Monday, March 25, 2019

OPENING: The Second City's Greatest Hits to Play UP Comedy Club Along With the Return of Improv Brunch and Salute to Pride

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

The Second City announces a showcase of the Greatest Hits from previous decades with The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 90s Edition, The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 80s Edition, and The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 70s Edition. Each decade will play for a consecutive month on Tuesday and Wednesdays at 8pm, beginning in March 2019 at UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave.

For nearly six decades, The Second City has been the unparalleled comedy launchpad for legions of comedy superstars. The iconic alumni have written and performed countless sketches on Second City’s stages throughout the years, and we are bringing them back to life in a showcase of the decades: The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 90s Edition, The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 80s Edition, and The Second City’s Greatest Hits: 70s Edition.

"The Second City has what is quite possibly the most jam-packed archive in the history of comedy, and, with our 60th anniversary quickly approaching, there is no better time to look back on the many incredible scenes that were created on our stages by some of the funniest people to ever walk this flat earth," said Jen Hoyt, Vice President of Production.

These three shows put a current spin on Second City classics. 90s Edition will feature sketches created by all-star alumni like Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Horatio Sanz. 80s Edition will bring the laughs with material originated by Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Bonnie Hunt, and Tim Meadows. 70s Edition will highlight the work by John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, and John Candy, among many others.

The Second City’s Greatest Hits will perform on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8pm with the following schedule:

90s Edition:  March 2019, July 2019, October 2019
80s Edition:  April 2019, August 2019, November 2019
70s Edition:  May 2019, September 2019

In addition to The Second City’s Greatest Hits, UP Comedy Club is excited to announce the return of The Second City’s Improv Brunch on Sundays at noon, with bottomless mimosas and bottomless laughs beginning on March 24, 2019. To continue the excitement, The Second City’s Salute to Pride show will plant its rainbow flag in UP Comedy Club on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June at 8pm. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 312-337-3992

About The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.

2019 Year of Chicago Theatre
The Second City is 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.

OPENING: World Premiere of SMALL WORLD Via The New Colony at The Den Theatre March 27 – May 4, 2019

 ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

World Premiere!
The New Colony Presents
By Jillian Leff and Joe Lino
Directed by Andrew Hobgood

March 27 – May 4, 2019 at The Den Theatre

I'll be out for the press opening April 1st, so check back soon for my full review.

The New Colony, under the new artistic leadership of Fin Coe* and Stephanie Shum*, is pleased to continue its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of SMALL WORLD, a twisted comedy in the happiest place on earth, co-written by Jillian Leff and Joe Lino and directed by Andrew Hobgood*, playing March 27 – May 4, 2019 at TNC’s resident home, The Den Theatre’s Upstairs Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at

SMALL WORLD feature Ensemble members Patriac Coakley* and Stephanie Shum* with Jackie Seijo.

It’s the end of the world…maybe? There’s no way to confirm for three cast members trapped inside their attraction at the happiest place on earth. The music won’t stop, there’s a body in the moat and one of the group is impaled under a smiling animatronic. Can they force their way off the ride? And what waits for them on the other side? It’s a world of hopes, it’s a world of fears. It’s a small world, after all.  

Comments Co-Artistic Director Fin Coe, “We're getting back to our roots with Small World, a show that is getting the full New Colony Process; our Ensemble fell vocally in love with the concept, we greenlit it, and we've hit the ground sprinting – working with the playwrights to generate and polish it for this season. It's a gonzo workplace dark comedy gem, with all our signature weird humor and wild action.”

The production team for SMALL WORLD includes: Sotirios Livaditis (scenic design), Uriel Gomez (costume design), Alon Stotter (lighting design), Erik Siegling (sound design), Jennifer Wernau (props design), Zack Meyer (violence design), Zoe Benditt (dramaturg), Megan Johns* and Zach Weinberg (assistant directors), Doran Konja (script supervisor), Lila Gilbert (production manager), Evan Sposato (technical director), Monica Brown* (stage manager) and Cedar Larson (assistant stage manager).

Cast (in alphabetical order): Patriac Coakley* (Donny), Jackie Seijo (Becca) and Stephanie Shum* (Kim).

Location: The Den Theatre’s Upstairs Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Wednesday, March 27 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 31 at 3 pm
Press opening: Monday, April 1 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, April 4 – Saturday, May 4, 2019

Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Sunday, April 21 (Easter).
Industry Nights: Monday, April 15 at 7:30 pm and Monday, April 29 at 7:30 pm
Understudy Night: Monday, April 22 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: Previews: $10; Regular run: $20. Students/seniors: 25% off. Tickets are currently available at

*Denotes The New Colony Ensemble Member.

About the Artists

Jillian Leff (Playwright) is a Chicago based playwright and actor. She’s excited to be back at The New Colony after being the script supervisor and fight choreographer for Scapegoat and developing her play The Mark with The Writers Room. Her writing has been seen around the city with Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (Fly on the Wall), Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble (Forgetting) and Nothing Special Productions' Fight Night (The Mother-Load). Her short play Real Talk was a finalist for the 2015 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting and was published in The City Theatre Anthology 2015. Her play Missed Opportunities will be receiving its world premiere this winter with The Cuckoo’s Theater Project, where she is a company member. She is also currently working on developing The Private Life of Private Molly, a play about Deborah Sampson, with EDGE Theatre.

