Pages

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

OPENING: CHICAGO PREMIERE OF DUNCAN MACMILLAN’S EVERY BRILLIANT THING AT WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE SOUTH

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF DUNCAN MACMILLAN’S “EVERY BRILLIANT THING,” STARRING REBECCA SPENCE 
BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 18 AT WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE SOUTH

The Playhouse Will Unveil a New Space with the Opening of “Every Brilliant Thing” This Fall




Windy City Playhouse will present the Chicago premiere of Duncan Macmillan’s critically-acclaimed “Every Brilliant Thing” in a brand-new third performance space at the Playhouse’s South Loop location (2229 S. Michigan Ave.). “Every Brilliant Thing,” a funny and heartfelt personal chronicle of life's joys, will be presented in a loft space, designed by award-winning production designer Scott Davis, on the third floor beginning Sept. 18, while the long-running hit “Southern Gothic” continues its run in the same building on the first floor. I'll be out for the press performance Friday, Sept. 27th, so check back with ChiILLiveShows.com soon for my full review. For tickets and more information, please visit www.WindyCityPlayhouse.com

Known from the popular, same-titled HBO adaptation, “Every Brilliant Thing” follows the protagonist as she guides the audience through a story of finding the things that make life worth living in the face of her mother's depression. Stay true to the original production and Windy City Playhouse’s immersive style, the show will offer a unique opportunity for audience members to participate in the story. This one-person show is led by Rebecca Spence as the Narrator.

The Guardian called “Every Brilliant thing “a heart-wrenching, hilarious play… possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.”  The New York Times raved “In the face of great loss and depression, a real effort of will is required to recall why it’s worth continuing with life. That will is the force that animates ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ and keeps it afloat for the captivating hour of its duration.” The 2014 Barrow Street production of “Every Brilliant Thing” starring Jonny Donahoe was filmed for an HBO Documentary that same year.

"Within 10 minutes of watching ‘Every Brilliant Thing,’ I had fallen in love. Everyone in the room was part of this beautiful whirlwind of a quest to define and seek out brilliance, or more bluntly, a reason to live,” said Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein. “After watching the engagement of these audience members, we immediately set on a quest of our own, to gain the rights to produce ‘Every Brilliant Thing.’ That was not easy, but after two years of nagging and pushing, we did it! It tickles me to think about sharing this BRILLIANT experience with our audiences."

The Playhouse invites audience members to be a part of the action through brief, optional audience participation. While guests will be seated for the entirety of the production, there will be moments for them to be briefly cast in the play in collaboration with the Narrator.

“Every Brilliant Thing” begins performances on September 18 at Windy City Playhouse South. Tickets ($55-$75) are on sale now and can be purchased in-person at the Windy City Playhouse Box Office, by visiting WindyCityPlayhouse.com or by calling (773) 891-8985.

The performance schedule for “Every Brilliant Thing” is as follows: Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. Tickets ($55-$75) are now on sale.



About the artists in “Every Brilliant Thing”:

Duncan Macmillan (Playwright) is an award-winning writer and theatre director whose plays include “Lungs,” “Every Brilliant Thing” and “2071.” His play “People, Places and Things” transferred from the National Theatre to the West End in 2016. His other plays include: “1984,” co-adapted/co-directed with Robert Icke, “The Forbidden Zone,” “Wunschloses Unglück,” and “Reise durch die Nacht.”

Jessica Fisch (Director) Recent credits: “I Wana F*#%ing Tear You Apart” (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble);  “Twilight Bowl” (University of Wisconsin at Madison); “Cry It Out” (Northlight Theatre); “You Across From Me” (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival); “Late Company” (Cor Theatre, Midwest Premiere); “The Firebirds Take The Field” (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); “Straight White Men” (Associate Director, Steppenwolf Theatre); “Trudy, Carolyn Martha and Regine Travel to Outer Space” (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival); “The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic” (Royal George Cabaret); “Fefu and Her Friends” (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Latina/o Celebration); “Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time” (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens); “Psychodramatic” (A Red Orchid, Incubator Series); “Traces” (Feast Productions/ Jackalope Theatre). Selected New York credits: “The Realm” (The Wild Project), “Strive/Seek/Find” (Abingdon Theatre); the 2009 Playwrights Horizons’ Stories on 5 Stories Benefit, “Personal History” (Ensemble Studio Theatre); “The Redheaded Man” (Barrow Street Theatre/Down Payment Productions, FringeNYC, FringeEncores); “Dressed in Your Dreams” (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group); an adaptation of the cult 1960’s gothic vampire soap opera “Dark Shadows” (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Fisch was a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theater, The Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident, and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Upcoming Credits: “And Then There Were None” (Drury Lane Theater) MFA: Northwestern University. www.JessicaFisch.com

Rebecca Spence (Narrator) is the Associate Artistic Director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, where she appeared in “The Firebirds Take the Field,” “How the World Began,” “These Shining Lives” (Equity Jeff Nom.) and “Wrens.” “Every Brilliant Thing” marks Spence’s first time working with Windy City Playhouse. Previous theatre credits include: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” (Steppenwolf for Young Adults), “Mary Page Marlowe,” “The Crucible,” “Our Lady of 121st Street” and “Pacific” (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), “Continuity” (Goodman New Stages Festival), “In the Garden” (Lookingglass Theatre Company), “Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West” (TimeLine Theatre Company), “This” (Theatre Wit), “The Voysey Inheritance,” Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (Remy Bumppo - Equity Jeff Nom.), “Dracula” (Defiant Theatre) and  “Cyrano” (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre). Film credits include: “Princess Cyd,” “Saint Joan,” “Slice,” “Man of Steel,” “Fools,” “Tiger Tail in Blue,” “One Small Hitch,” “Contagion,” “The Dilemma,” “Public Enemies,” “Grace is Gone” and “The Break-Up.” Television credits: “Empire” (FOX), “Easy” (Netflix), “Boss” (STARZ), “Crisis” (NBC), “Chicago Fire” (NBC), “Betrayal” (ABC), “The Mob Doctor” (FOX), “Detroit 1-8-7” (ABC), “The Chicago Code” (FOX), “The Beast” (A&E) and “Prison Break” (FOX).

Marian Van Noppen (Narrator Understudy) is making her Windy City Playhouse debut. She is an actor, singer, songwriter and visual artist with roots along the east coast (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New York City) and now Chicago. Chicago appearances include Maggie Kubley’s “Come Over” (Steppenwolf Lookout Series 2019), performances at The Theatre School at DePaul University and singing backup for synth-pop band Celine Neon. Marian graduated in June with her MFA in Acting from DePaul University and is represented by DDO Chicago.

