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

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Den Theatre Presents Comedian CAMERON ESPOSITO December 30 & 31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage

  ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

The Den Theatre Presents Comedian


December 30 & 31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage

Plus: Ring in 2023 at “The Den’s New Year’s Laughin’ Eve”

The Den Theatre is pleased to welcome back comedian Cameron Esposito, performing two stand-up shows December 30 & 31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 697-3830. Regular, mezzanine and VIP table seating available. Drink service is provided for all seats (two drink minimum).

Following Cameron’s December 31 performance, ring in 2023 at The Den’s New Year’s Laughin’ Eve, featuring additional comedy performances by Chicago favorites Lucia Whalen and Nate Armbruster, music from DJ Thee David Davis and a midnight toast with a surprise drag queen! Admission ($47 including fees) includes two cocktails and a midnight champagne toast! Purchase a ticket to Cameron’s NYE show and check your email confirmation for a code that unlocks a 50% discount on tickets to the party.

Cameron Esposito is an award-winning standup comic, actor, podcaster and bestselling author. Cameron most recently appeared in HBOMax's Moonshot and ABC's A Million Little Things. Cameron's new hour is about divorce, self-acceptance and butthole surgery.


Performance schedule:

Friday, December 30 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 31 at 8:30 pm (followed by The Den’s New Year’s Laughin’ Eve)


COVID safety: Effective November 21, 2022, The Den Theatre will no longer require patrons to offer proof of vaccination for COVID-19 to gain entry into the facility. For the most up-to-date information on our venue’s COVID precautions, please visit


About The Den Theatre

The Den Theatre opened in 2010 in the Wicker Park neighborhood with just a single theatre space. Now celebrating its thirteenth year, Co-owners Ryan Martin and Carol Cohen, along with their talented and dynamic staff, have developed The Den into a multi-level, live entertainment venue that boasts five intimate and unique theaters ranging from 50 – 300 seats. In addition, the first floor houses The Den Bar & Lounge – a full-service bar where audiences gather before and after performances to share a drink and commune with like-minded culture-hounds. Today, The Den is focused on providing world-class stand-up comedy and cultivating its first love – the theatre. The Den is home to six resident theatre companies including About Face Theatre, The Artistic Home, Broken Nose Theatre, First Floor Theater, Haven and The New Coordinates. Hundreds of other companies, artists and comedians from Chicago and beyond have called The Den home – from national names to local stars, and The Den consistently plays host to a lineup of exciting and diverse talent. As a building created for interdisciplinary arts, The Den has accommodated a wide variety of programming, including plays, musicals, stand-up comedy, improv, dance, film screenings, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit

Friday, November 25, 2022

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

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

World Premiere!

Hell in a Handbag Productions Presents


The Obligatory Holiday Special

By Artistic Director David Cerda

Directed by Spenser Davis

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

*Denotes Handbag Ensemble Member

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


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

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

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

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

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

About the Artists

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

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

About Hell in a Handbag Productions

Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit. For additional information, visit


Monday, October 10, 2022

Sam Shepard's Buried Child Via AstonRep Theatre Company October 21 – November 19, 2022 at The Edge Theater

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

AstonRep Theatre Company

Launches 15th Anniversary Season with


By Sam Shepard

Directed by Derek Bertelsen

October 21 – November 19, 2022 at The Edge Theater


AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to launch it 15th and final season with a revival of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Buried Child directed by Ensemble Member Derek Bertelsen*, playing October 21 – November 19, 2022 at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. in Chicago. Tickets are now on sale at or by calling (773) 828-9129. 

The production features Ensemble Members Rian Jairell* and Robert Tobin* with Stephanie Baires, Liz Cloud, Roberto Jay, Jim Morley and Jorge Salas. Understudies include Caleb Gibson, Maxwell Peters and Erica Romero.

Set in America’s heartland, Sam Shepard’s powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning play details, with shocking hilarity, the disintegration of the American Dream. When 22-year-old Vince unexpectedly shows up at the family farm with his girlfriend Shelly, no one recognizes him. So begins the unraveling of dark secrets. A surprisingly twisted look at disillusionment and morality, Shepard’s masterpiece is the family reunion no one anticipated. Winner of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

The production team includes Jeremiah Barr* (Scenic and Props Designer, Covid Safety Officer), Andrés Mota (Costume Designer), Samantha Barr* (Lighting Designer, Production Manager), Becca Venable (Sound Designer), Robert Tobin* (Fight Choreography), Bethany Hart (Vocal Coach), Anna Vu (Stage Manager) and Miguel Salgado (Asst. Stage Manager).

