Saturday, November 26, 2022

FEST ALERT: Pride Winter Film Fest to include award-winning dramatic and documentary features and an international program of “Hot Holiday Shorts”

Festival to stream December 7 – January 8.

Pride Film Fest will follow its successful fall series of weekly LGBTQ online film screenings with a winter festival consisting of four separate programs, each streaming for 11 days. The festival will begin December 7, 2022, and continue through January 8, 2023. The feature films will include several award winners.  

The winter series will open with the feature-length documentary PAT ROCCO DARED – the life story of one of Hollywood’s gay pioneers, remembered both for his political activism and his erotic gay films. The film has won five “Best Documentary” awards in recent festivals from Australia, France, and throughout the United States. This winner of 10 awards overall has been seen in nearly 40  festivals worldwide and will stream from December 7-18.

Second in the festival will be the award-winning 2022 feature UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS, winner of two awards in the 2022 LA Outfest (Best Narrative Feature, Outstanding Performance in a Narrative Feature) and winner for Outstanding First Feature award in the 2022 Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. This entertaining road-trip dramatic film involving a dwarf and his alien-obsessed neighbor will stream from December 14-25.

Concluding the winter festival will be the Canada’s DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR, a dramatic feature about a trans woman returning home and introducing her new identity to her family on a farm in Nova Scotia, which will stream from December 28, 2022 – January 8, 2023.DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR has been recognized in eight recent film festivals in the US, Canada and Australia, in which it has won awards for Best Feature, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Audience Choice.



The festival’s third week will be HOT HOLIDAY SHORTS - a program of eight short films from the USA, France, Germany, Russia, and Denmark. The program explores gay male sexuality in genres ranging from the erotic, humorous, poetic, and fantastic; in situations that depict seduction, comic misunderstandings, and the support and freedom found within the gay community. The shorts will stream from December 21, 2022 – January 1, 2023.


From the short film BROTHERS. 

Access to the films is $12.00 per film. Monthly memberships are also available for $10.00 per month which entitles the purchaser to a $5.00 discount on each of the festival programs ($7.00 per program) plus one free membership event and free admission to an Open Space Arts staged play reading to take place in 2023. 

Tickets for the individual programs are now on sale HERE

Membership passes are available HERE

 Winter 2022-23 Pride Film Festival –Complete Schedule

Week 1 – December 7 - 18, 2022


(2021, USA, 1:30)

Directed by Morris Chapdelaine and Bob Christie

Written by Bob Christie

In this colorful trip back in time, filmmaker and activist Pat Rocco shares his incredible life story as one of Hollywood's original boundary-pushing gay pioneers, remembered both for his political activism and his erotic gay films. The cast includes Phyllis Diller, Rev. Troy Perry and Harvey Milk. Winner of 10 awards in festivals throughout the United States and the world.


Week 2 – December 14 – 25, 2022


Directed by Juan Felipe Zuleta

Written by Juan Felipe Zuleta and Leland Frankel

One of the most entertaining and unique road-trip movies! An uptight dwarf and his free-spirited, alien-obsessed neighbor hit the road on a border-defying search for their place in the universe. 2022 Award winner - Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival  (Outstanding First Feature), 2022 LA Outfest (Best Narrative Feature, Outstanding Performance in a Narrative Feature).

Week 3 – December 21, 2022 – January 1, 2023

HOT HOLIDAY SHORTS - Gay short films from the Gonella Film Collection 





BROTHERS (France/Russia, 9:20)

Damien and François decided to come out of the closet today, but no one believed them. They didn't look gay enough.

FIRE ISLAND ‘79 (USA, 7:44)

Directed by Todd Verow and Patrick McGuinn

Written by Todd Verow

When filmmaker Chase Hook committed suicide on December 31st, 1979, his conservative family destroyed all his gay erotic films. Recently super8 home movies of his last summer on Fire Island were found, along with the tape from his answering machine. The contrast between the natural freedom of the beach and the messages he got is remarkable.

LA DISYUNTIVA (Germany, 13:00)

Directed by Antonio Zucherino

Two men walk agitatedly on a dirt road between underbrush until one follows the other in the foliage. This short is intense and sexual.


A young man on Christmas Eve prostitutes himself in the streets of Paris when he meets a character who may be an angel Guardian.


Clockwise from top left: LE GOUT DE L'AUTRE, LOVE YOU TYLER, PD, and SPANDEX. 

LE GOÛT DE L'AUTRE (France, 8:43)

Written and directed by Jordan Fleury Kervella

Over a cup of tea, Julien tries to seduce Alan. Surprised, Alan avoids Julien. After this failure, Julien goes back to his sex addiction. Julien’s memories and imagination join to lose himself until he enters the poetic world of Alan.


Directed by Ari Itkin and Devon Diffenderfer

Things get a little awkward when Luke starts to talk about his new girlfriend, Tyler, who has the same name and career as his straight roommate.  This interaction is funny and unexpected.

PD (France, 7:19)

A cruising area takes on majestic proportions as we discover Greek-esque male bodies in the forest. The sonnets 18, 57, and 20 by William Shakespeare add to the film's Midsummer Night's Dream-like ambiance. PD began as an homage to the book Derek Jarman’s Garden photos by Howard Sooley and is filmed entirely with a mobile phone.


A lovely black and white film about sports and dance, love and friendship, and leopard print spandex!

Week 4 – December 28, 2022 – January 8, 2023

DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR (2021, Canada, 1:30

After her mother's death, a young trans woman returns to the family farm in Nova Scotia, where she sees her father and sister for the first time in many years and the first time since her transition.DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR has been recognized in eight recent film festivals in the US, Canada and Australia, in which it has won awards for Best Feature, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Audience Choice.