Amy Rubenstein is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Windy City Playhouse. Since the theater’s premiere in March 2015, she has overseen 11 mainstage productions, including the recent smash hit, world premiere “Southern Gothic,” of which she was also a co-creator. During her tenure, the Playhouse has been lauded for its uniquely contemporary approach that focuses on audience experience and has received numerous industry accolades, including seven Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, 11 Chicago Theater Awards, including the 2018 Trailblazer Award, and three International Centre for Women Playwrights’ 50/50 Awards. Prior to her current role at the Playhouse, Rubenstein’s credits include performing with Long Beach Playhouse, Human Race Theatre and Center Stage Theater, among others. She is a proud graduate of Brandeis University.

Helen Lattyak (Production Stage Manager) most recently worked with Windy City Playhouse on their 2019 production of “Noises Off.” Other credits include, “Bull in a China Shop,” “Significant Other,” “Bright Half Life,” “The Secretaries,” “Le Switch,” “Abraham Lincoln was a Faggot” and “We Three Lizas” (About Face Theatre), “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City” (Route 66), “Picnic” (American Theater Company), “Sucker Punch,” “Samsara” and “Failure: A Love Story” (Victory Gardens Theater), “Christmas at Christine’s,” “Ultra American,” “Muthaland” and “The Hundred Flowers Project” (Silk Road Rising) and “Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand Up Comedy Show” (About Face Theater and Silk Road Rising). Lattyak is a company member at TUTA Theater Chicago. She is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and a member of the Actors Equity Association.

Scott Davis (Scenic Designer) returns to Windy City Playhouse, having previously designed the set for “Southern Gothic” (for which he won a 2018 Joseph Jefferson award) and “Chapter Two.” Chicago credits include: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Drury Lane Theatre, Northlight Theatre, American Theater Company, Griffin Theatre, Steep Theater and Northwestern University. International credits include productions with: Shakespeare's Globe, Unicorn Theater (London), Gdansk Shakespeare Theater (Poland), Market Theater (South Africa), Neuss Shakespeare festival (Germany), Edinburgh Festival (Scotland), South Korea Shakespeare Festival and Sydney Festival (Australia). Regional credits include productions with: Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Rep Stage and Dallas Theatre Center. Having received degrees from Northwestern University and University of Maryland College Park, Davis serves as adjunct faculty at Columbia College.

Eric Backus (Sound Designer) worked on previous Windy City Playhouse productions “Apartment 3A” and “Becky Shaw”. Recent regional credits include: Mark Twain’s “River of Song”, “The All Night Strut” (Milwaukee Rep.), “Shakespeare in Love”, “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” (TheatreSquared), “Working”, “Murder for Two” (Merry Go Round Playhouse) and “Legally Blonde” (Northern Stage). Recent Chicago credits include “Wolf Play” (Gift Theatre), “Something Clean” (Sideshow/Rivendell) and “The River” (BoHo). Baccus also designed the Off-Broadway, Chicago and touring productions of SoloChicago Theatre’s “Churchill” and the Chicago and LA productions of “Thrones! A Musical Parody.”

Caitlin McCarthy (Properties Designer) recently worked with Windy City Playhouse on their 2019 production of “The Recommendation”. She is a multidisciplinary artist who works as a prop designer, costume designer, production manager, visual artist and artistic producer. Recently she designed the costumes and set textiles for “The Late Wedding” (The Neighborhood Theatre) and served as the costume and production designer for Nire Nah’s music video, “Citizens of Atlantis”. She also recently production designed “The Care and Keeping of You”, a short film. Production Management credits include: “I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard”, “Refrigerator” and “Mike Pence Sex Dream” (First Floor Theater). Caitlin is a company member at First Floor Theater.



About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse is a professional theater and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located on Chicago's northwest side. Premiering in March of 2015 with a mission to present contemporary, relevant, and approach art, the Playhouse has quickly become a mainstay of the Chicago theater scene. In 2018, its runaway hit, the immersive SOUTHERN GOTHIC, solidified the Playhouse as the first choice in Chicago theater for one-of-a-kind audience experience. "Experience driven. Audience first."

For more information, visit WindyCityPlayhouse.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

EIGHTH ANNUAL CHICAGO WOMEN’S FUNNY FESTIVAL IS HERE August 22 through August 25 at Stage 773

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

THE NATION’S LARGEST CELEBRATION OF WOMEN IN COMEDY
CHICAGO WOMEN’S FUNNY FESTIVAL



Join over 400 queens of comedy from all around the world for one of the biggest funny festivals in the country, now with their first ever all-Spanish speaking set, August 22-25


Chicago knows funny, and we're ready to launch some laughs again, with four days of fem fun. This year, for the first time ever, the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival will also feature an all-Spanish speaking slot showcasing a stand up show, a sketch group, and two improv groups! 

Check it out. The 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival is taking place August 22 through August 25 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival is the largest celebration of women in comedy in the country and offers talented, and funny individuals the opportunity to learn, teach, and empower each other and audiences who all love to laugh. Featuring a spectrum of comedic genius ranging from ‘relatable stand up’ to ‘highbrow musical improv’, the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival has something for everyone. 

Blending long term veterans with fresh newcomers, the fest packs over 80 shows into four funny-filled days, making it easier than ever to discover new groups to love. 

The full schedule and searchable calendar for the 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival can be viewed at www.stage773.com/cwff-lineup.  

“Chicago is home to one of the biggest comedy scenes in the world, and with that comes an immeasurable number of very funny and highly talented women who are constantly re-defining the industry and setting the stage for what it means to be a comedian,” said Valentine. “We are honored to have the opportunity to unite these women and deliver a festival that is full of fun laughs, inclusion, and empowerment.”

Featuring an array of veteran talent and newcomers, highlights for the 2019 festival include stand up acts like longtime favorite, Patti Vasquez, whose solo show will take audiences on a journey of awkward dates, embarrassing moments and other funny stories of personal humiliation that will make you think “Wow, I guess my life isn’t so bad after all”, Dina Nina Martinez, who the Late Late Show’s James Corden hails as “…very funny”, longtime couple and dynamic comedy duo Anna Vocino and Loren Tarquinio of Married AF with their special part stand up, party storytelling, part improv set, and ventriloquist Hannah Leskosky with her magical mouth moving and substance abusing puppet unicorn, Marzipan Lavender Sparkles.

The brand new all-Spanish speaking set of shows will feature standup comedian, Eliana La Casa, an Argentinian comedian living in Chicago who blends personal stories and opinions into laugh out loud relatable moments, La Carne Asada #2: The Seasoning, a hilarious sketch show re-living all that a Latinx family dinner has to offer, Las Tinas Improv, creating a one night only audience based telenovela, and Ratas De Dos Patas, who will translate suggestions into Spanish to create hilarious streetwise teaching moments for the audience.

