Tuesday, January 31, 2017

OPENING: Teatro Vista Presents the World Premiere of The Wolf at The End of The Block at Victory Gardens

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

JANUARY 28-MARCH 5, 2017

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've thoroughly enjoyed Ike Holter's works so far, and his unique vision, so we're eager to check out this world premiere. We will be out for the press opening, so check back soon for our full review.

Chicago. Fall. One night, a boarded up bar on the dark side of the block becomes a terrifying crime scene. 
In the next 48 hours, the neighborhood digs deep 
into escalating mystery, working against time to separate fact from fiction. 
But as the clock ticks down, the clues spiral into a razor sharp jigsaw, 
and what began as a simple mystery 
quickly twists into a personal, pointed and political thriller.  

That's the highly charged set-up for the newest work by acclaimed Chicago playwright Ike Holter, author of such contemporary hits as Hit the WallExit Strategy and Sender.
Teatro Vista, Chicago's leading Latinx professional company, commissioned The Wolf at The End of The Block, and will present its world premiere January 28 through March 5, 2017 at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater. 

Teatro Vista Ensemble members Sandra Márquez and Gabriel Ruíz, along with Bear Bellinger, James D. Farruggio and Ayssette Muñoz will star in Holter's in-the-moment exploration of racial profiling, media manipulation and family relationships. 

Ricardo Gutiérrez, Teatro Vista Executive Artistic Director and director of The Wolf at The End of The Block, says "get ready for a riveting new, full-length play from one of Chicago's hottest young playwrights The story is set in Chicago and has five characters, three of which are Latino. Holter's play is brutally raw, funny and deftly pierces universal truths."

The production team for The Wolf at The End of The Block includes Milo Bue (set), Uriel Gómez (costumes), Diane D. Fairchild (lights), Erik Backus (sound) and Jamie Karas(props). Stage manager is Stephanie Hurovitz.

Teatro Vista will debut The Wolf at The End of The Block in the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens, located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue at the historic Biograph Theater in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. 

Previews are Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, January 29 at 3 p.m., and Wednesday through Thursday, February 1-3 at 7:30 p.m.

Opening Night is Saturday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. 

Performances run through March 5: Thursday through Saturday at 
7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. 

Preview are $20. Performances are $25-$30. Student tickets are $15. Senior tickets are $18. Up to 20 Early Bird tickets are available on a first come, first served basis for $18. Use code EARLYBIRD. 

For tickets and information on group rates, visit, call the Victory Gardens box office, (773) 871-3000, or visit Tuesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, 12 p.m. to 
6 p.m., or Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Metered, street and valet parking is available near the Biograph. The theater is easily accessed on the CTA Red, Purple and Brown lines via the Fullerton stop. The CTA 8 Halsted and 74 Fullerton buses also stop at Fullerton and Halsted, 1/2 block south of the theater. For more information, visit

Behind the scenes of  
The Wolf at The End of The Block

Playwright Ike Holter's work has been produced at The Steppenwolf Garage, A Red Orchid, The New Colony and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding member and resident writer. He's received fellowships and commissions from the Goodman Theater, the Kennedy Center and The Playwrights Center. His show Hit the Wall played at Steppenwolf Garage, Off-Broadway at The Barrow Street Theater in New York, and recently enjoyed an extended run at the Lily Tomlin Center in L.A. Jackalope Theatre premiered his play Exit Strategy which played to sold-out houses and transferred to Michigan's 3 Oaks Theater Festival. It was produced at Philadelphia Stages and transferred Off Broadway to Primary Stages last spring. His most recent play Sender was a smash hit last season for A Red Orchid. Holter was named the "Chicagoan of the Year in Theater 2014" by the Chicago Tribune. His monologues have been published in The New Yorker and several editions of Applause Books. He was recently named one of Victory Gardens' newest ensemble playwrights.

