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Showing posts with label ChiIL Live Shows on our radar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ChiIL Live Shows on our radar. Show all posts

Saturday, July 2, 2022

REVIEW: Chicago Premiere of Hurricane Diane is A Dionysian Feast!!! Now Playing at Theater WIT Through July 31, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

HURRICANE DIANE 
TO HIT CHICAGO 
PREDICTED TO WREAK TRAGI-COMIC CLIMATE CHANGE HAVOC LIVE ON STAGE 
AT THEATER WIT THROUGH JULY 31 

Madeleine George’s 2019 Obie Award-winning Best Play is a hilarious evisceration of the blind eye we all turn to climate change, even (or especially) in our own backyards

(From left) Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Hurricane Diane features Lori Myers as Pam, Carolyn Kruse as Carol, Kelli Simpkins as Diane, Jazmín Corona as Renee and Aneisa Hicks as Beth. Photo credit for all: Charles Osgood.

Hurricane Diane is a Chicago premiere by Madeleine George, writer of Theater Wit's past hits Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England and The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and, now, for Hulu's Only Murders in the Building starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez.



Guest Review 

by Flo Manolis

Ahhh!!!! A Dionysian Feast!!!


"Hurricane Diane" by Madeline George, is a modern, witty, satirical comedy with a tragic ending! Diane (Kelli Simpkins-powerful-playful!!) is a landscaper seeking an earthly incarnation from a world doomed, to it's future demise/Inexistence by climate change.

Kelli Simpkins (left) plays Diane and Lori Myers is Pam

Carolyn Kruse (left) plays Carol and Kelli Simpkins is Diane

Diane is hired by Carol (Carolyn Kruse-stern) to design her "dream-HGTV- garden" in the cookie cutter homes in a cul-de-sac, she shares with her three neighbor friends. Diane tells her of the importance of "permaculture"-that Carol ABHORS.

(from left) Lori Myers, Aneisa Hicks and Jazmín Corona

Inherent to her "Mystery cult" of souls. Diane engages the three friends, (Lori Myers-hilarious!! Jazmin Corona-understated, Anesia Hicks-demure-strong vocal voice!!) and scandalizes in a sexual frenzied initiation- possessed in ecstasy by "The God that comes" to be her Maends. It brings joy and divine madness, as they are freed from their self consciousness, fears and oppressive restrains. She is their "Liberator", dancing, draped in ivy garlands. Still, she has to dominate Carol who is a holdout. With a looming hurricane, chaos ensues in a power struggle of wills!!! Destructon!!!

(from left) Lori Myers, Aneisa Hicks and Jazmín Corona

In a nod to traditional Greek theatre, The Maends in Crimson clothing and masks, chant hymns like a Greek chorus lamenting.

Jeremy Wechsler directed an entertaining, gut laughter inducing, applause after each scene and in between, production!! Stellar cast! Versatile stage design! Must see. Don't miss this! ★★★★ (out of 4).

Florence Manolis is a Greek American CPS elementary teacher/librarian, hairdresser, and theater/film fanatic who catches hundreds of Chicago shows annually. She volunteers at numerous film venues and theaters and has called Chicago home since she immigrated here from Greece in early elementary school. 


Kelli Simpkins plays Diane in Hurricane Diane, Theater Wit's new play about a butch lesbian gardener who just might be the Greek god Dionysus.


Hurricane Diane is a hilarious whirlwind of a play about a butch lesbian gardener who just might be the Greek god Dionysus, returned to stick a hot poker in contemporary society’s blind eye to climate change, starting with four housewives on a quiet New Jersey cul-de-sac.


Lori Myers (left) plays Pam and Kelli Simpkins is Diane 

The doomsday clock is already at 11 f**king 45. The flood waters are swelling on Jersey Shore. The Greek goddess Dionysus—in the guise of Diane, a lesbian permaculture landscape gardener—is staging a comeback to save the world from the ravages of climate change.

And where better to ignite a Bacchanalian frenzy than with four housewives living on a quiet cul-de-sac in Monmouth County, New Jersey?

Still, making maenads out of her lady neighbors proves more challenging than Diane could anticipate, as the forces of HGTV square off against the coming apocalypse.

Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler directs this roof-raising evening about passion, lawns, pawpaw forests, Italian delis, curb appeal, hurricanes, and what happens when we are asked to go outside.


"You all want to believe me when I tell you that Madeleine George's Obie-award winning comedy is going to be the most fun you can have in a theater this summer. It's going to blow Theater Wit apart—and that's not actually hyperbole. Seriously, you want to see this one."

-Director Jeremy Wechsler
Artistic Director, Theater Wit


Tickets and information:
TheaterWit.org or (773) 975-8150

(from left) Hurricane Diane playwright Madeleine George and director Jeremy Wechsler. Kelli Simpkins plays Diane with Jazmín Corona (Renee) Aneisa Hicks (Beth), Carolyn Kruse (Carol) and Lori Myers (Pam).


Hurricane Diane is surging toward its Chicago debut, June 17-July 31, 2022 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. Tickets, $25-$48, are on sale now at TheaterWit.org or by calling the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150. 


Batten down the hatches for Theater Wit’s Hurricane Diane, because a category 4 hurricane has hit a quiet cul-de-sac in New Jersey, where the Greek god Dionysus has returned as a butch lesbian gardener to stick a hot poker in society’s blind eye to climate change. Carolyn Kruse (pictured) plays Carol. 


Hurricane Diane is a hilarious whirlwind of a play about a butch lesbian gardener who just might be the Greek god Dionysus, returned to stick a hot poker in contemporary society’s collective blind eye to climate change.

Hurricane Diane marks acclaimed playwright Madeleine George’s third collaboration with Theater Wit, where Chicago audiences and critics first enjoyed her plays Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England and The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. Now George is writing for the hit Hulu series Only Murders in the Building starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez.

Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler directs this roof-raising evening about passion, lawns, pawpaw forests, Italian delis, curb appeal, hurricanes, and what happens when we are asked to go outside.
Kelli Simpkins leads the cast as charming butch permaculture gardener Diane, returned to the modern world to avert the coming apocalypse. Jazmín Corona (Renee), Aneisa Hicks (Beth), Carolyn Kruse (Carol) and Lori Myers (Pam) portray Diane’s New Jersey neighbors. 

The production team includes Joseph Schermoly (set designer), Mara Blumenfeld and Maddy Low (co-costume designers), Joyce Ciesil (sound designer), Piper Kirchhofer (lighting designer), AnnaMae Durham (properties designer), Courtney Abbott (intimacy director), Andre Pluess (original music) and Ashley Alexander (stage manager). 

