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Showing posts with label Chicago premiere. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago premiere. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

First Floor Theater Launches Tenth Season with Chicago Premiere of BOTTICELLI IN THE FIRE September 22 – November 5, 2022

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 First Floor Theater is pleased to launch its Tenth Season with the Chicago premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, a hot-blooded queering of Renaissance Italy that questions the value of art at the collapse of society. Directed by Bo Frazier, Botticelli in the Fire plays September 22 – November 5, 2022 at The Den’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets available at firstfloortheater.com

The cast of First Floor Theater’s Chicago premiere of Botticelli in the Fire includes (top, l to r) Neala Barron, Yuchi Chiu and Andrew Cutler (bottom, l to r) Christopher Meister, John Payne, Alex Benito Rodriguez and Jenece Upton.

Playboy Sandro Botticelli has it all: talent, fame, good looks. He also has the ear – and the wife – of Lorenzo de Medici, as well as the Renaissance’s hottest young apprentice, Leonardo Da Vinci. But while at work on his breakthrough commission, ‘The Birth of Venus’, Botticelli’s devotion to pleasure and beauty is put to the ultimate test. As the plague sweeps through the city, the charismatic friar Savonarola starts to stoke the fires of dissent against the liberal elite. Botticelli finds the life he knows breaking terrifyingly apart, forcing him to choose between love and survival. Jordan Tannahill’s hot-blooded queering of Renaissance Italy questions the value of art at the collapse of society.

The production team to date includes Lauren Nichols (Scenic Designer), Benjamin Carne (Lighting Designer), Willow James (Sound Designer), Caitlin McCarthy* (Props Designer), Micah Figueroa (Intimacy and Fight Choreographer), Andres Fonesca (Musical Director), Adelina Feldman-Schultz (Casting Director), Anastar Alvarez* (Production Manager) and Oswald Avile (Stage Manager).

*Denotes FFT Company Member

Location: The Den’s Janet Bookspan Theatre,1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, September 22 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, September 25 at 3 pm and Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30 pm.

Press Performance: Thursday, September 29 at 7:30 pm

Regular Run: Friday, September 30 – Saturday, November 5, 2022

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

Industry Nights: Monday, October 10 at 7:30 pm and Monday, October 24 at 7:30 pm

Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular Run: $25 – $35. Students/industry $20. Tickets go on sale Monday, August 15, 2022 firstfloortheater.com.

 

About the Artists

Jordan Tannahill (Playwright, he/him) is a Canadian writer and director. He has been described as being ‘widely celebrated as one of Canada’s most accomplished young playwrights, filmmakers and all-around multidisciplinary artists’ (Toronto Star), and ‘the enfant terrible of Canadian theatre’ (Libération). His plays have been translated into ten languages and widely honored in Canada and abroad. He has twice received a Governor General's Literary Award – in 2014 for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays, and in 2018 for his plays Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom. His plays, performance texts and productions have been presented at venues including The Young Vic Theatre (London), Sadler's Wells (London), The Kitchen (NYC), Festival d'Avignon (Avignon), The Lincoln Centre (NYC), The Deutsches Theater (Berlin), The Volkstheater (Vienna), The National Arts Centre of Canada (Ottawa), Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, D.C.) and on London's West End. He is the author of Theatre of the Unimpressed, a book of essays on theatre. His debut novel Liminal, a work of autofiction, was named one of the best Canadian novels of 2018 by CBC Books and won France’s 2021 Prix des Jeunes Libraires. His second novel, The Listeners, has just been published by HarperCollins. His virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, produced by the National Theatre (UK) and the National Film Board of Canada, was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Biennale in 2017, and ran at London's Young Vic Theatre in January 2019. Jordan has also worked in dance, choreographing and performing with Christopher House in Marienbad for the Toronto Dance Theatre, and writing the text for Akram Khan's dance pieces Xenos and Outwitting the Devil, both currently touring internationally. From 2012 – 2016, in collaboration with William Ellis, Jordan ran the alternative art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. Over the four years of its operation, Videofag became an influential hub for queer and avant-garde work in Canada.