Other lineup highlights include the marvelous talent of improv group Bosses in Bonnetts with their “Black Girl Magic” Sketch Revue offering lots of laughs and real thoughts on the black female experience, the Chicago Reader’s 2016 Best Improv Troupe, Hitch* Cocktails, with their Alfred Hitchcock style improv fueled by audience suggestions, and the Super Tasty variety show featuring frank and funny talks about sex, performances, demos and more.

Chicago Women’s Funny Festival was founded in 2012 when producers Jill Valentine and Liz McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together and celebrate all art forms of comedy under one roof. The first festival boasted 66 shows and 400 performers in five days. Women’s Fest also hosted events throughout the week where women from across the country could network with each other and more importantly, celebrate one another’s work. The response from comedians and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for an eighth year.

Jill Valentine is a Chicago Southside native who has been the Executive Director of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival (the largest of its kind in the nation) since the festival’s inception in 2000. She is also Stage 773’s Executive Director and a founding principal of the building. Jill performs in several popular and critically acclaimed groups in Chicago, including The Cupid Players, Off Off Broadzway and Feminine Gentleman who have performed all over the country.

Liz McArthur hails from St. Louis and has worked with the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival since 2005. McArthur can be seen with groups such as Off Off Broadzway, OneTwoThree Comedy, and Feminine Gentlemen. McArthur is also part of the hit zombie comedy Musical of the Living Dead.

All performances will take place at Chicago’s home for the city’s most innovative, creative and passionate off-Loop performing artists, Stage 773, located at 1225 W. Belmont. Stage 773 is a non-profit Chicago company that produces produces Bye Bye Liver, The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival, The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, education and program opportunities, as well as offering subsidized theater rental space to the hundreds of Chicago’s itinerant off-Loop companies and performers.

Tickets for the 8th Annual Women’s Funny Festival are $15 each. Nightly and festival passes are also available ranging from $36 to $150. Tickets and information are available online at www.Stage773.com, by phone 773.327.5252, and in person at the Stage 773 box office, located at 1225 W Belmont.



About Stage 773
Stage 773 is a vibrant anchor of the Belmont Theatre District and home to Chicago’s finest off-Loop talent. As a performance and tenant venue, our four stages provide entertainment for everyone: comedy, theatre, dance, musicals and more. We are a not-for-profit, connecting and catalyzing the theater community, while showcasing established artists and incubating up-and-coming talent.

Monday, August 19, 2019

BECHDEL FEST 7: MOMENTUM August 25 – 28, 2019 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre Via Broken Nose Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Four Performances Only!
Broken Nose Theatre Presents

BECHDEL FEST 7: MOMENTUM
August 25 – 28, 2019 
at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre
Part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series



I caught BECHDEL FEST for the first time last year, and it was amazing. For years, I've been a big fan of applying the Bechdel-Wallace Test to film, theatre and other written works. It's a simple formula that seems like a no brainer, yet somehow in 2019, the idea of female centered works STILL remains a rare and elusive achievement. This annual fest tips those scales a bit further toward something like equality. Created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the test asks whether a work of entertainment features at least two women in conversation about something other than a man. Check it out. 


(left to right) Taylor Raye and Sophie Hoyt in FOR THE CULTURE, part of Broken Nose Theatre’s BECHDEL FEST 2018. Photo by Spenser Davis. 

Broken Nose Theatre is pleased to present BECHDEL FEST 7: MOMENTUM, the company’s annual festival of new short plays featuring an ensemble of female-identifying and non-binary actors talking about things other than men. Presented as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series, BECHDEL FEST will play four performances only, August 25 – 28, 2019 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Tickets for all BNT productions are available on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, allowing patrons to set their own price and ensuring theatre remains economically accessible for all audiences. Suggested price is $25. Tickets are currently available at www.steppenwolf.org or by calling (312) 335-1650.

All the works in BNT’s perennial feminist festival are inspired by the famous Bechdel-Wallace Test. Since the fest's first iteration in 2013, Broken Nose has worked with some of the most exciting voices in the Chicago theater landscape on over 40 stories that, by design, do not revolve around men. This year's lineup includes both female-identifying and non-binary characters.

Performances: Sunday, August 25 at 7 pm, Monday, August 26 at 7 pm, Tuesday, August 27 at 8 pm and Wednesday, August 28 at 8 pm.

"Political primaries are kicking off on the national stage, the state of Illinois is embracing policies that look toward the future, the Chicago theatre community continues leading the charge to create a better environment for all its artists... and in all of this, we feel a certain sense of momentum, a sense that change is coming and coming fast," comments BNT artistic director Elise Marie Davis. "These nine short plays look at this same concept from a variety of angles. After selling out all three performances at last year's fest, we're thrilled that the Steppenwolf LookOut Series family is not only welcoming us back into their home, but also allowing us to add a fourth performance to account for demand. We cannot wait to be back at the 1700!”

 BechdelFest2018-2 (left to right) Tanikia Carpenter and Brittani Yawn in PROM REBEL, part of Broken Nose Theatre’s BECHDEL FEST 2018. Photo by Spenser Davis. 



BECHDEL FEST 7: MOMENTUM includes:


ALL I REALLY WANT
By Jillian Leff | Directed by Becca Holloway
Featuring Amy Johnson and Alice Wu

A first-year cadet at West Point decides to share some unexpected news with a military veteran - who also happens to be her mother.


DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI OF THE STANTON SCHOOL 
By Ryan Oliveira | Directed by Alison Dornheggen
Featuring Diana Lee, Vero Maynez and Alison Plott

The annual fundraising dinner for a prestigious all-girls school hits a major speed-bump when one of their "unsuccessful" alumni starts speaking her mind.

harderfasterharderfaster
By Grace McLeod | Directed by Madisen Dempsey
Featuring Rebecca Flores, Sophie Rosado and Shaina Schrooten. Additional casting to be announced.

Alone in her bedroom, a horny teenager journeys deep into her own personal dreamscape in search of satisfaction.


REHEARSAL
By Dolores Diaz | Directed by Ben Locke
Featuring Teresa Kuruvilla, Carmen Liao, Aziza Macklin, Jackie Seijo and Mindy Shore

Five girls on a drum-line consider the terrifying future that awaits them if the current tempo of the nation keeps accelerating.


LAUGH OUT LOUD
By Michael Turrentine | Directed by Alejandro Tey
Featuring Imani Hayes and Maria Stephens

In the unforgiving world of stand-up comedy, two women look behind the jokes to explore what's really on each other's mind.



THE GREAT WHIRLPOOL OF THE NIAGARA 
By Robert Koon^ | Directed by Jen Poulin*
Featuring Jean Marie Koon and Teresa Kuruvilla

A concerned daughter follows her hydrologist mother north of the border in the wake of a family tragedy.



