Sunday, September 30, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere of FUN HARMLESS WARMACHINE Via The New Colony

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

The New Colony Presents the World Premiere of

By Co-Artistic Director Fin Coe
Directed by James Fleming
October 3 – November 4, 2018 at The Den Theatre 

I'll be out for the press opening October 9th. The New Colony is a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows, for edgy, relevant choices, and impressive production values. Check back shortly for my full review.

The New Colony, under the new artistic leadership of Fin Coe* and Stephanie Shum*, is pleased to launch its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of FUN HARMLESS WARMACHINE, written by Co-Artistic Director Fin Coe* and directed by James Fleming. This kinetic journey down the rabbit hole of online masculinity cults will play October 3 – November 4, 2018 at The New Colony’s resident home, The Den Theatre’s Upstairs Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at

FUN HARMLESS WARMACHINE features Ayanna Bria Bakari, Daniel Chenard, Robert Koon, Emily Marso, Victor Musoni, Londen Shannon, Ian Michael Smith and Laura Sturm.

By day, Tom works a dead end job for the man and can't get a date. But by night, he's top of the leader board, a master gamer. Othered and lonely, Tom is sucked into the Order of the Sword, an online community  that seems to promise him his digital persona in real life. Developed through The New Colony's Writers' Room and inspired by Gamergate and online hate movements, FUN HARMLESS WARMACHINE is a cautionary tale of the power of fear and the seductive pull of the alt right.

Comments TNC Co-Artistic Director Stephanie Shum, “When Fin began working on this script as part of  the 2015 Summer Session of The Writers' Room, we were immediately struck by the timeliness and depth of this story about online hate. More than three years later, as we prepare for its world premiere, it seems more prescient and current than ever.”

The production team for FUN HARMLESS WARMACHINE includes: Sotirios Livaditis (scenic design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Claire Chrzan (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Omer Abbas Salem* (props design), Zoe Benditt (dramaturg), James Fleming and the cast (choreography), Ella Silverman (assistant director), Brian Sprague (technical director), Jennifer Aparicio (stage manager) and Lili Bjorklund (assistant stage manager).

Location: The Den Theatre’s Upstairs Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Wednesday, October 3 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, October 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 7 at 3 pm 
Press opening: Tuesday, October 9 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, October 11 – Sunday, November 4, 2018
Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Industry Night: Monday, October 15 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: Previews: $10; Regular run: $20. Students/seniors: 25% off. Tickets are currently available at  

*Denotes The New Colony Ensemble Member.

Cast of "Fun Harmless Warmachine": Daniel Chenard, Robert Koon, Londen Shannon 
& Ayanna Bria Bakari.
Photo Credit: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

About the Artists

Fin Coe (Playwright) is a Chicago-based theatre artist and the Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. A native of Silicon Valley and a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, his past writing credits include Pretty/Windy Theatre Company, Scribble Bibble, A-Squared Theatre, the Sketch Review, and others. Fun Harmless Warmachine is his first full-length play to be produced.

James Fleming (Director) is a Chicago-based director, Director of New Works at The New Colony and Associate Artistic Director at Redtwist Theatre. At Redtwist, he has directed Our Town by Thornton Wilder and Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman. He has also directed readings, workshops and events for Goodman Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, arc theatre and The New Colony. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre and Greenhouse Theatre Center. He worked as part of a collaborative team with Peca Stefan, Tamilla Woodard and Ana Margineanu of PopUp Theatrics, producing the Chicago story for #THENEWOLDHOME, which premiered at CLB Berlin in January 2018. He has served on the literary panels for the National New Play Network’s Annual Showcase of New Plays, Route 66’s TEST DRIVE and Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Play Festival. James was a participant in the Chicago Directors Lab and a recipient of an SDC Foundation Observership. Upcoming projects: Herland by Grace McLeod for Redtwist Theatre.

About The New Colony

The New Colony develops New Art and New Artists in order to educate and build New Audiences.

Now in its tenth year, The New Colony has established itself as “one of Chicago’s essential off-Loop companies” (Chicago Tribune). Through the premiere of now thirty premiere plays and musicals, The New Colony has cultivated a diverse audience of theatergoers eager to have a voice in the storytelling. Conversation, collaboration and innovation remain at the heart of everything they produce. The New Colony’s work has been honored with five non-Equity Jeff Awards, Broadway In Chicago’s 2011 Emerging Theatre Award and Best Overall Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. The New Colony’s 2018/19 Season marks their fourth year as a resident company in the Upstairs Mainstage of The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

Friday, September 28, 2018

INCOMING: MONSTER MAGNET Drops Lyric Video For "When the Hammer Comes Down" Kicks Off North American Tour Tonight

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar

MONSTER MAGNET To Play Chicago's Bottom Lounge 
October 2nd

March of 2018 saw the release of the latest MONSTER MAGNET masterpiece "Mindfucker"(Order and Stream The Album) on Napalm Records. Today the band has released a brand new lyric video for the track "When The Hammer Comes Down". Watch it HERE:

Tonight, MONSTER MAGNET kicks off their North American tour supporting "Mindfucker" in Toronto, ON.  The tour runs through October 28th in Boston, MA.  Electric Citizen and Dark Sky Choir will open the tour. A complete list of dates can be found below.

Dave Wyndorf's excitement for this upcoming run is summed up perfectly with the following statement:

"And the electrified circus leaves town! Time to ROCK, bitches!"


Monster Magnet:

9/28: Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace
9/29: Pontiac, MI @ The Emerald Theatre
10/2: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
10/3: Minneapolis, MN @ Cabooze
10/5: Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater
10/6: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
10/8: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
10/9: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
10/10: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
10/12: San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
10/13: Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Festival*
10/15: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
10/16: San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
10/17: Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
10/19: San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
10/20: Dallas, TX @ Canton Hall
10/21: Houston, TX @ White Oak (Upstairs)
10/23: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
10/24: Nashville, TN @ Basement East
10/26: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
10/27: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater
10/28: Boston, MA @ The Sinclair

*Festival Appearance

Dave Wyndorf (vocals, guitar)
Garrett Sweeny (guitar)
Phil Caivano (guitar)
Chris Kosnik (bass)
Bob Pantella (drums)

For more info visit:

OPENING: Small Mouth Sounds at A Red Orchid Theatre Through December 9, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

By Bess wohl
directed by ensemble member shade murray

October 18 – December 9, 2018

A Red Orchid Theatre presents Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl, directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray. Small Mouth Sounds runs October 18 – December 9, 2018 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells in Chicago.  Press performances are scheduled for Saturday, October 27 at 3:00pm and 7:30pm.

