Showing posts with label FEMINIST COMEDY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FEMINIST COMEDY. Show all posts

Monday, March 11, 2019

OPENING: NEW She the People: The Resistance Continues at Second City

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Revamped She the People Re-Conquers UP Comedy Club at The Second City

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's infamous Second City for the relaunch of The Second City's She The People: The Resistance Continues on March 14th, so check back soon for my full review. She The People is one of my favorite Second City shows to date and I can't wait to see the new material they've added. The women of She the People are breaking ceilings and taking names. If you've heard the old cliche that feminists are humorless, you'll never believe it again. This show is fierce, funny and unapologetically feminist. You'll never look at advertising, pop culture, and dating quite the same way again. Don't miss this! 

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara (AKA: ChiIL Mama) and Chicago artist, Kathy Blankley Roman, ChiILin' at the press opening of Chi, IL's She The People, January 2018.

The Second City’s knockout show She the People: The Resistance Continues is electrifying UP Comedy Club with a refreshed name, updated material, new cast members, and all of its signature witty, empowering bite. The all-female, all-funny show directed by Carly Heffernan welcomes Mary Catherine Curran, Sayjal Joshi, and Kaye Winks who join original cast members Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, and Katie Caussin.

“The Second City has never been lacking for new material, and just like entertainment juggernaut Blue Man Group or the most recent tour of Miss Saigon, art must evolve to stay true and relevant and inspiring to its audience,” said Second City CEO and Executive Producer Andrew Alexander. “People coming back to She the People for the second or third time will be delighted to see that about half of the show is brand new.”

"Our goal is, and always has been, to satirize the woes of being a woman in this wild world while also empowering the audience to take a stand and make real change. The show bounces around everything our writing team knows are hot button topics these days--dating, body positivity, motherhood, and what might prove to be the most important election of our lifetime. It's a call to action bundled up inside a party, and we're all proud to be part of it." says director and head writer Carly Heffernan.

She the People first hit The Second City in September 2017. After its smash run in UP Comedy Club, the show brought its tour-de-female-force to Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, where it earned a Helen Hayes award nomination and became the highest grossing show in the theatre’s history. “It’s a fast-paced, wild ride of a show that throws off sparks,” said MD Theatre Guide. DC Metro called the show “a dip into the often hilariously unbelievable or absurd situations that women– queer women, women of color, plus-sized women– find themselves in on a daily basis, and it does so not just playfully, but with a deep intelligence and purpose that never veers into the pedantic.”

She the People was originally written by Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, Marla Caceres, Katie Caussin, Carly Heffernan, Maria Randazzo, Rashawn Nadine Scott, Tien Tran, Kimberly Michelle Vaughn, and Lauren Walker. Additional material for the re-launched production was written by Carisa Barreca, Alex Bellisle, Katie Caussin, Mary Catherine Curran, Carly Heffernan, Alexis J. Roston, and Kaye Winks.  Other team members include Mary Mahoney (Music Director/Original Music/Sound Designer), Abby Beggs (Lighting Designer), and Jaci Entwisle (Stage Manager).

She the People plays in The Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 West North Avenue). Tickets start at $31.00 and are available by phone at 312-337-3992 or online at

The show schedule is as follows:

Thursdays @ 8:00pm
Fridays @ 8:00pm
Saturdays @ 8:00pm
Sundays @ 7:00pm

About the Artists
CARISA BARRECA (Ensemble/Assistant Director/Choreographer) is thrilled to be a part of She the People. She is an alumna of The Second City's e.t.c. stage, where she wrote and performed in three critically acclaimed revues. She has had the honor of performing at Lyric Opera of Chicago
with Sir Patrick Stewart and Renée Fleming in The Second City's Guide to the Opera, at Goodman Theatre and the Kennedy Center with Twist Your Dickens and wrote and performed in Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City's collaboration The Art of Falling. Follow her @Cinderisa.

