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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

OPENING: Steppenwolf Theatre's The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington September 1 – October 9, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of 

Miz Martha Washington

By Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames

Directed by Whitney White


PHOTOS: First Look at Steppenwolf Theatre's "The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington" - Performances Begin Sept. 1, 2022. Cast members Sydney Charles, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Celeste M. Cooper, Nikki Crawford, Cindy Gold, Victor Musoni and Donovan Session in rehearsal for the Chicago premiere.

FIRST LOOK:

I'll be out for the press opening, September 11th, so check back soon after for my full review. 

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, is pleased to open its 47th season with the Chicago premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames’ fantastical play The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington. Directed by Whitney White, the production features ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper with Sydney Charles, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Nikki Crawford, Cindy Gold, Victor Musoni and Donovan Session.

The recently widowed “Mother of America” lies alone in her Mount Vernon bed, ravaged by illness and attended to by the enslaved people who will be free the moment she dies. This uproarious form-shifting fever dream takes us deep into the ramifications of one of America's original sins. Dizzying and fantastical, this Chicago premiere from Pulitzer winner James Ijames boldly remixes this country's dark history with a delicate balance of truth and humor.

Single tickets for The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington starting at $20 are now on sale at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at 312-335-1650.

Steppenwolf 2022-23 Memberships are also on sale, including Classic Memberships offering 6-play packages securing dates and seats, and flexible Black Card Memberships with six tickets for use any time for any production. Also available are Red Card Memberships for theatergoers under 30.  

 

Production Information

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington

By Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames

Directed by Whitney White

Featuring ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper (Doll) with Sydney Charles (Priscilla), Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Davy), Nikki Crawford (Ann Dandridge), Cindy Gold (Martha Washington), Victor Musoni (William) and Donovan Session (Sucky Boy).

In Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago

September 1 – October 9, 2022

Ticket information: Single tickets starting at $20 are now on sale at steppenwolf.org and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.

The creative team includes Clint Ramos (Scenic Designer), Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer) Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Designer), Fan Zhang (Sound Designer), Manna-Symone Middlebrooks (Associate Director), Rachel Flesher (Fight & Intimacy Choreographer), Benjamin Barnes (Magic Consultant), Silver Fox Wigs (Wig Design), Gigi Buffington (Company Voice, Text Coach & Dialect Coach), Tom Pearl (Director of Production), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Christine D. Freeburg (Production Stage Manager) and Kathleen Barrett (Assistant Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, visit https://www.steppenwolf.org/tickets--events/seasons/2022-23/miz-martha/.

 

Playwright/Director Biographies:

James Ijames (Playwright) is a playwright, director and educator who received the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play Fat Ham. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company and People’s Light and Theatre. James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre, The National Black Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre and Shotgun Players, and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theater, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Gardens. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size (Simpatico Theatre Company) and Gem of the Ocean (Arden Theatre). James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ...Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Prize. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia’s first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia. James is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University and a co-artistic of the Wilma Theater.

Whitney White (Director) is an Obie Award and Lilly Award winning director, actor and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the current recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing award, an Artistic Associate at the Roundabout and a part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her original musical Definition was part of the 2019 Sundance Theatre Lab 2016 ANT Fest, and her five-part musical exploration of Shakespeare’s Women and ambition; Reach for It is currently under commission with the American Repertory Theater in Boston. She has developed work with: The New York Times, Ars Nova, The Drama League, Roundabout, New York Theatre Workshop, 59E59, The Lark, The Movement, Jack, Bard College, NYU Tisch, Juilliard, Princeton, SUNY Purchase, South Oxford, Luna Stage and more. Whitney is a believer in collaborative processes and new forms. Her musical discipline is rooted in indie-soul and rock. She is passionate about black stories, reconstructing classics, stories for and about women, genre-defying multimedia work and film. Past fellowships include: New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellowship, Ars Nova’s Makers Lab, Colt Coeur and the Drama League. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep. BA Political Science, Certificate in Musical Theatre: Northwestern University.

 

The Expanded Steppenwolf Campus

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s trailblazing new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, with construction by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new Arts and Education Center is the new 400-seat in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell—one of its kind in Chicago—with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue.

 

The expanded Steppenwolf campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, offering bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility, and arts-driven learning for Chicago youth in The Loft, Steppenwolf’s first-ever dedicated education space. The campus expansion also features bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The $54 million new building is part of Steppenwolf’s multi-phase $73 million Building on Excellence expansion campaign. Learn more about Steppenwolf’s campus expansion at steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence.

 


A Safe Return

As the Chicago theatre community continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Steppenwolf Theatre remains committed to the safety of its patrons and staff. For the most up-to-date information on our venue’s COVID precautions, please visit steppenwolf.org/welcomeback.

 

Accessibility

Steppenwolf offers accessible services to ensure all audience members have access to our work, including American Sign Language interpretation (available for student matinees as scheduled with education staff or per public performances below), Spanish Language captions, wheelchair accessible seating and more. With questions, email access@steppenwolf.org.

 

Sponsor Information 

United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is also grateful for the significant season support from the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, Northern Trust, Allstate Insurance Company, ComEd, Conagra Brands Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, PNC and Vinci Restaurant.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America’s ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church—today Steppenwolf is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards—have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. 2021 marks the opening of Steppenwolf’s landmark Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts & Education Center—deepening the company’s commitment to Chicagoland teens and serving as a cultural nexus for Chicago. Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis are the Artistic Directors and E. Brooke Flanagan is Executive Director. Keating Crown is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.

Steppenwolf’s Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world. steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre, twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr and instagram.com/steppenwolfthtr.    

Monday, August 29, 2022

Northlight Theatre opens 2022-23 Season With The Garbologists September 1 – October 2, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

The Garbologists

by Lindsay Joelle

directed by Cody Estle

September 1 – October 2, 2022

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, opens its 2022–2023 season with The Garbologists, written by Lindsay Joelle, directed by Cody Estle, featuring Tiffany Renee Johnson and Luigi Sottile. The Garbologists runs September 1 – October 2, 2022 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. I'll be out for the press opening September 9th, so check back soon for my full review.          

This off-beat buddy comedy pairs essential workers from two different worlds in the shared cab of a New York City garbage truck. Danny’s a white, blue-collar mansplainer hiding a heart of gold. Marlowe’s a Black, Ivy League-educated newbie learning the ropes from her old-school partner. When they’re thrown together to pick up what the world has discarded, they discover there’s more that binds them than taking out the trash.

The Garbologists features Tiffany Renee Johnson (Marlowe) and Luigi Sottile (Danny).

The creative team includes Collette Pollard (Scenic Design), Gregoy Graham (Costume Design), Greg Hofman (Lighting Design), and Josh Schmidt (Sound Design). The production stage manager is Rita Vreeland.

