Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

APR. 14-MAY 21 

Sandra Delgado, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Phoebe González, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Donovan Diaz, Mike Oquendo, Krystal Ortiz and Marvin Quijada 
to star indocu-play based on true story of Chicago nightclub 
La Havana Madrid.

La Havana Madrid, Sandra Delgado's world premiere reincarnation of an actual 1960s Carribbean Chicago nightclub is debuting April 14-May 21, 2017 at Steppenwolf's new 1700 Theatre.

ChiIL Live Shows will be out for the press opening on Thursday, April 20th, so check back soon for our full review.
In addition to conceiving and writing La Havana Madrid, Delgado will play the title role of La Havana Madrid, a mystical woman who conjures vibrant songs and true stories in this immersive, documentary-style tale of La Havana Madrid, a popular 1960s melting pot for Caribbean Latino immigrants at the corner of Belmont and Sheffield in Chicago.

Well-known Chicago comedian and producer Mike Oquendo will portray Tony Quintana, the one-time owner of La Havana Madrid and host of the 1960s Chicago radio show "Tony's Latin A-Go-Go."

Rounding out the cast as Cuban, Colombian, Caribbean and Puerto Rican patrons, staff and musicians who all met, danced, loved and lost at La Havana Madrid are Teatro Vista ensemble members Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Tommy Rivera-Vega and Marvin Quijada, and, in their Teatro Vista debuts, Donovan Diaz, Phoebe González and Krystal Ortiz.
Legendary Colombian-American musician Roberto "Carpacho" Marin, joined by his band of 30 years, Carpacho y Su Super Combo, will perform live at every show. In fact, Carpacho's own story is one of the play's inspiring true vignettes. 
With Delgado as lead singer, Carpacho y Su Super Combo will chronicle the history of Caribbean Latino music, live, from mambo to the birth of salsa. 

Cheryl Lynn-Bruce, also a Teatro Vista ensemble member, will direct Delgado's theatrical, cinematic history of Latino Caribbeans in Chicago. 

The design team charged with crafting an intimate, immersive recreation of a lively 1960s music club in Steppenwolf's new 1700 Theatre - complete with cabaret seating, a bar, a dance floor and a small stage for a live band - are Ashley Woods (set), Elsa Hiltner (costumes),Heather Sparling (lights), Misha Fiksel (sound), Liviu Pasare (projections and video design) and William Carlos Angulo (choreography).

La Havana Madrid will premiere April 14-May 21, 2017 at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted, Chicago, Steppenwolf's casual, intimate and flexible 80-seat space dedicated to showcasing the work of its ensemble and local theater companies like Teatro Vista. It is located immediately behind Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, Steppenwolf's new 2,500 square ft. café & bar.

Previews are April 14-19: Wednesday through Saturday at
8 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m. 

Performances run through May 21: Thursday-Saturday at
8 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m. 
Single tickets are $15-$45, and go on sale February 3. Regular tickets are $35 (all previews and weekdays during the regular run) and $45 (Saturdays and Sundays). Student rush tickets are $15. Seniors 62+ and military tickets are $20. Steppenwolf Red and Black Card holders may use their cards as per Steppenwolf policies. For
tickets and information, visit, or call (312) 335-1650. 

*Thursday, April 20 is an updated press date, rescheduled from the previously announced press opening, Saturday, April 22.

Following its run at Steppenwolf, Teatro Vista will present La Havana Madrid at The Miracle Center, 2311 N. Pulaski Rd., in Chicago's Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. This residency, funded by The Chicago Community Trust, is part of Teatro Vista's new program TEATRO VISTA, TEATRO VECINO (Spanish for "neighbor).

Behind the scenes of La Havana Madrid

"La Havana Madrid is about recapturing a lost chapter in Chicago history, and as a born and bred Chicagoan, this play is my love letter to the city I cherish," said Delgado, a Colombian-American actor, writer, and producer, well-known to Chicago audiences. 

In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Latinos from Caribbean countries such as Puerto Rico and Cuba settled all along Chicago's lakefront, from North Avenue to Devon.

Although from different countries, music brought them together. Their shared rhythms -  African rhythms - became the guaguanco, the mambo and the merengue. Now in the United States, these rhythms merged with traditional big band sounds and eventually became salsa. 

On the North side of Chicago, a handful of Latino music clubs opened up: Coco Loco on Lincoln Avenue, The Mirror Lounge on North Avenue and La Havana Madrid on Belmont and Sheffield. While the history of La Havana Madrid may be fuzzy, what is known is Cubans opened it in the early 1960s and the club became a busy melting pot for newly arrived Latinos in Chicago. It's believed La Havana Madrid closed in the mid-1970s.

In addition to support from The Chicago Community Trust, Delgado received a 2015 Joyce Award and a 3Arts 3AP Project Grant to support the development of La Havana Madrid. She developed the script as a member of the 2015-16 Playwright's Unit at Goodman Theatre.

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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

OPENING: Rarely Seen Sondheim Revue, MARRY ME A LITTLE Concludes PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE’S Season at Stage 773

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

2016 – 2017 SEASON 
AT STAGE 773, APRIL 14 – MAY 21

The 2016 - 17 Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Fellow Jess McLeod Directs with Jeff-Award Winning Cook Music Directing this Rarely Seen Sondheim Revue 

ChiIL Live Shows will be there for opening night, Tuesday, April 18th, so check back soon for our full review. 

Porchlight Music Theatre and Artistic Director Michael Weber are proud to announce the final mainstage production it its 2016 – 2017 season Marry Me a Little starring Austin Cook and Bethany Thomas, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and originally conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René, with direction by Jess McLeod and music direction by Porchlight Artistic Associate Cook. Previews are Friday, April 14 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m. and Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with an added matinee performance Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. 

NOTE There are no 7:30 p.m. performances Thursday, April 20 and  May 11 and no 4 p.m. performance  Saturday, April 22. 

Tickets to Marry Me a Little are available at or by calling the Stage 773 box office, 773.327.5252. 