ALEX BELLISLE (Ensemble) is thrilled to be working on She the People! A Chicago-based actress and comedian, Alex is one-half of the improv and sketch duo Girlish, which has performed its self-titled show around the country, including at the New York International Fringe Festival. Other credits include The Best of The Second City, Feminine Wilds, PANTS!, No Selfie Control and Just Being Honest. Alex can be seen performing with various improv groups around Chicago, including Gone Gone at The iO Theater.

KATIE CAUSSIN (Ensemble) is originally from Springfield, VA, and received her degree in Theater from Radford University. She has been an actor in Chicago for over 20 years, many of them with The Second City as part of their Touring Company and Theatricals shows. Most recently, she returned from a month-long run of She the People at the Woolly Mammoth Theater in Washington, D.C.  Previously, she appeared as Mrs. Cratchit in Twist Your Dickens at Goodman Theater and toured around the US in The Realish Housewives of (Your City Here). Katie has also performed with Second City for the USO in the Balkans and at both the iO and Annoyance theaters in Chicago. On camera, Katie has appeared in an episode of Chicago Justice on NBC and has been featured on the Onion Network’s Special Report webseries.

MARY CATHERINE CURRAN (Ensemble) is so excited to join this cast of badass women! MC studied Theatre Performance at the University of Maryland and trained at The Second City Conservatory and iO Theater in Chicago. She has improvised, written, performed, and directed shows all over Chicago, at the Annoyance (Steamworks, Bite Size Broadway, Burlesque is More) and iO (Virgin Daiquiri, Lil' Tooties, One Woman Space Jam). MC just finished the debut run of The Second City's Love Factually at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Follow @itismarycatherine on Insta and @yomarycatherine on Twitter for great content.

SAYJAL JOSHI (Ensemble) hails from North Carolina where she earned her BA in theater from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and co-founded Greensboro’s first improv comedy club, The Idiot Box. For sixteen years, she has been writing, performing, and teaching theater, sketch, improv, film, guitar comedy, and stand-up all over the universe. Credits include The Second City e.t.c., the Kennedy Center, Goodman Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Zanie’s Comedy Club, The Laugh Factory, The Second City Touring Company, The Annoyance Theater, iO (formally Improv Olympic), ComedySportz, Laugh Out Loud Theater, and the critically acclaimed Asian-American sketch ensemble Stir-Friday Night. Follow her @SayjalJoshi.

KAYE WINKS (Ensemble) is #blessed to be alongside the fabulous ladles of She the People! Kaye trained with the Moscow Art Theater. She recently performed her hit solo show TOKEN to sold-out audiences at The Second City Training Center and toured it to UCB LA, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, and United Solo Theater Fest In NYC. She is proudly repped by Shirley Hamilton and NV Talent.

CARLY HEFFERNAN (Director/Head Writer) is an award-winning alumna of The Second City
Toronto, where she wrote and performed in four Mainstage revues. She recently co-wrote the hit show The Second City Guide to the Symphony and toured with it across Canada and the United States. She directed the critically acclaimed Second City Toronto Mainstage revue Come What Mayhem!, as well as for The Second City Touring Company and several Norwegian Cruise Line shows. Carly currently writes for Second Jen (City TV), The Irrelevant Show (CBC Radio) and Air Farce Canada 150 special (CBC).

MARY MAHONEY (Music Director/Original Music/Sound Design) is thrilled to be working with the talented women of She the People. Mary has worked as a Musical Director for sketch and improv comedy all over the continent while touring with Second City Theatricals aboard the Norwegian Dawn and with The Second City Touring Company. A former music faculty member of Western Washington University, she is now a proud faculty member at The Second City Training Center.

ABBY BEGGS (Lighting Design) is excited to be joining The Second City on this show. When she's not in the booth at The Second City, she can be found stage managing, directing, and composing music for theater around town. Stage management credits include: L’enfant et les Sortilèges, L’incoronazione di Poppea (Roosevelt University), The Out of Tooners (Off-Color Theatre Company}, Gallo (Guerilla Opera), Blue Window (Brown Box Theatre Project), The Scene, Good People, and Barefoot in the Park (Dorset Theatre Festival), among others.