Hurricane Diane: The eye of the storm

Kelli Simpkins (left) as Diane and Lori Myers as Pam.

Kelli Simpkins (left) plays Diane and Jazmín Corona is Renee

The doomsday clock is already at 11 f**king 45. The flood waters are swelling on Jersey Shore. The Greek goddess Dionysus—in the guise of Diane, a lesbian permaculture landscape gardener—is staging a comeback to save the world from the ravages of climate change. And where better to ignite a Bacchanalian frenzy than with four housewives living on a quiet cul-de-sac in Monmouth County, New Jersey? Still, making maenads out of her lady neighbors proves more challenging than Diane could anticipate, as the forces of HGTV square off against the coming apocalypse.

Winner of the 2019 Best Play Obie Award, Hurricane Diane is a funny, sobering plea to save the world.The New York Times called it “an astonishing new play that whirls ancient myth, lesbian pulp, ecological thriller, and The Real Housewives of Monmouth County into a perfect storm of timely tragicomedy.” The Vulture wrote “Madeleine George’s fantastic, heartbreaking Hurricane Diane is a comedy in the most ancient, expansive sense...Hilarious, shattering, and full of keen observation and profound human affection, the play both lifts us up and wrings us out.” 

Aneisa Hicks (left) plays Beth and Kelli Simpkins is Diane in Hurricane Diane.

**Footnote: The term “permaculture," a contraction of “permanent” and “agriculture," is an increasingly popular gardening trend at the heart of Diane’s earth-bound business—designing agricultural landscapes, especially home landscapes, in a way that improves and supports the local ecosystem, to make them life-giving for generations.


Tracking Hurricane Diane: Times, dates and ticket information

Tickets to Hurricane Diane are $25-$36, and are on sale now at TheaterWit.org or by calling the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150.

Previews are June 17-26: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at
2 p.m. Press opening is Monday, June 27 at 7 p.m. Performances run through July 31: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. Run time is 90 minutes, no intermission.

Theater Wit is located at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Parking is available in a lot across the street from Theater Wit, behind Kubo, for $8 (pay at the Theater Wit box office.) Neighborhood street parking is also available. Theater Wit is accessible via the CTA 77 Belmont bus, and just three blocks west of the CTA Belmont Red/Brown/Purple line stop. 

Note: Everyone (including audience members) at Theater Wit is required to be vaccinated to enter the building. Each audience member must show proof of vaccination and state ID at the door for admittance. Electronic photos and copies are acceptable. Patrons with medical or religious exemptions may be admitted but must contact the box office a minimum of 48 hours before the performance for additional review and guidance. While Cook County is at Medium risk level or above, all audience members must be masked for the duration of their visit. Masks are required for medical and religious exemptions as well. Visit TheaterWit.org for more details.

About Theater Wit

Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, is a major hub of Chicago’s neighborhood theater scene, where audiences enjoy a smorgasbord of excellent productions in its three, 99-seat spaces, see a parade of talented artists and mingle with audiences from all over Chicago. 

In addition to Theater Wit’s production of Hurricane Diane, other summer productions at Theater Wit include Shattered Globe’s Rasheeda Speaking (now through June 4); Remy Bumppo’s The Year of Magical Thinking (now through June 5); TimeLine Theatre’s Chicago premiere of The Chinese Lady (now through June 18); American Blues Theatre’s Fences (July 1-August 6); Steep Theatre Company’s Light Falls (July 2-August 14); and Grippo Theatre Company’s Chagall in School (August 26-October 9).

Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview community. To purchase tickets to Hurricane Diane, visiting productions, or to inquire about a Theater Wit Membership or Flex Pass options, visit TheaterWit.org, send email to info@theaterwit.org, or call the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150. 

Carolyn Kruse as Carol and Kelli Simpkins as Diane
All Production Photos by Charles Osgood

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Sophocles’ Tragedy, Antigone is Given a Modern Adaptation at Redtwist Theatre JUNE 23 – JULY 31

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Sophocles’ Tragedy 

Antigone 

at Redtwist Theatre 

JUNE 23 – JULY 31


Sophocles’ Tragedy is Given a Modern Adaptation by Anne Carson, Directed by Christine Freije and Starring Retwist Company Members Brian Parry and Sarah Sapperstein 


Redtwist Theatre announces the cast and creative team for its next production, Antigone, adapted by Anne Carson and directed by Christine Freije, June 23 – July 31, at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. The current running time is 2 hours including the intermission. Previews are Thursday, June 23 – Saturday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $15, previews; $35, Thursday performances and $40, Friday – Sunday performances. Student and senior discounts are available. All tickets are now on sale at RedtiwstTheatre.org or by calling 773.728.7529. 


Antigone is a woman suddenly pitted against the world. She simply wants to give her brother a fair burial and isn’t afraid to fight the patriarchy to do it. In this colloquial, light-fingered and cutting translation of one of Sophocles’ great tragedies, Antigone places personal allegiance before an unjust city law, a tenacious act that ultimately triggers others into a cycle of destruction.


The cast of Antigone includes Isabel Alamin, (Antigone); Natalie Welber, (Ismene); Brian Parry*, (Kreon); Nick Shank, (Haimon); Joan Nahid, (Eurydike/Chorus); Javier Carmona, (Teiresias/chorus); Peter Ferneding, (guard/boy/chorus); Sarah Sapperstein*, (messenger/chorus); and Andrew Bosworth, (chorus leader). The understudies include Samie Jo Johnson, (Antigone); Amanda Hays, (Ismene); Nathan Reilly, (Haimon); Jessica GoForth, (Eurydike/chorus); Peter Ferneding, (Teiresias/chorus); Maddy Hoderhack, (messenger/chorus); and Evin McQuinstion, (chorus leader).


The creative team of Antigone includes Christine Freije, (director); Anne Carson, (adapter); Solomon Weisbard, (lighting + sound designer); Eric Luchen, (scenic designer); Anna Bodell, (costume designer); Jeff Brain, (props designer); Dusty Brown, (production manager); La’Tia Owens, (assistant stage manager); Mike McShane, (assistant lighting designer); Moises Diaz, (assistant props director); Chas Mathieu, (technical director); Anna Petersen, (scenic charge); Hannah Blau, (assistant director); Shariba Rivers*, (casting director); Jose Jimenez*, (graphic designer); Lauren Grace Thompson*, (resident production manager); E. Malcom Martinez*, (box office manager); Karen Epton, Annette Galeas, Johnny Garcia* and Amanda Grissom, (box office associates) and Brian Parry*, (interim artistic director).


*Indicates Redtwist staff or company members.