Joe Lino (Playwright) is making his playwriting debut with Small World. He’s mainly focused on acting, and in Chicago he has worked with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista, Drury Lane, The New Colony, The Cuckoos Theater Project, The Agency Theatre Collective,and Interrobang Theatre Project, where he is an ensemble member. Regionally, he has credits with Actors Theatre of Louisville in shows such as Dracula, A Christmas Carol and That High Lonesome Sound, which premiered at the Humana Festival. He has also performed Off-Broadway at the BAM Harvey Theatre in Charles Mee’s world premiere of The Glory of the World. He is a proud alumni of Ball State University, where he received a BFA in Acting.

Andrew Hobgood (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of The New Colony and led the organization for its first 10 years. He has been a working playwright, director and actor in Chicago for the last 15 years. His play, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, won Outstanding Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival before opening Off-Broadway in a production Ben Brantley of the New York Times called “raw and magnetic dementia…destined to attract a cult following.” 5 Lesbians is published with Samuel French and has been translated into over 15 languages and produced throughout the world. Hobgood’s other work with The New Colony includes writing and directing the new musicals Tupperware: An American Musical Fable, That Sordid Little Story, Rise of The Numberless and Plastic Revolution. His play reWILDing Genius was commissioned by the University of Chicago and premiered as part of Steppenwolf Theater’s Garage Rep series. Directing credits for The New Colony include Amelia Earhart: Jungle Princess, the original and commercial productions of FRAT, Hearts Full of Blood, which won Outstanding Script at the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival, B-Side Studio, produced in collaboration with The Inconvenience and the University of Chicago TAPS program, Orville and Wilbur Did It!, and MERGE. Recent acting credits include The Bear Suit of Happiness, The Terrible and Kinfolk. In 2010, Newcity Magazine named him one of the 50 People Who Really Perform for Chicago; in 2011, he and The New Colony were honored with the Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award; and in 2013 he and Evan Linder were two of six people on Chicago Magazine’s Cultural Power List of Theater Scene Stealers. Most recently, he authored Surviving Collaboration, a manual that teaches writers, directors and actors how to create new works using The Process, the development methodology used by The New Colony.

About The New Colony

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

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

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey Via American Blues Theater at Stage 773 March 29 – April 27, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

American Blues Theater Presents
the Chicago Premiere of  
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
by James Lecesne 
directed by Kurt Johns
featuring Joe Foust

March 29 – April 27, 2019

I'll be out for the press opening April 4th, so check back soon for my full review.

American Blues Theater continues its 2018-2019 Season with the Chicago Premiere of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, by James Lecesne and directed by Kurt Johns. The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey runs March 29 – April 27, 2019 at Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave in Chicago.  

Ensemble member Joe Foust* portrays every character in a small Jersey Shore town as he unravels the story of Leonard Pelkey, a tenaciously optimistic and flamboyant fourteen-year-old boy who goes missing. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, Leonard becomes an unexpected inspiration as the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind. 

The creative team includes Grant Sabin* (scenic), Jared Gooding* (lighting), Travis Bihn (costumes), Eric Backus* (sound), Kevin Rolfs (props), and Shandee Vaughan* (production manager / stage manager).

*Denotes Ensemble and Artistic Affiliates of American Blues Theater

Featuring: Ensemble Member Joe Foust* (solo performer)

Creative Team: Grant Sabin* (scenic), Jared Gooding* (lighting), Travis Bihn (costumes), Eric Backus* (sound), Kevin Rolfs (props), and Shandee Vaughan* (production manager / stage manager)

Dates: March 29 – April 27, 2019 
Previews: March 29 – April 3, 2019
Press Opening: Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Run: April 5 – 27, 2019

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

Town Halls: free post-show discussions follow Sunday performances

Additional performances on April 3 & 15 at 7:30pm and April 24 at 2:30pm

No performances on March 30 or April 6 at 3:00pm or April 27 at 7:30pm 

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

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

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. 

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theater

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Victory Gardens Theater Presents
with City Theatre Company and Merrimack Repertory Theatre
the Chicago Premiere of
Cambodian Rock Band

By Lauren Yee 
Directed by Marti Lyons
Featuring Songs by Dengue Fever
April 5 – May 5, 2019

Special Engagement
Dengue Fever at Lincoln Hall
May 1, 2019

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we adore Lauren Yee's writing and can't wait to catch the Chicago Premiere of Cambodian Rock Band! I'll be out for the press opening April 12th, so check back soon for my full review. There are a plethora of public programs in conjunction with the production so save the dates and engage in some thought provoking dialogue and in depth exploration of the show's themes. 

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 44th season with the Chicago Premiere of Cambodian Rock Band, written by Lauren Yee, featuring songs by Dengue Fever and directed by Marti Lyons. Cambodian Rock Band runs April 5 – May 5, 2010, with press performance on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. Victory Gardens is also pleased to announce a partnership with Lincoln Hall to present Dengue Fever in concert on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. 

Cambodian Rock Band is presented with City Theatre Company and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Following the run at Victory Gardens Theater, Cambodian Rock Band will be presented at City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, PA, September 14 - October 6, 2019, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, MA, October 16 - November 10, 2019.

Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American, has found evidence that could finally put away individuals who carried out the Cambodian genocide. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced—his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago—it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip. A wild rock-and-roll journey through the eyes of father and daughter, Artistic Director Chay Yew brings the world premiere journey of Lauren Yee’s (Samsara) Cambodian Rock Band from South Coast Repertory Theatre to Victory Gardens.

“Yee’s play is a fierce, gorgeous, heartwarming, comedic fairy tale.” – Los Angeles Times 

"Lauren Yee's Cambodian Rock Band is a work of incredible theatrical deftness, brutal honesty, pure heart and wit. Her play breathes life to the timely issues in our divided nation: immigration, race, genocide and human rights abuses; the rights of refugees and emigres; the consequences of apathy when a country shifts under a brutal regime; and the destruction of freedom of expression in the midst of political transitions and upheavals," says Chay Yew, Artistic Director. "In Lauren’s astute eyes, one thing remains consistent throughout our temperamental world: the constancy, the resilience and enduring power of art and artists. Cambodian Rock Band celebrates the indomitable legacy of art and music; how artists capture our individual and national spirit and hopes; and the uncanny ability of art to inspire, to affirm our humanity, and to bring us together."

The cast of Cambodian Rock Band includes Rammel Chan (Duch), Eileen Doan (Pou/Guard/Keyboard), Peter Sipla (Rom/Journalist/Drums), Greg Watanabe (Chum/Bass), Aja Wiltshire (Neary/Sothea/
Vocals), and Matthew Yee (Leng/Ted/Guitar).

The creative team includes Matt MacNelly (music direction), Yu Shibagaki (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), and Mikhail Fiskel (sound design).

Lead Partner for the Victory Gardens Theater production of Cambodian Rock Band is the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial located at 2831 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL.

About the Artists
Lauren Yee’s (Playwright) Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever, premiered at South Coast Rep and is also currently running at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, followed by La Jolla Playhouse. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at the Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, and American Conservatory Theatre, with future productions at Arts Club and InterAct Theatre. Honors include the Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List. She's a member of New Dramatists, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. She has written for Mixtape (Netflix). Current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, South Coast Rep, and Trinity Rep. She holds a BA from Yale and a MFA from UCSD.

Marti Lyons (Director) is a Chicago-based director currently directing How to Defend Yourself by Lily Padilla for the 2019 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. She will be at the helm of this play again as it makes its World Premiere at Victory Gardens Theater in the winter of 2020. She most recently directed Witch by Jen Silverman (Writers Theatre); Botticelli in the Fire by Jordan Tannahill (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe and Kings by Sarah Burgess (Studio Theater); Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (The Court Theatre); Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias (Victory Gardens Theatre); Twelfth Night (Montana Shakespeare in the Schools); The Mystery of Love and Sex by Bathsheba Doran (Writers Theatre); Short Shakes! Macbeth and Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Wit (The Hypocrites); The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina (Northlight Theatre Company). She directed Wondrous Strange by Meg Miroshnik, Martyna Majok, Jen Silverman and Jiehae Park (2016 Humana Festival). Title and Deed by Will Eno (Lookingglass Theatre Company) and a reading of Martin Zimmerman’s On the Exhale for the New Stages Festival at the Goodman Theatre, where she received the 2015 Maggio directing fellowship. Other projects include Laura Marks’ Bethany, Marks’ Mine and Will Nedved’s Body and Blood (The Gift Theatre); Catherine Treischmann’s Hot Georgia Sunday and Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar (Haven Theatre); Prowess by Ike Holter, The Peacock and Give it all Back by Calamity West, and The Last Duck by Lucas Neff (Jackalope Theatre); The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew (Raven Theatre); Mai Dang Lao by David Jacobi, 9 Circles by Bill Cain, Maria/Stuart by Jason Grote, and co-directed The Golden Dragon (Sideshow Theatre). Marti is an ensemble member at The Gift Theatre, an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre and a proud member of SDC.

Dengue Fever (Songs) began in the late 1990s with a 6-month trek through Southeast Asia by Keyboardist Ethan Holtzman. Returning to Los Angeles with a suitcase crammed full of Cambodian cassette tapes, Holtzman and his brother Zac, who had discovered the same music while working at a record store in San Francisco, reunited. The brothers soon bonded over their love of vintage Cambodian rock and in 2002 founded the band with saxophonist David Ralicke (Beck/Brazzaville), drummer Paul Dreux Smith, and bassist Senon Williams (Radar Brothers). Shortly thereafter the members were on hot pursuit for the ideal Cambodian chanteuse to complete their outfit. After a short period of musical courtship that began at a Cambodian nightclub in Long Beach, CA, Chhom Nimol joined the band when she realized the guys shared a genuine passion for the music and culture of her homeland.

That passion is a cross pollination of Khmer rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock and the British Invasion sound that has pushed the band to heights they could only dream of in 2002. Dengue Fever has performed in front of thousands of fans at such noted music festivals as WOMAD (UK, AUS, NZ), WOMEX (Spain), Melbourne Festival (AUS), Glastonbury (UK), Bumershoot, (USA), Transmusicales (France), Roskilde (Denmark), Electric Picnic (Ireland), Peace and Love (Sweden), Treasure Island (USA) among many others. Their songs have appeared in films such as City of Ghosts, Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, The Hangover 2, the Showtime series Weeds, the HBO’s hit series True Blood (which named an entire episode after one of their songs and featured the band’s music), the CBS series CSI: Las Vegas, and numerous independent documentaries.

