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, March 2, 2023

INCOMING: Nathan Graham, The Pinkerton Raid and Nicholas Johnson at SPACE March 6, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Nathan Graham, The Pinkerton Raid and Nicholas Johnson at SPACE next Monday, March 6: 


Evanston, IL // Doors: 6pm | Show: 7pm // Tickets: $12 - $20

The Pinkerton Raid is "a towering forest of indie rock with a timbre of folk that shadows Langhorne Slim, Cold War Kids and The Killers," says THE SPILL.

The Pinkerton Raid PinkertonRaid
Photo Credit: Kendall Bailey 

2022’s THE HIGHWAY MOVES THE WORLD begins two decades ago in band leader Jesse James DeConto’s childhood basement, where he learned The Beatles and first turned a songwriter’s eye on his own rich and complicated family life. "Radiant," says AMERICAN SONGWRITER. 

"Poignant," claims ROLLING STONE. "Anthemic," according to AMERICANA-UK.

Since the lockdowns, DeConto is back on the road with a totally new Pinkerton Raid lineup but, as always, they are a gang of friends with a full-band sound.

The Highway Moves the World: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The Chicago Premiere of Is God Is Via A Red Orchid TheatreApril 6 – May 28, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar






 April 6 – May 28, 2023

A Red Orchid Theatre presents the Chicago Premiere of Is God Is by Aleshea Harris, directed by Marti Gobel. Is God Is runs April 6 – May 28, 2023 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells in Chicago. The press performances are scheduled for Saturday, April 15 at 3:00pm and 7:30pm. Single tickets for Is God Is will go on sale on Monday, March 6 at

When twins Racine and Anaia receive a letter from the mother they thought was dead, they swear to avenge her — and themselves — with blood. Their “mission from God” spans from the Dirty South to the California desert, from hip-hop to Afropunk, from ancient tragedy to the Spaghetti Western. Winner of the 2016 Relentless Award and the 2018 Obie Award for Playwriting, Is God Is asks us to consider the roots and futility of cyclical violence, and to question ourselves for wallowing so happily in stories that traffic in it.


Previews: April 6 – 14, 2023

Press Performances: Saturday, April 15 at 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Opening: Sunday, April 16, 2023

Regular Run: April 20 – May 28, 2023



Thursdays:     7:30 p.m.

Fridays:          7:30 p.m. 

Saturdays:      3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  

Sundays:        3:00 p.m.  


Location: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St.

Tickets: $15-$25 previews, $30-$40 regular run. ($30 Thurs, $35 Fri & Sat Matinee, $40 Sat evening & Sun matinee) 

Box Office: Located at 1531 N. Wells St., Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online


Ticket Information

FLASHPASS subscribers enjoy ticket flexibility and exchanges, additional ticket discounts, and reserved seating. The Two-show FLASHPASS is $70 and includes one ticket to each of the 2 shows in our 30th Season, excluding Opening Night.  The Preview FLASHPASS is $50 and includes one ticket to a preview performance of each of the 2 shows in our 30th season. 

FLASHPASSES and individual tickets may be purchased online at 

A Red Orchid Theatre remains grateful for the support of our board, donors, and loyal audience who continue to champion our ambitious and powerful storytelling. And we welcome you to join our Red League, Founders Circle, or Orchid Visionary members. These philanthropic leaders foster the development of raw and relevant work: creating a platform for our talented Ensemble to reach new audiences, and ensuring that we remain a source for honest, compassionate, and aesthetically rigorous theatre. To learn more, please contact Individual Giving Coordinator Stephanie Shum at or 312-943-8722.


COVID-19 Policies

A Red Orchid will no longer check vaccination status for entry. We do follow the community masking guidelines recommended by Chicago Department of Public Health and CDC Community Risk Levels as outlined below (

When Community Risk Level is HIGH (Red)- high quality masks required indoors and in large groups.

When Community Risk Level is MEDIUM (yellow) - Masks are strongly recommended indoors and in large groups. If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk, consider wearing a mask at indoor public settings where vaccination status is unknown.

When Community Risk Level is LOW (green)- masks are optional. If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk, consider wearing a mask at indoor public settings where vaccination status is unknown.

