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Sunday, October 13, 2019

REVIEW: WORLD PREMIERE of Bloody Bathory Via Barrens Theatre Co Now Playing Through through November 16, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Bloody Bathory
By Millie Rose
WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Molly H. Donahue


An immersive and interactive thriller putting you on the jury judging history's famous female vampire

All Production Photos by Les Rorick



REVIEW:
by bonnie kenaz-mara
* I'm keeping this review as spoiler free as possible, because Bloody Bathory is best experienced with few preconceived notions.


Barrens Theatre Company's Bloody Bathory is a preternatural romp through a crumbling, castle-like setting, where guests have the option to follow any or many of 17 characters. My 16 year old daughter and I chose to split up, so we'd see different story lines, and we both had a blast. We also had quite different experiences and were privy to unique secrets and storylines, even to the point of voting opposite each other as jury members. It was fun to compare notes after the show. 


My daughter, Sage, tailed one of the women in white with black corsets, who have the most energetic track with lots of running, pranking and haunting. Are they demonic fairy folk, ghosts of slaughtered teen girls who have gone missing in the castle, or something else entirely? Some characters can see them, they can certainly be heard and felt in the physical world, and their storyline travels forward and backwards in time. Are these recollections real or faulty fictions?

Sage got to do a lot of hands on participation and mess with other characters and audience alike, while running from room to room, and even outdoors. She initially wasn't sure if she wanted to catch the show with me, but was a total convert after, raving about how much fun it was and taking a handful of flyers for her theatre teachers and friends.


I started out following a poor, young girl, sent to the castle as a servant and never seen again. As paths crossed, I switched to following numerous different characters including Countess Bathory herself, the Cardinal, and others. Mine was a less physical track, sans running, but full of mental gymnastics. In the process I heard about love triangles, sadistic discipline, midwifery and healing practices, gender based power struggles, superstition and rumor, religious and royal power grabs, romantic tiffs, hexes, herbs, and hauntings. Between the proliferation of Dracula tales and this new-to-me story of Countess Bathory, I was left wondering WTF is wrong with the literally bloodthirsty, Transylvanian gentry of old?! Bloody Bathory is an amazing night of clever clue hunting and fabulously fun theatre, full of passionate characters, plot twists galore, intriguing locals, and sketchy shenanigans.



I'm sure the experience is different every night, and for each participant, even on the same evening. That said, here's a few helpful tips.

Know Before You Go:


1. Wear comfortable shoes and something warm. There's a wide range of options for audience participation from sedentary to downright athletic, but there are stairs to interesting locals and short exterior scenes available to explore. There are umbrellas and blankets if you're in need, but DIY is a good bet.


2. Enter through the front doors to the sanctuary. We easily found free street parking and located Epworth United Methodist Church, but wandered around with a group of equally lost souls, trying locked door after door. There wasn't signage or anything about where to enter in the advance materials. Turned out we were just a bit early! 


3.  Talk less, learn more. This is a show best enjoyed in silence. There's an eery soundtrack, a zillion clues, and characters who contradict others. No-one will jump out and scare you, touch you, or make you do anything against your will. Characters may enlist your help to do small tasks, if you're down for it. I mostly lurked and listened, fly on wall style, while my daughter ended up assisting her character with lots of pranking. 


4. Make a point to get to the cellar and through the hanging sheets at least once. There are fascinating environs all over, so explore the hidden nooks, in addition to the larger rooms where most of the action occurs. 

I've seen plenty of interactive theatre over the years and this is one of my favorites. BLOODY BATHORY is a show you could return to multiple times and catch new storylines with each visit. There was plenty of action, history, and mystery, and yet we were left wanting more. BLOODY BATHORY is a thoroughly enjoyable evening of macabre mayhem and magic, and a fall must see. Highly recommended. 



Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly).




The 16th Century Countess Elizabeth Bathory has been described as “the most vicious female serial killer in all recorded history,” and with her penchant for drinking the blood of virgins – a “beverage” she thought would keep her young – she is outrivaled only by Dracula in her fame as a vampire. Like Dracula, Bathory was born in Transylvania and it’s been said she enjoyed torturing and killing young girls before drinking and even bathing in their blood. No one knows what’s fact and what’s fiction in the legend of this bloody countess, but it’s all horrifying and is certain to scare the wits out of the audiences of BLOODY BATHORY, to be staged by Chicago’s Barrens Theatre Co. from October 1 through November 16. Epworth United Methodist Church, 5253 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago. Tickets on sale now. Click HERE.



In this world premiere drama by Chicago-based playwright Millie Rose, audience members can choose to follow any of seventeen characters and can move from space to space and jump freely from track to track over the course of the night.  Some of the characters will talk to the audience members or even ask them for help. Audience members will act as jury members ruling over the trial of Elizabeth Bathory and at the end of the show, decide if Elizabeth Bathory is innocent, or guilty. 

Rose’s script, which has been in development the past four years through workshops and readings, will be realized in an immersive staging by director Molly H. Donahue, who has worked with (re)discover theatre as the director of 50 SHADES OF SHAKESPEARE, as a creator and director of “The Guest” in FOR ONE, and as the dramaturg and developer on THE INNOCENTS.





Playwright Millie Rose herself will take the role of Elizabeth Bathory. The cast will also include Amy Carpenter (Zsofia, U/S Zita), August Stamper (Hanna), Cory David Williamson, (Janos Ficzko), Danny Turek (Cardinal Melchior Klesl, U/S Matthias), David Quiñones (Count George Thurzko), Ebony Chuukwu (Zita, U/S Bathory), Erich Peltz (Deseo the Castellan), Kayla Cole (Mira, U/S Katalin), Kelly Schmidt (Anna Darvolya), Kristen Alesia (Hedi, U/S Anna), Levi Schrader (Reverend Ponikenusz), Lo Miles (Katalin Beneczky), Maggie Miller (Kovac/Judge), Stephanie Mattos (Archduke Matthias), Tague Zachary (Benedek Toth), William Delforge (Ferenc Kalmar). Additional understudies will include Hannah Ewing (U/S Mira, U/S Zsofia), Lauren Walters (U/S Hanna, Hedi), Michel Bigelow (U/S Thurzo), and Richard Eisloeffel (U/S Toth/Kalmar/Ficzko).