 

About the Artists

Cody Estle (Director) returns to Northlight Theatre where he previously directed By the Water (named by Chicago Sun-Times honorable mention as one of the top theatre productions of 2017) and another seven productions as the assistant director under artistic director, BJ Jones. He is the artistic director of Raven Theatre where his directing credits include The Luckiest, Sundown, Yellow Moon, How I Learned To Drive (named by Windy City Times as the best of Chicago theatre in 2019), The Gentleman Caller (2019 Jeff Award winning new play by Philip Dawkins), The Assembled Parties, A Loss of Roses (named by Chicago Tribune honorable mention as one of the year’s best in 2016), Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré (named by Chicago Tribune as one of the year’s best in 2014), Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl, and Dating Walter Dante. Other directing credits include collaborations with Strawdog Theatre, Shattered Globe Theatre, First Floor Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, The Artistic Home, Haven Theatre, Mary-Arrchie Theatre, and Citadel Theatre. Cody was recently named one of NewCity’s Fifty People Who Really Perform For Chicago. He is a member of SDC, serves on the board of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres, and is an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago

Lindsay Joelle (Playwright) is a playwright, screenwriter, and librettist living in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The granddaughter of a survivor in Poland’s Underground Resistance and the daughter of a first-generation Israeli-born American, Joelle is drawn to stories of misfits, rebels, and the unassimilated. Her plays spotlight voices not usually heard in the American theater: Chasidic Jews addicted to rock and roll. Sanitation workers who find treasure in the trash. Her writing explores the rituals, routines, jargon, and humor of urban and rural micro-communities across America. Plays include TRAYF (Geffen Playhouse, Theater J, Penguin Rep, New Rep), The Messengers (Audible Theater audioplay), A Small History of Amal, Age 7 (Forward Flux/Pratidhwani), and The Garbologists (Philadelphia Theatre Company, City Theatre). She has been awarded an Audible Theater Emerging Playwright commission, E.S.T./Sloan Foundation Science & Technology commission, Vital Theatre musical commission, Irving Zarkower Award, and Goldberg MFA Playwriting Prize. Alumna of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram New Works Lab, and NNPN Playwright-in-Residence at Curious Theatre (’18-’19). Originally from Chicago, Joelle received her BA from Columbia University and MFA from Hunter.

Tiffany Renee Johnson (Marlowe) a Chicago native and Howard University (Theatre BFA) graduate, is thrilled to make her Northlight debut! Theatre credits include Passage (Remy Bumppo), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Goodman), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and A Doll’s House (Writers), Red Velvet (Chicago Shakes), Flyin’ West (American Blues), Saint Joan (Poetic Forum Collective) truth and reconciliation (Sideshow), Vanya; Or, That’s Life! (Rasaka), and A Nativity Story (Congo Square). Television credits include: The Chi, Shameless, Chicago PD, Soundtrack, Chicago Med, APB, Embeds, and Chicago Fire.

Luigi Sottile (Danny) Luigi is happy to be back at Northlight! Broadway: Slave Play; Chicago: Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Court Theatre; Regional Theatre: Signature Theatre (DC), Woolly Mammoth, Folger Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Walnut Street Theatre, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arden Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, Lantern Theater, Act II Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep; TV: Chicago PD, Chicago Med (upcoming); Film: All Happy Families.

Dates: Previews: September 1-8, 2022

Regular run: September 8 – October 2, 2022


Schedule:               

Tuesdays: 7:30pm (Sept 6 only)

Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 8:00pm

Saturdays: 2:30pm (except Sept 2) and 8:00pm

Sundays: 2:30pm; and 7:00pm (Sept 4 only)

A Sensory Friendly performance will be held on September 21 at 7:30pm. An ASL interpreted and Open Captioned performance will be held on September 23 at 8:00pm and an Open Caption and Audio Described performance will be held on September 24 at 2:30P

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

 

Tickets: 

Previews: $30-$61

Regular run: $30-$89

Student tickets are $15, any performance (subject to availability)

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.; 847.673.6300; northlight.org

Subscriptions are available and range in price from $117-$275. With its wide range of ticket prices, discounted subscription packages and complimentary parking, Northlight remains one of the best theatrical values in Chicagoland. Package options include traditional 5-Play Packages and Flex Packages. Subscriptions are available at northlight.org/subscribe or 847.673.6300.


Up-to-date Covid-19 related policies can be found at northlight.org/health-safety.

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

Founded in 1974, the organization has mounted over 220 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 208 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as ten Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Bulley and Andrews; Byline Bank; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; CoBank; ComEd, An Exelon Company; Eckenhoff Saunders; Evanston Arts Council; Evanston Community Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; The Gross Foundation; Gruman Butkus Associates; John R. Halligan Fund; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Illinois Humanities; Katten Muchin Roseman LLP; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; NorthShore University HealthSystems; Northwestern University; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; PNC Bank; Polsinelli; Ralla Klepak Trust for the Performing Arts; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; The Saints Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Fall 2022 Highlights Via The League of Chicago Theatres

Chicago will continue to produce some of the most exciting work in the country this Fall. Offerings from the city’s more than 250 producing theatres include a wide variety of plays and musicals, as well as comedy, dance, festivals, and more.  


For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions including a Fall Theatre Guide, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, ChicagoPlays.com. Additionally, many fall shows will be available at Hot Tix (HotTix.org), Chicago’s local, half-price ticketing service. As always, here at ChiILLiveShows.com and ChiILMama.com we've been covering Chicago's theatre scene since 2008. Check back with us early and often for original reviews, giveaways, entertainment news, interviews, and more. 


The following is a selection of notable work playing in Chicago this Fall:

New works and adaptations include:

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents The Notebook, a world premiere musical based on the bestselling novel that inspired the iconic film. Multi-Platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson and Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer for NBC’s This Is Us) create a deeply moving portrait of the enduring power of love. September 6 - October 16. 

Luminaire, a new immersive variety dinner show from Cabaret ZaZou makes its worldwide debut in a vintage Spiegeltent on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel. Opens September 7.

Teatro Vista presents Enough to Let the Light In, a psychological thriller about love, truth, and the ghosts that won't let us go. Part of Destinos, Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, September 21 – October 23.

Bull dealt drugs, got caught, and served his time. After he is released, he is eager to resume life with his family, only to discover how much has moved on without him. Paramount Theatre presents the new work Bull: a love story, October 5 – November 20. Part of Destinos, Chicago International Latino Theater Festival.

Playwright Brett Neveu returns with The Malignant Ampersands, a very unofficial sequel to Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, at A Red Orchid Theatre, October 6 – November 27.

Routes, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s urgent new play looks through the eyes of immigrants, refugees, and children in conflict with the law as they fight to get home through an impossibly complex system designed to keep them out. October 12 – November 20 at Theater Wit.