Rammel Chan (Duch) has appeared regionally in Vietgone (Writers Theatre), King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre & Kirk Douglas Theatre), Oblivion (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), A Red Line Runs Through It (u/s Second City), Twilight: Los Angeles, and 1992 (Next Act Theatre Milwaukee).  Film and TV credits include: Cold War, End of the Tour, The Red Line (CBS), Crisis, Chicago Justice (NBC), Patriot (Amazon) and The Jamz (Netflix).

Eileen Doan (Pou/Guard/Keyboard) is making her Victory Gardens debut. Her Regional credits include: Anytown, New Kid (George Street Playhouse), Unto These Hills (Mountainside Theatre), Starstruck, Hair (University of Kentucky), and Jeff The Monster (University of Central Lancashire). Film/TV credits include: Now I’m Confused. Music credits include: Gently (single), A Matter of Time, Many The Miles, and One Of You.

Peter Sipla (Rom/Journalist/Drums) has previously appeared at Victory Gardens in Year Zero. Other Regional credits include: The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago),  Short Shakes!: Romeo and Juliet, Passion (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), South Pacific (Drury Lane Theatre), Newsies, City of Angels (The Marriott Theatre), Wizard of Oz, Miss Saigon (Paramount Theatre), Juno, Blood & Gifts, The Last Wife (TimeLine Theatre), Travels with my Aunt (Writers' Theatre), Macbeth, 50-minute A Midsummer Night's Dream (First Folio Theatre), Pacific Overtures (Porchlight Music Theatre), Hot Mikado (Skylight Music Theatre), Company (Brightside Theatre), Elephant's Graveyard (Red Tape Theatre), Aladdin, and Believe (Disney Cruise Line). His Film & TV credits include Chicago Fire.

Greg Watanabe (Chum/Bass) (Chum) Broadway: Allegiance. Off-Broadway: Ballad Of Yachiyo (Public Theater), Golden Child (Signature Theater). Regional: Romeo and Juliet (OSF), The Summer Moon (A Contemporary Theater, South Coast Rep), Extraordinary Chambers (The Geffen Playhouse), The Happy Ones (South Coast Rep), Exit The King (Shakespeare Theater of NJ), A Single Shard (People’s Light), Our Town (South Coast Rep), Hold These Truths (Perseverance Theatre, New Century Theatre). Film & TV: “Madam Secretary”,  “Criminal Minds”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Reno 911”, “Aquarius”, Only The Brave, Life Tastes Good.

Aja Wiltshire (Neary/Sothea/Vocals) has appeared regionally in Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore (Hypocrites and Olney Theatre Center), Aristophanesathon, Cinderella at the Theatre of Potatoes (Hypocrites), Merrily We Roll Along (Porchlight Music Theatre), Little Fish (Kokandy Theatre), Hookman (Steep Theatre), Spring Awakening (Griffin Theatre), The Wedding Singer (Haven Theatre), Closer, Next Fall, and The Lyons (AstonRep).

Matthew Yee (Leng/Ted/Guitar) Theatre credits include Vietgone, Twelfth Night (Writers Theatre), Once (Paramount Theatre), Treasure Island (Lookingglass Theatre Company), Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure, The Year I Didn't Go to School, A Year With Frog And Toad (Chicago Children's Theatre) and The Wheel (Steppenwolf Theatre Company). Television credits include “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago Justice” (NBC) and “Empire” (Fox).

Full Performance Schedule:
Previews for Cambodian Rock Band are April 5-11, 2019. Previews are $25-50. The Press opening is Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30pm. Regular performances run April 13 – May 5, 2019: Tuesday – Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm. Regular performances are $32-$65. 

Accessible Performance Schedule:

ASL Interpreted Performance: Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm

Word for Word (open captioning): Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm, Saturday, April 20 at 3:00pm and Wednesday, April 24 at 2:00pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, April 19 at 7:30pm (Touch tour at 6:00pm), Sunday, April 28 at 3:00pm (Touch tour at 1:30pm)

Performances are at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000, email, or visit Ask the Box Office about discounts for students, seniors, and those with access needs. Groups of 10 or more, call 773.634.9862 for discounted rates. 

Public Programs
Public Programs are events designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues within Victory Gardens’ productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions. Public Programs are composed of three distinct tracks: 

SALON: A post-show performance series bringing local artists, students, and/or organizations into the conversation of the play through their own work. 

PANEL: A post-show conversation with community leaders, playwrights, activists, artists, and educators. These panels use the play's themes to ignite a conversation about our world and the people in it. 

CELEBRATION: Pre- and post-show events celebrating the themes of the play through art, food, and community. 

Post-Show Conversations
After every performance of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND (unless otherwise noted)
Join us for one of our intimate post-show conversations. Led by members from the Victory Gardens community—artistic affiliates, artistic staff, and community partners— reflect on what you’ve seen and share your response.