Two urban singles, each alone in their apartments in the same building, share a Saturday night of sweet fantasies and deep yearning never knowing that they're only a floor away from each other and the end of their lonely dreams. Following in the tradition of Porchlight's hit Sondheim on Sondheim, and re-conceived with special permission given by Stephen Sondheim especially for this production, the rarely seen Marry Me a Little breathes new theatrical life and meaning into a collection of songs that were culled from the final productions of Anyone Can Whistle, Follies, Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music and other Sondheim favorites. 

Conceived by original Sweeney Todd cast member Craig Lucas and Norman René, the Off-Broadway premiere of Marry Me a Little debuted in 1981 starring Lucas and Suzanne Henry at the Actors' Playhouse. Marry Me a Little includes such songs as "So Many People," "The Girls of Summer," "All Things Bright and Beautiful," "There Won't Be Trumpets," "Can That Boy Foxtrot," "Bang!," "Your Eyes Are Blue," "Happily Ever After," "It Wasn't Meant to Happen" and "A Moment with You."

The two-person cast of Marry Me a Little includes: Austin Cook as “The Man” and Bethany Thomas  as “The Woman.”

The production team includes Jess McLeod, director; Austin Cook, music director, Jeff Kmiec, scenic designer; Stephanie Cluggish, costume designer; Becca Jeffords, lighting designer; Mealah Heidenreich, props designer; Keegan Bradac, sound designer; Ashlee Rowland, stage manager; Alex Rhyan, production manager; Shelby Brand, wardrobe supervisor with Jordan Fleming, house manager.

Jess McLeod, recently named the recipient of the 2016-17 Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Fellowship, returns to Porchlight Music Theatre where she recently directed the Porchlight Revisits production of Babes in Arms. Additional Chicago credits include the Chicago premiere of How We Got On and The Wedding Singer (Haven Theatre Company); Lauren Yee’s in a word (Strawdog Theatre Company), For Your Art: portrait of a young blu artist (Lyric Unlimited/Lyric Opera of Chicago), Shawn Pfautsch’s Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago); Kevin Coval’s L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens Theater); Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus (Steppenwolf Next Up!); Kin (Griffin Theatre); Emily Schwartz’s Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play (Strange Tree Group); and The 48-Hour Musicals: Encore!, The Pajama Game and Fugitive Songs (The Music Theatre Company). New York credits include Joyce Carol Oates's The Corn Maiden, Harrison David Rivers’ Fell, Rachel Axle’s Kitchen Sink, Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, Brad Ross & Joe Keenan’s The Times, and The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds (NYMF).  Assistant/Associate Director: Moonshine! That Hee-Haw Musical (Dallas Theater Center), A Parallelogram (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The New Moon (City Center Encores!), Willful (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Gypsy and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). McLeod served as co-artistic director of The Music Theatre Company from 2014-15, director of programming of The New York Musical Theatre Festival from 2005-08, festival coordinator of Louder Than A Bomb 2016 and works currently as a teaching artist with Storycatchers Theatre. She received her MFA from, Northwestern University.

ABOUT AUSTIN COOK, music director and “The Man”
Austin Cook is a Porchlight Music Theatre artistic associate. He made his Porchlight debut in Ain’t Misbehavin’ for which he won the Jeff Award for “Artistic Specialization” and later music directed and co-starred in the award-winning Sondheim by Sondheim where he received the Jeff award for “Music Direction.” The recipient of three Jeff awards, he is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. A native of Kansas City, MO, Cook has been a dedicated musician his entire life. After receiving his bachelor's degrees in piano and vocal performance, Cook toured Europe performing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2. In 2008, he came back to the States to join Walt Disney Entertainment as a composer/orchestrator. In 2009, he moved to Chicago to continue his work as a music director, producer  and actor. He is a proud member of AEA and the AFM. As a producer, his most recently produced album The Beast in Me received the 2014 Independent Music Award for Best Roots EP. The album was performed in its entirety on the nationally televised PBS series Sun Studio Sessions. Cook moved to New York in 2016 after being in the orchestra for the pre-Broadway run of War Paint at the Goodman Theatre.

Bethany Thomas made her Porchlight debut with Children of Eden in 2002 and has been a recurrent performer at Porchlight Music Theatre’s concert fundraiser Chicago Sings as well as starring as “The Witch” in its Into The Woods. Other Chicago credits include: All Shook Up, Big Fish (Theatre at the Center); South Pacific (Jeff Award-Marriott Theatre); Porgy and Bess (Court Theater); Hairspray (Drury Lane Theatre); Hair (Paramount Theatre); The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) as well as work with The Second City, About Face Theatre, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and American Theater Company. Regional credits include: Little Shop of Horrors (Geva Theatre Center); The Color Purple, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Ragtime (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). She frequently performs around Chicago at locations including The Hideout, Salonathon and “The Paper Machete” and has appeared on FOX Television’s “Empire.”

Porchlight Music Theatre, now in its 22nd season, is nationally recognized for developing innovative new works, reimagining classic productions and showcasing musical theatre’s noted veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre in Chicago by providing intimate and powerful theatrical experiences for its growing and diverse audiences. With the vision of Artistic Director Michael Weber, Porchlight builds on its role as Chicago’s only Equity not-for-profit company exclusively specializing in music theatre. Porchlight’s rich history includes the staging of more than 60 productions with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Through Porchlight’s “Off the Porch” new works program, the musicals of the next generation are developed and given a first audience. The School at Porchlight is Chicago’s new center for music theatre training in the areas of performance, writing and appreciation. The company’s many accolades include 17 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and three awards, as well as a total of 126 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 39 Jeff Awards including four consecutive Best Production awards for Dreamgirls (2016), Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2014) and A Class Act (2013).

Tickets to Marry Me a Little are available at or by calling the Stage 773 box office, 773.327.5252.

Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from the Actors’ Equity Foundation, the Arts Work Fund at the Chicago Community Trust, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Cooper’s: A Neighborhood Eatery, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, the National Association of Realtors, The Saints and the Service Club of Chicago. The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.

