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Friday, April 5, 2024

Babes With Blades Theatre Company Presents World Premiere of The S Paradox April 7th Through May 18th, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

BABES WITH BLADES THEATRE COMPANY’S WORLD PREMIERE OF 

THE S PARADOX

WINNER OF INTERNATIONAL PLAYWRITING COMPETITION


Please note: masks are required for all performances. 

The running time is 95 minutes with no intermission. 

True to Chicago Being a Hub for New Work, Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s 10th Winner Of The International Playwriting Competition Joining Sword & Pen and The Margaret W. Martin Award Opens this Sunday, April 7

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU FIGHT FOR

Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s (BWBTC) 2024 season opens this Sunday, April 7 with The S Paradox, written by Joining Sword & Pen International Playwright Competition (JS&P) and Margaret W. Martin Award Winner Jillian Leff, directed by Morgan Manasa with fight direction by Samantha Kaufman at The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. The S Paradox runs through May 18 with preview performances Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, April 11 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 12 at 8 p.m. The press opening is Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. with a performance schedule of Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. The streaming dates are Saturday May 11  at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m. available via Vimeo.com.  Open Caption performances are available Saturday, May 4 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m., and Thursday and Friday, May 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. with sensory-friendly performances Sundays, April 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. Tickets for the live and the streaming productions are $28 - $35 and available at BabesWithBlades.org.

Taking place in a distant future where the United States has undergone sweeping reform, The S Paradox is a world where guns are banned, healthcare is free,and numerous tax and economic bills have helped lessen the division of classes and pulled millions out of poverty. Sloane (first name Bridget, but don’t call her that) is a young woman who has been tapped by a watchdog intelligence agency called the CRC, led by the odd, yet domineering William Hale. As Sloane triumphantly (and a little drunkenly) leaves a warehouse after signing her contract, she is stopped by a mysterious woman who says she has come back in time to stop Sloane from making the biggest mistake of her life. 

“Chicago’s storefront theatre scene as a whole is very passionate about creating something that makes a lasting impact and is new and fresh and bold,” states winning Playwright Jillian Leff*. “Most of the time, you're going to find that in a new play.” 

“The S Paradox is an “Alias” meets “Looper” type tale, a sci-fi adventure that is an addition to the canon of new plays cultivated by BWBTC. The ensemble, originally founded as a company for women trained in stage combat, found few scripts outside of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew that called for femme actors to fight,” said Artistic Director Hayley Rice*. “Scripts that did “benefit” from having a woman trained in stage combat typically involved scenarios where female characters were the victims of the violence happening in a play.”

Now in its 19th year, Joining Sword & Pen International Playwright “continues to give space and a voice for stories from marginalized voices in theater,”added Rice. “With the total prize and award being a combination of developing the new script that leads to a full production and a cash prize, this is rare in the theater industry and we want to continue this as an opportunity for the development of new work in the industry.

Chicago playwright Jillian Leff talks about her experience through the development process with BWBTC: “I've done mostly one-off workshops for my other plays, which are definitely helpful, but I enjoy BWBTC’s Fighting Words program because it's working with your script over the better part of a year, with mainly the same people. I've felt it's helped The S Paradox grow exponentially.”

The S Paradox’s ensemble cast of 12 artists includes Elisabeth Del Toro (she/her, Dez); Luz Espinoza (she/her, Dez U/S and Older Dez); Cat Evans (any with respect, Ava); Kayla Marie Klammer (she/her, Sloane); Sonja Lynn Mata (she/her, Older Dez); Deanna Palmer (she/her, Nameless, Sloane U/S); Steve Peebles (he/him, William); Jessica Pennachio (she/her, Nameless, S U/S); Thomas Russell (he/they, Nameless, William U/S); Emily Sturges (she/they, Nameless U/S); Tina-Kim Nyguen (she/her, Nameless, Ava U/S) and Maureen Yasko* (she/her, S).

The production team includes BWBTC Ensemble Members Line Bower* (they/them, technical director), Jillian Leff* (she/her, playwright) and Morgan Manasa* (she/her, director) as well as Evy Burch (they/her, props designer), Rose Hamill (she/her, production manager), Rose Johnson (they/them, scenic designer); Samantha Kaufman (she/her, fight director), L.J. Luthringer (he/him, sound designer); Payton Shearn (she/they, production assistant), Taylor Stageberg (she/they, stage manager); Rachel M. Sypniewski (she/her, costume designer); Laura J. Wiley (she/her, lighting designer) and Theo Yaeck (they/them, assistant stage manager). 

*Denotes BWBTC ensemble member


ABOUT JILLIAN LEFF, PLAYWRIGHT OF THE S PARADOX

Jillian Leff (she/her/hers) is a Chicago based playwright and actor, whose work has been

produced in Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida and Indiana. The world premiere of Small

World (co-written with Joe Lino) was a Jeff Award nominee for New Work. She is an

ensemble member with Babes With Blades Theatre Company, where she has appeared in Richard III (Buckingham), Women of 4G (Pierce) and The Good Fight (Cicely) and is excited to work with BWBTC as a playwright again after workshopping her play The Mark through Fighting Words. She has a BFA in acting from Ball State University and is an advanced actor combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors. 

ABOUT MORGAN MANASA, DIRECTOR OF THE S PARADOX

Morgan Manasa (she/her/hers), a graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University, has been a theatremaker in Chicago for the past 20 years. Manasa is an ensemble member of Babes With Blades Theatre Company where she’s been seen in their production of Henry V (Fluellen) and Witch Slap! (Goody Blunt). She has directed a handful of one-acts and 10-minute play festivals but made her mainstage directorial debut with Arthur M. Jolly’s The Lady Demands Satisfaction (Jeff Recommended) with BWBTC. Most recently she directed JANE: The Abortion Underground with Idle Muse Theatre Company where she also directed In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

ABOUT JOINING SWORD & PEN INTERNATIONAL PLAYWRITING COMPETITION AND THE MARGARET W. MARTIN AWARD

The Joining Sword & Pen international playwriting competition launched in 2005 to generate more scripts that featured women in roles involving stage combat.  Created in collaboration with Artistic Advisor and Fight Master in the Society of American Fight Directors David Woolley who sponsors the competition, scripts inspired by a specific image are submitted and go through a blind judging process.  The winning script goes through BWBTC’s new play development program, but also receives a full production, cash prize and the Margaret W. Martin Award.

Margaret W. Martin was ahead of her time. In the 1960s and 70s, she maintained her full time job, taught piano, and raised a family of 6 children (4 girls, two boys) all while she traveled the globe from the States to Saudi Arabia, across Europe and Vientiane Laos during the height of the Vietnam war. She founded the American International School – Riyadh (K-12) in Saudi Arabia in 1963, and it has flourished as an institution since then. The Margaret W. Martin Award is in honor of Artistic Advisor and SAFD Fight Master David Woolley’s mother. 


ABOUT BABES WITH BLADES THEATRE COMPANY

Babes With Blades Theatre Company – for over the past 20 years, and moving into the future – strives to develop and present scripts focused on complex, dynamic (often combative) characters who continue to be underrepresented on theatre stages based on gender. Babes With Blades Theatre Company uses (and will continue to use) stage combat to tell stories that elevate the voices of underrepresented communities and dismantle the patriarchy.

In each element of their programming, they embrace two key concepts:

1) Folks of marginalized genders and underrepresented communities are central to the story, driving the action rather than responding or submitting to it.

2) Everyone is capable of a full emotional and physical range, up to and including violence and its consequences.

The company offers participants and patrons alike an unparalleled opportunity to experience every person as heroes and villains; rescuers and rescues; right, wrong and everywhere in between: exciting, vivid, dynamic PEOPLE. It’s as simple and as subversive as that. 

