the World Premiere of
DON’T LOOK BACK/MUST LOOK BACK
Conceived by Julieanne Ehre
Written by Tanya Palmer
Directed by Devon De Mayo
October 20 – November 19, 2017

 (left to right) Jin Park, Ashlyn Lozano and Phyllis Liu 
Photo by Austin D. Oie.


Pivot Arts is pleased to present the world premiere of DON’T LOOK BACK/MUST LOOK BACK, a site-specific performance experience in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, conceived by Julieanne Ehre, written by Tanya Palmer, directed by Devon de Mayo and devised by an ensemble of actors and designers. Audience members are taken on an immersive journey inspired by the stories and experiences of Uptown residents, many of whom came to Uptown as refugees. 

DON’T LOOK BACK/MUST LOOK BACK will play October 20 – November 19, 2017 in various Uptown locations starting at the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, 1016 W. Argyle St. The intimate performance experience is limited to 16 audience members per show. Tickets, priced at $35, are currently on sale at pivotarts.org/events/.

DON’T LOOK BACK/MUST LOOK BACK will feature Christopher Acevedo, Samantha Beach, Lucy Carapetyan, Phyllis Liu, Sarah Lo, Ashlyn Lozano, Edward Mawere and Jin Park.

The performance is inspired by stories of escape and loss from local residents who fled their countries and arrived here to make Uptown their home – and the systems and people that they’ve encountered along the way. Blending movement, images and storytelling, Don't Look Back/Must Look Back brings audiences into the experience of making a home in a place where everything is unfamiliar and the sands are constantly shifting beneath your feet. 

The performance also features images from documentary artist James Bowey’s exhibit “When Home Won’t Let You Stay,” a portrait of refugees in America and their stories of hope and perseverance in the face of violence and loss. For additional information, visit https://jamesbowey.atavist.com/home. 

“Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back continues Pivot Arts’ initiative to create site-specific performances where audiences participate in unique experiences,” comments Pivot Arts Director Julieanne Ehre. “Last year’s The Memory Tour took audiences on a journey through memory and Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back uses a similar format. Audiences will have the opportunity to experience the lives of local residents and refugees while moving through various locations.” 

The production team includes Patricia Nguyen (associate director), John Blick (production manager), James Bowey (video and photographs), Connor Ciesil (sound designer), kClare  McKellaston (costume designer), Justine B. Palmisano (stage manager), Giau Truong (lighting and installation designer) and Sammy Ziesel (assistant director). 


(front right) Ashlyn Lozano with (back, l to r) Jin Park, Phyllis Liu, Christopher Acevedo, Samantha Beach, Lucy Carapetyan and Edward Mawere 
Photo by Austin D. Oie.


Location: Begins at Chinese Mutual Aid Association, 1016 W. Argyle St.
Dates: Previews: Friday, October 20 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Friday, October 27 – Sunday, November 19, 2017
Curtain Times: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: $35.Tickets are currently available at pivotarts.org/events/.

A special event held on Sunday, October 22 at 5:30 pm at 1027 W. Argyle St. includes a discussion with lead artists on DON’T LOOK BACK/MUST LOOK BACK along with an opportunity to learn more about the work of Chinese Mutual Aid Association and other local organizations who serve refugees. More information can be found at pivotarts.org/events/.

DON’T LOOK BACK/ MUST LOOK BACK is funded in part by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with major in-kind support from Chinese Mutual Aid Association.

About the Artists
Julieanne Ehre is the founder and the director of Pivot Arts. She both leads the organization and curates performances including the Pivot Arts Festival, Live Talk series and conceived/directed The Memory Tour. She was the NEA/TCG New Generations “Future Leaders” Fellow at the Goodman Theatre, where she served as producer on Latino Festival, New Stages Series and conceived of and produced the Goodman’s Artists Talk series. Julieanne served as a delegate to the Santiago a Mil Festival in Chile and the ITI World Theater Congress in Xiamen, China through Theater Communications Group and was the co-chair of the Arts and Culture Committee for Chicago’s 48th Ward. As the Artistic Director of Greasy Joan & Co. for five years, she directed and produced critically acclaimed and premiere adaptations of classic plays and worked as a freelance theater director. Ehre holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Tanya Palmer is a dramaturg and playwright. Her plays include Body Talk, Fatherland, Barbra Live at Canyon Ranch, Spring and Trash and The Memory Tour, and have been developed or produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Hangar Theatre, Solar Stage, the Montreal Fringe Festival, The Harbourfront Centre, HERE and Pivot Arts, where she is an Artistic Associate. She is a member of MC-10, a newly formed Playwrights Collective in residence at the Greenhouse Theater Center. Her work has been published by Smith & Kraus, Samuel French and Playscripts, Inc. She is the Director of New Play Development at Goodman Theatre, where she coordinates New Stages, the theater’s new play program, and has served as the production dramaturg on a number of plays including the world premieres of 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, adapted and directed by Seth Bockley and Robert Falls; Smokefall by Noah Haidle, The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Hudes and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Prior to her arrival in Chicago, she served as the director of new play development at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she led the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. She is the co-editor, with Amy Wegener and Adrien-Alice Hansel, of four collections of Humana Festival plays, published by Smith & Kraus, as well as two collections of 10-minute plays published by Samuel French. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, she holds an MFA in playwriting from York University in Toronto.

Devon de Mayo is a director, devisor and teacher. Most recently, she directed Harvey at Court Theatre. Other directing credits include: You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Sycamore (Raven Theatre), Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre), You Can't Take it With You at (Northlight Theatre), Jet Black Chevrolet (side project), Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre), Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next Theatre); An Actor Prepares (University of Chicago); and Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler and Clouds (Dog & Pony). Directing and devising credits include: Guerra: A Clown Play, a collaboration with Mexico City based artists La Piara (performances in Mexico City, Chicago, New York, Bogota, Albuquerque and Madrid); The Whole World is Watching (Dog & Pony Theatre Co. with Chicago Park District), Infiltrating Bounce (San Antonio Luminaria Festival), The Twins Would Like To Say (Dog & Pony at Steppenwolf Theatre), As Told by the Vivian Girls (Dog & Pony). In 2015, she served as Resident Director under Stephen Daldry for The Audience on Broadway. Devon also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, Loyola University and the University of Chicago. She received her MFA in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University in London.

About Pivot Arts
Pivot Arts produces and presents contemporary and multi-disciplinary performance. They develop new work and present performances throughout the year culminating in a multi-arts festival. Their vision is that of a vibrant community where unique collaborations between artists, businesses and organizations lead to the support and creation of innovative performance events.