OPENING: The Mystery of Love & Sex at Writers Theatre 4/5-7/9

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Writers Theatre presents
The Mystery of Love & Sex
Written by Bathsheba Doran
Directed by Marti Lyons

April 5 – July 2, 2017

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, continues its 2016/17 season with The Mystery of Love & Sex written by Bathsheba Doran and directed by Marti Lyons. The production runs April 5 – July 9, 2017 in The Gillian Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 

Charlotte and Jonny have grown up together, and are now trying to determine whether their close friendship might be something more. When they discover exactly what “more” actually entails, however, it comes as a surprise to them both—and to Charlotte’s parents, who are holding secrets and resentments of their own. This compelling, spirited story of intricate relationships is an entertaining and explosive look at race, sexual identity and family dynamics.

Marti Lyons, one of Chicago’s finest emerging directors, brings her unique vision to this deeply insightful and very funny new play, using the intimacy of WT’s Gillian Theatre to bring audiences face-to-face with the challenges of loving someone completely while trying to determine exactly what that means.

“I have had the pleasure of following the impressive rising careers of playwright Bash Doran and Director Marti Lyons for the past few years and I am delighted to find a project that suited both their considerable talents so perfectly,” said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam.  “The Mystery of Love & Sex enjoyed a very successful and critically-acclaimed run at Lincoln Center Theatre’s Mitzi Newhouse Theatre and is now receiving a number of productions nationwide and with good reason. Doran manages to create a world in which themes of sexuality, gender, friendship, race, and privilege all feature prominently. She does so with enormous wit and joy and I think our audiences will very much appreciate and ultimately be very moved by the journey of her deliciously crafted characters and expertly articulated text.  Marti has brought together a superbly gifted and engaging cast and a top-notch design team taking full advantage of the intimacy of the Gillian Theatre and Writers Theatre’s hallmark intimacy.”

The cast includes: Hayley Burgess (Charlotte), Keith Kupferer (Howard), Jerry Miller (Howard’s Father), Lia Mortensen (Lucinda) and Travis Turner (Jonny). 

The creative team includes: Andrew Boyce (Scenic Designer), Samantha C. Jones (Costume Designer), Paul Toben (Lighting Designer), and Andrew Hansen (Sound Designer). Rebecca Adelsheim is the Dramaturg, Tyrone Phillips is the Assistant Director, and Rebecca Pechter is the Stage Manager. 


Bathsheba Doran’s (Playwright) The Mystery of Love & Sex received its world premiere at Lincoln Center in 2015 under the direction of Sam Gold, starring Diane Lane and Tony Shalhoub. Her critically acclaimed play Kin received its world premiere in spring 2011 at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Sam Gold. Her play Parents' Evening premiered at The Flea Theater, directed by Jim Simpson, and her play Ben and the Magic Paintbrush premiered in spring 2010 at South Coast Repertory Theater. She is a 2009 recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and three Lecomte du Nouy Lincoln Center playwriting awards. She is also a Cherry Lane Mentor Project Fellow and a Susan Smith Blackburn Award finalist. Bash is currently developing the limited series Codes of Conduct with Steve McQueen for HBO. She also served as a writer/producer for the second season of Showtime’s hit series Masters of Sex, and she was recently a story editor on Smash for NBC. Bash wrote on season two of the acclaimed Martin Scorsese/HBO series Boardwalk Empire (for which her episode received a WGA nomination). Bash Doran is also developing a series for Channel 4 called Jerusalem. Bash’s first play Feminine Wash was produced at the Edinburgh Fringe festival while she was a student at University of Cambridge, from which she holds a B.A. and an M.A. She then went on to University of Oxford, where she received an M.A. before working as a television comedy writer with the BBC. Bash moved to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2000, received her M.F.A. from Columbia University and went on to become a playwriting fellow of The Juilliard School. She is currently under commission from Lincoln Center Theater, Atlantic Theater and Playwrights Horizons in New York City. Her work is available from Samuel French and Playscripts Inc.

Marti Lyons (Director) returns to Writers Theatre, where she previously assistant directed Days Like Today and The Letters. Lyons is also an ensemble member at The Gift Theatre Company and received the 2015 Maggio directing fellowship from Goodman Theatre. Chicago credits include Title and Deed (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The City of Conversation (Northlight Theatre), Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Wit (The Hypocrites), Mine, Bethany and Body and Blood (The Gift Theatre Company), Hot Georgia Sunday, Seminar (Haven Theatre), Give it All Back, Mai Dang Lao, 9 Circles, Maria/Stuart, co-director for The Golden Dragon (Sideshow Theatre Company), Prowess, The Peacock, The Last Duck (Jackalope Theatre Company) and The Play About my Dad (Raven Theatre). Regional credits include Wondrous Strange (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville). Next up Marti will direct Native Gardens for Victory Gardens Theater.

Hayley Burgess (Charlotte) is making her Writers Theatre debut. Theatre credits include Stupid Kid (First Look at Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Domesticated (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Ugly (New Stages at Goodman Theatre), The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, The Little Foxes (Goodman Theatre), Fugitive Awareness (First Floor Theatre), and Jake's Women (Spartan Theatre). Hayley is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and The School at Steppenwolf.

Keith Kupferer (Howard) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously appeared in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody. Chicago credits include Support Group For Men, The Old Neighborhood(Goodman Theatre), The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice and Men, Carter's Way, Men of Tortuga, Things Being What They Are, Jesus Hopped the A Train, Tavern Story (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Never the Sinner, Appropriate (Victory Gardens Theater), The Humans (American Theater Company), God of Carnage, High Holidays Passion Play, Gypsy (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), End Days (Windy City Playhouse), Execution of Justice (About Face Theatre), Cat Feet, The Old Neighborhood  (Northlight Theatre), Desire Under the Elms, (Philadelphia’s Freedom Theatre, Court Theatre, How the World Began, American Wee-Pie (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), The Unseen, The Meek, Canus Lunis Balloonis, The Physicists (A Red Orchid Theatre), Big Lake, Big City, Trust and Hillbilly Antigone (Lookingglass Theatre Company). Regional credits include: Shear Madness (Kennedy Center Theater Lab). Television and film credits include Shameless (Showtime), Better Call Saul (AMC), Betrayal, Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC), Crisis, Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire (NBC), The Beast (A&E), Prison Break (FOX), The Jamie Kennedy Experiment (WB), Early Edition (CBS), The Dilemma (2011), The Dark Knight (2008), Public Enemies (2009), The Express (2008), Stranger Than Fiction (2006), Road to Perdition (2002), Finding Santa (2015), The Last Rites of Joe May (2011), The Merry Gentleman (2008), Resurrecting McGinn(s) (2016) and Open Tables (2015).

