Wednesday, May 16, 2018

OPENING: Buried Child Via Writers Theatre Through June 17, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Writers Theatre presents 
Written by Sam Shepard

Directed by WT Resident Director Kimberly Senior
Featuring Shannon Cochran, Allen Gilmore, Arti Ishak, Timothy Edward Kane, 
Shane Kenyon, Mark L. Montgomery and Larry Yando

May 9 – June 17, 2018

I'll be ChiILin' just north of Chi, IL in Glencoe, with the acclaimed Writers Theatre, for the press opening of Buried Child on May 16th. Writers Theatre has long been a favorite of mine, for stellar seasons, award winning productions, and world class talent. I'm eager to catch their latest since Kimberly Senior is directing and I've long enjoyed her work. With the incomparable Larry Yando as Dodge, and an excellent cast all around, this is sure to be one to see.

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, presents Buried Child, written by Sam Shepard and directed by WT Resident Director Kimberly Senior. Buried Child runs May 9 – June 17, 2018 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 

On a cross-country trip from New York to the west coast, Vince and his girlfriend Shelly decide to make a stop at his grandparents’ rural Illinois home. But when they arrive, neither his grandparents, Dodge and Halie, nor his father Tilden and uncle Bradley seem to recognize or remember him. As Vince searches for answers, truths begin to emerge that reveal a deep corrosion of this fragmented family living in a forgotten America.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece will be newly invigorated for the WT stage by Resident Director Kimberly Senior (Hedda Gabler, The Diary of Anne Frank, Marjorie Prime, The Scene), drawing audiences deeply into the story of a family fighting to come to grips with an America that may have left them behind.

First performance: Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Press opening: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:30pm
Closing performance: June 17, 2018

Tuesdays – Fridays: 7:30pm
(with select 3:00pm Wednesday matinees)
Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm

The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre
325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Prices for all performances range from $35 - $80
Purchase early for best prices

Box Office:
The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe; 

WT’s production of Buried Child represents the first major Chicago production of a Sam Shepard play since his death in July of 2017. 

“Part of the Writers Theatre mission is to revive plays from the existing dramatic canon,” says artistic director Michael Halberstam “As a company that eschews overly conceptual stagings, the opportunity to look at that canon with fresh eyes is essential to keeping these plays relevant.  Shepard’s writing has a decidedly masculine perspective and yet, thematically, his play seems to signal the death of the patriarchy, the dwindling of the American Dream and it offers empathic insight into a segment of the population that the mainstream largely ignored, until they made themselves viscerally heard in the most recent election. It is therefore very worthy of revival.  

Buried Child is Director Kimberly Senior’s sixth production at Writers Theatre. She previously directed The Scene, Marjorie Prime, The Diary of Anne Frank, Hedda Gabler and The Letters.

“Kimberly Senior is the perfect director to guide this play into life on the Nichols Theatre stage.  She has assembled a superb team of artists to realize her vision.  It’s a play that ignites her passion on a personal level and fires up her fierce intellectual curiosity.  For those who have not seen the play before, this will be a perfect introduction to a fiercely complex and consciously imperfect playwright. For those who have experienced Buried Child previously, this will be a new realization.  Either way, expect the unexpected.  As she did with Hedda Gabler and The Diary of Anne Frank, Kimberly will find an emotionally blisteringly and thrillingly sharp way to bring this text into the hearts and souls of audiences with absolute present-day currency.”

Two cast members are making their Writers Theatre debuts in this production: Arti Ishak (Shelly) and Shane Kenyon (Vince).

The cast of Buried Child includes: Shannon Cochran (Halie), Allen Gilmore (Father Dewis), Arti Ishak (Shelly), Timothy Edward Kane (Bradley), Shane Kenyon (Vince), Mark L. Montgomery (Tilden) and Larry Yando (Dodge).

In creating the set for Buried Child, the WT production team imported 150 cubic yards of “stover” a mix of dirt and corn debris that is left over after a field has been harvested but not cleared for the next crop. That 150 cubic yards represents 350 plowed stalks of corn, which is cured and treated for bugs before use on stage.

The designers are Jack Magaw (scenic), Mieka van der Ploeg (costumes), Heather 

Gilbert (lighting), Mikhail Fiksel (sound) and Scott Dickens (props). The fight director is Matt Hawkins and the production stage manager is David Castellanos.

Tickets are priced $35 - $80. Subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 847-242-6000 or in person at the box office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

Sam Shepard’s Buried Child premiered at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco in 1978 and had its New York premiere at Theater for the New City later that year. The play won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as Shepard the 1979 Obie Award for Playwriting. The 1996 Broadway production, directed by Gary Sinise, was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Play. Buried Child was revived Off-Broadway by The New Group in 2016. The production was nominated for two Lucille Lortel Awards, for Outstanding Lead Actor (Ed Harris) and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Paul Sparks). It transferred to the West End for a limited engagement in November 2016 starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan of the Off-Broadway production.


Sam Shepard (Playwright) ranks as one of America's most celebrated dramatists. Prior to his death in 2017, he wrote nearly 50 plays and saw his work produced across the nation, in venues ranging from Greenwich Village coffee shops to regional professional and community theatres, from college campuses to commercial Broadway houses. His plays are regularly anthologized, and theatre professors teach Sam Shepard as a canonical American author. Outside of his stage work, he achieved fame as an actor, writer and director in the film industry. With a career that spanned nearly 40 years, Sam Shepard gained the critical regard, media attention and iconic status enjoyed by only a rare few in American theatre. Throughout his career Shepard amassed numerous grants, prizes, fellowships and awards, including the Cannes Palme d'Or and the Pulitzer Prize. He received abundant popular praise and critical adulation. While the assessment of Shepard's standing may evidence occasional hyperbole, there can be little doubt that he has spoken in a compelling way to American theatre audiences and that his plays have found deep resonance in the nation's cultural imagination.

Several members of the Buried Child cast and creative team (including director Kimberly Senior, scenic designer Jack Magaw, lighting designer Heather Gilbert, and actors Shane Kenyon and Larry Yando) have personal connections to Shepard’s work and Buried Child, specifically, and have noted the influence Shepard’s work has had on their careers. 