In 1939, two young friends huddled in a Bronx apartment and created a legend, a hero who represents an enduring chapter in the tale of the American comic book. Experience the legacy of The Mark of Kane, October 21 – December 4 at City Lit Theater.

The Gift Theatre presents The Locusts, October 20 – November 19. When a serial killer frightens Ella’s small hometown in Florida, she’s called down from FBI headquarters in D.C. to come help.

American Blues Theater will produce Alma, Benjamin Benne’s new play exploring the immigrant generation and their first-generation children at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, September 22 – October 22, 2022.

 

Musicals include:

Kokandy Productions presents Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Chopin Theatre September 8 – November 6. Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, returns to 19th century London seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife.

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre presents Cabaret, Kander and Ebb’s legendary musical masterpiece, September 15 – October 22.

Experience a Fiddler on the Roof like no other, with the full power of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and a production that is both grand in scale and intimate in its power to bring you directly to the heart of the village of Anatevka. September 17 – October 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

MadKap Productions presents Falling for Make Believe, a new musical that tells the behind-the-scenes story of lyricist Lorenz Hart, September 9 – October 16 at the Skokie Theatre.

Wicked, the untold true story of the Witches of Oz, returns to Broadway in Chicago September 28 – December 4.

Marriott Theatre presents Hello, Dolly!, a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's hit play The Matchmaker that bursts with humor, romance, and some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history. Through October 16.

Enjoy the music of blues legends Big Momma Thornton, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Stevie Ray Vaughn and B.B. King with Black Ensemble Theater’s Blue Heaven, October 22 – November 27.

Porchlight Music Theatre presents RENT, the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural phenomenon, October 29 – November 27 at the Ruth Page Theater.


Notable comedies include:

Creating the perfect sandwich is the shared quest of this formerly incarcerated kitchen staff in Goodman Theatre’s comedy Clyde’s, September 10 – October 9.

Mercury Theater Chicago presents Clue, October 13 – January 1. Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue is the comedy whodunit that will leave both cult fans and newcomers in stitches as they try to figure out… who did it, where, and with what!

Join The HOA for some wholesome fun that is sure to make you laugh and give you the heebie jeebies, September 9 – October 22 at The Factory Theater.

When two wildly different essential workers are thrown together, they discover there’s more thatbinds them than taking out the trash, in Northlight Theatre’s off-beat buddy comedy The Garbologists, through October 2.

Miss Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Dorothy Watson are back on the case in Miss Holmes Returns. Through October 16 at Lifeline Theatre.

Leave your worries at the door and come laugh yourself into euphoria at the things we have in common, navigating relationships, code-switching, and even high school on TV, with Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not at The Second City Mainstage.

Take a peek at what’s under Barbra’s underground mall – Babs’ secret laboratory, in Frankenstreisand, presented by Hell in a Handbag Productions at Redline VR, September 29 – October 31.


Dramatic works include:

First Floor Theater presents Botticelli in the Fire, Jordan Tannahill’s hot-blooded queering of Renaissance Italy that questions the value of art at the collapse of society, September 22 – November 5 at the Den Theatre.

Described as a play-pageant-ritual-homegoing celebration, What to Send Up When It Goes Down responds to the gratuitous loss of Black lives and interrupts discourses that enable the ubiquity of racialized violence in our society. Presented by Congo Square Theatre Company at Lookingglass Theatre, September 24 – October 16.

Drury Lane Theatre presents Murder on the Orient Express, the play adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous murder mystery, through October 23.

The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington takes us deep into the uncomfortable and horrific ramifications of this country’s original sin, through October 9 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

With just 45 audience members per performance, Southern Gothic, Windy City Playhouse’s immersive production welcomes audience members to wander about the “set” and act as a fly on the wall, overseeing all the juicy drama unfold. Through November 30 at Petterino’s.

On stage at a Broadway theater in NYC in the mid-1950s tensions flair between a Black actress in the starring role, and her white director in Trouble in Mind. November 2 – December 18 at TimeLine Theatre Company.

In Court Theatre’s The Island, political prisoners on South Africa’s infamous Robben Island, spend their days toiling at grueling tasks in the prison’s quarry, while secretly rehearsing a version of Antigone at night, November 11 – December 4.

 

Other notable works include:

Chicago Children’s Theatre presents Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster September 10- October 16. Adapted from the beloved children’s books by Mo Willems, and realized through mind-bending projection, DIY cinema, music, and immersive sound by Manual Cinema. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Destinos: 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, Chicago’s annual citywide festival that brings together and showcases Latino theater artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S., and Latin America, September 14 – October 16.

From an underground utopian dance party, to a cyberpunk rock opera, to a seven-hour Electric Slide marathon, the MCA Stage debuts its annual festival Chicago Performs September 15-16.

Amidst a greater struggle and rising tensions, Kyiv City Ballet has stood as the “voice of resistance” on a global stage, bringing light and joy in the darkness to audiences worldwide. For one weekend, see the magnificent classically trained dancers and support the artists who are risking it all to bring culture to their communities. September 24 – 25 at the Auditorium Theatre.

Tiger Style! uproariously tackles the immigrant experience, cultural stereotypes, and what it really means to feel successful—and at home. September 29 – October 30 at Writers Theatre.

The Joffrey Ballet presents Beyond Borders, a mixed program that celebrates the magnetic, lyrical talent of friends of the past and present, including Joffrey icon and co-founder Gerald Arpino, choreographer Liam Scarlett, and choreographer Chanel DaSilva, October 12 – 23 at the Lyric Opera House.

Refuge weaves passionate and driving original music with the charm of artistic puppetry to share a bilingual tale of determination, grit, and hope. Presented by Theo Ubique, October 7 – November 13.

The largest event of its kind in the country, the IVP 2022 Festival introduces Chicago audiences to some of the most exciting voices in the international theatre scene. September 12 – 28 at Instituto Cervantes.

Acknowledged by audiences and critics alike as one of the most magnificent achievements in the history of opera, Don Carlos masterfully reveals the private turmoil of very public personalities. Presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago, November 9 – 25.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, ChicagoPlays.com. Available half-price tickets will be listed at HotTix.org.

Chicago theatres prioritize safely gathering. Patrons are encouraged to confirm current protocols at each theatre. Shows and protocols are subject to change.

 

About Chicago theatre 

Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 6 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. For more information, visit www.chicagoplays.com.

 

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement

Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Executive Director Criss Henderson To Step Down After 33 Years


Criss Henderson, who has steered Chicago Shakespeare Theater from a fledgling start-up theater in 1990 through 33 years of expansive growth, award-winning productions, and nationally recognized education and community engagement programming, has announced that he will be stepping down from his executive director role at the end of 2022.

"After more than three decades of extraordinary experiences and a lot of recent reflection, I have decided there are new creative chapters and artistic projects that I want to bring to fruition outside of the day-to-day operations of running a theater," said Henderson. "As Chicago Shakespeare passes its 36th year, I feel the Theater is ready for an infusion of fresh perspectives and next-generation vision."

