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

Friday, April 5, 2024

Babes With Blades Theatre Company Presents World Premiere of The S Paradox April 7th Through May 18th, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar




Please note: masks are required for all performances. 

The running time is 95 minutes with no intermission. 

True to Chicago Being a Hub for New Work, Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s 10th Winner Of The International Playwriting Competition Joining Sword & Pen and The Margaret W. Martin Award Opens this Sunday, April 7


Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s (BWBTC) 2024 season opens this Sunday, April 7 with The S Paradox, written by Joining Sword & Pen International Playwright Competition (JS&P) and Margaret W. Martin Award Winner Jillian Leff, directed by Morgan Manasa with fight direction by Samantha Kaufman at The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. The S Paradox runs through May 18 with preview performances Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, April 11 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 12 at 8 p.m. The press opening is Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. with a performance schedule of Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. The streaming dates are Saturday May 11  at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m. available via  Open Caption performances are available Saturday, May 4 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m., and Thursday and Friday, May 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. with sensory-friendly performances Sundays, April 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. Tickets for the live and the streaming productions are $28 - $35 and available at

Taking place in a distant future where the United States has undergone sweeping reform, The S Paradox is a world where guns are banned, healthcare is free,and numerous tax and economic bills have helped lessen the division of classes and pulled millions out of poverty. Sloane (first name Bridget, but don’t call her that) is a young woman who has been tapped by a watchdog intelligence agency called the CRC, led by the odd, yet domineering William Hale. As Sloane triumphantly (and a little drunkenly) leaves a warehouse after signing her contract, she is stopped by a mysterious woman who says she has come back in time to stop Sloane from making the biggest mistake of her life. 

“Chicago’s storefront theatre scene as a whole is very passionate about creating something that makes a lasting impact and is new and fresh and bold,” states winning Playwright Jillian Leff*. “Most of the time, you're going to find that in a new play.” 

“The S Paradox is an “Alias” meets “Looper” type tale, a sci-fi adventure that is an addition to the canon of new plays cultivated by BWBTC. The ensemble, originally founded as a company for women trained in stage combat, found few scripts outside of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew that called for femme actors to fight,” said Artistic Director Hayley Rice*. “Scripts that did “benefit” from having a woman trained in stage combat typically involved scenarios where female characters were the victims of the violence happening in a play.”

Now in its 19th year, Joining Sword & Pen International Playwright “continues to give space and a voice for stories from marginalized voices in theater,”added Rice. “With the total prize and award being a combination of developing the new script that leads to a full production and a cash prize, this is rare in the theater industry and we want to continue this as an opportunity for the development of new work in the industry.

Chicago playwright Jillian Leff talks about her experience through the development process with BWBTC: “I've done mostly one-off workshops for my other plays, which are definitely helpful, but I enjoy BWBTC’s Fighting Words program because it's working with your script over the better part of a year, with mainly the same people. I've felt it's helped The S Paradox grow exponentially.”

The S Paradox’s ensemble cast of 12 artists includes Elisabeth Del Toro (she/her, Dez); Luz Espinoza (she/her, Dez U/S and Older Dez); Cat Evans (any with respect, Ava); Kayla Marie Klammer (she/her, Sloane); Sonja Lynn Mata (she/her, Older Dez); Deanna Palmer (she/her, Nameless, Sloane U/S); Steve Peebles (he/him, William); Jessica Pennachio (she/her, Nameless, S U/S); Thomas Russell (he/they, Nameless, William U/S); Emily Sturges (she/they, Nameless U/S); Tina-Kim Nyguen (she/her, Nameless, Ava U/S) and Maureen Yasko* (she/her, S).

The production team includes BWBTC Ensemble Members Line Bower* (they/them, technical director), Jillian Leff* (she/her, playwright) and Morgan Manasa* (she/her, director) as well as Evy Burch (they/her, props designer), Rose Hamill (she/her, production manager), Rose Johnson (they/them, scenic designer); Samantha Kaufman (she/her, fight director), L.J. Luthringer (he/him, sound designer); Payton Shearn (she/they, production assistant), Taylor Stageberg (she/they, stage manager); Rachel M. Sypniewski (she/her, costume designer); Laura J. Wiley (she/her, lighting designer) and Theo Yaeck (they/them, assistant stage manager). 