These policies are subject to change based on guidance provided by the CDC, as well as local and state public health authorities. A Red Orchid is grateful for our community’s cooperation in keeping our audiences, artists, and employees safe.


About A Red Orchid

A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored with a 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 30 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, playwrights, and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories.  

A Red Orchid Theatre is: Karen Aldridge, Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Myron Elliott-Cisneros, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Levi Holloway, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Travis A. Knight, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Sadieh Rifai, Grant Sabin, Steve Schine, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers, and Natalie West.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

THE MOUNTAINTOP Via Invictus Theatre Company February 16-19 Through March 19, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Katori Hall’s 


Directed by Aaron Reese Boseman

Reginald Vaughn Theater, 1106 W. Thorndale, Chicago

Katori Hall’s THE MOUNTAINTOP is a fictional play that vividly reimagines the final night of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., before his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Aaron Reese Boseman (director of Invictus’s 2020 production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN) will direct the two-hander. His cast will include Mikha’el Amin (previously known as Michael Lewis, and seen at Invictus as Marc Antony in JULIUS CAESAR, Laertes in HAMLET, and Walter Lee Younger in A RAISIN IN THE SUN) as Dr. King, and Ny’ajai Ellison (Ruth Younger in Invictus’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN) as Camae, a mysterious and beautiful maid who delivers a room service order to him in room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Understudies are Brandon Boler as Dr. King; and Delysa Richards and Monique Marshaun as Camae. THE MOUNTAINTOP will be performed in the company’s Reginald Vaughn Theater at 1106 W. Thorndale Avenue, in Edgewater. I'll be out for the press opening February 20th so check back soon for my full review. Following previews from February 16-19. It will play through March 19, 2023.

Top row left-right: Mikha'el Amin, Ny'ajai Ellison.

Lower row left-right: Brandon Boler, Monique Marshaun, Delysa Richards.

In the evening after Dr. King has delivered his sermon, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,”  King comes into contact with Camae, who delivers his room service order and strikes King's attention immediately. The beginning interactions between the two are filled with flirtation and humor, but through the night their conversation slowly progresses to something much deeper, forming a connection and understanding between the two. The conversation focuses on the fight for civil rights and reaches the climax when Camae reveals her true intentions for walking into King's motel room that night.

THE MOUNTAINTOP premiered at Theatre503 in London in 2009, then transferred to the West End, where it won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010. It later opened on Broadway in October 2011 to critical acclaim in a production starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. THE MOUNTAINTOP will be produced at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles from June 6 – July 9, 2023.

The production team for THE MOUNTAINTOP, in addition to Boseman as director, will include Kevin Rolfs (Set Designer), Ivy Treccani (Props Designer), Marquecia Jordan (Costume Designer/Wardrobe Supervisor), Warren Levon (Sound Designer), Michael N.J. Wright (Lighting Designer), Jay Donley (Fight/Intimacy Designer), Susan Gosdick (Dialect Coach), DJ Douglass (Projectionist), Todd Henry Faulstich (Production Manager), Donica Lynn (Assistant Director), Gabrielle Rooney (Stage Manager), and Charles Askenaizer (Artistic Director). Steve Nordmark is Box Office/Front of House Manager.

As the second play in Invictus’s season exploring the theme “Rhetoric and Groups,” Boseman is “excited to analyze the humanity and strip away the iconography of a beloved giant in an extraordinary circumstance.”

Invictus Theatre Company has, over its six-year history, built a reputation for intimate and honest interpretations of classics with fidelity to the original texts and close attention to character development. Invictus opened its 2022-23 season with JULIUS CAESAR, which Angela Allyn of CHICAGO STAGE AND SCREEN called “shattering and absolutely current.”

The company’s extraordinarily successful 2021-22 season included Askenaizer’s direction of HAMLET, which Albert Williams of the CHICAGO READER called “storefront Shakespeare at its best.” The Jeff Award recommended RUINED, directed by Ebby Offord, was described by NEW CITY’s Ted Fishman as “a treasure to hold on to.” Kathy Hey of THIRD COAST REVIEW said Askenaizer’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (also Jeff Recommended) was “raw, tragic, and unforgettable.”

Tickets for THE MOUNTAINTOP are available now at The production is partially sponsored by The Michael and Mona Heath Fund, The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Saints, the Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and The MacArthur Funds for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

February 16 – March 19, 2023

Previews: February 16 – 19, 2023.