L-R: Kristen Alesia,  Amy Carpenter, Kayla Cole, Wiliiam Delforge, Stephanie Mattos.
Middle Row L-R: Lo Miles, Maggie Miller, Erich Peltz, Millie Rose, August Stamper.
Third Row: L-R: Kelly Schmidt, Levi Schrader, Danny Turek, Cory David Williamson, Tague Zachary. Bottom row: Ebony Chuukwu, David Quinones.

The BLOODY BATHORY design and production team includes Amanda Vander Byl (Costume Designer), Owen Nichols (Lighting Designer), Matt Reich (Sound Designer), Nina D’Angier (Production Designer), Fight Choreographer (Molly H. Donahue), Kate Lass (Intimacy Designer), Brent Ervin-Eickhoff (Script Captain), Emilie Modaff (Music Director), Kristina McCloskey (Associate Director), Hannah Beehler (Production Stage Manager), Jamie Lyn Woods, Christian Tabotabo (Assistant Stage Managers), Emily "Red" Melgard (Crew Swing), and Les Rorick, Cory David Williamson and Millie Rose (Producers).





BLOODY BATHORY will be both immersive and interactive. The audience will have direct experience with the story and its characters, giving them the power to decide Bathory’s fate. Rose says, “Immersive theatre gives the audience purpose and investment in the story in a way that regular seated theatre cannot.  There is an exclusivity about it, a gathering, a camaraderie created.  The audience is not just watching the story but now they are a part of it. I believe we attend the theatre because we want to experience something outside of ourselves and our own lives.”

ABOUT THE BARRENS THEATRE 
Inspired by Stephen King's epic novel, IT, the barrens were a place where nightmares truly existed.  Nightmares reveal the existence of our deepest fears as well as our greatest desires.  

We, at The Barrens Theatre, want to examine the intricacies of human behavior, how we cope with fear and hope and desire in scary places.





BIOS
Millie Rose (Playwright) is an actor and playwright. She also creates her own murder mystery parties. Millie has worked in Chicago over the past four years with a number of different theatre companies including Filament Theatre, Arc Theatre, New Colony, Bluebird Arts, Pride Films & Plays and About Face Theatre.  She participated in the New Colony's Writer's Room 2.0. She is a neighbor with The Neighborhood Theatre. She received her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Idaho.  

Molly H. Donahue (Director) is a Chicago based director and new works developer. She has worked with (re)discover theatre as the director of 50 SHADES OF SHAKESPEARE, a creator and director of “The Guest” in FOR ONE, and as the dramaturg and developer on THE INNOCENTS. She is proud to be a founding member of The Barrens Theatre Co. Recently she has directed the Out of Time 24 Hour Play festival as we well as The Bloody Bathory Project in 2018. She is passionate about immersive artforms and challenging artists and audiences alike to see each other in a new light. She is so excited to be directing Bloody Bathory 2019!  

Kristina McCloskey (Associate Director) is a freelance director and producer from Virginia, based in Chicago. Recent directing credits include THE LITTLE FOXES at Citadel Theater, EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN with Dandelion Theatre, and an immersive staged reading of RICHARD III with Midsommer Flight/Unbound Theatre Co. She was Executive Producer of BLOODY BATHORY with Barrens in 2017. Kristina is also an Associate Artist with Dandelion Theatre Company and has had the good fortune to work with 16th Street Theatre, Midsommer Flight, Tarleton/Dawn Productions, and Griffin Theatre. Kristina is passionate about development opportunities for artists in Chicago, including devising and developing new work as well as adapting classic texts. She is equally obsessed with homesteading and every dog she meets (especially corgis). kristinamccloskey.com

Production Details:
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm (Tuesday, October 1 at 8 pm)
Epworth United Methodist Church, 5253 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago
Tickets: Previews $17, Regular performances $27. Tickets on sale now. Click HERE. Additional show information at www.thebarrenstheatreco.com

Friday, October 11, 2019

Verdi's LUISA MILLER at Lyric Opera of Chicago October 12 - 31, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Verdi's tragic romance 
LUISA MILLER 
opens Saturday, October 12 at 
Lyric Opera of Chicago
conducted by Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola
October 12 - 31


Verdi’s heart-wrenching romantic drama Luisa Miller returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time in more than three decades on Saturday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m. Enrique Mazzola, Lyric’s music director designate, will be on the podium.

There will be six performances through October 31 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $39 for adults and $20 for children, and are available now at lyricopera.org/Luisa or by calling 312-827-5600.

Luisa Miller features an outstanding international cast of acclaimed Verdian artists. Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova is sweet, vulnerable Luisa, who loves and is loved by Rodolfo (Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja), the son of ruthless, unethical nobleman Count Walter (American bass-baritone Christian Van Horn/Ryan Opera Center alumnus) whom Luisa’s own father Miller (American baritone Quinn Kelsey/Ryan Opera Center alumnus) loathes. To keep the lovers apart, Walter employs the help of his retainer Wurm (American bass Soloman Howard/Lyric debut), who wants to marry Luisa himself. An arranged marriage between Rodolfo and Duchess Federica (Russian mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova) further complicates Luisa and Rodolfo’s desperate situation.