Pride Film Fest began in 2012 as Queer Bits, an in-person film festival that was a program of Chicago’s Pride Films and Plays artistic company. In 2002, Pride Film Festival was spun off as off as a separate entity and promises year-round LGBTQ film programming presented in streaming and occasionally in-person formats in Chicago.

Through this abundance of programming, Pride Film Fest will showcase the breadth of world LGBTQ film art – from shorts to features and everything in between - that expresses the variety and complexity of queer life across the globe. The fall schedule will include six separate programs streaming for 12 days each. Themes will explore the experiences of gay men and women, trans, gender queer, non-binary, and even asexual identities.

David Zak is the director of Pride Film Fest, a program of Open Space Arts. Open Space Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to performances related to contemporary issues. This past summer, Open Space Arts presented the world premiere of THE KRAMER PROJECT, a dramatic adaptation by David Zak of Larry Kramer’s seminal 2004 speech, “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays.”

JACK OFF THE BEANSTALK Via PrideArts November 28 Through December 18, 2022


to bring British holiday panto tradition to adult audiences


To borrow the catchphrase from the Monty Python TV series, PrideArts will next present “something completely different” for the holidays by bringing the British theatrical genre of panto to Chicago. Panto (short for pantomime, but not to be confused with mime), is a tradition with roots going back to Commedia Dell’Arte, and is a loud, fun, enjoyable musical comedy theatre production that takes well-loved children’s tales and turns them into a show full of giggles for kids along with subtle adult-minded jokes. PrideArts’ holiday show, though, will be the US Premiere of a very adult holiday panto that premiered in London in 2013 and has enjoyed multiple productions around the UK since then. 

Top row L-R: Eustace Allen, Tyler Callahan, Hannah Eisendrath, Lisa Fiori.

Middle row L-R: Neill Kelly, Joe Lewis, Sam Martin, Peter Moeller.

Lower row L-R: Anna Seibert, Sara Torre.

JACK OFF THE BEANSTALK was written by Tom Whalley, arguably the leading panto artist of Great Britain. While Whalley has written for general, all-family audiences, he has additionally created several pantos, like this one, that are strictly for adults. PrideArts’ production will be a full-scale musical, with popular songs performed live by the cast, a four-piece band, and lively choreography. The show is recommended for ages 18 +. Press opening is Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm, following previews November 28-30. The production will play through December 18, 2022, at the Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago.

Whalley’s take on the traditional fairy tale of the boy who steals magic beans from a giant atop a huge beanstalk adds several characters - Princess Jill, who is a love interest for Jack and is kidnapped by the giant and his evil henchman Fleshlight. An ally for Jack Clapp and his mother Dame Clapp is Fairy Flick Bean. Though British in origin, JACK OFF THE BEANSTALK will include many local references and inside jokes, as is also part of the panto tradition. Songs, performed live by the cast and backed up by a four-piece band, will include favorites by such American artists as Kelly Clarkson and Whitney Houston. With audience participation involving call and response reactions, and with alcoholic drinks (available in the lobby for a donation) allowed inside the theater, the audience experience will be as much a party as attending a live performance.

Anna Seibert (Left) and Joe Lewis (right). Photo by Bryan McCaffrey Click on image to download high-res file.

JACK OFF THE BEANSTALK will be directed by Bryan McCaffrey, whose credits include stage and musical direction for PARADE, GUYS AND DOLLS, and SOMETHING ROTTEN for Theatre Nebula; PASSING STRANGE for Porchlight Music Theatre, and A CHRISTMAS KAROL: A HOLIDAY INTERVENTION for PrideArts in 2021. Music direction is by Anna Wegener, whose recent credits include PARADE and GUYS AND DOLLS (Theatre Nebula), QUEER EYE: THE MUSICAL PARODY (The Second City), and NOTES AND LETTERS (Underscore Theater). The choreographer is Ariana Cappuccitti, who recently choreographed SPONGEBOB: THE MUSICAL, CHICAGO, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, and BIG FISH in the Chicago suburbs and has performed in WONDERFUL TOWN (Goodman Theatre), FUNNY THING… FORUM (Porchlight Music Theatre), MAMMA MIA (Music Theatre Works) and SOMETHING ROTTEN (Theatre Nebula).

The cast who will deliver the outrageous humor, raunchy puns, and sexual innuendo of Whalley’s creation includes Joe Lewis, seen in PrideArts’ GIRLFRIEND and in 2021’s CHRISTMAS KAROL: A HOLIDAY INTERVENTION CABARET, as Jack. His love interest, the Princess Jill, will be played by Anna Seibert (of SHOUT! at Metropolis Art Center). Eustace Allen, whose credits include MODIGLIANI, and NIGHT OF THE IGUANA for The Artistic Home; and INTIMATE APPAREL and AFTER THE FALL for Eclipse Theatre, will be Jack’s mother, Dame Clapp. Neill Kelly (of Theatre Nebula’s PARADE) is Fleshlight and will also understudy Dame Clapp. Hannah Eisendrath will be Fairy Flick Bean, and Tyler Callahan is Fist the Cow. Additional understudies are Sam Martin (Jack), Lisa Fiori (Jill), Peter Moeller (Fleshlight, Fist), and Sara Torre (Fairy Flick Bean).

The production team, in addition to McCaffrey, Wegener and Cappuccitti, includes Victoria Jablonski (Costume Designer), Brett Baleskie (Scenic Designer), Amelia Simonoff (Lighting Designer), Valerio Toretta Gardner (Sound Designer), Carlos Concetta (Sound Engineer) AlJoya Hall (Master Electrician),  Emma Ferguson (Props Designer, Assistant Stage Manager), and Christa Retka (Stage Manager).