CASTING ANNOUNCED: Lookingglass Theatre Company's 30th Anniversary Season

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

The 30th Anniversary Season includes Hard Times,
adapted and directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman from the book by Charles Dickens
in Association with The Actors Gymnasium;
the World Premiere of Plantation! written by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas,
directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer;
and the World Premiere of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas,
adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low from the books by Jules Verne,
directed by Ensemble Member David Kersnar



Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we're absolutely elated about Lookingglass Theatre Company's upcoming season. Save the dates! Many of our top favorite directors and actors are back, to bring these stellar stories to life. With the highly anticipated return of Hard Times and two world premiers, this season is one to watch for sure. We're especially excited for the season opener, adapted and directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman from the book by Charles Dickens. We missed the earlier incarnation of this award-winning, circus-infused Hard Times and can't wait to catch it. 

Hard Times is presented in association with The Actors Gymnasium, another top favorite of ours. My teens have each been cast in 3 youth circus shows there over the past few years, and they also spent last summer in a 6 week summer lab intensive at Lookingglass, culminating in an incredible original show created by all the teens involved. We're huge fans of their professional productions and their education and outreach as well. Chicago is lucky to have them!





Lookingglass Theatre Company announces complete casting 
for its 2017–2018 Season lineup. 

The season begins with the return of the award-winning, circus-infused Hard Times, adapted and directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman from the book by Charles Dickens and in association with The Actors Gymnasium. Following Hard Times is the World Premiere of Plantation!, written by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas and directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer. Concluding the 2017-2018 Season is the World Premiere of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, adapted by Ensemble Member David Kersnar and Althos Low from the books by Jules Verne. Kersnar also directs this new work. Subscriptions to Lookingglass’ 2017-2018 season are on sale now and may be purchased through the box office at (312) 337-0665 or lookingglasstheatre.org/subscribe.

The Lookingglass 2017–2018 Season up close:

Hard Times
Adapted and Directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman
From the Book by Charles Dickens
In Association with The Actors Gymnasium
October 4, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Press Opening: October 14, 2017

Returning to Hard Times are Ensemble Members David Catlin (returning to the role of Stephen and Sleary), Raymond Fox (returning to the role of Mr. Gradgrind, Sissy’s Father and Slackbridge), Louise Lamson (in the role of Rachael, Mrs. Gradgrind and Scherezade through 12/17) and Artistic Associate Troy West (returning to the role of Mr. Bounderby). The cast also includes Artistic Associate Atra Asdou (Rachael, Mrs. Gradgrind and Scherezade beginning 12/19), with Audrey Anderson (Sissy), Amy J. Carle (Mrs. Sparsit, Drunk Woman and Pufflerumpus), Raphael Cruz (Bitzer and Le Papillon), Cordelia Dewdney (Louisa), Marilyn Dodds Frank (returning to the role of Mrs. Pegler), Nathan Hosner (Mr. Harthouse, Mr. M’Choakumchild and Kidderminster) and JJ Phillips (Tom).

The creative team includes Ensemble Members Daniel Ostling (scenic) and Mara Blumenfeld (costumes), with Artistic Associates Brian Sidney Bembridge (lighting), Andre Pluess (sound) and Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi (circus/choreography). Additional creative team members include Amanda Herrmann (props), Isaac Schoepp (rigging), Eva Breneman (dialect) and Jeri Frederickson (stage manager).

Lookingglass launches its 30th Season with the return of the award-winning, circus-infused Hard Times.

A Dickensian carnival of characters inhabits the streets of smoke-choked Coketown: grim Mr. Gradgrind’s school churns out joyless students; poor Stephen Blackpool toils in the nearby mines; and mill-owner Mr. Bounderby, full of bluster and bombast, presides over it all. Only when a traveling circus alights nearby, and young orphan Sissy Jupe enters their world, does a ray of hope shine through.

Artistic Director Heidi Stillman adapts and directs this timeless love-letter to the power of beauty, hope, and imagination. 



World Premiere
Plantation!
Written by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas
Directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer
February 21 - April 22, 2018
Press Opening: March 3, 2018

Plantation! features Ensemble Member Louise Lamson (Kimberly) and Artistic Associate Ericka Ratcliff (Sydney), with Hannah Gomez (Diana), Lily Mojekwu (London), Linsey Page Morton (Kara), Tamberla Perry (Madison), Grace Smith (Kayley) and Janet Ulrich Brooks (Lillian).

The creative team includes Courtney O’Neill (scenic), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (costumes), Artistic Associates Christine A. Binder (lighting) and Rick Sims (sound and composition), with Amanda Herrmann (props), Eva Breneman (dialect) and Ari Clouse (stage manager).

Look who’s coming to tea…

A Texas matriarch, bless her heart, discovers that the history of the ancestral home is, well…complicated. When she reveals the news to her Southern Belle daughters, tempers rage hotter than the devil’s armpit and pandemonium runs amok on the pristine plantation…and that’s before the other set of sisters arrive.

Ensemble Member and playwright Kevin Douglas (Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure) returns with a sharp pen and sharper wit to slash into America’s thorniest underbrush and most enduring conundrum. Ensemble Member David Schwimmer directs this World Premiere black (and white) comedy. 



World Premiere
20,000 Leagues Under the Seas
Adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low
From the Books by Jules Verne
Directed by Ensemble Member David Kersnar 
May 23 – August 19, 2018
Press Opening: June 2, 2018

20,000 Leagues Under the Seas features Ensemble Members Kareem Bandealy (Captain Nemo) and Thomas J. Cox (Gideon Spillet/J.B. Hobson) with Artistic Associates Walter Owen Briggs (Ned Land) and Kasey Foster (Professor Aronnax). The cast also includes Owais Ahmed (Harbert), Joe Dempsey (Farragut), Glenn-Dale Obrero (Neb/Mr. Drax) and Lanise Antoine Shelley (Conseil).

The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (scenic), Sully Ratke (costumes), Artistic Associates Christine A. Binder (lighting) and Rick Sims (sound and composition), with Amanda Herrmann (props) and Mary Hungerford (stage manager).

When a terrifying sea monster is spotted off the coast, renowned scientist Professor Aronnax and fellow explorers set out to investigate. They soon find themselves kidnapped and held under the command, and spell, of the mysterious Captain Nemo. As they circle the globe aboard the most advanced submarine the world has never seen, they confront giant squids, bizarre sea creatures, and the monsters that lurk below…and within.

Adapted from Jules Verne’s epic adventure exploring the murky perils of the seas, Ensemble Member David Kersnar invites you to board the Nautilus and “Dive! Dive! Dive!” into this Lookingglass World Premiere.