JACI ENTWISLE (Stage Manager) is excited to return to Second City for She the People, having
previously worked on #DateMe in UP Comedy Club, as well as on stage management teams in
Sonoma (Transcendence Theatre Company), Philadelphia (Quintessence Theatre Group) and
Chicago (Goodman Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theater).

About The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.

Monday, April 23, 2018

OPENING: Midwest Premiere of BULL IN A CHINA SHOP Via About Face Theatre at Theater Wit May 24 - July 1, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

About Face Theatre 
Announces Casting for Midwest Premiere of
By Bryna Turner
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm

May 24 – July 1, 2018 at Theater Wit

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's About Face Theatre for the press opening on May 31st, so check back soon for my full review. I've enjoyed Keira Fromm's directing talent on many recent productions and I'm eager to see AFT's take on this true feminist love story.

About Face Theatre is pleased to announce casting for its Midwest premiere of Bryna Turner’s comedy BULL IN A CHINA SHOP, based on the true story of revolutionary academics and lovers Mary Woolley and Jeanette Marks. 

BULL IN A CHINA SHOP will feature AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins* with Aurora Adichi-Winter, Adithi Chandrashekar, Mary Beth Fisher and Emjoy Gavino.

Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm*, BULL IN A CHINA SHOP will play May 24 – June 30, 2018 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets now on sale at by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. 

BULL IN A CHINA SHOP explores the fascinating lives of Mary Woolley and her partner, Jeanette Marks, two brilliant women who reimagined and revolutionized women's education at the turn of the twentieth century. This fast-moving feminist comedy chronicles the growth of the women's suffrage movement, as well as Mary and Jeanette's romantic relationship. It examines the strength it takes to find your voice, be brave and find yourself less at odds with the world.

“As a queer female director, I'm always excited by plays with gay narratives,” comments director Keira Fromm. “Plays that deal specifically with gay female stories aren't terribly common, so when I came across Bryna Turner's radical play, I was immediately taken with it. Bryna is an incredibly smart and savvy playwright. She has a way of writing words and characters that live in both the past and the present simultaneously. The play honors the past and present so beautifully. Mary and Jeanette's struggle to reform women's education and advocate for the suffrage movement echoes the fights that women still wage today – whether that fight be for equal pay, fair representation or for the protection of women's health initiatives. Ultimately the play is a unique meditation on bravery.”

The cast of About Face Theatre’s Midwest premiere of BULL IN A CHINA SHOP includes (top, l to r) Kelli Simpkins, Aurora Adichi-Winter, Adithi Chandrashekar (bottom, l to r) Mary Beth Fisher and Emjoy Gavino.

The production team for BULL IN A CHINA SHOP includes William Boles (scenic design), Mieka Van Der Ploeg* (costume design), Claire Chrzan (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Jamie Karas (properties design), Helen Lattyak (production stage manager), Andrea Enger (asst. stage manager) and Catherine Allen (production manager).

*Denotes AFT Artistic Associate

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday May 24 at 7:30 pm, Friday May 25 at 7:30 pm, Saturday May 26 at 7:30 pm, Sunday May 27 at 3 pm and Wednesday May 30 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run: Friday, June 1 – Saturday, June 30, 2018
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. 

Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $20-$38. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets now on sale at, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at Theater Wit Box Office.

Artist Biographies
Bryna Turner (Playwright) is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Northern California. Her play Bull in a China Shop recently premiered at LCT3 (directed by Lee Sunday Evans). Her work has been developed with Abingdon Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, Colt Coeur, Ensemble Studio Theatre, LCT3, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers University and Rainbow Theatre Project. Other plays include: Carlo at the Wedding, Lights Over Philo, The Stand-In and How to Separate Your Soul from Your Body (in ten easy steps!). She is an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writer’s Group and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers University.