Post-Show Conversation
April 9th | Tuesday | 9:45PM 
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
Cambodian Rock Band features an array of psychedelic surfer rock songs by Dengue Fever, an American band that fuses sixties Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock. During the Khmer Rouge's reign the genre disappeared with the death of the artists who created it, but the art form has now been given new life by Dengue Fever. How can art be preserved in the wake of war, displacement, and genocide? When art and artists are threatened, what can we do to keep the art-form’s legacy alive? Join us after the show in conversation with artists and scholars of endangered art forms as they discuss and celebrate the preservation and continued life of their art.

Post-Show Conversation
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
The Cambodian Heritage Museum and the Killing Fields Memorial were established in Chicago in 2004. Together these organizations make up one of only two Cambodian museums in America. For fifteen years, these sites have provided the Chicago public with an integral means of access to an ardent population of Cambodian storytellers, artists, and survivors. Join us after the show for a chance to dialogue with representatives of the museum as they keep the history and culture of Cambodia—along with their own personal stories—alive and thriving.

Post-Show Conversation
April 18th | Thursday | 9:45PM
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
Between the years of 1975 and 1994, 157,518 Cambodian citizens were admitted to the U.S.—97% of which were refugees of the Khmer Rouge. In Cambodian Rock Band Neary grapples with her father’s silence as a survivor, refugee, and immigrant, as well as her own disconnect with her family’s history. How do immigrant parents communicate their family histories of survival to their children, and how do families integrate these histories into their everyday lives? How do first generation immigrants and their children navigate the generational gap while negotiating the experience of living as an immigrant in America today?  Join us in conversation with first and second-generation immigrants as they discuss the power of oral histories, intergenerational communication, and familyhood.

April 20th | Saturday | 5:30 p.m.
Post-show Presentation and Conversation
In 2017, when gathering information to increase our knowledge about the experiences and conditions of racial and ethnic groups in Chicago, the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy discovered a major disparity: data collected - if at all - about Asian American populations in Chicago was either unreliable or unavailable. IRRPP moved immediately to work to eradicate this lack of investment in Asian American communities and in April 2018, they published their report, A Tale of Diversity, Disparity, and Discrimination: The State of Racial Justice for Asian American Chicagoans. Join us as we hear about their findings and learn about where were are now - and where we hope to go from here.  

Post-Show Conversation
April 24 I Wednesday I 9:45PM
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
In July of 2007—twenty-eight years after the end of the Khmer’s Rouge’s occupation—the first Khmer Rouge leader was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity with a lifetime sentence. While this was a long awaited victory for Cambodia, it was only the beginning—the three other surviving cadres have not received a verdict and may not live to see their sentence. What does legal and emotional justice look like after events of mass-trauma? How long does justice take? And how do entire countries, peoples, and religions find recovery in the aftermath? Join us in conversation as we spotlight the function of justice when the war is over but the legal battle has just begun.

Post-Show Conversation
May 3rd I Friday I 9:45PM
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
Nearly forty years after the Khmer Rouge’s rule, 2018 saw the deportation of over 200 Cambodian Americans that, like Chum, call America home. How do we define home—is it the sights? The smells? The feelings? How do experiences and memories of pain and struggle transform our understanding of where we belong, where we return to, and where we call home? And what do you do when the home you knew is gone, and the place you’ve fled for refuge threatens to deport you? Join us after the show in conversation with refugees and experts on displacement as we explore the complexities of conjuring a home in exile.    

Post-show Celebration
May 4 | Saturday | 5:30pm
Support and celebrate Cambodian businesses located right here in Chicago! After the show, join us in the Lobby for an incredible afternoon of performances, food, and music, highlighting Cambodian artists, restaurants and businesses. It’s a celebration you don’t want to miss!

Previews: $25 - $50
Regular run: $32 - $65

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. 773.871.3000;

Dengue Fever at Lincoln Hall:
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
Doors 8:00 PM / Show: 9:00 PM with Dos Santos Lincoln Hall (2424 N Lincoln Ave)
Tickets on sale
$22 Advance / $25 Door - 18+
Ticket Link

2018/19 Season Sponsors:
REAM Foundation, The Harvey L. Miller Supporting Foundation, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, Helen Zell

Season Sponsor Partners:
Conant Family Foundation; George A. Joseph; Marcelle McVay and Dennis Zacek; Jeffrey Rappin and Penny Brown; Jane M Saks, Nathan Cummings Foundation 

Major Production Sponsor:
National Endowment for the Arts, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation

Production Sponsors:
Betty Bradshaw; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Charles E. Harris, II, Mayer Brown LLP

Playwright’s Society 
Frederick Bates and Ellen Benjamin; Regina Cross; Linda Karn; Golden Country Oriental Food LLC, Indomie Instant Noodles; Sylvia and Larry Margolies; Roxanne Saylor & Coco Soodek, The Katherine Soodek Foundation; Sue E. Wallace

Student Matinee and Youth Engagement Sponsors:
Exelon, AllState, Capital Group Private Client Services

Travel Sponsor:
Southwest Airlines

In-Kind Sponsor:
Whole Foods Market

Lead Partner Sponsor:
National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial 

Partner Sponsor:
Foxhole Creative, Goose Island Brewing Company 

Major Season Support:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wallace Foundation.

About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.  

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis Alfaro, Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater. 

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The REAM Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wallace Foundation. Additional major funding comes from Crown Family Philanthropies, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Polk Bros. Foundation.