PLANNED SISTERHOOD 
By Michael Allen Harris^ | Directed by Brittney Brown
Featuring RjW Mays and Sarah Rachel Schol

In a deep-South state where abortion has just been outlawed, the wife of a prominent politician seeks help from a woman who runs a clandestine health clinic.



OPERATION MARSHMALLOW FLUFF
By Hallie Palladino | Directed by Taylor Raye
Featuring Renee Denham, Leilanii Mesa Ellis, Kelsey McGrath, Song Marshall, Hallie Palladino and Ann Wiggs

A famed clairvoyant, who claims to speak to the dead, is confronted by a group of outspoken women who are not quite "True Believers."

THROW AWAY
By Jenni Lamb | Directed by Julia Skeggs
Featuring Claire Alpern, Deveon Bromby and Aria Szalai-Raymond

Stationed along the conveyor belt at a recycling sorting center, three employees grapple with questions of idealism, reality, and planning for the future.



^BNT artistic associate/Resident Playwright    *BNT company member



(left to right) Eli Sulkowski-Altman and Allie Weisel in GOLDSTAR, part of Broken Nose Theatre’s BECHDEL FEST 2018. Photo by Spenser Davis.


About Broken Nose Theatre:

Broken Nose Theatre is a Pay-What-You-Can theatre company. Founded in 2012, BNT was last 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 15 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 www.brokennosetheatre.com.



About Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series:

LookOut is 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. steppenwolf.org/lookout

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

SAVE THE DATES: Underscore Theatre Company's 2019-20 Season

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Underscore Theatre Company's 2019-20 Season:


PHOTO CREDIT: Underscore Theatre Company’s 2019-20 season will feature musicals by (left to right) Alexander Sage Oyen, Rachel Franco, Austin Regan and Annabelle Revak.


Non-Equity World Premiere!
PROXY
By Alexander Sage Oyen, Rachel Franco and Austin Regan
Directed by Stephanie Rohr


World Premiere!
NOTES & LETTERS
Book, Music & Lyrics by Annabelle Revak

 The 6th Annual
CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
Full Line-Up Announced!


Underscore Theatre Company is pleased to announce its full 2019-20 Season, featuring two fully-produced musicals, plus the 6th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL. The season kicks off this fall with the non-Equity world premiere of PROXY by Alexander Sage Oyen, Rachel Franco and Austin Regan, a story of journalistic and personal integrity set to a punk rock score, directed by Stephanie Rohr.

This winter, Underscore is pleased to present its 6th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL, created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators from Chicago and beyond. After receiving more than 35 submissions, Underscore has chosen eight new musicals for this year’s Festival to be presented in full productions. (see full line-up below!)

Underscore’s 2019-20 Season will conclude next spring with the world premiere NOTES & LETTERS featuring book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Revak, based on the author's great-great grandfather's letters sent to his family upon his immigration to Chicago. 

PROXY and NOTES & LETTERS will play at Underscore’s new permanent home, The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL will be performed simultaneously on two stages at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway (The Broadway stage) and 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. (The Off-Broadway stage) in Chicago Edgewater neighborhood.

Tickets for the mainstage season are currently available at underscoretheatre.org. Tickets for CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL will go on-sale at a later date.

Comments Underscore Theatre Artistic Director Whitney Rhodes, "I am sparked by the theme of ‘choice’ in our shows this season, particularly the two mainstage pieces. It's fascinating to see how two very different shows in sound and style explore the similar idea of how we make choices, especially when we aren't ready yet to make them."



Underscore Theatre Company’s 2019-20 Season includes:

October 18 – November 24, 2019
PROXY – Non-Equity World Premiere!
Book by Austin Regan
Music and Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen
Lyrics and additional Book by Rachel Franco
Directed by Stephanie Rohr
at The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago
Press opening: Tuesday, October 22 at 7:30 pm

Fifteen years ago, when she was a kid, Vanessa was almost murdered by her best friend. Now she is an investigative journalist in a bind, and she decides to do what anyone would do – exploit her personal story by disguising herself and interviewing her childhood best friend and attempted murderer. Vanessa must navigate her estranged family and confront her trauma in the age of going viral. Who has the right to tell our story? When we have been traumatized, how do we pass that pain onto others – and can we ever really heal?


April 10 – May 17, 2020
NOTES & LETTERS – World Premiere!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Annabelle Revak
at The Understudy, 4609 N. Clark St., Chicago
Press opening: Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30 pm

NOTES & LETTERS follows Joe’s journey from war-torn Prague to Williams Piano Shop in Chicago in 1917. He quickly befriends the owner Charlie, his girlfriend Nora, and composer Olivia. The foursome become inseparable – until World War I hits the U.S. Businesses, relationships and lives are put to the test. Based on a true story and set to a jazz-contemporary score, four young people struggle to make choices amid complete chaos.


February 3 – 23, 2020
The 6th annual CHICAGO MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL
at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway (The Broadway stage) and 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. (The Off-Broadway stage).

The full-line up includes:

On the Broadway stage:
WONDER WOMEN THE MUSICAL
Book, Music and Lyrics by Gregory Becker

WONDER WOMEN THE MUSICAL is an inspiring Golden Age-style musical comedy that tells the true story of the birth of the 1941 classic comic book character, Wonder Woman®. This hilarious upbeat show follows three women who lived in a clandestine four-way polyamourous relationship with the scientist who invented the lie detector. We see how this group overcame the discrimination, misogyny, and sexual taboos of the day and eventually became a ‘family’. Working together, they fused their individual passions for reproductive rights, gender psychology, equal rights, and BDSM and gave the world a superhero who would defeat ignorance using the powers of love and acceptance,and ignite humanity’s inner desire for a matriarch.


DOUBLE VISION
Book, Music and Lyrics by Olivia Popp

Astrophysics PhD student Luke needs to prove his theory of parallel universes for his dissertation. Rising young filmmaker Sam needs to salvage her latest script for a chance at a big break. When Luke successfully opens a wormhole and finds Sam on the other side, the two discover that they can help each other more than they think. DOUBLE VISION is an original sci-fi comedy musical by Olivia Popp about science (well, sort of), love (okay, kind of), relationships (in more ways than one), and the power of seeking something new.


MOBY DICK – A MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Ed Bryan, Music by William Berry

The story of MOBY DICK is a headlong race into the jaws of death. Those on land wait, worry and go about their lives while Captain Ahab and the crew of the Pequod sail inexorably toward a tragic fate.  Honorable Starbuck, carefree Stubb, practical Flask, heroic Queequeg, mysterious Fedallah and the rest of the crew: all are lost to Ahab’s fanatical obsession as he hurls himself against the will of God and the harsh divinity of nature. From the rowdy hijinks of “The Great Leviathan” to the cheeky high spirits of “Nantucket Girls” to the poignant reverie of Ahab’s “What Price I Paid”, the music weaves a haunting spell around a diverse cast of characters who live and die by the dictates of the sea.  Ishmael, alone, lost and adrift on Queequeg’s coffin, survives to tell the tale and turn, at last, towards the comforts of hearth and family.