Performances will begin with previews November 28, 29 and 30 at 7:30 pm each night. Opening night is Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm. Regular performance schedule is Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Tickets $35 for regular performances, $25 for previews. Seniors and students receive a $5 discount off regular performance prices. Tickets are on sale now online at

Previews Monday, November 28, Tuesday, November 29, and Wednesday, November 30 at 7:30 pm

Press Opening Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm

Regular run December 1–December 18, 2022

Curtain times Wednesdays–Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm

Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Tickets $35 for regular performances, $25 for previews. Seniors and students receive a $5 discount off regular performance prices. Tickets and more information at



Bryan McCaffrey (Director) in 2022 has directed productions of PARADE and GUYS AND DOLLS for Theatre Nebula. He has also served as Music Director for Theatre Nebula’s production of SOMETHING ROTTEN, for Porchlight Music Theatre’s PASSING STRANGE and for PrideArts’ A CHRISTMAS KAROL: A HOLIDAY INTERVENTION.

Tom Whalley (Writer) trained at Associated Studios, London graduating with a Diploma in Musical Theatre and studied Drama & Scriptwriting at Northumbria University, Newcastle, United Kingdom. Tom has made a name for himself as a performer and writer working with a number of theatre companies, directors and creatives in London and elsewhere in the UK. Following an appearance on BBC Three’s reality series Shoplife, Tom has since starred in a number of off West End productions and UK Tours (Dick Whittington eat your heart out!). Passionate about Pantomime, Tom starred in his first panto as an ‘Ugly Stepsister’ while still at school and has gone on to start his own business writing and licensing pantomime scripts for theatre companies across the globe: 

Jay Españo (PrideArts Artistic Director). Born in Manila, The Philippines, he joined the prestigious Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company in 1998, where he trained with acclaimed Filipino director Nonon Padilla. He acted in several commercials, television series and films. Notably, he was a regular cast member of Koko KwikKwak - a spin-off of Batibot (Philippine SESAME STREET). He toured The Philippines with that show’s mascots, performing for kids throughout the country. In 2000, Jay was one of many Filipino actors who were cast in the Action Theater Singapore’s hit musical CHANG AND ENG, which toured Asia for several years.

Since joining PrideArts as Artistic Director in 2021, Jay has directed THE THINGS I NEVER COULD TELL STEVEN, 4000 DAYS, CHRISTMAS KAROL: A HOLIDAY INTERVENTION, TOMMY ON TOP, and GIRLFRIEND.  Elsewhere in the Chicago area, Jay has worked with storefront theater companies such as Silk Road Rising, Prologue, Ghostlight, Halcyon, and PrideArts. He has played the role of the King in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I with various theater companies in the US and in Canada.



PrideArts tells queer stories on a variety of platforms, including both live and virtual performances. Since its founding in 2010, PrideArts has had several chapters, including operating as an itinerant theater for their first six seasons, and as the developer and primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center since 2016.

The company produces full seasons of plays and musicals, as well as events including cabaret, and more. The company has earned 39 Jeff Awards and nominations, and six nominations in the most recent (2019) ALTA Awards from the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago. Programming has reflected the diversity of queer communities by including work made by and illuminating the experiences of women, gay men, transgender people, and BIPOC.

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

PrideArts is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. PrideArts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northalsted Business Association, Lakeview East, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatre.

For more information and to donate, visit or call 1.773 857 0222.

Princess Ivona at Trap Door Theatre Thursday, January 12, 2023 Through Saturday, February 18, 2023

TRAP DOOR THEATRE is proud to present  
Princess Ivona
Written By: Witold Gombrowicz
Translated By: Krystyna Griffith-Jones and Catherine Robins
Directed By: Jenny Beacraft

Cast: Cat Evans, Bill Gordon, Joan Nahid, Laura Nelson, Manuela Rentea, Keith Surney, Gus Thomas, Kevin Webb, and Robert Wilson.

What: Ivona, a woman of few words, is forcibly entangled into the intrigues of a dysfunctional royal court when she becomes Prince Philip’s fiancée. Soon, Ivona becomes a royal spoiler revealing to each courtier their vices and blemishes.

Originally from Chicago, Jenny Beacraft returns from Spain to direct this Gombrowicz piece confronting ideas of personal identity, and the failure of existing value systems. Princess Ivona is a meditation on status, cruelty, and desire.

Set Designer: J. Michael Griggs / Lighting Design: Richard Norwood / Costume Design: Rachel Sypniewski / Sound Design: Przemyslaw Bosak / Make-Up Design: Zsófia Ötvös / Graphic Design: Michal Janicki / Dramaturg: Milan Pribisic / Assistant Director: Micah Mabey / Stage Manager: James “Napoleon” Stone / Swings: Emily Nichelson and Joseph Jenkins

Opens: Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 8PM

Closes: Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 8PM

Runs: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8PM

Run time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Admission: $25 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with 2-for-1 Admission on Thursdays





OUT JANUARY 27, 2023


Photo Credit: Philippe Salvat

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we caught The Inspector Cluzo live in Chicago when they opened for Clutch, and we thoroughly enjoyed their set. Check 'em out. 

Check out their video for Swallows HERE.

The Inspector Cluzo says "We decided to write a song about the swallows not only because they are so beautiful spinning around in the sky or flying over our organic wheat and corn fields to collect bugs to feed their young, but also to point out that farming is possible without destroying the world. We've been trying out this agro-ecological system for more than 10 years now and are so fortunate to welcome swallows every year”

"Running a family farm is more rock than playing rock’n’roll music "

The DIY Guascon farmers are thrilled to announce the release of their second single "Swallows". The track is accompanied by a stunning animated video, which is available here. The single is taken from the band’s forthcoming ninth studio album Horizon set for release on January 27, 2023, via F.thebassplayer Records. 