Jerry Miller (Howard’s Father) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Jerry is a Chicago actor, director, producer and playwright. His favorite roles include Otto Frank and Mr. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Metropolis Performing Arts Center), Ben in The Secret Garden, Mr. Lunde in Brigadoon and the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof (Light Opera Works). In August 2017 Jerry will be appearing as Pops in the musical Gypsy (Music Theater Works, formerly known as Light Opera Works). Jerry has also worked for Redtwist Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Walkabout Theater, and Windy City Playhouse.  Jerry is a member of Screen Actors Guild. He holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from the University of South Carolina. 

Lia Mortensen (Lucinda) returns to Writers Theatre where she previously appeared in Company. Chicago credits include Julianna in the Midwest premiere of The Other Place (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination—Principal Actress), Annapurna (Profiles Theatre), Dionysa in Pericles, Isabella in Measure for Measure, Helena in All's Well that Ends Well (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), An Inspector Calls, Night and Day (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company), Cymbeline (First Folio Theatre), Faith Healer (The Den Theatre), Becca in Rabbit Hole (Goodman Theatre), Big Meal (Joseph Jefferson Award—Ensemble, American Theater Company), Lynn Fontanne in Ten Chimneys, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Sky Girls, Sally in Talley’s Folly (Northlight Theatre), Closer, Faith Healer (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Fighting Words (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), Well, Nora in A Doll’s House, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, The Illusion (Next Theatre Company), Jacob, Hiding Place, Spoon River Anthology Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey (Provision Theater), Ghosts, All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Serious Money (Court Theatre), No Wake (Route 66 Theatre Company) and Merchild (16th Street Theater). Directing credits include Bus Stop, Quality of Life (The Den Theatre), and Jacob (Provision Theater). Film credits include Resurrecting McGinn(s) (2016), The View from Tall (2016,) Consumed (2015), Imperfections (2016), Market Value (2015), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and Blink (1994). Television credits include Shameless (Showtime), Empire (FOX), Crisis, Chicago Fire (NBC), Easy Abby (Webisode), The Onion, Chicago Code (FOX), Family Practice, Early Edition (CBS) and Missing Persons (ABC). Lia is an ensemble member of Provision Theater and The Den Theatre.

Travis Turner (Jonny) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Recent Chicago credits include: Bootycandy (Windy City Playhouse), Thaddeus and Slocum (Lookingglass), The Flick (Steppenwolf), The Upstairs Concierge (Goodman), Tartuffe, The Misanthrope (Court) and We Are Proud to Present... (Victory Gardens). Second City credits include Longer, Louder, Wagner (with Lyric Opera Chicago), Twist Your Dickens (with Goodman Theatre), and The Art of Falling (with Hubbard Street Dance). 


Accessible Performances
ASL-Interpreted performance: Friday, June 16 at 7:30pm
Open-Captioned performance: Friday, June 23 at 7:30pm

Sunday Spotlight—Sunday, May 21, 2017
This one-hour event will follow the matinee performance and feature an expert in a field related to the themes or setting of The Mystery of Love & Sex, moderated by a member of the WT Artistic Team. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.

The Making of… Series—Monday, June 5, 2017 at 6:30pm
Writers Theatre will once again host its popular The Making of… Series, providing insight into a different aspect of creating the productions seen on our stages. Enjoy a short and lively presentation by our actors, designers or other experts who will walk you through the process of preparing for and executing a production. The Making of… events are FREE and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVP is required.

Post Show Conversation: The Word
Join us after Tuesday evening performances (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute discussion of the play, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team. 

Post Show Conversation: The Artist
Join us after every Wednesday evening performance (excluding previews and extensions) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team. 

For more information about Writers Theatre Audience Enrichment programs visit

In an effort to promote taking public transit to the Theatre, Writers Theatre launched a new promotion in 2013. Any audience member who purchases a ticket to a Writers Theatre production and rides Metra’s Union Pacific North Line to the Theatre may snap a photo of themselves on the train and post it to their Facebook page or Twitter feed with a tag of @WritersTheatre and #TheMysteryofLoveandSex, and upon showing the post at the Writers Theatre Box Office, receive $5 in cash to put toward the cost of your fare as a thank you for going green.

This promotion is available for a limited time only, and may end without warning. Ticket must have been paid for in advance. Not valid on comp tickets. More information available at

Writers Theatre is pleased to recognize BMO Harris Bank as the 25th Anniversary Season Sponsor for the 2016/17 season. ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor of the season. Jand and Richard Liptonare Artist Council Sponsors and Laurie and Michael Petersen serve as Artists Council Sponsors.

For more information about Writers Theatre’s 2016/17 Partners, visit

For 25 years, Writers Theatre has captivated Chicagoland audiences with inventive interpretations of classic work, a bold approach to contemporary theatre and a dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible.

Under the artistic leadership of Michael Halberstam and the executive leadership of Kathryn M. Lipuma, Writers Theatre has grown to become a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called the top regional theatre in the nation by The Wall Street Journal. The company, which plays to a sold-out and discerning audience of more than 60,000 patrons each season, has garnered critical praise for the consistent high quality and intimacy of its artistry—providing the finest interpretations of both classic and contemporary theatre in its two intensely intimate venues. 

In February 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility. This established the company's first permanent home—a new theatre center in downtown Glencoe, designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA, in collaboration with Theatre Consultant Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to continue to grow to accommodate its audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy. The new facility resonates with and complements the Theatre’s neighboring Glencoe community, adding tremendous value to Chicagoland and helping to establish the North Shore as a premier cultural destination.

Find Writers Theatre on Facebook at, follow @WritersTheatre on Twitter or @Writers_Theatre on Instagram. For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Clutch to Headline Inaugural Earth Rocker Festival in Shiley Acres West Virginia May 20th

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:


Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're pretty jazzed Clutch is starting an annual Earth Rocker Festival. It's a one day event for 2017, with huge potential. Obviously this one's not in Chi, IL -- about a 10 hour road trip actually, but Clutch, Lucero, The Sword and the other bands in the lineup have plenty of fans among Chicago locals. We're stoked that kids under 12 will be free with paying adults, lawn chairs, and pop up tents are allowed, and overnight camping is permitted too. Check it out!