Kimberly Senior (Director) returns to Writers where she previously directed The Scene, Marjorie Prime, The Diary of Anne Frank, Hedda Gabler and The Letters. Chicago credits include: Disgraced and Rapture, Blister, Burn (Goodman Theatre), Discord, 4000 Miles, The Whipping Man (Northlight Theatre), Want, The North Plan (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Inana, My Name is Asher Lev, All My Sons, Dolly West's Kitchen (TimeLine Theatre Company), Disgraced (American Theatre Company), among others. New York credits include: Disgraced (2013 Pulitzer Prize, Broadway), Chris Gethard's Career Suicide (Judd Apatow Productions), Discord (Primary Stages), Engagements (Second Stage Uptown), The Who and The What and Disgraced (Lincoln Center Theater 3). Regional credits include: Sheltered (Alliance Theatre), The Niceties (Contemporary American Theatre Festival), Other Than Honorable (Geva Theatre Center), Sex with Strangers (Geffen Playhouse), Disgraced (Mark Taper Forum, Berkley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Who and The What (La Jolla Playhouse), Little Gem (City Theatre), Games Afoot, Murder on the Nile, A Few Good Men (Peninsula Players), among others. Upcoming shows include Support Group for Men (Goodman Theatre), The Niceties (Huntington Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre) and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Milwaukee Repertory). Kimberly also directed Chris Gethard's Career Suicide (HBO). Kimberly was awarded the prestigious Alan Schneider Award at the 2016 TCG Conference. She is also a 2013 Finalist for the SDCF Joe A. Callaway Award. She is the recipient of the 2016 Special Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for her Chicago career achievements as a trail blazer, champion and role model for emerging artists.

Returning to Writers Theatre are Shannon Cochran (Halie), Allen Gilmore (Father Dewis), Timothy Edward Kane (Bradley), Mark L. Montgomery (Tilden) and Larry Yando (Dodge).

Shannon Cochran (Halie) has previously appeared at Writers Theatre in The Importance of Being Earnest, The Dance of Death, Hamlet, A Little Night Music, The Lion in Winter, The Father and Private Lives (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination). Her recent theatre work includes the world premiere of A Doll's House, Part 2 (South Coast Repertory), The Christians (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and the Roundabout National Tour of Cabaret. She performed in the National Tour of August: Osage County, for which received a Helen Hayes nomination and Chicago Theatre award. She is an Obie and TheatreWorld Award winner for the role she created in Bug (Gate Theatre-London, Barrow Street Theatre). Other theatre credits include The Old Globe, Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre, The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Playhouse on the Square, Barbican (London). Her directing credits include Fallen Angels (Remy Bumppo), Dirty (Zephyr Theatre, West Coast premiere), Bug (Barebones Productions), The Rivalry, The Real Dr. Strangelove and Judgement at Nuremberg (LA Theatreworks), Therese Raquin (greasyjoan) and Private Passage (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble). Film credits include Captive State (in production), The Ring, Star Trek: Nemesis, Be Good for Rachel, The Perfect Family, Flowers and Weeds, and Fenton Black. Television credits include Modern Family, Scandal, Grey's Anatomy (ABC), NCIS: LA, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (CBS), The Office, Law and Order: SVU (NBC) and others.

Allen Gilmore (Father Dewis) previously appeared at Writers Theatre in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.  Most recently, Allen was seen in An Enemy of the People, as Alternate Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Yasmina’s Necklace, Objects in the Mirror (all at Goodman Theatre) and Man in the Ring (Court Theatre). Last summer he was A Clown in The 39 Steps and The Duke in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Santa Cruz Shakespeare). He began the 2017/18 season at The Jewel Theater in Santa Cruz as Joe Keller in All My Sons. Allen has performed at theaters in Chicago and across North America including Lookingglass Theatre Company, Congo Square Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, The Shakespeare Theater DC, Arena Stage, Portland Stage, Citadel Theater in Edmonton, National Arts Center in Ottawa, Atlantic Theater Festival in Nova Scotia and on Broadway. He is a native of Houston, a US Army Infantry veteran, a 2015 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow and a 2015 3Arts awardee.

Director Kimberly Senior has noted that in the context of today’s world, Buried Child feels more like it is “Shelly’s play” to her in ways different than before, emphasizing the themes of gender and generational power politics. In the Writers Theatre production, Shelly is played by Arti Ishak in her WT debut. 

Arti Ishak (Shelly) is an actor, writer and teaching artist originally from Detroit. Recent Chicago credits include Men On Boats (American Theater Company), Johnny 10 Beers’ Daughter (Chicago Dramatists), Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre), Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno (The Second City), Harbur Gate (16th Street Theatre) and A Story Told in Seven Fights (The Neo-Futurists). She is a graduate of Western Michigan University's Theatre and Business schools.

Timothy Edward Kane (Bradley) previously appeared at Writers Theatre in Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Arms and the Man. Other Chicago credits include All My Sons, Harvey, One Man Two Guvnors, An Iliad (2011 & 2013), The Illusion, Wild Duck, Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Romance Cycle, Hamlet (Court Theatre), Faceless, Lost in Yonkers, The Miser, She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre), Blood and Gifts (TimeLine Theatre Company), The North Plan (Steppenwolf Garage) and fifteen productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater including Tug of War: Civil Strife, The Comedy Of Errors, A Flea In Her Ear and Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (CST and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon). Regional credits: The Mark Taper Forum, Notre Dame Shakespeare, Peninsula Players and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. TV: Chicago Fire (NBC). Education: BS, Ball State University; MFA, Northern Illinois University. He is the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson award and an After Dark award.

Shane Kenyon (Vince) recently appeared in Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare in Love and As You Like It (Utah Shakespeare Festival). Shane has a Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actor in If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet (Steep Theatre). Other Chicago credits include Buzzer (Goodman Theatre), Where We’re Born, Hushabye, Betrayal, Sex With Strangers (u/s) (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The Who and The What (Victory Gardens Theater), Shining City, The Seafarer (Jeff Award Winner – Best Ensemble), Shadow of a Gunman (Irish Theatre of Chicago, Ensemble Member), Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight (Windy City Playhouse), Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago), Trainspotting USA (Book & Lyrics), Big Love (Strawdog Theatre), and Mary’s Wedding (Rivendell Theatre). Regional theatre credits include Hedda Gabler (Studio Theatre), Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre). Shane has been on screen in Chicago Med, Chicago Justice, Chicago PD (NBC), Empire, Chicago Code (Fox), Mind Games (ABC) along with multiple SAG independent films and commercials. Shane received his BFA in Theatre Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Mark L. Montgomery (Tilden) has appeared at Writers Theatre in The Scene, Hedda Gabler, The Letters, and The Beats. Mark has appeared in more than a dozen productions with Chicago Shakespeare Theater including: Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida and Rose Rage: Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3. Other Chicago credits include Camino Real, Stage Kiss, A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Fascination (About Face Theatre), Want, The Time of Your Life (Steppenwolf Theatre), In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, Equivocation (Victory Gardens), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Apple Tree Theatre), and In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison (The Journeymen Theater Company) as well as shows with Remy Bumppo and Northlight, among others. New York credits include: The Seagull, Mamma Mia! (Broadway), Macbeth (The Public), The Runner Stumbles (The Actors Company Theatre) and The Madras House (Mint Theater Company). Regional credits include: Julius Caesar (American Repertory Theater and French tour) and Emma (Cleveland Playhouse). Television credits include: Boss, Law & Order and Guiding Light.

