Tuesday, October 30, 2018


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:


“The most brilliantly effective spine-chiller you will ever encounter”
Daily Telegraph

presented by
PW Productions and Pemberley Productions

Director Robin Herford’s Original Staging of Susan Hill’s ghost story will “scare the living daylights out of you”

I'll be out for the press opening, November 18th, so check back soon for my full review. Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we enjoy a touch of the macabre, so we're eager to catch The Woman in Black.

Over eight million people have lived to tell the tale of one of the most successful – and terrifying - theatre events ever staged, and it’s coming to shock audiences in Chicago this fall. The Woman in Black – London’s long-running West End play -  will open at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre in November with all the stage thrills that have led audiences in London to shriek in fear for 30 years.

Susan Hill’s Gothic ghost story, adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt, is set in an isolated windswept mansion with tragic secrets hidden behind its shuttered windows. There, a young lawyer encounters horrific visions in the house set amidst the eerie marshes and howling winds of England’s forbidding Northeast Coast. With just two actors, The Woman in Black offers audiences an evening of unremitting drama and sheer theatricality as they are transported into a chilling and ghostly world.

London’s The Independent said of it, “The atmosphere is so charged-up that on more than one occasion the entire audience screamed in terror.” The Daily Mail called it “A nerve-shredding experience.”

Reviewing the West End production this past January, the London newspaper The Daily Express said, “As the tale unfolds, it tightens its grip on the spectator like a medieval instrument of torture… It is all staged impeccably with amazing sound effects and shocks that make you jump out of your seat. But it is the simplicity that impresses. It is profoundly effective, and it will scare the living daylights out of you.”

The Guardian’s Mark Lawson said, “the great pleasure of the production remains the way in which Mallatratt and the director Robin Herford (who has been in charge of all the play’s incarnations) utilize the fears and imagination of the audience, so that, for example, a few glances and hand gestures create out of nothing a dog who is as convincing as animatronics, while a few puffs of stage smoke or a flap of fabric conjure up geographical and physical presences.”

For the Chicago production, director Robin Herford will recreate his original staging for the first time in the U.S., with a Chicago-based cast. This American premiere of the Original London West End production, presented by PW Productions and Pemberley Productions, will begin previews November 15th , with a Press Opening on November 18th at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St., Chicago.


Susan Hill’s novel, THE WOMAN IN BLACK was originally published in 1983 and has thrilled and spooked millions of readers ever since.  Robin Heford commissioned Stephen Mallatratt to adapt the novel for the stage in 1987 and it was produced as a Christmas show at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, U.K. After months of sold out performances, the play transferred to London’s West End in January 1989.

The classic chiller was released as a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2012, and soon became the highest grossing British horror film in 20 years.

The Chicago production of THE WOMAN IN BLACK will star Bradley Armacost as Arthur Kipps and Adam Wesley Brown as The Actor.

Bradley Armacost (Arthur Kipps)
Bradley has worked extensively on stage, in film & television, and in voice-over throughout the country.

Based in Chicago, he has received numerous Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations for his stage work. Select credits include Oedipus Complex, The Zoo Story, The Trip To Bountiful, A Touch of the Poet and Chicago Boys at Goodman Theatre; Playboy of the Western World, Maria Arndt, The Seafarer, and Faith Healer at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; The Merchant of Venice, The Comedy of Errors, Timon of Athens, Antony & Cleopatra, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Elizabeth Rex, and The Madness of King George at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; and You Can't Take It With You and A Life (with the late John Mahoney) at Northlight Theatre. Earlier this season he appeared in Translations at Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theatre.

Bradley is an Artistic Associate at Provision Theatre Company (Shadowlands, C. S. Lewis: Onstage, Tuesdays With Morrie) and Irish Theatre of Chicago (The Weir, Moon for the Misbegotten, The Seafarer, Hughie, Shining City).

Television credits include the Fox series The Exorcist as Bishop Eagan, Empire, Chicago Fire, Mind Games, Missing Persons, Untouchables, and Early Edition.

Film credits include Patriot, Warren, The Company, Barbershop 2, Repetition, and Eight Men Out.

Bradley has made numerous appearances as narrator with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Beyond the Score series.

Adam Wesley Brown (The Actor)
Theatre Credits include: Once (Broadway); Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Book of Joseph, The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Henry VIII (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Million Dollar Quartet (Paramount Theatre); Long Way Go Down (Jackalope Theatre, Jeff Award nomination); A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Folger Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination); A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville).

Film Credits include: Widows and Keith Urban: 30 Songs in 30 Days.
Adam released his debut album Adam Wesley Brown: Live at Bowery Poetry on Apple Music and Spotify.  He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

Robin Herford (Director)
Robin read Philosophy and English at St. Andrews University and trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Much of his early career was involved with Alan Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Joining the company in 1976 as an actor, he was appointed Associate Director in 1979 and was Artistic Director from 1986 to 1988. Robin has appeared in the original production of more Ayckbourn plays than any other actor, from Ten Times Table in 1977 to Henceforward… in 1987 and including the monster 16-play two-hander Intimate Exchanges. He came to London with Season’s Greetings and Suburban Strains (Roundhouse), Intimate Exchanges (Ambassadors) and Henceforward… (Vaudeville).

While Artistic Director at Scarborough, he commissioned and directed Stephen Mallatratt’s phenomenally successful adaptation of The Woman in Black, which has been running in the West End for almost 30 years and has completed 12 national tours. He always personally directs every recast and has also directed productions of the play abroad: in Tokyo (in Japanese!), India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and soon, America.

Robin’s other London productions include The Glory of The Garden, (Duke of Yorks), Rough Justice (Apollo), Joking Apart and The Importance of Being Earnest (Greenwich) and The Secret of Sherlock Holmes (Duchess)

PW Productions is responsible for producing some of the most successful productions in British theatre over the past 30 years.
As well as being prolific producers, they have acted as General Managers, Bookkeepers and Accountants to more than 500 productions in London, throughout the UK and around the world.

Notable productions and co-productions include:

As well as producing the multi-award-winning J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls in the West End, on tour in the UK and internationally, in 1989 they brought Stephen Mallatratt’s The Woman in Black to the West End which celebrates its 30th year in the West End this year, and tours the UK and the world.