Subscriptions
Subscriptions are on sale for the 2017–2018 Season. Performances will be held at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.

Subscribers can choose between a 3-play subscription, the Gglasspass program, or for those under 35, the Madhatter’s Club. For the 2017–2018 Season, 3-play subscriptions range from $116–$170.

The Gglasspass is a flex pass available to all ages. For $150, Gglasspass holders receive 3 tickets that can be used in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2017–2018 Season.

The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is available to those 35 or younger. The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is $75 and includes 3 tickets that members can use in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2017-2018 season.

Subscription benefits include access to the best seats in the house, pre-sale opportunities and savings before single tickets go on sale to the general public, special perks at restaurant partners, unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking at the nearby John Hancock Center, Water Tower Place and Olympia Centre Garage, reduced tuition for Lookingglass’ renowned classes and summer camps, and access to exclusive subscriber-only events. For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit lookingglasstheatre.org.

About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 30th season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company has staged 64 world premieres, received 144 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations, and work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Louisville and St. Louis. Lookingglass original scripts have been produced across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago's landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003. In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.

Lookingglass Theatre Company continues to expand its artistic, financial and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel Kraft, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Connectivity and Engagement Director Andrew White, Interim Managing Director Michele Anderson, a 24 member artistic ensemble, 23 artistic associates, an administrative staff and a dedicated board of directors led by Chairman John McGowan and President Nancy Timmers. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.

Applications Accepted Through 9/25 For Goodman Theatre's BOOT CAMP FOR EARLY-CAREER ARTS JOURNALISTS

GOODMAN THEATRE ANNOUNCES 
“CRITICISM IN A CHANGING AMERICA,” 
A BOOT CAMP FOR EARLY-CAREER ARTS JOURNALISTS, OFFERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH 
THE NEW STAGES FESTIVAL


***APPLICATIONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE AT GOODMANTHEATRE.ORG; DEADLINE TO APPLY IS SEPTEMBER 25***

Goodman Theatre invites emerging theater writers and critics to apply for its new “boot camp” intensive experience—“Criticism in a Changing America”—designed to develop journalists’ understanding of how plays live in the wider context of contemporary issues. Held in conjunction with New Stages, the Goodman’s 14th annual festival of new plays, the training includes workshops, keynotes, panels, readings and staged productions. Participants experience the boot camp in pairs, to encourage discourse and divergent perspectives. Early career journalists from educational institutions and community media are invited to apply. “Criticism in a Changing America” is presented in a two-part series, October 5-7 and October 13-14 at Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn). Applications are due September 25 and are now available at Goodmantheatre.org/criticsbootcamp; writing samples required. “Criticism in a Changing America” is funded through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

“Given the recent controversies surrounding theatrical productions in New York and here in Chicago, we strongly recognize the need for the empowerment of a diversity of critical voices,” said Walter Director of Education and Engagement Willa J. Taylor. “With the launch of our intensive, we hope to be part of the solution by providing an opportunity to discuss the nature of criticism in our changing society—and what is lost, or missing, for the arts and audiences when there is not a diversity of critical voices.” 

“Criticism in a Changing America” continues Goodman Theatre’s decade-long dedication to cultivating new critical voices—an effort begun with the Cindy Bandle Young Critics (CBYC) program, which is designed to introduce young women to the world of theater and field of journalism. The young critics attend bi-monthly Saturday workshops in the Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement, where mentors assist help them develop a critical voice and hone professional journalism skills. CBYC participants also interview Goodman artists and staff members for feature stories and attend press opening nights. For more information, visit GoodmanTheatre.org/Engage.

Last week, Goodman Theatre announced the lineup of its 14th annual New Stages Festival—a celebration and discovery of new work by some of the country’s finest established and emerging playwrights. Over the course of three weeks (September 20 – October 8), the annual festival offers Chicago theatergoers a first look at eight new works, completely free-of-charge.

“The New Stages Festival is always exciting because the plays are grappling with issues in real time that impact our lives in real and visceral ways,” said Tanya Palmer, Goodman’s Director of New Play Development. “The Criticism In a Changing America initiative is a perfect way to bring critics and theater-makers together to think about the unique role theater can play in tackling the challenges we all face.”

New Stages 2017 features three developmental productions (fully staged and performed in repertory), including: Lottery Day by Ike Holter, a new work that weaves together characters from Holter’s acclaimed previous plays Exit Strategy, Sender and more; Continuity by Bess Wohl, a comic look at a female director’s attempts to bring climate change to the forefront of a Hollywood blockbuster; and Twilight Bowl by Rebecca Gilman, a tender look at two young women facing very different futures. Four staged readings appear during the final weekend of the festival (“Professionals Weekend”), including: Eden Prairie, 1971 by Mat Smart, the story of a young draft dodger returning home; How to Catch Creation by Christina Anderson, an ode to the art of creating; The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona by José Rivera, a supernatural tale of a woman’s attempt to communicate with her deceased twin; and We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time by David Cale, a musical reflection of the playwright’s childhood. Plus a sneak peek at an immersive work-in-progress—POSTNATION conceived by Mikhael Tara Garver, an exploration of immigrants’ roles in the creation of the U.S. Postal Service.

Since New Stages’ 2004 inception, more than 70 plays have been produced as a developmental production or staged reading. Nearly half of these plays were authored by playwrights of color and/or authored by female playwrights. More than one-third of all plays developed in New Stages have received a world premiere production at the Goodman or another leading U.S. theater.

About Goodman Theatre
America’s “Best Regional Theatre” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres in the past three decades), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh ). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this season, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.

Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Cynthia K. Scholl is Women’s Board President and Justin A. Kulovsek is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

LAST CALL: SPAMILTON at The Royal George is Closing 10/8/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED CHICAGO PRODUCTION OF 
“SPAMILTON” 
AT THE ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE MUST CLOSE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8 

After a Seven-Month Run in Chicago, “Spamilton” Premieres in Los Angeles November 12

Kenaz-Mara 2017

Don't miss your chance to keep a souvenir "Playkill"!
A big favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows is leaving Chicago,
so catch it while you can.

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we highly recommend Spamilton. This show is more of an irreverent roast of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the whole Broadway musicals genre than a parody of Hamilton in particular, though it does include brilliantly funny lyric rewrites of Hamilton tunes. Both of my teens adored it as much as I did, and we all laughed early and often throughout the show. It's fabulously funny and exceeded all our expectations.



