Wednesday, February 28, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere of HANG MAN at The Gift Theatre Through 4/29/18

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
The Gift Theatre Presents the World Premiere of
By Stacy Osei-Kuffour
Directed by Jess McLeod
March 2 – April 29, 2018

I'll be out to review for ChiIL Live Shows on Friday 3/9/18. Check back soon for our take on this world premiere production. 

The Gift Theatre is pleased to launch its 17th season with the world premiere of Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s haunting and often-humorous drama HANG MAN, directed by guest artist Jess McLeod, playing March 2 – April 29, 2018 at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting

HANG MAN will feature ensemble members Paul D’Addario, Gregory Fenner and Martel Manning with Andy Fleischer, Jennifer Glasse, Mariah Sydnei Gordon and Angela Morris.

The community of a backwoods Southern town grapples with the murder of a black man who is found hanging in a tree. As events unfold, the hanging mystifies the people of the community, forcing them to confront their complicity in this man’s horrific demise. Osei-Kuffour’s darkly comical, heartbreaking play, which recently made the prestigious 2017 Kilroy’s List, uses absurdity to explore racism, sexuality and the parts of American history we would all like to forget.

Comments Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, "The Gift is honored to produce the world premiere of HANG MAN. Stacy Osei-Kuffour's voice is singular, bold, incisive and humorous. The moment we finished her play, we were shook, terrified, and knew we had to embrace it. HANG MAN demands to be experienced right now; experiencing it in the intimacy of The Gift will simply be unforgettable." 

The production team for HANG MAN includes: Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Alarie Hammock (costume design), Mike Durst (lighting design), Stephen Ptacek (sound design), John Nichols III (props design), Rachel Flesher (violence/intimacy design) and Cori James (stage manager).

Previews: Friday, March 2 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, March 4 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Friday, March 9 – Sunday, April 29, 2018
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm. Please note: there will not be a 3:30 pm performance on Saturday, March 10.
Tickets: $30 – $40. Single and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting 

About the Artists

Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s (Playwright) previous plays include The Painter (Samuel French Festival finalist); Breathless, workshop productions at the Dream Up Festival & Downtown Urban Theater Festival (both at Theater for the New City); Dirty Blood, reading at Rattlestick Theater; Animals (Irv Zarkower Award winner through Hunter College), readings: Lark Development Center, NYTW, Blank Theatre and IAMA Theatre; The Pearl and The Black Sea (Honorable Mention in The Kilroy’s 2015 The List); Hang Man, Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist, Boston Court New Play finalist, O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist and The Kilroy’s 2017 The List. This past year, Stacy was accepted into EST in LA, Youngblood, New Georges the Jam, Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram Play Lab alongside Christopher Durang and Humantias PLAY LA Workshop. In addition, Stacy became a two-time Van Lier finalist at the Lark Development Center. Stacy just finished writing for the TV show Happy!, which will air on the SYFY network this December. Currently, Stacy is writing for the HBO TV show Watchmen, set to air in 2019. Stacy’s goal is to bring untold stories to the stage and screen, stories that challenge our political, societal and stereotypical views of the Black experience. She holds a BFA in Acting from NYU and an MFA in Playwright from Hunter College.

Jess McLeod (Director) is the Resident Director of Hamilton (Broadway in Chicago), a Resident Director at Victory Gardens Theater and the Goodman Theatre’s 2017 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow. Chicago credits include 2 1/2 seasons with Chicago Voices (Lyric Opera of Chicago), a revamped Marry Me A Little (Porchlight Music Theatre), Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On (Haven Theatre), Lauren Yee’s in a word (Strawdog Theatre Company), Shawn Pfautch’s Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago, Jeff Nomination); poet Kevin Coval’s one-man show L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens); Venus (Steppenwolf’s Next Up!); Bathsheba Doran’s Kin (Griffin Theatre); Jenni Lamb’s Suicide Kills (American Theater Company); Babes In Arms (Porchlight Revisits); and Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen’s Fugitive Songs, Zanna, Don’t, and The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company). She has directed workshops of new plays or musicals for the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, American Theater Company, Steep Theatre and The American Music Theatre Project, and served as Labrunner for Timber Lake Playhouse's Summer Playwrights Lab (2011-12). From 2005-2008, McLeod served as Director of Programming for The New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she oversaw all curating and directed pop/musical theatre fusion concerts such as The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds. New York directing credits include Joyce Carol Oates’ The Corn Maiden, Harrison David Rivers’ Fell, Rachel Axler’s Kitchen Sink (Cherry Lane Studio), Joe Keenan and Brad Ross’ The Times (Sonnet Repertory Theatre) and The Last Five Years (Arthur Seelen Theatre). An avid teaching artist and believer in youth and community engagement, McLeod also recently served as Festival Coordinator for Young Chicago Authors’ Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival (the world’s largest youth poetry festival), worked as a Teaching Artist for Storycatchers Theatre and will direct Short Shakes! A Midsummer Night’s Dream this winter for Chicago Shakespeare Theater. McLeod holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA from Williams College, and has taught or lectured at both, as well as at NYU, Yale University, NSLC, and The Calhoun School in New York.