Major funders also include: Allstate, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, Field Foundation of Illinois, The Harvey L. Miller Supporting Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Time Warner Foundation, Inc.

Additional funding this season Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation Inc., Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Capital Group Private Client Services, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, ComEd, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Foods, Goldman Sachs, John R. Halligan Foundation, Illinois Humanities Council (with support from the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety + Justice Challenge), ITW, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Negaunee Foundation, Roberta Olshansky Charitable Fund, Origin Ventures, Pauls Foundation, PNC Financial Services Group, Prince Charitable Trusts, Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Foundation. 

In-kind support is provided by: Italian Village Restaurants, Southwest Airlines, Roy’s Furniture, Suite Home Chicago, Taco Joint, and Whole Foods Market. 

Capital improvement support from the Performing Arts Venue Fund at the League of Chicago Theaters, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Capacity Building support by Compass-Chicago.

Victory Gardens Theater is 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

For more information about Victory Gardens, visit  Follow us on Facebook at, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram @victorygardenstheater. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

OPENING: Midwest Premiere of THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS Via Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens Theater March 24 – April 28, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Midwest Premiere!
Sideshow Theatre Company Presents
Adapted from a radio text by Wolfram Lotz
Translated by Daniel Brunet
Directed by artistic associate Ian Damont Martin

March 24 – April 28, 2019 at 
Victory Gardens Theater

As Chicago's days are getting longer and lighter, there's a wave a dark drama hitting the stage. Catch some serious spring shows before summer's lighter fare. I'll be out to review the Midwest premiere of Wolfram Lotz’ shocking and surreal satire, THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS at the press opening March 28th, so check back soon for my full review. 

Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to continue its 2018-19 season with THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS, translated byDaniel Brunet and directed by artistic associate Ian Damont Martin*, playing March 24 – April 28, 2019 at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in person at the Victory Gardens Box Office.

The cast includes Meagan Dilworth, Nichole Green, Kenya Ann Hall, RjW Mays, Jasmine Traylor, Lisa Troi Thomas and Brittani Yawn.

The horror! The horror! Sergeant Oliver Pellner has clear orders: to travel into the savage wilderness, to find a colonel who has gone rogue, and to kill him. The man’s gone native, as they say: has killed his comrades and disappeared into darkness. Pellner and his pilot embark with confidence, but soon nothing makes sense anymore, as the river turns to mountains turns to jungle turns to black. Civilization dissolves in Wolfram Lotz’ stunning and disturbing comedy: a fractured spin on Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now and our shared history of barbaric colonialism. 

Comments artistic director Jonathan L. Green, “Ian's stylish production will introduce one of the most-produced contemporary German plays in years to Chicago: a hilarious, take-no-prisoners indictment of world history, of cruelty, of ourselves.”

The production team to date includes: Lauren Nigri (scenic design), Noël Huntzinger* (costume design), Sim Carpenter (lighting design), Michael Huey* (sound design), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (props design), Dani Wieder (dramaturg), Ellen Willett* (production manager), Chad Hain (technical director) and Liz Larsen (stage manager).

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

Previews: Sunday, March 24 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, March 27 at 8 pm
Gala Opening: Friday, March 28 at 8 pm
Regular run: Saturday, March 30 – Sunday, April 28, 2019
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm

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, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in person at the Victory Gardens Box Office.

*Denotes Sideshow Company Member.

About the Creative Team:
Wolfram Lotz (Author), born 1981 in Hamburg, grew up in the Black Forest region. He studied literature, art and media science in Konstanz and creative writing at the Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig. He writes plays, audio plays, lyric and prose and received several awards, including the Kleist Award for his play The Big March. His radio play The Ridiculous Darkness has been adapted and produced around the world and received the Nestroy Theatre Prize from the Association for Viennese Theatre.

Ian Damont Martin (Director) is a theatre/filmmaker who is pleased to represent Sideshow as an artistic associate. Ian is the associate artistic director of Haven Theatre and also the program manager of Enrich Chicago, an organization that works to realize anti-racism and racial equity in the Chicago arts community. Ian has worked with Goodman Theatre, Middle Coast Film Festival, The Gift Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, the DuSable Museum, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Midsommer Flight, Bloomington Playwrights Project, Youth Theatre Journal, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati. He received his BA in theatre and drama from Indiana University and his diploma in drama from the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, OH.

2019 Year of Chicago Theatre 
Sideshow Theatre Company is 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 


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

For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

OPENING: BUYER & CELLAR Featuring Scott Gryder at Pride Films and Plays April 11 – May 19

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

By Jonathan Tolins
Featuring Scott Gryder
Directed by Donterrio Johnson

April 11 – May 19

I'll be out for the Press Opening April 15th so check back soon for my full review. 

Emmy Award winner and Chicago Musical Theatre and Cabaret performer Scott Gryder will star in Pride Films and Plays’ upcoming production of Jonathan Tolins’s one-man comedy BUYER & CELLAR, directed by Donterrio Johnson. Gryder will play all the characters in Tolin’s comedy, but most notably, the role of Alex More - a struggling actor who takes a job managing a make-believe shopping mall in the basement of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu home.