*Denotes AstonRep Company Members. 

COVID protocol: AstonRep is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable theatre-going experience. At this time, we will require patrons to wear a face mask during the performance. As guidance is rapidly evolving, so may our protocols, so please check our website for the most up to date information.

 Cast (in alphabetical order): Stephanie Baires (Shelly), Liz Cloud (Halie), Rian Jairell* (Bradley), Roberto Jay (Vince), Jim Morley (Dodge), Jorge Salas (Father Dewis) and Robert Tobin* (Tilden).

Understudies: Caleb Gibson, Maxwell Peters and Erica Romero.


Location: he Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago

Dates: Preview: Friday, October 21 at 7:30 pm

Press performance: Saturday, October 22 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, October 23 – Saturday, November 19, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews: $10; Regular run: $20. Student/seniors discounts available. Tickets are now on sale at or by calling (773) 828-9129.


About the Artists

Sam Shepard (Playwright) Eleven of Shepard’s plays have won Obie Awards including Chicago and Icarus’s Mother (1965), Red Cross and La Turista (1966), Forensic and the Navigators (1967), The Tooth of the Crime (1972), Action (1974) and Curse of the Starving Class (1976). Shepard was awarded a Pulitzer Prize as well as an Obie Award for his play Buried Child (1979). Fool for Love (1982) received the Obie for Best Play as well as for Direction. A Live of the Mind (1985) won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award in 1986 and the 1986 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play. As an actor he appeared in the films Days of Heaven, Resurrection, Raggedy Man, The Right Stuff, Frances, Country, Fool for Love, Crimes of the Heart, Baby Boom, Steel Magnolias, The Pelican Brief, Safe Passage, Hamlet and, most recently, Don’t Come Knocking”, also co-written with Wim Wenders. In 1986, Shepard was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1992, he received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy, and in 1994, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Mr. Shepard died in 2017.

Derek Bertelsen (Director) This season marks Derek’s 12th season with AstonRep and Buried Child is his twelfth production as a director or co-director. Other AstonRep credits as director include Doubt, Wit, Next Fall, The Leiutenant of Inishmore, The Lyons, The Laramie Project and Equus. Previously he was co-founder/Artistic Director of The Comrades (2016-2020). In addition to his work with these two companies, he’s worked with BrightSide Theatre, Pride Films & Plays (member and Artistic Associate from 2011-2015), GreatWorks, Arc Theatre and Bailiwick Chicago. He’s served as assistant director at Goodman and Steppenwolf Garage. Summer stock credits include Shawnee Summer Theatre in Bloomfield IN, Festival 56 in Princeton IL and five seasons at Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll IL.


About AstonRep Theatre Company

AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced numerous full-length productions, along with their annual Writer’s Series. They are currently in residence at The Edge Theater. AstonRep Theatre Company is an ensemble of artists committed to creating exciting, intimate theatrical experiences that go beyond the front door to challenge audiences and spark discussion where the show is not the end of the experience: it is just the beginning. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

World Premiere of Campaigns, Inc. Now Extended Through September 25, 2022 at TimeLine Theatre

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar





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.

Performances now extended through September 25th, due to popular demand, at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. For tickets and information, visit or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.



 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).


Regular performances continue through September 25: 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.


Single tickets to Campaigns, Inc. go on sale Wednesday, July 6 at 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 for more about available discounts.


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 for details and available discounts.


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 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.


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


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 .

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


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 or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@TimeLineTheatre).



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.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

OPENING: Miss Holmes Returns at Lifeline Theatre August 26–October 16th, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Lifeline Theatre Kicks Off 40th Anniversary Season with

Highly Anticipated 

Miss Holmes Returns

Performances with Open Captioning on September 17 and October 7

Performance with Touch Tour and Audio Description on October 2

The production runs approximately 2 hours with an intermission. The novel will be on sale in the lobby. 

Attached image caption: (L to R): Katie McLean Hainsworth as Sherlock Holmes and Mandy Walsh as Dr. Dorothy Watson; in Lifeline Theatre’s “Miss Holmes Returns.” Photography by Suzanne Plunkett

Lifeline Theatre presents Miss Holmes Returns, written by ensemble member Christopher M. Walsh and directed by Lifeline ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric.  Ensemble member Christopher M. Walsh, adaptor of 2016’s Miss Holmes, teams up with ensemble member Elise Kauzlaric (Northanger Abbey [2017 Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Work-Musical], Emma, A Wrinkle in Time) in a return to the Holmes universe with the next iteration of his invigorating update to one of literature’s favorite detectives.  Miss Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Dorothy Watson are back on the case! After a string of successes in assisting Scotland Yard, a seemingly clear-cut murder case finds itself at the detective’s feet. The powers that be know for certain the murderer was a young woman of immigrant heritage, but Holmes and Watson aren’t as sure. Can they find the truth before the authorities catch and convict their suspect? The game is afoot in this provocative Midwest premiere sequel to the hit play Miss Holmes, based on familiar characters from the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I'll be out for the press opening on September 4th, so check back shortly after for my full review.