PAPER SWORDS
Book by Kelsey Tharp, Music and Lyrics by Matt Day

PAPER SWORDS is a romantic comedy musical, focusing on two groups of live action role-players (LARPers) as they navigate adolescence. When the king announces his retirement, the teenagers and the kingdom of Eloren are thrown into shambles. To determine the next ruler of the land, the knights of competing teams Ferndrey and Silvermore must battle one another for the throne. Full of young love, heartbreak, awkwardly-long high fives, nostalgia and wonderfully catchy tunes, PAPER SWORDS will have you in tears (from laughing and/or crying) as you exit the theatre.


BILLY AND THE POTATO POWERED TIME MACHINE
Story and Lyrics by Lawrence Adelson and Keith Gatchel, Music by Alex Chauncy and Nick Davio 

Two kids, Billy and Jamie, have been taken by their mom to live at their grandmother’s house while she starts a divorce with their dad. In the basement, they discover a time machine powered by potatoes. Billy uses it to make honor roll and defeat the school bully. But, when things go wrong, Billy and his mother need to try and find a better way to change the future in this rock and roll fairy tale for kids.


On the Off-Broadway Stage:
BAKED! THE MUSICAL
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jordan Liu and Deepak Kumar

When she doesn’t receive the scholarship that would send her to her dream school, habitual overachiever Jane Huang, with the help of her best friend, joins forces with the class degenerate to build the greatest drug empire ever run by high schoolers. Kept in the dark are Jane’s parents, whose inability to cope with their daughter leaving for college while maintaining a profit at their struggling Chinese bakery drives them pry and potentially unravel Jane’s web of lies.



BAKED! THE MUSICAL is a reflection on perfectionism, self-worth, and the question of what we owe the people we love. It features an all Asian-American cast, and the themes are born out of the writers’ own experiences growing up as the children of immigrants in the US.


VERVE
Book and Lyrics by Fran Zell, Music by Karena Mendoza

Five women at a gym lose the fat fetish and find friendship. Each focuses on her weight and appearance, while harboring a secret she is afraid to share. During the course of a weight loss contest and a rigged game of Truth or Dare, everyone has the opportunity to come clean and test her own capacity for friendship.


ADIRA
Book by Brittany Handler, Music by John Love, Lyrics by Brittany Handler

Adira is a musical satire that tells the story of one princess who must rescue her kingdom. After learning of a terrible curse, Adira runs away to find herself and to break the spell. Along her journey, she encounters a series of new characters, both friend and foe who teach her things that she never knew, including a troll and his bridge, some magic mushrooms and an evil sorcerer. With the help of some dancing dildos and her singing vibrator sidekick, Adira has some big O! moments and learns that she is stronger and more capable than she ever knew.


About the Artists

Alexander Sage Oyen (Music and Lyrics, Proxy) is an NYC songwriter with over five million plays on Spotify. He is the recipient of the 2017 Lotos Foundation Prize in Arts and Sciences for his lyrics and the 2014 ASCAP Foundation’s Lucille and Jack Yellen award for lyricists. His musicals include DIVA: Live From Hell (available for licensing through DPS- Director Daniel Goldstein, Book and Characters S.P. Monahan), Tethered (Book by Rachel Franco), Proxy (Book by Austin Regan, Co-lyrics and additional book by Rachel Franco), Discount Ghost Stories (world premiere 2019 Local Theatre Co., Boulder, CO. Directed by Austin Regan book by Pesha Rudnick and Rob Wright), Outlaws (Goodspeed Fest. New Musicals 2015- book by James Presson, dir. Noah Himmelstein), Archie’s Final Project (Book by James Presson and David Lee Miller), and Moment by Moment (Production at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand 2015. Available on Spotify/Apple Music). He was awarded the 2013-14 Dramatist Guild Fellowship and his musical Outlaws was featured in the 2014 ASCAP Workshop. He’s been named one of Playbill’s “Contemporary Musical Theatre Writers You Should Know,” and was selected for the 2014 Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project. Additionally, he was a 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist. His music has been heard at Lincoln Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Symphony Space, 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, Playwrights Horizons, The Signature Theatre, New World Stages, The Laurie Beechman Theatre and venues in Thailand, London, The Netherlands and all across the world. Proud member of ASCAP and The Dramatists Guild. 

Rachel Franco (Lyrics and Additional Book, Proxy) is an actor/writer in NYC. She’s written two musicals, the book for Tethered (SCRT Writing Retreat, 2018. Music and Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen) and co-lyrics and additional book for Proxy (Book by Austin Regan, Music and Co-Lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen). As an actor she has been seen Off-Broadway in Nibbler (The Amoralists, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre) and F**k Marry Kill (Less Than Rent, The New Ohio Theatre). BFA Tisch at NYU.

Austin Regan (Book, Proxy) is a NYC-based writer and director. His other writing includes The Adventures of Pericles, adapted from Shakespeare, as co-composer and lyricist with Christy Altomare. He is currently developing The Valley, a new musical, with composer/lyricist Peter Lerman. As director: Rigoletto at Minnesota Opera ("a scorching take on politics, patriarchy, and power" – Minneapolis Star Tribune), Discount Ghost Stories at Local Theatre Company in Boulder, CO ("hauntingly beautiful" – Boulder Daily Camera), The Trojan Women (The Hangar Theatre), Mad Libs (New World Stages); Well Worn Words (Ars Nova), The Blind (The Flea Theater), Three Decembers (FM Opera). As assistant/associate director: four Broadway shows and the Metropolitan Opera. Drama League Fellow, LCT Directors Lab, MTF Founding Member, and former Resident Director at the Flea Theater. 

Annabelle Revak (Book, Music and Lyrics, Notes & Letters) is a composer, music director, arranger, and pianist. Cabaret: Antithesis (The Understudy); Keeper of the Keys (Davenport’s), TSCS (The Understudy). Arrangements/Orchestrations: Take Me (Strawdog Theatre), Wife Material (Underscore Theatre), Make Me Bad (Columbia College Chicago). MD: The Last Five Years (JPAC), The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe (asst., Underscore Theatre), The Incredible 6,000-ft. Ladder, Something Blue, The Bone Harp (CMTF 2019), High Fidelity (Columbia College Chicago). BA in Music Composition & BA in Musical Theatre at CCC. 