Clutch is pleased to announce their first annual Earth Rocker Festival at Shiley Acres in Inwood, WV on Saturday, May 20th. The lineup includes: Lucero, The Sword, Bad Seed Rising, Apollo’s Prophecy, and  the Frederick Maryland School of Rock bandTickets for the festival are on sale now at this location:

The festival is a daytime event that has the parking field opening at 9am.  Gates to the show open at 12 noon and music starts at 1pm.  The festival ends at sunset with overnight camping permitted.  Children under 12 are admitted free of charge.  10x10 pop up tents and lawn chairs are allowed inside designated festival concert areas.

For more information on the line up, directions, camping, on site food and beverages available, hotel accommodations and all “Things You Should Know”, visit

"The first annual Earth Rocker Festival takes place at Shiley Acres, in West Virginia” states the band’s front man Neil Fallon.  “We played at Shiley Acres last year and it was a blast.  Our intent is to have a really diverse bill.  If all goes as planned,  Earth Rocker Festival will continue as an annual event, hopefully growing in scope over the years.”  

Guitarist Tim Sult adds “Enjoy the May weather in the best way possible- with a day of rock n roll in a West Virginia field!"   

Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster adds “Earth Rocker Festival is a great way to kick off summer! The green rolling hills of West Virginia will provide the backdrop for our inaugural music event. We wanted to create a musical experience that included a diverse line up of music. We are pleased to announce this year’s line up includes our friends the Sword and the legendary Lucero. Come rock with us!” 

Shiley Acres is an outdoor concert venue located in Inwood, West Virginia. For 40 years Shiley Acres has seen many local and national acts grace it's stage.
For more  information, check out Earth Rocker Festival:

OPENING: Tracy Letts World Premiere Linda Vista at Steppenwolf 3/30-5/21

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

MARCH 30 - MAY 21, 2017


Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the world premiere production of Linda Vista by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member Tracy Letts and directed by Dexter Bullard. A hilarious and complex exploration of a modern misanthrope, the cast features ensemble members Ian Barford (Wheeler), Tim Hopper (Paul), Sally Murphy (Margaret) and Caroline Neff (Anita) with Kahyun Kim (Minnie), Cora Vander Broek (Jules) and Troy West (Michael). This is the fifth world premiere production by Tracy Letts that Steppenwolf has produced.

Linda Vista begins previews March 30, 2017 and the production runs through May 21, 2017 in the Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St. Press performances are Saturday, April 8 at 3pm and Tuesday, April 11 at 7:30pm; opening night is Sunday, April 9. 

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

Tracy Letts (Playwright) is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor and member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. He is the author of the plays Linda Vista, Mary Page Marlowe, The Scavenger’s Daughter, Superior DonutsAugust: Osage County (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award), Man from Nebraska (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Bug and Killer Joe.  Also an actor, he has appeared on Broadway in Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses and Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role).  Film appearances include Lady Bird, The Lovers, Christine, Imperium, Indignation, Wiener-dog, Elvis and Nixon, The Big Short.  TV:  “Divorce" (HBO), two seasons as Sen. Lockhart on “Homeland” (Showtime), “Seinfeld."  His appearances at Steppenwolf include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, American Buffalo, Betrayal, Homebody/Kabul, The Dresser, The Dazzle, Glengarry Glen Ross, Three Days of Rain, many others.

Dexter Bullard (Director) has strong ties with Steppenwolf, having directed Annie Baker’s The Flick last season to critical acclaim. He directed ensemble member Tracy Letts’s Bug at the Barrow Street Theater, for which he received the 2004 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction Off-Broadway. He has directed for Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory of New Work in 2006 and 2013. Additional directing credits Craig Wright's Grace on Broadway, Roy Williams' Sucker Punch and Annie Baker's Circle Mirror
Transformation at Victory Gardens. He is the head of Graduate Acting and Showcase Artistic Director with The Theatre School at DePaul University.

The Linda Vista production team includes Todd Rosenthal (scenic design), Laura Bauer (costume design), Marcus Doshi (lighting design), Richard Woodbury (sound design) and Gigi Buffington (Company Vocal Coach). Additional credits include Malcolm Ewen (stage manager), Cassie Calderone (assistant stage manager), JC Clementz (casting director), Nicole Arbusto (Los Angeles casting) and Aaron Carter (artistic producer).

Accessible Performances: American Sign Language Interpretation: Sunday, April 30 at 7:30pmOpen Captioning: Saturday, May 20 at 3pm; Audio Description and Touch Tour: Sunday, May 21 at 1:30pm

Curtain Times: Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm and 7:30pm
Ticket prices: Previews: $20 – $54, Regular Run: $20 – $89. Prices subject to change
20 for $20: Twenty $20 tickets are available for subscription shows on the day of the performance at 11am (Mon – Sat) and 1pm (Sun), by phone only at 312-335-1650. Limit 2 per person. Rush Tickets: Half-price rush tickets are available one hour before each show. Student Discounts: Limited $15 student tickets are available online. (Limit 2 tickets. Must present a valid student ID for each ticket). For additional student discounts, visit

Group Tickets: All groups of 10 or more receive a discounted rate for any performance. 

Black Card Memberships are for audiences interested in extreme flexibility. Cards include six tickets for use any time, for any production including the LookOut Series. The tickets 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. More info at

Audience Services: For tickets or more information, contact Audience Services (1650 N Halsted St) at 312-335-1650 or

Visitor Information & Accessibility
Steppenwolf is located at 1650 N Halsted St near all forms of public transportation and is wheelchair accessible. The parking facility consists of both a covered garage ($11 cash or card) and an open-air lot, located just south of our theater at 1624 N Halsted. Valet parking service ($14 cash) is available directly in front of the main entrance at 1650 N Halsted St starting at 5pm on weeknights, 1pm on weekends and at 12 noon before Wednesday matinees. Street and lot parking are also available. For last minute questions and concerns, patrons can call the Steppenwolf Parking Hotline at (312) 335-1774. Committed to making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to everyone, performances featuring American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description are offered during the run of each play. Assistive listening devices and large-print programs are available for every performance. With the expertise of Assistive Hearing Systems Ltd., Steppenwolf installed an induction loop on both the main and balcony levels of our Downstairs Theatre in 2015. There is also an induction loop installed in the 1700 Theatre.

