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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

OPENING: THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ANTHONY TOURNIS’ PROPHET$ VIA THE FACTORY THEATER JUNE 7 – JULY 20

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THE FACTORY THEATER ANNOUNCES THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ANTHONY TOURNIS’
PROPHET$, 
JUNE 7 – JULY 20

Last year, religion took in $71 billion, tax-free. Prophet$ is the hilarious slack-to-riches story of a couple of con artists that get into the business of belief. 


Wm. Bullion Directs This Eye-Opening and Hilarious Comedy About Profiteering in the World of ’80s Televangelism, Premiering this Summer

The Factory Theater concludes its 26th season with Prophet$, June 7 – July 20, written by Factory Theater Ensemble Member Anthony Tournis and directed by Factory Theater Ensemble Member Wm. Bullion, at the Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago. Previews are Friday, June 7 and Saturday June 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 9 at 3 p.m. Opening night is Friday, June 14 at 8 p.m. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for previews, $18 for students and seniors and $25 for general admission. All tickets may be purchased through the box office at 866-811-4111 or by visiting TheFactoryTheater.com.

Set in 1988, this Stripes-inspired world premiere production, by ensemble member Anthony Tournis, brilliantly brings shameless comedy back to The Factory stage.  


Cast members of Prophet$ courtesy of The Factory Theater. 
(Top Row, L to R) Timothy C. Amos (Rev. Leslie Goode), Conor Clark (Ensemble),  Lorraine Freund (Agnes), Kirk Jackson (Red), Eric Roach (Owen) and Hilary Sanzel (Evelyn Goode (Bottom Row, L to R) Will Snyder (Ensemble), Anthony Tournis (Playwright/ Vic Jacobowski), Eric Wang (Seth Levy), Abigail Warhus (Ensemble), LaRose Washington (Ensemble) and Ashley Yates (Darla Grant)

The cast for Prophet$ includes: Anthony Tournis*, (Vic Jacobowski); Eric Wang, (Seth Levy); Eric Roach*, (Owen); Ashley Yates, (Darla Grant); Timothy C. Amos*, (Rev. Leslie Goode); Hilary Sanzel, (Evelyn Goode); Kirk Jackson, (Red); Lorraine Freund, (Agnes); Abigail Warhus, (ensemble); Conor Clark, (ensemble); LaRose Washington, (ensemble); Will Snyder, (ensemble); Rebecca Flores, (Darla u/s); Kelly Opalko, (Evelyn u/s); Mark Bjorkquist, (Red u/s); Tehilla Newman, (Agnes u/s); Chase Wheaton-Werle, (ensemble u/s); and Zia Hillocks, (ensemble u/s).

The production team for Prophet$ includes: Anthony Tournis*, playwright; Wm. Bullion*, director; Sarah Scanlon, production manager; Manny Tamayo*, production manager; Becca Holloway, assistant director; Joeseph Pindelski, dramaturg; and Shellie DiSalvo, stage manager. The design team includes Eric Luchen, scenery; Jordan Kardasz, lights; Isaiah Williams, costumes; Wyatt Kent, props; Sarah Espinoza**, sound; and Dag Juhlin, original songs. C.W. van Baale* is the master electrician. 

ABOUT ANTHONY TOURNIS*, playwright

This is the third play written by Anthony Tournis, and his first solo writing project. Previous works produced by The Factory Theater include Black and Blue with Nick Digilio and Street Justice: Condition Red with Colin Milroy. Anthony has been an Ensemble member of The Factory Theater since 2006 and has been seen as an actor in countless shows there since then.

ABOUT WM. BULLION*, director

Wm. Bullion is a Factory ensemble member and has been a professional director in Chicago for over 25 years. His previous directing gig at The Factory was Stacie Barra’s hit Born Ready in 2017. In 2016 he formed The Conspirators, for whom he has directed all three shows: The Deckchairs, Yankee Doodles, and The Resistible Rise of Herr Helmut Drumpf. Additional directing credits include Scream, Queen, Scream! (Hell in a Handbag Productions), as well as Blue Planet, A Summer’s Day, and the original burlesque satire Pippi’s Lost Stockings: A Skirt Raiser (Akvavit Theatre). Bullion is the Artistic Director of DirectorsLabChicago, an artist-service organization dedicated to emerging directors and is a graduate of UCLA’s school of Theater, Film and Television.

*Denotes Factory Theater Ensemble Member
** Denotes Factory Theater Artistic Associate



ABOUT The Factory Theater
For more than 25 years, The Factory Theater has created its shows from scratch, doing exactly the kind of theater they’ve wanted to do. From writing workshops to the closing night bash, The Factory’s shows are a unique experience that fit its exacting standards: original, bold, and full-tilt. Its shameless Ensemble are ambassadors of a good time, making certain that Chicago remains heartily entertained.

The Factory Theater concludes its 26th season with Prophet$, June 7 – July 20, written by Factory Theater Ensemble Member Anthony Tournis and directed by Factory Theater Ensemble Member Wm. Bullion, at the Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago. Previews are Friday, June 7 and Saturday June 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 9 at 3 p.m. Opening night is Friday, June 14 at 8 p.m. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for previews, $18 for students and seniors and $25 for general admission. All tickets may be purchased through the box office at 866-811-4111 or by visiting TheFactoryTheater.com.

FEST ALERT: Full Line-Up Announced for The New Colony’s UNCHARTED Festival at The Den Theatre July 11 – 20, 2019

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Full Line-Up Announced!
The New Colony’s 
UNCHARTED Festival
July 11 – 20, 2019 at The Den Theatre


The New Colony’s UNCHARTED Festival playwrights include (top, l to r) Fin Coe, Grace McLeod, Michael Turrentine, Mario (Mars) Wolfe, Christina Renee Jones, Patriac Coakley and Evan Linder. Directors include (bottom, l to r) Elyse Dolan, James Fleming, Toma Tavares Langston, Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary, Dani Wieder, Megan Johns and Zach Weinberg.

The New Colony is pleased to present UNCHARTED, a two-week showcase of plays at different points in their journeys to production, playing July 11 – 20, 2019 at TNC’s resident home, The Den Theatre (2B) 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets will go on sale in June at www.thenewcolony.org.

UNCHARTED is a two-week festival showcasing bold new works from Chicago playwrights developed, incubated and curated by The New Colony. The company provides Chicago playwrights with support from professional directors, actors and designers to help them take the next step in the creation of a new work. UNCHARTED was founded in recognition and celebration of the Chicago community’s passion for creating and producing new American plays and aims to connect audiences and theatrical producers with today’s stories and tomorrow’s playwrights. Each offering will receive two presentations over the course of the festival.