ABOUT ANNE CARSON, playwright

Anne Carson is a MacArthur Fellow; she has received the Lannan Prize, the T.S Eliot Prize, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize (twice awarded) and a Guggenheim fellowship. She was also the Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany. 


ABOUT CHRISTINE FREIJE, director

Christine Freije is a director and deviser based in Chicago and Portland, Oregon. Recent credits include Tartuffe, Everybody, The Gap (The Theatre School at DePaul University),Dream-Rushes (A Wonderful Trip) (Theatre Contra),Song of My Self-Care (Jimmy Grzelak) and Shrew (Reject Theatre Project). She is a current MFA candidate at The Theatre School at DePaul University and has worked at the Arden Theatre, Interact Theatre Company, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company and Berkshire Theatre Group. 



ABOUT REDTWIST THEATRE

Redtwist is an award-winning theatre company that stages five, up close and personal contemporary dramas annually in its intimate black box theatre housed proudly within the heart of Edgewater’s Bryn Mawr Historic District. 


Intimate performances at Redtwist are designed to place the theatre patron in the midst of the stories being told, making them accessible and riveting. Redtwist strives for excellence with every project and proactively endeavors to take risks while offering opportunities for up-and-coming actors, designers and directors to work with established talent. Redtwist provides the very best Chicago storefront theatre experience from excellence on stage, to warm hospitality in a clean, friendly environment.

August Wilson’s Fences Via American Blues Theater at Theater Wit July 1 Through August 6

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

  American Blues Theater announces casting for

August Wilson’s Fences 

directed by Monty Cole

Cast includes Kamal Bolden, Manny Buckley, Shanésia Davis, Ajax Dontavius,

Martel Manning, William Anthony Sebastian Rose II, and Riley Wells

 July 1-August 6, 2022

 

American Blues Theater, under the continued leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, announces the cast of August Wilson’s Fences, directed by Monty Cole. The intimate and up-close production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama will play to a capacity of 60 people per performance

from July 1-August 6, 2022, at Theater Wit,1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets will be available beginning May 31 at (773) 975-8150 and www.americanbluestheater.com. I'll be out for opening night Thursday, July 7th, so check back shortly for my full review. 

This is the sensational drama about Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro Baseball League, who now works as a garbage man in 1957 Pittsburgh. Excluded as a black man from major leagues during his prime, Troy’s bitterness takes its toll on his relationships with his wife and family.

The cast is: Kamal Bolden (Troy Maxson), Manny Buckley* (Gabriel), Shanésia Davis (Rose), Ajax Dontavius, (Cory), Martel Manning (Jim Bono), William Anthony Sebastian Rose (Lyons), and Riley Wells (Raynell).

The creative team includes Yeaji Kim (scenic design), Jared Gooding* (lighting design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Rick Sims* (sound design), Verity Neely (properties design), Rachel Flesher (fight & intimacy design), Cara Parrish* (stage manager) and Shandee Vaughan* (production manager).

 *Denotes Ensemble Member or Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater

 

About the Artists

MONTY COLE he/him (director) is an award-winning theater and film writer-director from Oak Park, IL. He has directed for the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, The Playwrights Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Victory Gardens Theater, the Center for New Performance, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Alley Theatre, and others. Recent projects include directing the workshop of world premiere Adrienne Kennedy play, Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side for the Center for New Performance in California. His re-interpretations of classics from Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape to Hamlet have received awards and critical praise in Chicago. As a writer, his plays include American Teenager (a commission from the Goodman Theatre) and Black Like Me, an adaptation of the 1961 novel currently in development with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Cole was one of four writers in the Goodman Theatre's Playwrights Unit and is currently an Artist in Residence at the Center for New Performance, a fellow at Hermitage Artist Retreat, and a Research Scholar of the Bridge to Faculty at UIC. In 2021, Cole directed three short films: SIX FEET APART by Isaac Gomez, SONS OF TOLEDO, written by Cole and Matt Foss, and his own short, WHOLE. SONS OF TOLEDO has appeared in film festivals around the world including winning Best African American Short at the Phoenix Film Festival, while the other two shorts are in post-production. Monty has a BA in Theatre Studies from Emerson College and an MFA Directing degree from the California Institute of the Arts. 

KAMAL BOLDEN he/him (Troy Maxson) A native of Peoria, IL, Kamal graduated from Bradley University with a degree in Business Administration-Entrepreneurship. Theatre: the lead role of Hero in Father Comes Home From The Wars Parts 1,2, & 3 (Goodman Theatre), Immediate Family directed by Phylicia Rashad (Mark Taper Forum), the title role of Chad Deity in the world premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens Theater), Jitney, The Misanthrope, and Home (Court Theatre), Coriolanus (Nashville Shakespeare), SS: Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare). Off-Broadway: AUDELCO Award for Best Actor in Reparations at the historic Billie Holiday Theatre and a nomination for The Opponent at 59E59St Theatre. Film: Vacation Friends, The Night Before, Ravers, Keys to the City, Elvis & Nixon. Television: Series Regular on The Endgame (NBC), 61st Street, Chicago Fire, Insecure, The Resident, Law & Order SVU, Rosewood, NCIS, Major Crimes, Betrayal, Low Winter Sun, Boss, Lights Out.

MANNY BUCKLEY he/him (Gabriel) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is a Chicago-based director, actor, playwright and teaching artist. Blues credits include It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, Six Corners, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder (Jeff Award Nomination-Best Solo Performance), and Dutchman/TRANSit (Black Theatre Alliance Award Nomination). Manny toured nationally as “Satchel Paige” in the original production of The Satchel Paige Story, and appeared in The Father (Helen Hayes Award Nomination) at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. He originated the role of “Carson” in Hit the Wall, which sold out extensions in Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep. Select Chicago credits include The Brothers Size, 1984, and Of Mice and Men (Steppenwolf); Dorian (House Theater); and Love’s Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Mr. Buckley is the recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance, and Black Excellence Award. He most recently directed Kingdom, an audio drama, with Broken Nose Theatre.

SHANÉSIA DAVIS she/her (Rose) returns to American Blues Theater where she was last seen in their co-production of Native Son with Court Theatre. As an actress, some of her credits include works at Steppenwolf, Northlight, Porchlight Music Theatre, Goodman, Congo Square, Mark Taper Forum, Cleveland Playhouse, CenterStage Baltimore, The Gift Theatre, Kansas City Rep, and Court Theatre, to name a few. She has been Jeff Award nominated several times and is a Black Theatre Alliance Award recipient, as well as Excellence in the Arts recipient. Film credits include Chicago Stories: Ida B. Wells, The Thing about Harry, Working Man, BLUEPRINT, External Rivals, Consumed, Damaged Goods, Cleveland Abduction, Morning Due, The Weatherman, Uncle Nino, Life Sentence, and Chicago Cab, among others. Television credits includes Emmy nominated Lovecraft Country (HBO), Proven Innocent (FOX), Empire (FOX), Chicago Fire (NBC), CRISIS (ABC), Detroit 187 (ABC), and series regular on Early Edition (CBS). She is a proud member of Equity and SAG/AFTRA unions as well as Artistic Associate of Congo Square Theater and Assistant Teaching Professor at Roosevelt University, CCPA. 