“Consider those times in your life when you ached for a fresh start or a hard stop,” suggests Artistic Director, Kirsten Fitzgerald. “It is hard to break a cycle, but when we find ourselves in real agony a change is needed; a reset. In Bess Wohl’s beautiful play we get to witness six individuals risking something new, trying desperately–sometimes hilariously–to hit that reset button. They give up comfort and familiarity and some discover that when the talking stops, the real communication begins.”

Six urbanites take their troubles to the woods and attempt to work them out at a secluded spiritual retreat. Attendees may not speak for the entire week, clothing is optional at the lake, and beware of bears.  The isolating silence collides with the human ache to connect.  How do we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us?  A Chicago premiere that is at once strange and compassionate, awkward and graceful, silly and profound. 

The production features Ensemble Members Jennifer Engstrom (Joan) and Lawrence Grimm (Jan), with Cynthia Hines (Judy), Heather Chrisler (Alicia), Meighan Gerachis (Teacher), Levi Holloway (Ned), Travis A. Knight (Rodney). 

The creative team includes Kurtis Boetcher (Scenic), Myron Elliott-Cisneros (Costumes), Heather Gilbert (Lights), Jeffrey Levin (Sound), Jenny Pinson (Props), Samantha Rausch (Technical Director), Cortney Hurley (Production Manager), S.G. Heller (Stage Manager), Chloe Orlando (Assistant Director), Kate DeVore (Vocal Coach) and Leean Kim Torske (Dramaturg).

About the Artists
BESS WOHL (Playwright) Bess Wohl's Plays include Small Mouth Sounds, American Hero, Barcelona, Touched and In. They have been produced or developed at theaters in New York and around the country. Her original musical about the adult entertainment industry, Pretty Filthy, produced by The Civilians, also premiered off-Broadway and was nominated for both the 2015 Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical. She won the Sam Norkin special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year” in 2014-2015. She also writes for film and television, most recently the pilot Broad Squad for ABC. Her screenplay adaptation of her play In was included on Hollywood's Black List of best scripts. She has also developed original television pilots for HBO, USA, FOX and the CW. As an actress, Ms. Wohl appeared onstage in New York and regionally, and in numerous films and television shows. She is a graduate of Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude, where she was awarded the Rona Jaffe Writing Prize and the Tennessee Williams Scholarship. She earned her MFA from the Yale School of Drama, where she was a recipient of the Rebecca West Scholarship. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and lives in New York.

SHADE MURRAY (Director) is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theater, where he has directed the world premieres of Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Ike Holter’s Sender, as well as productions of Wallace Shawn's Evening at the Talk House, David Adjmi’s 3C, Grant Varjas's Accidentally Like a Martyr, Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky and The Butcher of Baraboo, Annie Baker’s The Aliens, Nick Jones’ Trevor, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire.  He also performed in the A Red Orchid production of The Mutilated.  Other directing credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The House Theater, Steep Theater, Second City, Writers’ Theater and elsewhere. Shade is a lecturer at University of Chicago and teaches at DePaul University and Actors’ Studio Chicago.

HEATHER CHRISLER (Alicia) was recently been seen in Chicago in Mies Julie (Victory Gardens); Machinical (Greenhouse Theatre Center // Jeff Award Nomination Performer); Her Majesty’s Will (Lifeline); and Good Friday (Oracle // Jeff Award Nomination Ensemble). Chrisler is an Artistic Associate of First Folio Theatre where she was recently seen in Mary’s Wedding and Captain Blood. Upcoming appearances include Twilight Bowl (Goodman). Television work includes CHICAGO PD on NBC. Chrisler holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Ohio University. 

JENNIFER ENGSTROM (Joan) has been part of A Red Orchid’s ensemble since 2003, Jen has appeared in many productions, most recently a revival of AROT's 2014 Simpatico, in a co-production with McCarter Theatre, NJ. Other Chicago credits include: Women Laughing Alone with Salad (Theatre Wit); HIR, The North Plan, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Steppenwolf Theatre); Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire, Death Of A Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, (Writer's Theatre); Sky Girls (Northlight Theatre). Regionally, Jen appeared in The David Cromer directed Angels in America (Kansas City Rep); Ground (Humana Festival); MacBeth (Notre Dame Shakespeare); A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Off Broadway, Excuse My Dust, A Dorothy Parker Portfolio (Soho Playhouse). Jen has appeared in Chicago Fire, APB, The Onion Network and the feature film SLICE. 

MEIGHAN GERACHIS (Teacher) returns to A Red Orchid, where she previously appeared in Solstice. She most recently appeared in Graveyard Shift at The Goodman Theatre where she also appeared in The Wolves, A Christmas Carol and the New Stages production of Blue Skies Process. Other Chicago credits include Domesticated, Our Town and The House on Mango Street (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Theater Wit); The Electric Baby, Precious Little, The Walls, Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, Indulgences at the Louisville Harem, Factory Girls, My Simple City, Wrens and Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Cloud Nine (About Face Theatre); Cigarettes and Moby Dick and Che Che Che (Latino Chicago); The Underpants (Noble Fool Theatricals) and The Road to Graceland (Lifeline Theatre). Regional and international credits include Charm (Mixed Blood Theatre); Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue (Stageworks) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Contact Theatre in Manchester, England). Film credits include Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, At Any Price and Virginia. Television credits include Chicago P.D., Crisis, Bobby & Iza, Sirens and Battleground. 