Teatro Vista Executive Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez (director) most recently staged the company's 2016-17 season opener, Mando Alvarado's Parachute Men, also the inaugural production of the Latina/o Theatre Commons' new El Fuego Initiative. Other Teatro Vista directing credits include In The Time of the Butterflies, Between You, Me & The Lampshade, A View From The Bridge, Momma's Boyz, i put the fear of mexico in 'em and La Mágica Posada. He is co-founder of the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists of Chicago (ALTA), a service organization dedicated to promoting and fostering Latinx theatre artists in Chicago. As an actor, Gutiérrez just returned from performing Destiny of Desire at South Coast Repertory, which will be remounted in March at the Goodman Theatre. He also appeared in In The Heights at the Paramount and in the world premieres of Song For The Disappeared and Fish Men at the Goodman. He has performed on stage at the Actors Theatre in Louisville, Denver Center Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens and Lookingglass Theatre. TV credits include Chicago PD, Sirens and Boss. Before joining Teatro Vista, Gutiérrez served as the artistic director of Nosotros in Los Angeles and The Canterbury Theatre in Indiana.

Meet the cast
Gabriel Ruiz (Abe) is a graduate of the DePaul Theatre School and a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista. Chicago credits include White Tie Ball for Teatro Vista, Singin' in the Rain and City of Angels at Marriott, Man in the Ring and Agamemnon at Court Theater, Arcadia and Company at Writers' Theatre, The Upstairs Concierge at Goodman Theater, Creditors at Remy Bumpo Theater, How Long Will I Cry?, Motherfucker with the Hat and The Way West at Steppenwolf, Sita Ram for the Chicago Children's Choir, Working: The Musical at The Broadway Playhouse, Richard III at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Arabian Nights at Lookingglass Theater. Regional credits include Native Gardens at The Cincinnati Playhouse, Harvey at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them at Forward Theater Company and Blood and Gifts at The Lincoln Center in New York. He can also be seen as Dilip Singh in both seasons of Boss on the Starz Network.

Sandra Marquez (Frida) is an actor, director and educator, as well as a longtime ensemble member and former Associate Artistic Director (1998-2006) of Teatro Vista. Earlier this season she played Clytemnestra in Court Theater's production of Electra. Last spring she joined the ensemble of Steppenwolf Theater where she most recently appeared in the world premiere of Mary Page Marlowe by Tracy Letts. As an actor Marquez has worked at respected venues in Chicago and beyond including the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Madison Repertory and New York's off-Broadway house, Second Stage Theater, Uptown. Next summer she will play Clytemnestra in Iphigenia at Aulis for the remount of Court's production at the Getty Villa in California. Film and TV credits include The Big Bang Theory, Chicago Code, Boss, Chicago Med and Timer. She has been a member of the theater faculty at Northwestern University since 1995. As a director, Marquez' credits include Teatro Vista's production of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner by Luis Alfaro and the critically acclaimed production of Our Lady of the Underpass by Tanya Saracho, which went on to receive a Jeff nomination for best production. More recently she directed Manana Comes (Chicago premiere) by Elizabeth Irwin (Teatro Vista), and Men on the Verge of Hispanic Breakdown by Guillermo Rodriguez (Pride Films and Plays).

James D. Farruggio (James) has performed in Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird (Steppenwolf for Young Adults), Show Boat (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Bethany, Streamers, Stop/Kiss, The Ruby Sunrise, Suicide, Incorporated, Northwest Highway; Oh, The Humanity (and other exclamations), Almost Maine, Vigils and Broadsword as well as Ten.2012, Ten.2013 and Ten.2014 (The Gift Theatre), The Kentucky Cycle (Infamous Commonwealth Theatre) and Stage Door (Griffin Theatre). Film and television credits include APB, Batman Dark Knight, The Beast, Prison Break, Crisis, Chicago PD and The Playboy Club.

Ayssette Muñoz (Miranda), selected by the Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones as one of 2015's "Top 10 Hot New Faces of Chicago Theatre," is an artistic associate at Teatro Vista, where her credits include Maria Teresa in In the Time of the Butterflies, Amparo in Between You, Me & The Lampshade, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Catherine in A View from the Bridge. Other local credits include Adriana in The Comedy of Errors (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival), Hope in Urinetown (Thirteen O'Clock Theatre), Juliet (u/s) in Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Marisol in the staged reading of Marisol (Goodman Theater Latino Festival), and an episode of Chicago PD.  

Bear Bellinger (Nunley) is making his Teatro Vista debut. He has been seen in Chicago productions with The Inconvenience, The Hypocrites (The Adding Machine), Chicago Children's Theatre (Mr. Chickee's Funny Money), Paramount Theatre (Miss Saigon) and Court Theatre among others. 

