Showing posts with label Christopher Pazdernik. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christopher Pazdernik. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar



For mature audiences only.

Veronica Garza is Jeff nominated for solo performance for her portrayal of Cindy Lou Who in Theater Wit’s 2021 Chicago premiere of Who’s Holiday! by Matthew Lombardo, directed by Christopher Pazdernik. Who’s Holiday! is back for its second season due to popular demand, Nov 25-Dec 30, 2022. 

All Photos: Charles Osgood

Christmas Day is in our grasp.
Why the vodka? Glad you asked!

Theater Wit announces the return of Who’s Holiday!, a hilarious night out with a booze-guzzling, cigarette-smoking, 40-year-old Cindy Lou Who as she recalls the fateful night she met The Grinch, and the sordid events that happened after, November 25-December 30, 2022.

Back by popular demand following its smash hit, Jeff-nominated Chicago debut last holiday season, Theater Wit’s new seasonal comedy Who’s Holiday! is written by Matthew Lombardo, directed by Christopher Pazdernik, and stars Chicago favorite Veronica Garza, now Jeff-nominated for her portrayal last holiday season as an adult Cindy Lou Who.

Veronica Garza, Jeff nominated for her portrayal last holiday season as an adult Cindy Lou Who, returns for Theater Wit's 2022 remount of Who's Holiday!

Who’s Holiday! returns to Theater Wit not without controversy. In 2017, the playwright was locked in a legal battle with Dr. Seuss Enterprises over accusations of copyright infringement, delaying the play’s New York premiere for nearly a year. Ultimately, a U.S. District Court ruled in Lombardo’s favor, citing his depiction of an adult Cindy Lou Who living in a beat-up trailer in the snowy hills of Mount Crumpit as “fair use.” 

Freed of litigious red tape, Who’s Holiday! went on to be hailed “a raunchy riff on Dr. Seuss’s yuletide tale” (New York Times) that “dares to be as tasteless as possible while replicating Seuss’s trademark rhythms” (Time Out New York).

Chicago’s critics lapped up Theater Wit’s 2021 Chicago premiere, too. “Highly Recommended” said the Chicago Reader, with the best pull quote of all, “I loved this show!” agreed “Garza is a comic genius,” adding Who’s Holiday! is “a very funny, often poignant production guided with panache by an excellent director.”

In another apparent holiday miracle, the Jeff Committee’s heart grew three sizes last year, too. The newly announced 2021-22 Equity Jeff Award Nominations included noms for Garza for Best Solo Performer, and for Short Run-Design for Angela Weber Miller’s holiday-festooned, mobile home set. 

Angela Weber Miller’s holiday-festooned, mobile home set for Theater Wit's Who's Holiday! is Jeff-nominated, too. 

Photo: Charles Osgood

Don’t miss this wildly funny, yet heartfelt adults-only romp about the twisted turn of events Cindy Lou Who’s life took after her encounter with a green furry outcast attempting to burgle Whoville of its holiday cheer. 

Tickets to Who’s Holiday! are $24-$50, and are already on sale at or by calling the Theater Wit box office, (773) 975-8150. 

Previews are Friday, November 25 at 7 p.m., Saturday, November 27 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 28 at 3 p.m. Press opening is Monday, November 29 at 7 p.m. 

Regular performances continue Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m.; Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, December 4 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, December 8 at 7 p.m.; Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 10 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 11 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, December 15 at 7 p.m.; Friday, December 16 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 18 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Tuesday, December 20 at 7 p.m.; Wednesday, December 21 at 7 p.m.; Thursday, December 22 at 7 p.m.; Friday, December 23 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; no shows Christmas Eve (December 24) or Christmas Day (December 25); Tuesday, December 27 at 7 p.m.; Wednesday, December 28 at 7 p.m;, Thursday, December 29 at 7 p.m.; and Friday, December 30 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

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 the theater, behind Kubo restaurant, 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. 

And what are the holidays without a bit too much eggnog?

Cindy's Little Helper

Be sure to stop by Theater Wit’s bar for something better, your pick of a Who’s Holiday!-themed seasonal speciality drink like:

Cindy’s Little Helper (Chocolate liquor, Luxardo cherry liqueur, whipped cream and a cherry) - $6

The Grinch (North Shore Gin, Chartreuse, Drambuie, lime) - $12

Whosky Sour (house-infused citrus vodka, Jameson, Plymouth Sloe Gin, lime) - $12

The Snowplow (Peppermint Rumchata, Shipwreck Coconut Rum) - $12

Krampusberry (Koval Cranberry Gin, North Shore Gin, seltzer and a cinnamon stick) - $12

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

Behind the Scenes of Who’s Holiday!