About The Gift Theatre
The Gift’s 17th season consists of Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere of Hang Man, directed by Jess McCleod (March 2 – April 29, 2018); Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Monty Cole (June 1 – July 29, 2018); and the Midwest premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright and ensemble member David Rabe’s Cosmologies, directed by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton (October 12 –December 9, 2018). The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or by calling (773) 283-7071. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Running Time: 80 minutes

The True Story of Fist Fights and Theater Riots within the Dadaist and Surrealist Movements in the early 20th Century Comes to Life in The Neo-Futurists’ Next World Premiere

I've adored The Neo-Futurists since I first discovered them during their Live Bait Theatre days in the early 90's. My teenage son and I will be out for the press opening of A Story Told in Seven Fights on 3/5, so check back soon for my full review. We're looking forward to this one!

The Neo-Futurists present Ensemble Member Trevor Dawkins’ A Story Told in Seven Fights, directed by Tony Santiago, playing at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., March 1 – April 7. Previews are Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., with opening night Monday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices for previews and Thursdays are pay-what-you-can; for the regular run, tickets are $10-25. Tickets and information are available at or 773.275.5255.

A Story Told in Seven Fights finds Creator and Neo-Futurist Ensemble Member Trevor Dawkins leading a group of stage combatants smashing their way through the true stories of fist fights and theater riots that erupted within the Dadaist and Surrealist movements at the turn of the 20th century. This will be Dawkins’ second full-length Prime Time production after his 2014 summer blockbuster Haymaker and the Neo-Futurist debut for former Oracle Productions’ Tony Santiago.

"When thinking about art and its role in society today, the ensemble and I wanted to look at, celebrate and scrutinize the actions of icons from the early modern art movements,” says Dawkins.  “By looking at the provocations and conflicts of the past, we hope to create a strategy to fight for the future. " 

A Story Told in Seven Fights features performances from Trevor Dawkins*, Jen Ellison**, Rasell Holt, Arti Ishak, TJ Medel, Kendra Miller, Stephanie Shum and Jeff Trainor.

A Story Told in Seven Fights’ production team consists of Tony Santiago (director), Olivia Wallace (stage manager), Gaby Labotka (fight director), Alon Stotter (lighting designer), Eleanor Kahn (scenic designer), Steve Labedz (sound designer) and Kate Hardiman (production manager).

ABOUT TREVOR DAWKINS* creator/performer
Trevor Dawkins has worked as a Neo-Futurist Ensemble Member since 2011, where he has written and performed for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and more recently the late-night hit, The Infinite Wrench. Dawkins also created and performed in Haymaker, which The Chicago Tribune’s "On the Fringe" column listed as one of "The Best of 2014." Other Neo-Futurist Prime Time credits include Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project, Daredevils Hamlet, Analog and Redletter. He has performed original work around Chicago, across the United States and at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe. He has appeared in the films Operator and Bite Radius, as well as the Netflix series Easy. Dawkins is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.F.A. in Performance.

Tony Santiago moved from Virginia in 2008 and works in Chicago as an artist, educator and producer. Santiago worked at Oracle Productions programming award-winning theatre available to the public free of admission. Credits include Kasey Foster’s Romulus, Red Theatre’s R+J The Vineyard, Monty Cole’s The Hairy Ape, Kristiana Rae Colón’s good friday and Joe Varisco’s QUEER, ILL, & OKAY. He directed A Chorus of Hope, commissioned by the Lyric Opera in collaboration with Chicago Voices and Harmony, Hope and Healing in 2016. Santiago is the executive producer of a pop-up production company, The Roustabouts. Roustabouts credits include, Winehouse: A Tribute to Amy, and Ike Holter’s Stay Lit and Put Your House In Order. Currently, he is a program manager at Chicago Arts Access, a nonprofit dedicated to building and connecting audiences with free tickets and accessibility services with its website,

* denotes an active member of The Neo-Futurist Ensemble
** denotes an artistic associate of The Neo-Futurists

A Story Told in Seven Fights
March 1 – April 7
Created by Neo-Futurist Ensemble Member Trevor Dawkins
Directed by Tony Santiafo
Previews: Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night: Monday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Run: Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket Prices: Thursdays and Previews Pay-What-You-Can, Regular Run: $10-$25 

Tickets and information are available at or 773.275.5255

About The Neo-Futurists
The Neo-Futurists are a collective of writer-director-performers creating theater that is fusion of sport, poetry and living-newspaper. Originating over 10,071 plays within the newly launched The Infinite Wrench, 28 years of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, and more than 65 full-length productions within their immediate, non-illusory aesthetic, The Neo-Futurists have grown to become one of the most highly regarded experimental theater companies in the United States. From humble beginnings as the first late-night theater production in Chicago, they launched what became Chicago’s longest running show and today sustain multifaceted programs such as Neo-Access, The Kitchen (a micro-festival on art and performance), Prime Time, exchanges with branches in New York and San Francisco, Neo-Lab, and The Infinite Wrench, their flagship ongoing late-night show running 50 weekends every year. For more information visit

The Neo-Futurists present Ensemble Member Trevor Dawkins’ A Story Told in Seven Fights, directed by Tony Santiago, playing at 5153 N. Ashland Ave., March 1 – April 7. Previews are Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., with opening night Monday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. The running time is currently 80 minutes. Performances run Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices for previews and Thursdays are pay-what-you-can; for the regular run, tickets are $10-25. Tickets and information are available at or 773.275.5255.