About Underscore Theatre Company
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

SAVE THE DATES: Shattered Globe Theatre's 2019-20 Season

Shattered Globe Theatre Announces 2019-20 Season:





Chicago Premiere!
BE HERE NOW
By Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by SGT Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner

Chicago Premiere!
SHEEPDOG
By Kevin Artigue
Directed by Wardell Julius Clark

WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING
By Andrew Bovell
Directed by Elizabeth Margolius

The cast of Shattered Globe Theatre’s 2019-20 season opener, the Chicago premiere of BE HERE NOW, includes (top, l to r) Demetra Dee and Deanna Reed Foster with (bottom, l to r)  Rebecca Jordan and Joe Wiens.

Shattered Globe Theatre is pleased to announce its 2019-20 Season, featuring two Chicago premieres: BE HERE NOW by Deborah Zoe Laufer, directed by Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner* – a bittersweet comedy about searching for happiness; and SHEEPDOG by Kevin Artigue, directed by Wardell Julius Clark – a love story colliding with today’s headlines; followed by WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING by Andrew Bovell, directed by Elizabeth Margolius – a stunning mystery of love and loss that reverberates through four generations.

The full 2019-20 Season will be presented at Shattered Globe’s resident home, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. SGT’s VIP Season Traveler Memberships are on sale now at www.shatteredglobe.org. Single tickets for BE HERE NOW go on sale August 5, 2019 at www.shatteredglobe.org, by calling (773) 975-8150, or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. Discounted group sales for all three productions are currently available at groupsales@shatteredglobe.org or by calling (773) 770-0333.



Shattered Globe Theatre’s 2019-20 Season includes:



September 5 – October 19, 2019
BE HERE NOW - Chicago Premiere!
By Deborah Zoe Laufer

Directed by SGT Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner*

Featuring Ensemble members Deanna Reed Foster*, Rebecca Jordan* and Joe Wiens* with Protégé Alumna Demetra Dee+

Press opening: Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 3 pm



Bari, an atheist and misanthrope, loses her job teaching nihilism in NYC and ends up working in a fulfillment center in her small hometown. Her empathetic co-workers push her toward yoga, meditation, and a blind date in the pursuit of happiness. But recently, her recurring headaches have gotten more intense, manifesting as ecstatic and almost religious experiences – and they are changing her entire outlook. She’s almost… happy! When she finds out that these rapturous headaches may be killing her, Bari needs to choose: does she live a shortened, joyful life – or does she risk a return to her past life of misery. Be Here Now takes audiences on a hilarious and poignant quest for meaning in modern life.



January 16 – February 29, 2020
SHEEPDOG - Chicago Premiere!
By Kevin Artigue

Directed by Wardell Julius Clark

Press opening: Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 3 pm

Amina and Ryan are both officers in the Cleveland police force. Amina is black, Ryan is white, and they are falling deeply and passionately in love. They pride themselves on moral and ethical conduct; they are officers committed to guarding the “sheep” (citizens) from the “wolves” (predators). When a police-involved shooting roils the department, the intoxication of young love spirals into confusion and self-doubt. This is a mystery inside a love story with high stakes and no easy answers. At breakneck speed, Amina’s dogged pursuit of the truth may exact a devastating toll.



April 23 – June 6, 2020

WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING

By Andrew Bovell

Directed by Elizabeth Margolius

Press opening: Sunday, April 26, 2020 at 3 pm

Shifting seamlessly from 1959 to 2039, an epic family saga unfolds across two continents and four generations. In the year 2039, rain falls in the desert of Australia as a father waits to reunite with his estranged son. A pivotal conversation unspools in London in 1988 as young Gabriel Law confronts his alcoholic mother about seven cryptic postcards his mysterious father sent from the outback. As Gabriel attempts to retrace his father’s footsteps, the past begins to inform the present. Rich and evocative, When the Rain Stops Falling creates a stunning thematic mosaic of secrecy, parentage and the echoing impact of the trespasses of those who came before.

*Denotes SGT Ensemble Member  ^Denotes SGT Artistic Associate  +Denotes SGT Protégé Alumna


About the Artists
Deborah Zoe Laufer’s (Playwright, Be Here Now) plays have been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Portland Center Stage and The Humana Festival. Informed Consent appeared at The Duke Theatre in NYC in 2015, a co-production of Primary Stages and EST. It was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Her play End Days won The ATCA Steinberg citation, and it has received over 70 productions around the country, and in Germany, Russia and Australia. Other plays include: Leveling Up, Out of Sterno, The Last Schwartz, Sirens, Meta, The Gulf of Westchester, Miniatures, Fortune, and Window Treatment, a collaboration with composer Daniel Green, produced in NYC by Premieres, Inner Voices. Be Here Now was commissioned and produced by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in 2018.


Deb is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the Lilly Award, and grants and commissions from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Edgerton Foundation, The National New Play Network, the NEA, and the LeCompte du Nouy grant from the Lincoln Center Foundation. Her plays are published by Samuel French, Smith and Kraus and Playscripts, and have been developed at The Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Missoula Colony, The Cherry Lane Alternative, The Dramatists Guild Fellowship Program, New Georges, The Lark Play Development Center Asolo Repertory Theatre, PlayLab and the Baltic Playwrights Conference. She is a graduate of Juilliard, an alumna of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and a member of The Dramatists Guild.

Sandy Shinner (Director, Be Here Now) joined Shattered Globe Theatre in October 2013 as the theatre’s first Producing Artistic Director. Her SGT directing credits include Will Snider’s How to Use a Knife, Scott McPherson’s Marvin’s Room and Sally Nemeth’s Mill Fire. The former Associate Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theater, she created the nationally known IGNITION! Festival, served as co-director of the Access Project, and, with former Artistic Director Dennis Zacek and former Managing Director Marcelle McVay, accepted the 2001 Regional Theater Tony Award on behalf of Victory Gardens. Her other recent directing credits include: the world premiere of Rasheeda Speaking by Joel Drake Johnson (Rivendell Theater Ensemble) and Creditors by August Strindberg (Remy Bumppo Theater Company). She has directed over 80 plays at theaters including Victory Gardens, Remy Bumppo, American Blues, the University of Virginia, Actors Theater of Louisville’s Humana Festival, Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory of New Work, New York’s 78th Street Theater Lab and the Sacramento Theater Company, among others. Her production of Trying by Joanna McClelland Glass transferred to New York, and her direction was nominated for the Joe A. Callaway Award. Shinner received the 2013 Kathryn V. Lamkey Spirit Award from the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of Actors’ Equity Association for her commitment to diversity and non-traditional casting. She has been recognized as one of “50 Top Players” by Newcity and a “Chicagoan of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune. She is an adjunct professor at DePaul’s Theatre School, an At Large Ambassador for the National New Play Network and an Artistic Affiliate at American Blues Theatre.