With the National Theatre: Broken Glass (UK Premiere); The Wind In The Willows; Oh What A Lovely War! 
With Matthew Bourne: Nutcracker!; Play Without Words (UK & US Tours, Tokyo and Moscow).
With the Roundhouse: Michael Clarke; Stomp; De La Guarda.
With the RSC: Krapp’s Last Tape with Edward Petherbridge. 
With Mobil Touring Theatre: The Philanthropist; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead; Habeas Corpus; Charley’s Aunt; The Crucifer Of Blood; Absurd Person Singular; Noises Off; Dial M For Murder; Forty Years On with Tony Robinson; Tartuffe with Stephen Tompkinson; Sleuth with Peter Bowles; Les Liaisons Dangereuses; Deathtrap with David Soul; The Sunshine Boys with Ron Moody.

Other productions and co-productions: Edmund Kean with Ben Kingsley; Rowan Atkinson at the Atkinson on Broadway; Julian Glover’s Beowulf in New York and the UK; A Betrothal with Ben Kingsley and Geraldine James; Dickens’ Women with Miriam Margoyles; Kings with Alan Howard; Dylan Thomas: Return Journey, directed by Anthony Hopkins and co-produced with Eric Clapton; The Father with Edward Fox and Stephanie Beacham; Boyband at the Gielgud; Amadeus at the Old Vic and on Broadway with David Suchet and Michael Sheen and Lenny with Eddie Izzard at the Queen’s, both directed by Sir Peter Hall; Old Wicked Songs with Bob Hoskins; The Madness Of George Dubya; Bombshells starring Caroline O’Connor, both at The Arts Theatre; What The Butler Saw at the Criterion Theatre; Honour with Dame Diana Rigg at the Wyndham’s Theatre; Aspects Of Love with David Essex; Sign Of The Times with Stephen Tompkinson; Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and at the O2; The Railway Children at Waterloo Station; Broken Glass with Sir Antony Sher and Tara Fitzgerald at the Vaudeville Theatre; Maurice’s Jubilee at The Pleasance; Spot’s Birthday Party; This Is Ceilidh in Edinburgh and London; The Nightmares Of Carlos Fuentes at Arcola, directed by Nicolas Kent; Adrian Mole The Musical at Leicester Curve; This Is Living at Trafalgar Studios; Vault Festival; Chinglish at Park Theatre.

PW Productions has a number of new projects in development and continues its commitment in creating exceptional theatre.

Pemberley Productions (Producers) is a company founded and run by Andrew D. Hamingson and Tim Smith. They are dedicated to bringing European drama to North America and North American drama to Europe. Next season, as well as co-producing the US tour of Private Peaceful, Pemberley is producing US tours of PW Productions’ tour of the National Theatre of Great Britain’s production of An Inspector Calls directed by Stephen Daldry and the first US tour of the long-running West-End production of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, directed by Robin Herford. Previous projects include a US national tour of the Royal Shakespeare Company / Filter Theatre production of Twelfth Night, a European tour of The Public Theater’s Apple Family Plays and an Irish Tour of the American Players Theatre’s production of James DeVita’s In Acting Shakespeare.  Pemberley also co-produced the US tour of Ensemble Basiani from the Republic of Georgia in 2016 and general managed the US tour of Druid Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane. This past season Pemberley Productions is producing the second US national tour of Sancho by and with Paterson Joseph, and have general managed the national tour of Theatre De La Ville’s State of Siege and the NY premiere of Some Old Black Man at 59E59 Theatres.  Follow Pemberley Productions on Facebook:

Performances of THE WOMAN IN BLACK are as follows: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30pm; Sundays at 7:00. Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30pm.  Tickets are $49 to $69. To purchase tickets, please visit or the Box Office at 312.988.9000. For more information, visit

Chicago Opera Theater's Season-Opening Production of Iolanta November 10, 15 AND 18, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:


Conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya Leads Chicago Premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Final Opera

Chicago Opera Theater (COT) will kick off the 2018/2019 season with “Iolanta,” a Chicago premiere of legendary composer P.I. Tchaikovsky’s final opera. Internationally renowned and award-winning conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya will make her conducting debut as Chicago Opera Theater’s Staley Music Director and set the tone for the season to come. Acclaimed stage director Paul Curran, known for his work at Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago and more, will shape the retelling of this joyous love-story, featuring an almost entirely Chicago-based cast including soprano Katherine Weber as Iolanta, and renowned Russian bass Mikhail Svetlov as Rene. The opening night and press performance takes place on Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Studebaker Theater (410 S. Michigan Ave.) Additional performances will take place Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 18 at 3 p.m.  

“After 18 months of planning and preparation behind the scenes, I’m thrilled to finally be jumping into the COT orchestra pit,” said COT’s Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. “I’m particularly gratified to have the opportunity to bring the sounds of my homeland to my new home, as this opera – Tchaikovsky’s last – has never before been staged in Chicago. ‘Iolanta’ is a very personal work, written by Tchaikovsky at the height of his compositional powers, alongside the person closest to him – his brother Modest. Perhaps because it examines the transformed worldviews of characters in dramatically different life stages, I find that the work resonates in a new way each time I conduct it.”

“Iolanta” tells the story of a princess, with Weber starring in the titular role, who has been blind since birth. She is unaware of her condition and her privileged social status thanks to the actions of her overprotective father, King Rene. When the well-meaning Duke Vaudemont falls in love with her, she learns of her blindness and true love offers her a chance at a cure. Iolanta must choose between the life built for her and one she’s never seen.

The opera is based on the Danish play “Kong René Datter” by Henrik Hertz, a romanticized take on the life of Yolande de Bar. The opera premiered on December 18, 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, sharing a double bill with Tchaikovsky’s last ballet, “The Nutcracker.”

In addition to Weber and Svetlov, the cast includes John Irvin as Vaudemont, Christopher Magiera as Robert, Bill McMurray as Ibn-Hakia, Emma Ritter as Marta, Katherine Peterson as Brigitta, Annie Rosen as Laura, David Govertsen as Bertrand, and Kyle Knapp as Almeric.

Creative Team for Iolanta
Composer: P.I. Tchaikovsky
Librettist: Modest Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Stage Director: Paul Curran
Lighting & Projection Designer: Driscoll Otto
Scenic Design: Alan Muraoka
Costume Design: Jenny Mannis

Performance Schedule
Saturday, November 10, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 15, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 18, 3 p.m.

Subscriptions to the 2018/2019 season of Chicago Opera Theater are on sale now for $95 - $435. Single show tickets for “Iolanta” are on sale now at for $45 - $145.

About Lidiya Yankovskaya
Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya is a champion of Russian masterpieces, operatic rarities and contemporary works on the leading edge of classical music. This season, Yankovskaya conducts Heggie’s “Moby-Dick” at COT, Kamala Sankaram’s “Taking Up Serpents” at Washington National Opera, and Ricky Ian Gordon’s “Ellen West” at Opera Saratoga. She debuts with Mobile Symphony in “Carmina Burana,” leads Laura Schwendinger’s “Artemisia” at Trinity Wall Street, and returns to New York’s National Sawdust for its Hildegard Competition Concert.