The revelatory arias, breathtaking duets, thrilling ensembles, and electrifying orchestration of Luisa Miller foreshadow Verdi’s famous mid-career operas, marking his transition from bel canto to his own compositional style. These performances mark an exciting opportunity to experience a largely unfamiliar work by a well-known and beloved composer. The opera’s libretto by Salvadore Cammarano is based on the play Kabale und Liebe by the German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller. Luisa Miller has been presented only once previously in Lyric’s 65-year history, during the 1982 season. You can hear musical excerpts here (scroll down to "Learn More").

Lyric’s music director designate, Enrique Mazzola, is a lauded expert in conducting early Verdi, as well as bel canto and French opera. (Previously at Lyric he led acclaimed performances of two bel canto masterpieces, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Bellini’s I puritani). Luisa Miller marks the first installment of Lyric’s Early Verdi Series, to be presented over the coming years and which will be conducted by Mazzola.

The production of Luisa Miller is directed by Francesca Zambello, with open, evocative set designs by Michael Yeargan, traditional-period costume designs by Dunya Ramicova, and dramatic lighting design by Mark McCullough. Lyric’s chorus master is Michael Black, and August Tye is the choreographer for this presentation.

Performance dates for Luisa Miller are October 12, 16, 20, 25, 28, and 31. Performance times vary.

For tickets and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to lyricopera.org/Luisa Tickets start at $39.

Luisa Miller is performed in Italian with projected English translations.

About Lyric 
Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera.  The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.  

Under the leadership of general director, president & CEO Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, music director designate Enrique Mazzola, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration and evolving learning opportunities, ever more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences.  We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming and artists - magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

Join us @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric1920 #LongLivePassion.

Production sponsors: NIB Foundation, Julie and Roger Baskes, the Henry and Gilda Buchbinder Family Foundation, Liz Stiffel, and The Nelson Cornelius Production Endowment Fund.

Luisa Miller is a San Francisco Opera production.


COLLABORATION WITH WORLD-RENOWNED CHEF RICK BAYLESS AND WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE IN 2021

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE TO STAGE THE WORLD PREMIERE OF AN ORIGINAL FARCE IN COLLABORATION WITH WORLD-RENOWNED CHEF RICK BAYLESS IN 2021

Rick Bayless by Galdones Photography 

“Boys in the Band” to Begin Performances Jan. 29; “Every Brilliant Thing” Continues through Dec. 8

Despite the long lead time on this opening, slated for 2021, we're beyond excited for this collaboration and can't wait to share the news with our readers! 
I adored Rick Bayless in Cascabel: Dinner – Daring – Desire, a circus/theatre/fine dining extravaganza that was too much fun. I'm overjoyed to hear there will soon be another Chicago based theatre/Bayless world premiere.

Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein announced that the theater will be collaborating with James Beard Award-winning chef Rick Bayless on a yet-to-be-named theatrical project to be presented at Windy City Playhouse’s flagship location in the first quarter of 2021. Bayless, Rubenstein and Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger are teaming up to create a fully immersive theatrical, culinary farce; audiences will enjoy special tastes crafted by Bayless as the hilarity unfolds. The story revolves around a special event at a well-known restaurant where everything that could possibly go wrong occurs, sending the restaurant staff into a tailspin. A drunk chef, a couple in crisis, a dishonest health inspector and a spy from a competing restaurant all contribute to chaos with hysterical results.

Windy City Playhouse’s production of Duncan MacMillan’s “Every Brilliant Thing,” starring Rebecca Spence and directed by Jessica Fisch, opened last week to rave reviews. In the Chicago Tribune, Chris Jones awarded the production four stars, calling it “a really beautiful, kind and lovable little show that, in the 72 hours since I left the theater, has buoyed me, amused me, warmed me and challenged me.” Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, Kris Vire called the show “breathtaking,” adding that it reminds “us to take stock of joy and possibility and human kindness.” Kerry Reid, reviewing for The Reader, wrote “when it comes to making us all feel welcome and valued, this show is, well, brilliant.” And reviewing for WTTW-TV, Hedy Weiss wrote “Windy City has proven itself to be a master of ‘immersive theater,’ a theatrical form that heightens the interplay between actors and audience, and cleverly removes ‘the fourth wall,’ that traditional ‘boundary’ between performer and spectator. ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ is its latest marvel.” Tickets for “Every Brilliant Thing” are now on sale through Dec. 8.

Windy City Playhouse’s production of Leslie Liautaud’s “Southern Gothic” will complete its Chicago run Sunday, Oct. 27, having played 20 months (originally opening Feb. 14, 2018). At the conclusion of its run, the play will have been seen by 14,000 audience members, will have employed more than 100 artists and served up more than 250 cans of Spam and 2,310 Twinkies. The theater’s production of Jonathan Caren’s “The Recommendation” will close Sunday, Oct. 20, having played 111 performances, and dispensing 2,400 Jello shots and the contents of 24 family-size bags of wonton chips.

Next up will be an immersive production of Mart Crowley’s revolutionary play, “The Boys in the Band” directed by Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger, beginning January 29, 2020. Set in 1968, the play is set at the birthday party of Harold, who is turning 32. Luckily, friend-enemy Michael is there with six mutual friends to help him ease into his early 30s. The party is all jokes and catty quips until the host proposes a playful game of truth or dare. What happens when you put eight complicated gay men - out, closeted, flamboyant, or "passing" - in one room with all their grudges? On the heels of the recent hit Broadway revival, this landmark play comes to Chicago for the first time in 20 years. In the signature Windy City Playhouse style, audience members will sit inches from the prototype personalities during the pre-Pride era.  Reviewing the recent revival, Dave Quinn of People raved “If there were ever a time to revisit ‘The Boys in the Band,’ it’s now.” Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov.1; the press performance will be announced at a future time.