If you're looking for something to entertain the tough to please teen demographic, Spamilton is a good bet. This is also a fun find for a date night or multigenerational entertainment. If you're searching for a show as funny to the kids as it is to the grandparents, Spamilton is nearly 90 minutes of non stop fun. They keep the sets and costumes minimalist and two of the sisters are puppets, but the over the top creative writing, fabulous vocals, and heartfelt hilarity is more than worth the admission. There's not a bad seat in the place, as the Royal George cabaret space is intimate. There's also a convenient bar, right at the back of the seating. 

This wickedly witty and wonderful production is an absolute must see for anyone familiar with Hamilton and/or Broadway musicals. Don't miss this!

 Check out our full review and more show info HERE then GO already.




The producers of “Spamilton,” the critically acclaimed parody of “Hamilton,” announced an October 8 closing date for the Chicago run at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted). Created by Tony Award honoree Gerard Alessandrini, the mastermind behind “Forbidden Broadway,” “Spamilton” officially opened in Chicago on March 12 to rave reviews, with Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times calling “Spamilton” an “altogether brilliant, hilarious, cliché-demolishing send-up of ‘Hamilton,’” Chris Jones of Chicago Tribune noting “You really don’t want to miss ‘Spamilton,’” and Barbara Vitello of the Daily Herald exclaiming the show is “deliciously silly. The laughs come fast and furious!” The all-Chicago “Broadway ready” (Chicago Sun-Times) cast includes Becca Brown, Aaron Holland, Adam LaSalle, Yando Lopez, Gabriel Mudd and David Robbins. Original cast members include Donterrio Johnson, Michelle Lauto and Eric Andrew Lewis.

The final tickets for “Spamilton” are available now. The final performance takes place Sunday, October 8 at 5 p.m. Tickets ($59 – $99) can be purchased at the Royal George Theatre’s box office online, at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 312.988.9000.  

“After seven great months in Chicago here at the Royal George with our talented local cast, we feel very lucky to have been so well-received for so long,” said Alessandrini. “While it’s bittersweet to be leaving the Windy City, we’re thrilled about the next steps for ‘Spamilton,’ including continuing our open run in New York and opening the Los Angeles production in November.”

“Spamilton,” which was initially scheduled in New York as an exclusive 18-performance off-Broadway engagement, has extended three times and is now playing its seventeenth smash month of an open engagement at the 47th Street Theatre in the heart of New York’s Theatre District. The New York production earned rave reviews across-the-board, with Ben Brantley of The New York Times calling it “smart, silly and convulsively funny!” and Lin-Manuel Miranda exclaiming “I laughed my brains out!” In its Chicago premiere, the local cast received additional acclaim, with critics hailing the production “endlessly entertaining” (Performink), “A Must-See!” (BroadwayWorld.com), and “razor sharp and filled with wit and humor” (Chicago Theatre Review). On opening night, cast members from the Chicago production of “Hamilton” were in the audience, and following the performance Wayne Brady called the production “Amazing! It’s the perfect blend of funny and parody. Go see ‘Spamilton!’ This fall, “Spamilton” makes its West Coast debut at the Kirk Douglas Theatre with Center Theatre Group November 5 – December 31, 2017.



In addition to Alessandrini, the creative team includes Gerry McIntyre (Choreography), Dustin Cross (Costume Design), Milo Blue (Scenic Design), Andy Kloubec (Lighting Design), Matt Reich (Sound Design), Jamie Karas (Prop Design), Leah Munsey-Konops (Wig Design), Fred Barton (Musical Director), and Richard Danley and Fred Barton (Musical Arrangements).

“Spamilton” is produced in Chicago by John Freedson, David Zippel, Gerard Alessandrini, Margaret Cotter and Liberty Theatricals, in association with JAM Theatricals. Brandon Kinley and Keirsten Hodgens are the understudies for the production.

The performance schedule for “Spamilton” is as follows: Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. For additional details, visit Ticketmaster.com or TheRoyalGeorgeTheatre.com.

For more information, visit Spamilton.com.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

OPENING: All-Woman Cast Stage Suffragette Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare 9/16-11/12/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

All-woman cast takes on Shakespeare's 
raucous comedy 
The Taming of the Shrew
Staged by Barbara Gaines, 
September 16–November 12, 2017


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines stages Shakespeare’s raucous comedy The Taming of the Shrew with a powerhouse, all-woman cast—setting up a witty and thought-provoking debate on politics, power, and love. Framed as a performance by a band of Suffragettes with additional dialogue by Second City’s Ron West, The Taming of the Shrew launches Chicago Shakespeare’s 2017/18 Season in the Courtyard Theater, September 16–November 12, 2017.

This concept makes my feminist heart proud. I can't wait to check out this version of The Taming of the Shrew in the capable hands of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines! We'll be out for the press opening so check back soon for our full review. 

The year is 1919 and, amidst suffrage marches in Chicago, a women’s theater troupe is convening to rehearse their upcoming comedy: The Taming of the Shrew. In the play, fortune-seeking suitors compete for the hand of the demure Bianca, but her father has decreed that her fiery and tempestuous sister Katherine must first wed. Petruchio takes on the task of wooing and winning her—and so begins the notorious battle of wits. Along the way, the Suffragettes re-examine the characters in Shakespeare’s story, as well as their own status as women in society.

“There is a supreme power in reclaiming this story to be told by women, particularly now,” Director Barbara Gaines notes. “Looking at this play through a woman’s eyes brings the play’s themes into sharp focus with wit, wisdom, and humor, and sheds new light on Shakespeare’s characterizations of both men and women, and their relationships. These women are wickedly smart, and strong—and they will not be tamed.”


Each actress in the ensemble cast performs dual roles: as one of the suffragettes presenting the play, and as a character in their performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Leading the company are Alexandra Henrikson (Mrs. Louise Harrison/Katherine) and Crystal Lucas-Perry (Mrs. Victoria Van Dyne/Petruchio). Henrikson appeared on Broadway in Larry David’s Fish in the Dark and was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for her role in Ironbound at Round House Theatre. Lucas-Perry performed off Broadway in Storm Still: A King Lear Adaptation, and in Lincoln Center’s Bull in a China Shop. Olivia Washington (Mrs. Emily Ingersoll/Bianca) appeared off Broadway as Laura in The Glass Menagerie; and on film in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Robert De Niro’s The Comedian.

