Showing posts with label FREE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FREE. Show all posts

Friday, February 3, 2023

FREE With RSVP Kick Off Celebration For Chicago Theatre Week February 13, 2023 at The Den Theatre

League of Chicago Theatres to Host a Free, Public Celebration 

to Kick Off Chicago Theatre Week February 13, 2023 

at The Den Theatre

The League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago, announces a celebratory evening of food, drinks, mingling, and performances to launch Chicago Theatre Week 2023. The event will bring together a community of theatre-makers and theatregoers on Monday, February 13, from 5pm-7:30pm at The Den Theatre, 1331 N Milwaukee in Chicago. The celebration will include a welcome by League of Chicago Theatres Executive Director Marissa Lynn Ford and Chicago’s First Lady Amy Eshleman with performances of select productions featured during Chicago Theatre Week and in celebration of Black History Month.

The kick-off celebration is free and open to the public. Capacity is limited and reservations are required. CLICK HERE TO RSVP. 

Marissa Lynn Ford comments, “Theatre brings people together people across different communities and cultures, and I can’t think of a more fitting launch to Chicago Theatre Week than gathering people from across the city to celebrate theatre, dance and comedy in Chicago together. This first-ever public event welcomes everyone as we celebrate one of the best theatre cities in the world.”

Performances at the event will include selections from:

Broadway in Bronzeville’s

Queens of Policy

by the Harold Washington Cultural Center

written and directed by Jimalita Tilman


Definition Theatre Company’s

Alaiyo, a black American love poem

by Micah Ariel Watson, directed by McKenzie Chinn

performed by Felicia Oduh & Patrick Newson Jr.


Invictus Theatre Company’s

The Mountaintop

by Katori Hall, directed by Aaron Reese Boseman

performed by Mikha’el Amin & Ny’ajai Ellison


Mercury Theater Chicago’s

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

by Lanie Robertson, directed by Christopher Chase Carter and Alexis J. Roston

performed by Alexis J. Roston


About Chicago Theatre Week

Chicago Theatre Week (#CTW23) will take place February 16-26, 2023, and is an annual celebration of the rich tradition of theatre-going in Chicago during which visitors and residents can access value-priced tickets. Chicago Theatre Week is a program of the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago.

The value-priced CTW tickets will be $30, $15, or less and are on sale at

Currently, more than 70 productions are participating, offering value-priced tickets to productions throughout the city and suburbs. The program continues to bring in new audiences to area theatres with an average of 2/3 of attendees visiting their chosen theatre for the first time. Despite the pandemic, in February 2022 more than 10,500 value-priced tickets were sold to over 60 participating shows and almost 400 individual performances. Chicago Theatre Week, a program of the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago, will take place February 16-26, 2023. 

“Theatre at its root is about sharing stories. Every experience whether you are seeing a show for the first time or the 100th is completely unique in the way it’s told, the reaction from the audience, the actors on stage, the interpretation of the director, and the person you choose to share that moment with,” said League of Chicago Theatres Executive Director Marissa Lynn Ford. “Chicago Theatre Week gives you the opportunity to experience multiple stories and participate in this unique experience across the city. There is a story for everybody on our stages.”

“Nothing can replace the experience of a live show, and Chicago Theatre Week is the perfect time to explore some of Chicago’s incredible productions,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “We are proud to partner with the League of Chicago Theatres to present this exciting celebration of Chicago’s unique and vibrant theatre scene.”

Chicago Theatre Week is presented by the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago. Subscribe to the Theatre Week email newsletter for updates and announcements.

The official hashtag for Chicago Theatre Week 2023 is #CTW23.


About Chicago theatre 

Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 6 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. For more information, visit #ChiTheatre

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement

Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.


About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Follow @choosechicago on Facebook, 

Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and tag #ChicaGOandKNOW. For more information, visit

Tuesday, June 14, 2022



The fight for women’s rights is ON, and Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre is going on offense. 

The Flower and The Fury by Alexa Juanita Jordan, directed by Artemisia founder and artistic director Julie Proudfoot, has been substituted for the previously announced Roe v US.