Keira Fromm (Director) is a Jeff Award-nominated director, a casting director and a teacher based out of Chicago. Favorite recent directing credits include: Significant Other, Bright Half Life and A Kid Like Jake (About Face Theatre), hang (Remy Bumppo), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital of New York City (Route 66 Theatre), The Columnist (American Blues Theater), How the World Began (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), Luce (Next Theatre), Charles Ives Take Me Home (Strawdog), The How and the Why (TimeLine Theatre), Broadsword (Gift Theatre) and Fallow (Steep Theatre). Keira is a proud Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre. She received her MFA from DePaul University and her BFA from Boston University. She is a member of SDC, as well as the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Keira is a frequent guest director at DePaul, as well as Roosevelt University.

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond.

Help Out: Wonka Ball Benefit for About Face Theatre happens Friday May 11th

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:


ChiIL Mama will be out for the press opening on March 20th. I can't wait to catch what's sure to be a humorous, feminist look at the absurd ideals women face in media and in life. And in other great news, not only does this show promise to serve up big laughs, it comes with an immediate side of economic justice!

Single tickets to Women Laughing Alone with Salad are $12-$70.

However, tickets for women to all regular performances will be discounted to match the 79% wage gap between men and women in Illinois.

To illustrate, at the $24 ticket level, male-identifying patrons pay full price, while female-identifying patrons pay only $18.95, corrected for the 79% wage gap.

Theater Wit is tossing up a crisp Chicago premiere of Women Laughing Alone with Salad, Sheila Callaghan’s satirical comedy based on the meta-feminist Internet meme of the same name.

Don’t miss this four-person, satirical, subversive tour-de-force about friendship, salad, sex, bodies, yoga, salad, men, envy, women, pharmaceuticals, diets, salad, uppers and salad. 

Previews of Women Laughing Alone with Salad are March 9-18: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.

Performances run through April 29: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at
3 p.m.

Theater Wit is located at 1229 N. Belmont in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Another great way to secure seats is to sign up for a Theater Wit Membership, an “all the theater you can eat” deal that lets you see as many plays as you want in any of Wit’s three spaces for a low monthly fee of $29/$22 for students, along with many member perks.

To purchase single tickets, a Membership, or to inquire about Flex Passes, visit or call 773.975.8150.

More about Women Laughing Alone with Salad

You’ve seen them a hundred times before. Stock photos of attractive women, sitting alone, enjoying a salad so hilarious they can’t help but explode with laughter and delight.

The proliferation of this absurd cliché caught the attention of the Internet in 2011 after Edith Zimmerman posted the first collection on the feminist blog The Hairpin. Titled “Women Laughing Alone With Salad,” it featured 18 photos illustrating this trend with no accompanying text.

Zimmerman’s post spurred a number of hilarious memes parodying this stereotypical portrayal of women in media, including a tumblr page.

And this play, a fierce, funny, feminist look at the maniacal gauntlet of gender relations and the relentless pursuit of insane ideals. Our heroines are trapped on a treadmill of dysfunctional relationships, warped body image and ludicrous pornography, carving their way through a suffocating, tangled mess. With pointed jabs and razor wit, Women Laughing Alone with Salad disembowels the cosmetic myth of pre-packaged feminine empowerment.

When it debuted at Washington D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre in 2015, playwright Sheila Callaghan, also a writer/producer on the hit Showtime comedy Shameless, told the Washington Post, “Nobody likes salad that much. And the notion that you’re supposed to feel that way – salad will never be that kind of satisfying. No matter how creative you get with salad, it’s still (expletive) lettuce and vegetables, right?”

DC Theatre Scene subsequently hailed Women Laughing Alone with Salad a “fresh, funny play…the poster child for what feminist theatre should be: a great night out on the town watching a slam bam comedy which is also a serious conversation about the society we oh-so-currently live in.”

Salad Days @ Theater Wit:
Behind the scenes of Women Laughing Alone with Salad

Here in Chicago, Devon de Mayo (pictured above) makes her Theater Wit directorial debut with Women Laughing Alone with Salad, fresh from staging the world premiere of The Burn by Philip Dawkins for Steppenwolf Theatre for Young Audiences. Other recent projects include Harvey at Court Theatre, You On the Moors Now by Jaclyn Backhaus for The Hypocrites, the world premiere of Sycamore at Raven Theatre and Don't Look Back/Must Look Back at Pivot Arts.