BWBTC’s 2024 programming is partially made possible by the kind support of The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, a grant from The Illinois Arts Council Agency, a CityArts Grant from the the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE), and the support of the Small Business Alliance Shuttered Venue Operators (SVOG) grant program.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT STATEMENT:

Babes With Blades Theatre Company produces theatre in venues located on the traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. Many other tribes such as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, and Fox also called this area home. This region that we now commonly refer to as “The Chicagoland Area”, has long been a center for Indigenous people to gather, trade, and maintain kinship ties. Today, one of the largest urban Native American communities in the United States resides in Chicago. Members of this community continue to contribute to the life of this city and to celebrate their heritage, practice traditions and care for the land and waterways.


Monday, February 26, 2024

Hamburgers and Disappointment: Plays about Enoughness, a festival of works by Barrie Cole playing in repertory, May 2 - 19th, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

SWEETBACK PRODUCTIONS, IN COLLABORATION WITH LABYRINTH ARTS COLLECTIVE PRESENTS 

HAMBURGERS AND DISAPPOINTMENT: 

PLAYS ABOUT ENOUGHNESS 

A FESTIVAL OF WORKS BY BARRIE COLE, MAY 2 - 19

AT LABYRINTH ARTS PERFORMANCE COLLECTIVE

Cole’s Four Short Two-Character Plays, Including a World Premiere, Explore Relationships in all their Beautiful and Twisting Forms


Top row: Barrie Cole, playwright; Jayita Bhattacharya, director, FRUIT TREE BACKPACK; Kristy Lockhart, actor, FRUIT TREE BACKPACK

Second row: Julia Williams, actor FRUIT TREE BACKPACK; Jen Moniz, director, I LOVE YOU PERMANENTLY and MEANING IS TRICKY; Jeffrey Bivens, actor, I LOVE YOU PERMANENTLY

Third Row: Vicki Walden, actor, I LOVE YOU PERMANENTLY, Kelly Anchors, actor, CAPACITY; KellyAnn Corcoran, actor, CAPACITY;

Third row: David Isaacson and Diana Slickman, actors MEANING IS TRICKY; Carolyn Hoerdemann, actor, ELEVATOR TOURS

Fourth Row: Colm O’Reilly, actor, ELEVATOR TOURS


Sweetback Productions, in collaboration with Labyrinth Arts, is proud to announce Hamburgers and Disappointment: Plays about Enoughness, a festival of works by Barrie Cole playing in repertory, May 2 - 19 at 7:30 p.m., at Labyrinth Club, 3658 N. Pulaski Road. Performances of Schedule 1 includes I Love You Permanently and Fruit Tree Backpack runs on Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Schedule 2 that includes Capacity and Meaning is Tricky runs on Fridays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. In addition, for those who may not be able to attend, a digital play, Elevator Tours, will be available for digital download for $10.  Press nights for Hamburgers and Disappointment: Plays about Enoughness are Schedule 1, Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m., and schedule 2, Sunday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are now on sale at SweetBackProductions.com.

“All of us at Labyrinth are proud to be co-producing this festival of Barrie Cole’s works,” said Artistic Director and Founder Diane Hamm of Labyrinth Arts. “We look forward to welcoming audiences, both familiar with her work and those experiencing them for the first time, to experience the complete relationship cycle created by Barrie.”  

Hamburgers and Disappointment: Plays about Enoughness, is a new festival of four short, two-character plays by Chicago-based playwright, Barrie Cole. The festival includes performances in repertory:

 

SCHEDULE 1

Performed on Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

Fruit Tree Backpack

Written by Barrie Cole (she/her) 

Directed by Jayita Bhattacharya (she/her)

Ceil (Kristy Lockhart, she/her) and Anna (Julia Williams, she/her) traverse the various rooms inside the exhausting, sweet, metaphorical mansion of love.

 

I Love You Permanently

Written by Barrie Cole (she/her) 

Directed by Jen Moniz (she/her) 

Jay (Jeffrey Bivens, he/him) wants to be with Lee (Vicki Walden, she/her), but is unable to leave his abusive relationship. They meet one last time and try to find out if it is possible to have an entire relationship in the span of one cold night.

 

SCHEDULE 2

Performed on Fridays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.

WORLD PREMIERE

Capacity

Written by Barrie Cole (she/her) 

Capacity is a world premiere and completes Cole’s collection of two-person plays about relationships. The play explores a thorny friendship between a playwright (Kelly Anchors, she/her) and an actor (KellyAnn Corcoran, she/her) who were both, at different times, married to the same man.


Meaning is Tricky

Written by Barrie Cole (she/her) 

Originally directed by Jen Moniz (she/her)

Roommates and former lovers Mark (David Isaacson, he/him) and Clare (Diana Slickman, she/her) navigate Clare's burgeoning new relationship with a TV-obsessed man in an open marriage whose wife operates a flower kiosk.

  

AUDIO PLAY 

Elevator Tours 

Written by Barrie Cole (she/her) 

Originally directed by Jen Moniz (she/her)

A special audio play with animation. Ruth (Carolyn Hoerdemann, she/her) has just moved into a new apartment when her recently divorced friend Will (Colm O’Reilly, he/him), comes to stay with her. They discuss life as a spectacle, art and sex.

The creative team for Hamburgers and Disappointment: Plays about Enoughness includes: Pamela L. Parker(set/props designer, she/her); Diane Hamm (producer/lighting designer, she/her); Kelly Anchors (producer/costume designer, she/her); Paul Brennan (film/sound designer, he/him); Charlotte Lastra (stage manager, she/her); Hannah Tymosko(stage manager, she/her); Timothy Hiatt (photographer, he/him) and Jules Darling (graphic designer, they/them).

ABOUT BARRIE COLE, playwright

Barrie Cole has written 14 plays, numerous monologue works, as well as essays, hybrid-works and more. Her plays have been produced by Theater Oobleck, Curious Theatre Branch and others.The Chicago Reader said about Cole: “Her ambiguously concrete work layers childlike simplicity over seasoned melancholy to produce piercing, wondrous images of charming, discomfiting transformation.”  

ABOUT JEN MONIZ, director, I Love You Permanently

Jen Moniz is an immigration paralegal, artisan gelato maker and writer, performer, producer and director of fringe theater. She is originally from California and has called Chicago home for 17 years. She has previously directed Mexico, Room, Elevator Tours, On Loss, To Relax and Laugh, Meaning is Tricky and Reverse Gossip.

ABOUT JAYITA BHATTACHARYA, director, Fruit Tree Backpack

Jayita Bhattacharya is a multidisciplinary theatre artist originally from Southern California, who has made her home in Chicago as an ensemble member of Curious Theatre Branch. Directing credits include What Is Even Happening?!!! by Kristin Garrison, Lizzie Borden Is Smashing by Sue Cargill and The McGuffins Run the 440 by Beau O'Reilly. She wrote the plays To End to Seem to End, today like a kind of shivering and Should We Put It Out? (The Smoke). Bhattacharya has also appeared in numerous Curious and Rhinofest productions through the years, including The Skriker, 4:48 Psychosis, Evanston Which Is Over There, The Buzz that is the Buzz and most recently, the revival of Hit Me Like a Flower.


ABOUT SWEETBACK PRODUCTIONS

Sweetback Productions was founded in 1994 by Kelly Anchors and Mike McKune. They started with a string of hit late night parodies of cult films that includes; Plan 9 From Outer Space, Female Trouble, Super Pussy Vixen, Go Faster! Kill! Kill!, Scarrie, The Musical!, The Birds and Freaks. Sweetback now focuses on more obscure and original work, most recently, Deep Fried and Suck My Nose, which featured three generations of family actors weaving their love through their pain while tap dancing and singing hymns; Bipolar Bitch, a mystical ride into psychosis and Dorothy Mae and the 1978 Holiday Rambler Ramblette, an outdoor extravaganza detailing Kelly’s roadtrip across the southwest during the Trump re-election season. Sweetback is beyond thrilled to be producing this festival of Barrie Cole’s plays, a playwright that Anchors was lucky enough to work with in Clumsy Sublime. Find them on Facebook.