Jordan is an award-winning New York playwright making her Artemisia debut with The Flower and The Fury. She is a fiercely feminist writer with a provocative new work that follows three pregnant women as they contemplate abortion.

While Jessica swiftly and resolutely comes to the decision to terminate her pregnancy alone, Kennedy and Rachel both wrestle with their choices in individual yet similar circumstances. Throughout the play, the women’s interactions with each other, their partners, and the nurse at the abortion clinic, greatly impact their decisions and futures. The main action takes place during a brief stretch of time, at most a few weeks, before jumping 10 years ahead in the last three scenes, showing where the women end up. 

Reading times are 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 14-16, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 17. Each reading will be followed by a dedicated talkback to inspire compassion and social justice for women. Jordan, the playwright, will be in Chicago to lead the talkbacks on Thursday, July 14, and Sunday, July 17. Admission is free (excluding a $1.50 processing fee.) Reserve now at

Filament Theatre is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood, on the first floor of the Portage Arts Lofts building.

Filament is accessible via the Irving Park exit on 90/94. Turn west on Irving Park Ave. and at the six corners turn slight right onto Milwaukee Ave. Filament is on the right across from the Portage Theatre.

Metered street parking is available in front of the theater. Street parking is free on Sundays. Additional parking is available at the Laporte Ave. Public Parking Lot one block west of the theater via West Cuyler Ave.

Public transit: Take the Blue Line to Irving Park and transfer to the Irving Park Bus (#80) headed west. Get off at Cicero and Milwaukee. A Divvy station is also located across the street from Filament on West Cuyler Ave. For more information, including local dining options, go to

For more information, visit or follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

The Flower and The Fury: Meet the playwright

Alexa Juanita Jordan is a playwright and actor based in New York City. She received her B.A. in Drama at Vassar College, and a Classical Acting Diploma at the London Academy of Performing Arts (LAMDA.) Her newest work, The Flower and The Fury, was recently named a semifinalist (35 out of 655 submissions) in the Premiere Stages Play Festival this past spring. A monologue from the play will also appear in Smith and Kraus’ “Best Women’s Monologues 2022” later this year.

Jordan has written multiple full length and one-act plays about mental health, the grey area of the #metoo movement, reproductive justice, and the COVID-19 pandemic. She was awarded the Marilyn Swartz Six Playwriting Award in 2017 for her first play, Fine, at Vassar College. She then went on to receive her first New York Times review in 2018 for her performance in There’s Blood at the Wedding at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club.

In addition to writing and acting, Jordan serves as the executive director of the Juanita James Memorial Scholarship Foundation (JJMSF), in memory of her late grandmother. JJMSF provides mentoring and financial support to college-bound students from the Bronx housing projects. She is also on the board at CultureHub, a global art and technology community born out of decades of collaborating between La MaMa and The Seoul Institute of the Arts. For more, visit

The fight for women’s rights continues this fall with Julie Proudfoot’s Title X


In the fall, Artemisia follows up The Flower and The Fury with the world premiere docudrama Title X by Artemisia’s founder, Julie Proudfoot.

Title X documents the fight for abortion rights in America from 1978 to now. The play is told through the lens of eight radically different female characters: A 17-year-old wrestles with her choices under Title X. The director of a women’s clinic defends her patient’s right to reproductive justice. A member of Operation Rescue protests in front of an abortion clinic. An asylum officer interviews detainees, victims of the refugee crisis, at the Texas-Mexico border. A woman in her twenties confronts haunting memories of sexual harassment by her professor during a visit to her former college campus. A conservative congresswoman urges her pro-life supporters to fight the battle for the unborn with Christian love. A survivor of sexual assault reclaims her life after taking her boss to trial for rape. A lesbian exposes her complicated but loving relationship with her partner, who died of AIDS. In the end, the 17-year-old, now a mature woman, discovers the empowering life lessons she has learned.