Bo Frazier (Director, they/them) is a highly visual and compositionally driven theatre maker interested in new work that tells traditionally excluded narratives in extremely imaginative ways. They are so incredibly excited to be making their Chicago directing debut with First Floor! Since moving to Chicago in 2021, they have worked with Victory Gardens, Sideshow Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, BoHo Theatre, Filament Theatre and Mudlark Theatre. Favorite directing and choreography projects include: Hit The Wall by Ike Holter, Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus, Love & Information by Caryl Churchill, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens, Bright Star the musical, as well as new play productions by Dakota Parobek, C. Meaker, Leigh M. Marshall and KT Peterson.  Previously based in NYC and London, Bo has worked with companies such as The National Theatre (UK), Birmingham Rep (UK), Greenwich Theatre (UK), Signature Theatre (NYC), Dixon Place (NYC), Rutgers University (NJ), Theatre167 (NYC), Heartbeat Opera (NYC), Indiana Repertory Theatre (IN) and London Theatre Workshop Off-West End (UK), which they co-founded. They hold an MFA in Directing from University of Iowa alongside the Iowa Playwright’s Workshop, a MA in Acting from Royal Birmingham UK Conservatoire, a BA in Theatre from Millikin University, and was trained through SITI Company. www.bofrazier.com 

About First Floor Theater

Founded in 2012, First Floor Theater has garnered a reputation for pairing some of the most cutting-edge scripts in Chicago and the American Theater with a signature innovative design style. Shortly after their inaugural season, FFT was named “Best New Theater Company” in the Chicago Reader. FFT was also honored to be recognized with the 2018 Francesca Primus Prize from ATCA for their production of Leah Nanako-Winkler’s Two Mile Hollow, and in Newcity’s Players 2019: “The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago”. Some of First Floor’s notable past productions include Hooded or Being Black for Dummies, Mike Pence Sex Dream, Two Mile Hollow, peerless and Plano. First Floor Theater is a Resident Company at The Den Theatre. 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

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

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

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

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

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



Guest Review 

by Flo Manolis

Ahhh!!!! A Dionysian Feast!!!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

-Director Jeremy Wechsler
Artistic Director, Theater Wit


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Hurricane Diane: The eye of the storm

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tracking Hurricane Diane: Times, dates and ticket information

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

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

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

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

About Theater Wit

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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

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LIFE AFTER 

BY PLAYWRIGHT/COMPOSER BRITTA JOHNSON

ON STAGE NOW IN ITS CHICAGO PREMIERE AT GOODMAN THEATRE

DIRECTED BY ANNIE TIPPE



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

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

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

THE COMPANY OF Life After

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

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

ENHANCED AND ACCESSIBLE PERFORMANCES

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

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

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

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

Spanish Subtitles: Saturday July 16 at 8pm.

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


ABOUT GOODMAN THEATRE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 10, 2022

Chicago Premiere of MARIE ANTOINETTE AND THE MAGICAL NEGROES Via The Story Theatre June 30 – July 17, 2022 at Raven Theatre

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Chicago Premiere!

The Story Theatre Presents

MARIE ANTOINETTE 

AND THE MAGICAL NEGROES

Written & Directed by Governing Ensemble Member Terry Guest

June 30 – July 17, 2022 at Raven Theatre

 


The Story Theatre is pleased to welcome back audiences with the Chicago premiere of Marie Antoinette and the Magical Negroes, written and directed by Chicago playwright and Governing Ensemble Member Terry Guest*. This new play, which explores rebellion and Black liberation through the lens of the French Revolution, will play June 30 – July 17, 2022 on Raven Theatre’s Schwartz Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville) in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at thestorytheatre.org or by calling (773) 338-2177. I'll be out for the press opening July 2nd, so check back shortly after for my full review. 

The production will feature Nathaniel Andrew, Brenna DiStasio*, Keith Illidge, Danyelle Monson, Maya Vinice Prentiss, David Stobbe and Amber Washington. Understudies include Cat Christmas, Caitlin Dobbins, Jourdan Lewanda, Dylan Rogers and Marlene Slaughter.

 *Denotes a member of The Story Theatre Governing Ensemble

This is a play about rage. Revolt. Revolution. Revenge. It is about what happens when Black people grow tired of sitting down and turning the other cheek. What are we left to do? Do we scream? Pray? Should we be peaceful? Should we riot? Can the tools we have used in the past possibly work for the future or do we need to write a new script? Using trap music, fashion shows and the backdrop of the French Revolution, Governing Ensemble member Terry Guest’s Marie Antoinette & The Magical Negroes reimagines the myth of the lost monarchy and puts it into the hands and mouths of Black people.