*Denotes BWBTC ensemble member


Jillian Leff (she/her/hers) is a Chicago based playwright and actor, whose work has been

produced in Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida and Indiana. The world premiere of Small

World (co-written with Joe Lino) was a Jeff Award nominee for New Work. She is an

ensemble member with Babes With Blades Theatre Company, where she has appeared in Richard III (Buckingham), Women of 4G (Pierce) and The Good Fight (Cicely) and is excited to work with BWBTC as a playwright again after workshopping her play The Mark through Fighting Words. She has a BFA in acting from Ball State University and is an advanced actor combatant with The Society of American Fight Directors. 


Morgan Manasa (she/her/hers), a graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University, has been a theatremaker in Chicago for the past 20 years. Manasa is an ensemble member of Babes With Blades Theatre Company where she’s been seen in their production of Henry V (Fluellen) and Witch Slap! (Goody Blunt). She has directed a handful of one-acts and 10-minute play festivals but made her mainstage directorial debut with Arthur M. Jolly’s The Lady Demands Satisfaction (Jeff Recommended) with BWBTC. Most recently she directed JANE: The Abortion Underground with Idle Muse Theatre Company where she also directed In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 


The Joining Sword & Pen international playwriting competition launched in 2005 to generate more scripts that featured women in roles involving stage combat.  Created in collaboration with Artistic Advisor and Fight Master in the Society of American Fight Directors David Woolley who sponsors the competition, scripts inspired by a specific image are submitted and go through a blind judging process.  The winning script goes through BWBTC’s new play development program, but also receives a full production, cash prize and the Margaret W. Martin Award.

Margaret W. Martin was ahead of her time. In the 1960s and 70s, she maintained her full time job, taught piano, and raised a family of 6 children (4 girls, two boys) all while she traveled the globe from the States to Saudi Arabia, across Europe and Vientiane Laos during the height of the Vietnam war. She founded the American International School – Riyadh (K-12) in Saudi Arabia in 1963, and it has flourished as an institution since then. The Margaret W. Martin Award is in honor of Artistic Advisor and SAFD Fight Master David Woolley’s mother. 


Babes With Blades Theatre Company – for over the past 20 years, and moving into the future – strives to develop and present scripts focused on complex, dynamic (often combative) characters who continue to be underrepresented on theatre stages based on gender. Babes With Blades Theatre Company uses (and will continue to use) stage combat to tell stories that elevate the voices of underrepresented communities and dismantle the patriarchy.

In each element of their programming, they embrace two key concepts:

1) Folks of marginalized genders and underrepresented communities are central to the story, driving the action rather than responding or submitting to it.

2) Everyone is capable of a full emotional and physical range, up to and including violence and its consequences.

The company offers participants and patrons alike an unparalleled opportunity to experience every person as heroes and villains; rescuers and rescues; right, wrong and everywhere in between: exciting, vivid, dynamic PEOPLE. It’s as simple and as subversive as that. 

BWBTC’s 2024 programming is partially made possible by the kind support of The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, a grant from The Illinois Arts Council Agency, a CityArts Grant from the the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE), and the support of the Small Business Alliance Shuttered Venue Operators (SVOG) grant program.


Babes With Blades Theatre Company produces theatre in venues located on the traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. Many other tribes such as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, and Fox also called this area home. This region that we now commonly refer to as “The Chicagoland Area”, has long been a center for Indigenous people to gather, trade, and maintain kinship ties. Today, one of the largest urban Native American communities in the United States resides in Chicago. Members of this community continue to contribute to the life of this city and to celebrate their heritage, practice traditions and care for the land and waterways.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Chicago Opera Theater Presents Huang Ruo's Chinese Mythology based 'Book of Mountains and Seas' with Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Jan. 26 -28

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Chicago Opera Theater Presents 

Huang Ruo's Chinese Mythology based 

'Book of Mountains and Seas' 

with Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Jan. 26 -28

Larger-than-life puppets designed by master puppeteer Basil Twist

In partnership with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, this feast for the ears and eyes features visually stunning giant puppets designed by world-famous puppeteer Basil Twist


Chicago Opera Theater (COT), Chicago’s foremost producer of new and reimagined opera, continues its 50th Anniversary season with the Midwest Premiere of Huang Ruo’s environmentalist opera Book of Mountains and Seas presented in partnership with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and produced by Beth Morrison Projects. Scored for twelve singers -the artists of ARS NOVA Copenhagen – and two percussionists, the opera also features six puppeteers wielding beautiful, larger-than-life puppets designed by the opera’s Director, world-renowned puppeteer Basil Twist. Book of Mountains and Seas will be performed Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, January 28 at 3:00 PM at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, 410 S Michigan Ave. Tickets start at $45 and available now at