“I wrote Title X over the course of a year while sheltering at home, while Trump was succeeding in reverse funding under Title 10 via coercion tactics," said Proudfoot, who will also direct. "It exposes the way the system works against women and keeps women from having autonomy and agency.”

Title X debuts November 25-December 18, 2022 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. First preview and press opening is Friday, November 25 at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through December 18: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale September 9 via Theater Wit’s box office, or (773) 975-8150. 

About Artemisia Theatre

Artemisia Gentileschi was a great feminist painter, forgotten by history. Now, she’s celebrated as the greatest female artist prior to the modern period. It shows why women’s stories are important. They change our perspective, on the past, the present and the future.

That’s why Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre was founded, to share women’s untold stories. Since 2011, Artemisia has enriched Chicago’s culture by taking creative risks, achieving artistic excellence, and engaging the audience directly to inspire compassion and social justice for women. Through its celebrated productions of classic and all-new feminist plays, its past Fall Fest of staged readings, and its current virtual works, and upcoming world premieres, Artemisia creates career-altering opportunities for African American, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA), Caucasian and LGBTQ theater artists.

Artemisia’s leadership team is 100 percent women, because “women still struggle to find a place where they can share their stories and be their true selves as artists,” said board president E. Faye Butler. “That’s what I love about Artemisia. It’s a sisterhood of leaders, who empower women as writers, directors, performers. A place where women can bring their fire, passion and lived experience and share true stories from their perspective.”

 Artemisia Board President E. Faye Butler

Artemisia Theatre is a recent recipient of a Chi Biz Strong Grant and is also supported by the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, Arts Work Fund, DDT Law Group, Echo Limousine, Fox Pest Control, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Rebellious Magazine for Women and Salvi Schostok & Pritchard Trial Lawyers.

For more, visit

Sunday, May 22, 2022

FREE Concert: Denise La Grassa Returns to Phyllis' Musical Inn on 5/27

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Denise La Grassa 

Brings Her Soulful Blues to

Wicker Park’s Phyllis’ Musical Inn on

Friday, May 27, 8:30 p.m. 

Also Chronicling 2022 with “North of 40” Film

Critically acclaimed Chicagoland singer, songwriter and keyboardist Denise La Grassa will perform soulful blues originals and choice covers with bandmates John Kregor (guitar), Steve Manns (bass), and John Sergel (drums).

La Grassa is also documenting her 2022 dream of returning to Europe to perform with her new band and bluesy sound that will culminate with the film “North of 40.”

Videos for La Grassa’s latest songs, including the anthemic, soulful “Wide Eyes Wide High,” and the rocking blues “Amen to Happiness” are available at

WHEN/           Friday, May 27, 2022, 8:30 p.m. 

WHERE/         Phyllis’ Musical Inn, 1800 W. Division, Chicago, IL, 60622

TICKETS:       FREE, 773-486-9862

Denise La Grassa’s blend of blues, soul, and R&B and sophisticated yet melodic songwriting has been compared favorably with The Tedeschi-Trucks Band. She cites inspiration from R.L Burnside, Aretha Franklin, The Allman Brothers, Mavis Staples, Otis Redding, and Charlie Parker. La Grassa first played Europe in the 1990s, making stops in Scotland and Germany to support her original one-woman musical “Bite.”  

La Grassa released her first live CD Rockin’ in the Castle Theater in September 2019 to join her 2016 bluesy coming out The Blues Ain’t A Color, and the critically acclaimed April Dreams. 


Robert Rodi, Newcity, said, “She’s certainly got improvisatory chops; but she’s also sufficiently a woman of her time to pull in influences as diverse as funk and folk. And her compelling contralto owes more to Grace Slick than Sarah Vaughan.” 

Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times, said, “An impressive but never showy range, a self-assured conversational delivery that brings to mind a jazzier Aimee Mann.” 

Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune, said, “Poet-Preacher-Polemicist … brilliantly unconventional …  singular triumph.”

John Ziegler, Duluth News-Tribune, said “A serendipitous pop flavor … sultry voice and pithy compositional abilities.” 