LAWRENCE GRIMM (Jan) is a founding Ensemble Member of A Red Orchid theatre. Favorite and most recent at A Red Orchid: Traitor, (Jeff Nomination); 3C, Trevor (Jeff Nomination); Solstice, In a Garden, Pumpgirl, Abigail’s Party, The Meek, The Physicists, Mr. Kolpert, Caine-Mutiny Court Martial, In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, and Born Guilty. Selected credits: The Heavens Are Hung in Black as Abraham Lincoln (Shattered Globe); King Charles III and The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); 2666 (Goodman Theatre); My Name is Asher Lev (Timeline Theatre); In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Victory Gardens); Maple and Vine, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next Theatre); Orlando (Court Theatre);  King Lear, Two by Pinter (Piven Theater Workshop); The Glass Menagerie (Raven Theatre // Jeff Award); The Brothers Karamazov, 1984, The Naked King (Lookingglass); I Never Sang for My Father, Wolf Lullaby (Steppenwolf). Film: Welcome to Me, Perfect Manhattan, Cicero in Winter, Captive State. Television: Chicago PD, Chicago Med. 

CYNTHIA HINES (Judy) has worked previously in Women at War (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Clybourne Park and Doubt (both at Harper College); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Galaxy Theatre Company); Barbecue (Understudy-Strawdog Theatre Company); Wedding Band (Understudy-The Artistic Home) and Everything In Between (Dandelion Theatre).

LEVI HOLLOWAY (Ned) is an actor, producer and playwright. As an actor, Chicago credits include works with companies such as Steppenwolf, Northlight, Aboutface, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Provision, Shattered Globe, and Hell in a Handbag. Levi is the co founder and co artistic director of Neverbird Project, a Chicago based Deaf and hearing youth theatre company. Also a playwright, his own play, The Haven Place had it’s world premiere here at AROT in 2016. He currently holds a Tutterow Fellowship at Chicago Dramatists and is a teaching artist for Lookingglass Theatre and Silk Road Rising. Levi is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.

TRAVIS A. KNIGHT (Rodney) Chicago credits include: The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Ah, Wilderness! Christmas Carol, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Measure for Measure, and Camino Real (Goodman Theatre) and Camelot (Drury Lane). Regional credits include: The Brothers Size (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire (Uprooted Theatre) and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Forward Theatre). He also spent five seasons at American Players Theatre appearing in The Tempest, Glass Menagerie, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Richard III. TV and web series credits: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Mind Games, and Dad Man Walking. Film credits: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, and Runner. 

Previews: October 18-27, 2018 
Press Performances: Saturday, October 27 at 3pm & 7:30pm 
Opening: Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 7pm 
Red Night: Friday, November 2, 2018 at 7:30pm 

Thursdays: 7:30 p.m. 
Fridays: 7:30 p.m. 
Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  
Sundays: 3:00 p.m.  

A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.

$15-$25 previews, $30-$40 regular run.  ($30 Thurs, $35 Fri, Sat matinee, $40 Sat evening & Sun) 

Box Office:
Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online 

Ticket Information
A Red Orchid continues the FLASHPASS. As always, FLASHPASS holders get reserved seats, ticket and date flexibility, no-fee ticket exchanges, discounts for friends & family tickets, and early access to events such as readings, panel discussions, and more. The Three-show FLASHPASS is $90 and includes one ticket to each of the 3 shows in our 26th Season, excluding Opening and Red Nights. The Three-show Red Night FLASHPASS is $150 and includes a ticket to each of the 3 show's Red Night performances and post-show receptions with the cast and creative team.  The Preview FLASHPASS is $60 and includes one ticket to a preview performance of each of the 3 shows in our 26th season.

FLASHPASSes may be purchased from the Box Office at 1531 N. Wells Street, Monday through Friday from 12pm to 5pm, by telephone during office hours by dialing (312) 943-8722, or online at Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.

With our 26th season of ambitious and powerful storytelling, we continue to champion A Red Orchid Theatre’s Red League, which is a gift $1k or more, and the Founders Circle, which is a gift of $5k or more annually for a three-year pledge. These donors represent a community of our most committed and impactful cultural investors. Every profound and shocking moment on our stage is made possible through their critical annual contributions. Their philanthropic leadership fosters the development of raw and relevant work, creates a platform for our talented ensemble to reach new audiences, and ensures that A Red Orchid Theatre remains a source for honest, compassionate, and aesthetically rigorous theatre.

About A Red Orchid  
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was recently honored with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 26 years, its Artistic Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories. 
A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West. 

OPENING: World Premiere of Scientific Method Via Rivendell Theatre Ensemble October 19 – December 2, 2018

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents
the World Premiere of
Scientific Method
by Jenny Connell Davis
directed by Devon de Mayo
featuring RTE Member Ashley Neal, with Glenn Obrero,
Josh Odor, Courtney Williams and Carmen Roman

October 19 – December 2, 2018

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we're all about supporting and elevating women in the arts. I'll be out for the press opening of the world premiere of Scientific Method on October 30th, so check back soon for my full review. We've been huge fans of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core. 

As a female theatre critic with two woman owned websites, I'm completely on board with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble's mission statement. RTE advances the lives of women through theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists—writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians—
by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in an intimate, salon environment. Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women.

Check out the World Premiere of Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis, directed by Devon de Mayo, and featuring RTE Member Ashley Neal, with Glenn Obrero, Josh Odor, Courtney Williams and Carmen Roman. Scientific Method runs October 19 – December 2, 2018, at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago. 

Amy, a hotshot scientist at an elite U.S. cancer research lab, is moments from publishing data that could revolutionize the field. When she’s scooped by a senior scientist from a competing lab, she first questions her own ability to compete in her chosen field. But as new information comes to light, Amy must face the possibility of willful sabotage by a powerful male colleague. Scientific Method is a witty and complex behind-the-scenes look at women in the sciences—and the struggle many women have to keep moving forward on the rocky terrain of an uneven playing field.

The cast of Scientific Method includes RTE Member Ashley Neal (Amy), with Glenn Obrero (Manish), Josh Odor (Julian), Courtney Williams (Makayla), and Carmen Roman (Marie).

The creative team includes Lauren Nichols (Scenic Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Heather Sparling (Lighting Design), Shain Longbehn (Sound Design), Jonathan Berg-Ein (Properties Design), and Tony Churchill (Projections Design). The stage manager is Jenniffer Thusing.

