Showing posts with label Chicago theatre news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago theatre news. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Haven Theatre Announces New Artistic Director and Managing Director

Haven Theatre announces the appointment of Ian Damont Martin as the company’s new Artistic Director and Angela Salinas as its Managing Director. Martin, who previously served as Associate Artistic Director, succeeds Josh Sobel, who has helmed the company as AD since August 2014. Sobel, who has been accepted into the MFA Directing Program at California Institute of the Arts, will serve as Associate Artistic Director through the season’s end and will remain active with Haven as an Artistic Associate thereafter. Salinas, who previously worked as General/Production Manager, succeeds Executive Director Carol Cohen, who will now serve as Haven’s Board President.

PHOTO CREDIT: (left to right) Haven Theatre’s new Artistic Director Ian Damont Martin and new Managing Director Angela Salinas.

Comments Ian Damont Martin, “I am thrilled to be taking the reins of Artistic Director of Haven, joining a small but powerful network of arts and culture leaders of color. I look forward to stewarding the continued growth of the company, building on the remarkable foundation laid by my predecessor, Josh Sobel, and the whole Haven family. Haven’s mission is Next Generation, New Canon, Social Profit. I look forward to further realizing that mission. I look forward to the future of Haven and to the opportunity to help define the future of the American theatre.”

Managing Director Angela Salinas adds, “For the past two years since being a part of Haven, I truly have grown into someone that I never knew was possible. Both professionally and personally I am better because of this company, predominantly because of the culture that embodies it. There is no place like Haven. No place I have found such a feeling of home and security, yet the freedom to create change in my community. No place that celebrates more of who I am, where I’ve come from, and the type of leader I want to be. I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity given to me, especially from Carol Cohen, who believed in me, and trusted me fully to lead her company that I can only dream to be a part of.”

Outgoing Artistic Director Josh Sobel comments, “I am grateful to those who laid the foundation for this company, and in particular Carol Cohen, for empowering me to build upon that foundation in a way that was intensely personal to me. Haven has been a passion project, one rooted firmly in a belief in the power of the Event and a faith in the next generation of our industry, and I am so deeply proud of what we have achieved here over the past several years. In selecting Ian as the next Artistic Director, Haven is investing in the vision of someone with deeply held values, an exhilarating creative point of view, and a Future-oriented mentality to what we make, how we make it and why. I am overjoyed that he will be joined by Managing Director Angela Salinas, whose contributions to the health, growth and development of this company since joining Haven are simply incalculable. Working with them on this transition process has been a journey of inspiration, of shared beliefs and new ideas, and of a commitment to fostering the Future within Haven. I look forward to the continued evolution of this company.


Ian Damont Martin is a theatre/filmmaker currently based in Chicago. He leverages his experience as an artist, arts administrator, and facilitator to build transformative spaces for positive change. Alongside Haven, Ian is the Program Manager of Enrich Chicago, a non-profit that works to realize anti-racism and racial equity in the Chicago arts community. Ian has worked with a number of arts and cultural institutions in varying capacities, including Goodman Theatre, where he completed an Artistic Producing Apprenticeship funded by the Joyce Foundation. Ian has also worked with Middle Coast Film Festival, Sideshow Theatre Company, The Gift Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, The DuSable Museum, the National Society of Arts and Letters, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Midsommer Flight, Bloomington Playwrights Project, Youth Theatre Journal, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati. He received his BA in theatre and drama from Indiana University and his diploma in drama from the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, OH.

Angela Salinas moved to Chicago in 2017 for the prestigious, year-long Production Management Apprenticeship at the Goodman Theatre. Before then she had previously worked in several regional theaters including: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and Cal Shakes. Later that same year, Angela joined Haven Theatre serving as the Assistant Production Manager for that season's Director’s Haven.  In January 2018, she was hired on as Haven’s General/Production Manager, and finally as of January 2019, Angela officially took the reigns as the full-time Managing Director of Haven. She couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities Haven has given to her, especially Carol, Josh, and Krista. Angela wishes to thank her parents first and foremost for the unconditional support, and to her chosen family in Chicago who continue to inspire and give strength to persevere as a woman of color in this industry.