Larry Yando and Shannon Cochran play opposite each other for the first time on a WT stage since their Joseph Jefferson Award-winning performances in the 2014 production of The Dance of Death by August Strindberg, adapted by Conor McPherson and directed by Henry Wishcamper.

Larry Yando (Dodge) has appeared at Writers Theatre in The Dance of Death, Hamlet, As You Like It, Bach at Leipzig, Rocket to the Moon and Nixon’s Nixon.  Chicago credits include Ebenezer Scrooge in nine productions of A Christmas Carol, The Little Foxes, The Jungle Book, Candide (Jeff Award) (Goodman Theatre), Titus Andronicus (Defiant Theatre), Shakespeare in Love, The Tempest, King Lear, Julius Caesar, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Cymbeline, Timon of Athens, All’s Well That Ends Well, Henry IV Parts I and II, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Angels in America (Jeff Award), Travesties, An Ideal Husband, Ghosts, Electra, Measure for Measure, The Importance of Being Earnest, Travels with My Aunt (Court Theatre), Fake, Mother Courage and Her Children (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Kiss of the Spider Woman (Pegasus Players, Jeff Award), I Hate Hamlet and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Royal George Theatre). Regional credits include Angels in America, Arcadia and Amadeus at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Mr. Yando performed as Scar in the national tour of The Lion King for three years. He was honored as Chicago magazine’s Best Actor in Chicago, received DePaul University’s Excellence in the Arts Award and was the recipient of the 2014 Sarah Siddens Award for Chicago’s Leading Man. Mr. Yando has taught advanced acting classes at The Theatre School at DePaul University, Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago and Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Classical Training Program. In 2010, he was one of nine actors chosen for the Lunt- Fontanne Fellowship Program, an acclaimed program serving regional theater actors and the future of American theater.


Accessible Performances:
ASL-Interpreted performance: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 7:30pm 
Open-Captioned performance: Friday, June 15, 2018 at 7:30pm

Sunday Spotlight — Sunday, June 3, 2018 after the matinee performance

Are you curious about the world that surrounds your favorite plays? Sunday Spotlight offers access to the finest speakers, scholars and cultural leaders. This one-hour event extends the conversation on our stages by featuring an expert in an area connected to the play. Seating is limited. RSVP is required. Save the date!

The Making of… Series— Monday, June 11, 2018 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 every Tuesday evening performance (excluding First Week 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 First Week and extensions) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team. 

Pre-Show Conversation: Up Close

Join us at 6:45pm before every Thursday evening performance (excluding First Week and extensions) for a 15-minute primer on the context and content of the play, 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 or Instagram page or their Twitter feed with a tag of @WritersTheatre and #[the title of the show], 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 2017/18 Season Sponsor and ComEd as the Official Lighting Sponsor of the 2017/18 Season. The Corporate Sponsor for Buried Child is United. Major Production Sponsors are Jennifer and Alec Litowitz. The Artists Council Sponsors are Susan and Don Belgrad and Gail and Tom Hodges. Additional support for Buried Child is provided by the Director’s Society Sponsors.

For more information about Writers Theatre’s 2017/18 partners, visit

For more than 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, May 15, 2018

FREE With RSVP: Babes With Blades' First Fighting Words Festival at Strawdog Theatre 5/19 & 5/20/18

Fest Alert: Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Two Days...
Three Great New Plays.

Want to see the newest woman-centered plays featuring the art of stage combat? Be there for BWBTC's first ever 
Fighting Words Festival!

Farce, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy...all in one weekend!

ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?!

May 19-20, 2018
Strawdog Theatre (1802 W Berenice Ave., Chicago)

Saturday 5/19:
12:00pm -
The Lady Demands Satisfaction* by Arthur Jolly
2:30pm -
Women of 4G by Amy Tofte

Sunday 5/20:
7:00pm -
The Witches of Birnam by Sara Murdock

FREE ADMISSION! Refreshments and a talkback follow each reading.

To reserve your FREE SEAT, go here.

*Winner of Joining Sword & Pen 2017-18

Check Out These Babes

Chloe Baldwin is off to California this summer to apprentice with Kingsmen Shakespeare Company, appearing in their productions of Othello and Two Noble Kinsmen.

Barbara Lhota's new play GIRL FOUND, produced by Idle Muse Theatre Company, with Alison Dornheggen directing, intimacy design by Jennifer L. Mickelson, and featuring Kathrynne Wolf, plays at The Edge Theater from May 17 thru Sunday, June 10th, Previews: May, 12th, 13th, 16th.

Barbara Lhota's play RAEANN'S GOTTA WIN: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DRAGON SLAYING, will be read at Prop Theater's Church of the New Play on Sunday, July 15th at 11AM. 

Check out Artistic Associate Elizabeth MacDougald in Down the Rock Road and all the Way to Bedlam with Otherworld Theatre, running through May 13th at Fox Arca Theatre. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

OPENING: Cry It Out Via Northlight Through June 17th, 2018

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Northlight Theatre concludes its 2017-18 season with
Cry It Out
Written by Molly Smith Metzler
Directed by Jessica Fisch
Featuring Laura Lapidus, Gabriel Ruiz, Darci Nalepa,
and Kristina Valada-Viars

May 10 – June 17, 2018

I'll be out for the press opening on May 18th, so check back soon for my full review. Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've long enjoyed Northlight Theatre's acclaimed productions and new work. There's still a gender gap in the theatre world, so we're elated this show is written and directed by women and deals with an intense and all too common collective experience. We're eager to catch Cry It Out.

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, concludes its 2017-18 season with Cry It Out, written by Molly Smith Metzler and directed by Jessica Fisch.  Cry It Out runs May 10 – June 17, 2018 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie.   

Cooped up on maternity leave and eager for conversation, Jessie invites the funny and forthright Lina for coffee on their neighboring patios. They become fast friends, quickly bonding over their shared “new mom” experience—and arousing the interest of a wealthy neighbor hoping for a similar connection. This insightful comedy takes an honest look at the absurdities of new motherhood, the dilemma of returning to work versus staying at home, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.