"I have been leading Chicago Shakespeare for more than half my life, and I have had some truly remarkable opportunities. Now, with the buzz of artists and audiences again filling Chicago Shakespeare—and on the eve of another world premiere, The Notebook, in our theater—it feels right to make the space for myself to develop new creative projects and to open the door to new leadership that will take the company to the next thrilling level."

Under the leadership of Henderson and founder and artistic director Barbara Gaines (who announced earlier this year her plans to end her tenure in mid-2023), Chicago Shakespeare has become one of the nation’s leading regional theaters and one of Chicago’s most celebrated cultural organizations, honored with the 2008 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, as well as multiple Laurence Olivier and Joseph Jefferson Awards. Among decades of contributions, Henderson oversaw the Theater’s move to its home on Navy Pier in 1999 and led the recent development of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. In 2016 he spearheaded the citywide, yearlong celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy, Shakespeare 400 Chicago. Mr. Henderson has garnered multiple honors, including: the 2013 Cultural Innovation Award from the Chicago Innovation Awards; Arts Administrator of the Year by Arts Management Magazine at the Kennedy Center; recognition in Crain’s Chicago Business "40 under 40;" and the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Minister of Culture of France. Mr. Henderson has served on the boards of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres and Arts Alliance Illinois, and for many years as president of the Producers’ Association of Chicago-area Theaters. Mr. Henderson is director of DePaul University’s MFA/Arts Leadership Program, a two-year graduate-level curriculum in arts management training.

"Criss has led Chicago Shakespeare through every phase of the organization’s storied and successful history. In addition to the myriad business functions he oversaw, he has been a key producing force in the organization through his curation of the Theater’s WorldStage series, the development of hundreds of artistic and producing partnerships, and through the creation and implementation of many of Chicago Shakespeare’s marquee initiatives like Team Shakespeare—the Theater’s extensive program for students and teachers—and Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, now in its 11th year," said Chicago Shakespeare Theater Board Chair Mark Ouweleen. "Criss’ entrepreneurial energy has guided and supported the Theater for decades, and he will leave us in good hands, with a very strong executive team who will help carry that spirit of adventurous creativity forward."

Added Barbara Gaines, "Criss made a lot of magic happen here for many years…. Chicago Shakes wouldn’t be as spectacular an institution without him. I’ll be thrilled to see what amazing innovations he’ll bring to new audiences in the future."

The Board of Directors plans to bring in interim leadership before Henderson departs at the end of the year while it conducts an international search for the leaders who will carry the Theater "into the next act of the extraordinary story of Chicago Shakespeare," said Ouweleen. Henderson will continue on a consulting basis with Chicago Shakespeare through 2023, as needed, to support a smooth leadership transition.

"It has been a great honor to help build this company from, literally, ‘two planks and a passion’ into the leading and essential arts organization it is today," said Henderson. "The extraordinary evolution of Chicago Shakespeare was the result of many, many partnerships—with Barbara, artists, educators, program and administrative staff, board members, and most importantly, the people of Chicago. I have had the pleasure to work alongside so many talented and committed people over the years—I know I leave this theater that I love in a very strong place, ready to embrace an exciting and vibrant future."


ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside education programming for students, teachers, and lifelong learners, and engagement with communities and artists across the city.

Founded in 1986, the Theater has evolved and expanded to present as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually and has been honored with numerous national and international awards. Chicago Shakespeare is the city’s leading presenter of international work and has toured its own productions to five continents. The Theater is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen.

Recognized as a national leader in a 2014 White House ceremony, the Theater’s arts-in-literacy programs support the work in classrooms across the region by bringing words to life onstage for tens of thousands of students each year and through a variety of professional learning opportunities for teachers. Its free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program has fostered creative community engagement with artists across the city for more than a decade.

As a nonprofit organization, Chicago Shakespeare works to embrace diversity in all its forms, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities for growth and success, and offer an accessible experience for all. The Theater strives to engage today’s artists and audiences in active and critical conversations with the work of its namesake playwright, William Shakespeare.

Located on Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier, Chicago Shakespeare’s campus features the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, and the Thoma Theater Upstairs. Onstage, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire. www.chicagoshakes.com


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

First Floor Theater Launches Tenth Season with Chicago Premiere of BOTTICELLI IN THE FIRE September 22 – November 5, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar



 First Floor Theater is pleased to launch its Tenth Season with the Chicago premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, a hot-blooded queering of Renaissance Italy that questions the value of art at the collapse of society. Directed by Bo Frazier, Botticelli in the Fire plays September 22 – November 5, 2022 at The Den’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets available at firstfloortheater.com

The cast of First Floor Theater’s Chicago premiere of Botticelli in the Fire includes (top, l to r) Neala Barron, Yuchi Chiu and Andrew Cutler (bottom, l to r) Christopher Meister, John Payne, Alex Benito Rodriguez and Jenece Upton.

Playboy Sandro Botticelli has it all: talent, fame, good looks. He also has the ear – and the wife – of Lorenzo de Medici, as well as the Renaissance’s hottest young apprentice, Leonardo Da Vinci. But while at work on his breakthrough commission, ‘The Birth of Venus’, Botticelli’s devotion to pleasure and beauty is put to the ultimate test. As the plague sweeps through the city, the charismatic friar Savonarola starts to stoke the fires of dissent against the liberal elite. Botticelli finds the life he knows breaking terrifyingly apart, forcing him to choose between love and survival. Jordan Tannahill’s hot-blooded queering of Renaissance Italy questions the value of art at the collapse of society.

The production team to date includes Lauren Nichols (Scenic Designer), Benjamin Carne (Lighting Designer), Willow James (Sound Designer), Caitlin McCarthy* (Props Designer), Micah Figueroa (Intimacy and Fight Choreographer), Andres Fonesca (Musical Director), Adelina Feldman-Schultz (Casting Director), Anastar Alvarez* (Production Manager) and Oswald Avile (Stage Manager).

*Denotes FFT Company Member

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

Dates: Previews: Thursday, September 22 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, September 25 at 3 pm and Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30 pm.

Press Performance: Thursday, September 29 at 7:30 pm

Regular Run: Friday, September 30 – Saturday, November 5, 2022

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

Industry Nights: Monday, October 10 at 7:30 pm and Monday, October 24 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular Run: $25 – $35. Students/industry $20. Tickets go on sale Monday, August 15, 2022 firstfloortheater.com.