ABOUT LABYRINTH ARTS AND PERFORMANCE COLLECTIVE

Labyrinth Arts and Performance Collective, a 501 c 3 not for profit, is organized for the purpose of building the creative community and developing wisdom through art.  The Collective believes that making and sharing meaning is key to being with artistic projects as a means of interactive exchange towards meaningful experience and encourages consciousness.  Risk taking requires compassion and holding space for fearless, free self-expression, the Collective believes that joy is the highest expression of being and inherent in all creative acts. And believes in artistic autonomy where the artistic project takes precedence over a single executive's vision.  

Recent past projects included the Labyrinth Film Fest 2024, variety shows 2023, music shows 2023, comedy showcases of John and Paul 2023 and play development in 2023. More information on their website or on Facebook. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

EXTENDED: The Band’s Visit at Writers Theatre Now Playing Through March 24, 2024

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Writers Theatre adds a week of performances to the

critically acclaimed, hit production of

The Band’s Visit

MUST CLOSE MARCH 24, 2024



Adam Qutaishat, Dana Saleh Omar, Dave Honigman

All production photos by Michael Brosilow


Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Artistic Director Braden Abraham, announces an additional week of performances to the run of The Band’s Visit, featuring music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, and based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin. The Writers Theatre production is directed by Zi Alikhan with music supervision by Andra Velis Simon and choreography by Sebastiani Romagnolo. The Band’s Visit will now run through March 24, 2024, in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe.

Following the blockbuster success of Once, Writers Theatre ventures into another immersive and engaging musical production. This co-production with TheatreSquared, Fayetteville, AR, is directed by Zi Alikhan, who has previously helmed productions at Geva Theatre Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, Olney Theatre Center, Pasadena Playhouse, and Primary Stages. Music Supervisor Andra Velis Simon returns to WT after previously working on Next to Normal in the 2018/19 season.

Armand Akbari, Adam Qutaishat, Jonathan Shaboo, Rom Barkhordar

In a small Israeli desert town where every day feels the same, a lost bus arrives carrying an Egyptian Police Band. With no hotel and no buses until morning, the musicians are taken in for the night by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, these misplaced musicians bring everyone together in the way that only music can. Winner of ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Band’s Visit is a beautifully intimate show, perfectly suited for the Nichols Theatre, about the unifying power of music.

Sophie Madorsky, Rom Barkhordar, Armand Akbari

“The Band’s Visit is a warm and inviting piece that subverts our expectations about the kinds of stories musicals can tell. The emphasis is on individual connections between a group of strangers from different cultures over one enchanted night,” comments Artistic Director Braden Abraham. “The circumstances invite a more careful listening, and the result is a modicum of recognition and the beginning of a tenuous bond - one which allows for these characters to share their passions, quiet disappointments, and the longing for something more.”

Becky Keeshin and Sam Linda. Armand Akbari (back)

The cast includes: Armand Akbari [he/him] as Haled, Jacob Baim [he/him] as Sammy, Rom Barkhordar [he/him] as Tewfiq, Harper Caruso [she/her] as Telephone Guy, Jordan Golding [he/him] as Zelger, Dave Honigman [he/him] as Itzik, Marielle Issa [she/her] as Anna, Becky Keeshin  [she/her] as Julia, Sam Linda [he/him] as Papi, Sophie Madorsky [she/her] as Dina, Michael Joseph Mitchell [he/him] as Avrum, Dana Saleh Omar [she/her] as Iris, Adam Qutaishat [any/all] as Camal, and Jonathan Shaboo [he/him] as Simon. The understudies are Rae Robeson [she/her], David Sajewich [he/him] and Jordan Tannous [any/all].

Rom Barkhordar, Sophie Madorsky

The band includes: Emily Beisel (they/them) reeds, Jocelyn Butler-Shoulders (she/her) cello, Lior Shragg (he/him) percussion, and Matt Ulery (he/him) bass.

Sophie Madorsky

The creative team includes: Zi Alikhan (Director), Andra Velis Simon (Music Supervisor & Additional Orchestrations), Sebastiani Romagnolo (Choreographer), Jason Burrow (Music Director), Afsoon Pajoufar (Scenic Designer), Raquel Adorno (Costume Designer), Solomon Weisbard (Lighting Designer), Willow James (Sound Designer), Smooch Medina (Projections Director), Greg Geffrard (Intimacy Director), Sammi Grant (Dialect Coach), Celia Villacres (Associate Music Director & Conductor), and Faith Hart (Assistant Director). The stage manager is Miranda Anderson and the assistant stage managers are Natalie Cohen and Zachary Crewse.

Dana Saleh Omar, Jonathan Shaboo, Dave Honigman, Michael Joseph Mitchell

Tickets are now on sale at Writers Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe; 847-242-6000; www.writerstheatre.org.

Dates: First performance: February 8, 2024

Press opening:  Friday, February 16, 2024 at 7:30pm

Closing performance:  March 24, 2024

Harper Caruso with Adam Qutaishat


Performance Schedule:  

Wednesdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm,

except no matinee on March 20, 2024

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm


Location: Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Prices: Prices for all performances range from $35 - $90

Purchase early for best prices.              

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe; 847-242-6000; www.writerstheatre.org.

 

WRITERS THEATRE 2023/24 SEASON

The remainder of the season includes Monsieur Chopin, written by and starring Hershey Felder and directed by Joel Zwick; and The Hot Wing King, written by Katori Hall, directed by Lili-Anne Brown.

The 2023/24 Season will see the company now firmly at home in its award-winning building at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Productions will be presented in the 255-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre. Masks are strongly encouraged, but not required, in all Theatre spaces. Please visit https://www.writerstheatre.org/covid-safety for full details.

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as a 2023/24 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s tenth consecutive year as season sponsor. Writers Theatre also acknowledges Capital Group Private Client Services as a Lead Production Sponsor.

Season Packages are available online at www.writerstheatre.org, and at the Box Office by calling 847-242-6000.

 

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:

WT offers Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit writerstheatre.org/accessibility for more information.

Writers Theatre is working with Erika Walker and Maylene Peña of the Walker Thomas Group on workplace culture and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional information about this important and ongoing work can be found at writerstheatre.org/working-at-wt.


ABOUT WRITERS THEATRE 

Writers Theatre boldly looks to the future as it begins its 31st season. Having captivated audiences for years with its dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible, the theatre is now a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called “America’s finest regional theater company” by The Wall Street Journal.

Since 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions—everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy.

Writers Theatre now welcomes more than 60,000 patrons each season and has helped establish the North Shore of Chicago as a premier cultural destination. Through its Literary Development Initiative, which has been responsible for the nurturing and premiering of over two dozen world premieres, the theatre has established itself as a major originator of new theatrical works. Serving as an extension of the Writers Theatre mission, WT Education programs engage hundreds of students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.


Rom Barkhordar as Tewfiq

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Tony Award-Winning Girl From The North Country is now playing at the CIBC Theatre through February 25 Only

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY 

is the Tony Award-winning new musical

that the Chicago Tribune declares is “a Broadway revelation!”

It’s 1934 in Duluth, Minnesota. We meet a group of wayward travelers whose lives intersect in a guesthouse filled with music, life and hope. Experience this ‘profoundly beautiful' production (The New York Times) brought to vivid life by an extraordinary company of actors and musicians.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're excited to see Girl From The North Country. I'll be out with my husband for the press opening on Valentine's Day, celebrating our 29th first date anniversary. We were wayward travelers ourselves, at the time, on a road trip through Taos, NM. What better way to celebrate than with dinner and a Broadway play featuring 20 legendary songs of Bob Dylan reimagined!

Broadway In Chicago and Runaway Entertainment are pleased to announce that Girl From The North Country is now playing at the CIBC Theatre through February 25 only. Ticket prices range from $35 - $129 with a select number of premium tickets available. Additional ticket information and the performance schedule are below.

ABOUT GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY

Written and directed by celebrated playwright Conor McPherson and featuring Tony Award-winning orchestrations by Simon Hale, GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY reimagines 20 legendary songs of Bob Dylan as they’ve never been heard before, including “Forever Young,” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Hurricane,” “Slow Train Coming,” and “Like A Rolling Stone.”