“I am proud to say that Windy City Playhouse has found its stylistic groove,” said Rubenstein. “For a theater company to be successful in a city as competitive as Chicago, it must establish a unique voice. I feel that we have audiences have come to expect something truly unique when they visit our theater, an experience where they truly become involved in the action not as a passive observer, but where they are almost a participant. Our guests tell me that they know that every production will deliver something completely different but always exciting, thought-provoking and moving. Our upcoming productions will continue in that vein.”

About Rick Bayless 
Most people know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” besting the competition with his authentic Mexican cuisine. His highly rated public television series, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” is broadcast coast to coast and his nine cookbooks have earned multiple high-profile accolades. Located in Chicago, Bayless’ Frontera Grill and Topolobampo have each received the “Outstanding Restaurant” designation from the James Beard Foundation — an unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants. His wildly popular fast-casual Xoco has been around since 2009 and Tortas Frontera at Chicago’s O’Hare airport has changed the face of airport dining.

In 2016, he opened two new critically acclaimed restaurants in Chicago’s bustling West Loop neighborhood — the Baja-inspired, wood-fired Leña Brava and the adjacent Cervecería Cruz Blanca, a craft brewery and taquería. Also in 2016, he opened Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs. In 2018, Bayless’ opened Bar Sótano, a Oaxacan inspired mezcal bar with modern Mexican bar food.

Always a philanthropist, Bayless and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation in 2003 to support small Midwestern farms. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200 grants totaling more than $2 million. He also launched the Frontera Scholarship, a culinary school scholarship for Mexican-American students in Chicago. The Government of Mexico has bestowed on Bayless the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle–the highest decoration bestowed on foreigners whose work has benefitted Mexico and its people.

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

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

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

  

HELP OUT: Hell in a Handbag Productions' Annual Benefit THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST Returns Saturday, November 9, 2019


Hell in a Handbag Productions’ Annual Benefit
THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST
Saturday, November 9, 2019 
at Ebenezer Lutheran Church


Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to present its annual benefit, THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST on Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 6 – 11 pm at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets ($75 in advance) are currently available at www.handbagproductions.org (via Brown Paper Tickets) or by calling (800) 838-3006.

The stars – dead and alive – are coming out in droves to roast everyone’s favorite Hollywood has-been, Rip Nelson (Ed Jones*), described as a mash-up of Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly and Rip Taylor. The celebrity line-up includes Lucille Ball (David Cerda*), Bette Midler (Caitlin Jackson*), Liza Minnelli (Alexa Castelvecchi), Doug Henning (David Lipschutz*) and Dame Maggie Smith herself (Danne Taylor*). The star-studded evening also includes a full course of your favorite TV dinner-style comfort foods by Chef’s Joey Chiapetta and Adam Ordish with hearty helpings of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and other favorites, desserts from Bubbie’s kitchen (Nancy Lipschutz) and refreshments, plus games, raffles, silent auctions and a few surprises.

All proceeds benefit Hell in a Handbag Productions, Chicago’s leading camp and parody theater company.

EVENT DETAILS:

Name: THE RIP NELSON CELEBRITY ROAST

Date: Saturday, November 9, 2019

Time: Doors open at 6 pm, dinner is served from 6:30 – 8 pm; celebrity roast at 8:15 pm.

Location: Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago
Tickets: $75 in advance; $85 at the door. Includes food, two drink tickets and the roast. Industry tickets are now available here- https://handbagbenefit2019.bpt.me/.

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Members

About Hell in a Handbag Productions

Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit. For additional information, visit www.handbagproductions.org.

REVIEW: World Premiere of INVISIBLE Via Her Story Theater Now Playing Through November 3, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

INVISIBLE
Written by Mary Bonnett
Directed by Cecilie Keenan


The World Premiere of a play about the Women's Ku Klux Klan 
in 1920's Mississippi


REVIEW:
by bonnie kenaz-mara

Her Story Theater's Invisible is full of characters you'll love to hate. These women, in a small Mississippi town in 1925, are the most dangerous kind of self-righteous, southern bigots, who justify hate crimes, violence, and even murder in the name of Christianity and white supremacy. Though subservient to their husbands and sometimes even domestic violence abuse victims themselves, these women have power and use their smarts, social standing and ability to ostracize to amass an army for the first Women’s Ku Klux Klan. The clan not only harassed and hurt African Americans, but Jews, Catholics, and even disenfranchised whites who were perceived as "other" as well. Greed, deception, corruption and theft ran rampant among the ranks of the KKK movement, which eventually imploded, but not before amassing a frightening number of members. This period piece is a stark reminder of how little has changed in 100 years, as white supremacy, scapegoating immigrants, and race based discrimination is once again gaining mainstream credibility in our current political climate.


Invisible is a character driven exploration of a moment in history, between world wars, where immigrants were maligned, race based violence was condoned, and patriotism and Christian religion got twisted to justify horrific ends. It's an era of errors we'd best remember as a country, as we teeter on the bring of repeating it. 

There is a bright spot in the morass. Without revealing too many spoilers, there are those who step up embrace human decency regardless of skin color, heritage or religion, just because another person is in need. Invisible has a wonderful character, a well educated artist from Chicago, who has gone back to the location of family trauma and tragedies to challenge the status quo with poetry, music, activism and acts of human kindness. We're also huge fans of the swamp foundling who can hear and speak to the dead. There's also a compelling mystery around the lineage of "ghost girl" and an intriguing dose of the supernatural, which makes Invisible great storytelling. This production has nuance and depth, and avoids coming across as preachy, on a tough topic.



