Showing posts with label 16th Street Theater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 16th Street Theater. Show all posts

Friday, May 27, 2022

16th Street Theater Presents World Premiere of The Billboard Now Playing Through July 17, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

16th Street Theater Presents Natalie Y. Moore’s 

The Billboard

A World Premiere Play About Reproductive Justice Set in

Chicago’s Englewood Neighborhood,

Runs June 23-July 17

- Also Free Virtual Reading of Interrobang-Roberto+Julia 

on June 3, 7 p.m. -16th St.

16th Street Theater and GLP Productions announces the world premiere of Natalie Y. Moore’s The Billboard, the first production of the “You Made It,” 15th anniversary season. The Vagina Monologues creator V, formerly Eve Ensler, said “The Billboard is a provocative and timely play ripe with the political complexities and nuances of our times.” 

Single tickets and $50 season subscriptions are available at and 708-795-6704. Season subscribers receive two live, in-person plays with priority seating during 2022, plus 10% off local restaurants and links to The Write Collectives online staged readings. Vaccination proof and masks are required for all live events. Copies of The Billboard are available from Haymarket Books.

Congo Square ensemble member and African American Museum of Performing Arts Executive Director TaRon Patton directs and co-produces The Billboard, an in-depth look at reproductive rights set at a fictional women’s clinic in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, where politicians weaponize women’s bodily autonomy to forward their careers. 

When City Council candidate Demetrius Drew unveils a billboard saying “Abortion is genocide – the most dangerous place for a Black child is his mother’s womb,” Tanya Gray’s Black Women’s Health Initiative responds with its own sign to underscore that abortion is more than merely pro-life or pro-choice. Her billboard says “Black women have the right to make decisions for their families and their bodies. Abortion is self-care. #TrustBlackWomen.” 

The Billboard runs June 23-July 17, 2022, in Abbott Hall at Northwestern University, 710 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago (run time is 90 minutes without intermission). The Billboard press opening is Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m., with the second press opening on Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m., public opening on Saturday, June 25, 8 p.m., and the first regular performance on Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m. The show runs on two Thursdays (June 30 and July 14), Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., through July 17. Post-show events include Moore and Simons on June 26; Tonika Johnson, Englewood Arts Collective, and Michelle Rashad on July 8; and Scheherazade Tillet, A Long Walk Home, on July 15.  

“If ever there was a play that speaks to present day events, this is it,” said interim Artistic Director Jean Gottlieb. “We were determined to get The Billboard to the stage. Despite the loss of our 14-year artistic home in Berwyn, as well as the proposed new space in the Berwyn VFW building, our artistic team knew that the time for this play was NOW. Natalie’s play holds up a crucial mirror to American society, helping us to face all sides of this topical issue.”   

Natalie Y. Moore

Natalie Y. Moore (she/her) is WBEZ’s South Side bureau reporter, where she’s known as the South Side Lois Lane. She is a 2021 USA Fellow and a 2020 Longworth Media Fellow for international reporting at the Pulitzer Center. Her last book, The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation won the 2016 Chicago Review of Books nonfiction award. The Chicago-based journalist has been published in Essence, Black Enterprise, Chicago Reporter, Bitch, In These Times, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. 

TaRon Patton

TaRon Patton is the Executive Director of The African American Museum of the Performing Arts. For four years, she served as Congo Square Theatre's Executive Director, and has performed at many professional venues including Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre. She is also the CEO of GLP Productions, Inc. Producer credits include N (Greenhouse), and Misty Tanner (Q&A Productions). Directing credits include N (Greenhouse) Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Bulrusher (Congo Square), and Nativity Tribute (Congo Square).

The cast for The Billboard includes LaQuis Harkins as Tanya Gray (pictured top center), Margo Gadsden-Harper as Dawn Williamson (top left), Milan Falls as Kayla Brown (top right), Veronda Carey as Cheryl Lewis (bottom left), and Frederick Williams, AEA, (bottom right) as Demetrius Drew. Understudies include Runako Robinson, Tiffany Curtis and Yiidum Wiwa.

The crew includes Rose Johnson (set design), Richard Norwood (light design), Shawn Wallace (sound design), Nicole Clocket (costume design), Rachelle “Rocky” Kolecke (prop design), Abboye Lawrence (media specialist), Razor Wintercastle (production manager), Hayley Procacci, AEA (stage manager), Kamesha Khan (dramaturg), Ashley Coney (production assistant), Edward Richardson (assistant sound design and sound engineer), and Zach Kelchen (COVID officer). The post-show facilitator is Sasha-Ann Simons, the host of WBEZ’s Reset. 