The Girl From The North Country acting company includes Alan Ariano (Dr. Walker), David Benoit (Mr. Burke), Ben Biggers (Gene Laine), Paul Blankenship (Offstage Cover), Jennifer Blood (Elizabeth Laine), Ashley D. Brooks (Ensemble), Justin Michael Duval (Ensemble), Rayla Garske (Swing), Matt Manuel (Joe Scott), Kelly McCormick (Ensemble), Sharaé Moultrie (Marianne Laine), Hosea Mundi (Ensemble) Warren Nolan Jr. (Swing), Ali Regan (Swing), Jay Russell (Mr. Perry), John Schiappa (Nick Laine), Chiara Trentalange (Kate Draper), Danny Vaccaro (Swing), Jill Van Velzer (Mrs. Burke), Jeremy Webb (Reverend Marlowe), Aidan Wharton (Elias Burke) and Carla Woods (Mrs. Neilsen). Casting subject to change.

Girl From The North Country features scenic and costume design by Rae Smith; orchestrations, arrangements, and music supervision by Simon Hale, with additional arrangements by Simon Hale and Conor McPherson; lighting design by Mark Henderson; sound design by Simon Baker; movement direction by Lucy Hind; associate direction by Barbara Rubin; and music direction by Timothy Splain.

Girl From The North Country’s Original Broadway Cast Album was a 2022 GRAMMY Award® nominee for “Best Musical Theater Album.”

For more information visit www.northcountrytour.com

X: @NorthCountryBwy ● Facebook: @NorthCountryBroadway ● Instagram: @northcountrybroadway


PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE 

WEEK ONE

Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, Feb 14 at 7:00 pm

Thursday, Feb 15 at 7:00 pm

Friday, Feb 16 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, Feb 17 at 2 pm

Saturday, Feb 17 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, Feb 18 at 1 pm

Sunday, Feb 18 at 6:30 pm

   

WEEK TWO

Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 1 pm

Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7:00 pm

Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 pm

Friday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p

Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 pm

Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, Feb. 25 at 1 pm

 

TICKET INFORMATION

Ticket prices range from $35 - $129 with a select number of premium tickets available. Individual tickets are available by visiting www.BroadwayInChicago.com, or going to any Broadway In Chicago venue box office. Tickets are available for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com.

ABOUT BROADWAY IN CHICAGO

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 24 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at the Auditorium Theatre.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Follow @broadwayinchicago on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok #broadwayinchicago

World Premiere of WIPEOUT Via Rivendell Theatre Ensemble February 23 – April 6, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble announces the World Premiere of

WIPEOUT

by Aurora Real de Asua


Directed by Rivendell Artistic Director Tara Mallen

Movement Direction by Ensemble Member Devon de Mayo

February 23 – April 6, 2024

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to advancing the lives of women through the power of theatre, announces the world premiere of WIPEOUT by Aurora Real de Asua, directed by Rivendell Artistic Director Tara Mallen with movement direction by Ensemble Member Devon de Mayo. WIPEOUT runs February 23 – April 6, 2024. Tickets are now available at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago, (773) 334-7728 or www.RivendellTheatre.org.

Three retired best friends. One hotrod surf instructor. The currents of the Pacific Ocean. What could possibly go wrong? Set on surfboards, WIPEOUT is a poignant comedy about friendship, grief, and the unpredictable tides of life.

WIPEOUT tells the story of three women staring down the mouth of 70, friends for decades, who throw themselves into their first-ever surfing lesson with the help of a young instructor. As the women learn how to paddle and navigate the currents of the Pacific Ocean, they also learn how to navigate their friendships, their fears, and just how hard it can be to let it all go.

The cast of WIPEOUT includes RTE members Glenn Obrero and Meg Thalken, with Cindy Gold and Celeste Williams. 

The creative team includes RTE Members Regina Garcia (Scenic Design), Victoria DeIorio (Sound Design), Devon de Mayo± (Movement Director), with Evelyn Danner (Costume Design), Michael Mahlum (Lighting Design) Angie Tillges (Surfboard Design), Andres Fiz (Projection Design), Tanya Palmer (Dramaturgy), Shannon Golden-Starr (Production Manager), Deya Friedman (Production Stage Manager) and Mia Maccarella (Assistant Stage Manager).

“As a young surfer, I'd be paddling hard, getting ready to catch my wave, only to find a blissed-out grandmother already hanging ten. That's what I love most about surfing. Anybody - any body - can do it. The ocean is our great equalizer,” comments playwright Aurora Real de Asua. “It has a way of revealing the truth, of disintegrating the boundaries we place around ourselves and each other. This play is my love letter to the joys of surfing, the power of the ocean, and the tenacity of female friendship. I am so thrilled to premiere this play with Rivendell and honored to be working with their fabulous, fearless artists.”

“In 2019, when Aurora first brought us WIPEOUT, we were immediately taken by the audaciousness of this young writer having so confidently penned a moving, thoughtful, and hilarious drama about a trio of first-time women surfers some forty years her senior,” comments Artistic Director Tara Mallen. “This production features the formidable talents of three powerhouse Chicago actors I have long admired. Bringing these dynamic actors together with our young and inspired playwright sets Aurora’s play on firm footing from the start as we launch this first stop on WIPEOUT's three-part Rolling World Premiere. I am deeply grateful to be in the room with this collective of absurdly talented artists, to have this wonderful opportunity to stretch, flex our creative muscles and grow as theater artists as we tackle the unique challenges this play brings.” 

WIPEOUT is produced at Rivendell as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Other Partner Theaters are B Street Theatre, Sacramento, CA and The Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester, MA. For more information, please visit nnpn.org

About the Artists

Aurora Real de Asua (playwright) is a playwright, filmmaker, and actor. Her plays have been workshopped at Williamstown Theatre Festival, the New Harmony Project, the Old Globe, the Playwright's Realm, Rivendell, the Chicago Children's Theatre, and Sideshow. She is currently working on a commission for South Coast Repertory Theatre. Her short film Heartsong debuted on Shorts of the Week and can be streamed at Mítu.tv. Acting credits include shows at Rivendell, Goodman, Court, Northlight, Victory Gardens, and American Players Theatre. She is also an ensemble member at Remy Bumppo. She holds a BA in theatre from Northwestern University and an MFA in film from Columbia University. In her spare time, you can find her surfing a longboard in Santa Cruz, California.

Tara Mallen (director) is an actor, director, producer and the founding Artistic Director at Rivendell. Most recently she was on stage as part of Rivendell’s Jeff Award-Winning Ensemble in Motherhouse. Other recent projects include Raven Theatre’s The Luckiest (Jeff nomination - supporting actor); RTE’s premiere productions of Spay, Laura and the Sea, The Cake (Jeff Award - Actor) Look, we are breathing, The Firebird’s Take the Field, Rasheeda Speaking, Crooked, Self Defense, and The Walls. Other credits include Sweat (Arena Stage), The Cake (Renaissance Theatreworks), and How Long Will I Cry (Steppenwolf), among others. She is the proud recipient of a 2017 3Arts Award for her work as a Chicago theatre artist. Screen credits include the upcoming feature film Ghostlight, premiering at Sundance Film Festival in January 2024; Dark Matter (Apple TV); Empire (Fox); Contagion (Warner Bros.); The Last Shift (Sony Pictures); Boss (Starz); Chicago Fire (NBC); Doubt (CBS/Sony Pictures); Chicago P.D. (NBC); and Sense8 (Netflix). For Rivendell, Tara co-conceived and directed the critically acclaimed World Premiere of Women At War, the Jeff-nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby, 26 Miles (in co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words by Sunil Kuruvilla; Psalms of a Questionable Nature ; the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson; and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival. 