 

About the Artists

Jordan Tannahill (Playwright, he/him) is a Canadian writer and director. He has been described as being ‘widely celebrated as one of Canada’s most accomplished young playwrights, filmmakers and all-around multidisciplinary artists’ (Toronto Star), and ‘the enfant terrible of Canadian theatre’ (Libération). His plays have been translated into ten languages and widely honored in Canada and abroad. He has twice received a Governor General's Literary Award – in 2014 for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays, and in 2018 for his plays Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom. His plays, performance texts and productions have been presented at venues including The Young Vic Theatre (London), Sadler's Wells (London), The Kitchen (NYC), Festival d'Avignon (Avignon), The Lincoln Centre (NYC), The Deutsches Theater (Berlin), The Volkstheater (Vienna), The National Arts Centre of Canada (Ottawa), Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, D.C.) and on London's West End. He is the author of Theatre of the Unimpressed, a book of essays on theatre. His debut novel Liminal, a work of autofiction, was named one of the best Canadian novels of 2018 by CBC Books and won France’s 2021 Prix des Jeunes Libraires. His second novel, The Listeners, has just been published by HarperCollins. His virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, produced by the National Theatre (UK) and the National Film Board of Canada, was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Biennale in 2017, and ran at London's Young Vic Theatre in January 2019. Jordan has also worked in dance, choreographing and performing with Christopher House in Marienbad for the Toronto Dance Theatre, and writing the text for Akram Khan's dance pieces Xenos and Outwitting the Devil, both currently touring internationally. From 2012 – 2016, in collaboration with William Ellis, Jordan ran the alternative art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. Over the four years of its operation, Videofag became an influential hub for queer and avant-garde work in Canada.

Bo Frazier (Director, they/them) is a highly visual and compositionally driven theatre maker interested in new work that tells traditionally excluded narratives in extremely imaginative ways. They are so incredibly excited to be making their Chicago directing debut with First Floor! Since moving to Chicago in 2021, they have worked with Victory Gardens, Sideshow Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, BoHo Theatre, Filament Theatre and Mudlark Theatre. Favorite directing and choreography projects include: Hit The Wall by Ike Holter, Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus, Love & Information by Caryl Churchill, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens, Bright Star the musical, as well as new play productions by Dakota Parobek, C. Meaker, Leigh M. Marshall and KT Peterson.  Previously based in NYC and London, Bo has worked with companies such as The National Theatre (UK), Birmingham Rep (UK), Greenwich Theatre (UK), Signature Theatre (NYC), Dixon Place (NYC), Rutgers University (NJ), Theatre167 (NYC), Heartbeat Opera (NYC), Indiana Repertory Theatre (IN) and London Theatre Workshop Off-West End (UK), which they co-founded. They hold an MFA in Directing from University of Iowa alongside the Iowa Playwright’s Workshop, a MA in Acting from Royal Birmingham UK Conservatoire, a BA in Theatre from Millikin University, and was trained through SITI Company. www.bofrazier.com 

About First Floor Theater

Founded in 2012, First Floor Theater has garnered a reputation for pairing some of the most cutting-edge scripts in Chicago and the American Theater with a signature innovative design style. Shortly after their inaugural season, FFT was named “Best New Theater Company” in the Chicago Reader. FFT was also honored to be recognized with the 2018 Francesca Primus Prize from ATCA for their production of Leah Nanako-Winkler’s Two Mile Hollow, and in Newcity’s Players 2019: “The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago”. Some of First Floor’s notable past productions include Hooded or Being Black for Dummies, Mike Pence Sex Dream, Two Mile Hollow, peerless and Plano. First Floor Theater is a Resident Company at The Den Theatre. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

RIVENDELL THEATRE ENSEMBLE ANNOUNCES FALL 2022 PROGRAMMING

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Rivendell’s Fall line-up includes

 

Fresh Produce Festival: A Celebration of New Plays by Women;

the World Premiere of A Mile in the Dark,

Written by Emily Schwend, Directed by Ensemble member Georgette Verdin,

Co-Produced by Interrobang Theatre Project and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble;

and Blue Jean Ball 2022, Celebrating 2022 WREN Award Honoree Joan Callahan




Rivendell Theatre Ensemble announces its 2022 Fall line-up including the return of the Fresh Produce Festival: A Celebration of New Plays by Women; and the World Premiere of A Mile in the Dark by Emily Schwend, directed by RTE member Georgette Verdin, in a co-production with Interrobang Theatre Project. The Blue Jean Ball also returns, celebrating 2022 WREN Award Honoree Joan Callahan at Bridge 410.

All productions will be performed at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago. Tickets and more information available by calling (773) 334-7728 or online at www.RivendellTheatre.org.

Tara quote “I am thrilled that after an eight year hiatus, August marks the reemergence of Rivendell’s new works festival, Fresh Produce: A Celebration of New Plays by Women. Originally launched in 2004, Rivendell has long cultivated the notion that thoughtfully planting new artistic seeds yields the richest harvest. Through this series we introduce the voices of three daring young playwrights as we delve into stories provocative, timely and always fresh.  In November we return to the mainstage with the world premiere of Emily Schwend’s (South of Settling, Utility) newest play in collaboration with our newest ensemble member Georgette Verdin and the wonderful artists at Interrobang Theater. I am beyond excited to finally return to full programming and hope you will join us this fall as we sow the seeds of original work by women artists once again!”

 

Rivendell’s Fall 2022 programming includes:

 

FRESH PRODUCE FESTIVAL:

A CELEBRATION OF NEW PLAYS BY WOMEN

August 18 - August 29, 2022

 

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents the return of Fresh Produce Festival, a series of workshops and public readings celebrating new works written by women. Fresh Produce features public readings being held August 18 - 29, 2022 at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.

August 2022 marks the reemergence of Fresh Produce: A Celebration of New Plays by Women a new play development series known for risky, innovative, and compelling new work. During each series, exciting new projects with women at the core are curated and nurtured through an intensive, developmental workshop process. Each project culminates in a public reading that features the opportunity for a moderated dialogue between artists and audience.

Tickets are $10-25 per reading, or $25-50 for a package of all three readings. Tickets and Information available at rivendelltheatre.org/freshproduce.

The Fresh Produce Festival line-up is as follows:

 

400 Horses

Written by Mackenzie Yaeger

Directed by Azar Kazemi

Thursday, August 18 at 7:30pm

 

In 2012, Rita Crundwell became the largest municipal fraud perpetrator in American History. She was found guilty of embezzling almost fifty-four million dollars over the course of twenty years from the small town of Dixon, Illinois, where she served as the city comptroller. And what she did with that fifty-three million dollars...was buy four-hundred horses.

With embezzlement and fraud in significant rise across the country, this story exemplifies how far some Americans will go in the name of greed. Or, in Rita Crundwell's case, in order to buy 400 horses. 

The cast includes RTE ensemble members Jerre Dye, Jessica Ervin, Meighan Gerachis, and Tara Mallen, with Ken Bradley, Josh Odor and Tuckie White. The Artistic Producer is Ensemble member Lucia Lombardi and the stage manager is Deya Friedman.