AJAX DONTAVIUS he/him (Cory) is a Chicago-based actor who is so excited to join this amazing production of Fences. Previously, Ajax has co-starred on NBC’s Chicago P.D. and will appear on the second season of AMC’s 61st Street. He was last seen on stage in Lifeline Theatre’s stage adaptation of Middle Passage as Rutherford Calhoun.

MARTEL MANNING he/him (Jim Bono) has appeared in Chicago in: Photograph 51 (Court Theatre), Her Majesty's Will (Lifeline Theatre), as well as Pillowman, Kentucky, and Hamlet (The Gift Theatre). Regional credits include: Romeo & Juliet - Juliet's Journey (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Still Dance the Stars (New Light Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (Michigan Shakespeare Festival). Martel received an MFA in Acting from the University of Houston Professional Actor Training Program and is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.

WILLIAM ANTHONY SEBASTIAN ROSE II he/him (Lyons) is a Chicago based actor most recently featured as King Henri Christophe in The House Theatre’s The Tragedy of King Christophe. He was last seen in an on-stage, in-person production with Broken Nose Theatre’s Labyrinth as a still wet behind the ears loan officer. He has also had the privilege of working with Kunoichi Productions virtual presentation of The True Tale of Princess Kaguya as the psychotic Emperor and power hungry but moronically pathetic Prince; a man searching for his truth in Victory Gardens Theater’s The First Deep Breath; a dilettante English lord fancying himself an amateur sleuth in Whose Body, Lifeline Theatre; a forgotten political prisoner fighting for change in We Are Pussy Riot, Red Tape Theatre. You can also see him on display now in the Chicago Maritime Museum exhibit as the founder of Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. TV credits include Lovecraft County. Represented by Big Mouth Talent Agency.

RILEY WELLS she/her (Raynell) recently worked on a short film They Say Time Heals as Anisah as well as the CW’s television show 4400. Riley studies dance and acting at FieldCrest School of Performing Arts. She also studies voice and piano at the MuzicNet. For fun, Riley enjoys engineering, space, gymnastics.

Dates: Previews July 1-July 6, 2022

Opens July 7, 2022

Runs through August 6, 2022

Schedule:       

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 2:30pm (except, no 2:30pm show on July 9)

and 7:30pm (except, no 7:30pm show on August 6)

Sundays: 2:30pm

 

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave in Chicago

Ticket prices:  $25-$45, plus $2.75 Theater Wit venue fees

Box Office: Buy online at www.americanbluestheater.com or (773) 975-8150

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

 

About American Blues

Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s prestigious National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. As of 2022, the theater and artists received 221 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and 40 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.

Steep Summer Shows Continue with Stephens’ Light Falls at Theater Wit July 8 – Aug 14, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Light Falls

By Simon Stephens

Directed by Robin Witt

July 8 – Aug 14, 2022


For one clear moment, rain and light fall from a cloudless sky. For one clear moment, Christine sees the lives of her family, her town, her world stretched before her, beyond her. Simon Stephens’ Light Falls is a haunting tale of resilience, hope, and the impossibly strong bonds of family.

Steep Theatre’s second summer production is the US premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens’ Light Falls set to open July 8th. Stephens, Steep's Associate Playwright, will make his fifth production with Ensemble Member Robin Witt once again serving as director. Witt has also directed Stephen’s Wastwater, Motortown, Pornography and Harper Regan, Steep’s bestselling production.

More than two years after beginning work on this play, Steep is excited to resume production of Light Falls after it came to a halt in the spring of 2020. Light Falls will be performed at Theater Wit while the sold-out run of Eboni Booth’s Paris plays at Steep's new home at 1044 West Berwyn through July 23rd. In April, Steep purchased the former Christian Science Reading Room, returning to the Edgewater community it has called home since 2008, and a renovation of the space is planned for the coming year.

We first fell in love with this script in 2019, yet somehow Light Falls fully and exquisitely captures what we've been through and where we are now,' said Artistic Director Peter Moore. "Simon has long been an integral part of Steep's story and I'm grateful that we can share his work in this moment.” 

Light Falls will feature Steep Ensemble Members Debo Balogun, Nate Faust, Cindy Marker, Peter Moore, Brandon Rivera, Omer Abbas Salem, and Kendra Thulin, as well as guest artists Susaan Jamshidi, Ashlyn Lozano, and Stephanie Mattos. August Forman will step into the production beginning July 28th. Forman, Jamshidi, and Mattos make their Steep debuts with this production.

  

WHERE:                

Theater Wit

1229 West Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60657

 

WHEN:

July 8 – August 14, 2022

Previews: July 2-7, 2022

Press Opening: Friday, July 8, 7:30pm

 

Schedule:

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm

Sunday matinees at 3pm

Accessible Performances:

-Audio Description & Touch Tour: July 24

-Open Captioning: July 31

Contact us at access@steeptheatre.com or 773-649-3186 for more information.


Ticket Pricing

General Admission: $30

Reserved Seats: $40

Access Tickets: $10 

(Access tickets are our universal discount available to anyone in need of a discount)

Purchase tickets here: https://steeptheatre.com/lightfalls 


About the Playwright

Simon Stephens’ plays include Fortune, Light Falls, Maria, Fatherland, Rage, Heisenberg, Nuclear War, Song from Far Away; Birdland, Carmen Disruption, Blindsided, Morning, Three Kingdoms, Wastwater, Punk Rock, The Trial of Ubu, Marine Parade, Sea Wall, Harper Regan, Pornography, Motortown, On the Shore of the Wide World, One Minute, Country Music, Christmas, Port, Herons and Bluebird. He has adapted Jose Saramago’s Blindness for the stage and also Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. He has written English language versions of Jon Fosse’s I Am the Wind; Odon Von Horvath’s Kasimir and Karoline (titled The Funfair); Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House; Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Threepenny Opera. He has presented four series of the Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast. His book “A Working Diary” is published by Methuen. Simon Stephens has been an Associate at the Royal Court, London and Steep, Chicago and a board member of Paines Plough. He has been an Associate Artist at the Lyric, Hammersmith, a Professor of Scriptwriting at Manchester Metropolitan University and an Associate Professor at the Danish National School of the Performing Arts, Copenhagen. 