The Neo-Futurists are partially supported by grants from Alphawood Foundation Chicago, The Chicago Community Foundation, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

OPENING: Robert Falls' New Adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at Goodman Theatre



Here at ChiIL Live Shows, it was our great pleasure to catch Goodman Theatre's world premiere production of Blind Date, directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls. We can't wait for March 19th, for the press opening of Falls new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. Both are all too timely, thought provoking political dramas. There's been a whole lot of Ibsen going on this year on stage in Chicago's storefront scene, and this larger budget, main stage production should crown them all. We particularly enjoyed Brett Neveu's acclaimed Traitor, based on An Enemy of the People, at A Red Orchid, earlier this year. I'm eager to see a full staging of the original so soon after AROT's modern day adaptation.

Nearly 150 years after Ibsen’s masterpiece first thrilled audiences, it “is startling how current the play's ideas feel" (The New York Times) as it examines the complexities of corruption, greed and destruction of the environment and remains “a play so necessary, so exhilarating to experience." (The Village Voice) Falls directs his adaptation, based on a translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling, with a cast featuring Philip Earl Johnson as Thomas Stockmann, doctor and chief medical officer of the baths; Scott Jaeck as Peter Stockmann, Thomas’ older brother and town mayor; Lanise Antoine Shelley as Katherine, Thomas’ wife; Rebecca Hurd as Thomas’ daughter, Petra. Rounding out the cast are Jesse Bhamrah (Billing), David Darlow (Morten Kiil), Allen Gilmore (Aslaksen), Aubrey Deeker Hernandez (Hovstad), Larry Neumann, Jr. (The Drunk) and Carley Cornelius, Arya Daire, Guy Massey, Roderick Peeples and Dustin Whitehead as townspeople. The design team includes Todd Rosenthal (set), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), Robert Wierzel (lights), Richard Woodbury (sound and original music). Alden Vasquez is the production stage manager. 

An Enemy of the People appears in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre March 10 – April 15. Tickets ($25 - $80; subject to change) are now on sale at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).

“Any theater artist will inevitably confront the genius of 19th century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and I’m thrilled to take on this challenge with an incredible ensemble of actors and designers,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “I was compelled to adapt and direct An Enemy of the People both by our country’s political tumult and by the play’s complex treatment of myriad topics—from how we view our fellow humans, to public good versus individual rights, to the pitfalls of democracy. Though the play was written nearly 150 years ago, I find its themes remarkably fresh and the questions it raises just as perplexing as they must have been to 19th century audiences.”

When a water contamination crisis puts their community in peril, two brothers—Dr. Stockmann (Johnson) and Mayor Stockmann ( Jaeck)—face off in a battle of political ambitions and moral integrity. Triggered by the criticism and controversy of his earlier plays—A Doll’s House (1879) and Ghosts (1882)—Ibsen authored An Enemy of the People as a partial response to his critics. He felt angry that his discussion of what he considered important was being scrutinized and determined to examine the underbellies of marriage, sex and middle class society.

Falls’ staging of An Enemy of the People is the latest in the Goodman’s six-decade history of producing Ibsen and works inspired by the writer’s plays. Most recently, Falls directed the 2005 world premiere of Dollhouse, a modern-day take on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, adapted by Goodman Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman. Previous Ibsen works at the Goodman also include Arthur Miller’s adaptation of An Enemy of the People (1980), A Doll’s House (1973), Hedda Gabler (1962) and The Master Builder (1953). Following this production, Falls will remount his Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the Dallas Opera (April 2018), and this summer, he will direct Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway in the return of Jim McGrath’s Pamplona.

HENRIK IBSEN (Playwright, 1828 - 1906) was born in Skien, Norway, Ibsen was apprenticed at age 15 to an apothecary, a situ­ation he detested. He wrote poetry to escape his misery and at 20 attended the univer­sity in Christiania (now Oslo). Within a short time his plays were being published and produced at the Christiania Theatre. In 1851, he was appointed to the theater at Bergen, where he served as director, designer and resident playwright. After six years learning his craft in Bergen, Ibsen moved back to Christiania, again working as a theater manager and artistic advisor. Plays from this period, such as The Vikings at Helgeland (1858) and Loves Comedy  (1862), stirred up contro­versy on their first appearances. In 1864, Ibsen applied to the govern­ment for a poet's stipend; when it was refused, he exiled himself from Norway. The injustice he felt at this denial helped propel his two early masterpieces, the verse dramas Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867). Ibsen spent most of his years of exile in Germany, though he frequently spent months at a time in Italy. He returned briefly to Norway for the publication of his huge epic Emperor and Galilean (1873). He published A Doll's House in 1879, followed by Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild Duck (1884), Rosmersholm (1886), The Lady from the Sea (1888), Hedda Gabler (1890),  The Master Builder (1892), Little Eyolf (1894) and John Gabriel Borkman (1896). When We Dead Awaken, Ibsen's last play and a grand culmination of his themes, appeared in 1900. He returned to Christiania in 1891 to live out his life and died in 1906 after suf­fering a physical and mental breakdown.