Comments The New Colony Co-Artistic Directors Fin Coe and Stephanie Shum, "The New Colony's pipeline is full of intriguing new plays, more than we could ever give a production to. UNCHARTED is our attempt to break the cycle of wonderful, timely new plays staying undiscovered and unproduced. We've curated a selection of promising new stories that deserve to be showcased for other Chicago theatres to see and hear. Our ensemble and staff are applying our decade of new play development experience to connecting these plays and their playwrights with the organizations that are hungry for contemporary scripts that fit their aesthetic and mission. We're confident that this matchmaking will result in more new Chicago classics finding homes and productions."

The UNCHARTED line-up includes:

OTHER ROCKPOOLS
Written by Fin Coe*
Directed by Elyse Dolan

In the summer of 2001, a brilliant physicist sets up shop in her family's cabin and gathers a team of scientists for one wild, irresistible purpose: build a machine to get them all the hell out of their awful timeline.

SCARE ME
Written by Grace McLeod
Directed by James Fleming

When Alex gets hired at a Halloween pop-up store in the suburbs of Chicago, she's thrilled to start her gap year with her first real job. As she and her older, jaded co-workers scramble to meet their sales goal and push superhero capes and fake blood on strangers, they each struggle to distinguish the masks they wear from the masks they sell. Scare Me is a queer coming-of-age comedy about the fear of being yourself, the desire to be somebody else, and the danger of getting attached to something that was always meant to be temporary.

IF ONLY ONCE
Written by Michael Turrentine
Directed by Toma Tavares Langston

Ryan and Tyler live in a quaint little house in the near suburbs of Chicago. They’ve been married two years, are insatiably in love, and thinking of starting a family in the near future. But when Ryan asks his ex-wife of four years, Lona, to be the surrogate mother, Tyler is forced to dive deep into Ryan’s past, to see his husband in a way he never thought possible. If Only Once is a story of feeling trapped inside our own lives and poses the question: do we ever really know the people we choose to love?

BERTHA VAN ATION 3.0 (birth-of-a-nation 3 point-oh)
Written by Mario (Mars) Wolfe 
Directed by Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary 

Genesis double oh seven. Sometime after Adam and Eve learned to fart and fornicate and much after the Twin Towers. Oprah Shy X (Shy) and Oprah Shy Y (O) set out to recall the story of their escape from incarceration and enslavement. Their brother, Cole, steers the whip to freedom, using 8-oh-8 to guide the Odyssey. The siblings find their task to be a tall order when the memories of the Privileged and their genetic experiments resurface. Scientists, Sanitation Workers, and a Nurse join the Children on their quest for truth within recycled myths, parables, and trap beats.

THE PUPPET PLAY
Written by Christina Renee Jones
Directed by Dani Wieder

Julie grew up following all the rules. While she aced her youth, she is currently flunking adulting. After years of horrible luck, bad decisions and undiagnosed mental illnesses, Julie decides she just can’t deal with it anymore. Until one night, when her reality is transformed into the world of her favorite childhood public television show, "Puppet Playhouse." Sunny days, the air is sweet, and the arts and crafts made streets are populated with irritating, singing puppets. The Puppet Play is brought to you by the letters F: for embracing Friendship, M: for tackling Mental illnesses, and L: for learning to Love yourself.

Bits & Pieces Series (presented together in one program as scripts still in process):

LETTS WRITE A PLAY
Written by Patriac Coakley*
Directed by Megan Johns*

After winning a raffle at a benefit, two members of a struggling Chicago storefront theatre go to a famous Chicago playwright’s house for dinner. Resentment brews under conversation and intentions for the evening are revealed to go beyond a dinner… and maybe the law.

JO & LIV
Written by Evan Linder*
Directed by Zach Weinberg

Liv has accepted her estranged sister Jo’s invitation to spend Christmas together with their families in New York in 1961. With years of hurt between them, they hope this can be their chance to finally exhume all the skeletons in their closets. Or at least the contentious Academy Award stuffed in the cupboard. Jo & Liv is at turns hysterical and heartbreaking as it explores two legendary Hollywood siblings who love each other fiercely, but love their grudges more. Jo & Liv was commissioned as part of the Goodman Theatre's 2017 Playwright Unit.

*Denotes The New Colony Ensemble Member

UNCHARTED Performance Schedule:

Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 pm
Friday, July 12 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 13 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 14 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm
Monday July 15 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, July 17 at 7:30 pm
Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 pm
Friday, July 19 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 20 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm

Note: a detailed schedule by production will be posted shortly at www.thenewcolony.org.

About the Artists

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

Elyse Dolan (Director, Other Rockpools) is excited to join the New Colony team! Previously at TNC, she directed the Associate Company production of Here After by Evan Sesek and acted as Assistant Director on Kin Folk (dir. Evan Linder). She is the Assistant Producer at American Blues Theater, where she is also an Artistic Affiliate. At Blues, she has directed several short plays in past Ripped festivals and has been Assistant Director on a handful shows including Six Corners (dir. Gary Griffin) and Little Shop of Horrors (dir. Jonathan Berry). Her directing work has been seen across Chicago at Broken Nose Theatre, Prop Thtr, Babes with Blades, Commission Theatre, 20% Theatre Company, Pride Films & Plays, Gorilla Tango Theatre, and more. She has also served as Assistant Director on productions at Raven Theatre, Oracle Theatre, 16th Street Theater and Redtwist Theatre. Elyse holds a B.A. from Denison University.

Grace McLeod (Playwright, Scare Me) is a playwright and screenwriter based in Chicago and New York. She was the recipient of the 2018 Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize for Playwriting and a 2017-18 Trellis playwright-in-residence at the Greenhouse Theater Center, where she developed her play Herland (2019 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at MOXIE Theatre in San Diego, Redtwist Theatre in Chicago, and Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles). Grace has developed her plays with First Floor Theater, The New Colony, Commission Theatre, American Blues Theater, and the Victory Gardens College Night series, among others. She was a 2013-14 Tribeca Film Fellow and wrote and directed the short film Under the Table, which premiered during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and co-wrote and produced Local/Express, an experimental short film that screened across Times Square as part of the Midnight Moment Series, the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition. Grace is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago. She is represented by the Gersh Agency.

James Fleming (Director, Scare Me) Chicago-based director, Director of New Works at The New Colony, and Associate Artistic Director at Redtwist Theatre. Recent directing credits include Fun Harmless Warmachine by Fin Coe (The New Colony), Herland by Grace McLeod, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, and Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman (Redtwist Theatre). He has also directed readings, workshops and events for Goodman Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, AstonRep, Broken Nose Theatre, and arc theatre. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, and Greenhouse Theatre Center. James worked as part of a collaborative team with Peca Stefan, Tamilla Woodard and Ana Margineanu of PopUp Theatrics to produce the Chicago story for #THENEWOLDHOME, a mix between puzzle, social game, exhibition, audio drama and interactive installation which premiered at CLB Berlin in January 2018. He has served on the literary panels for the National New Play Network's Annual Showcase of New Plays, Route 66's TEST DRIVE and Kitchen Dog Theatre's New Play Festival. James was a participant in the Chicago Directors Lab and a recipient of an SDC Foundation Observership. This fall, he will begin pursuing his MFA in Directing at Yale School of Drama.