As Music Director of Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, she conducted sold-out performances of repertoire rarely heard in Boston, including Tchaikovsky’s “Queen of Spades,” Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and the U.S. Russian-language premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Snow Maiden.” Her commitment to exploring the breadth of symphonic and operatic repertoire has also been demonstrated in performances of Rachmaninoff’s “Aleko” and the American premieres of Donizetti’s “Pia de’ Tolomei,” Rubinshteyn’s “The Demon,” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Kashchej The Immortal” and Symphony No. 1. Yankovskaya is founder of the Refugee Orchestra Project, which performs this season at the United Nations. She has served as Artistic Director of the Boston New Music Festival and Juventas New Music Ensemble, where she led operatic experiments with puppetry, circus acts, and robotic instruments, as well as premieres by more than two dozen composers. A recipient of a 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award, Yankovskaya is also an alumna of the Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors and Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship. She has been featured in the League of American Orchestras Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview and Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, and will assist Vladimir Jurowski via a London Philharmonic fellowship this spring. Other future engagements include performances in Arizona, Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis.

About Paul Curran
Award winning Scottish director, Paul Curran, was born in Glasgow, Scotland and studied dance in London and Helsinki. After a serious injury stopped his career, he retrained as a director at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, graduating in 1992. His first job in opera was as assistant director to Baz Luhrmann, after which his own international career took off with productions at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Dell’Opera Rome and the Covent Garden Festival, then directing Borodin’s “Prince Igor” with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Curran has directed productions in many of the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls including ROH Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, La Scala Milan, Teatro La Fenice, Kennedy Centre Washington DC and Berlin Philharmonic. In addition to opera, Curran has also directed several musicals including “My Fair Lady,” “Man of La Mancha,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “A Little Night Music.” A keen linguist, Curran speaks 9 languages and has also translated several plays by Moliere, Chekhov and Ostrovsky.

About Katherine Weber
Described as “a confident singing actress with a magnetic stage presence” by Opera News, Katherine Weber is a rising star in the Chicago opera scene. She debuted for both the DuPage Opera and Boulder Symphony during the 2017/2018 season as Violetta in “La Traviata” and is set to return to DuPage Opera this season as Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus.” She was a featured soloist with the Winona Oratorio Chorus and Orchestra in performances of Beethoven’s “Mass in C,” Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and Mozart’s “Requiem.” She also covered Nedda in Virginia Opera’s performance of “Pagliacci.” She has been a regional finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2015 and 2017.

About Chicago Opera Theater

Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is a nationally recognized opera company based in Chicago, now in its 45th season. COT expands the tradition of opera as a living art form, with an emphasis on Chicago premieres, including new contemporary operas for a 21st century audience.

In addition to its programmed mainstage season, COT is devoted to the development and production of new opera in the United States through the Vanguard Initiative, launched in the Spring of 2018. The Vanguard Initiative mentors emerging opera composers, invests time and talent in new opera at various stages of the creative process and presents the Living Opera Series to showcase new and developing work.

Since its founding in 1973 by Alan Stone, COT has staged more than 125 operas, including 66 Chicago premieres and 36 operas by American composers.

COT is led by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Douglas R. Clayton and Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. As of fall 2017, Maestro Yankovskaya is the only woman with the title Music Director at any of the top 50 opera companies in the United States. COT currently performs at the Studebaker Theater (Michigan & Congress) and the Harris Theater for Music & Dance (Michigan & Randolph).

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar


(left) Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads with Adrian Danzig (left) in The Better Half in 2011


Lucky Plush Productions is thrilled to return to Steppenwolf’s LookOut series this fall for a three-week run of The Better Half.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we adore Lucky Plush. Their creative, story based approach to dance pushes the boundaries of the medium and is as playful and fun as it is powerful. We thoroughly enjoyed their inaugural Lookout Series piece, Rooming House, in Steppenwolf's 1700 Space, last fall and we're eager to catch The Better Half, a remount of one of their past favorites we have yet to see. Their pieces have a natural, organic feel that at times plays out as much like process as performance. Improv games, warm ups, and rehearsals are all likely to wend their way into Lucky Plush's finished works. The audience is often left feeling privy to a glimpse behind the scenes. They're favorites of ours and we can't wait to see what's next. Catch a sneak peek at their newest work in progress, Rink Life, twice during the run of The Better Half on Saturday, November 10 and 17 at 5 p.m.

Last year at this time, Lucky Plush premiered Rooming House in the company’s inaugural outing as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series, and went on to sell out its entire three-week run. Next, Rooming House will go on tour in the spring, culminating with the company’s Kennedy Center debut, May 2-4, 2019, as part of the Kennedy Center’s 2018-19 Ballet and Contemporary Dance Series.

One of the company’s most acclaimed works, The Better Half is a lively spin on the noir classic Gaslight that playfully captures the claustrophobia, escapist tendencies and resilience in domestic relationships, in a dance theater language full of surprising turns and contemporary resonance. The 2011 premiere was the first collaboration between now frequent creative collaborators Julia Rhoads, Lucky Plush founder and artistic director, and Leslie Danzig, formerly of 500 Clown.

Performances of The Better Life are November 2-17 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, an 80-seat cabaret-style space connected to Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Press opening is Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m. Industry nights are Monday, November 5 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Early bird tickets to The Better Life, on sale now, are $25 through October 3 only. Tickets to the November 2 preview are also $25. Regular tickets for the balance of the run are $40. Seniors 62+ and military tickets are $30. Industry Night tickets are $25. Student tickets are $15. Steppenwolf Red and Black Card holders may use their cards as per Steppenwolf policies. For tickets and information, visit or call
(312) 335-1650.

Rink Life

 Note: Twice during the run of The Better Half – on Saturday, November 10 and 17 at 5 p.m. – Lucky Plush will also present two work-in-progress showings of Rink Life, the company’s next world premiere, and recent recipient of a prestigious National Theater Project Award.

Rink Life

Rink Life is a unique dance theater piece that nods to the visual aesthetics and social dynamics of 1970’s roller rink culture. Both performances will be followed by a post-show discussion, giving audience members a unique peek into the developmental process. Tickets to Rink Life are $25. Or, take advantage of a discounted $60 ticket to a Saturday double feature of Rink Life at 5 p.m. and The Better Half at 8 p.m.

Lucky Plush Productions at the 1700 Theatre is presented as part of LookOut, Steppenwolf’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends.