During his tenure as Artistic Director, Josh Sobel oversaw the re-articulation of Haven's mission and vision, and from that foundation curated the production of eight world, U.S. and area premieres in five seasons, earning praise and recognition from the Jeff Awards, Time Out Theater Awards and Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists Awards as well as common appearances amongst the "Best Of The Year" listings in the Chicago Tribune and Newcity Stage, among others. Haven's hit production of Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die (directed by Sobel) was invited to be remounted as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company's LookOut Series in their 1700 venue and sold out its engagement. In 2015, Sobel founded the Director's Haven program, now entering its fifth year and recently featured online in American Theatre Magazine, with a focus on providing institutionally supported creative opportunities for directors at the very earliest moments of their careers. In 2016, Haven partnered with The Den Theatre to build out a new accessible venue, which became Haven's resident space and is named for renowned opera director (and Sobel's aunt) Janet Bookspan. Most recently Sobel has overseen a doubling of the company's staff (including Haven's first full-time Managing Director), facilitated Haven's first producing partnership with an outside organization (with About Face Theatre on The Total Bent), and in January of 2019 was named alongside Carol Cohen as one of Newcity Stage's "50 Players Who Perform for Chicago" in recognition of their accomplishments at Haven. 

About Haven Theatre

We exist to be a Haven for The Future. We achieve this through championing the next generation of playwrights, directors and actors by producing and promoting plays and performances that are staking their claim as the immediate future of this art form, and by investing in those at the very beginning of their professional journeys. Through this inspiration, we seek to ignite in each audience member a hope for the Future - the Future of theatre and performance, the Future of each other, the Future of our community.

To support Haven Theatre, please visit

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

THEATRE NEWS: Kokandy Productions’ Producing Artistic Director Allison Hendrix To Step Down

Kokandy Productions announced today that Allison Hendrix will step down as the company’s Producing Artistic Director. Hendrix has served as PAD since the company was founded in 2010. Kokandy will launch a search for a new Producing Artistic Director this week.

Allison Hendrix is stepping down from her role at Kokandy to pursue her yoga career. 
(Popio Stumpf Photography)

Under Hendrix’s leadership, Kokandy has presented 13 musicals and numerous staged musical readings, establishing the company as a leader in the growth and visibility of storefront musical theatre in Chicago. During her tenure, Kokandy has earned over 40 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, including four wins, and gained national recognition in publications such as American Theatre and The Sondheim Review. Hendrix’s credits with Kokandy include music direction for The Great American Trailer Park Musical, The Last Five Years and Bonnie and Clyde; direction of Loving Repeating and Little Fish; and acting in The Last Five Years and Assassins. 

Board President Scot Kokandy comments, “I can’t believe it was six years ago this summer that we produced our first musical and since have produced a total of 13 shows. Allison has been a great influence on Kokandy Productions from the very beginning and the company wouldn’t be what it is today without her. I want to thank Allison for her time, talent and contributions in the various roles she served over the last six years. Allison will remain on the board of directors and the board and I will be posting the position of Producing Artistic Director this week."

Adds Hendrix, “Working with Scot and so many of Chicago’s exceptionally talented actors and musicians has been one of the formative experiences of my lifetime. I’ve grown as a human and an artist, in ways I could never have expected. As so many storefront theatre makers know, the work is demanding and time-consuming, and I’ve reached a place where I need to take my energy and focus into my personal life and yoga teaching career.”

About Kokandy Productions
Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago's non-Equity musical theater community.

For additional information, visit

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lifeline Theatre's Long-Time Artistic Director Dorothy Milne To Transition Out Of Leadership Position


Dorothy Milne. Photo credit: Carolyn Panknin

There's big news from one of our favorites in the Chicago theatre world today. Slow change is in the works for Lifeline's leadership as a search will commence for their next Artistic Director, over the coming year, with Dorothy Milne staying at the helm through the transition. She's one of a kind, but we're excited to see what's next for Lifeline, and Milne has vowed to stay involved with the company, while passing the torch (and the long hours) on to another.

As Lifeline Theatre continues its 35th season, long-time Artistic Director Dorothy Milne has announced she will transition out of her leadership role during the coming year. “I love my job and I won't be leaving Lifeline,” Milne said. “I will still be an active ensemble member and volunteer. But I'm over 60 years old and I look forward to spending more time away from a desk. 