The production team includes Jordan Dell Harris (Scenic Designer), Isaac-Jay Pineda (Costume Designer), Levi Wilkins (Lighting Design), Andrew Littleton (Sound Designer), Willow James(Composer), Ayanna Bria Bakari* (Choreographer), Thomas Russell (Violence Designer), Elijah Miller (Associate Sound Designer), Kenny-Finch Collymore-Williams (Dramaturg), Paul Michael Thomson*(COVID Safety Manager), Lucy Whipp* (Production Manager), Stina Taylor (Technical Director), Liz Gomez (Master Electrician), Brittney Brown (Associate Director), Sydney Ha (Community & Outreach Coordinator), Ariel Beller (Assistant Stage Manager), Lucy Whipp* (Stage Manager) and Meagan Dilworth and Paul Michael Thomson* (Producers).



COVID Protocols: The Story Theatre is proudly in residence at Raven Theatre and follows all COVID safety protocols accordingly. The Story and Raven currently require proof of vaccination and masking at all performances. Protocols subject to change closer to date of event. For all of Raven’s current COVID- 19 and vaccination information, visit raventheatre.com/covid-19.


 

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Cast: (in alphabetical order): Nathaniel Andrew (Savage), Brenna DiStasio* (Marie Antoinette), Keith Illidge (Jim Crow), Danyelle Monson (Sapphire), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Sambo), David Stobbe (King Louis XVI) and Amber Washington (Mammy).

Understudies: Cat Christmas, Caitlin Dobbins, Jourdan Lewanda, Dylan Rogers and Marlene Slaughter.

 

Location: Raven Theatre’s Schwartz Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville), Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, June 30 at 7:30 pm and Friday July 1 at 7:30 pm

Press opening: Saturday July 2 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, July 3 – Sunday July 17, 2022

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

Tickets: Previews $15. Regular run $20. Students/active military and veterans $10. Tickets are currently available at thestorytheatre.org or by calling (773) 338-2177.

Group tickets: Special group rates are available. For information, call (773) 338-2177 or e-mail paulmichael@thestorytheatre.org.

 

Plan Your Visit:

Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre – additional street parking is available.

Nearest El station: Granville Red Line. Buses: #22 (Clark), #36 (Broadway), #151 (Sheridan), #155

(Devon), #84 (Peterson).

 

About the Playwright/Director

Terry Guest is an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, poet and teaching artist based in Chicago. His play At The Wake of a Dead Drag Queen has been workshopped, read and performed all over the country and was the 2018 recipient of Out Front Theatre's Spectrum Series Grant. He is currently a member of the 2020/21 Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit and is commissioned to write new plays by several other Chicagoland companies. As an actor Terry has worked at regional theaters around the country including Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Express, and others. Terry is a Governing Ensemble Member at The Story Theatre and is signed by DDO Chicago. Inspired by: Whitney Houston, Stephen Sondheim, My grandma in the kitchen, Spike Lee, Tennessee Williams, Black Queer people, Black Women, Bob Mackie costumes, Kerry James Marshall, Liza Minelli and the creativity and resilience of Black people around the world.

 

About The Story Theatre

Founded in 2018, The Story Theatre will pose questions rather than provide answers. We develop and produce new work that is whimsical, melancholic, mythic in vision, and intimate in scale. We are run by a Governing Artistic Ensemble, who ensures our work is actively dismantling racism and inequity, while cultivating community through activism and catharsis.

The Story Theatre is funded in part by The Michael and Mona Heath Fund, Chicago Bulls Charities, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and The Cliff Dwellers.


The Chicago Premiere of Walk on the Wild Side Via Pale Horse Playhouse June 10-25, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  

The Chicago Premiere of

Walk on the Wild Side

by John Patrick Shanley




Pulitzer Prize, Tony & Academy Award winning John Patrick Shanley has written a collection of four stunning new one acts ;  The Dark, Im Going to Touch Your Neck, Glamour, & After the Deluge. 

I'll be out for opening night on June 10th, so check back soon for my full review. 


These four acts are a hilarious, tender surreal journey from psychological self- destruction to collective healing.


THE WHO

The Dark; directed by Kayla Adams featuring Adriel Irizarry, Max Stewart, Katherine Shwartz

Im Going to Touch Your Neck; directed by Monet Felton featuring David Stobbe & Monage Jean

Glamour; intimacy directed by Carolyn Hoerdemann featuring Rossana Disilvio, Tim Weinert, Sarah Brooks

After the Deluge; directed by Rashaad Bond featuring Lydia Moss & Barbara Burns


SUMMER SHOW HOURS

June 10th  -  25th 

Fridays & Saturdays:  8pm Curtain

 

LOCATION

3325 W Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

basement of Grace Church, enter on N. Kimball Ave.