Michael Turrentine (Playwright, If Only Once) is mainly an actor around Chicago, appearing at companies including Remy Bumppo, The Gift Theatre, Haven Theatre, Firebrand Theatre, The Lyric Opera, and several others. More recently, he has found himself writing for the theater. He began his writing career writing various short, physical theater shows, some of which traveled around the U.S. However, If Only Once is his first full length play and he is very excited to share it. (Michael will also be writing a piece for Broken Nose Theatre's Bechdel Fest this Summer.) He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Toma Tavares Langston (Director, If Only Once) is a freelance theater director. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre: Hedwig and The Angry Inch. New Colony: The Light (2018 Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Director – Play). Victory Gardens: 2015 Directors Inclusion Initiative Director Fellowship. (Assistant Director) Sucker Punch. Jackalope Theatre: (Assistant Director) 1980 (or Why I'm Voting for John Anderson). Sideshow Theatre: (Assistant Director) Truth and Reconciliation and Give It All Back. Other directorial credits include The Last Five Years, The Shadow Box, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.  

Mario (Mars) Wolfe (Playwright, Bertha Van Ation 3.0) is a writer, performance artist and theatre manager from central Florida. Mars’ plays – Bus 74, Turnt the Screw; or a trigger warning and Click Fate – have been read and performed at Victory Gardens, The Arc, Studio@620 and NoMads Art Collective. Mars was recently featured in the ArciTEXT Festival (Goddess, Forbid) and the Activate: Midwest Festival (1st Imani 22nd Six). Mars' play Party Goin On will be produced in New York later this year. Mars is a graduate of the Theatre School at DePaul and the Juilliard Apprentice Program.

Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary (Director, Bertha Van Ation 3.0) is a Dominican-American who is proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Gray Talent Group, Teatro Vista and Associate Artistic Director of Halcyon Theatre. A Columbia College Directing Grad, she has worked alongside companies such as Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Steep, Stage Left, Red Twist, Northlight and Something Marvelous, among many others both on and off stage. Selected directing credits include: Between Riverside and Crazy (Red Twist) Firefly Love (Something Marvelous) The River Bride (Halcyon) Heat Wave (Steppenwolf Garage), Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman (Halcyon). Past selected production credits include: Taming of the Shrew Assistant Director (Barbara Gaines/Chicago Shakes), Romeo and Juliet Directing Intern (Marti Lyons/ Chicago Shakes), Fishmen Assistant Director/ Casting Director (Goodman Theatre/Teatro Vista). Select acting credits include: There’s always the Hudson (Goodman New Stages), In the Time of the Butterflies (Teatro Vista), She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Garage). She has also been seen on Chicago P.D, Empire, A.P.B and CHI-IRAQ.

Christina Renee Jones (Playwright, The Puppet Play) is a Chicago performer and writer of silly stories. She is an ensemble member of Birch House, a company that focuses on immersive, theatrical experiences. She also writes, performs and goofs around as a company member with Hobo Junction. Other acting credits include City Lit, Otherworld, Midsommer Flight, A Dead Whale Productions, the side project, Promethean, Akvavit, and other theatres that are now defunct. Her writing has been seen in many different forms around town through the Eccentric Expedition, Junior Varsity, the Crowd, Potluck, and Factory Theatre. christinareneejones.com

Dani Wieder (Director, The Puppet Play) is a director of performance and film in Chicago. Recent credits include People in the Wind (Haven Theatre), In the Canyon by Calamity West (dramaturg, Jackalope Theatre), La Ronde (American Theatre Company, CORE), Josephine the Mouse Singer by Franz Kafka (Curious Theatre Branch, Rhinofest), and Miss Julie (University of Chicago). She has assistant directed and dramaturged plays across Chicago at theaters such as at The Goodman Theatre, American Theater Company, Steep Theatre Company, and Court Theatre. Dani is also the Literary Manager of Haven Theatre Chicago. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago. Up next, Dani will be the Associate Director for The Fly Honey Show 10, and her film Cool for Five Seconds will be appearing at festivals around the country. www.daniwieder.com

Patriac Coakley (Playwright, Letts Write a Play) is an ensemble member with The New Colony. He is grateful to be a part of the work. Past works with TNC include Small World, The Bearsuit of Happiness, Frat and That Sordid Little Story. He performs sketch with OPIE and improv with losdosdudes.

Megan Johns (Director, Letts Write a Play) is an improviser, teacher, writer and director who has been living in Chicago for the last 15 years. She is originally from Virginia, where the mountains are blue. In Chicago, Meg has taught improv at The Annoyance for 11 years and instructed collaborative theatre at both The University of Chicago and After School Matters. At The Annoyance, Meg has been in Love is Dead: A Necromantic Musical Comedy, Burlesque is More, and hosted a weekly variety show featuring LGBTQIA and female-identifying performers. She has collaborated with and directed sketch duo OPIE for the last four years and most recently took OPIE: Vol. 2 to The 2018 New York International Fringe Festival. Meg is a proud ensemble member of The New Colony, and there has directed, performed and created devised theatre for the last 10 years, including directing 11:11 and co-writing ReWilding Genius with Andrew Hobgood.

Evan Linder (Playwright, Jo & Liv) is an ensemble member and the founding Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. He works in Chicago as a playwright, actor and director. He also teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago. Evan is a proud graduate of the College of Charleston, which presented him the Alumnus of the Year award in 2016. His plays include Byhalia Mississippi, 11:11, The Warriors, The Bear Suit of Happiness, B-Side Studio, The Hunted, Jo & Liv and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which was named Best Overall Production at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival and is published by Samuel French. 5 Lesbians also enjoyed an Off-Broadway run as part of the Soho Playhouse’s 2012-13 season and has seen productions in over 35 States, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Spain, South Africa, Great Britain and Japan. Byhalia, Mississippi (2016 Jeff Award: Best New Work) opens in Washington, D.C. in June 2019 as part of the Kennedy Center’s 2018-19 Season. At The New Colony, Evan continues to teach the Writers Room, an education program he created in 2015 that has now welcomed over 100 emerging Chicago playwrights. evanlinder.com

Zach Weinberg (Director, Jo & Liv) is a Chicago-based theater director, adaptor and administrator. He is interested in the creation of new, non-traditional works and finding the perfect medium for the message. Zach is a company member and Grants Manager at Red Tape Theatre, and a graduate of Oberlin College. Selected directing credits include serving as a Directing Apprentice with the late Redmoon Theatre, the 2016 Director’s Haven at Haven Theatre, two seasons with the Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival, two original adaptations at Curious Theatre Branch’s Rhinofest: Love in a Maze (’17) and MAY DAY (’18), and the world premiere of 2 unfortunate 2 travel, an original semi-devised work, as part of the Prop Thtr’s 2018-19 season. His credits as an assistant director include The New Colony, Organic Theatre Company, Oracle Productions, the Actors' Gymnasium, and Redmoon.