Miss Holmes Returns runs August 26–October 16 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see below.) Opening night is Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Aug. 27 and Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug.28 at 2:30 p.m.).  Regular performance times (September 9 – October 16) are Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are $45 for regular single tickets, $25 for previews, $35 for seniors and active/retired military personnel (with ID), $15 for students (with ID), with group rates for 8 or more available upon request. Tickets may be purchased visiting or at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477. 

Accessible Performances: The Saturday, September 17, 2:30 p.m. performance and the Friday, October 7, 7:30 p.m. performances will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Sunday, October 2, 2:30 p.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 1:00 p.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact our Accessibility Coordinator at 773.761.4477 x703 or at

The complete cast and production team for Miss Holmes Returns includes:

CAST:  Lifeline ensemble members Katie McLean Hainsworth (Sherlock Holmes) & Chris Hainsworth (Mycroft Holmes/Dock Worker); with guest artists Linsey Falls (Inspector Geoffrey Lestrade), Tommy Malouf (Adam Worthington/Daniel Burke), Julie Partyka (Josephine Butler), Vinithra Rajagopalan (Priya Singh), Annie Slivinski (Mrs. Hudson/Mrs. Wiggins), Mandy Walsh (Dr. Dorothy Watson), & Hilary Williams (Olive McGann); with understudies Daniel Dauphin, Laura Fudacz, Alex Hultman, Jean Marie Koon, & Elise Soeder

PRODUCTION TEAM: Lifeline ensemble members Alan Donahue (Scenic & Properties Designer), Diane Fairchild (Lighting Designer), Elise Kauzlaric (Director & Dialect Coach), Maren Robinson (Dramaturg) & Christopher M. Walsh (Adaptor); with guest artists Amelia Ablan (Production Manager), Olivia Ash (Asst. Stage Manager/COVID Compliance Officer), Eric Backus (Sound Designer), Morgan Gire (Stage Manager), Christina Gorman (Violence Designer), Emily McConnell (Costume Designer), & Harrison Ornelas (Technical Director)

Celebrating its 40th season, Lifeline Theatre continues to explore, interpret, and reimagine books and other literary works to create stories that move us beyond the margins of our own lives. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close.

Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by The Bayless Family Foundation; Carol Oppenheim + Jerome Lamet Charitable Fund; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Rogers Park Social; The Saints; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

REVIEW: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the Musical Now Playing at Mercury Theater Through September 11, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Based on the film “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” by Stephan Elliot

Featuring legendary cabaret chanteuse Honey West as Bernadette

and Josh Houghton as Tick/Mitzi

Now Playing Through September 11, 2022


By Guest Critic Catherine Hellmann

Credit for All Production Photos, Brett Beiner Photography

“It’s raining men! Hallelujah!”  So opens this exuberant production. The audience was as stoked as the cast on opening night. After a crazy/frustrating couple years, delays, and  rumors that the historic Mercury Theater was closing, Priscilla was finally here! Hallelujah, indeed. 

“Hey, I know a lot of these songs!” declared my excited, easygoing sister. Of all the theater I have been dragging her to (like 3-5 shows a week), Teresa proclaimed this fun musical was one of her favorites. It is a crowd-pleaser with a very familiar score, such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” and “Shake Your Groove Thing.” The rendition of the absurd “MacArthur Park” of the “cake left out in the rain” is an absolute hoot. 

I was excited to finally see the famous Honey West perform; she is perfect as the mature drag queen, Bernadette. Josh Houghton is wonderful as Tick/Mitzi. And Shaun White as Adam/Felicia is hilarious and bitchy; his lip-synch of “Sempre Libre” from Verdi’s opera La traviata is a highlight with his facial expressions and gestures. (Boy, I hate when drag queens have better legs than I do…) The three “divas” who act as a chorus are also standouts, especially Jessica Brooke Seals’ vocals. (“How do they change their costumes so fast?” my sis marveled.) Ayana Strutz has a dance number that made the audience gasp at her astounding flexibility! 