Press Opening: February 20, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. 

Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 7:00 p.m., Sundays 3:00 p.m.

Reginald Vaughn Theater, 1106 W. Thorndale, Chicago

Ticket prices: Previews $25. Regular run: General admission $35, students (with valid student ID) and seniors $30.

A gripping reimagination of events the night before the assassination of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 3, 1968, after delivering one of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside. When a mysterious stranger arrives with some surprising news, King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy to his people.

Invictus Theatre company is honored to have received 13 nominations in the 2023 Non-Equity Jeff Awards, announced on January 31.

Our Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Ruined were both nominated for outstanding production of a play, director of a play, performances by performers in principal roles of a play, performers in supporting roles of a play, and scenic design. Virginia Woolf was also nominated for Ensemble of a Play.

If you haven't yet seen Invictus Theatre Company in action, here's your chance to check out the work of this rising young company.


Aaron Reese Boseman (Director) is a Chicago native and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Direction and Acting. He directed Invictus’s acclaimed 2020 production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN and is a Jeff Award nominated actor, Black Excellence Award and Black Theatre Alliance Award nominated director and designer. Boseman, an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, is also co-founder and artistic director of Pulse Theatre Chicago.

Directing credits include IN THE BLOOD, THE COLORED MUSEUM, FABULATION, OR THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE, and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE.  THE TIGER WHO WORE WHITE GLOVES (eta Creative Arts Foundation), THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, S'KIN, THE PHILADELPHIA (Columbia College Chicago), AMERICAN SON (Ghostlight Theatre), NT. WRTH: MIXTAPE VOLUME I, Film Series, and upcoming DETROIT '67 (Columbia College Chicago-Mainstage).

Selected regional acting credits include BLUE HEAVEN (Black Ensemble Theater), BIG RIVER (TATC), SHREK THE MUSICAL (Windy City Performs), IN THE HEIGHTS (The Miracle Center, SLATE), VIOLET, BALM IN GILEAD (Griffin Theatre and Loyola University), GOLDEN BOY, DO RE MI (Porchlight Music Theatre), RENT (CCC), and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Skylight Music Theatre and Citadel Theatre).

Katori Hall (Playwright) is a Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award-winning playwright and television creator/producer hailing from Memphis, Tennessee. A two-time Tony Award nominee, she won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, THE HOT WING KING, which she will soon direct for the first time at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in early 2023. She is currently the showrunner and Executive Producer of the Starz drama series, P-VALLEY, which she adapted from her stage play PUSSY VALLEY. The critically acclaimed and record-breaking series returned for its second season on June 3, 2022.

For Broadway, she most recently wrote and produced the hit musical, TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, based on the life of the iconic performer, receiving two Tony Award nominations for her work as both playwright for ‘Best Book of a Musical’ and as producer in the ‘Best Musical’ category. For the musical’s acclaimed West End production, she also received an Olivier nomination for ‘Best New Musical.’

Charles Askenaizer (Artistic Director) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Theatre and Communications. He has worked professionally in Chicago as an actor, director, and teacher for over 10 years. Recent directing credits for Invictus Theatre include JULIUS CAESAR, HAMLET, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF (Jeff Recommended), THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, and OTHELLO: THE MOOR OF VENICE. Additional credits include readings with Chicago Dramatists, 'NIGHT, MOTHER (Associate Director-Invictus Theatre), TITUS ANDRONICUS (Bare Knuckles Theater), JULIUS CAESAR (Associate Director- Brown Paper Box), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Reutan Collective), and THE DIFFERENCE (Reading-Piccolo Theatre). Charles has worked with Citadel Theatre, Teatro Vista, the Artistic Home, City Lit, Raven, Brown Paper Box, Chicago Dramatists, the Side Project and many more.