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

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

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of QUEEN OF THE MIST Via Firebrand Theatre at The Den Theatre May 25 – July 6, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Chicago Premiere!
Firebrand Theatre Presents
QUEEN OF THE MIST
Book, Music & Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Directed by Elizabeth Margolius
Music Direction by Charlotte Rivard-Hoster


May 25 – July 6, 2019 at The Den Theatre

Firebrand Theatre is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of QUEEN OF THE MIST, based on the sensational true story of Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor, the first woman to go over Niagara Falls. Featuring book, music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, Marie Christine), direction by Elizabeth Margolius and music direction by Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, QUEEN OF THE MIST will play May 25 – July 6, 2019 at The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets are currently available at firebrandtheatre.org

QUEEN OF THE MIST features Barbara E. Robertson as Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor with Maryam Abdi, Neala Barron, Brianna Buckley, Max J. Cervantes, Liz Chidester and Hannah Starr. Understudies/swings include: Liz Bollar, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Cari Meixner and Steven Romero Shaeffer.

QUEEN OF THE MIST is based on the astounding and outrageous true story of Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor, who in 1901 set out to be the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists and activists. With a soaring score that incorporates turn of the century themes with LaChiusa’s signature complexity and insight, QUEEN OF THE MIST is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live.

Firebrand is the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage.

The production team for QUEEN OF THE MIST includes: Lauren Nichols (scenic design), Brenda Winstead (costume design), Carl Wahlstrom (sound design), Cat Wilson (lighting design), Wendy Huber (props deign), Daren Leonard (assistant director), Rose Hamill (production manager), Josh Prisching (technical director), Giselle Castro (sound operator), JC Widman (stage manager) and Martina Scofano (assistant stage manager).


Location: The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Dates: Previews: Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 26 at 3 pm
Press performance: Tuesday, May 28 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, May 30 – Saturday, July 6, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Industry Night: Wednesday, July 3 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $55. $20 students/industry rush tickets available at the box office. Single tickets are currently available at firebrandtheatre.org

About The Creative Team
Elizabeth Margolius (Director) is a Chicago-based stage and movement director with a primary focus in developing and directing new and rarely produced musical theatre, operetta and opera. Stage/movement directorial credits include: James and the Giant Peach (Viterbo University, WI), Machinal (Greenhouse Theater Center), The Bridges of Madison County (Peninsula Players, WI), Uncle Philip’s Coat (Greenhouse Theater – Jeff nomination for Best Solo Peformance), Haymarket: The Anarchist’s Songbook (Underscore Theatre – 3 Jeff nominations, including Best New Musical), Sitayana (Gift Theatre’s TEN Festival), The Girl in the Train (Chicago Folks Operetta), Goldstar, Ohio (ATC), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, asst. director to Barbara Gaines), The Mikado (the Savoyaires), The Last Cyclist (Genesis Theatrical), The Land of Smiles and The Cousin from Nowhere (Chicago Folks Operetta), Opus 1861 (City Lit Theater – 3 Jeff nominations, including Best Adaptation), Violet (Bailiwick Chicago –5 Jeff nominations, including Best Musical and Best Director), Bernarda Alba and Songs for a New World (BoHo Theatre). Elizabeth is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, a recipient of a full directorial scholarship at the Wesley Balk Opera-Music Theater Institute in Minneapolis, a respondent and workshop artist for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival and a finalist for the Charles Abbott Fellowship. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of DirectorsLabChicago; a forum for emerging nationally and internationally based stage directors. Elizabeth is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

Charlotte Rivard-Hoster (Music Director) is proud to make her debut with Firebrand! Favorite credits: Legally Blonde, Wizard of Oz (Paramount), Fun Home (Victory Gardens), Marry Me a Little (Porchlight), Urinetown (BoHo), Bat Boy (Griffin), Heathers (Kokandy), Methtacular! (About Face), The Light in The Piazza (Berklee). Charlotte has taught at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Lake Forest College, Roosevelt, Merit School of Music, and this winter she continues her seventh year with the little musicians at Kellman Elementary through Foundations of Music. With immense gratitude to those I love and lean on, and to those who open doors and leave them open.

Firebrand Theatre’s 2018-19 season sponsor: Michael and Mona Heath of the HeathFund.



Firebrand Theatre is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Firebrand is a 501(c)(3) Equity theatre.

Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France; Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Emjoy Gavino, Kate Garassino, Amber Mak and Danni Smith; Company Members: Kasey Alfonso, Becca Brown, Sydney Charles, Liz Chidester, Heather Clark, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Amanda Horvath, Jon Martinez, Eric Martin, Natalie O'hea, Amelia Jo Parish, Tyler Symone and Andra Velis Simon.

OPENING: FOUR PLACES Via The Den Theatre May 24 – June 30, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

The Den Theatre Presents
FOUR PLACES
By Joel Drake Johnson
Directed Ensemble Member Lia Mortensen
May 24 – June 30, 2019



The cast of The Den Theatre’s revival of FOUR PLACES includes (left to right) Amy Montgomery, Bruch Reed, Meg Thalken and Rebekah Ward. 

The Den Theatre is pleased to present a revival of Joel Drake Johnson’s true-to-life drama FOUR PLACES, directed by ensemble member Lia Mortensen, playing May 24 – June 30, 2019 at 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. (2B) in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.thedentheatre.com, in person at the The Den box office or by calling (773) 697-3830. I'll be out for the press opening May 30th, so check back soon for my full review.

FOUR PLACES features Amy Montgomery, Bruch Reed, Meg Thalken and Rebekah Ward. 

Deceptively simple in its structure and unfolding in real time, this emotionally precise play deploys its spare components to devastating and darkly comic effect. A brother and sister have gotten word from their elderly parents' caretaker that they may be a danger to each other. The brother joins his sister and mother on their weekly lunch date, hoping that he and his sister can get a clearer picture of the situation. As the mother confronts the indignities of age and the children stare down a mounting list of losses and disappointments, a harrowing and true-to-life image of the family emerges. Ultimately, with unwavering clarity and sensitivity, Joel Drake Johnson explores the ways that familial love and knowledge create both hurt and comfort.

Comments Director Lia Mortensen, “I was drawn to this play because it examines the universality of family: love, secrets, trust, lies – while also navigating how alcoholism threads through the tapestry of this family. It is at once hysterical, tragic, and ultimately moving. We recognize ourselves in these imperfect humans.”