 

About the Director

Steep Ensemble Member Robin Witt has been at the helm for many of Steep’s most successful UK imports, including Alistair McDowall’s Pomona and Brilliant Adventures; Penelope Skinner’s Linda; Cordelia Lynn’s Lela & Co.; Simon Stephens’ Wastwater, Motortown, Pornography, and Harper Regan; Dennis Kelly’s Love and Money; Jez Butterworth’s Parlour Song; and Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses. Her Harper Regan is still the best-selling show in Steep history and was named one of the Top Ten shows of 2010 by both the Chicago Tribune and Timeout Chicago; her Lela & Co was named one of the Tribune’s Top Ten Shows of 2017; and her Breathing Corpses was named one of TimeOut’s Top Ten Shows of 2008. In addition to directing numerous productions at Steep, Robin is also an ensemble member of Griffin Theatre Company where her credits include Ferber and Kaufman’s Stage Door, Terrence Rattigan’s Flare Path, Ena Lamont Stewart’s Men Should Weep, John Van Druten’s London Wall, and W. Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered. Witt received the 2015, 2016, and 2018 Jeff Awards for Best Director for Men Should Weep, London Wall, and Lela & Co and was nominated in 2014 for Flare Path and 2011 for Stage Door. She has worked at a variety of Chicago area theatres including Northlight, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Writers Theatre, A Red Orchid, and Artistic Home. She is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts (BFA) and Northwestern University (MFA). Robin is a Professor of Directing at UNC Charlotte.

 

About Steep Theatre

Founded in 2000 by three actors, Steep has grown into a dynamic ensemble of forty-five theatre artists, supported by a dedicated and inspired team of arts administrators and community members.  Described by Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune as "the most fearless theater in town," Steep creates powerful productions of plays by today's most exciting writers and features the work of Chicago's hottest theatre artists in an intimate, accessible space. Steep is known as a home for hard-hitting, finely tuned ensemble work. With each production, the company has shepherded a growing community of audiences and artists into bold new territories of story and performance. Steep Theatre is committed to creating an inclusive and anti-racist environment for making and watching theatre. To learn more, please visit https://steeptheatre.com/antiracism


CAST:

Debo Balogunˆ

Nate Faustˆ

August Forman (July 28 - August 14)

Susaan Jamshidi*

Ashlyn Lozano

Cindy Markerˆ

Stephanie Mattos

Peter Mooreˆ

Brandon Riveraˆ

Omer Abbas Salemˆ (July 8 - July 24)

Kendra Thulinˆ

 

CREATIVE TEAM

Director – Robin Wittˆ

Stage Manager – Lauren Lassusˆ

Scenic Designer – Sotirios Livaditis

Costume Designer – Alison Sipleˆˆ

Lighting Designers – Brandon Wardellˆ

Sound Designer – Daniel Etti-Williams

Composer & Music Director – Thomas Dixonˆ

Intimacy Choreographer - Micah Figueroa

Dialect Coach - Adam Goldstein

Production Manager – Catherine Allenˆ

Production Electrician – Haley Carr

Technical Director – Evan Sposato

Assistant Director –Lisa Harriman

Casting Director – Lucy Carapetyanˆ

Graphic Designer - Stu Kiesow

 

ˆ Steep Company Member

 ˆˆ Steep Artistic Associate

* Appearing through an Agreement between Steep Theatre and Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

 

World Premiere of Campaigns, Inc. Debuts August 3 – September 18, 2022 at TimeLine Theatre

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

WILL ALLAN’S 

CAMPAIGNS, INC., 

A WORLD PREMIERE, ELECTION SEASON COMEDY ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF “FAKE NEWS,” DEBUTS AUGUST 3 – SEPTEMBER 18, 2022 AT TIMELINE THEATRE

NICK BOWLING DIRECTS ALLAN’S HILARIOUS LOOK AT THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN THAT STYMIED UPTON SINCLAIR’S 1934 CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S RACE


Pictured (from top left): Campaigns, Inc. playwright Will Allan and director Nick Bowling. Tyler Meredith and Yuriy Sardarov star as Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker, the co-founders of Campaigns, Inc. The cast also includes TimeLine Company Members Anish Jethmalani and David Parkes and TimeLine Associate Artist Terry Hamilton, plus Jacqueline Grandt, Matt Mueller, and Mark Ulrich. 

TimeLine Theatre Company returns to its longtime home at 615 W. Wellington Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood for its 26th season opener, the world premiere of Campaigns, Inc.

Written by TimeLine Company Member Will Allan and directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, Campaigns, Inc. is a timely, fast-paced, and funny screwball comedy about the serious power that persuasion, deceit, and perception hold in the U.S. electoral system. 

Campaigns, Inc. is a hysterical and jaw-dropping inside look at the underbelly of politics through the lens of two of the undeniable founders of “fake news,” Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker. The year is 1934, and Baxter and Whitaker have just formed the first political consulting firm in U.S. history. Famous novelist Upton Sinclair is all but guaranteed to become the first Democratic governor of the state of California—until this young, unknown pair of consultants from the shadows of the challenger’s campaign attempt to take him down. As Republican nominee Frank Merriam and Sinclair battle it out in the spotlight—seeking endorsements from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and FDR—Baxter and Whitaker work behind-the-scenes to methodically construct one of the most spectacular, unbelievable, and star-studded political smear campaigns ever.

Campaigns, Inc. co-founders are played by Tyler Meredith (she/her), in her TimeLine debut as Leone Baxter, and Yuriy Sardarov (he/him) as Clem Whitaker. Chicago theatre fans will recall Sardarov performing in TimeLine’s memorable 2009 production of The History Boys before landing the role of Otis on NBC’s Chicago Fire.

The cast also features TimeLine Company Member Anish Jethmalani (he/him) as Upton Sinclair and David Parkes (he/him) as FDR/Louis B. Mayer/Douglas Fairbanks/others, and TimeLine Associate Artist Terry Hamilton (he/him) as Frank Merriam. Jacqueline Grandt (she/her) as Eleanor Roosevelt/Mary Pickford/others, Matt Mueller (he/him) as Charlie Chaplin, and Mark Ulrich (he/him) as George Hatfield complete the cast.

Campaigns, Inc. begins previews August 3, 2022. Press Night is Wednesday, August 10 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is August 11. Performances run through September 18 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. For tickets and information, visit timelinetheatre.com or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.


FAKE NEWS, LIES, AND PROPAGANDA:

BEHIND THE SCENES OF CAMPAIGNS, INC.