CONTACT US

info@palehorseplayhouse.org

Pale Horse Playhouse

For tickets and more information, check out: https://www.palehorseplayhouse.org

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

EXTENDED: Chicago Premiere! Raven Theatre Presents THE LUCKIEST Now Extended Through June 26, 2022

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Chicago Premiere!

Raven Theatre Presents

THE LUCKIEST

By Melissa Ross

Directed by Artistic Director Cody Estle

May 5 – June 26, 2022


Raven Theatre, Chicago’s newest Equity-affiliated theatre, is pleased to conclude its 2021-22 Season with the Chicago premiere of Melissa Ross’ The Luckiest, a heartfelt and honest look at the journey of life, directed by Artistic Director Cody Estle. The production will play May 5 – June 19, 2022 on Raven’s 85-seat East Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville) in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at raventheatre.com or by calling (773) 338-2177. I'll be out for the press opening May 9th so check back soon for my full review.

The production will feature Tara Mallen, Cassidy Slaughter-Mason and Christopher Wayland.

Lissette and Peter are best friends living their best lives. But when an out-of-nowhere diagnosis shatters Lissette's world, Peter is left trying to pick up the pieces. Suddenly finding herself at odds with both her best friend and her mom – who each come bearing strong opinions wrapped in good intentions – Lissette is forced to navigate between the two while unflinchingly forging her own path for her future. This tender, funny and keenly-observed play explores the uncertain and sometimes heartbreaking territory of how we choose to take ownership of our lives.

Raven Artistic Director Cody Estle comments, “The Luckiest is a humorously moving portrait of an independent young woman diagnosed with a serious illness. Having lived life on her own terms, she continues to do so after her diagnosis as she navigates the constraints of her new life. The writing is a gift to actors – the characters are well defined, the language specific and nuanced. We are excited to welcome playwright Melissa Ross back to Raven Theatre after having produced a successful run of her play Nice Girl in 2018. We are pleased she will be joining us during the creative process for this production and we look forward to sharing this engaging story with our audience.”

The production team includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Becca Jeffords (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Caitlin McCarthy (props design), Sam Hubbard (movement coach), Eva Breneman (text coach and dialect designer), Sarah Slight (dramaturg), Catherine Miller (casting director), Morgan Wrigley (COVID safety manager), Lorenzo Blackett (production manager), Alan Weusthoff (technical director), Eileen Rozycki (scenic artist),  Sebastian Chrzanowski, (master electrician), Ashley Keys (assistant director) and Rita Vreeland (stage manager).



 

Covid protocols: Raven Theatre currently requires proof of vaccination and masking at all performances. Protocols subject to change closer to date of event. For all of Raven’s current COVID-19 and vaccination information, visit raventheatre.com/covid-19.

 



Location: Raven Theatre East Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville), Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, May 5 at 7:30 pm, Friday, May 6 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 8 at 3 pm

Press performance: Monday, May 9 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Thursday, May 12 – Sunday, June 19

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

Tickets: Previews $30. Regular run $40. Students/active military and veterans $15. Tickets are currently available at raventheatre.com or by calling (773) 338-2177.

Open Captioned performance: Sunday, June 5 at 3 pm.

Group tickets: Special group rates are available. For information, call (773) 338-2177 or e-mail info@raventheatre.com.

 

Plan Your Visit:

Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre – additional street parking is available. Nearest El station: Granville Red Line. Buses: #22 (Clark), #36 (Broadway), #151 (Sheridan), #155 (Devon), #84 (Peterson).

 

About the Artists

Melissa Ross’ (Playwright) plays include Thinner Than Water (LAByrinth Theater Company), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre), Nice Girl (LAByrinth Theater Company), An Entomologist’s Love Story (San Francisco Playhouse), Of Good Stock (South Coast Repertory and Manhattan Theater Club), and The Luckiest (La Jolla Playhouse). Her work has been developed and produced around the country at theaters including Dorset Theater Festival, Iama Theatre Company, Kitchen Dog Theater, Montana Rep, New York Stage and Film, The New Group, Raven Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Summer Shorts, and TheatreWorks Palo Alto. She is twice commissioned by both South Coast Repertory and Manhattan Theater Club and is currently commissioned by Atlantic Theater Company, Raven Theatre, and San Francisco Playhouse. Melissa is a graduate of Bennington College and the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Program at The Juilliard School, and is a proud member of LAByrinth Theater Company.