The production team includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec (scenic design), Josh Prisching (technical director) and Tina M. Jach (production stage manager).

Location: The Den Theatre (2B), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Friday, May 24 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, May 26 at 3 pm and Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 pm

Press performance: Thursday, May 30 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 30, 2019

Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm

Tickets: Previews $28. Regular run $45. Students/seniors: $33. Tickets are currently available at www.thedentheatre.com, in person at the The Den box office or by calling (773) 697-3830.

About The Artists
Joel Drake Johnson (Playwright) is an award winning, internationally-produced playwright and teacher best known for his work at Chicago’s Victory Garden's Theater, where he was a member of the company’s Playwrights Ensemble for many years. His plays include Rasheeda Speaking, Four Places, A Blue Moon, As The Beaver, The End of the Tour, The Fall To Earth, A Blameless Life and Tranquillity Woods. His work has also been produced in Chicago at Steppenwolf Theatre and globally in New York City, Los Angeles, London, and many others cities.

Lia Mortensen (Director) is thrilled to be back at The Den where she co-directed Bus Stop by William Inge alongside her pal, Ryan Martin and directed The Quality of Life by Jane Anderson. As an actor, Lia has appeared in many productions in her hometown of Chicago at Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight and Writers Theatre to name a few. Some productions include The Mystery of Love and Sex, Company, City of Conversation, Pericles, Annapurna, An Inspector Calls, Cymbeline, Ten Chimneys, The Big Meal, Rabbit Hole, Closer, Faith Healer, All’s Well, Measure for Measure, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Talley’s Folley, Ghosts and Twelfth Night. Her film and TV credits include the 2010 remake of Nightmare on Elm Street, View from Tall, Consumed, Blink, Empire, Shameless, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Crisis.

About The Den Theatre
Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den in 2010 with a single theatre space. Seven years later, The Den boasts five intimate and unique theaters on two floors ranging from 50 – 200 seats, as well as two additional spaces primarily used for classes and rehearsals. The Den is also equipped with two bars enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. The Den is home to seven resident theatre companies including First Floor Theater, Haven Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, The New Colony, Broken Nose Theatre, WildClaw Theatre and Firebrand Theatre. Hundreds of other companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theaters, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit www.thedentheatre.com.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

OPENING: Václav Havel’s classic play, THE MEMO Via ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY at The Greenhouse Theater Center May 22 - June 16, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS:
Václav Havel’s classic play,
THE MEMO


Organic Theater Company of Chicago returns to the Greenhouse Theater Center for the second play of its 2019 season with Václav Havel’s classic play, THE MEMO. The Organic is committed to staging bold, relevant productions of classic, contemporary, and adapted works with a permanent group of artists over a sustained period of time.

THE MEMO, Paul Wilson’s 21st century translation of Havel’s The Memorandum, an absurd story of shady, behind-the-scene office politics and ridiculous bureaucracy, has new relevance in our current bizarre political climate.  Havel’s absurdist plays were highly critical of communism and were eventually banned in his home country of Czechoslovakia. This led to his political activism, which resulted in several stays in prison, and eventually landed him, almost unwillingly, the role of the final president of Czechoslovakia.  A few years later, he was elected to be the first president of the newly created Czech Republic.

This Orwellian farce about language, bureaucracies, and surveillance takes place at the surprisingly real and relevant intersection of Monty Python, The Office, and 1984. THE MEMO follows Gross, the harassed managing director who unwittingly authorizes an experiment that will introduce an incomprehensible artificial language in an absurd attempt to increase efficiency. Playwright Václav Havel explores the self-deluding rationalizations and moral compromises that characterize life under a totalitarian political system, or everyday office life…

Directed by Bryan Wakefield, who directed last summer’s THE REVOLUTIONISTS and the previous summer’s EMILIE, THE MEMO features guest artist Tricia Rogers as the baffled managing director Gross who finds herself at a loss to understand how changes were made.  Company Member Joel Moses, as the clever and never-at-a-loss-for-an-explanation Balas, is a great foil against her straightforwardness, a rare commodity in Havel’s crazy workplace, where workers are more invested in reassigning responsibility, running out to buy food or heading off to lunch than actually getting work done.

OPENS: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 7:30 (Press Opening)
DATES: May 22 - June 16, 2019
TIMES: Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:30 PM & Sundays at 2:30 PM
VENUE: The Greenhouse Theater Center - 2257 North Lincoln Avenue
Website: www.organictheater.org

The Cast:
Gross - Tricia Rogers
Balas - Joel Moses
Kubs/Suba – Subhash Thakrar
Director’s Assistant – Mary Mikva
J.V. Brown – Nick Bryant
Kalous – Stephanie Sullivan
Masat – Schanora Wimpie
Kunc – Kate Black-Spence
Talaura – Laura Sturm
Translation Assistant - Kris Downing
The Monitor – Colin Jackson

The Production team: Bryan Wakefield – Director, Nyssa Lowenstein - Assistant Director, Angela Kring - Stage Manager, Jeremy W. Floyd - Costume Designer, Tony Reimer - Sound Designer, Terrence McClellan - Scenic Designer, David Goodman-Edberg - Lighting Designer, Kevin Nedberg-Technical Director, Justin Torres – Props Designer

Purchase tickets online at www.organictheater.org or by calling Greenhouse at 773-404-7366.

Admission is $25 (Adults)---www.organictheater.org



OPENING: Midwest Premiere of SWEET TEXAS RECKONING Via Artemisia at The Den June 7-30, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Midwest Premiere of Traci Godfrey’s 
SWEET TEXAS RECKONING, 
opening June 7 at The Den

Comedy of a Texas native paying a visit home from New York 
with her new African-American wife will play throughout the 
Pride Month of June


In Traci Godfrey’s comedy, SWEET TEXAS RECKONING, Ellie is a lonely, bigoted alcoholic living in the small southeast Texas town of Sealy. She’s welcoming home her daughter Kate, now living in New York City, back for a visit. Ellie has hopes Kate will reconnect with and even marry Kate’s childhood sweetheart Alan John. Imagine Ellie’s surprise when Kate visits with her beautiful, African-American wife, Samantha.  SWEET TEXAS RECKONING was the First Place Winner of the New Works of Merit International Playwriting Contest, the Artemisia Fall Festival 2016, and the Playwriting Contest of Panndora Productions in Long Beach, California, who produced the play’s world premiere in 2016. Julie Proudfoot, who has collaborated closely with Traci on developing the play, will direct Artemisia’s staging of this heartfelt comedy. 

I'll be there for the press opening June 7th. Can't wait to check it out.  