Cindy Gold (Gary) Recent Chicago area appearances include The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (Steppenwolf Theatre), Christmas Carol (Goodman), Household Spirits (Theatre Wit), Indecent (Victory Gardens), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Drury Lane), Measure for Measure (Goodman), Awake and Sing (Northlight), Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare), and at The Lyric Opera in Showboat and My Fair Lady. Regionally, Cindy performed at Asolo Theatre in The Cake, The Kennedy Center in Showboat and Daughter of the Regiment (where she shared a role with RBG!), in The Music Man with Glimmerglass Opera, both in New York and at the Royal Opera House in Muscat. Cindy won a Jeff award for playing Gertrude Stein in Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty’s Loving Repeating. Recent TV and film: Ghostlight, I Used to Go Here, Work in Progress, Empire, Chicago Fire, and the pilot episode of TNT's Leverage. Cindy is a Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University. 

Glenn Obrero (Blaze) was last seen in Scientific Method at Rivendell Theatre and is stoked to back as an Ensemble Member. Select theatre credits include: The Great Leap (Steppenwolf and Asolo Repertory Theatre), The Chinese Lady (Timeline Theatre), 20K Leagues Under the Sea (Lookingglass), Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them (Kitchen Theatre) and Letters Home (Griffin Theatre). Television credits include Chicago Fire (NBC) and Next (FOX). Glenn is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Acting and represented by Gray Talent Group.

Meg Thalken (Wynn) is thrilled to be a recent new member of Rivendell! Upcoming credits: Judgement Day at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Spring 2024. Regional Credits include Becky Nurse of Salem at Trinity Rep, Steel Magnolias at Milwaukee Rep, Ripcord at Peninsula Players, Tribes at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Chicago credits include: Steep Theatre: Mosquitoes, The Den Theatre: Four Places* (Jeff nomination), Steppenwolf: Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Domesticated, Goodman: Soups, Stews, and Casseroles, Route 66: A Funny Thing Happened at the Gynecological Oncology Unit, Victory Gardens: A View of the Dome, Guide for the Perplexed, Symmetry, The Long Awaited, Next Theatre: The Metal Children, Chicago Dramatists: I Am Going to Change the World, Travel Light: Laundry & Bourbon, Wisdom Bridge: Bagtime, TV Credits: Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice, Chicago Fire, Paper Girls, 61st Street, Shameless, Empire, Easy Abby, Detroit 187, ER, The Joan Cusack Show, Turks, Chicago Hope, Early Edition, EZ Streets, The Untouchables, Chicago Story, Jack & Mike, The Richard Speck Case and Through Naked Eyes. Film: Christmas Again, This Day Forward, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Bad Johnson, Hannah Free, Check Please, The Company, U.S. Marshals, Poltergeist III, A Family Thing, The Babe, Class. 

Celeste Williams (Claudia)  most recently performed in Court Theatre’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Some of her work includes performances at: Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Next Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Writers Theatre, New American Theatre, Seattle Group Theatre, Onyx Theatre Ensemble, and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Celeste is a 4-time Jeff Award nominee; a 3-time Black Theatre Alliance Award winner; and received a 2023 Black Excellence nomination for Outstanding Theatre Artist from the Black Arts & Culture Alliance of Chicago for her performance as Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace. Celeste was co-founder of Onyx Theatre Ensemble. 

Featuring: RTE Members Glenn Obrero+ and Meg Thalken*+, with Cindy Gold* and Celeste Williams*.

Creative Team: Regina Garcia± (Scenic Design), Evelyn Danner (Costume Design), Michael Mahlum (Lighting Design), Victoria DeIorio± (Sound Design), Devon de Mayo± (Movement Director), with Angie Tillges (Surfboard Design), Andres Fiz (Projection Design), Tanya Palmer (Dramaturgy), Shannon Golden-Starr (Production Manager), Deya Friedman* (Stage Manager) and Mia Maccarella (Assistant Stage Manager)

*= Member of Actors Equity Association

± = RTE Member

           

Schedule:

Thursdays at 8:00pm

Fridays at 8:00pm

Saturdays at 4:00pm and 8:00pm

Special added performances include Sunday, March 10 at 3:00pm; Monday, March 25 at 8:00pm (Industry Night)

Tickets:

$39 General Admission

$17 Student, Educators, Military/Veterans, Industry (Limited quantity, first-come, first-served)

$28 Seniors

$49 Sponsor Admission (to help us pay artists fair wages by covering the full cost of a seat at the performance)

$94 Angel Admission (1 Basic Admission, plus helping to cover discounted or free tickets to people who need them)

Membership / Subscription

RIV Pass: $95 (see Rivendell productions and other events as often as desired)

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

Parking and Transportation: 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. 

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 employs women theatre artists, offers mind-expanding experiences with new voices and perspectives, and sparks dialogue and action on critical issues in the lives of women and their communities.

In our 25+ year history, Rivendell has earned 12 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nearly four dozen nominations. We are recognized as a national force in new play development and a home for women theatre artists. We engage about 200 artists and 3,000+ audience members each year through our mainstage season and new work development.

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: SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; Shubert Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The Field Foundation of Illinois; League of Chicago Theatres; Sarah and the 2 C Dogs; Amazing Edibles; Actor’s Equity Association.


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Invictus Theatre’s TOPDOG/UNDERDOG at Windy City Playhouse February 13- March 31, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
Invictus Theatre’s 
TOPDOG/UNDERDOG 
at Windy City Playhouse 
February 13- March 31, 2024

Full cast and crew have been announced for Invictus Theatre’s upcoming production of Suzan Lori-Parks’s TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, its first at the Windy City Playhouse, the company’s new home. Parks’s drama is a darkly comic fable of brotherly love, family identity and the way we are defined by history. Lincoln and Booth are two African American adult brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Aaron Reese Boseman (director of Invictus’s productions of THE MOUNTAINTOP and A RAISIN IN THE SUN) will direct the two-hander. His cast will include Mikha’el Amin (previously seen at Invictus as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in THE MOUNTAINTOP, Marc Antony in JULIUS CAESAR, Laertes in HAMLET, and Walter Lee Younger in A RAISIN IN THE SUN) as Lincoln, and DeMorris Burrows (of 1919 at Steppenwolf and the BET feature film INFIDELITY) as Booth. Understudies are Stanley King (u/s/ Lincoln) and Aaron McCloud (u/s Booth).  TOPDOG/UNDERDOG will be performed at the Windy City Playhouse at 3014 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago. 

Top row (l-r): Mikha'el Amin, DeMorris Burrows

Second row (l-r):Stanley King, Aaron McCloud


TOPDOG/UNDERDOG’S Lincoln and Booth cope with poverty, racism, work, women, and their troubled upbringings. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future. TOPDOG/UNDERDOG premiered off-Broadway at New York’s Public Theatre in a production directed by George C. Wolfe and starred Don Cheadle and Jeffrey Wright. It won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play and moved to Broadway the following year. Its 2022 Broadway revival won the Tony® Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Invictus Theatre Company has been one of the most notable success stories among Chicago’s storefront theatres in spite of the challenges facing the theater community in recent years. When the pandemic shut down in-person performances just three years after the company’s founding, they responded with a thrillingly intimate Zoom production of ‘NIGHT, MOTHER. They returned from the pandemic by acquiring their own space – the former Jackalope Frontier Theater – which they renamed in honor of the late founding company member Reginald Vaughn. In that space, they continued to build a reputation for intimate and honest interpretations of classics with fidelity to the original texts and close attention to character development. The company’s extraordinarily successful 2021-22 season netted the company five Jeff Awards for its 13 nominations.

The company continued its upward trajectory during its 2022-23 season. That season began with intimate, yet full-scale stagings of the epics JULIUS CAESAR and THE CRUCIBLE along with the two-hander THE MOUNTAINTOP. BUZZ CENTER STAGE’s Wesley David said in reviewing  JULIUS CAESAR that “Invictus Theatre Company is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues in Chicago” and of THE MOUNTAINTOP said “They constantly exceed their reach. I have to remind myself this is a storefront theatre.” The CHICAGO READER’S Jack Helbig said of THE CRUCIBLE “This is a production that grabs an audience in the first seconds, pulls us in, and doesn’t let go until the final lights go out.”

Tickets for TOPDOG/UNDERDOG and the rest of Invictus's 2024 season will be available soon at www.invictustheatreco.com

February 13 – March 31, 2024

Previews: Tuesday 2/13/24, Friday 2/16/24, Saturday 2/17/24 at 7 p.m. Saturday 2/17/24 and Sunday 2/18/24 at 2 p.m.