Invisible also does an excellent job of including conflicted characters, trying to do the right thing. In every movement there are those who embrace an ideology for financial reasons, out of fear, or for other reasons aside from true belief in the cause. It's telling that the core KKK women relied on bullying and fear of financial ruin to control this segment of their base. Even white women were seen as "other" if they were Irish, not born in town, or showed any slight immodesty, impropriety, or rebellion. 

 

The casting is excellent, and Maddy Flemming and Lisa McConnell are particular standouts. Though the subject matter is heavy, particularly the end with video projections of throngs of hooded KKK members, it's a story that needs to be seen. As long as hate crimes and immigrant bashing are still happening, racial inequality is acceptable, and religion is used to justify hate, there's a need for theatre and art to shine a light in those dark corners, and make audiences think and feel again. Kudos to Her Story Theater for bringing this world premiere to life on stage. 


Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly).



INVISIBLE imagines a woman in a small Mississippi town in 1925 who is forced to reconcile her involvement in the modern Women’s Ku Klux Klan movement with her religious beliefs and sense of decency. Wrapping their anti-immigrant mission in a cloak of patriotism following the passage of women’s suffrage, Mabel Carson’s neighbors have convinced her of the justness of their cause, but the arrival in town of a Chicago newspaper reporter just as their WKKK chapter is gaining momentum forces Mabel to question her beliefs. INVISIBLE is a powerful and suspenseful drama in the tradition of American southern-set narrative fiction.

Performance Details
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, plus Saturday, November 2 at 3 pm

Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Tickets: https://www.stage773.com/show/invisible, 773-327-5252

PRICES: $35.00, Students $15.00
For information on group rates, visit www.HerStoryTheater.org or call 312-835-1410.

Info: www.HerStoryTheater.org

In the 1920s in America, the Women's KKK came into being. By then Black Codes in the South were firmly in place; the oppression was profound and often violent. Unlike the Klans of the Reconstructionist Era and Civil Rights Movement who specifically targeted the African American community, this Klan turned its main attention toward Immigrants, Catholics and Jews. 

Under the guise of an all welcoming flag of patriotism, they wrapped themselves up in Nationalism, Nativism and Purity -- 100% American. "America for Americans". The newly formed Women's Klan of that era fought their way to power after winning the women's right to vote. They infiltrated churches, schools, civic organizations and appealed to motherhood, the future and safety of children. 

They were the inventors of "Poison Squads" who spread lies and destroyed reputations. If any of this reminds you of today's climate, come see this show and understand what we collectively inherited from this brief but impactful time in history. It was a movement that swept the nation. It was when the Klan went mainstream in America. While the plot and characters of INVISIBLE are imagined, the descriptions of the WKKK activities are accurate, and actual historical figures are mentioned as off-stage characters. 

Cast 
left-right: Morgan Laurel Cohen, Richard Cotovsky, Maddy Flemming, Brad Harbaugh.
Lower row left-right: Barbara Roeder Harris, Megan Kaminsky, Lisa McConnell.

INVISIBLE was written by Her Story Theater’s Producing Artistic Director Mary Bonnett, author of the company’s earlier productions that comprised its “Chicago Sex Trafficking Cycle.” The cycle includes SHADOW TOWN, voted one of the 2013 “Ten Best Productions of the Year” by Chicago Theater Beat; THE JOHNS, MONEY MAKE ‘M’ SMILE for youth, and 2018’s breakout hit MONGER, of which the SUN TIMES said “It lands with a crushing (and factually supported) weight.”  SPLASH MAGAZINE gave it four stars, saying, “The Play’s action is mesmerizing; at a tightly crafted 75 minutes… it hits many nerves at once; anger, disbelief, compassion, fear and a desire to help.” BUZZ CENTER STAGE said “What I really want is for you to go see this play. This is something real.”

INVISIBLE will be directed by longtime Chicago director Cecilie Keenan, who earned raves for her direction of WEDDING BAND in 2017 for The Artistic Home. That production prompted Tony Adler, the then-theater editor of the READER to declare “ So praise the Lord, as one of its characters would certainly say, for the Artistic Home revival of Childress's WEDDING BAND.”

INVISIBLE will be the first HerStory Theater production to be eligible for Chicago's Jeff Awards.



HER STORY THEATER
Her Story Theater is a theater for social change. Through theater and the written word, our mission is to shine bright lights in dark places on women and children in need of social justice and community support.  Since 2011, we have partnered with countless organizations to raise awareness on current issues that impact women and children.

Sponsored by the Oppenheimer Family Foundation


Thursday, October 10, 2019

REVIEW: The Hound of the Baskervilles Via City Lit Theater Now Playing Through November 10, 2019

The Hound of the Baskervilles
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted and Directed by Terry McCabe



Now playing through November 10, 2019
*running time is 2:15 including one 10-minute intermission*

REVIEW:
by bonnie kenaz-mara

Does fall put you in the mood for a misty moors mystery? It was my pleasure to catch City Lit's excellent, Jeff recommended production of The Hound of the Baskervilles last Sunday. They've created an intriguing set and cast top Chicago actors worthy of bringing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic characters to life. Why mess with success? Dynamic duo, James Sparling and Adam Bitterman return to play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, as they did in City Lit’s prior productions of THE SEVEN PER-CENT SOLUTION and HOLMES AND WATSON. These two are the epitome of Holmes and Watson and a joy to see in action. The rapport of these consummate storytellers is palpable and makes this production a must see. 



If I have one complaint with the production it's that their hound sounds more like a duck call or a kazoo and nothing like the baying or howling of a giant canine. It's more humorous than harrowing and distracts from the plot. I've seen other productions of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES where the hound sound cues were haunting and chill inducing. City Lit's is sadly not one of those. 

