Showing posts with label Blakewell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blakewell. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Midwest Premiere of The Brightest Thing in the World Via About Face Theatre March 14-April 13, 2024

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

About Face Theatre to produce

the Midwest premiere of 

The Brightest Thing in the World

directed by Keira Fromm

March 14-April 13, 2024 

About Face Theatre continues its 29th season with the Midwest premiere of The Brightest Thing in the World by Leah Nanako Winkler, directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm. The show will run March 14 through April 13, 2024, at The Den Theatre. The Brightest Thing in the World starts as a bubbling romantic comedy between barista Lane and her regular Steph, charting their growing relationship as they encounter real-world challenges like teen pregnancy, parenting, and addiction. This play is a celebration of love, family, and the people in our lives who shine the brightest.


Written by Leah Nanako Winkler

Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm

March 14 – April 13, 2024 | Press opening: Friday, March 22

All performances will take place at The Den Theatre, 1331 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Showtimes: Thurs and Fri at 8:00pm, Sat at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, Sun at 3:00pm

Please note: There is no matinee performance on Saturday, March 16

Open Captioning performances: Dates TBD.

Masks Required performances: Saturday matinees on March 30 and April 6 will require every attendee to wear a mask.

Pay-what-you-can tickets ($5 – $35) on sale now at The Den Theatre box office or About Face Theatre’s website.



Tickets are on sale now online at, by calling 773.697.3830, or in-person at The Den Theatre box office. Ticket prices range from $5 to $35. 

AFT offers a ticket pricing system that allows each patron to decide the price that they can comfortably afford to pay for a ticket. Ultimately, About Face wants everyone who wants to attend a show to be able to do so. Please note: there are limited quantities available at each pricing level.


Charmingly free-spirited barista Lane is determined to win over her new regular, the reserved and intellectual Steph. Delightful romantic comedy ensues with poetry, homemade desserts, and sparks flying. But both women are carrying life-changing secrets involving addiction, past relationships, and family. What happens when the giddy romance wears off and Lane and Steph must do the work of building a lasting relationship out of honesty, compassion, and courage? The Brightest Thing in the World is a funny, heartfelt new play delving into the people we think we know and the people we know we love.

“I love Leah Nanako Winkler’s use of language and the smart, messy, recognizable women at the center of the story,” says director Keira Fromm. “She has created a play that manages to be both a funny queer rom-com and a devastating portrait of addiction and the ways we’re all constantly in a state of recovery.”

The Brightest Thing in the World was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre in 2019, where it received its world premiere in 2022.



Blakewell (Della)

Claire Kaplan (Lane)

Jojo Brown (Steph)



Dramaturg, Casting Director        Catherine Miller

Choreographer                              Jenn Freeman

Intimacy & Violence Designer     Sheryl Williams

Assistant Director                         Aimy Tien

Scenic Designer                           Sotirios Livaditis

Lighting Designer                         Conchita Avitia

Sound Designer                           Christopher Kriz

Costume Designer                       Gregory Graham

Properties Designer                     Amanda Herrmann

Technical Director                        Becca Venable

Stage Manager                            Jean Compton

Assistant Stage Manager            B Valek

Production Manager                    Audrey Kleine

Keira Fromm (she/her): director

Keira is a Chicago-based, Jeff-award nominated director. She is also an Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre where she directed Bull in a China Shop, Significant Other, Bright Half Life, and A Kid Like Jake. Other directing credits include: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre), The Moors, A Phoenix Too Frequent, and A Doll’s House (American Players Theatre), The Last Match (Writers Theatre); At the Wedding and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (TheatreSquared); Top Girls and hang (Remy Bumppo); The Columnist (American Blues Theater); Charles Ives Take Me Home (Strawdog); The How and the Why (TimeLine Theatre); Broadsword (The Gift Theatre); and Fallow (Steep Theatre.) She received her MFA from DePaul University, her BFA from Boston University, is an alumna of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and a member of SDC, the professional directors union. Keira will be directing The Liar at American Players Theatre this upcoming summer.

Cyd Blakewell (she/her): “Della”

Cyd was most recently seen in Northlight Theatre’s Birthday Candles. She is a proud ensemble member of The Gift Theatre. Gift Theatre credits: The Locusts, Pillowman, Doubt, A Life Extra Ordinary, Good For Otto, Body + Blood, Broadsword, Mine, and TEN. Other Chicago credits: The Snare (Jackalope); Balm In Gilead and Port (Griffin); Buddy Cop 2, breaks & bikes, and Milk Milk Lemonade (Pavement Group); Sweet Confinement and Ivanov (SiNNERMAN Ensemble); Orange Flower Water (Interrobang); Lies & Liars and Mimesophobia (Theatre Seven); Rewind (The Side Project). Last summer she wrapped on a short film called Fairground and can also be seen in Jeri’s Grille. Next, you can see her in the World Premier of Obliterated by Andrew Hinderaker, co-starring Michael Patrick Thornton. Cyd got her BFA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf. She is represented by Promote Talent Agency.

Jojo Brown (she/her): “Steph”

Jojo Brown is a stage and screen actor who was born and raised in Chicago. Off-Broadway credits include CHARM and 7 Minutes. Television credits include her recurring role as Mindy on Freeform's “Single Drunk Female” and appearances on NBC, Showtime, Comedy Central, FX, and Paramount Plus. 

Claire Kaplan (she/her): “Lane”

Claire is a theater-maker, actor, and teacher from Long Beach, CA. Regional credits include South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and East West Players. Claire is co-artistic director of The West, an experimental theatre company formerly based in LA, now creating work in Chicago and Berlin. She is directing Theatre Unspeakable's touring show introducing Shakespeare to kids and is teaching devised theater at UIC. She recently helped create the musical world for Backroom Shakes' The Winter's Tale.

Leah Nanako Winkler (she/her): playwright

Leah Nanako Winkler is an award-winning playwright and TV writer from Kamakura, Japan, and Lexington, Kentucky. Her plays include God Said This, Two Mile Hollow, Kentucky, Hot Asian Doctor Husband, and The Brightest Thing in the World, as well as many short plays all produced Off-Broadway and regionally. Accolades and fellowships: Yale Drama Series Prize, Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons, Audible’s Emerging Playwrights Fund, Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark, Francesca Primus Prize, and a 2020 Steinberg Playwright Award. She is published by American Theater Magazine, Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews, Yale University Press, Backstage, Smith and Krauss, Samuel French, and Dramatists Play Service. TV credits include Michael Moore’s TV NATION, New Amsterdam, A24’s Ramy on Hulu (where she along with the other writers won a Peabody Award), Love Life on HBO MAX, and currently on projects at Apple, Warner and Amazon.

ABOUT FACE THEATRE advances LGBTQ+ equity through community building, education, and performance. AFT envisions an affirming and equitable world in which all LGBTQ+ individuals are thriving and free from prejudice and discrimination. About Face Theatre is also dedicated to being an intentionally and increasingly anti-racist organization. Due to the intersectionality of our identities, we understand our work to advance LGBTQ+ equity as directly connected to movements for racial justice.


Google Analytics