Top L-R: Molly Lyons, Scottie Caldwell

Lower L-R: Anita Kavuu Ng’Ang’A, John Wehrman

Appearing as Ellie will be veteran Chicago actress Molly Lyons, whose resume includes such disparate roles as the cabdriver in HELLCAB (Agency Theatre Collective), Kate Mayo in BEYOND THE HORIZON (Eclipse Theatre Company) and the title role in JULIUS CAESAR (Unbraced Theatre). Ellie’s daughter Kate will be played by Scottie Caldwell, who has worked in Chicago with Lookingglass Theatre Company, Windy City Playhouse, Strawdog Theatre Company, The Gift, Commission Theatre, First Floor Theatre, and Cor Theatre, among others, and most recently played Raina in City Lit Theater's ARMS AND THE MAN. Cast as Kate’s old flame Alan John is John Wehrman, who recently appeared in A Red Orchid Theatre’s TRAITOR under the direction of Michael Shannon, and as Pato in THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE for Bluebird Arts. Ellie’s wife Samantha will be Anita Kavuu Ng’ang’a, who has worked with Red Tape Theatre and the Goodman.

Playwright Godfrey, whose career includes acting in feature films like GRAND THEFT AUTO IV and V and television shows including LAW AND ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT, AS THE WORLD TURNS and THE SOPRANOS; as well as writing for feature films and the stage, says she drew from personal experience for SWEET TEXAS RECKONING. “Having grown up closeted in Texas, I am acutely aware of the pain and isolation of dealing with one’s sexuality,” Godfrey says. She adds, “Whether we encounter differences in thoughts about race, religion, sexuality, or political views, I believe our best approach to healing is one person, one family, one Theater at a time.”

SWEET TEXAS RECKONING was the winner of Artemisia’s 2016 Fall Festival of new play readings. At that point, it had already enjoyed a fully staged production by Panndora Productions in Long Beach, California earlier that year. The ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER named that production one of the year’s 10 Best, calling it a “superbly crafted comedy-drama … very much along the lines of the great works of Horton Foote, known for his lifelike dialogue and realistic approach to characters whose roots are often in the Deep or Rim South.” 

Since 2016, Proudfoot, who is a story analyst for HBO Films, has worked extensively with Godfrey to further develop and refine the script for this production. Proudfoot says, “I’m thrilled to see SWEET TEXAS RECKONING arrive at this stage of Artemisia’s process of developing new plays about women created as rich, nuanced characters who have agency,”

Artemisia will stage the Midwest Premiere of SWEET TEXAS RECKONING during Pride Month 2019 - from June 7-30, 2019 at The Den. Tickets for SWEET TEXAS RECKONING are $25 and are now on sale at www.artemisiatheatre.org. Windy City Times (www.windycitymediagroup.com) is the official media sponsor of 

SWEET TEXAS RECKONING
BIOS
Traci Godfrey (Playwright) has writing credits including the screenplays SPITTING IMAGE, THE PINK PERFECTION, and HOTTER THAN GEORGIA ASPHALT.  Her stage play SWEET TEXAS RECKONING was the First Place Winner of the New Works Of Merit International Playwriting Contest, Artemisia’s Fall Festival 2016, and Panndora Production’s Playwriting Contest 2015 where it received exceptional reviews with the full production.  SWEET TEXAS RECKONING was also a Finalist in both the NYC Thespis Festival 2015 and South Carolina’s CENTRE STAGE Playwriting Festival and was named “Best Of 2016 Theatre” in the Ocean County Register.  Some of her acting credits include long-time roles on LAW AND ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT and AS THE WORLD TURNS as well as numerous stage roles in New York, London and regionally.

Julie Proudfoot (Director) is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of Artemisia, A Chicago Theatre, a story analyst for HBO Films and an adjunct professor in the creative writing program at Roosevelt University.  Julie has 20 plus years of experience as a professional director and dramaturge developing and producing new work.  Julie won critical and audience acclaim for her direction of BELFAST GIRLS by Jaki McCarrick, in 2015, which played to sold-out houses as Artemisia’s American Premiere at the Den Theatre.  Julie curates Artemisia’s annual search for new feminist plays to be featured in its Fall Festival and selects from the festival a play to be developed into a world or regional premiere production in Chicago.  Julie has worked extensively with Traci Godfrey over the past two years developing SWEET TEXAS RECKONING for full production after directing its staged reading for Artemisia Fall Festival 2016.  Julie is thrilled to be nurturing feminist playwrights with Artemisia’s one-of-a-kind development process that culminates in remarkable and unforgettable productions.

June 7 – 30, 2019
Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3 pm
The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
All seats $25.00
More info & tickets at http://artemisiatheatre.org/plays/



ABOUT ARTEMISIA: A CHICAGO THEATRE
Founded in 2011, Artemisia is a professional theatre dedicated to the development and production of all new feminist plays that center on women who have agency, independence, and are the focal point of their own narratives. An annual search for cutting-edge and empowering stories culminates in a groundbreaking premiere production in Chicago.  Artemisia is a 501 c 3 organization and relies on public support to fund theatre that promotes equality and social justice for all women and girls. 

Artemisia Gentileschi was a Baroque artist whose paintings depicted violence with fierce honesty and elegance. For centuries after her death, her art was attributed to men. Feminist curators in the late 1970’s rediscovered Artemisia, who is now considered the greatest female painter prior to the modern period. A common theme in Gentileschi’s later work is women in moments of power, or triumph, which is why she is the perfect namesake for Artemisia. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Casting Announced: Midwest Premiere of SOMETHING CLEAN Via Sideshow Theatre Company & Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Sideshow Theatre Company & Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Announce Casting for the Midwest Premiere of
SOMETHING CLEAN
By Selina Fillinger
Directed by Lauren Shouse

June 16 – July 21, 2019 at Victory Gardens Theater



Sideshow Theatre Company and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble are pleased to announce casting for the Midwest premiere of Selina Fillinger’s breathtaking new drama SOMETHING CLEAN, directed by Lauren Shouse.

The cast includes Patrick Agada, Mary Cross** and Guy Massey.


(left to right) Guy Massey and Mary Cross. Photo by Michael Tutino.


SOMETHING CLEAN will play June 16 – July 21, 2019 at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.victorygardens.org, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in person at the Victory Gardens Box Office. 

Charlotte has been a mother for nineteen years, a wife for three decades and a respectable community member her entire life. But when her son is incarcerated for sexual assault, Charlotte is forced to reckon with a brand new identity, both public and private. Desperate to find a way back to who she was, she seeks out work at a sexual assault crisis center and meets Joey, a volunteer coordinator and a survivor of assault himself, who allows her a glimpse of who she might be able to become. Can she find a new understanding of who she is? Or has someone else’s crime defined her forever? Inspired by today’s headlines, Selina Fillinger’s breathtaking new drama follows one woman’s struggle to make sense of her own grief, intimacy, culpability and consent.