"Swallows" video has been drawn by Cecilia Pepper and animated by Maxime Cazaux, it perfectly embodies the spirit of this track. Swallows is quintessentially a The Inspector Cluzo song, it is more than a ballad, it brings to the frontline crucial issues we all face, with rock elegance, unbearable sadness and profound anger. 

The Inspector Cluzo comments: "At Lou Casse organic farm, we're fortunate enough to see migratory birds such as swallows building their nest in the old barn. Pesticides used worldwide make it hard for swallows to find food because bugs are being killed in the fields. Furthermore, the proliferation of urban zones prevents them to find proper shelter to raise their young. We can see them disappearing little by little. It's ironic to know that the use of pesticides is said to "feed people" - most food on Earth is made using chemical agriculture techniques - whereas it destroys every little life around it.

We decided to write a song about the swallows not only because they are so beautiful spinning around in the sky or flying over our organic wheat and corn fields to collect bugs to feed their young, but also to point out that farming is possible without destroying the world. Though it'll be a long shot and a long fight before modern society understands this.

At Lou Casse, we've been trying out this agro-ecology system for more than 10 years now and are so fortunate to welcome swallows every year... "

The band’s forthcoming record, Horizon, comes after the critically acclaimed LP We The People Of The Soil (2018) and the live album Brothers In Ideals – We The People Of The Soil Unplugged (2020). Recorded in three weeks and produced by Grammy Award winner Vance Powell, Horizon is the deepest and truest album The Inspector Cluzo have written to date. 

Each song shares and takes inspiration from real life events and experiences. For example, "Wolfs At The Door", tells the story of the struggle the two farmers experienced when standing up against a duck factory located in front of their farm and the fight they had to put up when faced with a massive bird flu pandemic. "Saving The Geese" describes the civil disobedience against the French State and the big local agro-industries corporations that wanted to kill the band’s healthy animals as "prevention”. "Shenanigans" re-evokes the great times the band spent in Nashville with their friend Bill Elder who run the Shenanigans bar and who put them up during all Nashville studio sessions. "Rockophobia", on the other hand, is one of the surprises The Inspector Cluzo reserved for the fans, it is a fun rock number, in which the band wonders "what does rock mean today?" laughing at Iggy Pop, who later decided to feature on the track.

In keeping with their reputation as one the most prolific touring bands in the world (they have played over 1200 shows in 67 countries to date), The Inspector Cluzo completed sold out USA support tours with Clutch and Eels in 2019, alongside a host of festival appearances across the globe (including Lollapalooza Chile and Brazil) and a maiden US headline tour. In the summer of 2022 The Inspector Cluzo played extensively on prestigious stages across Europe, including the widely renowned Hellfest Festival, where they gathered a crowd of 50,000 fans.

Horizon Track-List

Act Local Think Global

Wolf At The Door

Running A Family Farm Is More Rock Than Playing Rock ‘n’ Roll


The Outsider

Swallows – Where are The Swallows Gonna Build Their Nest


Rockphobia – feat. Iggy Pop

The Armchair Activist

9 Billion Solutions

Saving The Geese

Swallows Back – When Will The Swallows Return

About The Inspector Cluzo

The Inspector Cluzo is a Gascony based Rock-Blues duo, created in 2008 by Laurent (Guitar, Lead Vocal) and Mathieu (Drums). The two met at their 1st year of Physics studies in Mont de Marsan. Since 2008, the band have released 8 albums via their self-run record label F.TheBassPlayer Records, they are totally 100% self-financed, family-based organized, and 100% DIY.

They have played more than 1200 gigs in 67 countries all around the world. They played festivals such as Fuji Rock festival (Japan), Pentaport Festival (South Korea), Lollapalooza (Brazil &Chile), Download (UK), Paléo Festival (Switzerland), Oppikopi (South Africa), Blues Fest (Australia), Shaky Knees Fest (USA), Hell Fest (France).

However, the band’s main activity is farming. They are organic professional farmers, they run a 15Ha family farm called "LOU CASSE" (“the oak” in Gascon language) in Gascony, producing organic wheat and organic corn with their own free seeds. No GMO, no hybrids seeds, no chemicals or pesticides are used. They belong to a new generation of farmers that are into an Agro-Ecologic system challenging and fighting climate change for the new generations.

Follow The Inspector Cluzo: Website | YouTube | Facebook | Spotify | Twitter

The Gift Theatre Announces 2023 Season and Resource-Sharing Residency with Filament Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

 PHOTO CREDIT: The Gift Theatre’s 2023 Season will be helmed by directors Lili-Anne Brown (left) and Devo de Mayo (right).

Chicago Premiere!


Written by Anna Ouyang Moench 

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown



Written by Jim Cartwright

Directed by Devon de Mayo

Performed at Filament Theatre, as part of “industry leading” resource-sharing residency

The Gift Theatre is pleased to announce its 2023 season, featuring the Chicago premiere of Anna Ouyang Moench’s dark comedy Mothers, directed by Lili-Anne Brown and a revival of Jim Cartwright’s powerful, award-winning drama The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, directed by Devo de Mayo. The full season will be presented at Filament Theatre (4040 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago) as part of an innovative resource-sharing residency beginning in January 2023.

"As we were dreaming about our first season announcement as a trio, we went on a listening tour of sorts and chatted with our Ensemble to see what dreams they had for the future of Gift,” comment Co-Artistic Directors Brittany Burch, Emjoy Gavino and Jennifer Glasse. “Similar themes were echoed throughout the conversations – an excitement for taking risks, exploring out of the box, dark comedies and working with directors who meet us where we are and challenge where our ensemble and audience can go. We are thrilled to announce our 2023 Season!”