Cody Estle (Director) became the Artistic Director at Raven Theatre in November 2017 where he had previously served as the Associate Artistic Director. His directing credits include Sundown, Yellow Moon, How I Learned To Drive (named by Windy City Times as the best of Chicago theatre in 2019), The Gentleman Caller (2019 Jeff Award-winning new play by Philip Dawkins), The Assembled Parties, A Loss of Roses (named by Chicago Tribune honorable mention as one of the year’s best in 2016), Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré (named by Chicago Tribune as one of the year’s best in 2014), Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl and Dating Walter Dante at Raven Theatre; Damascus at Strawdog Theatre; Five Mile Lake at Shattered Globe Theatre; By The Water (named by Chicago Sun-Times honorable mention as one of the top theatre productions of 2017) at Northlight Theatre; American Hero at First Floor Theater; Scarcity at Redtwist Theatre; The Seagull and Watch on the Rhine at The Artistic Home; Don’t Go Gentle at Haven Theatre; Uncle Bob at Mary-Arrchie Theatre, and Hospitality Suite at Citadel Theatre. He is a member of SDC, serves on the board of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres, and is an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago.

About Raven Theatre

Raven Theatre tells stories of today and the past that connect us to our cultural landscape. Through its plays, as well as its educational programming, Raven is committed to serving our communities’ needs through the arts.

Raven Theatre Company is funded in part by the The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, S&C Electric Company Fund, Paul M. Angell Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Chicago Premiere of When We Were Young and Unafraid Via AstonRep Theatre Company May 13 – June 12, 2022 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theater

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Chicago Premiere!

AstonRep Theatre Company Presents

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND UNAFRAID


By Sarah Treem

Directed by Sara Pavlak McGuire

May 13 – June 12, 2022 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theater


AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to conclude its 2020-21 season with the Chicago premiere of Sarah Treem’s courageous drama When We Were Young and Unafraid, directed by Sara Pavlak McGuire*, playing May 13 – June 12, 2022 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theater, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129. I'll be out for the press opening Saturday, May 14th, so check back shortly for my full review. 

The cast includes JoAnn Birt, Halle Hoffman, Sean Kelly*, Julie Partyka and Claire Allegra Taylor. Understudies include Tess Galbiati, Hilary Hensler, Maddy Moderhack, Jack Rodgers and Effie Rose.

*Denotes AstonRep Company Members.

In the early 1970s, before Roe v. Wade, before the Violence Against Women Act, Agnes has turned her quiet bed and breakfast into one of the few spots where victims of domestic violence can seek refuge. But to Agnes’s dismay, her latest runaway, Mary Anne, is beginning to influence Agnes’s college-bound daughter Penny. As the drums of a feminist revolution grow louder outside of Agnes’s tiny world, Agnes is forced to confront her own presumptions about the women she’s spent her life trying to help.

Director Sara Pavlak McGuire* comments, “Against the backdrop of the early 1970s, Treem's play shines a light on the faces of women who fought (each in their own ways) to create lasting and powerful change in America. At the same time, this play provides a cautionary tale for today's woman of how close she may be to witnessing an oppression that this generation has not yet seen. And so we hope it provokes her to continue to fight; whether it be quietly from her home or loudly from the front lines. May she be inspired by the women in this story to use her voice and to help the women around her. After two years, we are honored to finally present the story of these four women and are thrilled to premiere it here in Chicago.”

The production team to date includes Jeremiah Barr* (scenic, props and specialty make-up design), kClare McKellaston (costume, hair and wig design) Samantha Barr* (lighting design, production manager), Robert Tobin* and Melanie Thompson* (sound design), Claire Yearman (intimacy director), Kathryn Greenlea (costume assistant), Maryah Paige (assistant lighting designer, assistant stage manager) and Kristi Roshto (stage manager).



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


Location: The Edge Off-Broadway Theater, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago

Dates: Preview: Friday, May 13 at 7:30 pm

Press performance: Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Sunday, May 14 – Sunday, June 12, 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 currently available at www.astonrep.com or by calling (773) 828-9129.


About the Artists

Sarah Treem’s (Playwright) A Feminine Ending premiered at Playwrights Horizons and went on to productions at South Coast Repertory and Portland Center Stage, among others. Her play The How and the Why premiered at the McCarter Theater starring Mercedes Ruehl (with Emily Mann directing) and went on to productions at Interact Theatre and Trinity Repertory, among others. Sarah’s other plays include Empty Sky (Bloomington Playwrights Project), Orphan Island (Sundance Theater Lab), Human Voices (New York Stage and Film) and Mirror Mirror. She has been commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, Southcoast Repertory and Manhattan Theater Club, and developed work at the Ojai Playwrights Festival, the Screenwriters Colony, Hedgebrook and Yaddo. In addition to her theater career, Sarah wrote and produced all three seasons of the acclaimed HBO series In Treatment, for which she won a WGA award and was nominated for a Humanitas award. She was also a writer/producer for the HBO series How to Make it in America. She has taught playwriting at Yale University, where she earned her B.A. and M.F.A.