For more information, visit

More about The Better Half
 The Better Half (Promotional)
Watch Adrian Danzig and Julia Rhodes perform in The Better Half.

The Better Half (Promotional) from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.

The Better Half premiered in 2011, was named to Newcity’s "Top 5 of Everything: Stage" and hailed “a piece of tremendous humor, humanity, and...smartness." Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ) included it in their Top 5 of "2011's Funniest Shows." The work was described as “skipping like a spinning stone across its surfaces like a perfect piece of pop art” by Time Out Chicago and “improvisational, funny...[with a] powerful climax” by the Chicago Tribune. The Boston Globe wrote “delicious humor and a dark, poignant undercurrent…both charming and memorably provocative." 

The 2018 return of The Better Half reunites Lucky Plush founder Julia Rhoads and Adrian Danzig, who originated their on stage roles in 2011, and is newly devised with the current Lucky Plush ensemble. Launching from the classic film Gaslight, layers of fiction and reality accumulate, revealing the elusive boundaries between performer and character, actual and scripted relationships, life versus borrowed plotlines. Ultimately a new narrative emerges, capturing the habitual patterns, escapist tendencies, and resilience in contemporary relationships through a complex mix of dance and theater languages.

The Better Half production team includes Heather Gilbert, lighting design, Mikhail Fiksel, composter/sound design, and John Boesche, video design.

The creation, presentation, and touring of the premiere version of The Better Half (2011-2014) was originally made possible through the support of many generous individuals, partners, and awards, including: National Dance Project, with support from New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with National Endowment for the Arts; National Performance Network Creation Fund, with commissioning partners Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; Audience Architects’ New Stages for Dance, with leadership from Dance/USA and MetLife Foundation; Pamela Crutchfield; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; and Boeing.

More about Rink Life

Rink Life
In Rink Life, Lucky Plush brings its highly integrated brand of dance-theater into a communal space that nods to the visual aesthetics and social dynamics of 1970’s roller rink culture. Launching from a collision of plot points in several one-act plays, the script-turned-libretto is both spoken and sung by the ensemble and builds upon fragments of everyday aural input—passing conversations, intimate exchanges, distant whispers, pop song ear-worms. These source inspirations come together in the delightful and moving world of Rink Life, where people navigate relationships, self-expression and rejection in real-time.

Rink Life builds upon Cadence, a work that Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2017 with music collaborator Bethany Clearfield (Grant Park Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the band Outertown). A developmental performance of Rink Life was also part of Tab Show, a Lucky Plush performance last April at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The Chicago Tribune wrote “Rhoads is a master of comedic timing and physical humor; she expertly tugs at the idiosyncrasies of human nature and seamlessly blends dance, theater and music. Her best works easily place her on the short list of our city’s strongest and most successful choreographers.”

Concept, direction and choreography for Rink Life are by Julia Rhoads. Leslie Danzig joins as a collaborating director and production consultant. Bethany Clearfield is vocal arranger and vocal coach. Lighting design is by Heather Gilbert. Costume design is by Patrick Burns.

About Lucky Plush – Reinventing contemporary dance with humor and storytelling

About Lucky Plush Productions from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.

About Lucky Plush Productions
Lucky Plush Productions ( is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads. Lucky Plush is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with audiences. A unique hybrid of high-level dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s work is well-known for its carefully crafted dramatic and rhythmic arcs, pushing its artists to move beyond the predictable by earning the exciting slippage between – and surprising coherence of – technical choreography, casual dialogue, and humor. Though rigorously composed, much of the company’s work feels like it is generated spontaneously.

Since its founding in 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30 original dance-theater works. In addition to performing in Chicago, the company has presented in over 55 US cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioners include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Links Hall Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD) and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky Plush has also collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Walkabout Theater and M5.

Lucky Plush Productions is the first and only dance company to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a recognition of the company’s exceptional creativity and impact. Other awards include creation, residency, and touring awards from National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and National Performance Network; exchange awards from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; a presentation award from MetLife Foundation; and an achievement award from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at The Chicago Community Trust.

Lucky Plush performances have been cited in many “Best of Year” performance round-ups including in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio and Boston Globe.

Lucky Plush Productions is a Harris Theater for Music and Dance resident company where its staff and sustainability initiatives are housed under the leadership of Managing Director Kim Goldman.


Julia Rhoads (founding artistic director) has created over 25 works with Lucky Plush Productions, several of which have toured extensively throughout the US and internationally. Additional choreography credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon, and River North Dance Chicago, among others. Rhoads is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance and her work with Lucky Plush is supported through fellowships/awards from National Dance Project, National Theater Project, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Jacob K. Javits Foundation. Under her leadership, Lucky Plush has received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and a Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award. Rhoads is a former member of San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University, her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, and she has taught in the dance and theater programs of several Chicago-area colleges and universities. She is currently a part-time lecturer and dance advisor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies.

Leslie Danzig is a collaborating director with Julia Rhoads/Lucky Plush Productions, where she co-created The Better Half, The Queue and Rooming House. For over a decade, Danzig was co-founder and resident director of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown, whose shows (Macbeth, Frankenstein, Christmas and Elephant Deal) performed in Chicago at venues including Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Lookingglass Theatre, and toured throughout the U.S. Other directing credits include Quest at The Actors Gymnasium; Wild Sound, composed by Wilco’s Glenn Kotche for Third Coast Percussion, with performances at MCA Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Forum of Music (Wroclaw), and De Doelen (Rotterdam); Damon Kiely's The Revel with the House Theatre; Redmoon's The Elephant and the Whale with Chicago Children's Theater (with Frank Maugeri); Redmoon’s Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC); and Float with About Face Theater. Prior to turning to directing, she toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service. Danzig is Assistant Professor of Practice in Theater and Performance Studies, University of Chicago. She received her BA from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and trained in physical theater at Écoles Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. Recent projects include creating an original circus-theater production and stage directing Paddle to the Sea with Third Coast Percussion. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Two Nights Only: AN EVENING WITH PIGPEN THEATRE CO. Concert Series at Writers Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Writers Theatre presents limited engagement of
a two-night only concert series featuring the stars of PigPen

December 16 and 17, 2018

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama, we've been catching Pigpen Theatre Co. in concert and theatre productions for years. In 2013 we shot live show shots and gave away tickets to our readers when the band was playing a series of concerts that became one of the most popular residencies of the past decade at the legendary Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. We did the same for their residency at Old Town School of Folk Music when they were in Chicago working on The Hunter and the Bear with Writers Theatre. In fact, every time they come through Chicago, we're there, and we're elated to announce they're making a concert stop in town once again. 