“Northlight has always been interested in new work. Last year one of the hits of The Humana Festival was Cry It Out, the story of young women struggling with the exhausting adjustment to one of the most difficult jobs of all—motherhood. The work/life balance is a challenge for all of us, but it becomes a psychological battle for women who prepare for their careers, only to have to make a choice, to stay home or leave their babies with caregivers. The guilt inherent in the latter is so powerful it can distract from focusing on their professional career,” comments BJ Jones. “At the helm is director Jessica Fisch whose husband is also our lighting designer Paul Toben. Their daughter Olivia is not yet a year, but she is already broken in as a green room baby. Jess knows the geographical and emotional territory because she is living it in real time. And Molly Smith Metzler's writing is both familiar and surprising, fresh and resonant, the kind of conversations that I hear in my home, between my children and their friends.”

Previews: May 10 – 17, 2018
Regular run: May 19 – June 17, 2018

Schedule: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (May 15 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except May 30) and 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except May 12) and 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (May 13 and June 3 only)

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

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.

Cry It Out premiered at The Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville where dramaturg Lauren Shouse brought it to the attention of BJ Jones.  Jessica Fisch also saw it at Humana. Then in her first trimester with her daughter, Jessica immediately connected with the play and said, “I was seeing so much of my future self on stage. I ended up laugh-crying through the whole play. So much so that the man next to me put his hand on me and asked, ‘Are you okay?’ To which I exclaimed, ‘Yes, I’m pregnant!’ I wasn’t showing yet and I think he was afraid I was having a nervous breakdown. I just felt so immediately seen by the play because those characters were having conversations that at that point I was only having with myself. It was surreal, I felt like I knew these people.”

Cry It Out was commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville and premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in spring 2017. Northlight's production, directed by Jessica Fisch, will be the first outside of the Festival.

The cast of Cry It Out includes Laura Lapidus (Lina), Gabriel Ruiz (Mitchell), Darci Nalepa (Jessie) and Kristina Valada-Viars (Adrienne).
The creative team includes Andrew Boyce (Scenic Design), Stephanie Cluggish (Costume Design), Paul Toben (Lighting Design) and Kevin O’Donnell (Sound Design). The stage manager is Rita Vreeland.

Northlight’s production of Cry It Out is supported in part by Room & Board, Edward Jones, Plante Moran, MB Financial, Coldwell Banker, John J. Cahill Inc., Uline, Mary Ann and David Grumman, and Greg and Anne Taubeneck Fund at Chicago Community Trust.

The entire cast including Laura Lapidus (Lina), Gabriel Ruiz (Mitchell), Darci Nalepa (Jessie) and Kristina Valada-Viars (Adrienne) will be making their Northlight debuts in Cry It Out.  This also marks the first production at Northlight for playwright Molly Smith Metzler and director Jessica Fisch.


Molly Smith Metzler (Playwright) is the author of Cry it Out, Elemeno Pea, The May Queen, Carve, Training Wisteria and Close Up Space. Regional credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center, The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Chautauqua Theater Company, City Theatre, Play Makers Rep, Geva Theatre Center, and many more. Off-Broadway credits include Manhattan Theatre Club. Metzler’s awards include the Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center, the National Student Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s David Mark Cohen Award, the Mark Twain Comedy Prize, and a finalist nod for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.  She is currently under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and South Coast Repertory. In television, Metzler has written for Casual (Hulu), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Codes of Conduct (HBO), and is currently a writer/co-producer on Shameless (Showtime). She is also a screenwriter, currently adapting Ali Benjamin’s award-winning novel The Thing About Jellyfish into a film for OddLot and Pacific Standard (Reese Witherspoon’s company). Metzler was educated at SUNY Geneseo, Boston University, New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts, and The Juilliard School.  She lives in Los Angeles.

Molly Smith Metzler is currently under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and South Coast Repertory. In television, Metzler has written for Casual (Hulu), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Codes of Conduct (HBO), and is currently a writer/co-producer on Shameless (Showtime). She is also a screenwriter, currently adapting Ali Benjamin’s award-winning novel The Thing About Jellyfish into a film for OddLot and Pacific Standard (Reese Witherspoon’s company).

Jessica Fisch (Director) has previously directed You Across From Me (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival); Late Company (Cor Theatre); The Firebirds Take The Field (Rivendell);  Straight White Men (Associate Director, Steppenwolf); Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival); The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic (The Royal George); Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman /Rivendell Latinx Celebration); Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens); Psychodramatic (A Red Orchid, Incubator Series); and Traces (Feast Productions/Jackalope). Select New York credits include The Realm (The Wild Project); strive/seek/find (Abingdon Theatre); the 2009 Playwrights Horizons’ Stories on 5 Stories Benefit, Personal History (Ensemble Studio Theatre); The Redheaded Man (Barrow Street Theatre/Fringe NYC/Fringe Encores); Dressed In Your Dreams (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group); and an adaptation of the cult 1960’s gothic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Jessica was a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theater, the Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident, and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University.

Laura Lapidus (Lina) previously appeared at the North Shore Center as Daphna in Theater Wit’s Bad Jews. She later reprised the role in other productions at DC’s Studio Theatre and New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse. Other credits include Stay Lit (Steppenwolf LookOut Series); Balm in Gilead, Golden Boy, Port (Griffin Theatre); The Seagull (The Artistic Home); Pains of Youth (Odradek/Oracle); and breaks & bikes (Pavement Group). Film/Television credits include Chicago PD and The Two (co-writer, producer). She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Michigan. Laura is the winner of a 2018-19 Fulbright Award and will pursue a Masters in Classical Acting at LAMDA this fall.

Gabriel Ruiz (Mitchell) is a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista, Chicago credits include You Got Older, The Rembrandt, The Way West, How Long Will I Cry? and The Motherfucker with the Hat (Steppenwolf); Native Gardens (Victory Gardens); Agamemnon and Man in the Ring (Court); Arcadia and Company (Writers); City of Angels and Singin’ in the Rain (Marriott); The Upstairs Concierge (Goodman); The Wolf at the End of the Block and White Tie Ball (Teatro Vista); Creditor (Remy Bumppo); Sita Ram (Chicago Children’s Choir); Working: The Musical (Broadway Playhouse); Richard III and Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare) and Arabian Nights (Lookingglass). His regional credits include Native Gardens (Cincinatti Playhouse), Harvey (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (Forward Theatre Company), and Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York). He has composed music and lyrics for Don Chipotle performed at DCASE, and Epic Tale of Scale for Chicago Children’s Theater. He has appeared on television in Boss, APB, Electric Dreams, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice, and Chicago PD.