 

Blood of My Mother’s

Written by Karissa Murrell Myers

Directed by Associate Artistic Director, Denise Yvette Serna

Monday, August 22 at 7:30pm

 

On Christmas Eve 1997, pregnant Marina fled to her older sister's Lillian’s house in the middle of the night with the biggest problem she ever faced: an unwanted pregnancy. After giving birth, Marina abandons the baby Egg in her sister's care, much to the concern of Lillian's husband, Richard. Now sixteen years later, Egg has gone missing and no one seems to care but her sister/cousin Deanna. The search for the truth turns this Filipino-American family's world upside as they are forced to face their inner demons. Because sometimes, the place you run to for safety turns out to be the most dangerous place of all.

The cast includes RTE ensemble member Eric Slater with Blake Dava, Stephanie Fongheiser, Arvin Jalandoon, Stephanie Shum, and Marie Tredway.  The Artistic Producer is Ensemble member Jessica Ervin.

 

Wipeout

Written by Aurora Real d'Asua

Directed by Ensemble member Devon de Mayo

Monday, August 29 at 7:30pm

For her seventy-seventh birthday, Gary wants one thing and one thing only: to surf a wave. There's a problem, though, beyond the extreme gymnastics required to get a wetsuit on: Gary has never stepped foot on a surfboard before. But with the help of a hotrod teenage surf instructor and the company of her two best friends, Gary goes on the ride of her life. As the three women navigate the currents of the Pacific Ocean, they confront seven decades of secrets, sacrifices, and the odd jellyfish or two. Wipeout is a septuagenarian surf comedy about love, loss, and what it really takes to hang ten.

The cast includes RTE ensemble members Meg Thalken and Glenn-Dale Obrero, with Celeste Williams and Brigid Duffy. Scenic designer Regina Garcia, dramaturge Tanya Palmer and artistic producer Lucia Lombardi round out the artistic team.


The World Premiere of

A MILE IN THE DARK

Written by Emily Schwend

Directed by Ensemble member Georgette Verdin

Co-Produced by Interrobang Theatre Project and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

November 10 – December 11, 2022

 

Jess’s stepmother Carol was a cheerful woman whose unexpected passing has left Jess searching for answers. Can something in Carol’s life explain her untimely death? A Mile in the Dark is about the people we think we know but don’t and the hard truth sitting in plain sight.

Tickets and more information coming soon.

Single Tickets

General Admission

Previews: $28

Regular Run: $38

Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran

           Preview: $18

           Regular Run: $28

 

Pay What You Can: Five seats (10% of the house) are available for each performance. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis.

Location: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.

 Box Office: (773) 334-7728 or www.RivendellTheatre.org.

Parking and Transportation: Free parking is available in the Senn High School parking lot (located a block and a half from the theatre behind the school off Thorndale Avenue). There is limited paid and free street parking in the area. The theatre is easily accessible via the Clark (#22) or Broadway (#36) bus, and is a short walk from the Bryn Mawr Red Line L station.


BLUE JEAN BALL 2022

September 22, 2022

7pm - 10pm (6pm VIP Reception)

at Bridge 410, 410 N. Paulina Street, Chicago

General Admission Tickets: $125, VIP Tickets: $175

Sponsorship packages also available


Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s annual premier fundraising event, The Blue Jean Ball, celebrates 2022 WREN Award Honoree Joan Callahan. The event will be held mostly outdoors at Bridge 410 (masks are required while indoors). Tickets and more information available at rivendelltheatre.org/bjb2022.

The evening will feature live music, food by Amazing Edibles, creative whiskey and rum cocktails, BBQ, dancing, silent auction and a raffle. All proceeds will benefit Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and its mission to advance the lives of women through theatre.

More than 200 attendees are expected to join Rivendell artists, staff, and board to raise funds in support of our work throughout the year. Last year generous sponsors, donors, and ticket buyers helped raise $50,000 for Rivendell’s work in the community. 


About Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Founded in 1994, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble advances the lives of women through theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists—writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians—by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in an intimate salon environment.

Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women. After years of being an itinerant company, Rivendell moved into its own theater space in 2011 in Edgewater. The company is focused on becoming an integral community partner and serving as a catalyst to engage audiences in a discussion of local social issues.

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, visit www.RivendellTheatre.org. Follow Rivendell on Facebook at Facebook.com/rivendelltheatre, on Twitter @RivendellThtr, and on Instagram at @rivendelltheatre.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from: Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The MacArthur Funds for Culture, Equity and the Arts at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; Shubert Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; The Alphawood Foundation; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; Sarah and the 2 C Dogs; A.L. Luria and Jennie Luria Foundation; SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; The Saints Volunteers for the Performing Arts; Arts Midwest; City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; National Endowment for the Arts; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

SAVE THE DATES: City Lit’s 2022-23 Season Announced

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

City Lit’s 2022-23 season to include a classic by Pinter  and two world premieres: a Kingsley Day/Philip LaZebnik musical and the first installment of a trilogy

City Lit Theater today announced its lineup for the 2022-23 season – its 42nd. The season will begin in October with the world premiere of THE MARK OF KANE, by Chicago playwright/actor Mark Pracht, continue in January and February with Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY and conclude in late spring with the world premiere of Kingsley Day and Philip LaZebnik’s musical AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE.  In a departure from previous years, this season will include three rather than four productions, as the company’s previous season of four plays had its start delayed until January 2022 due to COVID and will conclude in early October when its current production of HAY FEVER closes. City Lit’s eclectic three-show season announced today by the company’s Producer and Artistic Director Terry McCabe will return the company’s scheduling to the more common industry pattern of beginning in fall and continuing into late spring and summer.  Future seasons will include four productions.

Pracht's play, ranging in setting across eight decades, begins in 1939 as Bob Kane and Bill Finger create the comic book character Batman; one of them goes on to fame and fortune while the other languishes in obscurity  THE MARK OF KANE is the first play of "The Four-Color Trilogy," a set of plays Pracht is writing for City Lit that will make their world premieres over the next three seasons and will highlight major turning points in the history of the comic book industry, once a denigrated art form but now at the center of American pop culture. McCabe will direct. THE MARK OF KANE will open to the press on Sunday, October 30, following previews from October 21 and will play through December 4, 2022.
 
City Lit will return after the holidays with Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, his first full-length play and the work which established him as a major writer. McCabe will direct this dark comedy, which like Pinter’s later work, is ambivalent in its plotting, presentation of characters, and ending, but is a work of undeniable power and originality. Like Pinter’s later plays, it is often called “a comedy of menace,” in which a character is suddenly threatened by the vague horrors at large in the outside world. It is an unquestioned classic of 20th Century theater. THE BIRTHDAY PARTY will open to the press on Sunday, January 22, following previews from January 13. It will play through February 26, 2023.
 