Pigpen's brand of folky Americana originals and covers is a much needed tonic for tough times. Their concerts are full of feel good folk songs that unite and remind us what Americans can be, in a country known for caring for others, welcoming immigrants, and working together. Join in on an uplifting evening and prepare to sing along. 

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma, presents the limited engagement of An Evening with PigPen Theatre Co., a two-night only concert series featuring the stars of PigPen (The Hunter and the Bear, The Old Man and the Old Moon), with a few surprises for the holiday season. An Evening with PigPen Theatre Co. will be presented for two performances only, December 16 and 17, 2018 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.

“We’re so happy to be welcoming back Pigpen Theatre Co. just in time for the holidays,” says WT Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “We’ve had such wonderful collaborations with the company on The Old Man and The Old Moon and The Hunter and The Bear, both of which turned out to be huge hits with our audiences. When the opportunity arose, we thought this would be the perfect holiday gift for Writers Theatre patrons. Come celebrate! Indulge in a little comfort and joy and chase away the cold.”

PigPen Theatre Co. adds, "We are so thrilled to be returning to Chicago for a holiday visit with our extended theatrical family. We generally refer to any time we get to spend in Glencoe as ‘the best time of our lives’ and we feel lucky to be invited back. We'll provide the songs and merriment as long as you all provide backup vocals."

PigPen Theatre Company began creating their unique brand of theatre, music, and film as freshmen at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007. They have since produced their original plays in New York City and toured the country – earning them critic’s picks from The New York Times, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe and many more, ranking them in the top ten theatrical events of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016. They were the first group to win the NYC Fringe Festival’s top honor for a play two years in a row (2010/11) and have gone on to win IRNE (2012, 2015) and Jeff Awards (2014) for their theatrical productions. 

In 2016, Sir Trevor Nunn invited PigPen to be a part of his first American acting company for a production of Shakespeare's Pericles. PigPen's debut album, “Bremen”, was named #10 album of the year in The Huffington Post’s 2012 Grammy preview sending PigPen on tour playing to sold-out crowds across the country. American Songwriter premiered their follow-up EP, “The Way I’m Running”, in 2013. 

In 2015, PigPen released their sophomore album, "Whole Sun", performed at Mumford & Sons' return to the Gentlemen of the Road Festival, and made their feature film debut in Jonathan Demme's Ricki and the Flash starring Meryl Streep. In 2018, PigPen announced that they are currently creating two stage musicals based on beloved novels: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (in partnership with Universal Theatrical Group) and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (in collaboration with Rick Elice).

An Evening with PigPen Theatre Co. will be presented December 16 and 17, 2018 at 7:30pm (Doors at 7:00pm, VIP meet & greet at 6:30pm). Regular Tickets are priced $25-$40, and VIP Tickets, which include an exclusive meet & greet and photo opportunity with PigPen, are priced at $75. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 847-242-6000 or in person at theBox Office at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe.

Sunday, December 16, 2018 and Monday, December 17, 2018

VIP Meet & Greet: 6:30pm
Doors: 7:00pm
Performance: 7:30pm

The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre
325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Full Price Ticket (Standard): $25-40
VIP Ticket (Price includes Meet & Greet): $75

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

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

OPENING: World Premiere of PLAINCLOTHES Via Broken Nose Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

World Premiere!
Broken Nose Theatre Launches Seventh Season with
By Company Member Spenser Davis
Co-Directed by Kanomé Jones and Company Member Spenser Davis 
November 9 – December 15, 2018 at The Den Theatre

All Performances Pay-What-You-Can!

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, Broken Nose Theatre is a favorite of ours and we love that their “pay-what-you-can” policy, allows patrons to set their own price and ensuring theatre remains economically accessible for all audiences. 
I'll be out for the press opening November 12th so check back soon for my full review. 

Broken Nose Theatre is pleased to launch its seventh season with the world premiere dark comedy PLAINCLOTHES, written by company member Spenser Davis* and co-directed by Kanomé Jones and Davis. Developed with much of the team behind BNT’s runaway 2017 hit At The Table, PLAINCLOTHES will play November 9 – December 15, 2018 at its resident home, The Den Theatre (2A), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. 

Tickets are currently available at on a “pay-what-you-can” sliding scale

PLAINCLOTHES will feature BNT company members Elise Marie Davis* and David Weiss*, artistic associates Kim Boler^, Teresa Kuruvilla^, RjW Mays^ and Adam Soule^ with Rob Frankel, Ben Locke, Carmen Molina, Stephanie Shum and Alejandro Tey.

When a violent encounter with a shoplifter leaves half of their team fired or in the hospital, the security guards of a downtown Chicago retail store find themselves under corporate investigation. Short-staffed, ill prepared and faced with accusations of racial profiling that threaten to dismantle the crew, they’re forced to decide: do we admit to something we're not guilty of to save our jobs, or do we give the higher-ups a taste of what it’s like in the trenches? In the style of their breakout hit At The Table, Broken Nose Theatre and playwright Spenser Davis have assembled an all-star cast to develop this world premiere.

Comments playwright and co-director Spenser Davis, "For years, I worked as undercover security for a major retail store on the Michigan Avenue, and it never ceased to amaze me how separate my team's world felt from the average customer's: while they traveled up eight bright, glittery floors of merchandise, we were confined to a closet-turned-camera room with spotty air-conditioning and banker's boxes of pointless paperwork. The loss prevention team in Plainclothes find themselves in just such a camera room when the ground shifts underneath their feet.”

Adds Davis, “Last year, we produced a play called At The Table, a play from New York which originated from a lengthy development process between its writer-director and a pre-cast ensemble of actors; we decided to take a crack at that same process in Chicago, allowing us to create tailor-fit roles for the ensemble. And because this play has always been about the conversations it evokes, it became abundantly clear how important it was to have that conversation on both sides of the production's table. Having Kanomé co-leading this process will inherently enrich the material, keeping this story and its characters as authentic as possible."

The production team for PLAINCLOTHES includes: Evan Frank (scenic design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Michael Joseph (lighting design), Isaac Mandel (sound design), Devon Green^ (props design), David Weiss* (dramaturg), Becca Holloway (assistant director), Therese Ritchie (technical director) Daryl Ritchie (master electrician) and Rose Hamill* (stage manager).

