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Showing posts with label Definition Theatre Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Definition Theatre Company. Show all posts

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.

 


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

OPENING: World Premiere of ETHIOPIANAMERICA Via Definition Theatre Company at Victory Gardens Theater May 10 – June 9, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Definition Theatre Company Presents the World Premiere of
 ETHIOPIANAMERICA
By Sam Kebede, Directed by Sophiyaa Nayar
May 10 – June 9, 2019


I'll be out for the press opening May 14th, so check back soon for my full review. I can't wait to catch Definition Theatre Company's latest production ETHIOPIANAMERICA. When my younger sister was in 1st grade in the mid 70's in Cincinnati, she came home one day and announced she had a new friend in her class, a boy from Ethiopia. We looked up the country on our globe, and found out where they were staying with sponsors till they could get settled, which happened to be on our street! We became close childhood friends with this refugee family of 7 and spent lots of time together over the years. These kids who walked out of their war torn country with nothing grew up to become doctors, lawyers and world travelers, and we are still in touch today.

Interestingly enough, decades later, one of my son's best friends since 7th grade, at Lane Tech College Prep, is also Ethiopian (Eritrean actually), and their family is related to friends and classmates of my kids from their public Montessori elementary school. Small world indeed.

Multicultural dinners with our Ethiopian friends, our Japanese physician friend and his family, and our midwestern American family in 1970's/80's Cincinnati 





Definition Theatre Company opens the world premiere of ETHIOPIANAMERICA by Sam Kebede and directed by Sophiyaa Nayar. ETHIOPIANAMERICA will run from May 10 – June 9, 2019, with a press opening on Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30pm. Definition Theatre Company presents ETHIOPIANAMERICA in the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens as part of its Resident Theater Company program. Tickets for ETHIOPIANAMERICA are on sale and can be purchased online at victorygardens.org or by calling 773.871.3000. Victory Gardens Theater is located at 2433 N Lincoln Avenue.

If the American dream is a privilege, not a right, then Girma and Elizabeth Kifle have truly earned it. After emigrating from Ethiopia to the United States with nothing, the couple is poised to send their eldest son to college. But everything behind Girma and Elizabeth’s white picket fence is not as it appears to be. The ghosts of the life they left in Ethiopia threaten to destroy their American dream before it starts, and the Kifle sons, Jonathan and Daniel, reckon with being American in Ethiopian bodies. In this tense and sharply-drawn family drama, playwright Sam Kebede mines the immigrant experience and asks how far each of us will go to find a place we can call home.

Artistic Director Tyrone Phillips notes, “Definition Theatre continues to add new voices to the American theater cannon. Sam Kebede and Sophiyaa Nayar are incredible first-generation artists that aren’t afraid to ask hard questions. I am elated to conclude Definition’s residency at Victory Gardens with a play as grounded in Definition’s mission and artistic aesthetic as ETHIOPIANAMERICA.”

The cast of ETHIOPIANAMERICA includes Simon Gebremedhin, Gabrielle Lott-Rogers, Freedom Martin and Joseph Primes.

The creative team for ETHIOPIANAMERICA includes Eleanor Kahn (Set Designer), Paul Kim (Costume Designer), Eric Watkins (Lighting Designer), Joshua Wilcox (Sound Designer), Therese Ritchie (Properties Designer), Sana Selemon (Dialect Coach), Rebecca Ross (Production Stage Manager), Ariel Beller (Assistant Stage Manager) Ebony Chuukwu (Assistant Director), Athanasia Giannetos (Dramaturg), Neel McNeill (Production Manager) and Alex Oparka (Assistant Production Manager).

As a first-generation Ethiopian immigrant himself, playwright Sam Kebede explains that the decision to write ETHIOPIANAMERICA was fueled by a lack of Ethiopian representation in American theater. “In my entire life as a theater maker, I've never encountered a play about an Ethiopian family,” notes Kebede. “More than anything, I want Ethiopians and other first-generation immigrants to see themselves in this story. And I want everyone who sees ETHIOPIANAMERICA to know that we are here. Our lives are just as complicated, just as full of hunger, pain, love, joy, and strife as anyone else’s. Our stories are worthy of a place on the American stage.

Director Sophiyaa Nayar was motivated to work on ETHIOPIANAMERICA because the play’s complex characters intrigued her. “Sam has beautifully interwoven the American and Ethiopian experiences to create a family that is painfully relatable,” Nayar elaborates.  “Having been raised in India, I find so much of myself and my experience in America in the intricacies of the Kifle family’s life and I am excited to share that with the audience." 

Featuring: 
Simon Gebremedhin, Gabrielle Lott-Rogers, Freedom Martin, and Joseph Primes.

Creative Team: 
Eleanor Kahn (Set Designer), Paul Kim (Costume Designer), Eric Watkins (Lighting Designer), Joshua Wilcox (Sound Designer), Therese Ritchie (Properties Designer), Sana Selemon (Dialect Coach), Rebecca Ross (Production Stage Manager), Ariel Beller (Assistant Stage Manager) Ebony Chuukwu (Assistant Director), Athanasia Giannetos (Dramaturg), Neel McNeill (Production Manager) and Alex Oparka (Assistant Production Manager).

Location:                     
The Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens (2433 N Lincoln Ave)
Previews: May 10 – 12, 2019, Pay-what-you-can pricing for all preview tickets.

Regular run:                
May 16 – June 9, 2019

Preview ticket prices: Pay-what-you-can

Regular run ticket prices: $15-$25

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, 773.871.3000; www.victorygardens.org

Schedule: 
Thursdays: 8 p.m.
Fridays: 8 p.m.
Saturdays: 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays: 2:30 p.m.



About Definition Theatre Company
Definition Theatre Company is an ensemble-based Chicago theater founded by graduates of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Definition Theatre Company prides itself on leading the way as an anti-racist multicultural organization that gives a voice to underrepresented communities. Our mission is to tell language-driven, relationship-oriented, socially relevant stories.

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; and staged its first world premiere production, Genesis, written by ensemble member Mercedes White and inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic masterwork A Raisin in the Sun. In partnership with, The New Colony staged the world premiere of Byhalia, Mississippi, which starred Academy Award nominee 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 James Ijames’s Moon Man Walk and explored the challenges of America’s public school system through Nilaja Sun’s No Child…

Ensemble members include Owais Ahmed, Carley Cornelius, Martasia Jones, Kiki Layne, Kelson Michael McAuliffe, Julian Parker, Tyrone Phillips, Christopher Sheard and Mercedes White. Artistic Advisory Board members include director May Adrales, Steppenwolf ensemble member Alana Arenas, actress Shannon Cochran, Victory Gardens Theater Managing Director Erica Daniels, actor Brandon Dirden, actor Jason Dirden, Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, director Pam Mackinnon, 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 Managing Director. For additional information, visit definitiontheatre.org and facebook.com/definitiontheatrecompany

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