John Kregor received a B.A. in composition at the University of Texas, and is a prized member of Chicago's jazz community. He has played in groups led by Jim Gailloreto, Rob Clearfield, Matt Ulery, and currently plays with Patricia Barber every Monday at the Green Mill when Barber is not touring the U.S. and Europe. Kregor also played on Barber’s critically acclaimed 2013 Blue Note Records album Smash.    

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

FREE Streaming: Misalliance Repertory’s Radio Play Production of James M. Barrie’s THE NEW WORD

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  

By James M. Barrie
Directed by Barbara Zahora

No charge - a gift to our supporters. (Donations gladly accepted)
Open ended
In The New Word, an ordinary British family gathers after dinner on the eve of their son's departure for service in World War I. At once poignant and hilarious, it features a family caught up in global events that will change their lives. 

Misalliance Repertory’s radio play production of James M. Barrie’s THE NEW WORD is now streaming 

Veterans of ShawChicago follow their acclaimed THE MUSIC CURE with a comedy-drama set in WWI era Britain, by the author of PETER PAN

Misalliance  Repertory Theatre, the company founded in 2020 by members of the former ShawChicago ensemble, has added a second audio play to their repertoire: James M. Barrie’s THE NEW WORD. Barrie’s 1915 play takes place on the night before a young man is leaving to join the army in WWI. It’s the last chance for a family to come together with some kind of understanding before the son leaves, possibly never to return. It is one of Barrie’s typically intimate and sympathetic studies of the tender commonplaces of daily domestic life, juxtaposed against the historic events of one of the deadliest conflicts in history.
Barrie’s 30-minute play is a short, but subtly insightful slice of life observing the impact of war on one family. The war has been underway for a year and 19-year-old Roger Torrance is about to assume his duties as a Second Lieutenant in the conflict. His rank of “Second Lieutenant” is “the new word” of the title. His father John Torrance says, “Till the other day we were so little of a military nation that most of us didn't know there were 2nd Lieutenants. And now, in thousands of homes we feel that there is nothing else. 2nd Lieutenant! It is like a new word to us.”
The play also explores the tensions in father-son and mother-son relationships of the period: how it was more acceptable for mothers and sons than for father and sons to express affection for each other. As Roger prepares to leave for the war, father and son re-evaluate that societal constraint, with John wryly observing, “We have, as it were, signed a compact, Roger, never to let on that we care for each other. As gentlemen we must stick to it.” Audiences will recognize the Barrie of PETER PAN in THE NEW WORD’s reflections on the nature of boys becoming men.

THE NEW WORD will be directed by Barbara Zahora 

Artistic Director of Oak Park Festival Theatre, and Professor and Co-Director of Acting at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Zahora appeared frequently in productions at ShawChicago, where some of her favorite roles included Catherine in ARMS AND THE MAN, Hesione in HEARTBREAK HOUSE, the title roles in MAJOR BARBARA and CANDIDA, Maud and Carlotta in COWARD IN TWO KEYS, Nora in John Bull’s OTHER ISLAND, and Maggie in WHAT EVERY WOMAN KNOWS.

Richard Henzel, a veteran actor who appeared often with ShawChicago and other Chicago venues appears as the father, John Torrance. Henzel has performed his solo show, MARK TWAIN IN PERSON, throughout the U.S. 

Misalliance Artistic Director Mary Michell, a core member of ShawChicago, plays the wife and mother Ellen Torrance.

Roger, the son going off to war is played by Austyn Williamson, who has appeared in THE TEMPEST with Oak Park Festival Theatre and HENRY V for First Folio Theatre. Additionally, he was an understudy in RABBIT SUMMER at Redtwist Theatre) and in HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF at Victory Gardens Theatre. 

Appearing as Roger’s Sister Emma is Pricilla Torres, whose recent credits include Georgie in SPIKE HEELS (The Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol), Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET (The Shakespeare Project of Chicago), Anne Bullen and Others in UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY for Oklahoma Shakespeare, where she also appeared in HENRY VIII.