Sara Pavlak McGuire (Director) has been a company member with AstonRep since 2013, where she
serves as a member of the Artistic Core Leadership. Working primarily as an actor in Chicago, Sara has worked with many different companies around the city; namely Windy City Playhouse, Timeline Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Filament Theatre, Hubris Productions, Spartan Theatre and of course her home at AstonRep. She is a two-time Jeff Award nominee (2011, 2018). She received the award in 2011 for her work in Agnes of God, with Hubris Productions. She has assistant directed several productions with AstonRep (Wit, The Lyons, The Laramie Project) and has served as casting director for the past seven years. Sara holds an MFA in acting from Western Illinois University.

 

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. 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Chicago premiere of Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight Via American Blues Theater at Theater Wit March 18 – April 9, 2022

 

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

American Blues Theater announces

Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight

written and directed by John Kolvenbach

featuring American Blues Artistic Affiliate Jim Ortlieb

March 18-April 9, 2022

**American Blues Theater honors healthcare workers, first responders, educators & support staff, and military personnel with complimentary and deeply discounted tickets. American Blues proudly supports NAMI Chicago and SAMHSA.**


American Blues Theater, under the continued leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, announces the Chicago premiere of Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, written and directed by John Kolvenbach, featuring American Blues Theater Artistic Affiliate Jim Ortlieb. Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight runs March 18-April 9, 2022 at Theater Wit,1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets are available at (773) 975-8150 and www.americanbluestheater.com. I'll be out for the press performance March 19th. In the meantime check back early and often.

“You’ve tried everything. Yoga. Acupuncture. Therapy. You floated in salt water in the pitch black dark. You juiced, you cleansed, you journaled, you cut, you volunteered. You got a mattress that fitted itself to your fetal form. You ate only RINDS for three days and nights. You reached out, you looked within. You have tried. And yet here you are.”

So begins a new play by Olivier-nominated playwright John Kolvenbach in its Chicago premiere. American Blues Theater Artistic Affiliate Jim Ortlieb delivers a tour-de-force performance as a man desperate for connection, bent by isolation, and deeply in love with the audience itself.

Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside comments, “We’re thrilled to present the Chicago premiere of John Kolvenbach’s latest work. He brilliantly captured our shared pandemic experience and given an injection of hope. We couldn’t be happier by the return of Artistic Affiliate Jim Ortlieb to our stage.”

 The creative team includes Michael Trudeau* (scenic / lighting design / TD), Rachel West* (master electrician), and Shandee Vaughan* (SM & Production Manager).

*Denotes Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater


About the Artists 

John Kolvenbach and Jim Ortlieb previously worked together Boston on Half ’n Half ’n Half (now titled The Marriage Play), for which Jim was awarded a 2012 IRNE Award for best lead actor. Most recently, they worked together on Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, which opened in the summer of 2021 at The Harbor Stage and, simultaneously, in Los Angeles with VS. and Circle X.

John Kolvenbach he/him (playwright / director) On the West End: Love Song (Olivier nomination, Best New Comedy, directed by John Crowley) and On an Average Day (with Woody Harrelson and Kyle MacLachlan, also directed by Mr. Crowley.) Love Song premiered at Steppenwolf in 2006, directed by Austin Pendelton. It has been produced in New York, Zurich, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, Seoul and Rome. There have been over fifty productions in the U.S. Average Day was produced in Los Angeles by VS. (with Johnny Clark and Stef Tovar) and in Chicago by VS. and Route 66. Average Day has been produced in Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Lisbon. Goldfish premiered at South Coast Repertory, then at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, directed by Loretta Greco. The play was done in repertory with Mrs. Whitney, which was directed by the author. Most recently, Reel to Reel received its premiere at the Magic. Sister Play received its premiere at The Harbor Stage Company and at the Magic, both productions directed by the author. Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight opened in the summer of 2021 at The Harbor Stage and, simultaneously, in Los Angeles with VS. and Circle X. Other plays include: Fabuloso (premiered at WHAT, subsequent productions in San Juan and Zurich, in Spanish and Swiss German), Bank Job (Amphibian Stages) and Marriage Play or Half ‘n Half ‘n Half (Merrimack Rep.) Film: Clear Winter Noon, an original screenplay, was selected for the Blacklist in 2008.