 Setting the Stage: CAMPAIGNS, INC.

"The number one thing? Vote. The number two thing? Come see my play." Watch playwright Will Allan set the stage for TimeLine Theatre's world premiere of Campaigns, Inc.

“Campaigns, Inc. is the story of America, or really, it’s the story of how screwed up our political system is,” said director Nick Bowling. “The true story of Baxter and Whitaker is the center of the play, but it is also about the right and left of America—the dirty dealings of politics that pushes those two groups further and further from each other. It’s about the power of winning and what people will do to achieve that.”

“I think my favorite response to this play is ‘wait … is that real?’ And while I have taken some dramatic liberties, a lot of it is very real. I also want people to laugh. The current political climate is so volatile that I wanted a play about politics that is fun to watch,” said playwright Will Allan. “Baxter and Whitaker are relatively unknown and they changed the game of politics forever, especially Leone Baxter, a woman being president of a company and accomplishing what she did in the 1930s, it is truly remarkable.” 

Campaigns, Inc. was developed through the same TimeLine Playwrights Collective that brought Tyla Abercrumbie’s break-out new play, Relentless, to its acclaimed world premiere run last season at TimeLine, followed by a transfer and extended sold-out run at Goodman Theatre.

TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective was launched in 2013 to support Chicago-based playwrights in residence and create new work centered on TimeLine’s mission of presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues. Campaigns, Inc. is now the third play developed through the Collective to receive a full production, after Relentless and Brett Neveu’s To Catch a Fish, which premiered at TimeLine in 2018.

TimeLine’s production team for Campaigns, Inc. includes Sydney Lynne (Scenic Designer, she/her), Sally Dolembo (Costume Designer, she/her), Jared Gooding (Lighting Designer, he/him), Forrest Gregor (Co-Sound Designer, he/him), Andrew Hansen (Co-Sound Designer, he/him), Rowen Doe (Properties Designer, they/them/), Anthony Churchill (Projections Designer, he/him), Katie Cordts (Co-Wig and Hair Designer she/her), Megan Pirtle (Co-Wig and Hair Designer and Associate Costume Designer, she/her), Sammi Grant (Dialect Director, she/her), Alka Nayyar (Associate Director, she/her), Maren Robinson (Dramaturg, she/her), and Miranda Anderson (Stage Manager, she/her).


CAMPAIGNS, INC. PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE/EVENTS

Previews of Campaigns, Inc. are Wednesday, August 3 through Friday, August 5 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, August 6 at 4 p.m.; Sunday, August 7 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, August 9 at 7:30 p.m. I'll be out for Press Night August 10th so check back soon after for my full review. 

Opening Night is Thursday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. Regular performances continue through September 18: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. Exceptions: No 4 p.m. performance Saturday August 13. Show time Sunday, August 21 is 4 p.m.


BUYING TICKETS

Single tickets to Campaigns, Inc. go on sale Wednesday, July 6 at timelinetheatre.com or by calling the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.

Preview tickets are $25. Single tickets to regular performances start at $42 (Wednesday through Friday), $49 (Saturday evenings) and $57 (Saturday and Sunday matinees). Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine is also a member of TCG’s Blue Star Theatre Program and is offering $25 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family.

Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Ticket buyers age 18-35 may join TimeLine’s free MyLine program to obtain access to discounted tickets, special events and more. Visit timelinetheatre.com/discounts for more about available discounts.


LOCATION/TRANSPORTATION/PARKING

Campaigns, Inc. will take place at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway, inside the former Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building, now Chabad East Lakeview.

TimeLine is served by multiple CTA trains and buses. There are multiple paid parking options nearby, plus limited free and metered street parking. Visit timelinetheatre.com for details and available discounts.


DISCUSSIONS, EVENTS, AND ACCESSIBILITY

TimeLine’s schedule of post-show discussions, pre-show discussions, a Company Member discussion, and Sunday Scholars panel discussion, plus accessibility services such as distanced performances, captioned performances, and an audio-described performance, are still to be announced. Event dates and details will be posted on TimeLine’s website at timelinetheatre.com once available.

TimeLine Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Two wheelchair lifts provide access from street level to the theatre space and to lower-level restrooms. Audience members using wheelchairs

or who need to avoid stairs, and others with special seating or accessibility needs should contact the TimeLine Box Office in advance to confirm arrangements.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Since returning to live performances in January 2022, TimeLine has been ensuring COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for audiences, artists, and staff. In general, protocols have required that patrons be masked and fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine in order to attend. These protocols are subject to change as the pandemic evolves. For current information about TimeLine’s COVID-19 safety protocols, visit timelinetheatre.com/health-and-safety.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

TimeLine’s 2022-23 subscription season includes two more riveting plays that link past, present and future: a landmark classic that recently enjoyed a Tony Award-nominated production on Broadway, and another exciting world premiere from a Los Angeles-based playwright new to Chicago.

Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, a scathingly funny backstage drama about interracial politics and the complex, difficult, and often emotional way people talk about race. Previews start November 2, 2022. Press Night is Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through December 18.

The world premiere of Boulevard of Bold Dreams by LaDarrion Williams, directed by Malkia Stampley, set on the night in 1940 that Hattie McDaniel made history at the Oscars, this is a story of dreamers striving to overcome considerable obstacles and fighting for recognition amidst the racism and inequity of Hollywood. Previews start February 1, 2023. Press Night is Wednesday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through March 19.

Save on tickets to TimeLine’s 2022-23 season with a 3-Admission FlexPass Subscription. Four different tiers, priced from $74.50 to $178, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit timelinetheatre.com .

All three 2022-23 productions will be presented at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. 

ABOUT TIMELINE THEATRE COMPANY

TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. Currently launching its 26th season, TimeLine has presented 84 productions, including 11 world premieres and 39 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, which brings the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 58 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.

The company has long been bursting at the seams of its current leased home located at 615 W. Wellington Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, where the theatre has been in residence since 1999. In December 2018, TimeLine announced the purchase of property at 5033-35 North Broadway in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood to be the site of its new home. Plans feature an intimate black box theatre seating up to 250 audience members, expanded area for the immersive lobby experiences that are a TimeLine hallmark, new opportunities for education and engagement, room to allow audience members to arrive early and stay late for theatergoing experiences that extend far beyond the stage, and more. TimeLine is working with HGA as architect for its new home project, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Executive Director Mica Cole, and Board President John Sterling. TimeLine Company members are Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Wardell Julius Clark, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, and Maren Robinson.

Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Arts Consulting Group, Bayless Family Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Forum Fund, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, National Endowment for the Arts, Polk Bros. Foundation, Pritzker Traubert Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, United States Small Business Administration, and Walder Foundation.