Book of Mountains and Seas is inspired by the ancient compilation of Chinese myths and legends of the same title – 山海經 (Shanhai jing)- first written down during the Qin Dynasty in the 4th Century BC. Throughout the centuries, these classic tales have been told over and over again, becoming part of Chinese written and oral history.  The opera Book of Mountains and Seas is a contemporary retelling of four of these well-known stories that brings into focus our modern-day relationship with the natural world and the relevance of the ancient wisdom of the original tales during a time of overlapping environmental crises of 21st century society. Composer and librettist Huang Ruo’s vibrant and inventive score, which draws inspiration from Chinese folk music alongside other musical idioms, and the unique libretto featuring a combination of Chinese and an invented language, conjure a sense of respect and awe for the environment while challenging audiences to be good stewards of the natural resources we have been given. Also on the creative team, Miles Lallemant conducts, and Poe Saegusa is lighting designer.

"Over the centuries, the stories that make up the Book of Mountains and Seas have become part of Chinese written and oral history. They have been told and reimagined through the voices of many artists," said COT Edlis Neeson General Director Lawrence Edelson. "Huang Ruo and Basil Twist's perspective on these timeless tales combines a haunting, evocative score with visually stunning puppetry - juxtaposing our relationship with the natural world today to these beautiful and deeply moving ancient stories of creation and destruction. COT is thrilled to be partnering with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and Beth Morrison Projects to bring this truly unique production that challenges audiences to see the world in a new way to Chicago audiences for the first time.”

Book of Mountains and Seas was commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Toronto Soundstreams, Koorbiennale, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, and Linda & Stuart Nelson. It was originally Produced by Beth Morrison Projects, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Internationale Koorbiennale and Toronto Soundstreams. The tour is produced by Beth Morrison Projects. The Chicago Premiere of Book of Mountains and Seas is presented by Chicago Opera Theater in partnership with the Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival.

About the Artists

Huang Ruo has been lauded by the New Yorker as “one of the world’s leading young composers” and by The New York Times for having “a distinctive style.” His vibrant and inventive musical voice draws equal inspiration from Chinese ancient and folk music, Western avant-garde, experimental, noise, natural and processed sound, rock, and jazz. As a member of the new generation of Chinese composers, his goal is not just to mix both Western and Eastern elements, but also to create a seamless, organic integration. Huang Ruo’s diverse compositional works span from orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and dance, to cross-genre, sound installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film. Huang Ruo was born in Hainan Island, China in 1976 – the year the Chinese Cultural Revolution ended. His father, who is also a composer, began teaching him composition and piano when he was six years old. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, when China was opening its gate to the Western world, he received both traditional and Western education at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. As a result of the dramatic cultural and economic changes in China following the Cultural Revolution, his education expanded from Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Lutoslawski, to include the Beatles, rock and roll, heavy metal, and jazz. Huang Ruo was able to absorb all of these newly allowed Western influences equally

Basil Twist, a third-generation puppeteer, has significantly contributed to the art of puppetry since 1998, and is known worldwide for creating original abstract adult puppet works focused on their integration with music. His famous work Symphonie Fantastique, which takes place in a tank of water, is performed to the symphony of the same name and a new film version was screened as part of the 2023 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. Twist created the puppetry for the Broadway productions of The Pee-wee Herman Show and The Addams Family. Other works include Dogugaeshi, La Bella Dormente nel Bosco, Petrushka, Hansel and Gretel, Master Peter’s Puppet Show, The Araneidae Show, Behind the Lid and Arias with a Twist. He has received numerous awards, including a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, an Obie Award, a Creative Capital Award in Performing Arts and a Guggenheim fellowship. He was a 2015 MacArthur Fellow at the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts. He attended Oberlin College and graduated from the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mézières, France. He is founder and director of the Dream Music Puppetry Program at Here Arts Center in New York. In 2023, he led the puppetry in the Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of My Neighbor Totoro at the Barbican Theatre, London. Closer to home, Twist’s puppets are represented in Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker for The Joffrey Ballet.