More about Teatro Vista's 2016-17 season

Following The Wolf at The End of The Block, Teatro Vista's season finale is the world premiere of La Havana Madrid, a theatrical, cinematic and musical history of Latinx Caribbeans in Chicago by ensemble member Sandra Delgado. Fellow ensemble member Cheryl Lynn Bruce directs Delgado's immersive documentary theater experience, complete with live music, based on the true story of the 1960's Chicago nightclub, La Havana Madrid. Previews begin April 14. Press opening is Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. Performances run through May 21.

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 theatre 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's primary focus is producing new works by Latinx theatre artists and presenting classic plays featuring artists of color. Its artistic vision is shaped by the company's ensemble members, a group of multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi-disciplinary artists. They inform Teatro Vista's artistic aesthetic by devising original works as well as by selecting plays with themes that are engaging and relevant to Chicago's diverse population.

Teatro Vista founded in 1990 by Edward Torres and Henry Godinez. As Teatro Vista's first Artistic Director, Godinez guided the company during the formative years. He helped stage successful productions and establish vital relationships with other theatre companies and artists. When Godinez stepped down, Torres was appointed Artistic Director. Under Torres' direction, Teatro Vista used the stage to engage, connect and challenge audience members using the company's mission as his guide. In 2012, Torres moved to New York and the Board of Directors promoted longtime Associate Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez to the position of Executive Artistic Director.

In addition to Gutiérrez, Teatro Vista ensemble members include Charín Álvarez, Max Arciniega, Desmín Borges, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ramón Camín, Ivonne Coll, Laura Dahl, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernández, Khanisha Foster, Erik Juárez, Jon Lyon, Sandra Márquez, Joe Minoso, Christina Nieves, Marvin Quijada, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Gabriel Ruíz, Cecilia Suarez and co-founder Edward Torres. 

Teatro Vista's Board of Directors includes Ezequiel "Zeek" Agosto, President; Rodrigo García and Rosanna Márquez, Vice Presidents; Joan Pantsios, Secretary; Tom Vega-Byrnes, Treasurer; and Bhuvana Badrinathan, José Antonio Cruz, Edgar Delgado, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Yolanda Hardy and Kareem Mohamednur.

Teatro Vista is supported by The Joyce Foundation, 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, TheGaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation and The Saints.

Purple Group and Cumberland Irving are Teatro Vista's Headline Season Sponsors. Teatro Vista is a Victory Gardens Resident Theater.

OPENING: Straight White Men at Steppenwolf

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

FEBRUARY 2 – MARCH 19, 2017


Steppenwolf Theatre Company welcomes internationally acclaimed playwright and director Young Jean Lee this winter as she directs the Chicago premiere of her play, Straight White Men. The fearless and entertaining play features ensemble member Alan Wilder as the patriarch, Ed, who welcomes home his three sons—Madison Dirks (Jake), Ryan Hallahan (Drew) and Brian Slaten (Matt) for the holidays. Elliott Jenetopulos plays the role of Stagehand-in-charge through March 4; Syd Germaine will take over the role from March 5 – 19. 

Previews begin February 2, 2017 (press performances are Saturday, February 11 at 3pm and Tuesday, February 14 at 7:30pm; opening night is Sunday, February 12) and the show runs through March 19, 2017 in the Upstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St). Tickets ($20 - $89) are available through Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or

As Ed, a widower, prepares to celebrate Christmas, he calls his three grown sons back to the family home. Games are played, Chinese food is ordered, and brotherly pranks and trashtalk distract them from the ongoing issue that threatens to ruin the festivities: when personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do?  Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father/son play narrative, shedding new and often hilarious light on a story we think we know all too well.

Director and playwright Young Jean Lee shares, “Straight White Men isn’t about me trying to reveal anything new about privilege or solve it. It’s about me asking myself, ‘If I woke up tomorrow as a straight white man, what would I do?’ I think that as a straight white man, I probably wouldn’t feel so righteous about my personal journey of conquering obstacles to get what I want. Straight White Men is about what happens when that hero’s-journey narrative falls apart."