The season will end with the world premiere of AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE, a musical by Chicagoan (and City Lit regular performer) Kingsley Day and Hollywood screenwriter Philip LaZebnik (POCAHONTAS, MULAN, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT), authors of the legendary Chicago musical comedy SUMMER STOCK MURDER. The musical, rescheduled from its previously announced slot in City Lit’s 41st season, concerns the “Chosen One” to be sacrificed to the Sun God, but who has instead run off with the Emperor’s daughter. The community pursues the young man, who must be found and sacrificed so that the world does not end. AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE will open to the press on Sunday, May 14, 2023, following previews from May 5, and will play through June 18, 2023.
 
Subscriptions for the three-show season are available at $75.00, good for all performances, or $58.50 for preview performances. Subscriptions may be ordered online at 
www.citylit.org. Single tickets for the 22-23 season are priced at $30 for previews and $34 for regular performances and will be on sale at www.citylit.org. Senior prices are $25 for previews and $29 for regular performances. Students and military are $12.00 for all performances.
 
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT CITY LIT
 
Everyone at City Lit--casts, crews, and office staff alike--is or will be fully vaccinated by the time performances begin.  Patrons will be required to show their vaccination cards and wear masks at all times while in the building. We will also be following CDC ventilation guidelines on a daily basis to ensure a complete exchange of air in the theatre between performances. City Lit will of course comply with the full set of whatever official health guidelines are in place at any time.

THE MARK OF KANE
By Mark Pracht
WORLD PREMIERE
Directed by Terry McCabe
October 21 – December 4, 2022
Previews October 21 – 29, 2022
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm.
Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
PRESS OPENING Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 3 pm
Regular run October 30 – December 4, 2022
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays November 21 and 28 at 7:30 pm
Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church)
Info and tickets at 
www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.

In 1939, two young friends huddled in a Bronx apartment and created a legend – the comic book character Batman. One, Bob Kane, goes on to fame and fortune while the other, Bill Finger, languishes in obscurity. THE MARK OF KANE is the first play of "The Four-Color Trilogy," a set of plays Mark Pracht is writing for City Lit that will make their world premieres over the next three seasons and will highlight major turning points in the history of the comic book industry, once a denigrated art form but now at the center of American pop culture.
 
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
By Harold Pinter
Directed by Terry McCabe
January 13 – February 26, 2023
Previews Jan. 13 – 21, 2023
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm.
Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
PRESS OPENING Sunday, January 22, 2023 – 3 pm
Regular run January 22 – February 26, 2023
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays ­­­February 13 and 20 at 7:30 pm
Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church)
Info and tickets at 
www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.
 
A comedy of menace. Stanley may or may not play the piano, and today may or may not be his birthday, and he may or may not be hiding from someone in Meg's boarding house where he's lived for a year. But he's definitely made nervous by news that two new boarders are about to arrive, and she's definitely throwing him a party.
 
AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE
Music & Lyrics by Kingsley Day
Book by Kingsley Day and Philip LaZebnik
May 5 – June 18, 2023
Previews May 5 – 13, 2023
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm.
Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
PRESS OPENING Sunday, May 14, 2023 – 3 pm
Regular run May 14 – June 18, 2023
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays ­June 5 and 12 at 7:30 pm
Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)
Performances at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church)
Info and tickets at 
www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682
 
It’s the night before the beginning of the Aztec empire’s new millennium, and the Chosen One – so named because he is to be sacrificed in order to make the sun rise next morning -  has run off with the Emperor’s daughter.  If he is not found, the sun will not rise and the world will end.  By the writer of the legendary Chicago musical comedy SUMMER STOCK MURDER.
BIOS
 
Mark Pracht (Playwright, THE MARK OF KANE) has worked as an actor, director and playwright in Chicago since 2001. He has appeared on stage at City Lit in the title role of PROMETHEUS BOUND, as The Creature in FRANKENSTEIN, and as Milt Shanks in THE COPPERHEAD, among other roles. He was a company member of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha, where he helped develop and produce seven world premiere productions, including his own full-length play, NEON.  He is an ensemble member of The Artistic Home, where he won a Jeff Award for Leading Performer in a Play for REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT. Beyond THE MARK OF KANE, his Four-Color Trilogy includes THE INNOCENCE OF SEDUCTION, about the 1950s Congressional investigation of horror comics, and THE HOUSE OF IDEAS, about the 1960s rise of Marvel.
 

Harold Pinter (Playwright, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY) was one of the most influential modern British dramatists, with a writing career that spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (1957), THE HOMECOMING (1964), and BETRAYAL (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include THE SERVANT (1963), THE GO-BETWEEN (1971), THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN (1981), THE TRIAL (1993), and SLEUTH (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.
 
Kingsley Day (Composer, Lyricist, Co-bookwriter AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICEhas composed the scores for City Lit’s productions of PROMETHEUS BOUNDLONDON ASSURANCE, THE TEMPESTand VOLPONE. With Philip LaZebnik, he cowrote the comedy TOUR DE FARCEwhich premiered at the old Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago starring Steve Carell and Hollis Resnik under the direction of Terry McCabe and has since been performed across the United States and Europe, and the book for the musical STATE STREETpremiered by City Lit as directed by Sheldon Patinkin.
Day’s other collaborations with LaZebnik include writing the music and lyrics and cowriting the books for the musicals SUMMER STOCK MURDER, which ran for 18 months and won a record-setting eight Jeffs in its premiere production; DEAR AMANDAwhich starred Alene Robertson at Pheasant Run Playhouse; BYRNE, BABY, BYRNE, which with its sequel ran a total of three years at Zanies Comedy Club; THE JOY OF SOCKSpremiered and revived by the Chicago Premiere Society; and the upcoming AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE.
 
Philip LaZebnik (Co-bookwriter AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICEhas written screenplays for films including POCAHONTAS, MULAN, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, He wrote the book for the musical FAIRY TALE, about Hans Christian Andersen with songs by Stephen Schwartz, and wrote the book and lyrics for DreamWorks' theatrical musical version of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT with songs by Stephen Schwartz. LaZebnik also wrote episodes for WINGS, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, THE TORKELSONS and ALMOST HOME.
 
Terry McCabe (Producer, Artistic Director, Director THE MARK OF KANE, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY) 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 has been used in directing courses on three continents and is now available in paperback and Kindle e-book.
 
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT CITY LIT
 
Proof of vaccination is required for all attendees of all performances (physical vaccination card or legible image of vaccination card. Refunds will not be issued if admittance is refused due to lack of vaccination documentation.
 
ABOUT CITY LIT
 
For over four decades, 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. There are additional details about parking and dining options at www.citylit.org

City Lit is supported by the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Ivanhoe Theater Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and is sponsored, in part, by A.R.T. League. 
 