“Priscilla” is actually the name of the RV which the trio of drag queens take on their long journey. The scenic design by Jonathan Berg-Einhorn is truly inspired. The small stage of Mercury is limited, but the pink RV divided into decorated parts is clever and imaginative. How do you find an RV full of drag queens? “Follow the glitter.” 

The costumes by Robert Kuhn must be mentioned. (Ensembles in the audience made for great people-watching as well.) No diva worth her high heels can be complete without fabulous gowns. One of Mitzi’s dresses is covered in flip flops, which was my favorite. And the wigs by Keith Ryan are also inventive and fun.

Although this is an amusing and outrageous show, there are poignant moments and a strong message of acceptance. One of the drag queens asks why do they put up with insults and abuse every night? “So we feel like real women?” Hmmm…they get it. And there are also unabashed examples of prejudice and gay bashing in the show which remind us of the courage required to be so open about their “True Colors.” 

So, hobble on your stilettos and drape those feather boas and head out to catch “Priscilla.” You won’t want to miss this wild ride.

Catherine Hellmann is an educator, mom of educators, and theater junkie. She also loves reading and Chicago. And reading about Chicago. 

Mercury Theater Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Kristi J. Martens and Executive Producers Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon announce the cast and creative team for the much-anticipated production of the summer, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The musical features a book by Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott and is based on the film “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” by Stephan Elliot. This production is directed and choreographed by Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, with music direction by Executive Producer Eugene Dizon. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert runs July 15 – September 11, 2022 at Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue. 

The cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert is led by legendary cabaret chanteuse Honey West as Bernadette and Josh Houghton as Tick/Mitzi and features Heather J. Beck (Diva, US Marion, US Shirley), Lydia Burke (Diva, US Cynthia, US Miss Understanding), John Cardone (Ensemble, US Bernadette), Marcus Jackson (Jimmy, Frank, Ensemble, US Bob, Dance Captain), Brittany D. Parker (Marion, Shirley, Ensemble, US Diva), Darren Patin (Miss Understanding, Ensemble, US Adam/Felicia), Jason Richards (Bob, Ensemble), Jessica Brooke Seals (Diva), Gabriel Solis (Benji), and Ayana Strutz (Cynthia, Ensemble), Shaun White (Adam/Felicia) and Matthew Weidenbener (Young Bernadette). 

The creative team for Priscilla Queen of the Desert includes Christopher Chase Carter (director/choreographer), Eugene Dizon (music director), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (scenic and props designer), Bob Kuhn (costume designer), Carl Wahlstrom (sound designer), Max Maxim (video designer), Rachel West (lighting supervisor), Will Hughes (scenic supervisor), Kathy Logelin (dialect director) and Keely Vasquez (casting associate). The production stage manager is Kristi J. Martens and the assistant stage manager is Katie-Sarah Phillips.

Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla is the heartwarming, uplifting adventure of a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio who take their show to the middle of the Australian outback. They hop aboard a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla) searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they ever imagined. With a hit parade of dance floor favorites including “It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," "Hot Stuff," "Boogie Wonderland," "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," and "I Love The Nightlife" this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of fabulous!

Tickets for Priscilla Queen of the Desert, priced $39-$85, are on sale now at the box office, 3745 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago,

More About Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Book by: Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott

Based on the film “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” by Stephan Elliot

Directed and Choreographed by: Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter

Music Direction by: Executive Producer Eugene Dizon

Featuring: Honey West (Bernadette) and Josh Houghton (Tick/Mitzi), as well as Heather J. Beck (Diva, US Marion, US Shirley), Lydia Burke (Diva, US Cynthia, US Miss Understanding), John Cardone (Ensemble, US Bernadette), Daniel Hurst (Young Bernadette, Ensemble, US Tick/Mitzi), Marcus Jackson (Jimmy, Frank, Ensemble, US Bob, Dance Captain), Brittany D. Parker (Marion, Shirley, Ensemble, US Diva), Darren Patin (Miss Understanding, Ensemble, US Adam/Felicia), Jason Richards (Bob, Ensemble), Jessica Brooke Seals (Diva), Gabriel Solis (Benji), and Ayana Strutz (Cynthia, Ensemble). Casting for the role of Adam/Felicia will be announced at a later date.

Creative Team: Christopher Chase Carter (director/choreographer), Eugene Dizon (music director), Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (scenic and props designer), Bob Kuhn (costume designer), Carl Wahlstrom (sound designer), Max Maxim (video designer), Rachel West (lighting supervisor), Will Hughes (scenic supervisor), Kathy Logelin (dialect director) and Keely Vasquez (casting associate). The production stage manager is Kristi J. Martens and the assistant stage manager is Daniel J. Hanson.