ARS NOVA Copenhagen is a Danish-based, international vocal ensemble of 12 members that specializes in renaissance polyphonic choral music and new vocal music, which is performed with precision and nerve, and with a sound that attracts attention all over the world. The ensemble has long since established itself as one of the world's finest vocal ensembles and has toured in more than 40 countries over the years. With concerts in Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark and several annual tours worldwide, the group is today more in demand than ever.  Over the years, Ars Nova has had close collaborations with a large number of both international and Danish composers, including Pelle Gudmundsens-Holmgreen, Per Nørgård and Avo Pärt. Most recently, the ensemble premiered works by Bent Sørensen, Signe Lykke, Caroline Shaw and Galina Grigorjeva (summer 2023). Ars Nova has recorded a number of award-winning albums; including a Grammy for The Little Match Girl Passion with music by David Lang (with Theater of Voices at Harmonia Mundi). The ensemble's latest release is "...and..." (Naxos) with works by Arvo Pärt, Julia Wolfe and Caroline Shaw as well as Italian medieval songs from Laudario di Cortona, which was nominated as release of the year at the P2 Prize 2022, and Crossing Borders (Dacapo) with music by Carl Nielsen, Niels W. Gade, Vagn Holmboe, Wilhelm Stenhammer and Line Tjørnhøj.

About Beth Morrison Projects

Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) is one of the foremost creators and producers of new opera-theatre and music theatre, with a fierce commitment to leading the industry into the future, cultivating a new generation of talent, and telling the stories of our time. Founded by “contemporary opera mastermind” (LA Times) Beth Morrison, who was honored as one of Musical America’s Artists of the Year/Agents of Change in 2020 and a Kennedy Center Next50 in 2022, BMP has grown into “a driving force behind America’s thriving opera scene” (Financial Times), with Opera News declaring that the company, “more than any other… has helped propel the art form into the twenty-first century.”

Operating across the US and internationally, with offices in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, BMP’s unique model offers living composers the support, guidance, and freedom to experiment, allowing them to create singularly innovative and impactful projects. Since forming in 2006, the company has commissioned, developed, produced and toured over 60 works in 14 countries around the world, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning chamber operas Angel’s Bone and p r i s m. In 2013, BMP co-founded the PROTOTYPE Festival with HERE Arts Center, which has been called “utterly essential” (The New York Times), “indispensable” (The New Yorker), and “one of the world’s top festivals of contemporary opera and theater” (Associated Press). For more information visit

About the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival advances the art of puppetry by presenting sophisticated programs vital to the cultural life of Chicago. Engaging and inspiring the largest and most diverse audiences for puppetry possible, the Festival is the biggest event dedicated to puppetry in North America and traditionally offers more than 100 activities annually including performances, workshops, artist intensives, free neighborhood events and symposia to audiences up to 14,000 over 11 days each January. The organization is also home to other key initiatives, including the Chicago Puppet Studio and Chicago Puppet Lab, that nurture the development of puppeteers and deepen the field locally, nationally, and internationally with the ultimate goal of promoting peace, equality, mutual understanding, and justice locally and globally. The sixth annual Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is January 18-28, 2024 and includes over two dozen performances, workshops, and events. For more information visit


About Chicago Opera Theater

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary season in 2023/24, Chicago Opera Theater is a company laser-focused on living its values: expanding the tradition of opera as a living art form, producing high-quality works new to Chicago audiences, identifying top-tier casts and creative talent at the beginning of grand operatic careers, and following through on commitments to equity and access – behind the scenes, on the stage, and in the audience. Since its founding in 1973, COT has grown from a grassroots community-based company to a national leader in an increasingly vibrant, diverse, and forward-looking art form. COT has staged over 155 operas, including 81 Chicago premieres and 47 operas by American composers. COT is led Lawrence Edelson who began his tenure as General Director in the 2023/24 season; and Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya who concludes her tenure with the company at the end of this season.

The Vanguard Initiative, founded in 2018 and celebrating its fifth anniversary this Spring, is COT's fully comprehensive program for composers ready to delve into the world of opera. This immersive two-year residency includes participation in all COT productions, sessions with top industry leaders, extensive study of repertoire and vocal writing, and direct insight into administrative and other behind-the-scenes processes, culminating with the development of a full-length opera commissioned by the company. The program is guided and overseen by Elizabeth Morse and Genius Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya, with Composer Advisors Jake Heggie, Kamala Sankaram, and Gene Scheer. The program has renewed funding from the Mellon Foundation for the 2023/24 season. The 2023/24 Vanguard Composers are Gillian Rae Perry (second year) and Carlos R. Carrillo (first year).

Chicago Opera Theater’s season continues with the Vanguard Initiative concert premiere of The Weight of Light April 27 at the Epiphany Center for the Arts and the World Premiere tour of Before it All Goes Dark with Music of Remembrance May 25 & 26 at the Studebaker Theater. Chicago Opera Theater’s 50th Anniversary Gala will be April 5 at Venue West.