For more information, visit timelinetheatre.com or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@TimeLineTheatre).


BIOGRAPHIES

 



Will Allan (Playwright), a TimeLine Company Member and member of the 2017-18 Playwrights Collective, is a former Chicago-based actor and playwright who now resides in Los Angeles. His Chicago debut was as a member of the original cast of TimeLine's Chicago premiere of The History Boys (directed by Nick Bowling, Equity Jeff Awards—Production and Ensemble). Campaigns, Inc. is his first full-length play, and he is ecstatic that the place he got his start as an actor is the place he'll get his start as a professional playwright. During his decade in Chicago, he performed in numerous productions with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens, Remy Bumppo, Theater Wit, and more. Regionally, he has performed with Milwaukee Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Cardinal Stage, and The Human Race Theatre Company. His film and TV acting credits include Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Chicago Fire, Station 19, Chicago Justice, Runner, and the upcoming Netflix film Unfrosted: The Pop Tarts Story directed by Jerry Seinfeld. His first short film (as screenwriter, producer, and actor), Star Vehicle, will be making the festival rounds throughout 2022 and 2023. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Allan studied at Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia and earned his BA degree in Theatre Performance from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

Nick Bowling (Director) was the founding Artistic Director and is now Associate Artistic Director and a Company Member of TimeLine Theatre, where he has directed more than 30 productions. He is the recipient of eight Jeff Awards for Outstanding Direction (The History Boys, The Normal Heart, Fiorello!, This Happy Breed, and The Crucible at TimeLine, Ragtime at Marriott Theatre, Sondheim on Sondheim at Porchlight Music Theatre, and Another Part of the Forest at Eclipse Theatre) and also received Jeff Award nominations for Oslo, Blood and Gifts, The Farnsworth Invention, Hauptmann, and The Lion in Winter at TimeLine; Closer Than Ever at Porchlight Music Theatre; and City of Angels, The King and I, and Man of La Mancha at Marriott Theatre. Other recent credits at TimeLine include the Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers’ Oslo at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse, Master Class, The Audience, A Disappearing Number, The Last Wife, and Blood and Gifts. Other Chicago credits include Marriott’s The Sound of Music, Oliver!, and The Bridges of Madison County, Paramount's A Christmas Story, Northwestern University’s Guys and Dolls and Cabaret, Porchlight’s A Catered Affair, Writers Theatre's Bach at Leipzig, and Shattered Globe Theatre's Time of the Cuckoo and Frozen Assets.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Chicago Premiere Of LIFE AFTER At Goodman Theatre on stage now through July 17

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

LIFE AFTER 

BY PLAYWRIGHT/COMPOSER BRITTA JOHNSON

ON STAGE NOW IN ITS CHICAGO PREMIERE AT GOODMAN THEATRE

DIRECTED BY ANNIE TIPPE



***SUMMER’S MUST-SEE NEW MUSICAL APPEARS THROUGH JULY 17***

This production marks the third for Life After in five years—following its American debut at San Diego’s The Old Globe (2019) on the heels of an extended, multiple Dora Award-winning world-premiere with Toronto’s Musical Stage Company and Canadian Stage (2017). Samantha Williams (Broadway’s Caroline, Or Change and Dear Evan Hansen) leads the cast as teenaged Alice—a young woman who, in search of facts, uncovers a more complicated truth as she pieces together events of the fateful night that changed her family forever. Life After is on stage now through July 17. I'll be out for opening night, Wednesday, June 22, so check back soon for my full review. Tickets ($25 - $80, subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/LifeAfter or by phone at 312.443.3800. The Goodman is grateful for the support of JP Morgan Chase & Co. (Lead Corporate Sponsor) and Winston & Strawn LLP (Corporate Sponsor Partner).

A Toronto-based playwright/composer/lyricist, Johnson began writing Life After as a teenager, informed by her own experiences as a young person grappling with grief. With big humor and bittersweet wit, this “luminous new musical…lush, poetic and surprisingly funny” (The San Diego Union-Tribune) explores how we move through and live with loss. In addition to Samantha Williams (Alice), the cast of nine includes Ashley Pérez Flanagan (Fury), Lauryn Hobbs (Fury), Paul Alexander Nolan (Frank), Lucy Panush (Hannah), Bryonha Marie Parham (Beth), Jen Sese (Mrs. Hopkins), Skyler Volpe (Kate) and Chelsea Williams. The production features Choreography by Ann Yee and Music Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations by Lynne Shankel.

THE COMPANY OF Life After

Fury……………………Ashley Pérez Flanagan
Fury……………………Lauryn Hobbs
Frank…………………..Paul Alexander Nolan
Hannah………………..Lucy Panush
Beth…………………….Bryonha Marie Parham
Ms. Hopkins……….Jen Sese
Kate…………………….Skyler Volpe
Fury……………………Chelsea Williams
Alice………...............Samantha Williams

Understudies for this production include Ariana Burks (Alice/Kate); Alanna Chavez (Furies/Ms. Hopkins); Antoinette Comer (Beth); Ashley Pérez Flanagan (Second Ms. Hopkins); Lauryn Hobbs (Second Kate); Claire Kwon (Furies/Hannah); Stef Tovar (Frank); and Chelsea Williams (Second Hannah).

ENHANCED AND ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES

Visit Goodmantheatre.org/Access for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.

Touch Tour and Audio-Described Performance: Saturday, July 9, 12:30pm Touch Tour; 2pm performance – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset. NOTE: Touch Tours for the 2021/2022 Season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.

Sensory-Friendly/Relaxed Performance: Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30pm

ASL-Interpreted: Friday, July 15 at 8pm – An American Sign Language interpreter signs the action/text as played.

Spanish Subtitles: Saturday July 16 at 8pm.

Open-Captioned: Sunday, July 17 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.


ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE

Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement.

Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earner two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fifth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

Using the tools of the theatrical profession, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered free of charge for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s Action Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Access (IDEAA) was born out of the belief that progress means action, which includes building on the decades-long commitment to using art, assets and resources to contribute to a more just, equitable and anti-racist society.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation on the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Rebecca Gilman, Dael Orlandersmith, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor and Mary Zimmerman. Jeff Hesse is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Fran Del Boca is Women’s Board President and Craig McCaw is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Writers Theatre Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues: A Night with Felicia P. Fields June 23 – July 24, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Writers Theatre concludes its 2021/22 Season with the World Premiere musical event

Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues: 

A Night with Felicia P. Fields

created by Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson

directed by Ron OJ Parson

June 23 – July 24, 2022




Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy, concludes its 2021/22 Season with Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues: A Night with Felicia P. Fields.  The production runs June 23, 2022 – July 24, 2022 in the in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. I'll be out for the Press Opening July 1, so check back shortly for my full review.