Gryder’s Chicago stage credits include JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Lyric Opera) and THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Drury Lane Water Tower), THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES (Hell in a Handbag), AMOUR (Black Button Eyes), and SOUTH PACIFIC (Light Opera Works). He has performed in cabarets at such venues as Davenport's, Victory Gardens Theater, and Auditorium Theatre's Katten-Landau Studio. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University. MeTV’s GREEN SCREEN ADVENTURES earned him three National Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup.

BUYER & CELLAR was a 2013 off-Broadway hit, running for 13 months at the Barrow Street Theatre immediately after its sold-out world premiere at the Rattlestick Theatre. A national tour starring Michael Urie played Chicago for six weeks in 2014. It has been performed in many countries around the world since then. This will be the play’s first Chicago production since the tour’s engagement here.

Tolins, whose other playwriting credits include the gay-themed comedies LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE and THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS, was inspired to write BUYER & CELLAR after reading about Streisand’s real-life faux mall in her book, MY PASSION FOR DESIGN. Tolins’s comedy begins with the truth of the mall – a showcase for her collectibles like dolls and antique clothing – and imagines what it might be like to be the custodian of such a place for such a celebrity. BUYER & CELLAR is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs.

BUYER & CELLAR will be performed in the 85-seat Broadway Theatre of the Pride Arts Center. It will open to the press on Monday, April 15 following previews from Thursday, April 11; and will play through Sunday, May 19, 2019. BUYER & CELLAR joins the schedule of shows previously announced for spring at Pride Arts Center, including the musical SOUTHERN COMFORT, opening to the press on March 4; the drama AFTERGLOW, opening on March 27; and the world premiere of DESIRE IN A TINIER HOUSE on June 3. 

Scott Gryder (Alex More) has been seen throughout Chicagoland, with appearances including JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Lyric Opera Chicago), THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Drury Lane Theatre at Water Tower Place), and SOUTH PACIFIC (Light Opera Works). He has performed in cabarets at such venues as Davenport's, Victory Gardens Theater, and Auditorium Theatre's Katten-Landau Studio. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University. MeTV’s GREEN SCREEN ADVENTURES earned him three National Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. For more info, visit

Donterrio Johnson (Director) is excited to be back at home with Pride Films and Plays - this time behind the table directing this new exciting production of BUYER AND CELLAR by Jonathan Tolins. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for intricate storytelling that is thought-provoking and modernistic, Donterrio Johnson has created some incredible art as both actor and director over the past 15 years. He was a Jeff Award-winner for his Judas Iscariot in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR with Theo Ubique and has earned raves for his Dan in NEXT TO NORMAL and his Caldwell B. Cladwell in  URINETOWN, both with BoHo Theatre. He has also appeared in the Chicago cast of SPAMILTON and as Leading Player in PIPPIN at Mercury Theater and recently  returned from a year-long stint in the National Tour of WAITRESS. Johnson’s notable directing credits include: THE COLORED MUSEUM, 101 DALMATIANS , EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES WILLY WONKA, LAST FIVE YEARS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS  AND THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Donterrio has worked with companies such as Pulse Theatre Company, Prisco Center, and The REPA Center.

Previews Thursday, April 11 through Saturday April 13 at 7:30 pm, Sunday April 14 at 3:30 pm,

Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:30 pm through May 19
Premium seats $40, general admission seats $30, student/senior/military $25 (not valid Saturdays)

Flex Passes available for $144 are good for six reserved seats with priority seating for the patron’s choice of shows.
Pride Arts Center – the Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online at

Pride Films and Plays is working to produce year-round theater and film projects that change lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that are essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a five-play season of full productions, shoots one short film each year, and continues our famed play developmental projects. PFP is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center. 

Pride Arts Center produces events complementing the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions or feature national treasures like Charles Busch.  PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation. 

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Critically-Acclaimed Summer Presentations Include “Wiesenthal,” “Hitler’s Tasters” and Renée Taylor’s “My Life on a Diet”

Michael Pauken, General Manager of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, announced today that this summer three critically hailed Off-Broadway hits will come to the venue’s Northlight Theatre space.  Productions include “Wiesenthal,”  a gripping one-person retelling of the story of the legendary Nazi-hunter, Simon Wiesenthal; “Hitler’s Tasters,” the story of a group of young women who were enlisted to sample the Nazi Führer’s meals to ensure they are not poisoned and Renée Taylor’s “My Life on a Diet,” an autobiographical look at her many memorable roles, replete with juicy anecdotes about – and weight loss tips from – Hollywood legends.

“Our summer offerings feature three plays that are both moving and entertaining, sometimes in unexpected ways,” said Pauken.  “Both ‘Wiesenthal’ and ‘Hitler’s Tasters’ powerfully address the most difficult era of the 20th century in gripping and fascinating ways but also deftly employ moments of humor as they recount their protagonist’s stories. ‘My Life on a Diet’ is hilarious and revealing, yet also unexpectedly tender thanks to Ms. Taylor’s tremendous talent.” 