ROBERT FALLS (Goodman Theatre Artistic Director) previously directed at the Goodman the world premiere of Rogelio Martinez’s Blind Date. He also partnered with Goodman Playwright-in-Residence Seth Bockley to direct their world premiere adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (Jeff Award for Best Adaptation). Additional recent productions include The Iceman Cometh for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale for the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, Measure for Measure and the world and off-Broadway premieres of Beth Henley’s The Jacksonian. Among his other credits are The Seagull, King Lear, Desire Under the Elms, John Logan’s Red, Jon Robin Baitz’s Three Hotels, Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio and Conor McPherson’s Shining City; the world premieres of Richard Nelson’s Frank’s Home, Arthur Miller’s Finishing the Picture, Eric Bogosian’s Griller, Steve Tesich’s The Speed of Darkness and On the Open Road and Rebecca Gilman’s A True History of the Johnstown Flood, Blue Surge and Dollhouse; the American premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s House and Garden; and the Broadway premiere of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Falls’ honors for directing include, among others, a Tony Award (Death of a Salesman), a Drama Desk Award (Long Day’s Journey into Night), an Obie Award (subUrbia), a Helen Hayes Award (King Lear) and multiple Jeff Awards (including a 2012 Jeff Award for The Iceman Cometh). For “outstanding contributions to theater,” Falls has been recognized with such prestigious honors as the Savva Morozov Diamond Award (Moscow Art Theatre), the O’Neill Medallion (Eugene O’Neill Society), the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award (Lawyers for the Creative Arts), the Illinois Arts Council Governor’s Award and induction into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Tickets ($25-80; subject to change) –; 312.443.3800; Fax: 312.443.3825; TTY/TDD: 312.443.3829
Box Office Hours –12noon - 5pm; on performance days, the box office remains open until 30 minutes past curtain
MezzTix – Half-price day-of-performance mezzanine tickets available at 10am online (promo code MEZZTIX) 
$10Tix – Student $10 day-of tickets; limit four, with valid student ID (promo code 10TIX)

Group Sales are available for parties 10 ; 312.443.3820
Gift Certificates – Available in any amount;

ARTIST ENCOUNTER –March 11 at 5pm | Goodman Theatre
Tickets are $10 for general public; free for Goodman Members. Join Artistic Director Robert Falls for an in-depth conversation about the play.

Touch Tour,  April 7 at 12:30pm – A presentation detailing the set, costume and character elements.
Audio Described Performance, April 7 at 2pm – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset.
ASL Interpreted Performance, April 11 at 7:30pm – Professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played. 
Open Captioned Performance,  April 14 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.
Visit for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.

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

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

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

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

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram #EnemyChi

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SAVE THE DATES: 44th Season Announced for Victory Gardens 2018-2019

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Victory Gardens Theater announces its 2018-2019 Season
including the Chicago premieres of the Tony Award-nominated play Indecent by Paula Vogel, Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, and Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee; and the world premieres of Rightlynd by Ike Holter and Miriam for President by Madhuri Shekar

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we're quite excited to see what Victory Gardens has in store for 44. They've been around an astounding 4+ decades and they're featuring lots of works by women, minorities, and an exciting mix of diverse voices. They're also producing a Tony Award-nominated play, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, with a season long focus on "new American plays that speak immediately to our times"

Victory Gardens Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels, announces the lineup for its 2018-2019 Season. Victory Gardens’ 44th Season will include the Tony Award-nominated play Indecent by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel; the Chicago premieres of Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau and Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee; and the world premieres of Rightlynd by Ike Holter and Miriam for President by Madhuri Shekar.

“I’m extremely excited to announce our 44th season of new American plays that speak immediately to our times,” said Artistic Director Chay Yew. “Victory Gardens continues to give a Chicago home to our country’s finest playwrights who write powerful and relevant work that reflect and represent our diverse nation. These remarkable artists raise poignant questions about current issues through the resilience and humanity of their characters despite their circumstances. Their plays celebrate the best in us and inspire us to be better global citizens in these fractured times.”

The 2018-19 Victory Gardens Theater Season up close:

By Paula Vogel
Directed by Gary Griffin
September 21-Nov 4, 2018
Press Opening: September 28, 2018

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) tells the deeply moving story of the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Jewish playwright Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance — a play about a forbidden lesbian romance that enchanted and outraged audiences.  Inspired by true events, Indecent, is performed by an ensemble of seven actors and three musicians portraying more than 40 roles to chart an explosive moment in theatrical history and the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it. Award-winner Gary Griffin (Hand To God, Fun Home) returns to Victory Gardens to direct this 2017 Tony Award-nominated play.

By Ike Holter
Directed by Lisa Portes
November 9-December 23, 2018
Press Opening: November 16, 2018

Rightlynd is Chicago's 51st Ward. The L doesn't run here anymore and it is full of abandoned storefronts, crumbling apartment buildings, and its fair share of crime. A powerful real estate conglomerate is planning a massive redevelopment project that would gentrify the neighborhood and change Rightlynd forever. Only one woman stands in the way: Alderman Nina Esposito. In award-winning local playwright Ike Holter's ambitious new work, one woman tries to use her street smarts and raw determination to save the Chicago neighborhood she loves. But will the political machine turn her into the very person she is trying to destroy? Lisa Portes (BREACH, A Little Bit Not Normal) directs the first play that sets in motion Holter’s ongoing seven play saga set in this fictional Windy City neighborhood; the story cycle that includes previous pieces Exit Strategy, Sender, Prowess, and The Wolf at the End of the Block.