Press Opening Monday 2/19/24 at 7 p.m.

Regular performances Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays at 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Performances at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago

Ticket prices: Previews $25. Monday $25. Friday through Sunday $45.  Season subscriptions available. www.invictustheatreco.com

A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity and the way we are defined by history. Lincoln and Booth are two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment. Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.

BIOS

Charles Askenaizer (Artistic Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Invictus Theatre. He won the 2023 Jeff Award (Non-Equity Wing) for his direction of the company’s WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, which also won Jeff Awards for Production of a Play, Scenic Design (Kevin Rolfs), and Performer in a Supporting Role – Play (Rachel Livingston). Other recent directing credits include THE CRUCIBLE, JULIUS CAESAR, and HAMLET (Invictus Theatre), readings with Chicago Dramatists, 'NIGHT, MOTHER (Associate Director-Invictus Theatre), THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Invictus Theatre), OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE (Invictus Theatre), TITUS ANDRONICUS (Bare Knuckles Theater), JULIUS CAESAR (Associate Director- Brown Paper Box), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Reutan Collective), and THE DIFFERENCE (Reading-Piccolo Theatre). Charles has worked with Citadel Theatre, Teatro Vista, the Artistic Home, City Lit, Raven, Brown Paper Box, Chicago Dramatists, the Side Project and many more. Charles graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Theatre and Communications. In 2024, Charles was named one of Newcity Magazine’s “Players 50 2024: The Rising Stars and Storefront Stalwarts.”

Aaron Reese Boseman (Director) is a Chicago native and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Direction and Acting. He directed Invictus’s acclaimed productions of THE MOUNTAINTOP and A RAISIN IN THE SUN and is a Jeff Award nominated actor, Black Excellence Award and Black Theatre Alliance Award nominated director and designer. He is also co-founder and artistic director of PULSE Theatre Chicago, where his directing credits include the critically acclaimed, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, IN THE BLOOD, THE COLORED MUSEUM, FABULATION, OR THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE, and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. Other directing credits include THE TIGER WHO WORE WHITE GLOVES (eta Creative Arts Foundation), THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, S'KIN, THE PHILADELPHIA (Columbia College Chicago), AMERICAN SON (Ghostlight Theatre), NETWORTH, ROOM FOR MORE (Film Series) and DETROIT '67 (Columbia College Chicago-Mainstage). Upcoming: THE MUSIC MAN (Metropolis Performing Arts) and FAIRVIEW (Theatre at Cedar Rapids).  Recent Acting Credits include BLUE HEAVEN (Black Ensemble Theater), RAGTIME (Metropolis Performing Arts), RUINED (Invictus Theatre), BIG RIVER (TATC), SHREK THE MUSICAL (Windy City Performs), IN THE HEIGHTS (The Miracle Center, Slate), VIOLET, BALM IN GILEAD (Griffin Theatre and Loyola University), GOLDEN BOY, DO RE MI (Porchlight Music Theatre), RENT (CCC), and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Skylight Music Theatre and Citadel Theatre).

ABOUT INVICTUS THEATRE COMPANY

At Invictus Theatre Company, our mission is to create theatre that promotes a better understanding of language: its poetry, its rhythm, its resonance; through diverse works by diverse artists. We respect the power of heightened language: spoken, written, sung; to express the breadth of the human condition. We work to harness the power of language: to promote diversity, to engender respect, to foster collaboration; and to empower our communities to share their voices.

Invictus Theatre Company incorporated in January 2017 and received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in February 2017. A diverse group of Chicago actors and directors founded Invictus with the vision to empower their communities through theatrical productions of heightened language. We are committed to the idea that our productions should reflect the communities we represent, and, to that end, we are committed to non-discriminatory hiring practices. In working with local artists, designers, and production teams, Invictus Theatre Company does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, nationality, citizenship, religion, or any other status protected by law.

Invictus Theatre Company's 2024 season is generously sponsored by Michael and Mona Heath of The Heath Fund, with additional support from The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Untouchable Times Tours, Inc., and the Illinois Arts Council.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Stoked for The Factory Theater's Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy February 11- March 23, 2024

 

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar

THE FACTORY THEATER ANNOUNCES 

PARTY AT THE PANTHEON: A MODERN GREEK STONER COMEDY

FEBRUARY 16 - MARCH 23 

WRITTEN BY MICHAEL JONES AND DIRECTED BY KAMILLE DAWKINS


Running Time: 90 minutes

The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., is proud to announce the second production of The Factory’s 28th season, Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy, opening February 16 at 8 p.m.. The production runs through March 23 and was written by Michael Jones and directed by Kamille Dawkins. Previews for Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy are Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 11 at 3 p.m. Press opening will be Saturday, February 16 at 8 p.m.  The performance schedule includes Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. An understudy performance will occur on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. and there will be an accessibility performance on Sunday, February 25 at 3 p.m. Tickets for Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy are $25 and may be purchased through the Box Office by calling 312-275-5757 or by visiting TheFactoryTheater.com

Orpheus is still big mad after his girlfriend, Eurydice, died. It wasn’t his fault. Good thing his friend, Dionysus, can throw a sick party. Hopefully Sisyphus can keep these two on speaking terms long enough for the disco ball to drop. Now all they gotta do is find some food, some drink, and some music for this thing. Peep them and a cast of characters straight out of English Class, in this modern take on the ancient classics.

The Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy cast includes Jamaque Newberry+ (Orpheus); Malachi Marrero^ (Dionysus); Donovan Mullings+ (Sisyphus); Tierra Matthews* (Chorus #1); Tateonna Thompson*^ (Chorus #2/Dionysus u/s); Matt Chester+ (Chorus #3); Garrett Wiegel+ (Chorus #4); William Brown+ (Orpheus u/s/Chorus #3 u/s); Reginald Hemphill+ (Sisyphus u/s); Azi Akpan*^ (Chorus #1 u/s); Blythe Inanna* (Chorus #2 u/s) and Ethan Carlson+ (Chorus #4 u/s).

The Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy team includes Michael Jones~ (playwright); Kamille Dawkins (Director); Melissa Golden (Assistant Director); Alisa Resnick (Stage Manager); Shelby Burgus✝ (Production Manager); Rose Johnson (Scenic Design); Cat Davis (Light Design); Isaac Mandel (Sound Design); Henry Bender✝ (Props Design); Jill Frederickson (Puppets) and Carl Herzog (Tech Director).

~ denotes Factory Ensemble, ✝ denotes Factory Artistic Associate, 

 **Denotes Factory Theater Ensemble Emeritus

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

ABOUT MICHAEL JONES, playwright

Michael Jones is a proud ensemble member of the Factory Theater. Originally from New Orleans, Michael has been a Chicago resident for ten years. Michael loves spending his free time playing board games and watching wrestling, and takes major influences from the plays of Annie Baker, the cartoons of the 2010's, and his wacky loving family. Party at the Pantheon is his Factory playwriting debut.

ABOUT KAMILLE DAWKINS, director

Kamille Dawkins is a Chicago based theater artist and the Executive Artistic Director of Strawdog Theatre Company. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Dawkins moved to Chicago in 2016 after completing their nine month Emerging Professional Residency at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Since moving to Chicago, Dawkins has worked at a plethora of Chicago theaters as an actor, musician, singer and director. This is their first time working at Factory Theater, despite watching their shows, being friends with Factory company members and being married to the Executive Director. 

ABOUT THE FACTORY THEATER

For 30 years, the Factory has created its shows from scratch, doing exactly the kind of theater they wanted to do. From writing workshops to the closing night bash, Factory shows are a unique experience that fits its exacting standards: original, bold, and full-tilt. Its shameless ensemble are ambassadors of a good time, making certain that Chicago remains heartily entertained.