* Denotes BNT company member   ^ Denotes BNT artistic associate      

Location: The Den Theatre (2A), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, November 9 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 pm
Opening: Sunday, November 11 at 3 pm

Regular run: Thursday, November 15 – Saturday, December 15, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Industry night: Monday, November 26 at 7:30 pm
Understudy night: Wednesday, December 12 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: Pay-what-you-can. Tickets are currently available at

About the Artists

Spenser Davis (Playwright, Co-Director) is a longtime company member of Broken Nose Theatre, where he most recently directed Michael Perlman’s At The Table, named “One of the Best Shows of 2017” by Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, Newcity and teen critic Ada Grey; it also received four Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Director/Play and Best Production/Play. Also at BNT, he has directed Perlman’s From White Plains, Elise Spoerlein’s A Phase, and several editions of Bechdel Fest. Outside of BNT, his directing credits include The Adventures of Spirit Force Five (The Factory Theater), Bachelorette (Level 11), numerous editions of the One Minute Play Festival, as well as work with A Red Orchid Theatre, American Theater Company, Chicago Dramatists, Strawdog, Mary-Arrchie, Hell in a Handbag, Oracle Productions, First Floor, Pride Films and Plays, Stage Left, Promethean Theatre and Arc Theatre. As a filmmaker, he’s the co-founder of Spilled Inc., a microbudget production company, and is the series director for SQUID, a short-form comedy series heading to Amazon Prime this Summer. As a playwright, he’s a past winner of Scotland’s Solas Festival, a finalist for the Actor Theater of Louisville’s Heideman Award, and his first full-length play Merge, about the rise and fall of the video game company Atari, closed The New Colony’s eighth season. His plays have been produced across the country and in Canada and have been published by Smith & Kraus New York. He’s also an ensemble member of The Factory Theater. Plainclothes is the first play in his trilogy The Mag Mile, which focuses on working class Chicagoans who are rarely seen onstage but are nevertheless the lifeblood that keeps the heart of the beautiful, brash, jagged edged city beating.

Kanomé Jones (Co-Director) is excited to be joining the Plainclothes Team. Most recently with Broken Nose, Kanomé directed the world premiere of Kingdom by Michael Allen Harris. She served as the Assistant Director for Radio Golf (Court Theatre) and for Insurrection: Holding History (Stage Left Theatre). Other past directing projects include Well Intentioned White People (SLT Residency), An Awaited Return (arciTEXT) and EL Stories: Riding the Line (Waltzing Mechanics). Past acting credits include Building the Wall and The Firestorm (Stage Left), The Book Club Play (16th Street Theatre), Twelfth Night (Midsommer Flight) and Titus Andronicus (Babes with Blades). She is the Casting Director for Strawdog Theatre Company and the Associate Producer for Midsommer Flight. Kanomé is also a proud alum of the Actors Theatre of Louisville Apprenticeship and a BFA graduate of Missouri State University.  

About Broken Nose Theatre:

Broken Nose Theatre is a Pay-What-You-Can theatre company. Founded in 2012, BNT was this year's recipient of the Emerging Theater Award, presented by the League of Chicago Theatres and Broadway in Chicago. The company has produced and developed 11 full-length plays (including 8 Chicago or World Premieres) and over 40 new womencentric short plays through their annual Bechdel Fest. We strive to spark conversation, cultivate empathy, and amplify underrepresented voices, and are committed to making new, exciting and relevant theatre that is economically accessible to all audiences. For more information, please visit

Friday, October 26, 2018

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of THIS BITTER EARTH Via About Face Theatre November 1 – December 8, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Chicago Premiere!
About Face Theatre Presents 
By Harrison David Rivers
Directed by Mikael Burke
November 1 – December 8, 2018 at Theater Wit

(left to right) Daniel Desmarais and Sheldon Brown in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THIS BITTER EARTH. Photo by Anna Gelman.

About Face Theatre is pleased to launch its 2018-19 season with the Chicago premiere of the poetic and political romance THIS BITTER EARTH by award winning playwright and McKnight Fellow Harrison David Rivers, directed by Mikael Burke, recipient of the 2017 Princess Grace Award in Theatre. THIS BITTER EARTH will play November 1 – December 8, 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. 

THIS BITTER EARTH features Sheldon Brown and Daniel Desmarais.

This Bitter Earth reveals a deep love challenged by divisive political realities. Jesse, an introspective black playwright, finds his choices called into question when his boyfriend, Neil, a white Black Lives Matter activist, calls him out for his political apathy. As passions and priorities collide, this couple is forced to reckon with issues of race, class and the bravery it takes to love out loud.

Comments Artistic Director Megan Carney, “Harrison’s brilliant play resonates so powerfully at this moment. This story reveals one distinct couple in a relationship shaped and propelled by both massive love and devastating violence. They are grappling with this mad world and fighting for their very lives. Harrison captures the intricacies of identities and impact with humor and passion. I can’t imagine a better pairing that Harrison and Mikael to bring this work to life in Chicago.”

Adds Director Mikael Burke, “This Bitter Earth is a beautiful and unflinching play about race and relationship in contemporary America – about the need for connection and the apparent differences that hold us back. Jesse is black, Neil is white, and against a backdrop of police shootings and Black Lives Matter rallies, this tale of interracial love and heartache asks us: How do we save one another in this tumultuous world? How do we save ourselves? How do we navigate love in a world with so much hate? What do we carry in order to survive that we must learn to let go of in order to live?”

The production team for THIS BITTER EARTH includes: Joe Schermoly (scenic design), Bob Kuhn* (costume design), John Kelly (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Emma Cullimore (props design), Sasha Smith (intimacy design), Catherine Allen (production manager), Helen Lattyak (stage manager) and Andrea Enger (assistant stage manager),

*Denotes AFT Artistic Associate

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, November 1 at 7:30 pm, Friday November 2 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 3 at 7:30 pm, Sunday November 4 at 3 pm and Wednesday November 7 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run: Friday, November 9 – Saturday, December 8, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, November 22 at 7:30 pm (Thanksgiving); there will be added performances Saturday, November 24 at 3 pm and Saturday, December 8 at 3 pm.

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
Harrison David Rivers (Playwright, he/him/his) resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he was recently named one of City Pages’ Artists of the Year. His plays include: When Last We Flew (GLAAD Media Award, NYFringe Excellence in Playwriting Award, NYFringe), Sweet (AUDELCO nomination for Best Play, NBT), And She Would Stand Like This (20% Theatre Company, The Movement Theatre Company), Where Storms Are Born (Berkshire Theatre Award nomination for Best New Play, Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, Williamstown), A Crack in the Sky (History Theatre), Five Points (Theatre Latte Da) and This Bitter Earth (New Conservatory Theatre Center, Penumbra). Harrison has received McKnight and Many Voices Jerome Fellowships, a Van Lier Fellowship, an Emerging Artist of Color Fellowship and New York Stage & Film’s Founders’ Award. He was the 2016 Playwright-in-Residence at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Harrison is an alumni of the Public Theater's Emerging Writers' Group, Interstate 73, NAMT and The Lincoln Center Directors' Lab. He is a NYTW Usual Suspect and a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center where he is also a member of the Board of Directors. Harrison received his BA from Kenyon College and MFA from Columbia School of the Arts.