Conan Doyle’s novel was published in book form in 1902 and over 20 film and television adaptations of it have been produced, so the bar is high to make yet another production unique. City Lit's live violin player in the audience adds much to the atmosphere. With a strong supporting cast and an interesting adaptation to work from, overall this rendition is a standout. 


Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly).



City Lit Theater’s Artistic Director Terry McCabe directs the company’s new staging of his 2007 Jeff Award-nominated adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES is one of four novels Conan Doyle wrote featuring the master detective Sherlock Holmes. THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES will play through November 10, 2019.

They will be joined by Dylan S. Roberts (Dr. James Mortimer), Dylan Jost (Sir Henry Baskerville), David Fink (Stapleton), Rebecca Sparks (Beryl Stapleton/Mrs. Barrymore), Hilary Hensler (James/Laura Lyons), T.C. Fair (Hotel Clerk /Barrymore), Alex Demetralis (Cabman/Postmaster/Selden/Inspector Lestrade), and Jerry Bloom (Perkins/Frankland).



The design team will include Ray Toler (set), Daniel Salazar (lighting), and Lily Grace Walls (costumes). The production will feature an original musical underscoring composed by Ben Chang and performed live on the violin by Eugene Kaler during performances.


Top row L-R: James Sparling, Adam Bitterman.
Second row L-R: Jerry Bloom, Alex Demetralis, T.C. Fair, David Fink.
Third row L-R: Hilary Hensler, Dylan Jost, Dylan S. Roberts, Rebcca Sparks.
All Production photos by Steve Graue 

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES follows Holmes as he investigates one of the most extraordinary cases ever to challenge his brilliant analytical mind.  The sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville reignites rumors of a legendary hound said to haunt the Baskerville family, and Holmes and Watson are asked to ensure the protection of Sir Charles' only heir, Sir Henry. In an isolated mansion surrounded by mile after mile of wild moor, Holmes and Watson come face to face with a terrifying evil that reaches out from centuries past. 

Season subscriptions good for all performances are available at $90.00, and preview performance subscriptions are available for $68.00. Subscriptions may be ordered online at www.citylit.org. Single tickets priced at $28 for previews and $32 for regular performances are on sale at www.citylit.org  Senior prices are $23 for previews and $27 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances.



THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted and Directed by Terry McCabe
Now playing through November 10, 2019

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm and Mondays October 28 and November 4 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run Sunday, October 6 - Sunday, November 10
Regular run ticket prices $32.00, seniors $27.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
More info and tickets available at www.citylit.org or 773-293-3682

The death, quite suddenly, of Sir Charles Baskerville in mysterious circumstances is the trigger for one of the most extraordinary cases ever to challenge the brilliant analytical mind of Sherlock Holmes. As rumors of a legendary hound said to haunt the Baskerville family circulate, Holmes and Watson are asked to ensure the protection of Sir Charles' only heir, Sir Henry - who has travelled all the way from America to reside at Baskerville Hall in Devon. And it is there, in an isolated mansion surrounded by mile after mile of wild moor, that Holmes and Watson come face to face with a terrifying evil that reaches out from centuries past.

Terry McCabe (Artistic Director, Director) has been City Lit’s artistic director since February 2005 and its producer since July 2016. He has directed plays professionally in Chicago since 1981. He was artistic director of Stormfield Theatre for four years, resident director at Wisdom Bridge Theatre for five years, and worked at Body Politic Theatre three separate times in three different capacities over a span of 14 years. His City Lit adaptations of HOLMES AND WATSON, GIDGET (co-adapted with Marissa McKown), THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, SCOUNDREL TIME, and OPUS 1861 (co-adapted with Elizabeth Margolius) were Jeff-nominated. He won two Jeff Citations for directing at Stormfield and has been thrice nominated for the Jeff Award for Best Director, for shows at Court Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, and Victory Gardens. He has directed at many Chicago theatres either long-gone or still with us, as well as off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre and at Vienna’s English Theatre.  His book MIS-DIRECTING THE PLAY has been denounced at length in American Theatre magazine and from the podium at the national convention of The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas but is used in directing courses on three continents and is now available in paperback and Kindle e-book.



ABOUT CITY LIT
For forty years, City Lit Theater has been dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination. City Lit produces theatrical adaptations of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material. City Lit Theater was founded with $210 pooled by Arnold Aprill (at the time the Body Politic Theatre’s box office manager), David Dillon, and Lorell Wyatt on October 9, 1979 and was incorporated on March 25, 1980.  There were still so few theatres in Chicago that at City Lit’s launch event, they were able to read a congratulatory letter they had received from Tennessee Williams.

City Lit is in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. We are two blocks east of both the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop and the #36 Broadway and the #84 Peterson buses. We are one block west of the #147 Sheridan and #151 Sheridan buses. Divvy bike stations are located at Bryn Mawr & Lakefront Trail, and at Broadway & Ridge at Bryn Mawr. The metered street parking pay boxes on Bryn Mawr have a three-hour maximum duration and are free on Sundays. $10 valet service is available at Francesca's Bryn Mawr at 1039 W Bryn Mawr diagonally across the street from us on the SW corner of Kenmore and Bryn Mawr and is available whether you are dining at the restaurant or not. There are additional details about parking and dining options at www.citylit.org.

City Lit is supported by the Alphawood Foundation, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Ivanhoe Theater Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and is sponsored, in part, by A.R.T. League.






Tuesday, October 8, 2019

DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019 Returns October 14 – 30, 2019 at The Den Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Haven Presents
DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019
Showcasing Three Short Plays Directed by Lauren Katz,
Aaron Mays & AJ Schwartz
October 14 – 30, 2019 at The Den Theatre
*Tickets: $10 suggested donation* 


Directors Haven 2019 Directors – Haven’s 2019 DIRECTORS HAVEN will feature works directed by (left to right) Lauren Katz, Aaron Mays and AJ Schwartz.