Young Jean Lee is Korean-American playwright, director and filmmaker. She has written and directed ten shows in New York with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company, and toured her work to more than 30 cities around the world. Straight White Men premiered at the Public Theatre in 2014 to critical acclaim. Hailed by The New York Times as “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation,” Young Jean Lee is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN Literary Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a Doris Duke Artist Residency. Her first short film, Here Come the Girls, was presented at The Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and BAMcinemaFest.
The Straight White Men production team includes David Evans Morris (scenic design), Enver Chakartash (costume design), Sarah Hughey (lighting design), Jamie McElhinney (sound design) and Chris Giarmo (original music and composition). Additional credits include Laura Glenn (stage manager), Christine D. Freeburg (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director), and Jonathan Berry (artistic producer).

About the Cast
Alan Wilder, an original ensemble member, has appeared in more than 60 Steppenwolf productions, including Steppenwolf’s current world premiere of Erika Sheffer’s The Fundamentals (through Dec 31, 2016). Madison Dirks was last seen in Steppenwolf’s production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which later transferred to Broadway. Ryan Hallahan makes his Steppenwolf debut in this production, and was last seen in Jackalope’s production of Octagon. Elliott Jenetopulos, who originated the role of Stagehand-In-Charge in the premiere of Straight White Men at The Public Theater in 2014, makes their Steppenwolf debut in this production. Syd Germaine also makes their Steppenwolf debut with this production and was last seen in Julius Caesar at Writers Theatre. Brian Slaten, who previously performed the role of Matt in the Center Theatre Group production, also directed by Young Jean Lee, joins the Chicago cast in the same role.

Tickets & Production Info
Single tickets are available at 312-335-1650 or Previews: $20 – $54 and Regular Run: $20 – $89. Prices subject to change. Rush Tickets: half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: a limited number of $15 student tickets are available online. Limit 2 tickets per student; must present a valid student ID for each ticket; Group Tickets: all groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance throughout the season;

Flex Card Memberships: Black Card memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility with six tickets for use any time for any production. Black Card ticket credits are valid for one year with the option to add additional tickets as needed. Perks include easy and free exchanges, access to seats before the general public, savings on single ticket prices and bar and restaurant discounts for pre- and post-show socializing. Red Card memberships are available for theatergoers under 30.  To purchase a Card Membership, visit Audience Services at 1650 N Halsted St, call 312-335-1650 or visit

Steppenwolf offers a gift that is never boring—the Steppenwolf Black Card. An all-access pass with six tickets to any shows, anytime. To purchase, visit or 312-335-1650.

Accessible performances include an American Sign Language interpretation on Sunday, February 26 at 7:30pm, Open Captioning on Saturday, March 4 at 3pm, and a Touch Tour on Sunday, March 12 at 1:30pm touch tour, Audio-Described performance at 3pm. For more information, visit

Curtain times are Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm; Wednesday matinees at 2pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm.

Steppenwolf’s 2016/17 Season continues with the Chicago premiere of Straight White Men, written and directed by Young Jean Lee (February 2 – March 19, 2017); the world premiere of Linda Vista by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by Dexter Bullard (March 30 – May 21, 2017); and the Chicago premiere of Hir by Taylor Mac, directed by Hallie Gordon (June 29 – August 20, 2017); and an additional summer show, Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu (June 1 – July 9, 2017).

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is the nation’s premier ensemble theater—redefining the landscape of acting and performance. Formed by a collective of actors in 1976, the ensemble has grown to 46 members who represent a remarkable cross-section of actors, directors and playwrights. Thrilling and powerful productions from Balm in Gilead to August: Osage County—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards—have made the theater legendary. Steppenwolf produces hundreds of performances and events annually in its three spaces: the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat 1700 Theatre. Artistic programing includes a seven-play season; a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; Visiting Company engagements; and LookOut, a multi-genre performances series. Education initiatives include the nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf for Young Adults, which engages 14,000 participants annually from Chicago’s diverse communities; the esteemed School at Steppenwolf; and Professional Leadership Programs for arts administration training. Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks serves coffee, cocktails and a menu curated in partnership with the Boka Restaurant Group day and night. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and David Schmitz is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

OPENING: World Premiere of Faceless at Northlight Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Northlight Theatre continues its 2016-17 season with 
the World Premiere of
By Selina Fillinger
Directed by Artistic Director BJ Jones

January 26 – March 4, 2017

ChiIL Live Shows will be out for the press opening, so check back soon for our full review. We're looking forward to this all too timely production and the vital dialogue it can spark.