Veronica Garza (Cindy Lou Who, she/her/hers) was last seen at Theatre Wit in Underscore Theatre’s Tonya and Nancy: A Rock Opera. She received a Jeff Award for her role as both Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan's mothers. Other roles include the Deputy in Groundhog Day (Paramount), Roz in 9 to 5 (Firebrand), Sister Amnesia in Nunsense (Milwaukee Rep), Babs in Miracle (Royal George), Prudie in Pump Boys and Dinettes (Theatre at the Center and Timberlake Playhouse), The Homeless Lady in A New Brain (Theo Ubique), Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas (Broadway Playhouse) and the Fortune Teller in Sideshow (Porchlight). 


Christopher Pazdernik (director, any pronouns) made his Theater Wit debut with Who’s Holiday! In Chicago he is best known for three seasons as Artistic Director of Refuge Theatre Project (Jeff Awards, Best Director and Best Production of a Musical, High Fidelity) and a long association with Porchlight Music Theatre, including directing eight Porchlight Revisits productions and three years working in producing, casting and company management. Currently, he is the Managing and Casting Director for Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, where he directed Godspell earlier this season. Also an openly HIV+ artist, Pazdernik is the founder and producer of Belting for Life, an annual benefit concert for Howard Brown Health, and co-captain of Team Option Up! for AIDS Run/Walk Chicago. 

Theater Wit’s Who’s Holiday! design team remains Angela Weber MIller, set; Shelley Strasser, lights; Uriel Gomez, costumes; and Lonnae Hickman, props. Jeremy Wechsler is Artistic Director at Theater Wit.

Matthew Lombardo (playwright, he/him/his) Broadway: High with Kathleen Turner at the Booth Theatre and Looped starring Valerie Harper in a Tony-nominated performance at The Lyceum Theatre. Off-Broadway: Who’s Holiday! (with Lesli Margherita) at the Westside Theatre; Tea at Five (with Kate Mulgrew) at the Promenade Theatre; Mother and Child (with Ann Wedgeworth) at Second Stage; End of the World Party at the 47th Street Theatre (director) and Guilty Innocence at The Actors’ Playhouse. His work has been produced at such prestigious theaters as Hartford Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, American Repertory Theatre, Seattle Rep, Arena Stage, Pasadena Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and others. Television credits include Another World (WGA Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Writing). As a producer, he has presented concerts throughout the country for Broadway legends such as Carol Channing, Patti LuPone, Tommy Tune, Bernadette Peters, Barbara Cook, Billy Porter, Betty Buckley, Andrea McArdle and Faith Prince.

About Theater Wit

Theater Wit, Chicago’s “smart art” theater, is located at 1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview community. Theater Wit 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.

To purchase tickets, a Theater Wit Membership or to inquire about Flex Pass options, visit, send email to, or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre closes its 2021–2022 season with GODSPELL, the Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak beloved and timeless tale of friendship, loyalty, and love, based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. At the helm will be an award-winning creative team including Theo’s Managing Director Christopher Pazdernik (Director), Jenna Schoppe (Choreographer), and Jeremy Ramey (Music Director). GODSPELL will be performed June 10 – July 31. 

One of the most-produced musicals of all-time, GODSPELL’s sung-thru structure offers an eclectic mix of jazz, rock opera, pop, and gospel songs to journey audiences through a meaningful story of connection. Theo Ubique’s adaptation will take inspiration less from the parables of which the show is inspired and instead embrace a more modern thematic line of storytelling.

"As composer Stephen Schwartz has often said, GODSPELL is essentially about community. We look forward to leaning into that theme for our production at Theo, following a group of people who have been 'othered' by society in some way, coming together in their search for shared values and chosen family,” said Director Pazdernik. “This show was originally selected to honor GODSPELL’s 50th Anniversary in 2021 and I am thrilled to be able to still honor that anniversary with our production, albeit delayed. Additionally, the theater will be transformed into an urban park setting, making it the perfect summer destination for joy, togetherness, and of course, that incredible iconic score!" 