For more information and to donate, visit www.citylit.org and by phone at 773-293-3682.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

New Release: Chicago Musician Karim Nagi's Album Huzam Out On Friday, August 19th, 2022

New Release On Our Radar

Karim Nagi's upcoming album Huzam will be released on Friday, August 19 and is available HERE for pre-oder.

"HUZAM" is a profound Arab maqam musical scale that starts and ends on a microtone, with no penchant for Western harmonies. It is widely used in Arab traditional music and has a mystifying and ecstatic temper. 

Karim Nagi composed these pieces all in maqam Huzam using classic Arab art music forms such as Dulab, Samai, Tahmila, Istihlal and Longa, intended to be performed on traditional instruments. These forms make up the Turath Arabic music legacy, but are infrequently employed in today's musical era. A revival is needed, one that honors both tradition and progression. So rather than rigidly replicating past formulas, Nagi uses a fertile approach to the rhythms, sections, arrangements and modulations. 

Read more at http://karimnagi.com/huzam/.

https://www.facebook.com/KarimNagiFans

https://www.instagram.com/huzamensemble/


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

American Blues Theater announces casting for The World Premiere of Alma September 22 – October 22, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 
September 22 – October 22, 2022  


By Benjamin Benne

Directed by Ana Velazquez

Featuring Jazmín Corona and Bryanna Ciera Colón  

American Blues Theater, under the continued leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, announces the World Premiere production of Alma, in cooperation with Center Theatre Group. The production will run at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 Ridge Avenue in Chicago, September 22 – October 22, 2022. I'll checking out the opening performance September 29th, so check back soon for my full review. 

Tickets will be available beginning September 1 at (773) 654-3103 and www.amercanbluestheater.com.

Alma is the winner of the Blue Ink Award & National Latinx Playwriting Award and is presented in association with Chicago Latino Theater Alliance as part of the 5th Annual Destinos Festival.

Alma crossed the border 17 years ago in search of the American Dream. Now, on the eve of her U.S.-born daughter Angel’s SAT, Alma believes all their sacrifices and hard work will pay off. There’s one problem – Angel has very different plans for her future. Told in real time, playwright Benjamin Benne’s Alma is a heartfelt and complex exploration of the immigrant generation and their first-generation children.

The cast is: Jazmín Corona (Alma) and Bryanna Ciera Colón (Angel).

The creative team is: Tara A. Houston (scenic design), Rachel West* (lighting design / master electrician), Lily Walls* (costume design), Eric Backus* (sound design), Verity Neely (properties design), Gaby Labotka (fight & intimacy direction), Manny Ortiz* (technical director), Ana Maria Campoy (Spanish translations), and Shandee Vaughan* (production & stage manager).

*Denotes Ensemble Member or Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater

 

About the Artists

BENJAMIN BENNE he/him (Playwright) is newly graduated from the David Geffen/Yale School of Drama MFA Playwriting program and represented by Paradigm Talent Agency. He is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and currently under commission from South Coast Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. His plays include Alma (Center Theatre Group & ArtsWest; forthcoming: Curious Theatre Company & Central Square Theater) and In His Hands (Mosaic Theater Company). His work has been developed by the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Playwrights Realm, The Lark, The Public, Roundabout, Denver Center, The Old Globe, Two River, Boston Court Pasadena, New Harmony Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Pillsbury House Theatre, Parley, among many others. Benjamin has been the recipient of Portland Stage’s Clauder Competition Gold Prize, Arizona Theatre Company’s National Latinx Playwriting Award, Kennedy Center/KCACTF Latinx Playwriting Award, American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award, Playwrights’ Center’s McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and Many Voices Fellowship. www.benjaminbenne.com

ANA VELAZQUEZ she/her (Director) is a Mexican American director and teaching artist in her native Chicago. Her directing experience is deeply tied to new play development and is often in collaboration with playwrights exploring underrepresented stories. Her directing credits include A Los Angeles Mural for Wrights of Spring Festival at The Theatre School at DePaul; I Come From Arizona staged reading for Vittum Theater’s grand reopening at Adventure Stage Chicago; La Ofrenda at Adventure Stage Chicago; Alma for Blue Ink Festival at American Blues Theater; El Pico for A Night of New Works at Something Marvelous; Macha for Tutterow Fellows Showcase at Chicago Dramatists; Oak & Pallets for Peacebook at Collaboraction; Los Frikis for El Semillero at Victory Gardens Theater; Meet Juan(ito) Doe (co-directed) at Free Street Theater; Everybody Loves Big E for Our Chicago Project at Collaboraction; Art House and The Scream for Scrapbook 2017 at Chicago Dramatists; Epic Tales with FEMelanin for Kid’s Fringe 2016 and Raisin Puffs for Black Lives, Black Words at Black Ensemble Theatre. She received the 2018 Alta Award for Outstanding Director of Play for Meet Juan(ito) Doe (co-directed). Ana is a PlayMakers Laboratory company member. Her teaching artist experience includes Disney Musicals in Schools and PlayBuild Youth Intensive Program with Goodman Theatre; TimeLine South Living History Program with Timeline Theatre and Young Playwrights Festival with Pegasus Theatre. Ana recently completed her second residency with Teatro Comunal, a new youth program created through We the Many with Arts Midwest and The Honeywell Foundation in Wabash & North Manchester, Indiana. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

JAZMÍN CORONA she/her (Alma) previously appeared in Hurricane Diane (Theater Wit); Zulema (Goodman/Sones de Mexico); Roe (Goodman Theatre); Shrew’d and Macbeth (First Folio Theatre); I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and The Compass (u/s, Steppenwolf Theatre); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theatre); Women of 4G (Babes With Blades); A Work Of Art (Chicago Dramatists); Two Mile Hollow (First Floor Theater); Gender Breakdown (Collaboraction); Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose (Raven Theatre). TV credits include Chicago Fire (NBC). 

BRYANNA CIERA COLÓN she/her (Angel) is making her American Blues Theater debut in ALMA as Angel. The Chicago based performer made her national tour debut in the hit holiday musical The Elf on The Shelf: A Christmas Musical (Ella) fresh out of high school. She then went on to do In the Heights (Yolanda, Nina US, Ensemble) at the Arts Center of Costal Carolina on Hilton Head Island right after. Some of her other credits include episodes in the critically acclaimed NBC TV series Chicago Fire and the FOX TV series The Big Leap.


Dates:  Previews September 22-25, 2022

Opens September 28 and 29, 2022

Runs through October 22, 2022


Schedule:        

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:30pm

 

Location: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 Ridge Avenue in Chicago

Ticket prices: $25-$45

Box Office: Buy online at www.amercanbluestheater.com or (773) 654-3103

Group Sales discounts and Blue Card Memberships available now by calling (773) 654-3103 or visiting www.amercanbluestheater.com


About American Blues

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. As of 2022, the theater and artists received 221 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and 44 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.   


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