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the World Premiere of Faceless, written by Selina Fillinger and directed by BJ Jones Faceless runs January 26 – March 4, 2017 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. 
Eighteen-year-old Susie Glenn is on trial for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, and recent Harvard Law grad and practicing Muslim, Claire Fathi, has been brought on to prosecute. Though pitted against one another in the courtroom, these two young women are fighting a similar battle to defend their morals, motives and religious freedoms in this riveting and timely new drama.

“It's amazing how much more potent Selina Fillinger's play has become since I read the first draft over a year ago. The sense of anger, of fear, of dismay is palpable,” comments BJ Jones. “Selina has captured a moment as timely as any of the other new works we have produced in the last few seasons. We are excited to give her fresh new voice and keen vision this opportunity here at Northlight.”

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.

Show Times:
Tuesdays: 7:30pm (January 31 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except February 22) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except January 28) and 8:00pm; Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (January 29 and February 26 only)

Regular run: February 4 – March 4, 2017

Schedule:   Tuesdays: 7:30pm (January 31 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except February 22) and 7:30pm 
  Thursdays: 7:30pm 
          Fridays: 8:00pm
          Saturdays: 2:30pm (except January 28) and 8:00pm 
Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (January 29 and February 26 only)

Location: Northlight Theatre is located at the North Shore
Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd,

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.

The cast of Faceless includes Joe Dempsey (Alan Glenn), Susaan Jamshidi (Claire Fathi), Timothy Edward Kane (Scott Bader), Ross Lehman (Mark Arenberg) and Lindsay Stock (Susie Glenn).

The creative team includes John Culbert (Set Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Heather Gilbert (Lighting Design), Andre Pluess (Sound Design), and Stephan Mazurek (Projection Design). The stage manager is Rita Vreeland (Stage Manager).

Northlight’s production of Faceless is supported in part by Bridgeview Bank, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Freddi Greenberg & Dan Pinkert, The National Endowment for the Arts, RATIO Architects, and Room & Board. Northlight has also been awarded a 2017 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $20,000 grant will support this world premiere production of Faceless.

  • Faceless was developed through Northlight’s Interplay Program, an initiative that invests in provocative new works by American and international playwrights, providing customized support in the critical stages of early play development. 

BJ JONES (Director) is in his 19th season as Artistic Director of Northlight, where he commissioned and directed the world premieres of White Guy on the BusChapattiStella & LouThe Outgoing Tide (Jeff Nomination – Best Director), Better Late, and Rounding Third. Notably he has directed productions of Outside MullingarGrey GardensThe Price (Jeff Nomination- Best Director), A Skull in ConnemaraThe Cripple of Inishmaan, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore. As a producer he has guided the world premieres of Shining LivesThe Last Five YearsThe Gamester, and Studs Terkel’s ‘The Good War’. From Second City to Shakespeare, BJ has directed Pitmen Painters (Jeff Nomination – Best Director, TimeLine), A Number (Next), 100 Saints You Should Know (Steppenwolf), and The Dresser (Body Politic). Regional: Glengarry Glen Ross (Suzie Bass Nominee – Best Director, Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre), Enchanted April (Asolo Theatre), and productions at Cherry Lane Theatre NY, Galway Arts Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, and Utah Shakespeare Festival. As a performer, Mr. Jones is a two-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner and has appeared at Northlight, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court, and other theatres throughout Chicago. Film/TV credits include The FugitiveBody DoubleLaw and Order: Criminal IntentEarly EditionCupid, and Turks, among others.

  • Selina Fillinger is a Chicago-based actor and award-winning playwright. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University.

SELINA FILLINGER (Playwright) is a Chicago-based actress and playwright. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied playwriting under the instruction of Laura Schellhardt. Her original work includes The Armor Plays, Three Landings and a Fire Escape, and The Coho Salmon Pub & Grub. Selina was a two-time winning playwright in the university’s Agnes Nixon Festival. Three Landings and a Fire Escape was awarded the 2015 Judith Barlow Prize and received a reading in New York under the direction of Kathleen Chalfant. Selina is one of three Chicago playwrights currently writing for Sideshow Theatre’s Freshness Initiative: her play, Something Clean, will receive a staged reading this June.  