Sasha-Ann Simons

The next Write Collective free staged reading runs online Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m. Playwright Arlene Malinowski presents Interrobang-Roberto+Julia, a twist on Shakespeare’s familiar tragedy: “Two households, both alike in dignity / In fair Ivy at the Glen retirement home, / where we lay our scene, a pair of star-crossed lovers / hurl their fates to destiny when their feuding families forbid their union.” In this tale of love, power and the secrets about aging, Roberto and Julia explore: When you have no past or no future, who are you?

Arlene Malinowski

The Write Collective’s resident playwrights present free virtual staged readings of their latest works, including talkbacks, throughout 2022, on Fridays at 7 p.m. CT:

August 12, TBA by Reginald Edmund

October 7, The Queen of Ithaca by Aline Lathrop

December 2, The Lost Girl by Kathryn Feeney

Date and title TBA, new play by Marsha Estell

The second production of 16th Street Theater’s 15th season will be San Diego-based Siena Marilyn Ledger’s National New Play Network rolling world premiere Man and Moon, which runs October 21-November 13, 2022, at Madison Street Theater, 1010 Madison Street in Oak Park (run time 90 minutes). In the waiting room of a hospital oncology unit, transitioning man Aaron meets 12-year-old middle-schooler Luna, who loves outer space. Together, they learn how to wait and navigate their own changing bodies.

16th Street Theater’s mission is to produce theater that encourages debate, discussion and compassion through intimate, timely, and thought-provoking works with the playwright as our central focus.

16th Street Theater promotes playwrights whose voices have long been underrepresented on stage, and strives to be a theater of inclusivity, to give voice to those stories that might otherwise not be told and to create a space for all voices to be heard.

16th Street Theater is supported in part by American Theatre Wing, The Arts Work Fund, The Berwyn Development Corp, Chicago Community Trust, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, The National New Play Network, The Oak Park Area Arts Council, The Oak Park River Forest Future Philanthropists Program, as well as by season subscribers and the annual support of individuals and businesses. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Theatre Thursdays Offer World Premiere Productions And Exclusive Access to Artists.

League of Chicago Theatres Announces
Theatre Thursdays Series for 2016-2017 Season

Series Includes Carroll Gardens (16th Street Theater), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre),
Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites),
The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular (Hell in a Handbag Productions),
Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass Theatre Company),
The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), The Snare (Jackalope Theatre Company),
Linda Vista (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and Relativity (Northlight Theatre)

The League of Chicago Theatres announces the Theatre Thursdays line-up for the 2016-2017 Chicago theatre season including world premiere productions of Carroll Gardens (16th Street Theater), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre), Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites), The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular (Hell in a Handbag Productions), Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), The Snare (Jackalope Theatre Company), Linda Vista (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and Relativity (Northlight Theatre).  Additional information for each event is available at

The Theatre Thursdays initiative, first launched in 2005, strengthens and diversifies the Chicago theatre community by encouraging Chicagoans to explore new venues and companies. Last season, the League revamped the program to focus on new work with twelve Theatre Thursday events, one per month. Each monthly event provides audiences with a world premiere production and an inside look at the creative process behind new works, including exclusive access to artists.

The 2016-2017 series includes:

Thursday, September 22
Written by A. Zell Williams
Directed by Ann Filmer
16th Street Theater at the Berwyn Cultural Center, 6420 16th Street in Berwyn
Event begins at 6:30 pm, Show begins at 7:30 pm
Tickets $18 at with promo code: THRTHURS

Join 16th Street Theater for a world-premiere of A. Zell Williams's comedy, Carroll Gardens. Theatre Thursday guests are invited to a pre-show beer tasting courtesy of Oak Park's Kinslahger Brewing Company at 6:30pm. Stay after the show for a conversation with director Ann Filmer and the cast.

Davis and Robby were childhood friends. But that was a long time ago. Now Davis lives in Brooklyn which is a long way from Stockton, CA, in all ways. When Robby shows up unexpected on Davis' doorstep, Robby's brash nature sparks conflicts amongst Davis' new circle spurring debates of race and class and forcing Davis to question who he has remade himself to be and where his loyalty lies.

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Written by Melissa Ross
Directed by John Gawlik
The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee in Jefferson Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Annabel Anderson McCafferty is an expectant mother who vanishes from her small Ohio town on Christmas Eve. Both mystery and memory play, A Life Extra Ordinary untangles and re-assembles the moments that make a life.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Written by Andra Velis Simon
Based on Cendrillon and other compositions by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Directed by Sean Graney
The Hypocrites at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Adapted from Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s 1904 opera Cendrillon, and many of her other compositions, Andra Velis Simon’s musical-play is an elegantly irreverent exploration of the classic fairy tale. Here, Cinderella’s version of happily-ever-after does not include acceptance by the Prince. In the actor-as-orchestra style of The Hypocrites’ Gilbert & Sullivan opera work, Artistic Director Sean Graney directs this fun holiday-time show, perfect for the whole family. From the co-adapter of H.M.S. Pinafore and director of All Our Tragic.