Kevin Artigue (Playwright, Sheepdog) writes plays, TV and film. He was raised in Redlands, CA and calls Brooklyn home. He’s a current member of The Working Farm @ SPACE at Ryder Farm, the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and an alum of Interstate 73 and the Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group. He most recently was welcomed into New Dramatists, class of 2026. His plays have been performed and developed with South Coast Rep, Golden Thread, Page 73, The Public Theater, the National New Play Network, NYTW, Long Wharf Theater, Portland Center Stage and the Playwrights' Center. MFA: Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Wardell Julius Clark (Director, Sheepdog) is originally from Fairfield, Alabama and earned his BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Upcoming shows he's directing include His Shadow (16th Street Theater), Kill Move Paradise (TimeLine Theatre). Chicago directing credits include: Dutch Masters (Jackalope Theatre), The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 (Chicago Children's Theatre), The Shipment (Red Tape), Insurrection: Holding History (Stage Left) and Surely Goodness and Mercy (Redtwist). He was also Associate Director for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Assistant Director for Gem of the Ocean and Satchmo at the Waldorf (Court), and Assistant Director for The Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre). Chicago acting credits include work with Raven Theatre, American Blues Theater, First Folio, Windy City Playhouse, Court Theatre, Northlight, Victory Gardens, 16th Street Theater, MPAACT, American Theater Company and Congo Square Theater. Regional credits include work at Theater at Monmouth, Cardinal Stage, Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival and Carver Theatre. His television and film credits include Shameless, Chicago Fire and Proven Innocent. Wardell is also a company member at TimeLine Theatre, as well as an actor instructor/teaching artist at the School at Steppenwolf, TimeLine Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Black Box Acting Studio, Vagabond School of the Arts. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Andrew Bovell (Playwright, When the Rain Stops Falling) is an internationally recognized writer for the stage and screen. His works for the stage include Things I Know to Be True, a co-production between State Theatre Company of South Australia and Frantic Assembly in the UK (2016), plus a new production at Belvoir Street Theatre in 2019; an adaptation of Kate Grenville novel The Secret River, directed by Neil Armfield, Sydney Theatre Company / Sydney Festival 2013 and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2016; When the Rain Stops Falling, Adelaide Festival of the Arts 2008, Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company in 2009, Brisbane, Canberra and Alice Springs in 2010. The play was produced in London at the Almeida Theatre (2009) and in New York at The Lincoln Center (2010), where it won five Lucille Lortell Awards and was named best new play of the year by Time Magazine. Productions of Andrew’s plays continue throughout Asia, UK, America and Europe.

Earlier works for the stage include: Holy Day (2001), Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? (1998), Speaking in Tongues (1996), Scenes from a Separation (1995), Ship of Fools (1999) and After Dinner (1988). After Dinner was revived by Sydney Theatre Company in 2015 and State Theatre Company of South Australia in 2018.

Andrew’s film credits include Stoner (2017) an adaptation of John Williams’ novel for Blumhouse/F4, In the Shadow of Iris, a French language adaptation of his screenplay Chaos directed by Jalil Lespert (starring Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, Jalil Lespert, and Camille Cottin); A Most Wanted Man (2014) an adaptation of John Le Carre’s novel for director Anton Corbijn (starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Defoe and Robyn Wright) which premiered at Sundance Film Festival; Edge of Darkness (2010) starring Mel Gibson; Blessed (2009) winner Best Screenplay at the San Sebastian Film Festival; The Book of Revelation (2006); Lantana (2001), based on his stage play Speaking in Tongues, premiered at Sydney Film Festival and had Gala Screening at Toronto Film Festival, the screenplay was awarded Best Screenplay at the Australian Film Institute Awards, Australian Critics Circle Award, Australian Writers Guild Award; Head On (1998) winner Best Screenplay Australian Writers Guild Awards, The Fisherman’s Wake (1996) and the original screenplay for Strictly Ballroom (1992).


Elizabeth Margolius (Director, When the Rain Stops Falling) is a Chicago and upstate New York based, multiple Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated stage and movement director. Elizabeth’s stage and movement directorial credits include: Queen of the Mist for Firebrand Theatre, The Scarlet Ibis for Chicago Opera Theater, Miss Holmes for Peninsula Players, Machinal for Greenhouse Theater Center (Movement Director), The Bridges of Madison County for Peninsula Players, Uncle Philip’s Coat for Greenhouse Theater Center, Haymarket: The Anarchist’s Songbook for Underscore Theatre, L’Occasione Fa Il Ladro and Twelfth Night for DePaul Opera Theatre, The Girl in the Train, The Land of Smiles and The Cousin from Nowhere for Chicago Folks Operetta, Goldstar, Ohio for American Theater Company, The Merry Wives of Windsor for Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Assistant Director), The Last Cyclist for Genesis Theatrical Productions, Opus 1861 for City Lit Theater (Jeff nomination-Best Adaptation), Violet for Bailiwick Chicago (Jeff nomination—Best Director of a Musical) and Bernarda Alba and Songs for a New World for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. Elizabeth is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, a recipient of a full directorial scholarship for the Wesley Balk Opera-Music Theater Institute, a finalist for the Charles Abbott Fellowship, and the Co-Founder of DirectorsLabChicago. Elizabeth is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.



About Shattered Globe Theatre

Shattered Globe Theatre (Sandy Shinner, Producing Artistic Director; Doug McDade, Managing Director) was born in a storefront space on Halsted Street in 1991. Since then, SGT has produced more than 65 plays, including nine American and world premieres, and garnered an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 106 Jeff Award nominations, as well as the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. Shattered Globe is an ensemble-driven theater whose mission is to create an intimate, visceral theater experience that challenges the perspective of audience and artist alike through passionate storytelling. Shattered Globe is inspired by the diversity of Chicago and committed to making theater available to all audiences. Through initiatives such as the Protégé Program, Shattered Globe creates a space which allows emerging artists to grow and share in the ensemble experience.

Shattered Globe Theatre is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The Shulman-Rochambeau Charitable Foundation, The James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, The Shubert Foundation, The Blum-Kovler Family Foundation, The Robert J. & Loretta W. Cooney Family Foundation and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

For more information on Shattered Globe Theatre, please visit www.shatteredglobe.org.



Monday, July 29, 2019

REVIEW: Over The Tavern Now Playing at Theatre at the Center in Munster, IN Through August 11, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Over the Tavern 
at Theatre at the Center in Munster, IN
Now Playing Through August 11, 2019


Guest Review
by Milan Pejnovich 

Though Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana is known primarily for its musical offerings, they also program one or two plays each season, and this summer’s production is the rollicking comedy Over the Tavern.  Set in the wholesome 50s, it’s about a large Catholic family who live over the titular tavern co-owned by the family patriarch and his father (the latter whom we never see) and specifically about a precocious young boy in the family having a crisis of faith as he also hits puberty.  That crisis puts him at odds with his school’s stern Mother Superior, which provides much of the play’s comic relief, but also with his father, which provides much of its drama. Happily, the former outweighs the latter, though it’s through the drama that we get a very heartening conclusion to the proceedings, so both are certainly appreciated.