Tickets for Party at the Pantheon: A Modern Greek Stoner Comedy are $25 and may be purchased through the Box Office by calling 312-275-5757 or by visiting TheFactoryTheater.com


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

THE JEFF AWARDS ANNOUNCES THE 50th ANNIVERSARY NON-EQUITY THEATER AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Celebrating its 50th anniversary 

awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater

the Joseph Jefferson Awards 

announces its nominations for theater excellence 

among Non-Equity theater during the 2023 season


A complete list of nominees can also be found online in the Non-Equity and News and Events sections at www.jeffawards.org

Celebrate Chicago -- literally the best theatre town in the world. Kudos to all the nominees for the 50th Non-Equity Jeff Awards (AKA: Theatre Prom), March 25th at Park West. NYC may have Broadway, but Chicago has 250+ theaters including a plethora of tiny storefronts and non-equity companies doing stunning work. Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows I cover as many as humanly possible! The nominees in bold below are ones I had the great pleasure to see. Check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often, for original reviews, theatre news, interviews, ticket giveaways, and more.

This year’s Non-Equity awards spotlight 144 theater artists across 24 categories of excellence in theater production among shows from 32 companies. During the most recent season which ran from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023, Jeff Awards members attended 91 Non-Equity productions. From these, 46 productions became “Jeff Recommended” and, therefore, eligible for award nominations. 

Four theater companies are recognized for the upcoming Non-Equity awards with more than 10 nominations each. Kokandy Productions garnered the most honors, with 17 from two productions. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre received 16 nominations, followed by Invictus Theatre Company and Refracted Theatre Company which both received 10. “Tambo & Bones” from Refracted Theatre Company drew the largest nominations for a single production (10).

Among New Work, eight world premiere plays are in award consideration. In addition, the Jeff Awards recently expanded award categories to recognize Short Run Productions (nine to 17 performances). Within this category, nominees are announced for Production, Ensemble, Director and Performer.


2024 NON-EQUITY JEFF AWARD NOMINEES

PRODUCTION – PLAY

"Cat's Cradle” - Lifeline Theatre  

"The Crucible” - Invictus Theatre Company  

"Dying For It” - The Artistic Home  

"Indoor Cats” - Red Theater  

"Right Now” - Facility Theatre  

"Tambo & Bones” - Refracted Theatre Company  

"We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 - 1915” - Theatre Y  

 

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL

"American Psycho" - Kokandy Productions   

"Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre   

"The SpongeBob Musical" - Kokandy Productions   

"The Threepenny Opera" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre   

"tick, tick… BOOM!" - BoHo Theatre   

 

ENSEMBLE – PLAY

"Cat's Cradle" - Lifeline Theatre   

"The Crucible" - Invictus Theatre Company   

"Jane: Abortion and the Underground" - Idle Muse Theatre Company   

“Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation” – Prop Thtr (i/a/w Perceptions Theatre)

"The Pragmatists" - Trap Door Theatre   

"Right Now" - Facility Theatre   

"We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 - 1915" - Theatre Y   

 

ENSEMBLE – MUSICAL 

"American Psycho" - Kokandy Productions   

"Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre   

"Promises, Promises" - Blank Theatre Company   

"The SpongeBob Musical" - Kokandy Productions 

 

NEW WORK

India Nicole Burton – “Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation” – Prop Thtr (i/a/w Perceptions Theatre)

Tina Fakhrid-Deen – “Dandelions” – MPAACT (Ma'at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theater)

Mora V. Harris – “Indoor Cats” – Red Theater

John Hildreth – “Cat’s Cradle” – Lifeline Theatre

Evan M. Jackson – “The Last Queen of Camelot” – Idle Muse Theatre Company

Shannon O’Neill – “The Kelly Girls” – The Factory Theater

Ed Rutherford & George Howe – “Murder, ReWrote” – Hell in a Handbag Productions

Micah Ariel Watson – “Alaiyo” – Definition Theatre


DIRECTOR – PLAY

Charles Askenaizer - "The Crucible" - Invictus Theatre Company

Mikael Burke - "Tambo & Bones" - Refracted Theatre Company

Heather Currie - "Cat's Cradle" - Lifeline Theatre

Dado - "Right Now" - Facility Theatre

Wyatt Kent - "Indoor Cats" - Red Theater

Tyrone Phillips - "Fairview" - Definition Theatre

Kezia Waters - "We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 - 1915" - Theatre Y

 

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL

Fred Anzevino - "The Threepenny Opera" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Derek Van Barham - "American Psycho" - Kokandy Productions

Daryl D. Brooks - "Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Bo Frazier - "tick, tick… BOOM!" - BoHo Theatre

 

PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY

Brittney Brown (Regan Kelly) - "The Kelly Girls" - The Factory Theater

Laura Coover (The Woman) - "Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle" - Griffin Theatre Company

Ny'ajai Ellison (Camae) - "The Mountaintop" - Invictus Theatre Company

Julian Hester (Scratch) - "Witch" - The Artistic Home

Patrick Newson Jr. (Bones) - "Tambo & Bones" - Refracted Theatre Company

Felicia Oduh (Ariel) - "Alaiyo" - Definition Theatre

Aila Ayilam Peck (Layla) - "Hatefuck" - First Floor Theater

Soleil Pérez (Agnes) - "Agnes of God" - Redtwist Theatre

Mark Pracht (John Proctor) - "The Crucible" - Invictus Theatre Company

William Anthony Sebastian Rose II (Tambo) - "Tambo & Bones" - Refracted Theatre Company

 

PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL

Neala Barron (John Wilkes Booth) - "Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Frankie Leo Bennett (SpongeBob SquarePants) - "The SpongeBob Musical" - Kokandy Productions

Britain Gebhardt (Bessica Feltcher) - "Murder, ReWrote" - Hell in a Handbag Productions

Carl Herzog (Macheath) - "The Threepenny Opera" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Brandy Miller (Fran Kubelik) - "Promises, Promises" - Blank Theatre Company

Patrick O'Keefe (Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald) - "Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Kyle Patrick (Patrick Bateman) - "American Psycho" - Kokandy Productions

Alec Phan (Jonathan) - "tick, tick … BOOM!" - BoHo Theatre

Rory Schrobilgen (Chuck Baxter) - "Promises, Promises" - Blank Theatre Company

 

PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY

Kristin Collins (Elizabeth Sawyer) - "Witch" - The Artistic Home

Shawna Franks (Juliette) - "Right Now" - Facility Theatre

Jada Jackson (Keisha) - "Fairview" - Definition Theatre

Patrick Newson Jr. (Kofi) - "Alaiyo" - Definition Theatre

Kathy Scambiaterra (Serafima) - "Dying For It" - The Artistic Home

Maria Stephens (Alice) - "Right Now" - Facility Theatre

James Turano (Deputy Governor Danforth) - "The Crucible" - Invictus Theatre Company

Michaela Voit (Abigail Williams) - "The Crucible" - Invictus Theatre Company

Sarah Wisterman (Panda) - "Indoor Cats" - Red Theater

Korinne Yonan (Maleficunt) - "Sleeping with Beauty" – PrideArts


PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL

Megan Elk (Mrs. Peachum) - "The Threepenny Opera" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Parker Guidry (Sheldon J. Plankton) - "The SpongeBob Musical" - Kokandy Productions

Luke Halpern (Susan) - "tick, tick… BOOM!" - BoHo Theatre

Jon Parker Jackson (Samuel Byck) - "Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Chamaya Moody (Polly Peachum) - "The Threepenny Opera" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Caleigh Pan-Kita (Evelyn Williams) - "American Psycho" - Kokandy Productions

Quinn Rigg (Squidward Q. Tentacles) - "The SpongeBob Musical" - Kokandy Productions

Amanda Rodriguez (Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme) - "Assassins" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Nathe Rowbotham (Lucy Brown) - "The Threepenny Opera" - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

 

PRODUCTION – SHORT RUN

"It's Only a Play” - Saint Sebastian Players  

"The Minutes” - Edge of the Wood Theatre

"Once on This Island” - PULSE Theatre Company  

"That Must Be the Entrance to Heaven” - Visión Latino Theatre Company  

 