Haven is pleased to present its fifth DIRECTORS HAVEN, the company’s ever-growing initiative annually showcasing the talents of three rising directors. This season, Lauren Katz directs Caryl Churchill’s ambitious surrealist work THIS IS A CHAIR; Aaron Mays helms Sonia Sanchez’s lyrical drama 2 x 2; and AJ Schwartz directs Dan Giles’ tender yet challenging one-act HOW YOU KISS ME IS NOT HOW I LIKE TO BE KISSED. The three productions, which will have the support of a full production team, will run back-to-back in one program. DIRECTOR’S HAVEN 2019 will play October 14 – 30, 2019 at Haven’s resident home, The Den Theatre (2A) 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets ($10 suggested donation) are currently available at havenchi.org.

Comments Artistic Director Ian Damont Martin, “This cohort of directors is more than ready to bring their work to the Chicago community, and Haven couldn't be more excited to facilitate and support them in this fifth year of our Directors Haven program. Each of these early-career directors have interests and visions that are specific, intelligent, and downright exciting. The pieces they have individually selected are glimpses of the kind of work we need to be seeing and making right now – work that asks us the difficult questions – work that makes space for the marginal and the marginalized. This is met with an articulated interest and commitment in intentional processes, which is becoming increasingly important at Haven. We are very much looking forward to bringing you this necessary work from the next generation of artists helping to find and define the future of our practice.”
  
Directors Haven 2019 Cast – The cast of Haven’s DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019 includes (top, l to r) Catherine Dvorak, Tamsen Glaser, Lakecia Harris, Isaac Snyder, Julian "Joolz" Stroop and Diego Zozaya with (bottom, l to r) Dionne Addai, Sheree Bynum, Simon Gebremedhin, Merrina Millsapp, Juwon Tyrel Perry, Morgan Lavenstein and Rolando Serrano.


DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019 includes:

THIS IS A CHAIR
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lauren Katz
Mentor: Devon de Mayo
Featuring Catherine Dvorak, Tamsen Glaser, Lakecia Harris, Isaac Snyder, Julian "Joolz" Stroop and Diego Zozaya

This is a Chair is composed of a series of individual vignettes, each including a headline that is meant to be clearly displayed or stated. Each title refers to a contemporary world issue, including “The War in Bosnia,” “Genetic Engineering,” and “Pornography and Censorship” – titles that seemingly share no connection to the scene at hand. Caryl Churchill invites us to dig deep into our personal lives and relationships, exploring the depths of how we interact with the world around us.

2 x 2
By Sonia Sanchez
Directed by Aaron Mays
Mentor: Pemon Rami
Featuring Dionne Addai, Sheree Bynum, Simon Gebremedhin, Merrina Millsapp and Juwon Perry

Beverly Smith is watching her family fall apart. Her grandchildren are in need of her care while her daughter Ramona, once a fierce activist, struggles with addiction. When Beverly goes to take the kids home with her, she learns about Ramona’s past passion for activism and what led to her decline. This lyrical drama set in North Philadelphia explores social activism, generational differences and the hardships facing urban black communities through the lens of a mother-daughter relationship.

HOW YOU KISS ME IS NOT HOW I LIKE TO BE KISSED
By Dan Giles
Directed by AJ Schwartz
Mentor: Monty Cole
Featuring Morgan Lavenstein and Rolando Serrano

It’s a love story that transcends labels. Two people meet, they fall in love, they U-Haul, life happens. A couple just like any other – well, almost. How You Kiss Me Is Not How I Like To Be Kissed innovatively addresses the urgent contemporary issue of straight representation in the arts. This groundbreaking and oh-so-needed play brings important visibility to the sorrows and joys – and even the inherent flaws – of the heterosexual lifestyle.

The production team for DIRECTORS HAVEN 2019 includes Will Tople (scenic design), Angela Mix (costume design), Sim Carpenter (lighting design), Jonesy Jones (sound design) and Emily Boyd (resident props).

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: DIRECTOR’S HAVEN 2019
Location: The Den Theatre (2A), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Previews: Monday, October 14 at 7:30 pm and Tuesday, October 15 at 7:30 pm
Regular Run: Wednesday, October 16 – Wednesday, October 30, 2018
Curtain Times: Sundays at 3 pm; Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 pm

Tickets: $10 suggested donation. Tickets are currently available at havenchi.org.

About the Directors

Lauren Katz (This is a Chair) is a freelance director, dramaturg, and teaching artist. She served as the 2016-17 Artistic Apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a fellow in the 2018-19 Directors Inclusion Initiative at Victory Gardens. Recent directing projects include: Subjective is Beauty (Prop Thtr), Toni and Marcus: From Village Life to Urban Stress (Illinois Holocaust Museum) and Salena’s Story (iO Theater). As an assistant director and dramaturg in Chicago, Lauren has worked with various companies including About Face Theatre, Firebrand Theatre, Theater Wit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers Theatre and Windy City Playhouse. As a teaching artist, Lauren works with Lookingglass Theatre and Mudlark Theatre. 

Aaron Mays (2 x 2) is an emerging director and playwright in Chicago with a passion for stories of the African diaspora and the narratives of marginalized voices. Aaron’s most recent directing credits include Waiting for Godot (Tympanic Theatre) with an all-Latinx cast and Tug of War (CIRCA Pintig), a series of short plays on war, trauma and immigration. In addition, he has worked with Chicago’s top directors, serving as the assistant director for such productions as Sweat (Goodman Theatre), Mosque Alert (Silk Road Rising), Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre) and Seven Guitars (Court Theatre). 

