Thursday, March 8, 2018

OPENING: Midwest Premiere! of HOT PINK, OR READY TO BLOW Via New American Folk Theatre Through 4/7/18 at The Den

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 

Midwest Premiere!
New American Folk Theatre Announces
By Johnny Drago 
Directed by Derek Van Barham
March 10 – April 7, 2018 at The Den Theatre

It’s Pompeii meets Heathers as New American Folk Theatre presents the Midwest premiere of Johnny Drago’s 1980s-infused comedy HOT PINK, OR READY TO BLOW, directed by Derek Van Barham, playing March 10 – April 7, 2018 at The Den Theatre (2A), 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. 

Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

I'll be out for the press opening on 3/12, reviewing for ChiIL Live Shows. Check back soon for my full review.

Tickets on sale at or by calling (773) 697- 3830. The press opening is Monday, March 12 at 7:30 pm.

HOT PINK, OR READY TO BLOW will feature New American Folk Theatre Company Members Charlie Irving*, Caitlin Jackson*, Kirk Jackson* and Anthony Whitaker* with Brittney Brown, Tommy Bullington, Janyce Caraballo, Elise Marie Davis, Will Kazda and Josh Kemper.

When New Pompeii’s annual sacrifice fails to satisfy the local volcano’s appetite for virgins, three totally ‘80s teenage girls concoct a brilliant plan to save themselves. This fearless twist on the classic, horny high school comedy incinerates double standards, as our heroines take control of their destiny by following one simple rule: get laid or die trying!

The production team for HOT PINK, OR READY TO BLOW includes: Roger Wykes (scenic design), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume design), G. "Max" Maxin IV (lighting design), Kallie Rolison (sound design) and Keith Ryan (wig design).

Cast (in alphabetical order): Brittney Brown (Tatanya), Tommy Bullington (Lenny, Mr. Kowalczyk), Janyce Caraballo (Brichelle), Elise Marie Davis (News Reporter, Coach Dykeman, Tour Guide), Charlie Irving* (Cadence), Caitlin Jackson* (Bangs), Kirk Jackson* (Duff McStraddlin), Will Kazda (Brace Face, Bruce), Josh Kemper (Mayor, Chadwick Throbhard) and Anthony Whitaker* (Mother).
Understudies: Don Baiocchi, Jean Burr, Grant Drager* and Kendra Verhage

Location: The Den Theatre (2A), 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago 
Dates: Previews: Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 11 at 6 pm
Press performance: Monday, March 12 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, March 15 – Saturday, April 7, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 6 pm. 
Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular run: $25. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, February 14 at or by calling (773) 697- 3830

* Denotes New American Folk Theatre Company Members

About the Artists
Johnny Drago (Playwright) is a queer, Brooklyn-based Southern playwright and performer, who makes comedies and tragedies about sex, death and the occult – all his favorite social taboos! He's a narrative structure junkie with genre fiction on the brain, but has begun exploring ideas of autobiography, intimacy and more relaxed modes of storytelling in his plays. His work has been produced and/or developed by Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Lark, Pig Iron Theatre Company, the HOT! Festival at Dixon Place, The Barter Theatre, New American Folk Theatre, 7 Stages, The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, The Process Theatre Co. and Actor's Express. As Dismantle Theater (with contemporary choreographer Erik Thurmond), Drago also makes experimental performance essays that tiptoe along the line between theatre and dance. His MFA is from Indiana University.

Derek Van Barham (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays, a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble and a former Artistic Director of The Ruckus. For PFP, he has directed Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage Repertory), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination: Best Director of a Musical or Revue) and PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert: The Musical. He also wrote, directed and choreographed BITE: A Pucking Queer Cabaret and Kill Your Boyfriends. Other directing credits include Three Days of Rain (Boho), Miracle! by Dan Savage and Skooby Don't (Hell in a Handbag) Trash and Deep in the Heart of Tuna (New American Folk Theatre) and From These Fatal Loins (The Ruckus). He was recently named one of Windy City Times “30 Under 30,” recognizing individuals from Chicago's LGBTQ+ community. MFA: Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

 About New American Folk Theatre
New American Folk Theatre is dedicated to folk theatre, music, education, and stories that shine a new light on the American tale. We strive to educate the public on works worthy of inclusion to the American theatrical canon. Using the resources around us, we create art that often dives into a mix of magical realism, southern gothic, pop culture, and the irreverent. We produce impactful theatre and artistic projects that help us learn and grow as a society. For additional information, visit

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