For more information on Chicago Opera Theater productions, visit


Saturday, October 28, 2023

TimeLine Theatre's Chicago Premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact NOVEMBER 1-DECEMBER 23, 2023

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

 TimeLine Theatre's 

The Lifespan of a Fact

TimeLine Theatre is thrilled to present the Chicago premiere of 
The Lifespan of a Fact, a comedic showdown between truth and fact, based on true events, November 1 – December 23, 2023.

Fact-checker Jim Fingal (Alex Benito Rodriguez, from left), editor Emily Penrose (Juliet Hart), and writer John D’Agata (PJ Powers) become locked in a battle between truth and fact in the gripping and fast-paced comedic showdown that is TimeLine Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, directed by Mechelle Moe. It runs November 9 – December 23, 2023 (previews 11/1 – 11/8) at TimeLine’s home at 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. Tickets: or 
(773) 281-8463 x6. Photo by Peyton Robinson. 

The original 2018 Broadway production was praised as “a smart and engaging exploration of the nature of truth and the role of the media in society” by the Chicago Tribune, and “a tightly written and expertly crafted play that keeps the audience riveted from start to finish” by The New York Times.  

TimeLine Theatre's Chicago premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact begins previews on November 1. Performances run through December 23 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago.

For tickets and information, visit
or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.

Alex Benito Rodriguez plays the role originated on Broadway by Daniel Radcliffe, a fact checker on deadline, caught between a fact-challenged writer and his demanding editor

TimeLine Theatre’s Chicago premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact, November 1 – December 23, 2023, will star (from left) TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers as essayist John D’Agata, TimeLine Company Member Juliet Hart as editor Emily Penrose, and Alex Benito Rodriguez as fact checker Jim Fingal. 

Casting has been revealed for TimeLine Theatre Company’s The Lifespan of a Fact, a comedic showdown between truth and fact, set in the world of non-fiction publishing, based on true events, running November 1 – December 23, 2023.

TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe (she/her) has already been announced as director of the Chicago premiere of the acclaimed play by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell, based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal.

Alex Benito Rodriguez plays fact-checker Jim Fingal, who is locked in a battle between truth and fact with his editor and a writer in TimeLine Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact

Today, TimeLine confirmed Artistic Director PJ Powers (he/him) and founding Company Member Juliet Hart (she/her) will return to the stage for The Lifespan of a Fact. Powers last appeared at TimeLine in 2015 in The Apple Family Plays, also alongside Hart, whose most recent TimeLine credits include A Disappearing Number (2017) and Oslo (2019). Both are founding Company Members, favorites with TimeLine audiences, with dozens of credits over the past 26 seasons both on stage and behind-the-scenes. Alex Benito Rodriguez (he/him), making his TimeLine debut, rounds out the play’s three-person cast. Rodriguez was Jeff Award-nominated in 2022 for Actor in a Principal Role in First Floor Theatre’s Botticelli in the Fire.

In The Lifespan of a Fact, Rodriguez plays Jim Fingal, an eager young intern at a high-profile magazine hoping to impress his demanding editor-in-chief, Emily Penrose (Hart). When assigned the job of fact-checking an essay about the city of Las Vegas by legendary writer John D’Agata (Powers), Jim discovers a huge problem: many of the essay’s details were made up. As the publication deadline looms, a battle between truth and fact ensues in a gripping and fast-paced comedy of ethics.

The Lifespan of a Fact opened on Broadway in 2018 starring Daniel Radcliffe as Jim Fingal, Bobby Cannavale as John D’Agata, and Cherry Jones as Emily Penrose. The play was praised as “a smart and engaging exploration of the nature of truth and the role of the media in society” by the Chicago Tribune,and “a tightly written and expertly crafted play that keeps the audience riveted from start to finish” by The New York Times

The book on which the play is based, The Lifespan of a Fact, was co-authored by Jim Fingal and John D’Agata, and is a deep dive into real-life Fingal’s fact-checking of D’Agata essay “What Happens There.” The book also received critical attention from NPRThe New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. It was subsequently named a “Top 10 Most Crucial Book” by Slate, a “Best Book of the Year” by The Huffington Post, and an Editor’s Choice by The New York Times Book Review

TimeLine’s production team for The Lifespan of a Fact includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec (Scenic Designer, he/him), Kotryna Hilco (Costume Designer, she/her), Brandon Wardell (Lighting Designer, he/him), Rowan Doe(Properties Designer, they/them), Anthony Churchill (Co-Projections Designer, he/him) and Vija Lapp (Co-Projections Designer, she/her), Andrew Hansen (Sound Designer, he/him), Micah Figueroa (Fight and Intimacy Choreographer, he/him), Maren Robinson (Co-Dramaturg, she/her), Bryar Barborka (Co-Dramaturg, they/them), Dina Spoerl (Dramaturgical Display Designer, she/her) and Olivia Sullam (Stage Manager, she/they).