JOE DEMPSEY (Alan Glenn) returns to Northlight where he has appeared in The MousetrapInherit the Wind, and All in the Timing. More recently, he acted in Twist Your Dickens (The Second City at Goodman); Blues Skies Process (Goodman); and West Side Story (Paramount).  Around Chicago, he has also appeared at Steppenwolf, Court, Lookingglass, Remy Bumppo, many others, and regionally at Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Centerstage (Baltimore), and City Theatre (Pittsburgh). TV credits include E.R., Early Edition, What about Joan?, and Chicago Fire. He is an alum of The Second City National Touring Company and the Neo-Futurists, writing and performing in their 28-year signature show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind

SUSAAN JAMSHIDI (Claire Fathi) recently traveled to London and Toronto to perform the solo show Oh My Sweet Land with Silk Road Rising. She was last seen in Chicago as Virginia in The Life of Galileo with Remy Bumppo. Other Chicago credits include Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, Theater Wit, 16th Street, Chicago Dramatists, The Gift, Sideshow (Jeff Award-Ensemble), Lifeline, Collaboraction, Erasing the Distance, Stage Left, Oracle, and The Inconvenience, with workshops and readings at Goodman and Steppenwolf. Regional credits include Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep, The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theater. TV and film credits include Chicago PD and Sirens, as well as Cicero in Winter, The Wallet, and A Cadaver Christmas. Susaan received her MFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University, has studied with The Second City, and is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. 

TIMOTHY EDWARD KANE (Scott Bader) returns to Northlight having previously appeared in Lost in YonkersThe Miser and She Stoops to Conquer (After Dark Award). Other Chicago credits include: One Man Two GuvnorsAn Iliad (Jeff Award), The IllusionWild DuckTitus AndronicusUncle VanyaThe Romance Cycle, and Hamlet (Court); Blood and Gifts (TimeLine); HamletRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Arms and the Man (Writers); The North Plan (Steppenwolf Garage) and fifteen productions at Chicago Shakespeare including the recent Tug of War: Civil Strife. He has appeared on Chicago Fire and received his BS from Ball State University and MFA from Northern Illinois University. 

ROSS LEHMAN (Mark Arenberg) returns to Northlight. He has appeared on Broadway in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumThe Tempest, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Chicago credits include As You Like ItTwelfth NightThe Comedy of ErrorsKing Lear (Chicago Shakespeare); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeWaiting for Godot, and Stage Kiss (Goodman); The Man Who Came to Dinner (Steppenwolf); A Man of No ImportanceThe Dresser, directed by Dr. Mark Lococo (Apple Tree); Hamlet and Bach at Leipzig (Writers) and One Man, Two Guvnors (Court)He has received five Jeff Awards, two After Dark Awards, and a Laurence Olivier Award Nomination. Last year, Ross was an “Artist in Residence” in Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts.

LINDSAY STOCK (Susie Glenn) is making her Northlight debut. Chicago credits include Soup, Stews, and Casseroles 1976 (Goodman); Sketchbook 15 (Collaboraction); EL Stories and Art on Track (Waltzing Mechanics) as well as staged readings and workshops with The Gift Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Pride Films and Plays. Additionally, she has appeared on NBC's Chicago PD and is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

  • As of fall 2016, Northlight’s Interplay Program has provided support for 32 new plays, 28 of which have gone on to full productions, locally, nationally and internationally. That staggering success rate has established Interplay as a valuable incubator for new work in the American theatre, and combined with the nearly 40 world premieres produced by Northlight in its 42-year history, has helped cement Northlight’s national reputation as an important contributor to the American theatrical canon.


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

Backstage with BJ: Faceless
January 20 at 12:00 pm
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 Faceless will be held on January 20 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour.  Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3605 or 

Interfaith Community Panel
Following the performance January 31 at 7:30 pm
at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL
Religious leaders from the community will discuss the play from the perspectives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Moderated by Birch Burghardt, Interfaith Action of Evanston, panelists are Rev. Doctor Michael Nabor of Second Baptist Church, Muhammad Saiduzzaman of Dar-us-sunnah Masjid and Community Center, and Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue.

Inside Look: Faceless
February 7 at 2:00pm
at Skokie Public Library
5215 Oakton St, Skokie IL
Explore the cultural and political context of Faceless, as well as the creative process of a new play, through a discussion and Q&A session with artists related to the production.