Rivendell’s Town Hall Series:
Saturdays, November 17 and December 1 after the 4pm matinee performances
During the run of each production, Rivendell hosts Town Halls Discussions after select Saturday matinees. These are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.

This production is sponsored in part by Dan Cyganowski in memory of Carol K. Cyganowski, scholar and theatre lover.


Jenny Connell Davis’s (Playwright) plays include End of Shift, Goddess of Mercy, The Dragon Play, and Scientific Method.  Her work has been produced or developed at Chance Theater, the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights’ Center, Icicle Creek Theater Festival, ACT Seattle, ATC Chicago, the Araca Group, Asolo Rep, New York Stage and Film, Ars Nova, The Gift Theatre, Shrewd Productions, ScriptWorks, NAATCO and Rivendell. Her first screenplay, Playing House, was a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship; her second, Two Truths and a Lie, was a semi-finalist.  Her short with writer/director Soham Mehta, Fatakra, has screened worldwide and been recognized with more than a dozen audience awards and jury prizes. She currently has film and television projects in development with Maven Pictures/Tangerine Entertainment, Fox Animation, Astronauts Wanted/Cinestar Pictures, and Iconoclast/Anonymous Content. Jenny has an MFA from UT Austin, is a former member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, an Affiliated Writer with the Playwrights’ Center, and was the 2014-2015 Hot Seat Resident Playwright at Baltimore’s Center Stage. She is a member of Chicago’s Gift Theatre Company and a proud member of ScriptWorks and the MARTHAs, an Austin-based playwrights’ collective.

Devon de Mayo (Director) is working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent directing credits include: Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theatre Wit); The Burn (Steppenwolf Theatre), Harvey (Court Theatre), Sycamore (Raven Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre), You Can’t Take it With You, and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre), Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, and Clouds (Dog & Pony). Directing and devising credits: Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back (Pivot Arts); Guerra: A Clown Play (La Piara, Mexico); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London and did further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali, Indonesia. 

Ashley Neal (Amy) is back at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, where she is a longtime member and most recently appeared in Cal in Camo. She has appeared in many Rivendell productions including: Alias Grace, Wrens, 26 Miles, The Walls, Be Aggressive, and others. Ashley most recently appeared in A Red Orchid Theatre's The Nether where she also appeared in A Red Handed Otter. Other shows include: London Wall, Men Should Weep and Stage Door with Griffin Theatre, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle with Steep Theatre, as well as work with Chicago Dramatists, Pine Box, Irish Theatre Company, Step Up, Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, Strawdog, The Greenhouse Theatre, and others. Ashley is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and The School at Steppenwolf. She is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

Glenn Obrero (Manish) is making his Rivendell debut. Other Chicago credits include: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Lookingglass Theatre); A Beauty Queen of Leenane (Northlight Theatre, u/s); A Wrinkle in Time (Lifeline Theatre); Akeelah and the Bee (Adventure Stage Chicago); How We Got On (Haven Theatre, u/s). TV credits include Chicago Fire (NBC). He received his BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and trained on-camera at Vagabond School of the Arts. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Josh Odor (Julian) is back at Rivendell where he was last seen in The Firebirds Take the Field. Most recently Josh performed in TimeLine's To Catch a Fish, ATC's Welcome to Jesus and The Hypocrites' You On the Moors Now - also directed by Devon DeMayo. Josh has also worked at Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Steep, Teatro Vista, The Artistic Home, The Inconvenience, Griffin, The House, Haven, Erasing the Distance, The New Colony, Collaboraction, Side Project, LiveWire, Buffalo Ensemble, at The Long Wharf in New Haven, CT, and as a member of Pine Box. Josh's television work includes Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Betrayal and Boss.

Courtney Williams (Makayla) is making her Chicago stage debut with Rivendell. Originally a Brooklyn based performer from Oakland, CA, her work has primarily been in New York's colorful downtown scene. She's performed and collaborated with Daniel Alexander Jones, Kaneza Schaal, Mike Iveson, Tea Alagic, Gracie Gardner and other artists who have enriched her collaborative process.

Carmen Roman (Marie) most recently performed in Angels in America at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Last fall she played Margaret Thatcher in The Audience at Timeline Theatre and in Native Son at Yale Rep. She also played in the world premiere production of Native Son - a co-production of American Blues Theater and The Court Theatre. She played Mrs. Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady at The Lyric Opera last season. Other recent production include: Sotto Vocce by Nilo Cruz at Portland Stage (Maine), Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones at Peninsula Players (Wisconsin) and playing opposite Hal Linden in Moon Over Buffalo at The New Theater (Kansas City). Carmen was in the National Tour of Angels in America and appeared Off-Broadway in The Iphigenia Cycle (Theater for a New Audience); The Mysteries (Classic Stage Company); Paradise (Gary Allen productions), and Love, Sex and Death in the Amazon (Paradise Factory Theater). Regional credits include 13 seasons with Peninsula Players; Wit, Black Snow, Brutality od Fact (Goodman Theatre, Chicago) Side Man (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), The Price (Syracuse Stage and Geva), The Importance of Being Earnest  (Centerstage Baltimore), Lost in Yonkers (Coconut Grove, Walnut Street Theater) Sonia Flew (The Huntington Theatre), According to Goldman (Philadelphia Theater Company) Electra (Hartford Stage Company), Big Love (The Wilma), Shadowlands (The Alliance Theater). Film/Television credits include Chicago PD; Betrayal; Boss; All My Children; Early Edition; Law and Order; Law and Order SVU; Criminal Intent; Savages, The Falcon (a co-production shot in Soviet Georgia) She is a proud company member at American Blues Theater and Circling the Drain, New York. Awards and honors include 2002 Fox Fellow, Sarah Siddons Award, Florence Herscher Award, and Joseph Jefferson Awards for Master Class and Wit. 
October 19 – 27, 2018
Friday, October 19 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 20 at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 21 at 3:00 pm
Thursday, October 25 at 8:00pm
Friday, October 26 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 27 at 8:00pm

Press Opening: Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00pm
VIP Gala Opening: Sunday, October 28 at 6:00pm

Regular run:
Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, December 2, 2018

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 4:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm (November 18 and December 2 ONLY)

No performance on Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving)
Additional performance on Tuesday, November 20 at 8:00pm
Town Hall Discussions will follow Saturday 4pm matinees on November 17 and December 1

Friday, November 2: Performance to Benefit Planned Parenthood: See a show and support Planned Parenthood at the same time! $10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

Friday, November 9: Mama’s Night / Ladies Night: Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese and great conversation!