 Artistic Affiliate Jim Ortlieb returns to American Blues Theater where he previously appeared in the title role in Scapin.

Jim Ortlieb he/him (Man) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater and a member of the rare breed of middle-class actors. After studying with William Esper and Kathryn Gately at Rutgers University, Jim was invited by Lois Hall to teach in Chicago at Lois Hall Studio, a mainstay of professional studios in the 1980s. It was because of Lois that Jim Ortlieb was welcomed into the Chicago theater community.

When she retired, Jim renamed the school, Chicago Actors Project, which remained vibrant until 1989. During the ‘80s and onward, Jim acted with many Chicago theaters, including The Goodman (Candide), Pheasant Run (Sorrows of Stephen), Organic (M the Murderer), Wisdom Bridge (Only Kidding), Northlight (All in the Timing), and Steppenwolf (Picasso at the Lapine Agile, The Man Who Came to Dinner), Touchstone (Racing Demon, Indiscretions), Gare St. Lazare Players (Hughie), Bailiwick (An Uncertain Hour by Nick Patricca) and as a member of American Blues Theater he played the title role in Scapin. Ortlieb’s new found family of Chicago artists lead him all over the world. When Bob Meyer of the Gare St. Lazare Players moved to Europe to spend more time with his son, Charlie, Jim traveled there to collaborate on numerous productions with Bob and the extensive group of expatriated English speaking artists in Paris, Ireland, and England such as Hughie, The Homecoming, Faith Healer, and Requiem for a Heavyweight. Malcolm Ewen brought Jim to the Weston Playhouse in Vermont where he did Guys and Dolls, The Mikado, Candide, and Tartuffe. In the midst of the IATSE strike in 1999, Jim, his wife and two children moved to Los Angeles where they have lived ever since. Other acting credits include on Broadway in Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention, Of Mice and Men with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd directed by Anna Shapiro, and Guys and Dolls with Lauren Graham and Oliver Platt, the first National Tour of Billy Elliot the musical for two years in Chicago and in Toronto. In 2012 Ortlieb was nominated for an IRNE award for his lead performance in Half ’n Half ’n Half (now titled The Marriage Play) by John Kolvenbach. That relationship continues through today with Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight! His film and TV credits include: Drunkboat with John Malkovich and John Goodman and directed by Bob Meyer, Flatliners, Home Alone, A Mighty Wind, Contagion, Chain Reaction, The Onion Movie, Latter Days, Bug, and Magnolia. His television credits include Station 19, American Horror Story, 911: Lone Star, How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, West Wing, The Closer, Roswell, Six Feet Under, Gabriel’s Fire, and The Shield. Jim has done more than 75 commercials and voiceovers in his 45 years as an actor all of which has helped pay the bills. Both of Jim’s daughter returned to Chicago where they both graduated from DePaul University. Grainne (grahn-yah) Ortlieb, a Theatre School grad, remains in Chicago with the community the whole family calls home.

Schedule:   

Dates: March 18 – April 9, 2022                 

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 4:30pm (except, no show March 19) and 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:30pm


Additional performance on Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30pm.

 Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave in Chicago

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

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

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

 

About American Blues

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

 

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

CHICAGO PREMIERE OF WHITE BY DEFINITION ENSEMBLE MEMBER JAMES IJAMES in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater from March 10 – April 10, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar   

DEFINITION THEATRE PRESENTS

THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF  

WHITE

BY DEFINITION ENSEMBLE MEMBER JAMES IJAMES,

DIRECTED BY ERICKA RATCLIFF

Definition Theatre opens its 10th anniversary season with the Chicago premiere of WHITE by ensemble member James Ijames and directed by Ericka Ratcliff. Produced in partnership with Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s LookOut Series, WHITE will run in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater from March 10 – April 10, 2022. I'll be out for the press opening March 17th so check back shortly after for my full review. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at steppenwolf.org or in person at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company box office.

“After much anticipation, we are elated to present this incredible piece of theatre from Definition ensemble member James Ijames,” shared Artistic Director Tyrone Phillips. “I am also looking forward to collaborating with director and Chicago theatre treasure Ericka Ratcliff, who is embarking on this new journey with us. Much like America V2.1, the theatrical film production Definition released in fall 2021, WHITE invites the audience to grapple with themes of power and authorship. This hilarious, thought-provoking piece holds our society accountable to artists as it is asks, ‘Who is allowed to create art? And how do we decide what creative work is worth?’”