Six-time Jeff Award-winner E. Faye Butler (Dr. Fannie Emmanuel/Baptista) has appeared in multiple national touring productions (Mamma Mia!, Ain’t Misbehavin, Nunsense), and on stages from coast to coast, including The Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Signature Theatre. Hollis Resnik (Miss Judith Smith/Gremio) is a twelve-time Jeff Award-winner, including a win for her performance as Carlotta in Chicago Shakespeare’s Follies. She has also appeared in the national touring casts of Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Jeff Award-winner Heidi Kettenring (Mrs. Dorothy Mercer/Tranio) returns to Chicago Shakespeare in her eighth production, after having appeared in the Tug of War saga, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The School for Lies. Tina Gluschenko (Mrs. Beatrice Ivey Welles/Hortensio) was a member of CST’s collaboration with the Second City: Hamlet the Musical, which later played in New York at Ars Nova. Other Chicago credits include Candide and A Little Night Music at the Goodman Theater. Kate Marie Smith (Mrs. Olivia Twist/Lucentio) appeared in Chicago Shakespeare’s productions of King Charles III and Twelfth Night, and on Chicago Fire.

Rounding out the cast are Lillian Castillo (Mrs. Lucinda James/Biondello), Cindy Gold (Mrs. Sarah Willoughby/Vincentio), Ann E. James (Mrs. Elizabeth Nicewander/Pedant), Rita Rehn (Mrs. Mildred Sherman/Grumio), and Faith Servant (Mrs. Barbara Starkey/Curtis).

Ron West creates additional dialogue for the production, setting the Suffragette’s story alongside Shakespeare’s play. West’s illustrious career spans over two decades, having written for shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, as well as serving as a writer and associate artistic director at The Second City. West previously collaborated with Gaines on The Comedy of Errors in 2008, which garnered Jeff Awards for Best Production and Best Adaptation. West also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for The Second City’s Romeo and Juliet Musical: The People vs. Friar Laurence, The Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, which had a wildly popular run at Chicago Shakespeare in 2005.

Joining Barbara Gaines on the creative team are Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Costume Designer Susan Mickey. Depinet returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where he has designed more than a dozen productions, including most recently Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Heir Apparent, and Sense and Sensibility. Jeff Award-winning designer Mickey is best known for her sumptuous and playful costumes—exemplified in her previous CST designs for Shakespeare in Love, Sense and Sensibility, and The School for Lies. Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie completes the character’s looks with period hairstyles. Lighting Designer Thomas Hase is a veteran designer for international opera and theater stages, including the 2006 Broadway revival of Company. David van Tieghem, who most recently worked on CST’s Measure for Measure, leads the production’s sound design. Completing the creative team are Rinska Carrasco as Assistant Director and Kevin Gudahl as Verse Coach.

For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/shrew.

The Taming of the Shrew will be presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, September 16–November 12, 2017. Single tickets are on sale now for $48–$88 (subject to change). Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. The Taming of the Shrew will have an Audio-described performance on Sunday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. (with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.); Open-captioned performances on Thursday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and an ASL Duo-interpreted performance on Friday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m.

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



OPENING: Northlight Theatre's 43rd Season Begins With Chicago Premiere of The Legend of Georgia McBride 9/14-10/22/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Northlight Theatre opens its 2017-2018 season with
the Chicago Premiere of
The Legend of Georgia McBride
By Matthew Lopez
Directed by Lauren Shouse
September 14-October 22


Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the Chicago Premiere of The Legend of Georgia McBride, written by Matthew Lopez, directed by Lauren Shouse. The Legend of Georgia McBride runs September 14-October 22 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie.

A down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator has an overdrawn checking account and a baby on the way. When a drag show takes over the entertainment at the Florida Panhandle bar where he performs, he’ll also be out of a job…unless he’s willing to step into some high heels. This heartwarming, music-filled comedy celebrates the unexpected path to finding your true voice.

“When Lauren Shouse brought The Legend of Georgia McBride to my attention, I could immediately see that it was fun, uplifting, musical, and written by one of our favorite authors, Matthew Lopez, who also wrote The Whipping Man,” comments BJ Jones. “It's a piece about outsiders who gradually bring us into their family—a family who celebrates our identities, our freedom, our uniqueness and our commonality. And this central notion is the vital message we need to hear right now in an atmosphere of dissonance, intolerance and hate.”

The cast of The Legend of Georgia McBride includes Sean Blake (Miss Tracy Mills), Keith Kupferer (Eddie), Jeff Kurysz (Rexy/Jason), Nate Santana (Casey) and Leslie Ann Sheppard (Jo). 

The creative team includes Chris Carter (Choreography), Richard and Jacqueline Penrod (Scenic Design), Rachel Laritz (Costume Design), JR Lederle (Lighting Design), Kevin O’Donnell (Sound Design). The production stage manager is Rita Vreeland.

Northlight’s production of The Legend of Georgia McBride is supported in part by Bob and Lisa Silverman.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Director Lauren Shouse is ​the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Northlight Theatre. Her local directing credits include Betrayal at Raven and work at Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, Route 66, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left Theatre. Prior to moving to Evanston, Lauren was Artistic Associate at Nashville Rep.

LAUREN SHOUSE (Director) is the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Northlight. ​In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Lookingglass, R​ivendell, Sideshow, Route 66, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left. Her recent directing credits include: ​Betrayal at Raven; Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Rep​ertory Theatre; Eurydice and In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play at Northwestern's Wirtz Center; Long Way Down with 3Ps productions; Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; Rear Window at Chaffin's Barn Theatre; and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. A​s Artistic Associate at ​Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University. ​www.laurenshousedirects.com ​

This production of The Legend of Georgia McBride marks the second collaboration with playwright Matthew Lopez and Northlight Theatre. His first play, The Whipping Man, was produced by Northlight in their 2012-2013 season.

MATTHEW LOPEZ (Playwright) is the author of The Whipping Man, one of the most widely-produced American plays of the last decade. The Legend of Georgia McBride premiered at the Denver Center and then produced in New York by MCC and in Los Angeles at the Geffen Playhouse. Other plays include Somewhere (Old Globe, world premiere), Reverberation (Hartford Stage Company, world premiere), The Sentinels (London’s Headlong Theatre Company) and Zoey’s Perfect Wedding (upcoming world premiere at the Denver Center, 2018). Matthew holds commissions from Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, The Geffen Playhouse and Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Matthew was a writer on the HBO series The Newsroom and is currently writing the biopic Dr. Q for Disney.


About his diverse body of work, playwright Matthew Lopez comments, “They’re all about home, creating home and family — either blood family or manufactured family. 'Georgia McBride’ is about a group of people who don’t really fit in anywhere else. I call them my misfit toys, and they build a home together at the bar.