Friday, November 23: Open Captioned Performance
$15 tickets with the code ACCESS

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago

General Admission:
Previews: $28
Regular Run: $38
Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran:
Regular Run: $28

Pay What You Can: Five seats (10% of the house) are available for each performance. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis.
Three-show pass: $59-$80 for one ticket each to the next three Rivendell plays

Box Office:      (773) 334-7728 or

Parking and Transportation: Free parking is available in the Senn High School parking lot (located a block and a half from the theatre behind the school off Thorndale Avenue). There is limited paid and free street parking in the area. The theatre is easily accessible via the Clark (#22) or Broadway (#36) bus, and is a short walk from the Bryn Mawr Red Line El Station.

About Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Founded in 1994, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble advances the lives of women through theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists—writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians—
by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in an intimate, salon environment.

Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women. After years of being an itinerant company, Rivendell moved into its own theater space in 2011 in Edgewater. The company is focused on becoming an integral community partner and serving as a catalyst to engage audiences in a discussion of local social issues.

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, visit Follow Rivendell on Facebook at, on Twitter @RivendellThtr, and on Instagram at rivendelltheatre.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from: The Alphawood Foundation; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The Chicago Community Trust; The Chicago Foundation for Women; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The League of Chicago Theatres and ComEd; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; The Luria Family Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; The Alfred Pick Jr. Fund; Shubert Foundation; SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; Cultural Outreach Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Monday, September 24, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere of Jen Silverman's Witch at Writers Theatre September 26 – December 16, 2018

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Writers Theatre presents the World Premiere of
Written by Jen Silverman
Inspired by The Witch of Edmonton by Rowley, Dekker & Ford
Directed by Marti Lyons

September 26 – December 16, 2018

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we adore Jen Silverman's writing and can't wait to check out this world premiere. Silverman has transformed and updated a Jacobean classic into a modern, feminist tale of empowerment. I'll be out to see it after the official opening in early October, so check back soon for my full review.

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, presents the World Premiere of Witch, written by Jen Silverman, inspired by The Witch of Edmonton by Rowley, Dekker & Ford. Witch, directed by Marti Lyons, runs September 26 – December 16, 2018 in the Gillian Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.

Mischief is afoot in the sleepy village of Edmonton and the fate of the world is at stake in this smart modern fable. When the emotionally conflicted son of the local lord and an ambitious newcomer come into conflict, help presents itself to both of them in the same guise—as the Devil himself. But while these two young men take advantage of the Devil’s bargain to accomplish their own questionable ends, someone else in town stands her ground—Elizabeth, an outcast whom everyone believes to be a witch.

**Jen Silverman’s Witch is the most recent example of a play commissioned by Writers Theatre and developed through the Theatre’s Literary Development Initiative. It joins the ranks of other world premieres produced by Writers Theatre as a result of this program, many of which have gone on to multiple productions across the country.**

Rising playwright Jen Silverman boldly transforms this classic play by Jacobean playwrights William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford, using a contemporary lens to make the machinations of the distant past strikingly relevant to today. Directed by Marti Lyons (The Mystery of Love & Sex) in the intimate Gillian Theatre, this wickedly funny, slyly subversive play will captivate you with the question: would you know what to ask for if the Devil came knocking on your door?

“We’re tremendously excited to have Jen Silverman premiering her new play Witch at Writers Theatre,” said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “This project is a testament to the superb leadership of Bobby Kennedy, our Director of New Work. He and I have long held a desire reinvigorate work by the contemporaries of Shakespeare, taking otherwise well-crafted plays that were bogged down in archaic language, difficult thematic constructs or that were simply dwarfed by the majesty of Shakespeare. Witch provides us a wonderful opportunity discover one of these hidden jewels from a fresh, contemporary perspective. Bobby has guided Witch from inception to commission, into pre-production and will be using his considerable dramaturgical skills to help take the show from rehearsal into production. 

“Jen is one of the country’s most exciting and celebrated young playwrights and she will be working in collaboration with Marti Lyons, whose directorial prowess has been on display in Chicago for some years, and who is now working in some of the county’s most important regional theatres.  Jen’s re-imagining of this classic play is witty, generous, bold, exhilarating, fresh and filled with surprise, paying considerable homage to the original story while adding a vital contemporary edge in her own distinctive and compelling voice. This is very much a classic Writers Theatre project, but with a new and decidedly re-invigorating energy, and we look forward to sharing it with our audiences.” 

The cast of Witch includes David Alan Anderson (Sir Arthur), Audrey Francis (Elizabeth), Steve Haggard (Cuddy), Ryan Hallahan (Scratch), Arti Ishak (Winnifred) and Jon Hudson Odom (Frank Thorny).

The creative team includes Yu Shibagaki (scenic design), Mieka van der Ploeg (costume design), Paul Toben (lighting design) and Mikhail Fiksel (sound design). Katie Spelman is the Choreographer, Matt Hawkins is the Fight Director and Cara Parrish is the Stage Manager.

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.


**Jen Silverman’s The Roommate recently received its Chicago premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre under the direction of Phylicia Rashad. The Roommate premiered in 2017 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where it starred S. Epatha Merkerson and Jane Kaczmarek.**

Jen Silverman (Playwright) makes her Writers Theatre debut. Jen is a New York-based playwright and writer. Born in the U.S., she was raised across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her theatre work includes The Moors (Yale Repertory Theatre premiere, off-Broadway with The Playwrights Realm, Susan Smith Blackburn finalist), The Roommate (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville world premiere, produced widely across the U.S. including productions at South Coast Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Steppenwolf) and Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties (Woolly Mammoth premiere, The Theater @ Boston Court, Southwark Playhouse in London). Jen is a member of New Dramatists, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, an affiliated artist with SPACE on Ryder Farm, and has developed work with the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, New York Theatre Workshop, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep and the Royal Court in London among other places. She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, the Helen Merrill Award, an LMCC Fellowship and the Yale Drama Series Award. She is the 2016/17 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow at the Lark. Her plays have been published by Samuel French (US) and Oberon Books (UK), and she has a two-book deal with Random House for a collection of stories called The Island Dwellers and a novel. Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard.