Comments Sideshow artistic director Jonathan L. Green, "Selina's exquisite play is the fifth premiere to come out of our commissioning program, The Freshness Initiative, and we're so happy to be collaborating with our friends at Rivendell, whose mission aligns with our own so well in this case, to bring it to life in Chicago."

Rivendell Artistic Director Tara Mallen adds, “This new play unflinchingly exposes the complexities of a mother struggling to reconcile her guilt and rebuild her family after her son’s horrific act. Selina’s profoundly resonant voice offers our audiences a new perspective on what it is to bear your children’s sins and Rivendell is excited to be a part of sharing this provocative new work with Chicago audiences.”

Something Clean is supported in-part by The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Melinda McMullen and Duncan Kime.

The production team to date includes: Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Noël Huntzinger* (costume design), Diane Fairchild** (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (props design), Gina M. Di Salvo* (dramaturg), Jennifer Aparicio (production manager) and Casie Morell (stage manager).

*Denotes Sideshow company member   **Denotes Rivendell company member


Mary Cross in a publicity image for Sideshow Theatre Company and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s Midwest premiere of SOMETHING CLEAN. Photo by Michael Tutino.


Location: Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago

Dates: Previews: Sunday, June 16 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, June 19 at 8 pm
Press Performance: Thursday, June 20 at 8 pm
Gala Opening: Fri June 21 at 8 pm
Regular run: Friday, June 21 – Sunday, July 21, 2019
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, July 4; there will be added performances on Wednesday, July 3 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, July 13 at 2:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews: Pay-what-you-can (online or at the door). Regular run: $20 – $30.  Students/seniors/industry: $15 for all performances (excluding opening). Tickets are currently available at www.victorygardens.org, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in person at the Victory Gardens Box Office.

About the Creative Team:

Selina Fillinger (Playwright) is an LA-based actress and writer. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied playwriting under the instruction of Laura Schellhardt. Something Clean was commissioned for Sideshow Theatre’s Freshness Initiative and workshopped in Roundabout’s Underground Reading Series. Other work includes Faceless (Northlight Theatre premiere, Joseph Jeff Award-nominated, regional productions at Zeitgeist Theatre, St. Louis Repertory Theatre and Park Theatre in London) and The Armor Plays: Cinched/Strapped (Available Light’s Next Stage Initiative, Alley All New, upcoming production at Theatre Three.) Selina is a 2018 recipient of South Coast Repertory’s Elizabeth George Commission and Manhattan Theatre Club’s Sloan Commission.

Lauren Shouse (Director) is thrilled to return to Rivendell after directing The Cake and Sideshow after the Freshness Initiative reading of Something Clean. Lauren is the Associate Artistic director at Northlight Theatre and a Jeff nominated director. Her recent directing credits include: What We're Up Against with Compass Theatre, The Legend of Georgia McBride at Northlight Theatre, Nice Girl and Betrayal at Raven Theatre; Avenue Q,  Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre, Long Way Down with 3Ps productions;  Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; Rear Widow at Chaffin's Barn Theatre, and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University where she directed Stop Kiss, Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Route 66, The Gift, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left Theatre. www.laurenshousedirects.com


2019 Year of Chicago Theatre

Sideshow Theatre Company and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble are proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at www.ChicagoPlays.com


About Sideshow Theatre Company:

Sideshow Theatre Company: Theatre for the Curious. It is the mission of Sideshow Theatre Company to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.

Over its 10+ year history, Sideshow is proud to have distinguished itself as a vital member of the Chicago theatre community. Sideshow was awarded the 2016 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theatre Award by the League of Chicago Theatres. Sideshow is a multiple Jeff Award-winning theatre and has been listed on the “Best of” lists in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018 by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times. Sideshow continues its multi-year residency at Victory Gardens in the historic Biograph Theater in the 2018/19 season.

Sideshow is also the producer of Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW), a wildly popular fundraiser held in benefit of Sideshow Theatre Company and other local community organizations. CLLAW has been featured in local and national press, including The Washington Post, Reuters and the Chicago Sun-Times and on WGN Morning News, ABC 7’s Windy City Live and CBS 2. The next CLLAW match will be held Saturday, July 27, 2019. For more information about CLLAW, visit cllaw.org.

For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit sideshowtheatre.org.


About Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is a professional company dedicated to advancing the lives of women through theatre.

Rivendell was born out of a specific need: women theatre artists are vastly underrepresented in American theatre, a situation which limits the range of stories produced for audiences. This situation skews our perception of the American experience toward a predominantly male perspective presented by men and it limits career opportunities for women artists - which helps perpetuate the disparity. Rivendell’s mission counteracts these circumstances by providing women theatre artists a creative home where they can nurture, develop, and produce their craft and by producing plays where audience see new voices and stories, including, in many cases, their own.

Since our first production in 1994, Rivendell has staged 48 plays and been honored with 30 Joseph Jefferson nominations and 8 awards. We are a national force in new play development and a home for women theatre artists.

In 2011 Rivendell took up residence in its first permanent home, in Chicago's north side Edgewater neighborhood. This development has enabled significant expansion of the company's programming, from itinerate productions created one at a time to the full three-show seasons, arts education programs, ongoing new play development, and numerous opportunities to provide the audience with more access to the art and artists.

For additional information on Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, visit rivendelltheatre.org.

Casting Announced: American Blues Theater's The Spitfire Grill July 12 – August 17, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
American Blues Theater Announces Casting for
The Spitfire Grill
Based on the Film by Lee David Zlotoff



Book by James Valeq & Fred Alley
Lyrics by Fred Alley
Music by James Valeq
Directed by Tammy Mader
Music Direction by Malcolm Ruhl

Featuring Dara Cameron, Ian Paul Custer, Karl Hamilton, Donterrio Johnson,
Jacquelyne Jones, Gabrielle Lott-Rogers, and Catherine Smitko

July 12 – August 17, 2019

American Blues Theater announces casting for the Chicago revival of The Spitfire Grill, based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, with book by James Valeq and Fred Alley, lyrics by Fred Alley and music by James Valeq. The Spitfire Grill, directed by Tammy Mader with music direction by Malcolm Ruhl, runs July 12 – August 17, 2019 at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave in Chicago. I'll be out for the press opening July 19th, so check back shortly after for my full review.

A feisty parolee follows her dreams, based on a page from an old travel book, to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah's Spitfire Grill. The New York Times calls THE SPITFIRE GRILL “a soul satisfying...work of theatrical resourcefulness” and The Wall Street Journal heralds its “soaring melodies”. 

The cast of The Spitfire Grill includes Dara Cameron* (Shelby Thorpe), Ian Paul Custer* (The Visitor), Karl Hamilton (Caleb Thorpe), Donterrio Johnson (Sheriff Joe Sutter), Jacquelyne Jones (Percy Talbott), Gabrielle Lott-Rogers (Effy Krayneck), and Catherine Smitko (Hannah Ferguson).