Gus is a painter expecting his big break with a prestigious contemporary art museum in 'The New America' exhibition. When he's told by the museum's new curator that "white dudes" aren't a part of New America, he enlists the help of Vanessa, a black actress, and together they create Balkonae Townsend, a bold, young radical artist to serve as the face of his work. But when things start to spiral out of control, Gus is left to deal with the mess he created and Vanessa must come to terms with her own agency as an artist. Audacious and bitingly funny, WHITE explores white privilege, racial politics and the fine line between appropriation and opportunity.

*The cast of WHITE includes ensemble member Carley Cornelius with Jonathan Allsop, Kierra Bunch, and Niko Kourtis. 

The production team for WHITE includes Joey Stone (Associate Director), Yeaji Kim (Scenic and Projections Designer), Rea Brown (Costume Designer), Levi Wilkins (Lighting Designer), Willow James (Sound Designer), Lonnae Hickman (Properties Designer), Gaby Labotaka (Intimacy Director), Kayla Menz (Assistant Intimacy Director), JQ (Original Composition), ensemble member Jared Bellot (Dramaturg), Evan Sposato (Technical Director), Emmy Weldon (Assistant Lighting Designer), AJ Links (Casting Director), Ariel Beller (Floor Manager), Julie Jachym (Production Stage Manager), and Jennifer Aparicio (Production Manager).

Previews:  Thursday, March 10 at 8:00pm; Friday, March 11 at 8:00pm;

Saturday, March 12 at 3:00pm; Saturday, March 12 at 8:00pm;

and Wednesday, March 16 at 8:00pm

Regular run:  March 18 – April 10, 2022

Ticket prices: $20 - $40

Box Office:  Ticket orders will be processed at steppenwolf.org and in person at Steppenwolf 

   


                

ABOUT DEFINITION THEATRE

Definition Theatre is a culturally diverse theater dedicated to telling language-driven, relationship-oriented, socially relevant stories about and created with underrepresented communities in Chicago. Our ensemble is a collective of artists, art administrators, educators, and designers who prioritize working towards and representing a more equitable theatre industry.

Definition has built its reputation on work that reflects its unique voice. It shared the words of Academy Award- Winner Tarell Alvin McCraney in The Brothers Size; it grooved with Amiri Baraka’s whirlwind story of a chance meeting on a train in Dutchman. In partnership with, The New Colony staged the world premiere of Byhalia, Mississippi, which starred Academy Award nominee ensemble member Kiki Layne. In association with the Goodman Theatre, Definition staged the Chicago premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, a subversive take on race in America that captivated audiences. Most recently, Definition sent us all to the moon with ensemble member James Ijames’s Moon Man Walk, explored the challenges of America’s public-school system through Nilaja Sun’s No Child… and highlighted the first- generation experience in the world premiere of Sam Kebede’s ETHIOPIANAMERICA.

Ensemble members include: Owais Ahmed, Jared Bellot, Carley Cornelius, Ari Craven, Danielle Davis, Martasia Jones, Slick Jorgensen, Kristy Hall, James Ijames, Kiki Layne, Kelson Michael McAuliffe, Neel McNeill, Sophiyaa Nayar, Karyn Oates, Alexandra Oparka, Julian Parker, Tyrone Phillips, Jacqueline Rosas, Christopher Sheard, and Dujon Smith. Artistic Advisory Board members include: director May Adrales, Steppenwolf ensemble member Alana Arenas, actress Shannon Cochran, Erica Daniels, actor Brandon Dirden, actor Jason Dirden, director Pam Mackinnon, Equity Quotient CEO Keryl McCord, professor JW Morrissette, director Ron OJ Parson, professor/lighting designer Kathy Perkins, Tony Award-winning actress and stage director Phylicia Rashad, and Goodman Theatre director in residence Chuck Smith. Tyrone Phillips is the Artistic Director and Neel McNeill is the Executive Director. For additional information, visit definitiontheatre.org and @definitiontheatre on Facebook and Instagram #stayinit

ABOUT STEPPENWOLF’S LOOKOUT SERIES

LookOut is Steppenwolf’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends. Patrick Zakem and Lauren Steinberg are the Producers for the series. For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/lookout. Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater is a flexible and intimate venue connected to Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks at 1700 N Halsted St., an inviting space to grab a drink, have a bite, or meet up with friends and collaborators, day or night.

 


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