Co-Artistic Director Jennifer Glasse adds, “We have been fans of Lili-Anne Brown and Devon de Mayo for YEARS. Both of them are incredible forces of nature as directors and women. Lili-Anne understands the Gift and the uniqueness of our Ensemble. We truly admire the stories she tells that always speak to the heart of voicing and affirming underrepresented people. Devon is masterful at sharing ensemble stories while transporting audiences through her work. Both Lili-Anne and Devon pitched this season to us because they specifically wanted to work on these shows with the Gift. We are so honored and beyond thrilled to bring their work to life.”

Season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 283-7071. The 2023 GiftFlex Subscription Package ($80) includes 20% off all tickets, admission to any performance of Mothers, The Rise and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, tickets to “In the Works, the Gift’s exclusive staged reading series, two free ticket exchanges and a discount to the Gift Gala.


An innovative resource-sharing residency

In January 2023, The Gift Theatre will join long time neighbors, Filament Theatre as year-round co-tenants, reactivating Filament’s venue in the “Six Corners” as a vibrant arts center. Designed for the companies to share resources and provide valuable pipelines to new audiences, the “industry-leading” arrangement (as described by Professor Alan Salzenstein, Director of the MFA/Arts Leadership program at The Theatre School at DePaul) has the potential to serve as a national model for nonprofit resource collaboration that maintains each organization’s mission, artistic and programmatic independence.

“As we continue our plans to open a new theater space in Jefferson Park, this temporary home at Filament provides our current audience a familiar neighborhood to experience our work and introduces us to a new audience base of adults among Filament’s following,” said Gift Theatre Managing Director John Gawlik. “We are grateful to Julie Richey, Krissi Ann McEachern and their team for inviting us ‘in-residence’ indefinitely until we settle into our new forever home.” 

Filament Managing Director Krissi Ann McEachern adds, “At Filament, we believe that building community and sharing our resources are key practices for creating institutional resilience – especially in the ever-evolving landscape nonprofit theaters find ourselves in. We're thrilled to share our Six Corners home with long time neighbors and friends, The Gift Theatre. While they work towards their dream building, it's our hope that this partnership will increase the strength and reach of both organizations, deepening our shared commitment to the Northwest Side.”

The Gift Theatre’s 2023 Season includes:

May 4 – June 11, 2023

Mothers – Chicago Premiere!

Written by Anna Ouyang Moench 

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Performed at Filament Theatre, 4040 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Press opening: Monday, May 8 at 7:30 pm

Three moms, a stay-at-home dad and a nanny watch their kids play at Mommy-Baby Meetup. One mom is the queen bee and one is here to shake things up. The dad just wants to fit in, and the nanny doesn’t say a word. When catastrophe comes, the five of them have to figure out how to survive a war and each other. Mothers examines the primal heartache of raising children in a disintegrating world.

Comments Co-Artistic Director Brittany Burch, “I first read Mothers nearly a year after giving birth to my daughter. I immediately identified with the vicious humor of the first act, and by the end of the second act I was completely gutted. I love that it sheds light on the blinders we wear in this country to the world around us. The invincibility we can feel and the denial of an inevitable future if we continue to allow our human rights to be stripped from us. Mothers reminds us that if we continue to ignore these issues, they will eventually show up knocking at our front door.”

September 14 – October 29, 2023

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

Written by Jim Cartwright

Directed by Devon de Mayo

Performed at Filament Theatre, 4040 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Press opening: Monday, September 18 at 7:30 pm

Blown fuses, real and metaphorical, punctuate the action with flashes of pent-up energy in this acclaimed play. The heroine frequently plunges the dilapidated house she shares with her alcoholic mother into darkness by playing her dead father's records at a volume matched only by the soulful power of her vocal impressions. She hides in her room, crooning and dreaming of love, while her disheveled mother mistakes a seedy agent's interest as affection rather than enthusiasm for the gold mine buried in her daughter's throat. This is an engaging fairy tale of despair, love and finally hope as LV finds a voice of her own.

“We loved the idea of presenting a Cinderella story, but in a way that would resonate with The Gift ensemble and audience – dark and quirky, with unexpected monsters and heroes,” writes co-artistic director Emjoy Gavino, “The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is equal parts hilarity, heartbreak and song. Our industry can disregard the people behind the show – this play explores that exploitation but also shows how art can help us find our humanity, despite the forces and systems that seek to overshadow it. Also, it’s just incredibly funny.”


Artist Biographies

Anna Ouyang Moench (Playwright, Mothers) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been produced at the Geffen Playhouse, the Playwrights Realm, East West Players, InterAct Theater, and many other theaters across the country and around the world. Anna is a 2020 Steinberg Award winner and the recipient of a Gerbode Special Award in the Arts commission for a new play that will be produced at Magic Theater in 2022. She has been commissioned by NAATCO for a new play premiering in 2021. In television and film, Anna has worked with Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO, UCP, eOne, PictureStart and Universal. Anna lives in Los Angeles with her family. 

Lili-Anne Brown (Director, Mothers), a Chicago South Side native, works as a director, actor and educator, and has performed in, directed and produced many award-winning shows in Chicago and nationally. She is the former Artistic Director of Bailiwick Chicago, where she focused programming on Chicago-premiere musicals and new play development with resident playwrights. Recent directing credits include School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play and the world premieres of Ike Holter’s I Hate It Here and Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre), Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Huntington Theatre), Ain’t No Mo’ (Woolly Mammoth), The Color Purple (The Muny), Once on This Island (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Acoustic Rooster... (Kennedy Center), Jesus Snatched My Edges (nat'l tour) and Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse). She is a member of SDC, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA, and represented by William Morris Endeavor.