SEAN BLAKE (Miss Tracy Mills) returns to the Northlight stage where he was seen in Everything’s Ducky, A Civil War Christmas and Grey Gardens. Broadway/National tours: Showboat (1st National - Dance Captain/Swing) and Showboat (Australia - Assoc. Choreographer). Regional: The Great Society and The Little Foxes (Asolo Rep); Smokey Joe’s Café (Drury Lane); Animal Crackers (Baltimore Centerstage); The Story, Purlie, Ain't Misbehavin, The Rose Tattoo and Bounce (Goodman); Porgy and Bess (Jeff Nomination - Best Supporting Actor) and Raisin (Court); Carousel (Court and Long Wharf Theatre); Birdie Blue (Seattle Rep); Nobody (Alabama Shakespeare); Timon of Athens (Chicago Shakespeare); and  Hot Mikado (Fulton Opera). Sean can be heard on the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince's Bounce. He is a recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Actor for his solo performance in Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis Jr. Story written by Tim Rhoze.

KEITH KUPFERER (Eddie) Theater credits include Cat Fee and The Old Neighborhood (Northlight); The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice and Men, Carter's Way, Men of Tortuga, Things Being What They Are, and Jesus Hopped The A Train (Steppenwolf); The Humans (American Theatre Company); Support Group for Men, God of Carnage, High Holidays, Passion Play, and The Old Neighborhood  (Goodman); Hillary and Clinton, Never the Sinner, and Appropriate (Victory Gardens); The Mystery of Love and Sex, A Streetcar Named Virginia Wolf  (Writers); Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare);  Execution of Justice (About Face); and Desire Under The Elms (Court). Screen credits include Widows, The Dilemma, Dark Knight, Public Enemies, The Express, Stranger than Fiction, Road to Perdition, Fred Klaus, Better Call Saul, Shameless, Betrayal, Empire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire among others.

JEFF KURYSZ (Rexy/Jason) is so thrilled to be making his Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare); Support Group for Men (Goodman); Romeo and Juliet (Backroom Shakespeare Project); Julius Caesar (Brown Paper Box Co.); As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing (The Arc Theatre); Year of the Rooster and R+J: The Vineyard (Red Theater); Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista); One Came Home (Lifeline); All My Sons (Eclectic Theatre Co.); and Amadeus (Boho Theatre). Regional credits include Richard III, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre). Television credits include Crisis (NBC). Mr. Kurysz is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.

NATE SANTANA (Casey) makes his Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include SS! Romeo and Juliet and SS! Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare); Marvin’s Room (Shattered Globe); Ironbound (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Balm in Gilead and Golden Boy (Griffin); White Tie Ball, Momma’s Boyz (Teatro Vista); Comrades Mine (City Lit); The Rainmaker (BoHo); The Merchant of Venice, (First Folio); What Happened When and Slipping (the side project). Television credits include Chicago PD and The Exorcist. Nate is a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista and an artistic associate with Shattered Globe. He has been nominated for two Jeff Awards and is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf. He received his BA from Valparaiso University.

LESLIE ANN SHEPPARD (Jo) returns for her second Northlight production. She was last seen as Bessie in Eclipsed. Chicago theatre credits include Rosalind in As You Like It (First Folio); Pauline in Cinderella (Hypocrites); Bart in Mr. Burns (Theater Wit); Maddie in The Hundred Dresses and Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Tree, Lost Boys of Sudan and The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens); Harriet Jacobs (Steppenwolf) and House with No Walls (TimeLine). Regional/touring credits: Fall of the House (Theatre Squared), Julius Caesar (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Othello’s Furies (Chicago Fringe Festival), and Gershwin’s Magic Key (Classical Kids/Kennedy Center). TV credits: Chicago Fire (NBC), Mob Doctor (FOX). She is a former Artistic Director of The Suitcase Shakespeare Company, an Ensemble Member of The Hypocrites and represented by Gray Talent Group.

The Legend of Georgia McBride received its world premiere at Denver Center Theatre, with subsequent productions at the MCC Lucille Lortel Theatre and the Geffen Theater in LA.


The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (September 19 and October 17 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except October 11) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except September 16) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (September 17 and October 8 only).

Tickets:                  
Previews: $30-$57
                                
Regular run: $30-$81
                             
Student tickets are $15, any performance
(subject to availability)

Box Office:              
The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.
847.673.6300; northlight.org


Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production.  All events are free. 

Backstage with BJ: The Legend of Georgia McBride
September 8 at 12:00pm 
at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL
Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal.  Backstage with BJ for The Legend of Georgia McBride will be held on September 8 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour. Event is free but reservations are required. Visit https://northlight.org/events/backstage-with-bj/ to reserve your spot.

Inside Look: The Legend of Georgia McBride
October 5 at 2:00-3:00pm
at Evanston Public Library
1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston, IL
Explore the context of the play, The Legend of Georgia McBride, through a discussion and a Q&A session with panelists related to the production.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community. 

Now entering its 43rd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 202 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 34 Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality. 

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.

OPENING: World Premiere of Sylvester Via Lifeline Theatre 9/18-8/29/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Lifeline Theatre Presents the World Premiere of 
Sylvester, 
Opens September 18

Performance with Touch Tour and Audio Description 
on September 30
Performances with Open Captioning 
on September 30 and October 27 

**The production runs approximately two hours with one intermission. The novel will be on sale in the lobby.**



(L to R) Andrés Enriquez as Sylvester Rayne and Samantha Newcomb as Phoebe Marlow; in Lifeline Theatre’s production of “Sylvester,” adapted by Christina Calvit, directed by Dorothy Milne, based on Sylvester: or the Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer. Photos by Suzanne Plunkett.

We'll be ChiILin' on Chi, IL's north side next weekend, for the press opening of yet another world premiere. We're quite excited to see Lifeline Theatre's latest, Sylvester, based on Georgette Heyer's novel. 

Lifeline Theatre presents Sylvester, adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Christina Calvit (five-time Jeff Award winner) and directed by Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne (Jeff Award and After Dark Award winner), based on the novel Sylvester: or the Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer (licensed by arrangement with Heron Enterprises Ltd.). 

Sylvester, Duke of Salford, was born with wealth and good looks, but a life of privilege has rendered him unfeeling towards others. Phoebe Marlow was graced with a sparkling wit and independent spirit, but languishes under the thumb of her domineering stepmother. When this mismatched couple is thrust together by their meddling families, both rebel and their tidy little worlds spin into chaos. Midnight flights, desperate sea voyages, and scathing society hijinks ensue as these unlikely lovers labor to avoid their fate. Grab the reins and charge headlong into a topsy-turvy tale of madcap romance in this world premiere comedy based on the 1957 novel by Georgette Heyer.

Sylvester runs September 8 – October 29 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see below). Press opening is Sunday, Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. Opening night is Monday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, Sept. 8 and 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sept. 9 and 16 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m.) 

Regular performance times (September 21 – October 29) are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 for regular single tickets, $30 for active and retired military personnel (with ID), $30 for seniors, $20 for students (with ID), $20 for rush tickets (available half hour before show time, subject to availability), and $20 for previews. Group rate for 12 or more is available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting www.lifelinetheatre.com. 