Darci Nalepa (Jessie) is a proud ensemble member of The Gift Theatre where she has appeared in A Swell In the Ground, A Life Extra Ordinary, and Good for Otto. Other Chicago credits include: Queen (Victory Gardens), Kill Floor (American Theatre Company), Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo), and The Drunken City (Steppenwolf). Darci appeared in Stephen Cone’s film Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and is the co-creator of the upcoming web series The Force. Television credits include Patriot, Shameless and Chicago Fire. She is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and proudly works as an Instructor at Black Box Acting. Darci is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Kristina Valada-Viars (Adrienne) is a theatre artist living in Chicago. As an actor and director, her work has been primarily devoted to new work development and first and second productions of new American plays. Most recently, she was seen in Steppenwolf for Young Audience’s production of The Crucible, the independent web series The Force, and served as Assistant Director on The Doppleganger (Steppenwolf). Acting credits include: Steppenwolf (Jeff Nomination, Time Stands Still), Goodman, New Dramatists, The New Group, 13P, Writers, Theater Wit, Route 66, About Face. Film/TV credits include Molly’s Girl (Best Actress in a Feature, Iris Prize), Black Box, Shameless, Empire. She is an activist, freelance writer, teacher and a member of the Chicago Green Theatre Alliance. She is working to foster artist-led exchange with performer-based communities outside of traditional commercial theatre circuit cities and actively works to expand casting boundaries within traditional narrative forms. She is the recipient of the 2017 Princess Grace Award and Fellowship in residence with Steppenwolf Theatre Company for the 2017-2018 season.

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

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (May 15 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except May 30) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except May 12) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (May 13 and June 3 only).

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

Backstage with BJ: Cry It Out
Friday, May 4 at noon
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 Cry It Out will last approximately one hour. The event is free but reservations are required. Visit to reserve your spot.

Inside Look: Cry It Out
Tuesday, May 22
at Wilmette Public Library
1242 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL
and Wednesday, May 30
at Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Ave, Highland Park, IL
Explore the context of Cry It Out through a discussion and Q&A session with artists related to the production.

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

Now in its 43rd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 207 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as nine Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality. 

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

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of The Originalist Via Court Theatre Through June 10th, 2018

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Court Theatre concludes 63rd Season with the Chicago Premiere of
The Originalist
The Asolo Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Pasadena Playhouse Production
By John Strand
Directed by Molly Smith
with Associate Director Seema Sueko
Featuring Edward Gero as Antonin Scalia

May 10 - June 10, 2018

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've long enjoyed Court Theatre's eclectic line ups and make a point to catch everything they produce. The Chicago premiere of The Originalist sounds like fascinating premise and a timely tale, and we're eager to see it. I'll be out for the press opening on Saturday, May 19th, so check back soon for my full review.

Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, concludes its 2017/18 season with the Asolo Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Pasadena Playhouse production of The Originalist by John Strand, directed by Molly Smith with Associate Director Seema Sueko, and featuring Edward Gero as Antonin Scalia. The Originalist runs May 10 – June 10, 2018 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. 

When a Harvard Law School graduate with decidedly different views takes on a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of America’s most brilliant and polarizing figures, she discovers in him an infuriating opponent and an unexpected mentor. Their relationship faces the ultimate test as they confront one of the most polarizing cases to reach the nation’s highest court.

Written by Charles MacArthur Award winner John Strand, this daring new work shows just how much passion for the law and risk it takes to defend one’s version of the truth. Court is thrilled to introduce this brilliant play to Chicago, with Edward Gero at its center. Molly Smith’s production is a sensation in Washington, D.C., where it premiered and has been revived twice.

The cast of The Originalist includes Edward Gero (Justice Antonin Scalia), Jade Wheeler (Cat) and Brett Mack (Brad).

The creative team includes Misha Kachman (scenic design), Joseph P. Salasovich (costume design), Collin K. Bills (lighting design), and Eric Shimelonis (sound design). The production stage managers are Susan R. White and Amanda Weener-Frederick.

About the Artists

JOHN STRAND (Playwright) has had works commissioned for Arena Stage including Snow Child, The Originalist, The Miser, Lovers and Executioners (MacArthur Award), and Tom Walker. Recent works include the book and lyrics for Hat! A Vaudeville (South Coast Reperatory); Lincolnesque (Old Globe); Lorenzaccio (Shakespeare Theatre Company), and the book for the musical The Highest Yellow (Signature Theatre). Additional plays are The Diaries (Signature Theatre) and The Cockburn Rituals (Woolly Mammoth). Strand spent 10 years in Paris, where he worked as a journalist and drama critic, and directed NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing in Paris. His novel Commieland was published by Kiwai Media, Paris in 2013. He is currently at work on a new play about President Teddy Roosevelt for Arena Stage and on the film adaptation of The Originalist.

MOLLY SMITH (Director) has served as Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington DC since 1998. Her more than 30 directing credits at Arena Stage include Carousel, Oliver!, The Originalist, Fiddler on the Roof, Camp David, Mother Courage and Her Children, Oklahoma!, A Moon for the Misbegotten, My Fair Lady, The Great White Hope, The Music Man, Orpheus Descending, Legacy of Light, The Women of Brewster Place, Cabaret, South Pacific, Agamemnon and His Daughters, All My Sons, and How I Learned to Drive. She recently directed Our Town at Canada’s Shaw Festival. Her directorial work has also been seen at The Old Globe, Asolo Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Trinity Repertory, Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, Montreal’s Centaur Theatre and Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998. Molly has been a leader in new play development for over 30 years. She is a great believer in first, second and third productions of new work and has championed projects including How I Learned to Drive; Passion Play, a cycle; Next to Normal; and Dear Evan Hansen. She has worked alongside playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Wendy Wasserstein, Lawrence Wright, Karen Zacarías, John Murrell, Eric Coble, Charles Randolph-Wright and many others. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage, focusing on the architecture and creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. During her time with the company, Arena Stage has workshopped more than 100 productions, produced 39 world premieres, staged numerous second and third productions and been an important part of nurturing nine projects that went on to have a life on Broadway. In 2014, Molly made her Broadway debut directing The Velocity of Autumn, following its critically acclaimed run at Arena Stage. She was awarded honorary doctorates from American University and Towson University.