**Director Marti Lyons returns to Writers Theatre, where she previously directed The Mystery of Love & Sex and assistant directed Days Like Today and The Letters. Lyons most recently directed The Wolves at Studio Theatre in D.C., Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías for Victory Gardens Theater, Twelfth Night for Montana Shakespeare, Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Wit for The Hypocrites, Give It All Back by Calamity West for Sideshow Theatre and The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina for Northlight Theatre Company.**

Marti Lyons (Director) returns to Writers Theatre, where she previously directed The Mystery of Love and Sex and assistant directed Days Like Today and The Letters. Lyons most recently directed The Wolves at Studio Theatre in D.C., Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías for Victory Gardens Theater, Twelfth Night for Montana Shakespeare, Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Wit for The Hypocrites, Give It All Back by Calamity West for Sideshow Theatre and The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina for Northlight Theatre Company. She directed Wondrous Strange by Meg Miroshnik, Martyna Majok, Jen Silverman and Jiehae Park for the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, as well as Will Eno’s Title and Deed for Lookingglass Theatre Company and a reading of Martín Zimmerman's On the Exhale for the New Stages Festival at Goodman Theatre, where she received the 2015 Maggio Directing Fellowship. Other projects include Laura Marks’ Bethany, Marks' Mine, Will Nedved’s Body and Blood (The Gift Theatre), Catherine Trieschmann’s Hot Georgia Sunday, Theresa Rebeck's Seminar (Haven Theatre), Prowess by Ike Holter, The Peacock by Calamity West, The Last Duck by Lucas Neff (Jackalope Theatre), The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew (Raven Theatre), Mai Dang Lao by David Jacobi, 9 Circles by Bill Cain, Maria/Stuart by Jason Grote and co-directing The Golden Dragon (Sideshow Theatre). Lyons will next direct Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner for Court Theatre and Botticelli in the Fire by Jordan Tannahill for Woolly Mammoth Theatre. She is an ensemble member with the Gift Theatre Company, an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre Company and a proud member of SDC.

David Alan Anderson (Sir Arthur) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Other Chicago credits include Gem of the Ocean (BTAA winner) and The Mountaintop (Jeff Nominee), both with The Court Theatre. David is a recipient of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship sponsored by the Ten Chimneys Foundation. He has over twenty-five seasons with The Indiana Repertory theatre in Indianapolis, where his many credits include Looking Over the President’s Shoulder, What I Learned in Paris, Julius Caesar, The Whipping Man, Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol and many others. Recent works include Troy in Fences (Indiana Rep, Denver Center, Arizona Theatre Company and Milwaukee Rep), Morning After Grace (Asolo Rep), Radio Golf (Cleveland Playhouse) and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Indiana Rep and Syracuse Stage). Other regional credits include The Guthrie, Baltimore Center Stage, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, KC Rep, Geva Theatre and many others. Directing credits include MVP, The Color of Justice (Indiana Rep), Topdog/Underdog and Two Trains Running (Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis). He is a company member with Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, MN. Recent television works include Showtimes new hit series The Chi. 

Audrey Francis (Elizabeth) returns to Writers Theatre where she previously appeared in Othello and Another Part of the Forest. Audrey is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre and most recently performed there in The Doppelgänger, You Got Older, The Fundamentals, Between Riverside and Crazy and The Herd. Audrey is also a director who recently received a Jeff nomination for her production of The Invisible Hand at Steep Theatre. Film credits include: Signature Move, Medal of Victory, Dig Two Graves, and the upcoming independent feature, As With Knives and Skin. Television Credits include: Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Written Off. Audrey is the proud co-founder of Black Box Acting.

Steve Haggard (Cuddy) returns to Writers Theatre where he previously appeared in The Importance of Being Earnest, Doubt: A Parable, Old Glory, The Subject Was Roses and Our Town. Chicago credits include 33 to Nothing, 3C, Sender, The Mutilated, Accidentally Like A Martyr, The Aliens, Kimberly Akimbo and The Mandrake (A Red Orchid Theatre), Tribes (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Funnyman, Season’s Greetings and She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre), Wasteland (Timeline Theatre Company), Alias Grace and Winter (Rivendell); King Lear, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare). Regional credits include Arcadia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Tempest, Hay Fever, Comedy of Errors and Ah Wilderness! (American Players Theatre), Almost Maine (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and Fallen Angels (Indiana Repertory). Steve is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre and a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Ryan Hallahan (Scratch) returns to Writers Theatre, where he previously appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire and The Real Thing. Some recent Chicago credits also include Pass Over, Straight White Men (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cyrano de Bergerac, Pericles (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Posh (Steep Theatre, Jeff Award Winner: Best Ensemble), The Body of an American (Stage Left, Jeff Award Nominee: Best Actor in a Principal Role), Octagon (Jackalope Theatre) as well as work with The Goodman Theatre, Definition Theater, Theater Seven, Broken Nose, Cold Basement, The Metropolis Performing Arts Center, Livewire! and Theater on the Lake. Television credits include Chicago Fire and Chicago Med (NBC). Film credits include Workingman and Pass Over, directed by Spike Lee. He is represented by Actors Talent Group.

Arti Ishak (Winnifred) returns to Writers Theatre where she previously appeared in Buried Child. Arti Ishak 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. 