Muslims on Stage and Screen
February 12, 6:00-8:00pm
at Morton Grove Muslim Education Center
8601 N. Menard Ave. Morton Grove, IL
A community discussion on the portrayal of Muslims in plays and films, and how those portrayals affect perceptions of Muslim-Americans. Panelists include Faceless playwright Selina Fillinger, Omer M. Mozaffar (Loyola University Chicago professor and Muslim Chaplain, and Hollywood film consultant), and one additional panelist TBA. Reservations are required:
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 in its 42nd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 198 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; Tom Stringer Design Partners; Turner Construction; and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

Recent Northlight Productions Include Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, Charm by Philip Dawkins, Chapatti by Christian O’Reilly, and Funnyman and White Guy on the Bus by Bruce Graham.

In addition to fostering the creation of new works, Northlight is dedicated to working with early-career artists and directors.  In recent years, Northlight has introduced Chicago-area audiences to emerging playwrights Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67) and Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man). In the previous few seasons, Northlight hired early-career directors to much success, including Marti Lyons (The City of Conversation), Kimberly Senior (The Whipping Man) and Devon de Mayo (Lost in Yonkers), as well as introduced Robin Witt (The Commons of Pensacola) and Jonathan Berry (The Mousetrap) to its audiences. 
Northlight has been awarded a $20,000 2017 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that will support this world premiere production of Faceless.

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of “BOOTYCANDY” Features All Chicago Cast at Windy City Playhouse

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


The All-Chicago Cast Includes Travis Turner, Krystel McNeil, Debrah Neal, Robert Fenton and Osiris Khepera in the Chicago Premiere

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're elated to be back out at Windy City Playhouse this week for the opening of their latest Chicago premiere, Bootycandy. This swanky storefront is one of our favorite small venues for their high caliber, edgy productions, their comfortable swivel lounge chairs and drink tables, and their welcoming front bar area. Check back soon for our full review.

Windy City Playhouse (3014 N. Irving Park Road) announces casting for Robert O’Hara’s “Bootycandy,” the “searing and sensationally funny” (The New York Times) semi-autobiographical play about growing up gay and black. Under the direction of the NAACP, OBIE and Helen Hayes Award winner O’Hara, the cast is led by rising Chicago star Travis Turner (whose recent credits include “Thaddeus & Slocum” at Lookingglass Theatre Company and “The Flick” at Steppenwolf Theatre) as Sutter, the character loosely based on O’Hara himself.  Together with Turner, “Bootycandy” features a Chicago ensemble including Krystel McNeil (“Stoop Time,” You & Me Productions), Debrah Neal (“Sanctified,” Congo Square Theatre), Robert Fenton (“Port Authority,” Writers Theatre) and Osiris Khepera (“Tennessee Williams Project,” The Hypocrites). Previews for “Bootycandy” begin January 25 and the production runs through April 15. Tickets ($15 - $55) go on sale November 21 and can be purchased at the Windy City Playhouse Box Office or by calling (312) 891-8985. 

"We can't imagine a better production to kick of our 2017 season than ‘Bootycandy,’ a frank, funny, unpredictable, and most of all, entertaining story," said Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein. “We feel so fortunate to have Robert here in Chicago to direct the Chicago premiere, and we can’t wait to see him put his signature spin on his play with our talented, fresh Chicago cast.”

“Bootycandy,” the “fearlessly unpredictable” (Los Angeles Times) coming-of-age tale premiered in New York City in 2014 at Playwrights Horizons. As a young, precocious boy, Sutter (Turner) has to quickly learn what it means to be gay and black and as he grows up, he must also learn that no one person will be able to tell him the meaning of love, life, sex or race—he’ll have to define those for himself. The creative team for “Bootycandy” includes Katie Bell Kenny (Scenic Design), Janice Pytel (Costume Design), Lee Fiskness (Lighting Design) and Lindsay Jones (Sound Design, who also did the original sound design in its 2014 premiere).  

“Being back in Chicago to direct ‘Bootycandy’ with this amazing group of artists at Windy City Playhouse is a great feeling,” said Playwright and Director Robert O’Hara. “From the moment I met this talented cast, I was eager to get started on helming the Chicago premiere and bringing this story to life anew.”