Mikael Burke (Director, he/him/his) is a Chicago-based director, deviser and educator. He serves as Creative Director of the Indianapolis-based Young Actors Theatre, and previously served as Associate Artistic Director of Indianapolis’ NoExit Performance. Michael is a 2017 Princess Grace Award Winner in Theatre and a recipient of the 2012 Robert D. Beckmann Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. He has most recently worked with American Theatre Company, Strawdog Theatre Company and About Face Theatre in Chicago, and elsewhere with Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida, GEVA Theatre Center in Rochester, New York and the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis, to name a few. Michael received his MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. Recent directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Native Son by Richard Wright, adapted by Nambi E. Kelley, Stupid F##king Bird by Aaron Posner, Still by Jen Siverman, Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen and Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl.

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.
(left to right) Sheldon Brown and Daniel Desmarais in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THIS BITTER EARTH. Photo by Anna Gelman.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere of Mansfield Park Via Northlight Theatre November 8 – December 16, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
Northlight Theatre continues its 2018-19 season with
the World Premiere of
Mansfield Park
Written by Kate Hamill
Based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Stuart Carden

Featuring Anu Bhatt, Nate Burger, Kayla Carter, Kate Hamill,
Curtis Edward Jackson, Heidi Kettenring, Mark Montgomery and Gabriel Ruiz

November 8 – December 16, 2018

I'll be out for the press opening November 16th, so check back soon for my full review.

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, continues its 2018-19 season with Mansfield Park, written by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen, and directed by Stuart Carden. Mansfield Park runs November 8 – December 16, 2018 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. 

**Stuart Carden returns to Northlight where he previously directed Butler.**

When shy but clever Fanny Price is sent away by her impoverished parents, she must adapt to life as the poor relation at her aunt and uncle’s wealthy estate. But Fanny soon learns that beneath the glitter of wealth and status, people aren’t always what they seem. Playwright Kate Hamill, known for her acclaimed adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Vanity Fair, brings her unique sense of playfulness and theatricality to Austen’s classic tale of the clash between love and conscience. 

“Sitting in a small theatre off Washington Square Park, listening to rock and watching the actors prepare for a performance of Kate Hamill's Sense and Sensibility, I saw that Jane Austen could be refreshed in an exciting and fun way, both representing the courtly manners of the time and utilizing theatricality that spanned centuries and spoofed style. Her text displayed reverence to the source material and was delightfully cheeky. The blending of style and substance was inspiring. A gifted actress and one of America's most produced playwrights, it became clear that Kate was an important artist that I was eager to share with Northlight's audience,” comments BJ Jones. “We are thrilled to commission and produce this world premiere. It is a joy to work with Kate and Stuart Carden and to create this new Jane Austen adaptation for our audience.”

**Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park has been adapted for a number of mediums. Notable versions include the 1999 film starring Frances O’Connor and Jonny Lee Miller; a 2003 radio drama adaptation commissioned by BBC Radio 4, starring Felicity Jone, Benedict Cumberbatch, and David Tennant; the 2007 ITV1 version starring Billie Piper and Blake Ritson; and the 2011 chamber opera by Jonathan Dove, with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton, commissioned and first performed by Heritage Opera.**

The cast of Mansfield Park includes: Anu Bhatt (Maria Bertram/Susan Price), Nate Burger (Henry Crawford/John Price), Kayla Carter (Fanny Price), Kate Hamill (Mary Crawford/Lady Bertram/Chapman), Curtis Edward Jackson (Tom Bertram/Mr. Rushworth/William Price), Heidi Kettenring (Mrs. Norris/Mrs. Price), Mark Montgomery (Sir Thomas Bertram/Mr. Price), and Gabriel Ruiz (Edmund Bertram).

The creative team includes: Yu Shibagaki Taylor (set design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Christine A. Binder (lighting design) and Andrew Hansen (original music and sound design). The stage manager is Kimberly McCann and the dramaturg is Kanomé Jones.

Northlight's production of Mansfield Park is supported in part by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Nan and Wally Greenough, and Kathleen Okrent and Peter Haleas. The 2018-19 Season is supported by BMO Harris and ComEd, An Exelon Company.

**Playwright Kate Hamill will also be appearing in Mansfield Park as Mary Crawford, Lady Bertram, and Chapman. Hamill is Wall Street Journal’s 2017 Playwright of the Year and one of the 10 most-produced playwrights in the country. She is known for her acclaimed adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Vanity Fair.**

Kate Hamill (Playwright, Mary Crawford/Lady Bertram) is Wall Street Journal’s 2017 Playwright of the Year and one of the 10 most-produced playwrights in the country (2017-18 and 2018-19). Her work includes her plays Sense and Sensibility with Bedlam (originated the role of Marianne; winner, Off-Broadway Alliance Award; Nominee, Drama League Award); Vanity Fair at the Pearl (originated the role of Becky Sharp; nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award); Pride & Prejudice at Primary Stages & Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (originated role of Lizzy; nominee, Off-Broadway Alliance Award). Plays have been produced internationally and nationally: Off-Broadway, A.R.T., Oregon Shakespeare, Guthrie, Seattle Rep, DTC, PlayMaker’s Rep, Folger, and others. Additional acting credits: Cyrano (Amphibian Stage; winner, Outstanding Performance by An Actress – DFW Critics’ Forum), The Seagull (Bedlam), Marsupial Girl (PearlDamour), Noises Off (Syracuse Stage), General from America (HVSF). Upcoming world premiere: Little Women. She is currently working on new feminist adaptations of The Odyssey and Scarlet Letter, as well as several original plays (Prostitute Play, In the Mines, Love Poem, The Piper).

Stuart Carden (Director) previously directed Butler at Nortlight. His other Chicago credits include The Old Man and The Old Moon, Yellow Moon, Hesperia, Travels with my Aunt (Writers); The Year of Frog and Toad, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Frederick (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Merchant on Venice, Golden Child, Back of the Throat, 10 Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith (Silk Road Rising). Regional credits include The Old Man and The Old Moon (Williamstown Theatre Festival, New Victory, NYC; ArtsEmerson, Boston); Tribes (Philadelphia Theatre Company & City Theatre); Oblivion, Blackbird, Mary’s Wedding, The Moonlight Room (City Theatre); Circle Mirror Transformation, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Crime and Punishment, The Lieutenant of Inishmore (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The False Servant, Stones in his Pockets (PICT). Stuart served five seasons as associate artistic director at Writers from 2009-14 and two seasons at City Theatre from 2007-2009.