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

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

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Chicago Premiere of Last Night and the Night Before Via Steppenwolf April 6 – May 14, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
Chicago premiere of Donnetta Lavinia Grays’ 
Last Night and the Night Before
 at Steppenwolf Theatre April 6 – May 14, 2023

PHOTO CREDIT: The cast of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of Last Night and the Night Before includes (top, l to r) ensemble member Namir Smallwood with Ayanna Bria Bakari and Sydney Charles (bottom, l to r), Aliyana Hamood, Kylah Renee Jones and Jessica Dean Turner.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the nation’s premier ensemble theater company, is pleased to continue its 47th season with the Chicago premiere of Donnetta Lavinia Grays’ Last Night and the Night Before, a powerful, poetic exploration of what it takes to create a future from a past you long to forget. Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, Last Night and the Night Before will play April 6 – May 14, 2023 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. I'll be out for the press opening, April 16th, so check back soon for my full review.

Last Night and the Night Before will feature ensemble member Namir Smallwood with Ayanna Bria Bakari, Sydney Charles, Aliyana Hamood, Kylah Renee Jones and Jessica Dean Turner.

Monique is on the run. From what, she will not say. Showing up on the doorstep of her sister’s Brooklyn brownstone with her timid daughter Sam – and without her husband – their arrival raises more questions than it answers. As the specter of their abandoned life in Georgia creeps back into focus, the family is forced to consider what must be sacrificed to break a cycle of despair. Poetic and heartbreaking, Donnetta Lavinia Grays’ stunning portrait of Black Love explores what it takes to nurture family in an often-cruel world. 

Single tickets for Last Night and the Night Before starting at $20 are now on sale at and the Box Office at (312) 335-1650.

Steppenwolf 2022-23 Flex Memberships are currently on sale: Black Card Memberships with six tickets for use any time for any production, and Red Card Memberships for theatergoers under 30.  

The creative team includes Regina García (Scenic Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design) Mary Louise Geiger (Lighting Design), Larry Fowler (Sound Design), Kirsten Baity (Intimacy Choreographer), Gigi Buffington (Company Voice & Text Coach), Tom Pearl (Producing Director), JC Clementz, CSA (Casting Director), Laura D. Glenn (Production Stage Manager) and Jaclynn Joslin (Assistant Stage Manager). For full cast and creative team bios, visit


Artist Biographies:

Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Playwright) is the author of Where We Stand (Lucille Lortel, Drama League, and AUDELCO award nominee), Last Night and the Night Before, Warriors Don’t Cry, Laid to Rest and The Review or How to Eat Your Opposition. She is the recipient of The Whiting Award for Drama, Helen Merrill Playwright Award, The National Theater Conference’s Stavis Playwright Award, Lilly Award, Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award and the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. For television, she has staffed on Spectrum’s Manhunt, FX’s Y: The Last Man and served as Executive Story Editor on Joe Vs. Carole for Peacock. Broadway acting credits include The Skin of Our Teeth, In The Next Room, or the vibrator play and Well. Off-Broadway: Where We Stand (WP Theater/Baltimore Centerstage), Men on Boats (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb) O, Earth (The Foundry Theatre), In the Footprint (The Civilians, as an Associate Artist) and Shipwrecked! An Entertainment (Primary Stages). Film: The Book of Henry, Wild Canaries, The English Teacher and The Wrestler. TV: Recurring roles on New Amsterdam, Happy, Rubicon, Mercy and Law and Order: SVU. And guest starring roles on High Maintenance, The Night Of, Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, A Gifted Man, Law & Order, Law & Order: CI and The Sopranos.

Valerie Curtis-Newton (Director) is currently Head of Directing at the University of Washington School of Drama and serves as the Founding Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, a professional African American theatre lab. She has worked with professional theatres across the country including: The Guthrie Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Seattle Rep, Playmakers Repertory Company, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, New York Theatre Workshop and Southern Repertory Theatre, among others. Awards: 2020: Seattle Times Most Influential People of the Last Decade; 2019: Theatre Puget Sound - Gregory Falls Award for Sustained Achievement; 2016: Seattle Times Footlight Award (Best in Show); 2014: Stranger Genius Awards in Performance and the Crosscut Courage Award for Culture; 2012: Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Direction; 2001: Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s (SDCF) Gielgud Directing Fellowship; 1997-1999: NEA/TCG Career Development Fellowship for Directors.


The Expanded Steppenwolf Campus

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s trailblazing new 50,000 square foot theater building and education center, the Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, was designed by world-renowned architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, with construction by Norcon. The centerpiece of the new Arts and Education Center is the new 400-seat in-the-round Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell—one of its kind in Chicago—with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue.