Accessible Performances: The Saturday, Sep. 23, 4 p.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 2:30 p.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. The Saturday, Sep. 30, 4 p.m. performance and the Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. performance will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Erica Foster at 773.761.4477 x703 or at access@lifelinetheatre.com.

 The complete cast and production team for Sylvester includes: 

CAST: Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Katie McLean Hainsworth (Lady Ingham & ensemble); with guest artists Terry Bell (Tom & ensemble), Andrés Enriquez (Sylvester Rayne), Kristina Loy (Ianthe Rayne & ensemble), Samantha Newcomb (Phoebe Marlow), Tiffany Oglesby (Lady Marlow & ensemble), Wesley Scott (Sir Nugent & ensemble), and Sean Sinitski (Lord Marlow & ensemble). With understudies Christopher Causer and Jennifer Cheung. 

PRODUCTION TEAM: Lifeline Theatre ensemble members Christina Calvit (Adaptor), Alan Donahue (Scenic & Properties Designer), and Dorothy Milne (Director); with guest artists Kyle Bricker (Stage Manager), Carrie Hardin (Dialect Coach), Lavina Jadhwani (Casting Director), Jennifer McClendon (Production Manager), Curtis Edwin Powell (Sound Designer), Joe Schermoly (Technical Director), Rachel Sypniewski (Costume Designer), and Eric Watkins (Lighting Designer).

Lifeline Theatre is accessible by CTA (Red Line Morse stop/busses) and free parking is available at Sullivan High School (6631 N Bosworth Ave, lot located on Greenview Ave. just south of North Shore Ave.) with free shuttle service before and after the show.  Street parking is also available. Lifeline is accessible to wheelchair users and visitors who need to avoid stairs.



Now in its 35th season, Lifeline Theatre is driven by a passion for story. Our ensemble process supports writers in the development of literary adaptations and new work, and our theatrical and educational programs foster a lifelong engagement with literature and the arts. A cultural anchor of Rogers Park, we are committed to deepening our connection to an ever-growing family of artists and audiences, both near and far. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close.

Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by Alphawood Foundation; A.R.T League Inc.; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Chicago CityArts, a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; The Common Cup; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Grover Hermann Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; Illinois Humanities Council; Lagunitas Brewing Co. Community Grant Program; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The PAV Grant Fund; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Poubelle Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of Renaissance Charitable Foundation; Rogers Park Social; The Saints; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

OPENING: Fun Home To Kick Off Victory Gardens Theater's 43rd season 9/19-11/12

Victory Gardens Theater presents
Fun Home
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron
Directed by Gary Griffin


September 19 – November 12, 2017

We had the great pleasure of catching the Broadway touring production of Fun Home. Now we can't wait to see Victory Gardens Theater's take on this 5 time Tony award winning show, including Best Musical! We'll be out to review the last week of September. 

Victory Gardens Theater begins its 43rd season with Fun Home, with music written by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics written by Lisa Kron and directed by Gary Griffin. Fun Home runs September 19 – November 12, 2017, with the press performance on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at 7:30 pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Hailed as one of Broadway's most original musicals and the winner of 5 Tony Awards, Fun Home is a groundbreaking story inspired by Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. In this intimate musical, Alison sets out to unravel the many mysteries of her childhood through a series of memories and conversations – from her coming out to her moving journey to acceptance. Gary Griffin (Hand to God, Never the Sinner) directs this emotionally charged family drama that The New York Times calls “extraordinary,” and “a rare beauty.”

Fun Home features McKinley Carter (Helen Bechdel), Preetish Chakraborty (John Bechdel), Danielle Davis (Joan), Leo Gonzalez (Christian Bechdel), Sage Elliott Harper (Small Alison), Stella Rose Hoyt (Small Alison), Rob Lindley (Bruce Bechdel), Joe Lino (Roy/Mark/Pete/Bobby Jeremy), Danni Smith (Alison) and Hannah Starr (Medium Alison).

"We are thrilled to give a home to Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori's timeless and moving new musical about our modern American family: estranged fathers, graphic novels, and queer sensibilities," commented Artistic Director Chay Yew. "I'm also elated that director Gary Griffin is returning to Victory Gardens to helm this Chicago production, making it a unique theatrical experience for our audiences."





Previews: September 19 - 26, 2017

Regular run: September 28 – November 12, 2017

Schedule: Tuesdays - Fridays: 7:30pm 
Saturdays: 3:00pm; 7:30pm
Sundays: 3:00pm

Accessible
Performances: Word for Word (open captioning) Friday, October 6 at 7:30pm; Saturday, October 7 at 3:00pm; Wednesday, October 11 at 2:00pm.  

ASL Interpreted Friday, October 6 at 7:30pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour Friday, October 6 at 7:30pm, Sunday, October 15 at 3:00pm 

Location: Victory Gardens Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, 
in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood

Tickets: Previews: $15 - $54 
Regular run: $15 - $75

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.
773.871.3000; www.victorygardens.org.