Sponsor Information
Major Support for Linda Vista is provided by ComEd, Ameriprise Financial and The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.
Major support for Steppenwolf’s New Play Development Initiative is provided by The Davee Foundation and the Zell Family Foundation.
United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf.

Steppenwolf’s 2016/17 Season opened with the world premiere of Visiting Edna by David Rabe, directed by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro (ended November 6), followed by the world premiere of Erika Sheffer’s The Fundamentals (ended December 31, 2016). Playing now is the Chicago premiere of The Christians by Lucas Hnath, directed by ensemble member K. Todd Freeman (now – January 29, 2017); next up is 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 47 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, March 20, 2017

ONE NIGHT ONLY! Catch LIAISON, a Multicultural Tap Collaboration at the Athenaeum Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


In its Third Installment this International Collaboration Featuring New Music, Fan Favorites and Live Music Celebrates the World of Tap Dance

Artistic Director Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) present Liaison, an international exploration of tap dance featuring three of the most critically acclaimed companies from Europe and the United States for one performance only, Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport. Tickets are $37 for adults, $30 for seniors and $23 for students and dancers. For tickets or more information visit or call 773.935.6875. Group discounts are also available. 

In Liaison, Tapage, from Toulouse, France, Tap Olé from Barcelona, Spain and Chicago’s Chicago Tap Theatre come together for the third installation of this international partnership established in 2004. The 2016 production includes new work, the return of fan favorites and live music. The companies perform together and in individual pieces highlighting the breadth and depth of tap performance including an updated version of the theme from Time Steps, by composer Kurt Schweitz and the first act closes with all three companies performing in “Somebody to Love,” from Chicago Tap Theatre’s hit 2016 production We Will Tap You! Each company has been given the music and instructions on which sections to choreograph, some of which will be together, some alone. The first time the three sections will be performed together will be here in Chicago. After the Chicago engagement, Liaison will be traveling to the south of France and the north of Spain for an extended tour in fall 2017.

The first time Tapage performed in Chicago was in April 2004, Lucia Mauro of the Chicago Tribune said, “to get a clearer sense of Tapage, try to envision the well-crafted fusion that would result if Martha Graham and Marcel Marceau created a tap company.” Chicago Tap Theatre and Tapage went on to tour the south of France and performed together in Chicago three additional times to critical and commercial successes.  In 2013, the two companies added Tap Olé to Liaison’s roster of performers

“Tapage director Valérie Lussac is at the forefront of where tap dance is going.  For the past 15 years, she has been applying her uniquely French aesthetic to the American art of tap dance and creating pieces that are completely different from anything you’ll see here in the States,” says Chicago Tap Theatre Artistic Director Mark Yonally. “Tap Olé is bridging the gap between Spanish guitar and dancing with tap dance. They are an amazing mix of precise technique, hot rhythms and a genuine sense of humor. Chicago Tap Theatre is excited to continue to develop these relationships and show Chicago and the world what is happening in Tap today and the possibilities of what the future holds.” 

Founded in 2002, Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) is a growing and vibrant dance company dedicated to preserving the quintessentially American dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity, innovation and quality. CTT performs exclusively with live music provided by some of Chicago’s finest musicians playing everything from Duke Ellington to David Bowie and many artists in between. Under the dynamic direction of master teacher and performer Mark Yonally, CTT has gained a loyal and sizable following in Chicago and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Having pioneered the “tap opera” format, which tells stories with compelling characters and intriguing plots, CTT has used the language of tap dance, live music and narration to move Chicago audiences for over 10 years.  During 2016, CTT and its productions were included in the “Best of 2016” lists for dance from Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Windy City Times, Dance Magazine and

La Compagnie Tapage was founded in 1991, first with children before evolving into a professional tap company. Today, the company’s objective is to convey an original approach to the art of tap dancing, and is known for the energy and originality they bring to their performances. Tapage is proud of its collaboration over the years with foreign artists including Deborah Brockus and her company “Brockus Dance” based in Los Angeles and its ongoing relationship with sister company Chicago Tap Theatre.  They have performed in concert, at private events, in outdoor festivals and events throughout France as well as international tours to Spain and the United States.

Tap Olé is an international fusion of cultures and styles, mixing Spanish music and American Tap dance to demonstrate that this mixture is a universal language capable of creating new destinies and sensations.  The company presents an explosion of rhythm and energy, which combines the virtuosity and passion of Spanish guitar with the precision and elegance of tap choreography along with the spontaneity of improvisation. Tap Ole have performed in Spain and internationally including the New York Tap Festival, International Festival of Valladolid in 2004 (Audience Award); "Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2005", "International Feet Beat Tap Festival 2006" in Helsinki and throughout Spain.  The tap dancers Guillem Alonso and Roser Font are renowned international soloists who have traveled throughout Europe and the United States performing and teaching master classes.  

OPENING: World Premiere of Born Ready at The Factory Theater 3/17-4/29

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


The Factory Theater presents the world premiere of Born Ready. Written by Stacie Barra and directed by Wm. Bullion, Born Ready runs March 17 – April 29 at The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. Previews are Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 19 at 3 p.m. Opening night is Friday, March 24 at 8 p.m. 

Regular performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for preview performances and $25 for regular run. Tickets may be purchased through Box Office by calling 866.811.4111 or by visiting

Marion Kroft, an aging former child film actor turned variety show star in the 1950s, is desperate to get back into the public’s eye and show business. Harriet is a new young dancer who befriends Marion and the pair quickly becomes a smash comedy duo, but the truth behind their scenes may not be as funny. 