ENSEMBLE – SHORT RUN

"It's Only a Play” - Saint Sebastian Players  

"The Minutes” - Edge of the Wood Theatre

"Once on This Island” - PULSE Theatre Company  

"That Must Be the Entrance to Heaven” - Visión Latino Theatre Company  

 

DIRECTOR – SHORT RUN

Xavier M. Custodio - "That Must Be the Entrance to Heaven" - Visión Latino Theatre Company

Melanie McNulty - "Cry It Out" - Theatre Above the Law

Janet Rourke - "The Minutes" - Edge of the Wood Theatre

Iraida Tapias - "North & Sur" - Water People Theater

 

PERFORMER – SHORT RUN

Manuel Duarte (Emcee) - "Lotería: Dichos, Proverbios, Albures" - Teatro Tariakuri

Jack Hradecky (Mr. Peel) - "The Minutes" - Edge of the Wood Theatre

Casey Huls (Frank Abagnale Jr.) - "Catch Me If You Can" - Surging Films and Theatrics

Gwen La Roka (Gwen La Roka) - "Mi Casa Es Tu Casa!" - UrbanTheater Company

Daniella Rukin (Lina) - "Cry It Out" - Theatre Above the Law

Carter Sherman (Amelia Carter) - "Miranda: A War-Torn Fable" - The Impostors Theatre Company

Billy Surges (Carl Hanratty) - "Catch Me If You Can" - Surging Films and Theatrics

Kris Tori (Alfonsina Storni) - "North & Sur" - Water People Theater

Allyson Womack (Jessie) - "Cry It Out" - Theatre Above the Law

 

SCENIC DESIGN

Kirk Anderson – “Right Now” – Facility Theatre

Kevin Hogan – “Dying For It” – The Artistic Home

Rose Johnson – “Agnes of God” – Redtwist Theatre

Sydney Lynne – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

Kevin Rolfs – “The Crucible” – Invictus Theatre Company


COSTUME DESIGN

Jakob Abderhalden – “The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions

Natasha Vuchurovich Dukich – “Right Now” – Facility Theatre

Jessie Gowens – “The Crucible” – Invictus Theatre Company

Kotryna Hilko – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

Beth Laske-Miller & Rachel Sypniewski – “I Promised Myself to Live Faster” – Hell in a Handbag Productions

Cindy Moon – “The Threepenny Opera” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Rachel Sypniewski – “Princess Ivona” – Trap Door Theatre

 

SOUND DESIGN

Hannah Foerschler – “The Kelly Girls” – The Factory Theater

Ethan Korvne – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

Santiago Quintana – “Right Now” – Facility Theatre

Danny Rockett – “The Pragmatists” – Trap Door Theatre

Stefanie Senior – “Cat’s Cradle” – Lifeline Theatre

Sebby Woldt – “Indoor Cats” – Red Theater

 

LIGHTING DESIGN

Mark Bracken Jr. – “Dying For It” – The Artistic Home

Ellie Fey – “Witch” – The Artistic Home

Maggie Fullilove-Nugent – “The Threepenny Opera” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

G. “Max” Maxin IV – “American Psycho” – Kokandy Productions

Eric Watkins – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

 

PROJECTION DESIGN

DJ Douglass – “The Mountaintop” – Invictus Theatre Company

Alex Gendal – “Alaiyo” – Definition Theatre 

Eme Ospina-López – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

 

CHOREOGRAPHY

Breon Arzell – “American Psycho” – Kokandy Productions

Lauryn Schmelzer – “Promises, Promises” – Blank Theatre Company

Jenna Schoppe – “The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions

 

MUSIC DIRECTION

Harper Caruso – “tick, tick… BOOM!” – BoHo Theatre

Heidi Joosten – “American Psycho” – Kokandy Productions

Heidi Joosten – “Assassins” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Aaron Kaplan – “Promises, Promises” – Blank Theatre Company

 

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY

Natasha Bogojevic – “The Pragmatists” – Trap Door Theatre

Przemysław Bosak – “Princess Ivona” – Trap Door Theatre

Ethan Korvne – “Tambo & Bones” – Refracted Theatre Company

Petter Wahlbäck – “Dying For It” – The Artistic Home

 

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION

Henry Bender (Properties Design) – “Wise Guys: The First Christmas Story” – The Factory Theater

David Blixt (Fight Choreography) – “Witch” – The Artistic Home

Lolly Extract/Jabberwocky Marionettes (Puppet Design) – “I Promised Myself to Live Faster” – Hell in a Handbag Productions

Ele Matelan (Foley Design) – “The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions

Patrick McGuire (Properties Design) – “The SpongeBob Musical” – Kokandy Productions


MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS

By Theater Company

Kokandy Productions 17

Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre 16

Invictus Theatre Company 10

Refracted Theatre 10

The Artistic Home 9

Facility Theatre 8

Definition Theatre 6

Blank Theatre Company 5

BoHo Theatre 5

Lifeline Theatre 5

Red Theater 5

Trap Door Theatre 5

Edge of the Wood Theatre 4

The Factory Theater 4

Hell in a Handbag Productions 4

Theatre Above the Law 3

Theatre Y 3

Vision Latino Theatre Company 3

Idle Muse Theatre Company 2

Prop Thtr (i/a/w Perceptions Theatre) 2

PULSE Theatre Company 2

Redtwist Theatre 2

Saint Sebastian Players 2

Surging Films & Theatrics 2

Water People Theater 2


By Production

"Tambo & Bones"                             10

"The SpongeBob Musical"                               9

"American Psycho"                               8

"Assassins"                               8

"The Crucible"                               8

"Right Now"                               8

"The Threepenny Opera"                               8

"Cat's Cradle"                               5

"Dying For It"                               5

"Indoor Cats"           5

"Promises, Promises"           5

"tick, tick… BOOM!"           5

"Alaiyo"           4

"The Minutes"           4

"Witch"           4

"Cry It Out"           3

"The Kelly Girls"           3

"The Pragmatists"           3

"That Must Be the Entrance to Heaven"           3

"We Are Proud to Present a Presentation …"           3

"Agnes of God"           2

"Catch Me If You Can"           2

"Fairview"           2

"I Promised Myself to Live Faster"           2

"It's Only a Play"           2

"The Mountaintop"           2

"Murder, ReWrote"           2

"North & Sur"           2

"Once on This Island"             2

"Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation"           2

"Princess Ivona"          2

 

By Individual

Heidi Joosten   2

Ethan Korvne 2

Patrick Newson Jr. 2

Rachel Sypniewski 2


  


ABOUT THE JEFF AWARDS

The Jeff Awards is one of the most active and engaged theater awards organizations in the country evaluating hundreds of theatrical productions annually and holding two awards ceremonies highlighting work over the past Equity and Non-Equity seasons. Through our recommendations, awards, and honors we help foster the growth of companies, encourage artists, bring new appreciation for diverse storytelling, and cultivate civic pride in the achievements of the Chicago theater community. Originally chartered in 1968 to recognize Equity productions, the Jeff Awards Non-Equity Wing was established in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theatre. For more information, visit www.jeffawards.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON NOMINATIONS AND THE AWARDS PROGRAM

The Jeff Awards website lists all current nominees, previous recipients and nominations, and other Jeff Awards information and news. Visit www.jeffawards.org.

The 50th Anniversary Jeff Awards for Non-Equity Theater will be held Monday, March 25, 2024, at Park West in Chicago, IL. Doors will open at 6:00pm with a cash bar available, and the awards will begin at 7:00pm. General Admission tickets are $71 (includes $55 ticket + required fees) and  available now at www.jeffawards.org. A group rate of $60 (includes $45 ticket + required fees) is available for parties of 10 or more. Festive cocktail attire is suggested, and the public is cordially invited. An after-party will be held at Park West with light food and a cash bar. For more information, contact Johnny Buranosky, Non-Equity Wing Chair, at  nonequitywing@jeffawards.org.

Names of award recipients will be released immediately following the program on March 25th on the Jeff Awards website under Non-Equity Awards at www.jeffawards.org

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