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Written by David Cerda
Directed by Steve Love
Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Andersonville
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

We close the year with an old friend and Handbag creation, Rip Nelson played by Handbag favorite, Ed Jones (think, the mutant love child of Paul Lynde, Rip Taylor and Charles Nelson Reilly) in The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular, a show that makes The Brady Bunch Variety Hour look like Citizen Kane.

It’s 1982 and a newly sober Rip (ensemble member Ed Jones) manages to land another TV special after the death of his arch-rival, Paul Lynde. Rip is determined to get his career back on track but can he handle the stress of a network television special and stay sober? Luckily he’s got help from a cavalcade of the hottest stars of 1982! Rip pulls every trick in the book to breathe some life in the dying variety series format and save his career but soon questions if his career is worth saving.

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara
Puppetry by Blair Thomas
Lookingglass Theatre Company, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Downtown Chicago
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth captivate audiences with spell-binding tales. But one day, The Big Bad Wolf mysteriously dies before his story is complete. Fairytales disappear from the pages, characters are utterly forgotten, and Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth must journey through the stories to restore order before they are lost forever.

Written and directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara, this world-premiere weaves an exceptional story of adventure, love, and unexpected endings. Influenced by Neil Gaiman and other fantasy writers, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth is brought to life through the wondrous puppetry of Blair Thomas and reveals the transformational power of storytelling.

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Written by Ike Holter
Featuring Ensemble Members Sandra Márquez and Gabe Ruíz
Teatro Vista at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Chicago. Fall. One night, a boarded up bar on the dark side of the block becomes a terrifying crime scene. In the following 48 hours, the neighborhood digs deep into escalating mystery, working against time to separate fact from fiction. But as the clock ticks down, the clues spiral into a razor sharp jigsaw, and what began as a simple mystery quickly twists into a personal, pointed and political thriller. The Wolf at The End of The Block is a full-length play with five characters, three of which are Latino. The play explores the issues of racial profiling, media manipulation and family relationships. Highly charged, Holter’s story is brutally raw, funny and deftly pierces universal truths.

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Written by Samantha Beach
Directed by Elana Boulos
Jackalope Theatre Company at the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway in Edgewater
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Ruth is your average eighth-grader, keeping busy with basketball, preparing for her school’s Civil War Day, and trying to be more like her babysitter. One night, in the quiet of her bedroom, Ruth hears the voice of the devil, telling her to take action. Unprepared, Ruth’s pastor mom and family struggle to walk a path between pragmatism and faith. In this world premiere play about good vs. evil, and growing up, the question is: who will you believe?

Thursday, April 13, 2017
A world premiere by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Featuring ensemble members Ian Barford and Tim Hopper
Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted in Lincoln Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from the cot in his ex-wife’s garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex—complicated, painful and hilarious. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler is a modern misanthrope who must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor and member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. His works include August: Osage CountySuperior DonutsThe Man from NebraskaKiller Joe and Bug, among others. He is also known for his portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in Showtime's Homeland and can be seen in The Big Short and HBO’s Divorce. His play Mary Page Marlowe premiered at Steppenwolf, in March 2016.

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Written by Mark St. Germain
Directed by BJ Jones
Featuring Mike Nussbaum
Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

In 1902 Albert and Mileva Einstein had a baby daughter. After 1904 she was never seen or spoken of again. Forty years later, a reporter interviews Einstein about this mysterious piece of his past, revealing shocking secrets about his family and his personal life. While the reporter questions Einstein on his theory of relativity and his decisions, she also poses a query of her own: to be a great man, does one first need to be a good man?

The author of Freud’s Last Session and Becoming Dr. Ruth showcases his signature blend of insight, intellect, humor and heart in this fictional account of a legendary figure.

Please note that Theatre Thursdays event information and dates are subject to change.  Theatre Thursday events for June, July and August will be announced later in the year.

The 2016-2017 Theatre Thursdays sponsors are the Chicago Reader and Chicago Splash.
About Chicago theatre
Chicago theatre is a leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 5 that have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. In the 2014-2015 season, Chicago theatre companies produced more than 100 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year, Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world.

About the League of Chicago Theatres
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres which leverages its collective strength to promote, support, and advocate for Chicago's theatre industry locally, nationally, and internationally. The League of Chicago Theatres Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the art of theatre in the Chicago area through audience development and support services for theatres and theatre professionals.

Additional information about Theatre Thursdays is available at

For a comprehensive list of Chicago theatre productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website,  Half-price tickets are available at or at one of three downtown locations.

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