AJ Schwartz (How You Kissed Me is Not How I Like to be Kissed) is a director living and making art in Chicago since 2013. As a theatremaker, they aim to use performance to explore the world through a radical, iconoclastic and undeniably queer lens. Their recent credits include Mike Pence Sex Dream, Refrigerator (assistant director, First Floor Theater), This Bitter Earth (dramaturg), Time Is on Our Side (assistant director, About Face Theatre), Zurich (assistant director, Steep Theatre Co.), and The Henry V Project (director, Loyola University Chicago).   

About Haven:

NEXT GENERATION. NEW CANON. SOCIAL PROFIT.

We exist to be a Haven for The Future. We achieve this through championing the next generation of playwrights, directors and actors by producing and promoting plays and performances that are staking their claim as the immediate future of this art form, and by investing in those at the very beginning of their professional journeys. Through this inspiration, we seek to ignite in each audience member a hope for the Future - the Future of theatre and performance, the Future of each other, the Future of our community.

OPENING: World Premiere of N By David Alex at Greenhouse Theater Center October 24 – November 17, 2019

 ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
World Premiere!
Greenhouse Theater Center and GLP Productions Present
N
By David Alex
Directed by TaRon Patton


October 24 – November 17, 2019 at Greenhouse Theater Center

I'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's Greenhouse Theater Center for the press opening of the world premiere of David Alex’s political drama, N, later this month. Check back soon for my full review. David's not only a prolific, Chicago based playwright with fourteen full-length and eighteen one-acts plays to his credit, but he's also a frequent fixture at theatre openings. I'm eager to finally see one of his scripts brought to life in a Chicago production.

Greenhouse Theater Center and GLP Productions are pleased to present the world premiere of David Alex’s political drama N, directed by TaRon Patton, playing October 24 – November 17, 2019 in The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. The press openings are Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm.

The cast of Greenhouse Theater Center and GLP Productions’ world premiere of “N” includes (left to right) Stacie Doublin, Reginald Hemphill and Ryan Smetana.

Mrs. Page is a 70-year-old, African-American widow; a passionate political conservative who campaigned for Barry Goldwater and strong admirer of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Her guilt for a personal decision involving astrology led her to the decision to never leave her home again. Eddy, a liberal young white struggling actor, is her caregiver. He is cast in show that is a career maker for him. During the rehearsal process the playwright adds the N-word to the script. Eddy is repulsed by what he considers the offensive and destructive nature of the N-word and refuses to say it – ever, including on stage. Mrs. Page and Eddy learn something from each other and as well as about themselves while Eddy struggles to remain the person he hopes to be. N challenges us to look at the role society has played in shaping our personal, and thus, our national attitudes and prejudices. 

Comments Director TaRon Patton, “This story is a great way to approach this very delicate topic with a focal lens of humanity versus history.”

N was given a staged reading in one of DePaul University’s Black History Month Celebrations and was a semi-finalist in the National Arts Club Playwrights First Competition.

The production team includes Grant Sabin (scenic design), Shanesia Davis (costume design, assistant director), Richard Norwood (lighting design), Shawn Wallace (sound design), Sarah Richman (props design), Dr. Alvin Goldfarb (dramaturg), Maggie Speer (associate producer, voiceover) and Razor Wintercastle (production manager).

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: N
Playwright: David Alex
Director: TaRon Patton
Cast (in alphabetical order): Stacie Doublin (Mrs. Page), Reginald Hemphill (DeShawn) and Ryan Smetana (Eddy).

Undertudies: Carolyn Nelson and Jordan Tragash.

Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 pm, Friday, October 25 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, October 26 at 3 pm
Press Performances: Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm
Opening: Monday, October 28 at 7:30 pm.
Regular run: Thursday, October 31 – Sunday, November 17, 2019
Curtain times: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm
Understudy Performance: Friday, November 8 at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $25. $15 students/seniors/industry. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

About the Artists
David Alex (Playwright) has written fourteen full-length and eighteen one-acts plays. He has received three grants from the Illinois Arts Council and one from the Pilgrim Foundation, an award for plays that deal with issues of moral significance. Full-length productions include Eroica, Azusa Productions i/a/w Redtwist Theatre; Ends, an African-American Theatre Festival Award Winner (Univ. of Louisville), New Jersey Repertory Company and Bowen Park Theatre Company; Adrift, Azusa Productions; Corpus Delicti, MadKap Productions; Onto Infinity, Azusa Productions and Bowen Park Theatre Company, By the Rivers of Babylon, Chicago Playwrights Center. Dramatic Publishing has published two of his plays. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild. www.davidalex.net.

TaRon Patton (Director) is excited to expand her talents by serving as director to this production. Directing credits include Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Steppenwolf Garage Rep) Bulrusher (Congo Square Theatre), Nativity Tribute (Congo Square Theatre). Acting credits include: Meet Vera Stark (Goodman Theater), Hot L Baltimore (Steppenwolf); the Chicago and New York adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye (Steppenwolf), St James Infirmary and King Hedley II (Congo Square Theatre Company), Black Nativity and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Goodman Theater). Television credits: The Chi, Empire, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, A Different World, Misty Tanner and the Emmy award winning CBS After-School special What About Your Friends. Film credits: Of Boys and Men and Stitches. TaRon received her MFA in Acting from UCLA and is very proud of her role as Executive Director of Congo Square Theatre Company.
About the Companies

The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones), a remount of the Jeff Award-winning Rose and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 
As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly-remodeled 198-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, a newly-built 44-seat cabaret space, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, call (773) 404-7336, ext. 13.

GLP Productions is a Chicago-based arts investment and production company that nationally produces theatrical new works and independent film. The GLP mission is to support artists in reaching their dreams through direct investments or management. Film credit: Road to Freedom and the web series Misty Tanner.

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