The cast for Born Ready includes: Eleanor Katz (Marion), Timothy C. Amos (Sam), Clara Byczkowski (Harriet), Rachel Craig (Betty), Amee Binder (Lois), Libby Conkle (Shirley), Harrison Weger (Kit), David Cady Jr. (Gil), Tim Newell (Byron), Michael Reyes (Neville/Ensemble), Mandy Walsh (Evelyn), Allison Cain (Dottie), Eric Roach (Announcer), Jennifer Betancourt (Girl/Pat/Reporter/Ensemble) and Nathaniel Fishburn (Ensemble). Understudies are Julia Beck, DJ Gierhart, Suzy Krueckeberg and Lila M. Whitney.

The production team for Born Ready includes Christy Arington (props design),
Eric Backus (sound design), Stacie Barra (playwright), Wm. Bullion (director), Greg Caldwell (assistant director), Ernie Deak (production manager), Andria Emerick (dance choreography) Morgan Gire (stage manager), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), Eric Luchen (set design), Rachel Markunas (assistant stage manager) Tobi Mattingly (music director), Jon Steinhagen (composer), David Trudeau (lighting design) and C.W. van Baale (master electrician).

About Stacie Barra, playwright
Stacie Barra is a Factory Theater ensemble member having performed in Factory’s GI’s in Europe, 1985 and Take the Cake. In addition to Factory, her area credits include work with Lifeline Theatre, The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Stockyards' Theatre Project and Chemically Imbalanced Comedy to name a few.

About Wm. Bullion, director
Wm. Bullion is a Factory Theater ensemble member and has been a professional director in Chicago for over 25 years. His most recent full project was directing David Cerda’s masterpiece Scream, Queen Scream! with Hell in a Handbag Productions. Before joining The Factory ensemble in 2016, he was a member of Akvavit Theatre, directing its hit U.S. premiere of Andri Snær Magnason’s Blue Planet, the Midwest/Chicago premiere of Jon Fosse’s A Summer’s Day and created the original burlesque satire Pippi’s Lost Stockings: A Skirt Raiser. Bullion is director of programs with DirectorsLabChicago, an artist-service organization dedicated to emerging directors and is a graduate of UCLA’s school of Theater, Film and Television.

About The Factory Theater
For almost 25 years, The Factory has created its shows from scratch, doing exactly the kind of theater they wanted to do. From writing workshops to the closing night bash, Factory shows are a unique experience that fits its exacting standards: original, bold, and full-tilt. Its shameless ensemble are ambassadors of a good time, making certain that Chicago remains heartily entertained.

OPENING: World Premiere of Queen Begins at Victory Gardens 4/14-5/14

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Victory Gardens Theater presents
the World Premiere of
By Madhuri Shekar
Directed by Joanie Schultz

April 14 – May 14, 2017

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 42nd season with the World Premiere of Queen, written by Madhuri Shekar and directed by Joanie Schultz. Queen runs April 14 – May 14, 2017, with the press performance on Friday, April 21, 2017, at 7:30 pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. 

PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon a miscalculation. What appears to be a small error could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences.

The cast of Queen includes Priya Mohanty (Sanam Shah), Darci Nalepa (Ariel Spiegel), Adam Poss (Arvind Patel) and Stephen Spencer (Dr. Philip Hayes).

The creative team includes Chelsea Warren (scenic design), Janice Pytel (costume design), Heather Gilbert (lighting design) and Thomas Dixon (sound design). Lynne Harris is the production stage manager.

Queen by Madhuri Shekar and directed by Joanie Schultz (Cocked, The Whale) returns to Victory Gardens Theater after enthralling audiences at the 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays.

”The current conversation around climate change, the disappearance of bees, and our nation’s response to environmental protection continues to be challenging on a daily basis," comments Artistic Director Chay Yew. ”However, it excites me that playwright Madhuri Shekar has kept this dialogue alive and urgent in the world premiere of Queen. With Madhuri's signature wit and her uncanny ability to weave a complex yet remarkably insightful story, this play is framed by two female PhD science students from different races who want nothing more than to protect our planet and the bees that inhabit it – even at the cost of their own friendship."

About the Artists
Madhuri Shekar (Playwright) is based in New York. Her plays include In Love and Warcraft, A Nice Indian Boy, Queen and Antigone, presented by the girls of St. Catherine’s. Her work has been produced, commissioned or developed at the Alliance Theatre, the Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Victory Gardens, the Kennedy Center, Hedgebrook Playwrights Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is currently a playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. She co-created the Shakespearean web series Titus and Dronicus (

Joanie Schultz (Director) Victory Gardens Theater: Cocked, The Whale, Rest, Cocked. Regional: Sex with Strangers (Cleveland Play House); Lot's Wife (Kansas City Repertory Theatre); Hand to God (Studio Theatre). Chicago: Venus in Fur (Goodman Theatre); A Small Fire, The Cheats, Martyr, Luther (Steep Theatre); The Kid Thing (About Face Theatre/Chicago Dramatists); The Girl in the Yellow Dress (Next Theatre); Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo Theatre); Bruise Easy (American Theater Company); Spinning (Irish Theatre Chicago); Yankee Tavern (American Blues Theatre); Neighborhood 3 (Strawdog); The Hundred Flowers Project (Silk Road Rising), fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); 2013 Co-Artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake. Opera: Bluebeard’s Castle, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Acis and Galatea, Carmen. Artistic Director: WaterTower Theatre (Addison, TX); former Associate Artistic Producer at Victory Gardens Theater. Fellowships: Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by TCG, Drama League Fellowship, The Goodman Theatre’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship, SDCF Denham Fellowship, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Ensemble Member at Steep Theatre. Theater Faculty Member at Columbia College and the University of Chicago. MFA in Directing (Northwestern University).

PRIYA MOHANTY (Sanam Shah) Collaboraction: Gender Breakdown. Rasaka Theatre: A Widow of No Importance, A Nice Indian Boy, Vanya (That’s Life). Rasaka Theatre & Vitalist Theatre: Multitudes. Cuckoo’s Theatre Project: Anon(ymous)

DARCI NALEPA (Ariel Spiegel) Victory Gardens Debut. Chicago Theater: A Life Extra Ordinary, Good for Otto, Othello, Thinner Than Water, Dirty (The Gift Theatre); Kill Floor (American Theater Company); Yankee Tavern (American Blues Theater); Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo); The Drunken City (Steppenwolf Theatre – Next Up); Flare Path, Company (Griffin Theatre); Love and Money (Steep Theatre). Film/TV: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Chicago Fire, Shameless, Patriot.