“I’m absolutely thrilled to dive into the themes of this play with such an incredible ensemble and production team,” said director Mechelle Moe. “In our space and time in the world now, what is our relationship to truth and facts? How do we uphold them, champion them, question them? What is the impact to society when misinformation allows truth and facts to be compromised and manipulated to serve a purpose/agenda? And are facts, indeed, the final measure of truth? With this topical comedy, we’ll delve into all these questions, and hopefully share some laughs along the way!”

“We’re elated to bring this hilarious, poignant, and conversation-starting play to TimeLine, and I can’t wait to return to the stage in our longtime home on Wellington Avenue—a special place that’s held countless memories for more than two decades,” said Artistic Director PJ Powers. “This play calls out with a bold red pen that facts matter, while also acknowledging the sometimes-fuzzy distinction between artistic license and journalism, each with its own set of responsibilities for storytelling and/or reporting. And as people’s sources for news—and truth—become more varied, the debate between John D’Agata and Jim Fingal is sure to resonate with Chicago audiences who experience this provocative show.”

The Lifespan of a Fact reunites on stage TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers and founding Company Member Juliet Hart. 

Juliet Hart plays magazine editor Emily Penrose, who mediates a battle pitting truth against fact between an arrogant writer and a meticulous fact checker in TimeLine Theatre Company’s The Lifespan of a Fact


Save on tickets to The Lifespan of a Fact plus enjoy ultimate flexibility during TimeLine’s entire 2023-24 season with a TimeLine FlexPass. Four options, priced from $119 to $275, are now on sale via or the TimeLine Box Office at 
(773) 281-8463 x6.

Previews begin November 1. Press Night is Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is November 9. Performances run through December 23 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.

Preview tickets are $35. Single tickets to regular performances start at $52 (all evening performances) and $67 (all matinee performances). 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.

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


The Lifespan of a Fact 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 Company Member Mechelle Moe directs this acclaimed play by Jeremy Kareken & David Murrell and Gordon Farrell,based on the book by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal.

Alex Benito Rodriguez plays fact-checker Jim Fingal in TimeLine Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact

Alex Benito Rodriguez plays Jim Fingal, a young intern at a high-profile magazine eager to impress his editor-in-chief, Emily Penrose (Juliet Hart). When Emily assigns Jim the job of fact-checking an essay about the city of Las Vegas by legendary writer John D’Agata (PJ Powers), Jim discovers a huge problem: many of the essay’s details were made up. As the publication deadline looms, a battle between truth and fact becomes a gripping and fast-paced comedy of ethics.

The book on which the play is based was co-authored by Jim Fingal and John D’Agata, and is a deep dive into real-life Fingal’s fact-checking of D’Agata's essay “What Happens There.” 

Magazine editor Emily Penrose (Juliet Hart, from left), fact-checker Jim Fingal (Alex Benito Rodriguez), and writer John D’Agata (PJ Powers) become locked in a battle between truth and fact in TimeLine Theatre Company’s The Lifespan of a Fact


Previews are Wednesday, November 1 through Friday, November 3 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, November 4 at 4 p.m.; Sunday, November 5 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. Press Night is Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is Thursday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. Regular performances continue through December 23: 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. Exception: No 4 p.m. show Saturday, November 11, and no performances Wednesday and Thursday, November 22 and 23 (Thanksgiving). Added matinees are Tuesday, November 21 at 2 p.m., Friday, November 24 at 4 p.m., and Thursday, December 21 at 2 p.m.

PJ Powers plays writer John D’Agata, who becomes locked in a battle between truth and fact with his editor and a meticulous fact checker, in TimeLine Theatre Company’s The Lifespan of a Fact.

Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the dramaturg and members of the production team on Wednesday, November 15; Sunday, November 19; Thursday, November 30; and Sunday, December 17.
Pre-Show Discussions: Starting one hour before the performance, a 25-minute introductory conversation hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and the dramaturg on Sunday, November 26, and Wednesday, December 6.
Company Member Discussion: A post-show discussion with the collaborative team of artists who choose TimeLine’s programming and guide the company’s mission on Sunday, December 3.
Sunday Scholars Panel Discussion: A one-hour panel discussion featuring experts on the themes and issues of the play alongside a member of the production team in a moderated discussion, following the performance on Sunday, December 10.
All discussions are free and open to the public. For details, visit


Distanced Performance: The performance on Friday, November 17 will have a capacity cap and seating chart so that patrons can sit with additional space allocated between parties. Mask-wearing is also required at this performance.