The production team for THE NEW WORD also includes George Zahora (Sound Designer, recorded at Narwhal Studios Chicago), Daniel Millhouse (Managing Director and Production Coordinator), and Tom Bachtell (Graphic Design).


Formed by former members of ShawChicago Theatre Company, which delighted Chicago audiences for 25 years, Misalliance Repertory Theatre is a group of artists collaborating to bring you the works of George Bernard Shaw and his literary kindred: hilarious and provocative plays, rooted in social commentary. As we explore these plays with our audiences, we hope to start a conversation about the kind of world we want to live in.
Additional information on the company is available at

Thursday, June 24, 2021

FREE: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Streaming World Premiere of Greener Grass June 24-27, 2021

Greener Grass Streaming Free with RSVP

photo credit: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s (HSDC) Season 43: A Virtual Homecoming will conclude with the world premiere of Greener Grass, a full-company work choreographed and directed by former HSDC company dancer Jie-Hung Connie Shiau and featuring original music and composition by Jerome Begin and videography and editing by Kevin Michael Briggs. 

Shiau sites the seed of this work as witnessing the establishment of..."re-education camps," referred to by some as concentration camps, to forcibly contain Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other traditionally Muslim minority groups in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Zone. From her perspective, the insufficient effort and failure by world leaders to recognize and condemn this violent act leads to the necessity of the piece. Her hope for this work is to raise awareness of this humanitarian crisis. 

“As a Taiwanese woman who grew up seeing her own country constantly dismissed and silenced on the international stage due to pressure from the Chinese government, I am inspired to speak out against the Chinese government’s current efforts to silence and erase the Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims' cultural identity,” says Shiau. “Of course, I will never be able to fully understand the pain of the Uyghurs and Kazakhs, but I'd like to use my voice as an artist to draw attention to these issues and encourage people to take action.”

Greener Grass will premiere on June 24, 2021 at 7:30pm and will have additional screenings on June 26 at 7:30pm and June 27 at 2pm. The performance will be live streamed on Vimeo and will include a post-show Q&A. Admission is free, find out more and register at  Registration opens June 11. 


Jie-Hung Connie Shiau was born in Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A., and raised in Tainan, Taiwan. She moved to the United States to further her dance education and pursue a professional dance career at the age of 18. She received her BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Shiau has worked as a collaborator with an array of companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion, Gallim Dance, Helen Simoneau Danse, MeenMoves, Adam Barruch Dance, and The Kevin Wynn Collection. She has performed works by

Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Lou Conte, Brian Brooks, Peter Chu, Robyn Mineko

Williams, Alejandro Cerrudo, Helen Simoneau, Sameena Mitta, Rena Butler, Alice

Klock, Osnel Delgado, and Adam Barruch. During her time with Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion, she assisted Abraham on the Untitled America creation process on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, she also restaged Abraham’s works on numerous schools such as SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, Point Park University, Cornish College, Rutgers University, Princeton University, Queensborough Community College, and Booker T Washington Visual and Performing Arts High School.   

In addition, Shiau was a recipient of Chicago Dancemaker Forum Greenhouse Artist in 2019, New Choreographer Project in Taipei, Taiwan in 2019, Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” in 2018, Honorable Mention for Jadin Wong Award for Emerging Asian American Dancer in 2014, and Reverb Dance Festival Dancer Award in 2014. 


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s mission is to bring artists, art and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate and change lives through the experience of dance. HSDC is committed to keeping its dancers creating and finding innovative ways to share exceptional contemporary dance with the community. Now under the artistic direction  of Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago grew out of the Lou Conte Dance Studio in 1977, and Conte served as Artistic Director for 23 years. Hubbard Street offers extensive Education and Adaptive Dance Programs to ensure that residents in every neighborhood of Chicago have access to the benefits ofdance. Visit for more information. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar



Black Lives, Black Words International Project, in partnership with Goodman Theatre and Artistic Directors of the Future, is proud to announce the festival line-up for “I AM…FEST: A Celebration of Women of Color in Arts, Activism and Leadership.” Curated by Black Lives, Black Words Co-founders Reginald Edmund and Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway, “I AM…FEST” is a first-of-its-kind international festival that shines a spotlights on female voices across the globe through three days of innovative and inspiring events. “I AM…FEST: A Celebration of Women of Color in Arts, Activism and Leadership” takes place at Goodman Theatre (170 North Dearborn), April 27 – 29. 