ADAM POSS (Arvind Patel) Victory Gardens: Oedipus El Rey. Chicago credits: 2666, Teddy Ferrara, The Solid Sands Below, The Magic Play, A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), 1984, Animals Out of Paper (Steppenwolf Theatre), The Lake Effect, Scorched (Silk Road Rising), The Beats (16th St. Theatre). Regional: The North Pool, The Lake Effect (Theatreworks Palo Alto), Macbeth (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), Lot’s Wife (Kansas City Rep), The History Boys (Studio Theatre DC). Film /TV: The Middle Distance, The Drunk, King of URLS, Speed Dating, Shameless, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Crisis, The Mob Doctor, The Chicago Code.

STEPHEN SPENCER (Dr. Philip Hayes). Chicago: Blizzard ’67 (16th Street); The Life of Galileo, Our Class, Night and Day (Remy Bumppo); Body+Blood (Gift Theatre); The Quality of Life (The Den & TOTL); Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Wait Until Dark (Court); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Congo Square/Goodman); The Liquid Moon (Chicago Dramatists/Associate Artist); Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost (OPFT). Regional: Blackbird (Riverside Theatre); Romeo & Juliet, The Winter's Tale (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare Rep); Heroes (Nebraska Rep). Also: Utah Shakespeare, The Asolo. Overseas: Medeamaterial (Moscow's Leninsky Komsomol Theatre); Battery (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Film/TV: Empire, Public Enemies, Mr. Lonely, Greg’s Leg, Morning Due (Cannes).

Full Performance Schedule
Previews for Queen are April 14-20, 2017. Previews are $15-$40. The Press opening is Friday, April 21 at 7:30pm. Regular performances run April 22 – May14, 2017: Tuesday — Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3:00pm.  Regular performances are $15-$60.

Victory Gardens has partnered with mobile theater ticketing app TodayTix to offer free tickets for the first preview of Queen. Free Tickets will be available via TodayTix mobile lottery, launching one week before the first preview on Friday, April 8, 2017. Winners will be notified by email and push notification between 12:00pm and 3:00pm on the day of the first preview, Friday, April 14, 2017. 

Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000, email, or visit Ask the Box Office about student tickets ($15), senior, and Access. For group discounts, call 872.817.9087.

Public Programs
Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues within Victory Gardens Theater’s productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions

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

After every performance of QUEEN (unless otherwise noted)
Join us for one of our intimate post-show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, subscribers, Artistic staff, Teen Arts Council members, The Council of Community Leaders, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.

Pre-show celebration | Post-show conversation
April 18, 2017
Reception begins at 6:30pm in the Victory Gardens lobby
Post-Show conversation to follow the evening performance of Queen
Avocados, coffee, cilantro, strawberries, and, yes, honey. All foods that we enjoy because of bees. What do we lose when we lose bees? Join us for a pre-show honey tasting and beekeeping demonstrations, featuring urban beekeepers in Chicago. After the performance of QUEEN, join local beekeepers to talk about the loss of bees from a more personal perspective.

Pre-show celebration | Post-show conversation
April 19, 2017
Reception begins at 6:30pm in the Victory Gardens lobby
Post-Show conversation to follow the evening performance of Queen
STEM: Science, technology, engineering, mathematics. Just 25% of the workforce in these fields is comprised of women. Join us for a pre-show celebration to recognize the women like Sanam and Ariel who have pushed ahead in a field that continually tries to shut them out. After this performance of QUEEN, join us for a discussion with local scholars, researchers, and scientists about their work and experiences in the field.

Post-show conversation
April 20, 2017 | Following the evening performance of Queen
Have you ever wondered what goes into writing a play like QUEEN? Join playwright Madhuri Shekar and
our Director of New Play Development Isaac Gomez as they delve into the process of developing a new
play from the ground up.

Pre-show celebration
April 22, 2017 | 6:30pm in the Victory Gardens Lobby
Every day should be Earth Day! How can we make daily changes to care for our planet? Join us for an
evening of interactive events including a food waste composting demo, Zero Waste Challenge performances from local artists and activists whose work centers around the environment. Then, join us for an evening performance of QUEEN. Each ticket includes a gift bag with seeds to help you start your
bee-friendly garden and other fun favors!

April 29, 2017 | Following the evening performance of Queen
Art and science are often seen from the opposite ends of the education spectrum. But they are
more connected than we may think. Science and art are both methods to understand our place in the world and why things happen the way they do. Join us after tonight’s performance of QUEEN for a
post-show full of science-related poetry; applying math and science to the arts, applying art to math and

Pre-show celebration | Post-show conversation
May 12, 2017
Reception begins at 6:30pm in the Victory Gardens lobby
Post-Show conversation to follow the evening performance of Queen
Gender parity is just one issue that the scientists in QUEEN, Sanam and Ariel, face throughout their careers. Even among the struggle, there is joy and pride to be found in the work that they did and will continue to do. Their fight is not just fictional: women comprise only 25% of the workforce in STEM fields.
Join us for a night of short plays written and performed by Chicago college students from Northwestern,
DePaul, University of Chicago, and Columbia, reflecting on the challenges that women face in their professional lives.

May 13, 2017 | Following the evening performance of Queen
In our current political climate, the issue of climate change is an often contentious one. A clear partisan
issue, what does this mean in the years to come? How is climate change affecting our day to day lives
and how can we get involved? Join us after tonight’s performance of QUEEN as we talk with local
scientists, activists, and scholars and dive into climate change and its effect on the bee population, as
well as on our futures.

For more information about Victory Gardens, visit  Follow us on Facebook at, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram at

Lead Production Sponsor The William and Orli Staley Foundation
Production Sponsors: Edgerton Foundation; Author Anupy Singla, Co-founder Indian As Apple Pie; Metropolitan Capital Bank, NEA Art Works, REAM Foundation, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust

Student Matinee and Youth Engagement Sponsors Exelon and AllState

Season Sponsors: 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
Queen is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

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.

The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

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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