Jon Hudson Odom (Frank Thorny) makes his Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits: A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre). Regional credits include: An Octoroon, Botticelli in the Fire (Woolly Mammoth Theatre), Angels in America parts 1 & 2 (Round House and Olney Theatre Center), The Magic Play (Actors Theatre of Louisville), A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre Center), Twelfth Night (Baltimore Center Stage), The Magic Play, Piano Lesson, Our Town, Hay Feverand Colossal (Olney Theatre Center) Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Passion Play (Forum Theatre) Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3 (Round House Theatre), Yellowman (Rep Stage), You Can’t Take It With You (Everyman Theatre), A Christmas Carol, Our Town (Ford’s Theatre), 2-2-Tango (Studio Theatre), Under the Skin (The Public Theatre ME), A Few Good Men (Keegan Theatre), Reals (Theater Alliance DC), The BFG (Imagination Stage, The National Children's Theatre) and The Ramayana (Constellation Theatre). He is a three-time nominee and a recipient of the Helen Hayes Awards. He is a company member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, an Artistic Associate at Olney Theatre Center and a member of The Ensemble at Forum Theatre in DC. Education: University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Accessible Performances
Open-Captioned performance: Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 7:30pm
ASL-Interpreted performance: Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 7:30pm

Sunday Spotlight
Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 11:30am
Jen Silverman’s Witch is the most recent example of a play developed through the Literary Development Initiative, and it joins the ranks of other world premieres produced by Writers Theatre as a result of this program. Many LDI works refresh classic pieces through a new contemporary lens, and with Witch, Silverman has taken a Jacobean-era play and given it modern relevance and bite with its themes of revolution, feminism and morality. Join Director of New Work & Dramaturgy Bobby Kennedy and guests as they break down the process of reinvigorating a classic through fresh eyes, shedding light on how a play from 1621 can be adapted for today’s world. This free one-hour event begins at 11:30am, leaving you plenty of time for coffee or lunch before the 2pm Sunday matinee performance begins (though you may attend even if you are not staying for the performance). Seating is limited, RSVP is required.

The Making of... Witch
Monday, November 12, 2018 at 6:30pm
Before The Wizard of Oz introduced the idea of “good witches” and “bad witches,” beyond Wicked and The Crucible and Harry Potter, witchcraft has mystified humankind for centuries and has always been present in popular culture and media. At this installment of The Making Of series, Director of Education Kelsey Chigas will walk through a brief history of witches and witchcraft across time periods and cultures, exploring the deeper meanings behind the accusations and celebrations of witches throughout history and exposing the cultural misogyny so often at the root of the persecution of women who defied social norms. We’ll also examine what witchcraft looks like in today’s society, busting myths about this spiritual practice. Seating is limited, RSVP is required.

Post-Show Conversation: The Word
Join us after every Tuesday evening performance (excluding First Week and any extension weeks) 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 any extension weeks) for a 15-minute talk-back featuring actors from the production, facilitated by a member of the WT Artistic Team.

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, Twitter or Instagram account with a tag of @WritersTheatre (@Writers_Theatre on Instagram) and #WitchWT, 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 2018/19 Season Sponsor and ComEd as the Official Lighting Sponsor of the 2018/19 Season. The Major Production Sponsor for Witch is Mary Pat Studdert, and the Artists Council Sponsors are Susan and Don Belgrad. Additional support is provided by the Director’s Society Sponsors.

For more information about Writers Theatre’s 2018/19 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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

OPENING: WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT Via Interrobang Theatre Project at The Den Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Interrobang Theatre Project Presents
By Nassim Soleimanpour
September 24 – November 12, 2018 at The Den Theatre

Ever have that nightmare where you can't get your locker open, or you're suddenly on stage without a clue what your lines are or even what play you're in, and everyone in the audience is looking expectantly at you? I have. This fall in Chicago, professional actors are actually volunteering for the latter scenario at several theatres in several different show configurations! One that's piqued my interest the most is award-winning Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour's acclaimed solo show WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT. The show features a different actor each week, with a script they’ve never read before. Plan to catch one or many, as we go down the rabbit hole of word spanning two disparate cultures. Forbidden to leave his country, young Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour found a way for his voice to get out when he physically could not. His words have escaped censorship and are awaiting an audience. I'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's Den Theatre for WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT featuring JD Caudill on October 1st. Check back soon for my full review.

What happens when you put one artist on a stage and hand them a script they’ve never read before? Pure theatrical magic! Interrobang Theatre Project is pleased to present award-winning Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour's acclaimed solo show WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT, an experimental tour de force you have to see to believe! 

Featuring a different actor each week, this unforgettable artistic experiment will play Mondays at 8 pm from September 24 – November 12, 2018 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are on sale at or by calling (312) 219-4140. 

The line-up for WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT includes: 

Stephanie Shum (September 24) 
JD Caudill (October 1)
Echaka Agba (October 8)
Michael Turrentine (October 15)
Joe Lino (October 22)
David Cerda (October 29)
Shawna Franks (November 5)
Owais Ahmed (November 12)

No rehearsal. No director. No set. No spoiler. A different performer each night is handed a script (in a sealed envelope) for the first time as they step onto stage. Forbidden to leave his country, young Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour found a way for his voice to get out when he physically could not. His words have escaped censorship and are awaiting your audience. This wildly entertaining and thought-provoking theatrical piece – where no audience can see the same show twice – blends drama, comedy and social experiment, providing audiences with a potent reminder of the transformative power of theatre. WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT has been called a play – but it’s a lively, global sensation that no one is allowed to talk about. 

Curtain Times: Mondays at 8 pm
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Tickets go on sale shortly at or by calling (312) 219-4140. 
Performers: Stephanie Shum (September 24) JD Caudill (October 1), Echaka Agba (October 8), Michael Turrentine (October 15), Joe Lino (October 22), David Cerda (October 29), Shawna Franks (November 5) and Owais Ahmed (November 12).

Understudy: Matthew Nerber

About the Playwright

Nassim Soleimanpour is an independent multidisciplinary theatre maker from Tehran, Iran. His plays have been translated into more than 20 languages. Best known for his play White Rabbit Red Rabbit, written to travel the world when he couldn’t, his work has been awarded the Dublin Fringe Festival Best New Performance, Summerworks Outstanding New Performance Text Award and The Arches Brick Award (Edinburgh Fringe), as well as picking up nominations for a Total Theatre and Brighton Fringe Pick of Edinburgh Award. By the time Nassim was permitted to travel for the first time in early 2013, his play White Rabbit Red Rabbit had been performed over 200 times in 15 languages. Since then, Nassim has facilitated workshops and panels in different countries including World Theatre Festival (Brisbane), Tolhuistuin (Amsterdam), SESC Vila Mariana (Sao Paulo), Schauspielhaus (Vienna), DPAC (Kuala Lampur), Theatretreffen (Berlin), British Council (London), Asia House (London) and University of Bremen (Germany). Nassim’s second play Blind Hamlet for the London based Actors Touring Company premiered at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has since toured extensively around the UK and was received well in Bucharest and Copenhagen. Blank, his third play, recently premiered in Amsterdam and has been performed in Utrecht, Edinburgh and London. Nassim now lives in Berlin with his wife Shirin.