Singing the Blues is what Tony Award nominee Felicia P. Fields was born to do, and she can’t wait to be back in front of a crowd with her band. This world premiere musical event—created by Fields and Ron OJ Parson, who collaborated on WT’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom—honors and celebrates the great Blues artists of the past, including Big Mama Thornton, Son House, Howlin’ Wolf and more! Grab your drink, take your seat and enjoy the riffs, rhythms and rapport of a star performer and her seasoned band of musicians as they do what they do best: swap stories, belt the Blues and put on one helluva show.

“To hear Felicia Fields sing the Blues is an experience you’ll never forget. With this original show, Felicia has personally picked a set list of classic Blues songs that tells a compelling story of this most American of music and how it has shaped her life. Collaborating with her friend, the magnificent Ron OJ Parson, and an accomplished band of musicians, Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues will be a cathartic and joyful concert celebration,” says Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy. “As August Wilson once wrote in his play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, ‘You sing ‘cause that’s a way of understanding life.’ I cannot wait to see Felicia Fields take the stage at Writers Theatre this summer, to hear her sing, and to understand more about life.”

The cast features Felicia P. Fields. They will be supported by a live band including Chic Street Man (Music Director/Guitar), Ricardo Jimenez (Horn & Harp), Frank Menzies (Keyboard), Harold Morrison (Drums), and Julie Poncé (Bass).

The creative team includes:  Jack Magaw (Scenic Designer), Rueben Echoles (Costume Designer), Jared Gooding (Lighting Designer), and Eric Backus (Sound Designer), and the stage manager is David Castellanos.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Tony nominee (The Color Purple) Felicia P. Fields is returning to Writers Theatre after appearing in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, also directed by Ron OJ Parson. Audience members frequently commented that they longed for Felicia to sing more in Ma Rainey, which inspired the creation of this production.

Felicia P. Fields (Performer/Co-Creator) earned a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in The Color Purple on Broadway and a 2006 Theatre World Award, two Broadway.com awards, an NAACP nomination and the award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Sophisticated Ladies. She previously appeared at Writers in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Northlight Theatre credits include she and E. Faye Butler’s revue of Let the Good Times Roll, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, and Low Down Dirty Blues. Other credits include: Marriott Theatre, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Theatre at the Center, Milwaukee Rep, The Broadway Playhouse and the Goodman Theatre. She has performed throughout the country in the musical Low Down Dirty Blues. Television/film credits include Slice with Chance the Rapper, Save the Last Dance, Who Gets the Dog, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Bad Judge (NBC), Sense8 (Netflix), Early Edition (CBS), The Knights of Prosperity (ABC) and many commercials/voice-overs to date. She is the recipient of a Clarence Dewitt Award, many Joseph Jefferson nominations and won the Jeff award for her performances in Sophisticated Ladies. Governor Quinn declared July 24th Felicia P. Fields Day.

Ron OJ Parson is enjoying a string of successful productions. His recent acclaimed work includes Court Theatre’s Two Trains Running and Relentless with TimeLine Theatre Company (also remounted at Goodman Theatre).

Ron OJ Parson (Director/Co-Creator) hails from Buffalo, New York and is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theatre program. He is a Resident Artist at Court Theatre, former co-founder and artistic director of the Onyx Theatre Ensemble, and co-founder of the Beyond the Stage Theatre Project. Ron is a company member of TimeLine Theatre, and associate artist at Writers Theatre and Teatro Vista. Court Theatre: Two Trains Running, Fences, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, and Jitney by August Wilson; The Mountaintop by Katori Hall; Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett; Sizwe Banzi is Dead by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona; Blues for an Alabama Sky and Flyin’ West by Pearl Cleage; Home by Samm-Art Williams; Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott; The First Breeze of Summer by Leslie Lee; and the musical Five Guys Named Moe. In Chicagoland, Ron has also worked with Black Ensemble Theatre, eta Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago Dramatists, Congo Square, Oak Park Theatre Festival, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Northlight, Chicago Dramatists, Urban Theater Company, Steppenwolf, and City Lit Theatre. Regional theatres include American Players Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Portland Stage (Maine), Studio Arena Theatre, Roundabout, Studio Theatre (DC), Baltimore Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Wilshire Theater, Coronet Theatre, The Mechanic Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Black Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Geva, Signature (New York), The Alliance Theatre, South Coast Rep, Kansas City Repertory, and Pasadena Playhouse. In Canada, Ron directed the world premiere of Palmer Park at the Stratford Festival. Ron is a member of SAG-AFTRA, SDC, and Actors Equity.

Felicia P. Fields and Chic Street Man performed across the country together in It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, seen locally at Northlight Theatre.

Chic Street Man (Music Director) has been a featured performer in the US, France and in other parts of Europe, including the Montreux, Paleo and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland, and the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva. He recorded his first album in Paris, and later landed in Santa Barbara, CA where he founded Chic Street Man's School of Performing Arts. Chic composed the music and starred in the off-Broadway hit show, Spunk, adapted by George C. Wolfe from three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston He was a contributing author, performer and musical arranger for the Denver Center Theater Company's It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues. He composed the score and was the featured performer in the Cleveland Playhouse's world premiere of Touch The Names--Letters to The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. He was the Arranger, Musical Director and Composer for the McCarter and Berkeley Repertory Theater’s production of Zora Neale Hurston’s Polk County, where he also won the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Musical Direction. Chic was Professor Slick in Pullman Porter Blues at the Seattle Rep, Arena Stage in DC and the Goodman Theater in Chicago. He starred in Low Down Dirty Blues at the Milwaukee Rep, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Arizona Theater Company and has appeared in the films Triple Bogey and Hangin' With The Home Boys. 

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2021/22 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s ninth consecutive year as season sponsor.

 

Dates: First performance: Thursday, June 23, 2022

Press opening: Friday, July 1, 2022 at 7:30pm

Closing performance: Sunday, July 24, 2022

 

Schedule:

Wednesdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm

 

Location: The 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 

 

COVID SAFETY POLICIES

Writers Theatre requires all seated patrons to wear a mask during performances. If you attend without a mask, Writers Theatre will provide one for you. Masks will be optional but strongly recommended in non-theatre spaces throughout the WT building, including the lobby and restrooms. Please visit https://www.writerstheatre.org/covid-safety for full details.

 

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:

WT offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit writerstheatre.org/accessibility for more information.

Writers Theatre is also 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 30th 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 an average 10,000 students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.

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