The expanded Steppenwolf campus is a cultural nexus for Chicago, offering bold and ambitious opportunities for creative expression, social exchange, unparalleled accessibility, and arts-driven learning for Chicago youth in The Loft, Steppenwolf’s first-ever dedicated education space. The campus expansion also features bright new lobbies and two new full-service bars for socializing designed by fc STUDIO, inc. The $54 million new building is part of Steppenwolf’s multi-phase $73 million Building on Excellence expansion campaign. Learn more about Steppenwolf’s campus expansion at

A Safe Return

As the Chicago theatre community continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Steppenwolf Theatre remains committed to the safety of its patrons and staff. For the most up-to-date information on our venue’s COVID precautions, please visit


Steppenwolf offers accessible services to ensure all audience members have access to our work, including American Sign Language interpretation, Spanish Language captions, wheelchair accessible seating and more. With questions, email

Sponsor Information 

Last Night and the Night Before is supported in part by Conagra Brands Foundation. United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is also grateful for the significant season support from Northern Trust, Allstate Insurance Company, Amazon, ComEd, JPMorgan Chase, PNC and Vinci Restaurant. Steppenwolf also acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America’s ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church—today Steppenwolf is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with 49 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards—have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season; a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season; LookOut, a multi-genre performance series; and the Steppenwolf NOW virtual stage. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. 2021 marked the opening of Steppenwolf’s landmark Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts & Education Center—deepening the company’s commitment to Chicagoland teens and serving as a cultural nexus for Chicago. Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis are the Artistic Directors and E. Brooke Flanagan is Executive Director. Keating Crown is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.

Steppenwolf’s Mission: Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.,, and        


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

LiV Warfield One Night Only on Tuesday, February 7th at 7:30 p.m. at Cabaret ZaZou

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar





LiV Warfield is a woman who cannot be defined. Not by label. Not by genre. And not by any terms.

The critically acclaimed, electrifying singer will be performing for one night only on Tuesday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Cabaret ZaZou, located on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop (32 W. Randolph Street).

Women change and grow, but at their core is their unadulterated truth. At the core of LiV Warfield is Olivia! Raw. Unfiltered. Unapologetic. An aware empath. A true Cancer. Fierce and loyal. Sensitive and sensual.

She has shown the world her softer side with “Embrace Me.” She has shown the world her dynamic side with the “Unexpected.” She has given a taste to the world of that fortifying LiV Warfield power, that can only fully be experienced at her shows, with the Live at Café Wha? album.

In Fall 2023, she will invite the world to witness her third studio album and in February 2023, “Bloom,” her new single from the upcoming album, will drop! “Bloom,” is a song about the moment you realize you’ve been growing within the cracks of the concrete, broken but you’ve managed to make it through.

To celebrate the occasion, LiV is bringing, for one night only, her very own show to Cabaret ZaZou on February 7 at 7:30 p.m.! Her band is made up of music royalty and up and coming all stars: Ryan Waters (guitar), Justin “Jaymck” McKinney (Bass), and Marlon Patton (Drums); featuring Chicago’s own Nashon Holloway (acoustic), and Seattle’s DJ Nine.

LiV’s style has been described as “alternative soul with a li’l bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In 2014, LiV released her sophomore album, co-executive produced by Prince, titled The Unexpected. LiV caught the eye of Prince in 2006 with her self-release of “Embrace Me,” and joined his group, The New Power Generation (NPG). For LiV’s The Unexpected album, she received a 2014 Soul Train Music Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Artist with two additional Soul Train nominations (Best New Artist and Best Independent R&B/Soul Performance); and a BET Best New Artist Award nomination.

LiV collaborated with Questlove, Black Thought, and Ray Angry of The Roots in last year’s release of “#Toyland.” She had showstopper performances with both Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman in 2015. In 2020, she joined forces with Nuno Bettencourt, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Taylor Hawkins, and Derek Frank in a viral cover of “Barracuda.” No matter the format, LiV consistently captivates audiences, which is what she is currently doing as a cast member of CABARET ZAZOU’s variety show where she electrifies the production with her vocal skills and aerial artistry.

Prepare to meet LiV Warfield at her truth – raw, innocent, jaded, as strong as they come, and ready to party!

Learn more about LiV here. Tickets at

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

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