As said boy, Logan Baffico shows tremendous charm, if somewhat rushed and slurred delivery, especially with his punchlines. He’s definitely someone to look out for in the future after proper stage training. Cory Goodrich as his mother is the heart of the play and the mom we all remember or at least wish we had. Eric Slater as the father is perfect balancing sternness, insecurity, and gruff love. Isabelle Roberts and Seth Steinberg are consummate professionals as the older sister and brother, and Julian Solis in particular is disarmingly effective as the special needs younger brother. Finally, Janet Ulrich Brooks, the most pedigreed of the cast with recent performances at Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, and as Maria Callas at TimeLine, steals every scene she’s in as the Mother Superior, and that’s saying something considering most of them are with the young star of the show.

Special mention should go out to the design team; Angela Weber Miller for designing a set that easily incorporates the various scenes throughout the house and other environs with the help of lighting design from Shelley Strasser; Brenda Winstead and Kevin Barthel for designing costumes and wigs, respectively, perfectly evoking the era; and Michael J. Patrick and Emily Hartig for providing the complementary sound and props design.

All in all, this was an enjoyable evening at the theater that would be fun for the whole family!

Milan Pejnovich Milan has nearly 30 years of experience in marketing and the performing arts, including positions as the Audience Services Manager at Court Theatre and the Marketing Manager at Northlight Theatre. He also spent many years in house manager positions at Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts, About Face Theatre, Court Theatre,and Northwestern University. He is currently the manager of Strategic Marketing for the Arts, which provides telemarketing and telefunding services to over three dozen non-profit arts organizations nationwide, including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Playwrights Horizons and MCC Theater off-Broadway, and the Omaha Symphony, Long Beach Opera,Denver Film Society and Cincinnati Ballet.


All photos by Guy Rhodes

Director Ericka Mac has cast Janet Ulrich Brooks as Sister Clarissa, Logan Baffico as Rudy, Cory Goodrich as Ellen, Isabelle Roberts as Annie, Eric Slater as Chet, Julian Solis as Georgie and Seth Steinberg as Eddie in Over the Tavern, a hilarious look at family life in the 1950s for the summer stage production at Theatre at the Center in Munster.  Previews begin July 11 with Opening Night on July 14 and a continued run through August 11.

In Tom Dudzick’s semi-autobiographical play, set in 1959, audiences meet Rudy Pazinski, a precocious 12-year old student who feels God put us on Earth to have fun.  He matches wits with ruler-wielding Sister Clarissa when he shares his plans to shop around for a more fun religion.  We also meet the entire Pazinski family, who live in a tiny apartment above the neighborhood bar they run, as they face both the real and comical struggles of life, including Rudy’s questioning the rules of the Roman Catholic Church just as he is about to receive the church sacrament of confirmation. An earlier run of Over the Tavern was a smash-hit with Theatre at the Center audiences in 2005.



Janet Ulrich Brooks (Sister Clarissa) returns to TATC after receiving a Jeff-nomination for her performance as Ann Landers in the TATC production of The Lady with All the Answers.   Janet is a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre where credits include portraying Maria Callas in Master Class and also a production of Bakersfield Mist, as well as Jeff-nominated performances in The Audience, 33 Variations, A Walk In The Woods, All My Sons and other favorite works.  Her most recent credits include The Children at Steppenwolf Theatre and Pipeline at Victory Gardens.  Her film credits include roles in Divergent, One Small Hitch and Conviction, as well as television credits with roles in Chicago Med, Fire and Justice and Boss.  Janet was the first recipient of the Ed See Outstanding Theatre Alumnus Award from the University of Central Missouri.     

Logan Baffico (Rudy) is making his TATC debut.  He was most recently seen as Hero Boy in the Rail Events’ The Polar Express.  His other credits include Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Chip in Beauty and the Beast at BrightSide Theatre.  He also appeared as Posh Boy in Billy Elliot at Porchlight Theatre, Sebastian in The Little Mermaid and James in James and the Giant Peach at Stage Door Fine Arts Theatre.

Cory Goodrich (Ellen) returns to TATC for her 14th production, having previously appeared in Steel Magnolias, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.   She is a five-time Jeff nominee including a Jeff Award for her role of June Carter in Ring of Fire and another for her role of Mother in Drury Lane’s production of Ragtime. Cory has also performed in productions at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Chicago Shakespeare, Candlelight and Drury Lane.   As a singer/songwriter, Cory has four solo albums. 

Eric Slater (Chet) is also making his TATC debut.  He has worked in Chicago at The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theater Company, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre and Chicago Children’s Theatre.  His Off-Broadway credits include productions at the Public Theater, York Theatre, The Kitchen and Theater for the New City.  Film and television credits include Chicago Fire and Widows.

Seth Steinberg (Eddie) joins the cast as another TATC debut. He recently performed as Joey Oren in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of If I Forget and appeared as Nathan Lukowski in the The Full Monty at Theater Wit in Chicago.  As part of the Another Door Theatre Project, he appeared in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Pippin, Bare, a Pop Opera and Heathers the Musical and has performed in several musicals with Repertory Company at the Actors Training Center in Wilmette.    

Isabelle Roberts (Annie) is making her TATC debut.   She has appeared in Alice in Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure at Chicago Children’s Theatre; The Sound of Music at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bye Bye Birdie at Drury Lane and Sunday in the Park with George at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

Julian Solis (George) returns to the TATC stage after making his TATC debut in A Wonderful Life.   He also appeared as Rudy Pazinski for the TATC season preview last August.   He was also a featured soloist for the Northwest Indiana Symphony for two consecutive seasons.  

Ericka Mac is making her TATC directorial debut. She has served as Assistant Director of Company at Writers Theatre.  She also served as Associate Director for the U.S. Premiere of Ride the Cyclone at MCC Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare; the World Premieres of both Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical and Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure at Children’s Theatre Company; The Little Mermaid at Chicago Shakespeare and Guys and Dolls at Marriott Theatre.

The creative team for Over the Tavern includes Scenic Designer Angie Weber-Miller, Lighting Designer Shelley Strasser-Holland, Sound Designer Michael Patrick, Costume Designer Brenda Winstead, Wig Designer Kevin Barthel and Properties Designer is Emily Hartig.   Stage manager is Jessica Banaszak.   Artistic Director Linda Fortunato is teamed with TATC General Manager Richard Friedman and Ann Davis, TATC Head of Production.



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

Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.   Individual ticket prices range from $42-$46.   To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or Tickets.com at 800-511-1532.   Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more.   Student tickets are $20 and gift certificates are also available.   For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit www.TheatreAtThe Center.com.

Google Analytics