A Play about Nazi-Hunter, Simon Wiesenthal
Written by and starring Tom Dugan
Directed by Jenny Sullivan
Wednesday, June 26 - Sunday, June 30, 2019
Wed.-Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Ticket Range: $40-$60

Kicking-off the summer series will be a return engagement of “Wiesenthal,” a one-person play about Simon Wiesenthal, the tenacious holocaust survivor who was responsible for bringing more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice.  Written and starring Tom Dugan, the play was hailed by The New York Times as “moving…Wiesenthal’s persistence and hard-won humor are well conveyed” while the Huffington Post called it “heartfelt, deeply moving and compelling; (Dugan) makes history come alive.” “Wiesenthal” gives equal weight to its subject’s wisdom and wit, as he recounts stories from his long and purposeful life, including locating Adolf Eichmann (who oversaw the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps) and Karl Silberbauer, who found and arrested Anne Frank and her family. The production played two performances at the North Shore Center in October 2018 and is returning due to audience acclaim and demand.

“Hitler’s Tasters”
Written by Michelle Kholos Brooks
Directed by Sarah Norris
Friday, July 5 - Sunday, July 14, 2019
Tue.-Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Ticket Range: $32-$46

Three times a day, every day, a group of young women had the opportunity to die for their country. They were Adolph Hitler's food tasters. Based on true historical events, “Hitler’s Tasters” is a dark comedy about the young women who were forced to sample food to be sure it was safe to eat before it was presented to the Nazi Führer. What do girls discuss as they wait to see if they will live through another meal? Like all girls, they gossip and dream, they question and dance; they want to love, laugh, and above all, they want to survive.

Michelle Kholos Brooks’ script, which will be presented at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival following its Skokie engagement, was greeted with critical accolades upon its New York engagement.  American Theatre Magazine called it “a great essay on the banality of evil and how people sign up to do evil as long as it serves their purpose. And I also found myself to be extremely entertained."  New York Theatre Review called it “nothing short of breathtaking,” and Tony Award-winning director Susan Stroman hailed it as “one of the best evenings I’ve spent in the theater in a long time. It was interesting, entertaining, upsetting and made you think.”

“My Life on a Diet”
Written by Renée Taylor & Joseph Bologna
Originally directed by Joe Bologna.
Tuesday, July 16 – Sunday, August 4, 2019
Tue.-Thu. 7:30 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Ticket Range: $45-$92

Rounding out the summer series will be Renée Taylor’s autobiographical “My Life on a Diet.”  The Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actress looks back on a life full of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway and just as many fad diets. A self-described “diet junkie,” Taylor dishes out juicy anecdotes about—and weight loss tips from—Hollywood legends such as Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Marlon Brando and Cary Grant. By sharing her highs and lows—on and off the scale—as only she could, Taylor proves how the ability to laugh will get you through it all.

Reviewing the recent Off-Broadway run, The New York Times called “My Life on a Diet” a “lighthearted look at Taylor’s self-image and her quest for love…is a fascinating evocation of a woman with a weak body image and a strong sense of humor. A veritable depository of old-fashioned zingers…one-liners and well-timed pauses.” New York Stage Review awarded the show four stars, raving “You say you want a good laugh. If you’re truly serious about laughing heartily, you’ll get to Taylor recounting ‘My Life on a Diet’ real fast. It’s LOL funny.”

Renée Taylor, the play’s star and co-author, wrote 22 plays, four films and nine TV movies and series with her late husband Joseph Bologna. The two appeared together on Broadway in their plays “Lovers and Other Strangers” (1968), “It Had to Be You” (1981) and “If You Ever Leave Me … I’m Going with You!” (2001); and Off-Broadway in “Bermuda Avenue Triangle” (Promenade Theatre, 1997). For film, the couple received an Academy Award-nomination for the 1970 film adaptation of “Lovers and Other Strangers.”  Known for her Emmy nominated role of Sylvia Fine in “The Nanny,” her other notable TV acting credits include “Daddy Dearest,” “Dream On” and recurring roles in “How I Met Your Mother,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Happily Divorced” and currently Amazon’s “Gown and Out in Beverly Hills.” Her many film credits also include: Jerry Lewis’ “The Errand Boy,” Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” Elaine May’s “A New Leaf,” Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Lovesick,” “White Palace,” “Life During Wartime,” Tyler Perry’s “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” and more recently, “The Do-Over” and “How To Be a Latin Lover.” She last appeared at the North Shore Center with her late husband Joseph Bologna in 2005 in their Broadway play “It Had to Be You.”

Tickets go on sale Friday, March 22 at 10 a.m. at or by calling 847-673-6300. Two and three-show discounted packages are also available for purchase. Groups can book tickets by calling Group Theater Tix at (312) 423-6612.

About The North Shore Center
The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie is a dynamic two-theater complex designed by Boston architect Graham Gund and opened in November 1996. The North Shore Center is managed by Professional Facilities Management, Inc. and operates as part of the Village of Skokie’s plan to provide cultural, literary and educational programs to benefit the citizens of Skokie and Chicago’s North Shore. The facility features an 867-seat main theater, and a convertible 318-seat theater, which serves as the home to Northlight Theatre. In addition, there is a 6,000 square foot grand lobby, rehearsal hall and conference rooms. The North Shore Center presents a Feature Series and the curriculum-based Youtheatre program, which has provided supplemental arts education to over a million Chicago area students since its launch in 1980. Located 30 minutes from Chicago’s Loop and conveniently across from Westfield Old Orchard Mall, the Center is in close proximity to many excellent dining, shopping and hotel options. Free parking is also abundantly available. For more information or tickets to its diverse programming, please visit

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