Jim Cartwright (Playwright, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) is a multi-award winning, international playwright, screenwriter and director. His work is in almost continuous production around the world and has been translated into over 35 languages. His plays have been performed at The National Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, The West End of London and on Broadway and in many of the principle theatres of the world. His plays include Road, now considered a modern classic and winner of The George Devine Award, The Plays and Players Award, Drama Magazine Award and The Samuel Beckett Award. Voted third best play of the decade and in the top 50 best plays in the history of theatre. The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, nominated for six Olivier Awards, winning three including Best Comedy and winner of the prestigious Evening Standard Award. Two-time winner of the M.E.N best new play award. Bed, Eight Miles High, Prize Night, Hard Fruit, A Christmas Fair, and most recently at the National Theatre Mobile Phone Show and Raz Fringe First winner 2015 at the Edinburgh Festival.

Film and television include Road, Vroom, June, Wedded, Village, Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise, Strumpet, King of the Teds and the award-winning film Little Voice, adapted from his play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. He has received an Honorary Doctorate from Bolton University, has been a visiting professor at The University of Salford and his old school Harper Green have named a building in his honour.

His plays have been in constant publication since 1986 and are on school, college and university curriculums.

Devon de Mayo (Director, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) is a Chicago-based theatre director and devisor. Her Chicago professional credits include: In Every Generation and If I Forget (Victory Gardens Theater), First Love is the Revolution (Steep Theatre); The Tasters, Laura and the Sea and The Scientific Method (Rivendell Theatre); Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theater Wit); The Burn (Steppenwolf Theatre); Harvey (Court Theatre); Sycamore (Raven Theatre); You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites); Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre); You Can’t Take it With You and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre); Everything is Illuminated and Compulsion (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony). Outside of Chicago, Devon served as Resident Director on The Audience by Peter Morgan (Schoenfeld Theatre, Broadway, under the direction of Stephen Daldry). She co-wrote and co-directed Guerra: A Clown Play, a collaboration with Mexico City based artists La Piara (performances in New York, Chicago, Albuquerque, Mexico City and Bogota). Devon is an ensemble member at Rivendell Theatre and co-founded Dog & Pony Theatre. She received her MFA in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University in London and a BA in Drama and Political Science from Kenyon College. She did further studies at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS) in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali. She is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Performance in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago.

About The Gift Theatre

Since 2001 and over 70 productions, The Gift Theatre has been dedicated to telling great stories onstage with honesty and simplicity by being the most intimate professional Equity theatre in the country, leading to national acclaim for both the theatre and ensemble and creating a cultural revolution on Chicago’s northwest side.


About Filament Theatre

Filament Theatre, on Chicago’s Northwest Side, has been creating innovative theater for young audiences since 2007. Filament’s mission is to create a more equitable society by celebrating and amplifying the perspectives and experiences of young people through the performing arts. Please visit for more information.

Friday, November 25, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar





Featuring the Best of Chicago’s Nightlife Entertainment; 

Highlighting the World of Burlesque, Boylesque, Magic, Sword Balancing, 

Circus, Dance and More

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© is proud to announce its return this holiday season with the sixth edition of Chicago’s favorite alternative holiday show, a twist on the original story and a live event not to be missed, directed by Miguel Long and choreographed by Dylan Kerr, December 1 - 31 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.  The two-hour experience begins with a cocktail hour which includes craft vendors from local artists (Thursday nights), special pre-show performances (Friday and Saturday nights), and brunch fare (Sunday matinees), followed by Tchaicovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite in a saucy, alternative and adult retelling of the holiday classic. Each week features the best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainment in the roles of Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Vodka and Mother Ginger, featuring sword swallowing, belly dancing, classic burlesque and more. 

I'll be out for the press opening Dec. 1st so check back soon for my full review. Holiday performance schedule includes Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. with a special New Year’s Eve closing night performance Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. This New Year’s Eve special event includes a party following the show with cheese and charcuterie snacks, two drink tickets for after the show, a midnight “pole dancer booty drop” countdown with balloons and prizes, a DJ and more. 

There are no performances Friday, Dec. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 25. Admission is available for those 18 years old and older (21+ to drink). Tickets are Industry/SRO, $20; house left general admission, $30/$40 at the door, house center general admission, $40/$50 at the door and VIP, $75/$100 at the door with New Year’s Eve tickets house left general admission, $60/$70 at the door, house center general admission $80/$90 at the door and VIP $150/$200 at the door. Tickets are now on sale at and and, based on availability,  at the door one hour before the performance.

Audiences are invited to follow Clara and her Buttcracker on a wild hallucinogenic trip from a boring-AF holiday party to the Land of Sweets where they battle rats, save the day and learn that body and sex positivity are to be celebrated. A combination of fairy tale and exotic trip down the rabbit hole with the best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainment. The Buttcracker highlights the world of burlesque, boylesque, magic, sword balancing, circus, dance and more.

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© cast includes Elena Avila*/^ (Clara); Olivia Lindsay* (Buttcracker);  Claire Francescon* (Drosselmeyer); Autumn Christensen* (Sugar Bum Fairy);  Baby Bagos Hood*/^ (Boss/Rat King); Hannah Silverman* (ensemble); Mandyn Mueller+/^ (ensemble); Eilish Morse-O'Rourke* (ensemble);  Yasmyne Williams*/^  (ensemble); Savannah Sinclair*/^ (swing) and Sierra Buffum*/^ (ensemble understudy). Features soloists for the roles of Vodka, Tea, Chocolate, Coffee, and Mother Ginger rotate weekly. Every week includes a different kind of performance from the best of Chicago’s nightlife entertainment.