By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce
February 1-March 3, 2019
Press Opening: February 8, 2019

Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son, Omari, opportunities her students will never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away?  With profound compassion and poetry, Dominique Morisseau’s (Skeleton Crew, Detroit 66, and the Broadway-bound Ain’t Too Proud to Beg) Pipeline brings to light a powerful and important conversation about parenthood, the state of our public school system, and the prison pipeline that claims so many of our inner city youth.

Cambodian Rock Band 
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Marti Lyons
April 5-May 5, 2019
Press Opening: April 12, 2019

Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American, has found evidence that could finally put away individuals who carried out the Cambodian genocide. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced—his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago—it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip. A wild rock-and-roll journey through the eyes of father and daughter, Artistic Director Chay Yew brings the world premiere journey of Lauren Yee’s (Samsara) Cambodian Rock Band from South Coast Repertory Theatre to Victory Gardens. 

Miriam for President
By Madhuri Shekar
Directed by Chay Yew
June 7-July 7, 2019
Press Opening: June 14, 2019

Miriam hates to be known as “that girl who got kidnapped then escaped that sex trafficking ring.” She wants to be known as Miriam, your top candidate for student council president at Roosevelt High School. But her parents, counselor, and best friend keep insisting that she's not ready. But what do they know? What do they really know about what happened to Miriam? From Madhuri Shekar, the author of Queen, comes a powerful play about survival, rebirth, and the silent crime of human trafficking in Chicago.

Subscriptions start at just $99 are on sale at and by phone at the Victory Gardens Box Office at 2433 N. Lincoln, 773.871.3000.

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

About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.  

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis Alfaro, Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater.

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

Victory Gardens Theater receives sustaining support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The REAM Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, and Wallace Foundation. It receives major funding from Crown Family Philanthropies, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, and Polk Bros. Foundation. Major funders also include: Allstate Insurance, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Edgerton Foundation, Field Foundation of Illinois, Illinois Arts Council Agency, David Rockefeller Fund, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Time Warner Foundation Inc., Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Additional funding this season is provided by: Alliance Bernstein, Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Capital Group Private Client Services, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Chicago Foundation for Women, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, ComEd, Nathan Cummings Foundation,  Exelon, Golden Country Oriental Foods, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, ITW, JCCC Foundation, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Metropolitan Capital Bank & Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Negaunee Foundation, Roberta Olshansky Charitable Fund, Origin Ventures, Pauls Foundation, PNC Financial Services Group, Prince Charitable Trusts, Seabury Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Association. In-kind support is provided by:  Dimo’s Pizza, Fiesta Mexicana, Italian Village Restaurants, Southwest Airlines, Suite Home Chicago and Whole Foods Market.

OPENING: World Premiere of Plantation! at Lookingglass Theatre Directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer 2/21-4/22

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

World Premiere
Written by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas
Directed by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer
February 21 - April 22, 2018

 Recommended for ages 13+

Make It Better names Plantation! one of the "12 Can't-Miss Plays in Chicago This Winter"  

The FUN-comfortable Comedy

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we can't wait to catch this black (and white) comedy with an all female cast! playwright Kevin Douglas is crazy talented and insightful. We're so jazzed he's bringing race relations, reparations, and issues to the stage with wit and wisdom. Add to that, infamous friend and Lookingglass ensemble Member, David Schwimmer directing, this is sure to be one to see.

With eight fierce women battling over their home, future, and past, Plantation! is also a shoo-in to pass the *Bechdel Test. We're huge, long time Lookingglass fans and very much looking forward to Plantation!

*The Bechdel Test is designed to highlight female-positive works of fiction with an active female presence and to call attention to gender inequality. The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Bechdel Rule is a pass/fail test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.
Look who’s coming to tea…

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

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

Ensemble Member David Schwimmer (RACE, Big Lake Big City) directs this World Premiere black (and white) comedy by Ensemble Member Kevin Douglas (Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure).

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

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Season includes Radio Golf by August Wilson, directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson; the World Premiere of Frankenstein by Manual Cinema, adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley; Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler, directed by Vanessa Stalling; For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, directed by Seret Scott; and the World Premiere of The Adventures of Augie March, a play by David Auburn, based on the novel by Saul Bellow, directed by Charles Newell

Court Theatre is a long time favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows. They have some of the longest history and staying power in town, with an impressive 63 seasons under their belts. Court chooses a vast array of productions as well, in genres from classics to world premieres. This season looks to be no exception. One of our favorite directors, resident Artist Ron OJ Parson, will be back again, directing the season opener, the tenth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, likened to the Detroit trilogy Parson just completed directing for Northlight and Timeline. We're also fond of internationally-renowned multimedia company, Manual Cinema's unique, storytelling style and we're eager to catch their world premiere take on Mary Shelley's classic, Frankenstein. Vanessa Stalling is another Chicago director we adore and we can't wait to see Photograph 51. The season finishes strong with female and minority voices in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, directed by original Broadway cast member Seret Scott, and a world premiere Saul Bellow novel adaptation directed by Charles Newell. Save the dates!

Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell, announces its 64th season. The company’s 2018/19 season will feature the tenth play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, Radio Golf, directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson; the World Premiere of an immersive take on the thrilling gothic tale Frankenstein by Manual Cinema, adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley; the story of an often-overlooked scientific revolutionary in Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler, directed by Vanessa Stalling; powerful stories from a sisterhood of women in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, directed by original Broadway cast member Seret Scott; and the World Premiere of the epic coming-of-age story The Adventures of Augie March, adapted by David Auburn from the novel by Saul Bellow, directed by Charles Newell.

"Court Theatre is thrilled to announce a season of classics that builds upon our history of artistic innovation and collaboration," says Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director. "This ambitious collection of new and beloved plays is steeped in a rich storytelling history: a world premiere adaptation of a quintessential American novel, a celebration of a brilliant yet often overlooked female scientist, and the tenth installment of August Wilson's seminal Pittsburgh Cycle are just some of the powerful stories that we’re excited to share with our audiences."

Court Theatre’s 2018/19 season is dedicated to Court’s late Executive Director, Stephen J. Albert.

The 2017/18 Court Theatre Season up close:

Radio Golf

August 30 – September 30, 2018
By August Wilson
Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Press Opening: September 8, 2018 at 7:30pm

Real estate developer Harmond Wilks is determined to become the first black mayor of Pittsburgh, on a mission to revive his blighted childhood neighborhood. As Wilks confronts characters from the past, he is forced to question how pursuing change could put his neighborhood’s history at risk.

Radio Golf is the tenth and final play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, and director Ron OJ Parson’s seventh production in the cycle at Court Theatre. Actors Tyla Abercrumbie (Mame), Allen Gilmore (Harmond), James Vincent Meredith (Roosevelt) and Alfred H. Wilson (Old Joe) return to the Court stage.

Court Theatre presents the World Premiere of Frankenstein

November 1 - December 2, 2018
By Manual Cinema
Adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley
Concept by Drew Dir
Devised by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, and Julia Miller
Original music by Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman
Press Opening: November 10, 2018 at 7:30pm

Love, loss, and creation merge in unexpected ways in this thrilling classic gothic tale conceived by Manual Cinema. Stories of Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein, and his Monster expose how the forces of family, community, and education shape personhood—or destroy it by their absence.

In a special world premiere presentation, internationally-renowned multimedia company Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of Frankenstein with Mary Shelley’s own biography to create an unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen. Manual Cinema is a performance collective and film production company, founded in part by former Court dramaturg Drew Dir.


Photograph 51

January 17 – February 17, 2019
By Anna Ziegler
Directed by Vanessa Stalling
Press Opening: January 26, 2019 at 7:30pm

History may well remember the work of Watson and Crick that shaped biology, but it was British chemist Rosalind Franklin who provided the key to the double helix DNA discovery. Photograph 51 shares the complex story of an ambitious female scientist in a world of men, her pursuit for the secret of life, and her forgotten accomplishments.

Photograph 51 features Chaon Cross as Rosalind Franklin.

As the Center for Classic Theatre, Court will invite collaborations with scientific experts at the University of Chicago as partners for Photograph 51, to utilize the intellectual resources unique to Court Theatre.


For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf

March 14 – April 14, 2019
By Ntozake Shange
Directed by Seret Scott
Press Opening: March 23, 2019 at 7:30pm

A sisterhood of seven women tell their stories through dramatic prose poetry, music, and movement. Told in vivid language, their experiences resound with fearless beauty and unity, despite exposing the unending challenges and oppressions that women of color face every day.

 Director Seret Scott returns to this cherished work after performing as a member of the original Broadway cast from 1976-1978. She will inspire new audiences with this series of stories that still resonate profoundly forty years later.


The World Premiere of
The Adventures of Augie March

Mary 9 – June 9, 2019
A play by David Auburn, based on the novel by Saul Bellow
Directed by Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director
Press Opening: May 18, 2019 at 7:30pm

Young Augie March is a product of the Great Depression: plucky, resourceful, searching for love, and striving to grow up and away from home. Through odd jobs and encounters with unique characters, Augie explores what it takes to succeed in the world as a true individual.

A novel originally written by a Nobel Prize-winner and adapted for the stage by a Pulitzer winner, The Adventures of Augie March is an epic coming-of-age story that bridges continents and stages of life, exuding the endearing confidence of a boy taking in a complex world.

Subscription Information
Three, four and five-play subscriptions to Court’s 2018/19 season range from $96 to $300 and are on sale now. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Court Theatre Box Office at (773) 753-4472, or visit Court’s website at Individual tickets for all shows will be available in Summer 2018.

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.

OPENING: Midwest Premiere of TIME IS ON OUR SIDE Via About Face Theatre at Theater Wit

About Face Theatre Presents the Midwest Premiere of
By R. Eric Thomas
Directed by Artistic Director Megan Carney
March 1 – April 7, 2018 at Theater Wit

Following its sell-out hit Significant Other, About Face Theatre is pleased to continue its 2017-18 season with the Midwest premiere of R. Eric Thomas’ gleeful mystery TIME IS ON OUR SIDE, directed by Artistic Director Megan Carney, playing March 1 – April 7, 2018 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. 

I'll be out for the press opening March 7th, so check back soon for my full review.