The cast offers audiences an inspiring group of emerging Chicago artists including Austin Nelson, Jr. (he/him), Anna Marie Abbate (she/her), Bryce Ancil (he/him), Izzie Jones, (she/her), Nathe Rowbotham (they/them), Alix Rhode (she/her), Laz Estrada (they/them), Matthew Hunter (he/him), Ashley Saul (she/they), Hannah Efsits (she/her), Juan Gonzalez Machain (he/him), Chamya Moody (she/her), Jon Parker Jackson (he/they), and Anna Blanchard (she/her). 

To build the world of the story, Theo welcomes designers Yeaji Kim (she/her; Scenic Designer), Maggie Fulliulove-Nugent (she/her; Lighting Designer), Rueben Echoles (he/him; Costume Designer), Lonnae Hickman (she/her; Properties Designer) and Stefanie Senior (she/her; Sound Designer). The production team also includes Jordan Ratliff (he/him; Assistant Director/Choreographer), Nicholas Reinhardt (he/him; Production Manager) and Kaitlyn Souter (she/her; Stage Manager).

Completing the Theo Ubique experience, Evanston’s La Cocinita, known for their Latin American street food, will be offering a 3-course meal available for an additional $29.00 per person. 

Single tickets for GODSPELL are on sale online or via phone 773-939-4101. Prices are $35.00 for previews June 10 – June 20, and $42.00 - $54.00 for regular performances June 21 – July 31. 



GODSPELL was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden), and it took the world by storm. Led by the international hit, "Day by Day," GODSPELL features a parade of beloved songs, including "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All for the Best,” "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side."

A small group of people help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques and hefty doses of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, is employed as the story of Jesus' life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus' messages of kindness, tolerance and love come vibrantly to life.

Boasting a score with chart topping songs, a book by a visionary playwright (John-Michael Tebelak) and a feature film, GODSPELL is a sensation that continues to resonate with audiences, and has become a staple of theatre companies, large and small.



Christopher Pazdernik (any) Director: Who's Holiday (Theatre Wit), Colors of My Life (CCPA/Roosevelt University), Wonder Women (Chicago Musical Theatre Fest), Big River (Round Barn), Carrie (Ohio Northern University), former Artistic Director of Refuge Theatre Project (Jeff Awards, Best Director & Best Production, High Fidelity), multiple Porchlight Revisits. Casting: Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man (Chicago Premiere), Miracle (World Premiere; Royal George), The Nutcracker (add'l Casting; The House), Porchlight Music Theatre, CPA Theatricals. Currently: Managing & Casting Director for Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, where he directs Godspell this summer. An openly HIV+ artist, Christopher is the founder and producer of Belting for Life, an annual benefit concert for Howard Brown Health, and co-captain of Team Option Up! for AIDS Run/Walk Chicago. 

Jeremy Ramey (He/Him, Resident Music Director) is a concert pianist, conductor and music director based in Chicago. In 2019, Jeremy received his tenth Jeff nomination and sixth Jeff Award for his work on The Bridges of Madison County. He had previously received Jeff awards for The Light in the Piazza, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, RENT, and The Most Happy Fella, all with Theo Ubique. In 2016, he won his second Broadway World Award for Music Direction for his work on Bette: Live at the Continental Baths with the production company Hell in a Handbag. He received his training in piano performance and music at Rhodes College, Northwestern University and The Juilliard School of Music.

Jenna Schoppe (She/Her, Choreographer) Jenna’s previous choreographic endeavors include Yank!: A WWII Love Story (Pride Films and Plays - 2018 Jeff Award for Best Choreography), Nunsense, Call Me Madam, Do Re Mi and The Rink (Porchlight Music Theatre), MAMMA MIA!, (Highland Park Players), Bobbie Clearly(Steep Theatre) and The Producers (Nightblue Performing Arts - Jeff Award Nomination).


Theo Ubique was founded in 1997 by Artistic Director Fred Anzevino. Productions were first staged at the Heartland Studio Theatre, and from 2004 to May 2018, at No Exit Café, where the company began focusing on musicals and revues, reigniting the cabaret theatre trend in Chicago. The company moved to the Howard Street Theatre, a venue owned and developed for Theo Ubique by the City of Evanston, in fall of 2018. Theo Ubique has produced more than 60 shows and won 64 Jeff Awards, having received 154 nominations. The company also earned three After Dark Awards.

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