About the Artists
Jeanine Tesori (Music) For Broadway: Fun Home (2015 Tony Award winner); Violet; Caroline, or Change; Shrek the Musical; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Twelfth Night (LCT); John Guare’s A Free Man of Color. Delacorte: Mother Courage (starring Meryl Streep). Opera: A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass); The Lion, the Unicorn and Me (libretto, J.D. McClatchy; Washington National Opera). Her songs are featured in the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls. She is the artistic director/co-founder of A Broader Way, an arts empowerment program for girls from underserved communities; the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center; and a lecturer in music at Yale University and Columbia University. Ms. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Lisa Kron (Book and Lyrics) has been writing and performing theater since coming to New York from Michigan in 1984. Her work has been widely produced in New York, regionally, and internationally. Her play Fun Home, a musical written with composer Jeanine Tesori and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, earned her 2 Tony Awards in 2015, for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score (with Jeanine Tesori); the show also won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Other plays include The Ver**zon Play, which premiered 2012 Humana Festival; In The Wake which received Lortel and GLAAD Media Award nominations, was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, named a “Best Play of 2010” by TimeOut and Backstage, and was included in the Best Plays Theater Yearbook 2010-2011; Well, which premiered at the Public Theater, was named a “Best Play of 2004” by the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Newark Star Ledger, Backstage, and the Advocate, included in the Best Plays Theater Yearbook of 2003-2004, and moved to Broadway where both she and Jayne Houdyshell received Tony nominations for their performances. 2.5 Minute Ride, which had its New York premiere at the Public Theater, received OBIE, L.A. Drama-Logue, New York Press, and GLAAD Media Awards, and continues to be performed by Lisa and others all over the world;101 Humiliating Stories, which received a Drama Desk nomination for its PS122 premiere and was a part of Lincoln Center’s 1993 “Serious Fun!” performance series. Lisa is a founding member of the legendary OBIE and Bessie Award-winning collaborative theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers whose plays, Oedipus at Palm Springs, Brave Smiles, Brides of the Moon and The Secretaries have all been produced by their theatrical home, New York Theatre Workshop, and have been performed widely throughout the country both by the Brothers and by other companies. Their plays are published by T.C.G. in the anthology, “Five Lesbian Brothers/Four Plays” and also by Samuel French. Lisa has received playwriting fellowships from the Lortel and Guggenheim Foundations, Sundance Theater Lab, the Lark Play Development Center, and the MacDowell Colony, the Cal Arts/Alpert Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and grants from the Creative Capital Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts. She was a resident playwright at the American Voices New Play Initiative at Arena Stage. As an actor, Lisa’s professional career as began in 1983 when Michael Kahn chose her as member of the ANTA Company, which toured three plays in rep for a season. Since then she has acted in her own plays and the plays of the Five Lesbian Brothers, and also seen in such productions as the Foundry’s Good Person of Szechwan at LaMama, The Normal Heart at the Public Theater, Spain at M.C.C., and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, at NYTW. Lisa is a member of Actors Equity and serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Gary Griffin (Director) Victory Gardens Theater: Hand to God, Never the Sinner, Appropriate. London: Pacific Overtures (Donmar Warehouse, Olivier Award, Best Musical Production and Olivier Nominee, Best Director). Broadway: Honeymoon in Vegas, The Color Purple. Off-Broadway: Saved (Playwrights Horizons); The Apple Tree, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pardon My English, The New Moon (Encores). Regional: Antony and Cleopatra, Camelot, West Side Story (Stratford Festival); work at McCarter, Alliance, Hartford Stage, Signature, Kansas City Rep., The Muny. Chicago: Road Show, Gypsy, Sunday in the Park With George, Follies, Amadeus, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Merry Widow, The Mikado, Oklahoma (Lyric Opera of Chicago); The Detective’s Wife, Loot (Writers Theatre). Associate Artistic Director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 10 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Directing.

Preetish Chakraborty is in 8th grade and has been trained in Indian classical vocal music since age 6 and was the 2nd runner up in the very popular Indian singing reality show Saregamapa Lil Champs by Zee TV (in Mumbai, India). He has done several stage shows in many cities in the US as well as in India.  Preetish has been a member of the Young Naperville Singers boys choir and he was recently offered admission in the prestigious American Boychoir School in Princeton, NJ after his performance with them. 

Leo Gonzalez makes his first professional on-stage debut with Fun Home. Leo is 13-years-old from Oak Park, Illinois. He is actively involved in the BRAVO! Performing Arts Academy at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School and has performed in multiple musical theater shows under the direction of Tina Reynolds.  

Sage Elliott Harper makes her Victory Garden Theater debut. Sage’s recent credits include Mary Poppins (Jane Banks at Mercury Theater as well as at Night Blue Theater), Seussical (Jojo at Marriott), Billy Elliott (Keeley Gibson at Drury Lane), The Christmas Schooner (Marie Claire at Mercury Theater), Les Misérables (Young Cosette at Drury Lane), Ruthless (Big Noise), as well as local productions of Annie (Annie at Winnetka Children’s Theater), and Les Misérables (Young Cosette at New Trier High School).  

Stella Rose Hoyt makes her debut with Victory Gardens Theater. She is a 5th grade student at Clark Middle School and has been singing Broadway tunes since she was three. Recent credits include Molly in Theatre at the Center's production of Annie Warbucks, Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden at the Drama Group Theatre, and Young Cosette in Les Misérables. Stella recently filmed a commercial for McDonald's and is represented by Gray Talent Group.  
Rob Lindley makes his Victory Gardens Theater debut. He has been seen on stage at About Face Theatre (The Tempermentals), Northlight (Funnyman), Goodman (Candide), Asolo Rep (My Fair Lady), Court Theatre (Carousel, James Joyce’s The Dead, Caroline or Change, Secret Garden, and Angels and America: Part 1 & 2), Writers’ Theatre (Bach at Leipzig, and Oh Coward! – which won Rob a Jeff Award for Best Actor in a Revue). Rob directed the Off-Broadway and National Tours of 50 Shades: The Musical! and many productions for Porchlight Music Theatre including Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Far From Heaven, and How to Succeed in Business… Rob also directs many star-studded gala concerts for many organizations including the annual Chicago Sings!, concerts for Porchlight and the Flory concert for the Chicago Humanities Festival. Rob’s vocal trio Foiled Again has two recordings available on iTunes and other online outlets, “Foiled Again: Live” and “Blanket of Winter.”

Danni Smith recently appeared as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at Theatre at the Center. Other Chicagoland theater credits include Bridges of Madison County, Mamma Mia, Man of La Mancha, and City of Angels (Marriott Theatre); A Christmas Story: The Musical  and Mamma Mia (Paramount Theatre); Chess (Porchlight Music Theatre); The Wild Party, See What I Wanna See, and Violet (Bailiwick Chicago); Jesus Christ Superstar, Always Patsy Cline, Passion, and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre); Romeo and Juliet, Comedy of Errors, Richard III, and Twelfth Night (Lakeside Shakespeare); Macbeth and Henry VIII (Illinois Shakespeare Festival). She stars in indie feature film The Gateway. Danni is a graduate of Ball State University and has been honored with four Joseph Jefferson Awards. She is co-founder of women-focused musical theatre company Firebrand Theatre. 

Hannah Starr is a performer, writer, and artist originally from Eau Claire, WI. Most recently Hannah played the Emcee in No Stakes Theatre Project’s production of Cabaret and last fall was seen as Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at pH Comedy Theater. Hannah’s solo show, BOOMBOX, premiered last December at The Beat Lounge at the Second City Training Center, where she is now known as “that girl who always carries around that old boombox”. She is a member of 99 Problemz: Chicago’s Improvised 90’s Sitcom and performs improv and sketch comedy regularly throughout the city. She’s a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, The Conservatory at The Second City Training Center, and has trained at the MacPhail School of Music, iO, Brave New Workshop, and HUGE Improv Theater. 

Production Sponsor: Merle Reskin
Playwright’s Society Sponsor: David and Loren Chernoff


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

Travel Sponsor: Southwest Airlines 



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 www.victorygardens.org.  Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram at instagram.com/victorygardenstheater/

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

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