“Lifeline will conduct a search that invites both internal and external candidates to apply,” Milne continued. “The successful candidate would become a Lifeline ensemble member, if they are not already, and would engage in our ensemble development process. This is not a traditional AD role: we are a true collective, deciding all artistic programming for the season as an ensemble. The ideal candidate is both a creative force and someone who finds passion in mentoring, creating opportunity for others, growing Lifeline's family, engaging our community partners, and actively collaborating with Lifeline's ensemble, board, and staff.”

The search for Milne’s successor will take place over the coming months. The search committee includes members of Lifeline’s Board of Directors, artistic ensemble, and staff. Lifeline hopes to have a successor in place by the end of the current season, but Milne will transition out of her role on a schedule that best suits the new hire and the organization.

Milne joined the Lifeline Artistic Ensemble in 1992 and was chosen as artistic director in 1999, following the departure of founding Producing Director Meryl Friedman. During Milne’s 19-year tenure, the organization has grown dramatically, increasing its annual operating budget from just over $300K to just under $1M. Along the way, Milne has directed 22 shows at Lifeline, produced 116 plays, curated eight outings of the Fillet of Solo live lit/storytelling festival (runs January 12-28), served on the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest planning committee for 16 years, and acted as a fierce ambassador for Lifeline and the Glenwood Avenue Arts District across the community.

“To try to measure the impact that Dorothy has had over the past 19 years is an impossible task,” Managing Director Allison Cain said. “Through her leadership, creative guidance, and dedication, she has not only transformed Lifeline but our neighborhood and theatrical community. I have been so honored to work by her side for the past nine years, and will miss her beyond words. I’m also thankful for the flexible transition timeline she has proposed as it will allow us to be thoughtful in finding the right person to take up the mantle as we move into our next 35 years.”

The remaining shows in the 2017-2018 season:
Click links for our prior coverage & Montauciel Takes Flight ticket giveaway.

The 21st Annual Fillet of Solo Festival
January 12–28, 2018
Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.) and Heartland Studio (7016 N. Glenwood Ave.)
Full Schedule:
Tickets: $10 per performance; Festival Pass: $50 

Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline brings together a dozen storytelling collectives and numerous solo performers for a three-week, multi-venue selection of powerful personal stories.

Full details, including participant information, locations and scheduling, for the 2018 Fillet of Solo Festival can be found at

Solo participants include Lily Be, Ada Cheng, Shelby Marie Edwards, Julie Ganey, Carly Jo Geer, R.C. Riley and Jameson Wentworth.

Participating storytelling collectives include Around the World: Immigrant Stories, GayCo, GeNarrations, the kates, The Lifeline Storytelling Project, Sappho’s Salon, Serving the Sentence, Stir Friday Night, The Stoop, Sweat Girls, Tellin’ Tales Theatre, and You’re Being Ridiculous.

Montauciel Takes Flight
World Premiere
A new musical inspired by historical events
Book by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member James E. Grote
Music & Lyrics by Russell J. Coutinho
Directed by Aileen McGroddy

January 13–February 18, 2018

Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., 773.761.4477,

All tickets: $15

Previews: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. 

Press Opening: Sunday, Jan. 14 at 1 p.m. Regular Run: Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Anna Karenina
World Premiere
Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy
Adapted by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Jessica Wright Buha
Directed by Lifeline Theatre ensemble member Amanda Link

February 16–April 8, 2018

Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., 773.761.4477,

Regular tickets $40; preview tickets $20

Previews: Fridays, Feb. 16 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Feb. 17 and 24 at 8 p.m.; Sundays, Feb. 18 and 25 at 4 p.m. 

Press Opening: Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. (press also invited to final preview on Feb. 25 at 

4 p.m.) 

Regular Run: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 4 p.m.

Now in its 35th season, Lifeline Theatre is driven by a passion for story. Our ensemble process supports writers in the development of literary adaptations and new work, and our theatrical and educational programs foster a lifelong engagement with literature and the arts. A cultural anchor of Rogers Park, we are committed to deepening our connection to an ever-growing family of artists and audiences, both near and far. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close.

Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by Alphawood Foundation; A.R.T League Inc.; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Chicago CityArts, a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; The Grover Hermann Foundation; The Michael and Mona Heath Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; Illinois Humanities Council; Lagunitas Brewing Co. Community Grant Program; MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The PAV Grant Fund; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Poubelle Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of Renaissance Charitable Foundation; Rogers Park Social; The Saints; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

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