(left to right) Maggie Scrantom and Rashaad Hall in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s Midwest premiere of TIME IS ON OUR SIDE. Photo by Anna Gelman.

TIME IS ON OUR SIDE features Esteban Andres Cruz, Rashaad Hall, Riley Mondragon and Maggie Scrantom.

Besties Annie and Curtis struggle to produce a podcast that “queers history” until the discovery of a mysterious family journal launches them into a high stakes and hilarious investigation of the early LGBTQ rights movement. Hopping from the Underground Railroad to Rosa Parks, from the AIDS Quilt to Celebrity Jeopardy, the political gets personal.

“This is a hilarious and deeply personal story,” comments Director Megan Carney. “It brings together rich characters of different generations who share a longing to connect, which makes it such a perfect play for us at About Face Theatre. The play weaves a range of stories in which younger folks uncover their roots and elders pass on what they know. All together, a powerful story emerges revealing acts of resistance and queer magic through the decades.” 

The production team for TIME IS ON OUR SIDE includes José Manuel Diaz (scenic design), Robert Kuhn (costume design), Christopher Kriz (sound design), Claire Sangster (lighting design) Blake Burke (properties design) Catherine Allen (production manager) and Dana Nestrick (stage manager).

Previews: Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 pm, Friday, March 2 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, March 4 at 3 pm and Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Thursday, March 8 – Saturday, April 7, 2018
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Friday, March 9.

Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $20-$38. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are currently available at, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at Theater Wit Box Office.

Artist Biographies
R. Eric Thomas (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright, humorist and the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia. His play Time is on Our Side was the recipient of two Barrymore Awards including Best New Play and was named a finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Forthcoming productions include Mrs. Harrison at Azuka Theatre. He writes a daily humor column for in which he “reads” the news. In addition to and ELLE magazine, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, W Magazine, Man Repeller, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine and more.

Megan Carney (Director) is a director, playwright, educator and the Artistic Director of About Face Theatre. Recent Chicago directing credits include Julie Jenson’s Winter, George Brandt’s Grizzly Mama, Danielle Pinnock’s Body/Courage and Lisa Dillman’s American Wee Pie and The Walls with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She was lead interviewer and playwright for Women at War, a multi-year performance and civic dialogue project about women in the military that continues to tour. Megan was a founding director of About Face Youth Theatre and served as Associate Artistic Director for several years while she created original ensemble plays. Carney’s work has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. Megan served as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2011-2017 where she created arts based educational programs for and about diverse LGBTQIA+ people and communities. She has a MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue.

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond.

Monday, February 19, 2018

OPENING: Steel Magnolias Via Theatre at the Center Through 3/25/18

Shows On Our Radar:
Theatre at the Center Presents Steel Magnolias
in Munster, Indiana

Actors Landree Fleming and Heidi Kettenring. Photo by Guy Rhodes.

Cory Goodrich, in the role of M’Lynn, Landree Fleming, as Shelby, and Heidi Kettenring as Truvy, lead the cast of Theatre at the Center’s Steel Magnolias with Joslyn Yvonne Jones as Ouiser, Jeannie Affelder as Clairee and Myesha-Tiara as Annelle. Previews begin February 22.

I'll be out for Opening Night on February 25, so check back soon for my full review. It's well with a trip across the border and over to Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is a charming venue with professional productions and free parking, that's just a short road trip away from Chicago. We're looking forward to catching their latest.

Steel Magnolias, written by Robert Harling, is a hilarious and heart-warming play set in a Louisiana beauty shop. It follows the hopes, dreams, triumphs and tragedies of six colorful characters and inspired the 1989 film which starred Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton. It explores the bond between a mother and daughter, and friendships of those who feel like family.

Actors Myesha-Tiara, Cory Goodrich, Landree Fleming and Heidi Kettenring. Photo by Guy Rhodes.

Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, with select Thursday and Sunday night performances. Individual ticket prices range from $42 - $46. To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or at 800-511-1532. Group discounts are available for group 11 or more and gift certificates are also available. For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit

“Before Steel Magnolias became an iconic film and garnered an Academy Award for Julia Roberts, it was a funny and touching Off Broadway play about the bonds of friendship and family,” said Theatre at the Center Artistic Director Linda Fortunato, who will direct this new production of Steel Magnolias. 

“I believe TATC audiences will laugh and cry with these ladies and find a connection to their own lives as well.”

Cory Goodrich returns to TATC for her 13th production, having previously appeared in Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. She won a Jeff Award for her role of June Carter in Ring of Fire and another Jeff Award for her role as Mother in Drury Lane’s production of Ragtime. As a singer/songwriter Cory has four solo albums. Landree Fleming is returning to TATC where she was last seen in Godspell and The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee. Shehas worked at Drury Lane, Paramount, and Chicago Shakespeare, among other Chicagoland theaters and is a member of the comedy group Off Off Broadzway.

Heidi Kettenring returns to TATC where she was seen in Annie Warbucks, I Do! I Do! and Here’s Love! She is a Jeff Award winner in addition to having received several Jeff nominations, the Sarah Siddons Chicago Leading Lady Award, an After Dark Award and the Richard M. Kneeland Award. Joslyn Yvonne Jones has appeared in Once On This Island at Marriott Lincolnshire, Weekend at TimeLine Theatre and Escape at Live Bait Theatre and now makes her TATC debut. Jeannie Affelder has appeared in Silent Sky at First Folio and The Little Flower of East Orange at Eclipse,which earned her a Jeff Nomination for Best Actress, is also making her TATC debut as is Myesha-Tiara, who has been seen in The Wedding Band at The Artistic Home, Netflix & Kill at the Pride Arts Center and was featured in the film 12 Years a Slave.