The creative team for The Spitfire Grill includes Sarah E. Ross* (scenic design), Jared Gooding* (lighting design), Lily Grace Walls (costume design), Rick Sims* (sound design), Mary O'Dowd (props design), Shandee Vaughan* (production manager), and Kate Ocker (stage manager).

Musicians include Ian Paul Custer* (piano), Greg Hirte (violin), Malcolm Ruhl (accordion), Scott Sedlacek (guitar / mandolin), and Magdalena Sustere (cello).

*American Blues Theater Ensemble and Artistic Affiliates. 



Dates:                          
July 12 – August 17, 2019 
Previews: July 12 – 14, 2019
Press Opening: Friday, July 19, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Run: July 20 – August 17, 2019

Schedule:                      
Thursdays:  7:30pm
Fridays:  7:30pm
Saturdays:  3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sundays:  2:30pm

Blues Views: 
free post-show discussions follow Sunday performances

Additional performances on July 17 at 7:30pm and August 14 at 2:30pm
& 7:30pm

No performances on July 13 or 20 at 3:00pm nor August 17 at 7:30pm

Location:                      
Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago

Ticket prices:                
$19 - $39
Box Office: Buy online at AmericanBluesTheater.com or by calling 773.654.3103.

Save the dates:




About American Blues Theater  
Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s prestigious National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home.  American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.  
  
The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago.  The 36-member Ensemble has 600+ combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2018, the theater and artists received 204 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 36 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.    
  
American Blues Theater programs and activities are made possible, in part by funding by The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at Prince, the Shubert Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, SMART Growth Grant, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Anixter Foundation, Actors’ Equity Foundation, and the Chip Pringle Fund. ComEd is the Season Lighting Sponsor.

Season Announced: ARTEMISIA 2019-2020 Season To Feature Two Fully-Staged Productions

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Season to kick off in November with THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS by Shaw and Evelyn Glover and conclude in June 2020 with World Premiere of Lauren Ferebee’s EVERY WAITING HEART.



Lauren Ferebee, winner of Artemisia Fall Festival 2018. Her play EVERY WAITING HEART will be developed at Artemisia to be presented as a world premiere in June 2020.  

In a departure from the company’s previous production model, but not from its mission of fostering the development of new feminist plays, Artemisia Theatre will mount two fully staged productions in 2019-20 and forego its Fall Festival of New Play Readings.  Artemisia’s previous seasons consisted of the Fall Festival and a single fully-staged production. 

Artemisia Founding Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot says, “While we will continue to actively solicit and develop new scripts, we’re excited about the opportunity to champion new work by reaching the larger audiences that will be attracted to fully staged productions. Additionally, we will revisit landmark feminist dramas in full productions to celebrate and learn from these classic pieces.” In that spirit, the company’s 2019-20 season will include both an evening of one act plays from the canon of British Suffrage Drama of the early 20thCentury, and the World Premiere of the winner of Artemisia’s 2018 Fall Festival – the drama EVERY WAITING HEART, by Lauren Ferebee.

Playwright Lauren Ferebee and Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot are thrilled about their artistic collaboration and partnership.  

Lauren Ferebee:  “It means so much to me to be working with a theatre that privileges the complex and intricate narratives of women's lives. It is especially meaningful for this play, which looks at different generations of women and what strength has meant to them. I am proud to be working with a theatre whose namesake was one of the greatest women artists of all time, a theatre whose work carries her legacy into our shared future.” 
Julie Proudfoot:  "EVERY WAITING HEART is extremely special and sublime in its fierce feminist examination of the characters’ shared crisis of faith.  Playwright Lauren Ferebee has given us something previously unseen and incredibly unique and inspiring."

FALL 2019 – THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS

Artemisia’s season opener will be THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS, running November 1-24 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. The program will be three one-act comedies focused on the importance of voting rights for women and will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America. 

One of the most influential writers of suffrage plays was Evelyn Glover, who dramatized the arguments of working-class women in particular, because of the criticism that was leveled at the Suffrage Movement - that only middle-class women would benefit from sexual equality and the vote. Artemisia’s THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS will include two of her most popular plays. A CHAT WITH MRS. CHICKY, which depicts a conversation between a suffragette charwoman and an upper-class matron; and MRS. APPLEYARD’S AWAKENING. The latter play is a comedy in which an anti-suffrage activist comes to realize the fallacies and illogic of her views.  THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS will also include George Bernard Shaw’s one-act comedy PRESS CUTTINGS, a farce satirizing British politicians and attitudes against suffrage.  The comedy imagines a time when suffrage activism led to an imposition of martial law and a chaotic society.


SPRING 2020 – The World Premiere of EVERY WAITING HEART

Artemisia’s Spring 2020 production will be the World Premiere of EVERY WAITING HEART, by Lauren Ferebee. The drama will be performed at The Den in June 2020 and directed by Artemisia Founding Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot. This winner of Artemisia’s 2018 Fall Festival, EVERY WAITING HEART centers on the relationship between an overworked single mother and her rebellious teenaged daughter. Sherri and Annette have been an unbreakable mother-daughter duo since childhood, but Annette's sudden rebellion terrifies her mother.  Desperate for help, Sherri goes to a speed-dating event at a Pentecostal church that unexpectedly changes the course of both of their lives and fractures the bond that has held them together for so long. A deep and intimate dive into what it means to be a strong woman, EVERY WAITING HEART is an unflinching examination of faith and the many variations of love. 

ARTEMISIA’S COMMITMENT TO NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT

Artemisia will continue its annual search for all-new feminist plays that empower women.  Chicago playwrights as well as playwrights with whom Artemisia has a working relationship will be invited to submit each year for consideration.  Artemisia’s Artistic Director Julie Proudfoot will curate the submissions and select one play to be fully developed into a world or regional premiere production in Chicago.  Ten plays and playwrights are finalists under consideration for Artemisia’s 2020-2021 Theatre Season.


GET TICKETS
In proud partnership with media sponsor Windy City Times, Artemisia Theatre presents SWEET TEXAS RECKONING during National Pride Month, June 7th-30th.

The voice of Chicago's Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, and Queer community since 1985.

BE SURE TO CATCH THEM #DownAtTheDen


Artemisia's Midwest Premiere of SWEET TEXAS RECKONING, by Traci Godfrey, is funded in part by a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. 

Artemisia is supported by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation's Gen Ops Plus strategy in the Chicago region provides general operations grants and an array of other kinds of support to help grantees sustain their artistry and strengthen their operations.

Artemisia's 2018-19 Theatre Season is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Artemisia Fall Festival 2018 was made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.

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