Captioned Performances: Open-captioned performances with a text display of words and sounds heard during performances are Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9 at 4 p.m. 

Audio-Described Performance: On Friday, December 15, the performance will feature narration about visual elements of the production around the dialogue, available for individual patrons via headphones.
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.


Mask-wearing is no longer required at TimeLine performances. Exception: One scheduled Distanced Performance for each production. Anyone is welcome to attend the Distanced Performance, but due to very limited capacity, we ask that immunocompromised patrons be given the first chance to reserve. 

While masking is no longer required at most performances, TimeLine supports an individual’s choice to mask and will continue to make good quality masks available upon request. Protocols are subject to change based on current public health recommendations; for the most current information, visit


In addition to The Lifespan of a Fact, TimeLine’s 2023-24 subscription season includes three more riveting plays that link past, present and future:  

  • Playing now, the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of Stefano Massini’s Tony Award-winning The Lehman Trilogythe quintessential story of western capitalism rendered through the lens of a single immigrant family, adapted by Ben Power, co-directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling and Vanessa Stalling. Performances have been extended due to popular demand though November 26 at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St

  • The Chicago premiere of Notes from the Field by Anna Deavere Smith, directed by Mikael Burke, an innovative documentary piece that shines a spotlight on the stories of those caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline. Previews start January 31, 2024. Press opening is Wednesday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through March 24.

  • The world premiere of Black Sunday by Dolores Díaz, developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective and directed by Sandra Marquez, a startling look at conflicts of climate change, race, and gender in the days leading up to an infamous dust storm in 1930s Texas. Previews start May 8, 2024. Press opening is Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through June 30.

Save on tickets and enjoy ultimate flexibility during TimeLine’s 2023-24 season with a TimeLine FlexPass. Four options, priced from $119 to $275, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit

Note: The Lifespan of a FactNotes from the Field and Black Sunday 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 celebrating its 27th season, TimeLine has presented 88 productions, including 13 world premieres and 39 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program and TimeLine South summer arts program, which bring the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools and beyond. 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 60 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. The company is currently working to develop its new home, located at 5035 North Broadway in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Plans feature an intimate black box theater 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 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, 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 donors providing season support via TimeLine’s Annual Fund include: Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation; Crown Family Philanthropies; Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation; Laughing Acres Family Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; Van Dam Charitable Foundation; and Walder Foundation. TimeLine also acknowledges the support of a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

For more information, visit or FacebookTwitter, or Instagram (@TimeLineTheatre).

Juliet Hart (Emily Penrose) is a founding Company Member of TimeLine, where she has appeared in Oslo, A Disappearing Number, The Apple Family Plays: That Hopey Changey Thing and Sorry (Jeff Award-nomination - Ensemble), 33 Variations (Jeff Award – Production, Play, Midsize), To Master the Art, All My Sons, Weekend, Harmless, Martin Furey’s Shot, It’s All True(Jeff Award nomination – Supporting Actress), and many others. Other Chicago credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare, Prop Thtr, Zebra Crossing and Collaboraction. Recent television credits include Chicago Fire and Proven Innocent. Film credits include One Year Later, written and directed by Chicago’s own Lucia Mauro. Hart also serves as Director of TimeLine’s Living History Education Program, where she finds inspiration every day working with CPS students and teachers. She holds an MFA degree in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

PJ Powers (John D’Agata) was a co-founder of TimeLine in 1997 and became Artistic Director in 1999. Since then, he has overseen the production of more than 80 plays, including 13 world premieres and more than 39 Chicago premieres. During his tenure, TimeLine has garnered 60 Jeff Awards, including 11 for Outstanding Production, as well as awards for excellence in arts management, including the 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Powers was instrumental in establishing TimeLine’s home on Wellington Avenue in 1999; expanding the company’s programming to include productions in numerous other venues, including the Broadway Playhouse; creating the TimePieces play reading series and First Draft Festival of new work; launching the Living History Education Program in Chicago Public Schools under the direction of TimeLine co-founder Juliet Hart; and planning for TimeLine’s new home in Uptown. As an actor, he has appeared in 18 productions at TimeLine, including The Apple Family Plays: That Hopey Changey Thing, The Front Page, The Farnsworth Invention, Fiorello! and Hauptmann. He also has appeared at Writers, Northlight, and Shattered Globe, among others. A graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, Powers has served on the Board of Directors for the League of Chicago Theatres, was awarded the Meier Achievement Award for mid-career artists, and received a Goldman Sachs Senior Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.He directed the one-night-only Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers’ One Giant Leap: The Apollo 11 Moon Landing at the Broadway Playhouse.