SEEMA SUEKO (Associate Director) joined the Arena Stage staff in July 2016 as Deputy Artistic Director and made her Arena Stage directorial debut with Smart People. She previously served as Associate Artistic Director at Pasadena Playhouse and Executive Artistic Director of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. Her directing and acting credits include Pasadena Playhouse, People’s Light, The Old Globe, San Diego Repertory, Yale Repertory, 5th Avenue Theatre, and Native Voices, among others. As a playwright, she received commissions from Mixed Blood Theatre and Center Stage. Her work has been recognized by the California State Assembly, NAACP San Diego, Chicago Jeff Awards, American Theatre Wing and American Theatre magazine. Seema developed the Consensus Organizing for Theater methodology, has done research on the neuroscience of acting and serves on the Diversity Committee of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

EDWARD GERO (Justice Antonin Scalia) is a four-time Helen Hayes Award winner and 15-time nominee. Regional credits include The Originalist (Arena Stage, Asolo Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse); The Little Foxes and Red (Arena Stage); Red and Gloucester in King Lear (Goodman); Nixon’s Nixon and Night Alive (Round House); Sweeney Todd (Signature Theatre); Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Ford’s Theatre); and American Buffalo, Shining City and Skylight (Studio Theatre). In 32 seasons with Washington DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, his over 70 roles include Helen Hayes turns in Henry IV, Richard II and Macbeth. Film/TV credits include House of Cards, TURN: Washington’s Spies, Die Hard 2, Striking Distance and narrations for Discovery Channel and PBS. He is a Ten Chimneys 2015 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow and associate professor of theater at George Mason University.

JADE WHEELER (Cat) returns to the role of Cat in The Originalist following productions at Pasadena Playhouse and Asolo Repertory. Jade has performed extensively along the east coast from Massachusetts to Florida. Most recently she appeared in The Legend of Georgia McBride at GableStage. Her one-woman show Who is Eartha Mae? played Off-Broadway at the 2016 United Solo Fest and won for Best Cabaret. Local credits include Debbie Allen’s Alex in Wonderland and Lost in the Stars (the Kennedy Center); An Octoroon (Woolly Mammoth); The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare Theatre Company); and Ruined (Everyman Theatre). Regional credits include GableStage, Central Square Theatre and Stoneham Theatre. She received her B.A. in theater and French from George Mason University and additional training from La Ferme de Trielle and The Actors Space.

BRETT MACK (Brad) has appeared in The Originalist (Arena Stage), The Great Society (Asolo Repertory); Mezzulah 1946 and The Muckle Man (Pittsburgh City Theatre); Leveling Up and The Tempest (The Hippodrome Theatre); Twelfth Night and Julius Caesar (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre); and The Illusion (Chautauqua Theatre). Brett is a recent M.F.A. graduate from Florida State University. He can be seen in season two of Scandal on ABC.

Court Theatre will be hosting a number of events related to The Originalist. Upcoming events are as follows:

The Originalist Discussion Series
May 10 – June 3, 2018
In the spirit of The Originalist, a play about listening to and engaging in civil discourse with those who have opposing viewpoints, Court is pleased to host a series of post-play discussions to delve deeper into the art and its related themes.  Even if you are attending the production on a different day, we invite Court patrons to attend any of the discussions. The production runs approximately 100 minutes and discussions begin promptly at the end of the performance.

Thursday, May 10: First Preview Tasting with CHANT and Discussion
Enjoy samples from Dining Partner CHANT pre-show in the lobby, and a post-play discussion led by Seema Sueko, Arena Stage Deputy Artistic Director.

May 11-17: Preview Performances with Post-Play Discussion
Following all preview performances, Seema Sueko, Arena Stage Deputy Artistic Director, or Edward Gero who portrays Justice Scalia, or other members of the artistic team lead a discussion with the audience.

Friday, May 18: The Originalist Playwright John Strand
Following the Friday 8:00pm performance, Charles MacArthur Award winning playwright John Strand leads the audience discussion.

Sunday, May 20: Martha Nussbaum and John Corvino on Religion, Law, and LGBT Rights
Following the Sunday 2:30pm matinee, Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, joins John Corvino, Professor of Philosophy at Wayne State University and author of Debating Same-Sex Marriage, to discuss Supreme Court decisions on religious liberty and LGBT rights.

Thursday, May 24, 2018: David Bevington Discussion
Following the 7:30pm performance, join us for a discussion with theatre scholar David Bevington and members of Court Theatre's artistic staff.

Saturday, May 26: Elliot Feldman, Attorney and Legal Advisor for The Originalist
Following the Saturday 3:00pm matinee, enjoy a discussion led by Elliot Feldman, Senior Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP in Washington, D.C., UChicago Alumnus, and Legal Consultant for The Originalist.

Sunday, June 3: Alison LaCroix and Jason Merchant on Rhetoric and Legal Interpretation
Following the Sunday 2:30pm matinee
In celebration of Alumni Weekend at the University of Chicago, the discussion will be led by Alison LaCroix, Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and Jason Merchant, Lorna Puttkammer Straus Professor, Department of Linguistics and Humanities Collegiate Division at the University of Chicago.

Staged Reading of Thurgood
By George Stevens, Jr.
Featuring A.C. Smith as Justice Thurgood Marshall
Directed by Charles Newell
Saturday, June 2 at 5:30pm and Monday, June 4 at 7:30pm
Thurgood is a one-man tribute to Justice Thurgood Marshall’s pioneering career and legacy as the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court. Justice Marshall revisits landmark civil rights victories, like Brown v. Board of Education, and the moments in history that are still charged with a moral urgency today.  For a short time, Thurgood Marshall served on the Supreme Court with Antonin Scalia who is the subject of the final production in Court’s 2017/18 season, The Originalist. Court favorite A.C. Smith (Gem of the Ocean, Waiting for Godot, Fences) will bring to life this vivid portrait of a civil rights icon in a special staged reading event. Subscribers enjoy free tickets as part of their benefits. All other tickets are $10 general admission.

Open-Captioned Performance of The Originalist
Sunday, June 3 at 2:30pm
Please call the Box Office at (773) 753-4472 to purchase tickets, as we may have seating suggestions.

Previews: May 10 – 18, 2018
Press Opening: Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 8:00pm
Regular Run: May 20 – June 10, 2018

Wed & Thurs: 7:30 p.m.
Fridays: 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sundays: 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.

$38-$48 previews
$44-$74 regular run

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

The Originalist is sponsored by The University of Chicago Women's Board and Charles Custer.

Court Theatre is guided by its mission to discover the power of classic theatre. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. Court revives lost masterpieces, illuminates familiar texts, and distinguishes fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

OPENING: Check Out The Pride Arts Center’s Summer Season; Headliners Include Melissa Young and Alan Palmer

Pride Arts Center special summer events to include cabarets, film screenings, comedy and WeFest

Headliners include Melissa Young and Alan Palmer

In addition to its just-announced “PAC Pride Fest” of five fully-staged plays, the Pride Arts Center will host another five special events and performances. The lineup will include the cabaret events OUT AND PROUD by Melissa Young, and Alan Palmer’s FABULOUS DIVAS OF HOLLYWOOD; Pride Films and Plays’ semi-annual WEFEST celebration of Chicago’s queer female, non-binary and trans artists., the final PRIDE FILM FESTIVAL of the ’17-18 season and an improv comedy show by CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY.