Wit’s Women Laughing Alone with Salad stars Echaka Agba, Japhet Balaban, Jennifer Engstrom and Daniella Pereira.

Echaka Agba (Meredith/Bruce) was named to the Chicago Tribune’s “Hot New Faces of Chicago Theater, Class of 2017”), and singled out in the 2017 Time Out Chicago Theater Awards for featured performance and breakout performance in Broken Nose Theatre’s At the Table, which also won her the Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actress. Other credits are Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare, United Flight 232, Jeff Award winner for Best Ensemble at House Theatre, and The Crucible and Between Riverside and Crazy at Steppenwolf.

Japhet Balaban (Guy/Alice) was also named to the Chicago Tribune’s “Hot New Faces of Chicago Theater, Class of 2017”), drawing particular attention for his work in Ideation (Jackalope Theatre). Other credits are You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Posh (Steep Theatre), Never The Sinner (Victory Gardens), Balm in Gilead (Griffin Theatre) and Look Back in Anger (Redtwist).

Jennifer Engstrom (Sandy/Guy) is a veteran of regional and Chicago stages and an A Red Orchid Theatre ensemble member, where she performed in The Fastest Clock in The Universe, Eric LaRue, Fatboy, The Hothouse, 3C and The Mutilated (Jeff nomination for Outstanding Actress).

Daniella Pereira (Tori/Joe) was most recently seen in Letters Home (Griffin Theatre), The Taming of the Shrew (Oak Park Festival Theatre) and Cymbeline (Strawdog Theatre Company).

Sheila Callaghan's plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, Yale Rep, South Coast Rep, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre. She received the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from Playwright's Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and the Whiting Award. Her plays have been produced internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Germany, Portugal and the Czech Republic. These include Scab, Crawl Fade to White, Crumble, We Are Not These Hands, Dead City, Lascivious Something, Kate Crackernuts, That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play, Fever/Dream, Everything You Touch, Roadkill Confidential, Elevada and Bed. She is published with and Samuel French, and several of her collections are published with Counterpoint Press. She has taught playwriting at Columbia University, The University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Florida State University and Spalding University. She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of the Obie winning playwright's organization 13P and an alumni of New Dramatists. In 2010, Callaghan was profiled by Marie Claire as one of "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World." She was also named one of Variety’s "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010. Callaghan is a writer/producer on the hit Showtime comedy Shameless and a founder of the feminist activist group The Kilroys. She was nominated for a 2016 Golden Globe for her work on Hulu’s Casual and a 2017 WGA Award for her Shameless episode “I Am A Storm.”

Designers for Women Laughing Alone with Salad are Arnel Sancianco (set), Mieka van der Ploeg (costumes), Heather Gilbert (lights), Shain Longbehn (sound), Joe Burke (projections) Jesse Gaffney (props), Rachel Flesher (intimacy) and Clare Cooney (casting).

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

“A thrilling addition to Chicago’s roster of theaters” (Chicago Tribune) and “a terrific place to see a show” (New City), Theater Wit is now in its eighth season at its home at
1229 N. Belmont Ave., in the heart of the new Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. In 2014, Theater Wit was awarded the National Theatre Award by the American Theatre Wing for strengthening the quality, diversity and dynamism of American theater.

The company’s most recent hits include The Antelope Party by Eric John Meyer, This Way Outta Santaland by Mitchell Fain, 10 Out of 12 and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play by Anne Washburn, Naperville by Mat Smart, The New Sincerity by Alena Smith, Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George, and Completeness and The Four of Us by Itamar Moses.

Visit or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150, to purchase a Membership, inquire about Flex Pass options or to buy single tickets.

To receive an “artisanal selection of consonants and vowels from Theater Wit,” sign up at for exclusive updates, flash deals and behind-the-scenes production scoop every few weeks.

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