PHOTO CREDIT: Interrobang Theatre Project’s production of WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT will feature (top, l to r) Echaka Agba, Owais Ahmed, JD Caudill and David Cerda (bottom, l to r) Shawna Franks, Joe Lino, Stephanie Shum and Michael Turrentine.

About the Performers

Stephanie Shum can't believe Interrobang is letting her do this but is very excited to play with them for the first time. She is Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony, Associate Producer with Red Tape Theatre and has also performed with Steppenwolf, American Theater Company, The Neo-Futurists, 16th Street, Walkabout, Factory, Redtwist, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Silk Road and The Fly Honeys. She is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and is represented by Actors Talent Group. She may next be in seen in Wildclaw’s Second Skin.

JD Caudill is a Chicago-based director, music director and performer. Since coming to Chicago in 2014, JD has performed onstage with The New Colony, Hell in a Handbag Productions, New American Folk Theatre, Forks and Hope and Hobo Junction, and directed for over 15 companies, including Broken Nose Theatre, The New Colony and Haven Theatre. JD is a company member of Hell in a Handbag and Haven Theatre (where they are also marketing director), and an associate company member of Broken Nose Theatre.

Echaka Agba’s Chicago theatre credits include: Women Laughing Alone with Salad (Theater Wit); At the Table (Jeff Award – Best Ensemble, Best Supporting Actress; Black Theatre Alliance Award – The Hattie McDaniel Award) Broken Nose Theatre; The Crucible, Between Riverside and Crazy (u/s) Steppenwolf Theatre; Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet (u/s) Chicago Shakespeare Theater; A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch, United Flight 232 (Jeff Award – Best Ensemble) House Theatre of Chicago; Don't Go Gentle (Haven Theatre); Balm in Gilead (Griffin Theatre). She is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and is represented by Grossman and Jack. 

Michael Turrentine is an actor/educator/playwright originally from Oklahoma, but loves the Windy City too much for words! He has worked at various theaters around Chicago including Firebrand Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre, Theater Wit, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Gift Theatre and others. He will also be performing in the up coming production of Frankenstein at Remy Bumppo Theatre. Michael is excited to go on this cool and exciting journey with Interrobang! He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Joe Lino is a Chicago based actor and has worked with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista, Drury Lane, The New Colony, The Cuckoos Theater Project, The Agency Theatre Collective and Interrobang Theatre Project. where he is an artistic associate. Regionally he has credits with Actors Theatre of Louisville in shows such as Dracula, A Christmas Carol and That High Lonesome Sound, which premiered at the Humana Festival. He has also performed Off-Broadway at the BAM Harvey Theatre in Charles Mee’s world premiere of The Glory of the World. He is a proud alumni of Ball State University. 

David Cerda is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Hell in a Handbag Productions. Plays written include Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer, SCARRIE! The Musical, POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical, Christmas Dearest, The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes Vol 1 & 2 and The Birds. As an actor he has worked with A New Colony, Corn Productions, Lookingglass, A Red Orchid Theatre and more. Cerda was inducted into the Chicago 2016 GLBTQ Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Jeff Committee in 2017 for his body of work and philanthropic efforts.

Shawna Franks is the founding Managing Director of Facility Theatre where she is currently performing in the Chicago premiere of Phoebe In Winter by Jen Silverman. Shawna originated the role of Dottie in Killer Joe by Tracy Letts at The Next Lab in Evanston. She performed this role at The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, The Bush Theatre in London and The Vaudeville Theatre on London's West End. She also performed in Grand Concourse at Steppenwolf Theatre and The Woman Before at Trap Door Theatre. She has appeared in various productions in Dublin, Los Angeles, Phoenix and New York City, and is the founding Artistic Director of Space 55 Theatre in Phoenix.

Owais Ahmed is a Chicago native and a proud ensemble member of Definition Theatre Co. Theatre credits include: The Invisible Hand (Steep Theatre, Milwaukee Rep), The Hard Problem (Court Theatre), Orange (Mixed Blood Theatre) and The Qualms (Steppenwolf Theatre). 

About Interrobang Theatre Project

Now in its ninth season, Interrobang Theatre Project, under the artistic leadership of Georgette Verdin and James Yost, has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as a “company to watch” and by Time Out Chicago as “one of Chicago’s most promising young theatre companies.” Chris Jones called Foxfinder, which kicked off Interrobang’s 2017-18 season, “...a ripping good yarn,” earning it 3.5 stars from the Chicago Tribune. Foxfinder also garnered seven non-Equity Jeff Awards nominations including Best Director and Production of a Play, and took home two awards for Best Original Music and Set Design. The company also earned seven non-Equity Jeff Nominations for their seventh season, including Best Director, Production of a Play, Solo Performance and acting nominations for Lead Actor, Actress (win) and Actor in a Supporting Role (win). Productions have included the world premiere of Calamity West’s Ibsen is Dead (Jeff Recommended), the Jeff Recommended The Pitchfork Disney, Orange Flower Water, Recent Tragic Events, The North Pool, The Amish Project, Falling and Grace. Director James Yost’s critically-acclaimed Really Really was one of six shows chosen for Chicago Tribune’s “Best of 2015 in Chicago Fringe Theater.”

What’s an interrobang?
An interrobang is the combination of a question mark and an exclamation point, joining the Latin for “question” (interro) with a proofreading term for “exclamation” (bang). Through the plays we produce, Interrobang Theatre Project aims to pose worthwhile and exciting questions which challenge our understanding and assumptions of who we are and the world in which we live. 

For more information, please visit

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