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© production team includes Miguel Long+ (director); Dylan Kerr* (choreographer); Brighid Martensen*/^ (costume designer); Gabrielle Strong* (set designer); Samuel Stephen+ (lighting designer);

Rowan Doe^ (props designer); Jake Snell+ (stage manager) and Carlie Rummel* (backstage manager); Kayla Drescher* (magic consultant). Jaq Seifert^/(sub)version productions (producer) and Caylei Hallberg* (producing assistant).

Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)

Information on tickets:

New Year’s Eve

Saturday, Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.

Ticket prices: HOUSE LEFT GA $60/75 at the door, HOUSE CENTER GA $80/$100 at the door, VIP $150/$200 at the door.

This special closing performance of the 2022 run includes a make-your-own cheese and charcuterie board, two drink tickets for after the show, a midnight “pole dancer booty drop” countdown with balloons and prizes, a DJ and other special guest performances. 

Regular Performances:


Ticket price: $75/$100 at the door

This upgraded ticket includes reserved seating at your own cafe table right on the theatre floor with early entrance to the theatre and a private VIP bar, meet and greet with cast members and official Buttcracker swag. 

General Admission

Ticket price: $40/$50 at the door

General Admission tickets include first come, first served seating in the center section of the theater.

House Left General Admission

Ticket price: $30/$40 at the door

General Admission tickets include first come, first served seating in the house left section of the theater.

Standing Room Only (SRO)

Ticket price:  $20

A limited number of standing room only tickets will be available at the door, based on availability.

ADA Accessible seating is available, email for more information or to make reservations.


The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque© subverts the classic holiday ballet to promote diversity in body, gender expression, sexuality and race. The show utilizes the platform of parody to encourage audiences to imagine a more inclusive world, redefining the art of the tease through an alternative take on burlesque. This performance would not be possible without the generous support of individuals and companies who understand the value of having alternative adult entertainment during the holiday season, as well as supporting our mission of subverting audience’s expectations of what live entertainment looks and feels like. 

World Premiere! THE GOLDEN GIRLS: THE LOST EPISODES The Obligatory Holiday Special Via Hell in a Handbag Through December 30, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

World Premiere!

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents


The Obligatory Holiday Special

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed by Spenser Davis

November 26 – December 30, 2022 at The Center on Halsted

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've adored Hell in a Handbag Productions original comedies for decades! David Cerda has a penchant for penning parodies and legs to die for. The hellions at Handbag Productions do incomparably hilarious drag parodies of classic films, but our hands down handbag favorites are always The Golden Girls. Grab a few friends and get thee to The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – The Obligatory Holiday Special. Don't miss this!

Hell in a Handbag Productions is thrilled to ring in the holiday season with the return of its favorite seniors in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes – The Obligatory Holiday Special, playing November 26 – December 30, 2022 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives return in all new episodes, written by Artistic Director David Cerda* and directed by Spenser Davis. Tickets are now on sale at or

The production stars original cast members David Cerda*, Grant Drager*, Ed Jones* and Ryan Oates as the Geriatric Fab Four, joined by Lori Lee*, Terry McCarthy*, Michael Miller*, Michael Rashid*, Coco Sho-Nell, Jamie Smith and Danne W. Taylor*. 

The holidays take an unexpected turn for the gals when they find out that the infamous Shady Pines Retirement Community is on the verge of closing, leaving most of Sophia’s friends homeless for the holidays. Can the girls step in and save the day in time for Christmas? Will Rose be able to make it to St. Olaf in time for the ever-popular Herring Bowl Parade? These questions, and many more you never asked will be answered this newest installment of The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes.

The production team includes Robert-Eric West (Costume Design), Liz Cooper (Lighting Designer), DJ Douglass (Sound Designer), Devon Green (Props Designer), Sydney Genco* (Make-Up Design), Keith Ryan* (Wig Designer), Christopher Rhoton (Scenic Design Consultant) and Veronica Kostka (Stage Manager).


COVID safety: Masking is recommended, but not required. COVID guidelines may change in accordance with public health guidelines.

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

Cast (in alphabetical order): David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Rose), Lori Lee* (Host, Clara), Terry McCarthy* (Nurse Ursula) Michael Miller* (Councilman Hardin), Ryan Oates* (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Esther Shapiro), Coco Sho-Nell (Wanda), Jamie Smith (Bob Hope) and Danne W. Taylor* (Nancy Drew).


Location: The Hoover Leppen Theater at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago

Previews: Saturday November 26 at 7:30 pm, Sunday November 27 at 3 pm and Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, December 4 – Friday, December 30, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Sunday, December 18 at 7 pm and Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm; there will not be performances on Saturday, December 3, Saturday, December 10, Saturday, December 24 or Sunday, December 25.

Tickets: $24 previews, $29 advanced general admission, $34 at the door, $48 VIP/reserved seating with drink ticket. Group rates $24 for 10 or more. Tickets are now on sale at or

About the Artists

David Cerda (Playwright) is a founding member and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, now celebrating its 20th year anniversary. As resident playwright, he has written many Handbag productions as well as acted in them. His play, The Drag Seed was recently produced at LaMaMa Experimental Theater and his Golden Girls Lost Episodes parody shows have been produced around the country and was featured in Golden Con: Thank you for being a Fan, the world’s first fan convention dedicated to all things Golden Girls at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Cerda is a proud inductee into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and recipient of a Jeff Award for lifetime achievement for his 25 years (and counting) of work and service to the community. He lives in Chicago with his partner, Christopher.