The Pride Arts Center’s summer season will kick off on Sunday, June 3 at 7:30 pm in the PAC’s Broadway venue with Melissa Young’s OUT AND PROUD: A RAINBOW CELEBRATION.  Young will perform and emcee a musical and comedic tour of LGBTQ history that will also feature in its cast Nick Sula, Daryl Nitz, Jeannie Tanner and Dan Riley, performing some of the most iconic songs of the LGBTQ movement.

The following weekend, impressionist Alan Palmer will perform his musical FABULOUS DIVAS OF BROADWAY for two nights only, on Friday June 8 and Saturday, June 9 in the 85-seat Broadway theater. With fast paced changes of beautiful costumes, wigs, thematic projections and a bevy of satirical songs, FABULOUS DIVAS OF BROADWAY parodies some of the biggest and best that Hollywood has to offer.With fast paced changes of beautiful costumes, wigs, thematic projections and a bevy of satirical songs, Alan Palmer’s impressions remind us why we all love to go to the movies and adore the leading women who star in them.
(Click on image to access high res photo of Alan Palmer)
The following week will see the final PRIDE FILM FESTIVAL of the 2017-18 season on Tuesday, June 12. Themed “Summer Shorts,” the screening will present a series of sexy and fun upbeat films for summer. The monthly film festival will then go on hiatus until November.

The next evening, on Wednesday, June 13, Pride Films and Plays will present its semi-annual inclusive, intersectional variety show celebrating the work of female, non-binary, and trans artists, WEFEST.

On Saturday, June 16, CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LIVE will be performed in the Broadway at 10 pm. This irreverent night of improv comedy is inspired by the popular and politically incorrect party game “Cards Against Humanity.”

Tickets for all events are on sale now at or by phone at 866-411-4111 or 773-857-0222

PAC Cabaret Event
Broadway Theater
Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 7:30PM
Broadway Theater
Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets: $30, Tickets available at or by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222.

Melissa Young’s tour of the LGBTQ movement through song and comedy returns with a little help from Chicago’s best Cabaret stars at the Pride Arts Center. Celebrate Pride month with Melissa Young and Nick Sula as they return with Young’s historical hit, OUT AND PROUD: A Rainbow Celebration. Nine years ago, Young performed the music of the World’s most loved LGBTQ icons to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, June 28, 1969 and now returns to celebrate the progress our country has made over the last nine years with help from some of her friends! Daryl Nitz, Jeannie Tanner and Dan Riley join Young and Sula this time around with proceeds benefiting Pride Films and Plays. Starting with Stonewall and Judy Garland, Young will follow the LGBTQ Rights timeline, matching icons to significant moments in history. Dolly Parton’s “Light of the Clear Blue Morning” in 1977 aligns with Anita Bryant and the S.O.C., Bette Midler’s “Do You Wanna Dance” aligns with a post Stonewall New York (1971-73) of Bathhouses and Gay-owned Discos. The creation of the Pride flag 1979/80 and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out!” Young’s passion for the history and where the movement is today comes across with laughter, heart and great love. Reservations recommended. Young’s been seen all around town at Davenports, Hydrate, the Park West, 3160 and Drury Lane Water Tower and out of town at The Dunes Resort, Don’t Tell Mama in NYC, The Duplex NYC and The Stonewall Inn.

PAC Cabaret Event
Starring and Created by Alan Palmer
Friday, June 8, 2018 and Saturday, June 9 at 10:30PM
Broadway Theater
Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets: Premium seats $25, General Admission $20
Tickets available at or by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222.

This outlandish, outrageous and out-and-out fun-filled show by the creative team behind the hit off-Broadway musical FABULOUS DIVAS OF BROADWAY parodies some of the biggest and best that Hollywood has to offer. With fast paced changes of beautiful costumes, wigs, thematic projections and a bevy of satirical songs, Alan Palmer’s impressions remind us why we all love to go to the movies and adore the leading women who star in them.

Beyond mimicry, beyond drag, ALAN PALMER’S FABULOUS DIVAS OF HOLLYWOOD is both reverent and irreverent.  A loving and hysterical tribute to the Prima Performers of Hollywood, it’s a must for all lovers of film!
His cast of 22 characterizations includes Cher, Meryl Streep, Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, plus a few surprises
PAC Film Event

Tuesday, June 12 – 7:30 pm
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets: $15 Premium, $10 General Admission, $8 Seniors/Students/Military, are currently available at or calling 1 866 811 4111 or 773-857-0222.

A series of sexy and fun upbeat films for summer. This will conclude our first year of monthly short films fests, which will return in November.

PAC Special Event
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Broadway Theater
Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets: Premium seats $15, General Admission $10
Tickets available at or by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222.

Pride Films and Plays’ semi-annual celebration of Chicago’s queer female, non-binary and trans artists. WeFest is an inclusive, intersectional variety show celebrating the work of female, non-binary, and trans artists.

PAC Special Event
Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 10:00PM
The Broadway, Pride Arts Center
4139 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613
Tickets, priced at $10, are currently available at or calling 1 866 811 4111.

One Night Only! CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LIVE Following three sell-out performances last year, CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY LIVE comes to Pride Arts Center Saturday June 16 at 10 pm. The irreverent night of improv comedy is inspired by the popular and politically incorrect party game “Cards Against Humanity.” After audience members pitch their ideas, the best suggestions are acted out by the Cards Against Humanity writers and a team of improvisers. The worst suggestions will be mercilessly ridiculed. Recommended for ages 18+.


Pride Films and Plays creates diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. We accomplish this mission through fully-staged productions, writing contests and staged readings, and filming one short film each season.

PFP is the primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center (PAC), which connects and promotes other artists who share our values, creating a safe environment for all. PAC books one-night events or limited runs, cabaret, film, dance, comedy, and other events. PAC opened in 2016 and consists of two performance spaces: The Buena at 4147 N. Broadway which has 50 seats and The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway which has 85 seats.
Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation and Alphawood Foundation. 

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois and The League of Chicago Theatres.

For more information, visit or call 1.800.737.0984.


PRIDE ARTS CENTER has become an important part of the arts environment in the Buena Park neighborhood and beyond. In addition to performances by PFP, (, PAC hosts monthly events including play readings, film screenings, cabaret nights, and variety shows. Guest productions are also included in the PAC schedule. Find a full calendar of everything happening at PAC here.