Alex Benito Rodriguez (Jim Fingal) is making his TimeLine debut with The Lifespan of a Fact. Chicago theatre credits include Anna in the Tropics (u/s, Remy Bumppo) and Botticelli in the Fire (First Floor Theatre, Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination – Actor in a Principal Role). Since 2016, Rodriguez has been a member of Wender Collective (FKA Walkabout Theater Company). Rooted in radical collaboration and laboratory-style physical theatre making, Wender creates and produces new works nationally and internationally. He appeared in their production of The Brink in venues around the world, including Steppenwolf Theatre, Links Hall Chicago, Dartmouth College, Krakow Poland, and The Theatre Olympics in India. In addition to his work on stage, Rodriguez has appeared in student films, commercials, short films, and NBC's Chicago Fire.​ He holds a BFA degree in Acting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MFA degree in Acting from FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. For more, visit

Mechelle Moe (Director) is a Company Member at TimeLine, where her credits include directing Rutherford and SonCardboard Piano, and In the Next Room or the vibrator play. She also has appeared on stage in many TimeLine productions, including Boy, The Apple Family Plays, My Kind of Town, The Front Page, The Children’s Hour, Not Enough Air, and Paradise Lost. Other directing credits include Milk Like Sugar, The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide, and columbinus. Moe is a Jeff Award recipient for Actress in Principal Role for her performance in Machinal (The Hypocrites) and received a Jeff Award nomination for Actress in Principal Role for Stage Door (Griffin). She is an artistic associate of Griffin Theater. Moe graduated with honors from the University of Illinois Chicago with both a bachelor’s degree in Theater as well as Anthropology.

Gordon Farrell (Playwright) trained as a playwright at the Yale School of Drama, receiving an MFA in 1986 and going on to work with major Hollywood studios, initially as a story analyst for Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures, and eventually as a screenwriter. He has written for hire and sold screenplays to Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, MGM, and ITC. Farrell’s first independent screenplay, Girls Who Smoke, premiered in 2011. It went on to be an official selection at more than a dozen film festivals, receiving the Audience Choice Award at Seattle’s Post Alley Film Festival. As a playwright, from 2009 to 2013, Farrell worked with dozens of women on New York’s Lower East Side who wanted to tell their personal stories on stage. The series of monologue plays that grew out of it was called In the Red Room/Every Woman Dances for Someone. His other plays have been produced in San Francisco, and at Alleyway Theatre, the Yale School of Drama, and New York’s Primary Stages. He is the author of The Power of the Playwright’s Vision, published by Heinemann Press in 2001. It has been translated internationally and become a standard playwriting text at colleges and universities in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Jeremy Kareken (Playwright) is a playwright living in New York and Baltimore. His short plays Hot Rod, Big Train, and 80 Cards have been performed around the country and internationally. He served as a speech writer and policy analyst for two presidential campaigns. His awards include the Sewanee Conference’s Dakin Fellowship for Farblondjet, and Guthrie/Playwrights Center’s Two-Headed Challenge for The Sweet Sweet Motherhood. The Hamptons Film Festival Screenwriters Conference selected Kareken and David Murrell for their horror-comedy script about haunted breast implants—THESE! Conquered the Earth. In 2018, PlayPenn shortlisted Kareken’s new political satire about an illiterate king, The Red Wool. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, and a graduate of the University of Chicago, he has taught at NYU, NYIT, the Actors Studio Drama School, and currently teaches at The Acting Studio - New York. A lifetime member of The Actors Studio, Kareken occasionally acts and for 18 years served as the researcher for Bravo TV’s Inside the Actors Studio.

David Murrell (Playwright) was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Chicago, currently lives in Queens, and has written a sea chest’s worth of TV and film treatments and spec scripts. Access Theater (NYC) and the Cleveland Public Theatre each produced his play Ductwork, and the Hamptons Film Festival Screenwriters Conference selected his and Jeremy Kareken’s feature screenplay about haunted breast implants, THESE! Conquered the Earth. In 2019, the Outer Critics Circle co-awarded Murrell its John Gassner Playwriting Award for The Lifespan of a Fact.

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