Spenser Davis (Director) is excited to be back at Hell in a Handbag, where he previously directed 'the Girls' in their virtual "Lockdown!" special. An award-winning director and playwright, he was the 2020/21 Maggio Directing Fellow at the Goodman Theatre, where he worked alongside Bob Falls on Rebecca Gilman's Swing State and Adam Rapp's The Sound Inside. Regionally, he's worked at South Coast Repertory, the Colorado New Play Festival, and Street Corner Arts in Austin, TX. Chicago directing credits include Labyrinth, Plainclothes (with Kanomé Jones), At The Table, From White Plains, Mare and A Phase (Broken Nose Theatre); The Spin (Interrobang Theatre Project); May the Road Rise Up, Adventures of Spirit Force Five and the upcoming Kelly Girls (The Factory Theater); and Blue Stockings (Promethean Theatre). His production of At The Table was named "One of Best of the Decade" by Storefront Rebellion and "One of the Year's Best" by the Chicago Tribune. His honors include the Jeff Award for Best Director, the B. Iden Payne Award for Best Director, the Elizabeth George Commission, the M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award and being named finalist for the Harold & Mimi Steinberg New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association. He's currently developing projects for television with Orion/MGM, among others. He’s represented by both William Morris Endeavor + Heroes and Villains Entertainment.

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


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

World Premiere of Bald Sisters at Steppenwolf Theatre December 1, 2022 – January 15, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Steppenwolf Theatre presents the World Premiere of

Bald Sisters

By Vichet Chum

Directed by Jesca Prudencio


December 1, 2022 – January 15, 2023

The cast of Steppenwolf Theatre’s world premiere of Bald Sisters includes (top, l to r) Francesca Fernandez McKenzie andJennifer Lim (bottom) Coburn Goss, Wai Ching Ho and Nima Rakhshanifar.


Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, is pleased to continue its 47th season with the world premiere of Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters, a brazen, comic examination of the ties that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together. Directed by Jesca PrudencioBald Sisters will play December 1, 2022 – January 15, 2023 in Steppenwolf’s stunning new in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, the centerpiece of its recently unveiled Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, 1650 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. 


Bald Sisters will feature Francesca Fernandez McKenzieCoburn GossWai Ching HoJennifer Lim and Nima Rakhshanifar.


Ma is dead; now what happens? Vichet Chum’s world premiere follows two sisters – at odds since birth – as they settle the affairs of their strong-willed, wise-cracking mother while reconciling their family’s Cambodian heritage with its ever-so-complicated American present. Where’s the will? A burial or cremation? And what happens with Ma’s teeth? Bald Sisters is an irreverent, comic and ultimately poignant examination of the ties that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together: history, spirituality and humor. 


Single tickets for Bald Sisters starting at $20 are now on sale at and the Box Office at 312-335-1650.


Steppenwolf 2022-23 Flex Memberships are currently on sale: Black Card Memberships with six tickets for use any time for any production, and Red Card Memberships for theatergoers under 30.  


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


The production team includes Andrew Boyce (Scenic Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Stacey Derosier (Lighting Design),Pornchanok Kanchanabanca (Sound Design & Original Music), Mike Tutaj (Projection Design), Gigi Buffington (Company Voice & Text Coach), Tom Pearl (Producing Director), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Jaclynn Joslin (Assistant Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, visit


Playwright/Director Biographies:


Vichet Chum (Playwright) is a Cambodian-American playwright and theater maker, originally from Dallas, Texas and now living in New York City. His plays have been workshopped at Steppenwolf Theatre, the Magic Theater, the Alley Theatre, the UCROSS Foundation, Fault Line Theatre, Crowded Outlet, Second Generation Productions, Weston Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, All For One Theater, Amios, Florida State University, Merrimack Repertory Theatre and the New Harmony Project. He received the 2018-19 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting with New Dramatists, serves as an Associate Artist at Merrimack Repertory Theatre and is a current board member for the New Harmony Project. This season, Vichet is a part of the 2019 Resident Working Farm Group at Space on Ryder Farm, the 2020 Interstate 73 Writer's Group at Page 73 and the 2020 Ars Nova Play Group. He's currently working on a commission from the Audible Theater Emerging Playwrights Fund and Cleveland Play House. He is a proud graduate of the University of Evansville (BFA) and Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company (MFA). He’s represented by Beth Blickers at APA Agency.


Jesca Prudencio (Director) is a director and choreographer dedicated to developing new theatrical works that humanize issues nationally and internationally. Upcoming: Dot Dot Dot (TheatreWorks USA), Exotic Deadly; or the MSG Play (The Old Globe). Recent: King Liz (Geffen Playhouse), Can We Now? (La Jolla Playhouse WoW Fest), It’s a Ship Show! (Virgin Voyages), Interstate (Mixed Blood, East West Players). Other credits: The Great Leap by Lauren Yee (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), VietgoneActually (San Diego Rep); Calling (La MaMa ETC); Man of God (East West Players); A&Q (Pineapple Lab, Philippines); FAN (B-Floor, Thailand). Jesca has developed new work at MCC Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Arena Stage, NAMT and La MaMa. She is a recipient of The Drama League Fellowship and the inaugural Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship. Jesca is head of directing at SDSU where she is an Associate Professor. BFA: NYU Tisch, MFA: UC San Diego.


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


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 offers accessible services to ensure all audience members have access to our work, including American Sign Language interpretation, Spanish Language captions, wheelchair accessible seating and more. With questions, email


Sponsor Information 

Bald Sisters is generously supported in part by the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation and is the recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is also grateful for the significant season support from Northern Trust, Allstate Insurance Company, ComEd, Conagra Brands Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, PNC and Vinci Restaurant. Steppenwolf also acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.


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 marked 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. and        


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