SAVE THE DATES: Brown Paper Box Co.'s 2018/2019 Season Kicks Off This Weekend 5/4 & 5/518

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Brown Paper Box Co. 2018/2019 Season

Brown Paper Box Co.’s 2018/2019 season poster designs by Artistic Associate Charlie Sheets.

Following their Jeff Recommended run of They’re Playing Our Song and the Chicago Reader Recommended Speech & Debate, Brown Paper Box Co. is proud to announce its 2018/2019 season. With an exciting regional premiere fresh out of New York - cast by lottery each night live on stage, a Chicago storefront chamber musical premiere, a new cabaret at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville, and a Spring 2019 Special Event to be announced soon, BPBCo.’s upcoming season has a little bit of something for everyone & everybody.

"Our staff got about 6 pages into reading Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ EVERYBODY and immediately knew it was the perfect play for our new season,” says Artistic Director Kristi Szczepanek. “And when William & Stephanie brought us their bare-bones concept for Little Women the Musical, it seemed like a great compliment. Thematically, the shows are very different, but we hope to tie them together aesthetically, as we focus this year on our ‘theatre, plain and simple’ roots."

Additional information regarding tickets, casting, outreach, becoming a season donor, and auditions for Brown Paper Box Co.’s 2018/2019 season can be found by visiting

Brown Paper Box Co. presents An Existential Cabaret
Host: Kristi Szczepanek, Accompanist: Emilie Modaff
May 4 and 5, 2018 
Mary’s Attic above Hamburger Mary’s

Inspired by life’s great mysteries presented in our first play in our 2018/2019 season, EVERYBODY, An Existential Cabaret will be a little different from our previous cabarets! As we begin to explore life, love, and morality through Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ modern morality play, guests at Mary’s Attic can expect to hear the musical stylings of Love, Death, Stuff, Friendship, Understanding, and even God — just to name a few. Join us on May 4th and 5th at Mary’s Attic to celebrate our season with the Brown Paper Box Co. family - and a few special guests!

Regional Premiere
Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Director: Erin Shea Brady
July 13 - August 12, 2018
Pride Films & Plays’ The Buena 

This modern riff on the 15th-century morality play Everyman follows Everybody (chosen from the cast by lottery at each performance) as they travel down a road toward life’s greatest mystery. Making its regional premiere in Chicago following its 2017 world premiere off-Broadway, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Gloria, An Octoroon) bases his new play on a medieval morality play that instructs sinners on how to repent and seek redemption.

“EVERYBODY harnesses theatricality to drop these conversations into our laps in a way that is hopeful, engaging, and unique,” says director Erin Shea Brady. “The actors literally get to try on different roles. They literally get to step into different points of view, giving us a new opportunity to explore bias and conditioning. There will be some permutations of this piece that have never happened before, that an audience is seeing for the very first time. It’s a huge, exciting experiment and it is electric. EVERYBODY is in on the rarity, taking ‘different every night’ to a whole new level.”

Erin Shea Brady (Director) joined the BPBCo. team this year as Production Director. She is the founder of No Stakes Theater Project, an organization dedicated to supporting the creative risks of emerging artists, where she has produced several productions, staged readings, and initiatives since 2014. Directing credits include: Kander & Ebb's Cabaret, Sharr White’s Annapurna (staged reading) and Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (No Stakes Theater Project); Stands (Spartan Theater, staged reading) and Anna Schutz's Prodigy: A Modern Family Portrait (staged reading). In assistant direction and dramaturgy roles, Erin has worked on productions at the Goodman, TimeLine, A Red Orchid, Jackalope, Northlight, and Remy Bumppo. A graduate from the directing program at Columbia College Chicago, her training also includes internships at Steppenwolf (Casting Department), American Blues (Performance Intern, Waiting for Lefty), Northlight and A Red Orchid.  Erin is also a contributing critic at Newcity Stage and Perform.Ink and is hard at work on her new play, Revival.

Music: Jason Howland, Lyrics: Mindi Dickstein Book: Allan Knee
Musical Direction: T.J. Anderson
Co-Directors: M. William Panek and Stephanie Rohr
Opening January 2019

This timeless, captivating story is brought to life in this Broadway chamber musical filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope and everlasting love. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March. Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested. Her friend, Professor Bhaer, tells her that she has to do better and write more from herself. Begrudgingly taking this advice, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America.

Under the co-direction of company members M. William Panek and Stephanie Rohr and musical direction of artistic associate T.J. Anderson, Brown Paper Box Co.’s production will focus on the season's mantra of "theatre, plain and simple." The "back to the basics" approach will re-orchestrate the Broadway score for single piano to transport Jo's memories and the events of the musical into her childhood attic. The bare-bones reimagining will elevate the March sisters’ relationships as important focal points rather than simple plot points. 

M. William Panek (Co-Director) is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois' Theatre Department. Most recent he collaborated with Zach Zimmerman on Luke Babylon: Christian Magician and Spell: An Interactive Solo Performance at iO Chicago, iO New York, The Duplex New York, and the Annoyance Theatre. Previously directing: Now. Here. This., [title of show] (Jeff Award Nominated), A New Brain, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Godspell, To Tree (world premiere), Reefer Madness! The Musical in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Casting Associate: EVERYBODY, The Baltimore Waltz, Julius Caesar, Spike Heels. Cabaret: "Positively Present," "Mary'z With a Z," "Proud at Mary's" at Mary's Attic, "Spring Forward Fail Back" at Uncommon Ground, and "BPB Yearbook" "Character Breakdown" at Davenport's. William served as an artistic associate with The Orchard Project in Hunter, NY, production assistant for the 24-Hour Musicals at Joe's Pub, and the business management assistant at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Stephanie Rohr (Co-Director) has worked with BPBCo. as director of Spike Heels, assistant director of A New Brain, and coordinator for Spring Forward Fail Back cabaret. She has performed with BPBCo. in Godspell, Aloha Say the Pretty Girls, and [title of show]. Stephanie holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Drake University and an MA in Classical Acting from Drama Centre London. She made her West End debut in Opera Up Close's Olivier Award winning production of La Boheme, and also performed at the Roundhouse Theatre and the Barbican Centre in London. Chicago credits include: High Fidelity (Refuge Theatre), Macbeth, Reservoir Dogs, and Predator: The Musical (Roundhouse Productions), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Spectralia Theatre), Jesus Camp (Cornservatory), Perfect Wedding and Secrets of a Soccer Mom (Towle Theater), and No Sex Please, We're British (JPAC). Stephanie also works as a private vocal coach, sings with The Moxie Sisters and The Bangers, and is a fiber artist and cross-stitch designer. (

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