Subscriptions range from $60 - $135, with a special $45 rate for patrons under 30. Single tickets range from $15-$55—with discounts available for seniors and students—and will be available by calling 773-891-8985 or visiting their main site HERE. 

About the Artists of “Bootycandy”

Robert O’Hara (Playwright/Director) received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two OBIE Awards and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Danai Guiria’s “In the Continuum;” Tarell McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2);” Colman Domingo’s “Wild with Happy;” as well as his own plays, “Bootycandy” and “Insurrection: Holding History.” His new plays “Zombie: The American” and “Barbecue” world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theater and New York Shakespeare Festival, respectively.

Travis Turner’s (Sutter) Chicago credits include “Thaddeus & Slocum(Lookingglass Theatre Company); “The Flick” (Steppenwolf Theatre); “The Upstairs Concierge” (Goodman Theatre); “We Are Proud to Present…” (Victory Gardens Theater); “Porgy & Bess,” “Tartuffe” and “The Misanthrope” (Court Theatre); and “Bud, Not Buddy” (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Turner’s Second City credits include the Hubbard St. Dance collaboration “The Art of Falling,” which was also performed at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theater; and “Twist Your Dickens“ (Goodman Theatre). He has also performed at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and is a graduate of Northwestern University and completed the School at Steppenwolf.

Krystal McNeil (Actor One) graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 where she received her B. A. in Theatre Arts. Most recent credits include “Stoop Time” (You & Me Productions); “Jar the Floor” (Jeff Nomination Best Ensemble - ETA Theatre); “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” (BTAA nomination, Most Promising Actress - ETA Theatre); “A Raisin in the Sun” (Madi Theatre Co.); “Patchwork U.S.A.” (Raven Theater Company); “Class Dismissed” (Victory Gardens Theatre, u/s), and “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Polarity Ensemble Theatre).

Debrah Neal (Actor Three) was last seen in Congo Square Theatre’s World Premiere of “Sanctified” when she was nominated for “Best Featured Actress in a Play” by the Black Theatre Alliance.  Some of her other credits include “The Old Settler” and “The Piano Lesson” (Hansberry-Sands Theatre Company);  “Love Child” and “American Menu” (Chicago Theatre Company); “No Place To Be Somebody” (The Performance Loft); “Sojourner Truth” (Stage Two); “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Colored Museum” (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); and “Heat” (ETA Creative Arts Foundation).  As a director, Neal’s directing credits include the world premiere of “What It Be Like” (Living the Dream National Touring Company, Columbus, OH); the world premiere of “Goodness” (Clockwise Theatre); “Home” (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); and “Sing Sister Sing” (DuSable Museum).  Her film credits include “Officer Down” (Richard Blakewell); “The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang” (Lavender House Films); and “A Perfect Day” (Derrick Sanders).   

Robert Fenton (Actor Four) is a proud, founding ensemble member of The Alluvium Group. He was seen in Boston for the national tour of “Columbinus” with American Theater Company. Other Chicago credits include “Port Authority” (Writers Theatre); “The Big Meal” (American Theater Company - Jeff Award Best Ensemble); “Columbinus” (American Theater Company); “The Twins Would Like To Say” (Dog and Pony Theatre); “The Hostage” and “Port” (Griffin Theatre); “Cherrywood” (Mary Arrchie Theatre Co.); “The Terrible True Story of Pinocchio, the Wooden Boy, as Told by Frankenstein's Monster, the Wretched Creature” (The Neo-Futurists); “Too Much Memory” (Sinnerman Ensemble); “Princes of Waco” (Signal Ensemble); “The Gospel of Franklin” (Steppenwolf Theatre); and “The History Boys” (Jeff Award Best Ensemble and Best Production - Timeline Theatre). He has also been seen nationally for his commercial work in front of the camera.

The cast also includes Osiris Khepera as Actor Five. 

About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse, Chicago's most sophisticated not-for-profit Equity theater, aims to expand beyond the traditional theatergoing experience by offering audience members a night of high-quality entertainment with a full-service bar, in a lounge-like atmosphere. Windy City Playhouse premiered in March of 2015, with the inaugural production End Days. Lauded by audiences and critics alike, Windy City Playhouse promises to rock Chicago's theater scene.

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