Anu Bhatt (Maria Bertram/Susan Price) is collaborating with Northlight for the first time. An actor, dancer, and playwright in Chicago, her recent theatre credits include Hollow/Wave (one-woman show, Silk Road Rising), The Antelope Party (Theater Wit), A Disappearing Number (TimeLine), The Burials (u/s, Steppenwolf). Her Regional credits include As You Like It and Richard II (Michigan Shakespeare Festival). TV credits include Chicago Fire, Chicago Med (NBC) and Electric Dreams, opposite Terrence Howard (Amazon). Anu is a trained Indian classical dancer and is fluent in French. She received her MFA in Acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

Nate Burger (Henry Crawford/John Price) returns to Northlight where he previously appeared as Lt. Kelly in Butler. Select Chicago and regional credits include Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Heir Apparent, SS! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare); The Liar (Writers); Wasteland, ‘Master Harold’…And The Boys (Timeline); A Christmas Carol (Goodman); The Man Who Was Thursday (New Leaf Theatre); Red (Forward Theater Co); Shakespeare In Love, Roe (Asolo Rep). He is a core company actor with American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI, where some favorite roles over 8 seasons include 2nd Lt. Ralph Clark, Plume, Mercutio, Cassio, Orpheus, Troilus, and Claudio, amongst many others. He is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.

Kayla Carter (Fanny Price) is making her Northlight debut. Other Chicago credits include Smart People (Writers) and work with The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Artemesia, and Victory Gardens. TV credits include Chicago Med and APB. She will be appearing in the upcoming independent feature film Knives and Skin. She is a graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Curtis Edward Jackson (Tom Bertram/Mr. Rushworth/William Price) is making his Northlight debut. Chicago credits include The Gentleman Caller (Raven); Eden Prairie, 1971 (Goodman, New Stages); Hand to God (Victory Gardens); How the World Began (Rivendell Ensemble); Brilliant Adventures (Steep); Men Should Weep, Letters Home (Griffin Theatre); Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) (Jackalope); A Splintered Soul (ARLA Productions); and Good Boys and True (Kokandy Productions). Regional credits include King Charles III (Cardinal Stage Company); Other Desert Cities (Farmer’s Alley Theatre); Richard III, Twelfth Night (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre). TV/Film credits include Chicago P.D., Teacher, The Falls: Covenant of Grace. Curtis is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Heidi Kettenring (Mrs. Norris/Mrs. Price) returns to Northlight where she has appeared in Side Show, Sense & Sensibility and Seasons’ Greetings. Chicago credits include Wicked (Broadway in Chicago) and work with Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Marriott, Drury Lane, Writers, American Theatre Company, Theatre at the Center and Porchlight. Regionally she has been seen at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Peninsula Players, TheatreWorks, The Hangar Theatre and The Clarence Brown Theatre. She appeared in the National Tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Film and TV credits include Man of Steel, Chicago Fire and Cupid. Heidi can be heard singing on two Disney children’s books and has sung concerts all over the country. She has received a Joseph Jefferson Award, The Sarah Siddon’s Award, an After Dark Award, The Richard M. Kneeland Award and is a Northwestern Graduate.

Mark Montgomery (Sir Thomas Bertram/Mr. Price) returns to Northlight where he appeared in Discord, Outside Mullingar (Jeff nomination, Best Actor), As Bees in Honey Drown, and Experiment with an Air Pump. Other Chicago credits include 2666, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Camino Real and Stage Kiss (Goodman); Hedda Gabler and The Letters (Writers); Agamemnon, Iphigenia in Aulis and M. Butterfly (Court); Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, Rose Rage, Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 and As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare); In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Victory Gardens); The Wheel, The Time of Your Life and Want (Steppenwolf); In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison (Journeymen, After Dark Award) and productions at Remy Bumppo, among others. New York credits include The Seagull and Mamma Mia! (Broadway), Our Town (Barrow Street), Macbeth (Public), The Runner Stumbles (Actors Company) and The Madras House (Mint). Regional credits include Julius Caesar (American Repertory) as well as the show’s French tour. Television credits include Law & Order, Chicago Fire, and Empire.

Gabriel Ruiz (Edmund Bertram) previously appeared at Northlight in Cry It Out. A proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista, select Chicago credits include You Got Older, The Rembrandt, The Way West, How Long Will I Cry? and The Motherfucker with the Hat (Steppenwolf); Native Gardens (Victory Gardens); Agamemnon and Man in the Ring (Court); Arcadia and Company (Writers); City of Angels and Singin’ in the Rain (Marriott); The Upstairs Concierge (Goodman); The Wolf at the End of the Block and White Tie Ball (Teatro Vista); Creditors (Remy Bumppo); Working: The Musical (Broadway Playhouse); Richard III (Chicago Shakespeare) and Arabian Nights (Lookingglass). His regional credits include Native Gardens (Cincinnati Playhouse), Harvey (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), and Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York). He has composed music and lyrics for Don Chipotle performed at DCASE, Epic Tale of Scale for Chicago Children’s Theater, and Vietgone at Writers Theatre. He has appeared on television in Boss, APB, Electric Dreams, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice, and Chicago PD.

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

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (November 13 and 20 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except December 5) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm (except November 22); Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 10) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (November 11 and 25 only).

Backstage with BJ: Mansfield Park
Friday, November 2 at noon 
at Northlight Theatre 

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Backstage with BJ for Mansfield Park will last approximately one hour. The event is free, but reservations are required. Visit to reserve your spot. 

Post Show Discussions will be held after the following performances:
Sunday, November 11 at 2:30pm; Tuesday, November 13 at 7:30pm; Wednesday, November 21 at 1:00pm; Wednesday, November 28 at 1:00pm; Thursday, November 29 at 7:30pm, and Thursday, December 6 at 7:30pm. Discussions will include guest speakers from the Jane Austen Society of North America.

An Open Captioning performance will be held on Saturday, December 8 at 2:30pm.

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

Now in its 44th season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 207 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as ten Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality. 

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

Previews: November 8 – 15, 2018
Press Opening: Friday, November 16, 2018 at 8pm 
Regular run: November 17 – December 16, 2018

Tuesdays: 7:30pm (November 13 and 20 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except December 5); and 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm (except November 22)
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 10); and 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm; and 7:00pm (November 11 and 25 only)

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

Previews: $30-$60
Regular run: $30-$88
Student tickets are $15, any performance
(subject to availability)

Box Office:              
The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.

Google Analytics