Dates: July 15 – September 11, 2022


Wednesdays: 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.

Fridays: 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays: 2 p.m.

Location: Mercury Theater Chicago

3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago

Tickets: $39 – $85

Box Office: 3745 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago

COVID PROTOCOL: Mercury Theater Chicago follows the CDC and State of Illinois recommendations about maintaining a COVID safe environment. Any interaction with the public poses an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. By visiting Mercury Theater Chicago, it is understood that everyone voluntarily assumes all risks related to exposure.

All patrons will have to wear a mask throughout the performance when not actively eating or drinking regardless of vaccination status.

About Mercury Theater Chicago

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is in the heart of the Southport Corridor at 3745 North Southport Avenue, within a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful destination, Mercury Theater Chicago is a live-theater seating 280 people, adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (seating 80). 

The building that houses the Mercury opened in 1912 as a silent film nickelodeon, named The Blaine Theatre after actor and former Senator and Secretary of State James G. Blaine. The Blaine became obsolete when talking pictures became popular nationwide in 1928. The building served a variety of uses until 1994, when it was purchased by theater producer Michael Cullen and transformed into a live theatre, named the Mercury Theatre.

In 2010 the building was sold again and reopened as Mercury Theater Chicago under the direction of Walter Stearns, a veteran theater director and producer. Mercury Theater Chicago's second performance space, Venus Cabaret Theater, offers a unique intimate theatrical experience complemented by specialty cocktails. Mercury Theater Chicago is thrilled to be part of the city's vibrant theatre community, boasting record-setting long runs, employing hundreds of artists and recognized with dozens of award nominations. Mercury Theater Chicago's team includes Christopher Chase Carter (Artistic Director), Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon (Executive Producers), Kristi J. Martens (Managing Director) and Honey West (Cabaret Director). Visit

Monday, July 18, 2022

REVIEW: Steep Summer Shows Continue with Stephens’ Light Falls at Theater Wit Through Aug 14, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

US Premiere of 

Light Falls

By Simon Stephens

Directed by Robin Witt

Now Playing Through Aug 14, 2022 

Guest Review

by Flo Manolis 

Steep Theater's US Premiere production of Tony Award-winning playwright, Simon Stephens' Light Falls validates the quality of the ensemble we have come to applaud. It was a pleasure to meet the playwright on opening night. This show marks Stephens' fifth production with Steep, 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. Simon Stephens remains Steep's Associate Playwright.

All Production Photos by Randall Starr

On opening night, the audience entered the theater to a compelling, multilayered, compartmentalized, stage by set designer, Sotirios Levaditis. Various heavy furniture pieces like a china cabinet and desk were elevated on the walls, with a piano to the left and music sheets suspended on the ceiling, mirroring the weightiness of the action about to occur. 

As the lights dim, a woman, Christine (Kendra Thulin) enters in a blue overcoat and holds our attention with her pensive monologue at the moment she dies. Intricate details pull the audience into this story about family, guilt, love, and death, intertwining five relatives, scattered across the north of England. 
Like an illusion, it rains in the entire country, in spite of a clear blue sky, as she takes her last breath! An impressive vision that mesmerized in wonder…

The characters struggle with their own issues. Jess (Stephane Mattos) needs reassurance as she and Michael (Nate Faust) try to establish their relationship. Bernard (Peter Moore), Christine’s husband,  flirts with two women, Emma (Tina El Gama) and Michaela (Cindy Marker). Steven (Brandon Rivera) is insecure and argues with his lover, Andy (Omer Abbas Salem). 

Ashe (Ashlyn Lozano) a single mom, turns Joe (Debo Balogun) away because he suggests their child to live with his family. Ashe is distraught when she sees her mother Christine, who tells her that it gets easier, leading her to ask Christine if she’s really there or if is she a ghost.

By close of the show, the family gathers for her funeral. Ashe appears wearing her mother’s blue coat, and the family sings “Hymn of the North” for a riveting ending.

OUTSTANDING!! Highly recommended!!

Flo Manolis is a CPS elementary teacher/librarian, hairdresser, and theater/film fanatic who catches hundreds of Chicago shows annually. She volunteers at numerous film venues and theaters.

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.

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.



Theater Wit

1229 West Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60657



July 8 – August 14, 2022

Previews: July 2-7, 2022

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



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 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: 

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


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



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

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


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: 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 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 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 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, send email to, 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

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