Linda Fortunato is director of Steel Magnolias. She has been involved with more than a dozen shows at TATC including directing Big River, The Tin Woman, Cabaret, Annie Warbucks and A Christmas Story; choreographing Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You and Fiddler on the Roof; and performing in Lend Me a Tenor and The Diary of Anne Frank. She has been nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work as a choreographer and director. She received both the Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Choreography includinggarnering Theatre at the Center its first Jeff Award for her choreography of 42nd Street.

The creative team for Steel Magnolias includes Scenic Designer Greg Pinsoneault, Lighting Designer Michael Trudeau, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead, Wig Design and Hair Design Kevin Barthel, Prop Design Brittney O’Keefe and Sound Design Barry Funderburg. Stage Manager is Jessica Banaszak.

Fortunato as TATC’s Artistic Director is teamed with Richard Friedman as General Manager and Ann Davis as Head of Production.

Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year round professional theater at its home: The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking. Theater at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minute from downtown Chicago.

OPENING: Schiller's Mary Stuart at Chicago Shakespeare Through 4/15/18

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Electrifying new take on storied rivalry
Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots face off in
at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, beginning February 21, 2018

February 21–April 15, 2018

I'll be out for the press opening March 1st, so check back soon for my full review. We're eager to catch this royal clash between fierce cousins, Mary, Queen of Scots, and her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England. Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is renowned for world class productions with brilliant casting, gorgeous costumes, and stunning set design. The two fiercely independent women at the center of the showdown are portrayed by acclaimed actresses K.K. Moggie as Mary and Kellie Overbey as Elizabeth. Don't miss this!

Mary Stuart, Peter Oswald’s electrifying new take on the famously bitter rivalry between Mary, Queen of Scots, and her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England comes to Chicago this February. Award-winning director Jenn Thompson, former artistic director of The Actors Company Theater (named “Company of the Year” by The Wall Street Journal), stages the production in CST’s Courtyard Theater, February 21–April 15, 2018.

Mary Stuart is presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, February 21–April 15, 2018. Single tickets are on sale now for $48–$88 (subject to change). Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. 
Accessible performances for Mary Stuart include:
•Open-captioning – Thursday, March 29 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
•ASL Duo-interpretation – Friday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m.
•Audio-description – Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 p.m. (with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.)

Two extraordinary women clash in a no-holds-barred power play over the right to rule. Queen Elizabeth I must decide the fate of her imprisoned cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, who is accused of treason. In a single, clandestine meeting where both women’s ambitions are laid bare, the fate of two countries is decided. Seduction, greed, and deception make for a thrilling war of words between the formidable queens—each surrounded by a cadre of men, jockeying for power and influence.

Peter Oswald’s new high-stakes telling of Friedrich Schiller’s nineteenth century drama premiered at the Donmar Warehouse under the direction of the legendary Phyllida Lloyd. Following rave reviews, the production swiftly transferred to the West End and to Broadway for extended runs, garnering multiple Olivier and Tony Award nominations. Variety praises, "This is no stodgy history lesson but a juicy regal smackdown rendered in direct, muscular language." The New York Times said Oswald’s play has "a fierce timelessness in its depiction of political power games."

Bringing the inimitable women to life onstage are K.K. Moggie as Mary Stuart and Kellie Overbey as Queen Elizabeth I. Moggie’s extensive off-Broadway theater credits include performances at MCC Theater, Classic Stage Company, and Atlantic Theater Company. Overbey made her Broadway debut in the Steppenwolf transfer production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child, directed by Gary Sinise. She has since appeared on Broadway in The Coast of Utopia (Parts 1, 2 and 3), Twentieth Century, QED, and Judgment at Nuremberg.

Full cast and creative team is announced below. For more information, visit

Creative Team

Andromache Chalfant
Scenic Designer
Linda Cho  
Costume Designer
Philip Rosenberg
Co-Lighting Designer
Greg Hofmann
Co-Lighting Designer
Mikhail Fiskel
Co-Sound Designer
Miles Polaski
Co-Sound Designer
Richard Jarvie
Wig and Make-up Designer
Kathryn Walsh
Verse Coach
Marylynne Anderson Cooper
Assistant Director
Cailin Lowans

Andrew Chown
Patrick Clear
Tim Decker
Kai Alexander Ealy
Kevin Gudahl
Robert Jason Jackson
Michael Joseph Mitchell
K.K. Moggie
Mary Stuart
Kellie Overbey
Queen Elizabeth I
Barbara Robertson
Hanna Kennedy
David Studwell
Nathan Calaranan
Jake Elkins

A global theatrical force, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, musicality of language, and empathy for the human condition. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be, putting forward a company that delights in the unexpected and defies theatrical category. A Regional Tony Award-winning theater, CST produces acclaimed plays at its home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. In 2017, the Theater unveiled a new stage, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard positions CST as the city’s most versatile performing arts venue.

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