Admission for many events are FREE (first come, first served reservations required); reservations and tickets ($10 – 25) for the 10-minute play showcase on Monday, April 29, which includes The Interrogation of Sandra Bland can be purchased at

"It felt fitting that this year's program celebrated women of color that are artists, activists and leaders in a bold and historic way, proactively opening the door for the discussion revolving around the arts about equity through our programming” said Reginald Edmund, Black Lives Black Words International Project Co-Founder and Managing Curating Producer. “Every program in this festival is entirely led by, produced by, directed and written and facilitated by women of color. Our hope is to encourage art organizations large and small across the globe to provide more artistic and decision-making opportunities to women of color both onstage and off-stage."

“It has been a joy to shape and design the festival and program some of the most talented women of color artists, leaders and activists to take part in this international celebration of voices, minds and experiences. I hope that this festival will continue to inspire as many people who encounter it and ignite a new approach to art, activism as well as increase the personal libraries and awareness of the richness of talent that exists within our community both locally and internationally,” said Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway, Co-Founder of Black Lives Black Words International Project and Executive Director and Creative Producer. “I am honored to be directing 100 Women of Color on the Goodman’s stage for the U.S. premiere of The Interrogation of Sandra Bland. At a time where we desperately need solidarity, healing and hope, this closing performance will not only pay homage to Sandra Bland and the many female victims of police brutality, but will showcase the strength that we possess when we come together to stand up to social and political injustice.”

Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls added “We are proud to host I AM... Fest, a fantastically ambitious event that will serve activists and artists alike as it culminates in an Owen Theatre performance that highlights Black artistry, locally and globally. Reginald Edmund and Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway's work as leaders of Black Lives, Black Words has produced what I think will be a momentous occasion for Chicago's theater community and the city at large.”

*all events take place at Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn); unless otherwise noted


Film Screening | The Feeling of Being Watched
3 – 5pm

In the Arab-American suburban Chicago neighborhood where director Assia Boundaoui grew up, most of her neighbors think they have been under surveillance for over a decade. While investigating their experiences, Boundaoui uncovers FBI documents that prove her hometown was the subject of one of the largest pre-9/11 counterterrorism investigations ever conducted in the U.S.--code-named "Operation Vulgar Betrayal." With unprecedented access, The Feeling of Being Watched weaves the personal and the political as it follows the filmmaker's examination of why her community fell under blanket government surveillance. Assia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago who has reported for the BBC, NPR, PRI, Al Jazeera, VICE and CNN. Her debut short film about hijabi hair salons for the HBO Lenny documentary series premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her feature length debut, The Feeling of Being Watched, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Workshop | Making the Artivist 
3 - 4:15pm

Hosted by Red Clay Dance Company, Making the Artivist trains community-minded participants in the practice of “Artivism,” which helps participants discover, develop and use their artistic voice to become a change agent in their community. Through movement and storytelling, participants begin to understand their identity, agency and power within societal frameworks and systems. Red Clay Dance Company lives to awaken “glocal” change through creating, performing and teaching dances of the African Diaspora–change that transforms cultural and socio-economic inequities in the local and global community.

Workshop | Surviving the Mic: Brave Space Making
4:30 - 6:30pm

What began as a 10-week workshop series for spoken word artists who identified as black, female and survivors of sexual violence, “Surviving the Mic” evolved into a groundbreaking survivor-led open mic and workshop series, led by Nikki Patin. Brave Space Making highlights the differences between holding safe space and brave space, “Surviving the Mic” community agreements, the impact of the series on the 2018 National Poetry Slam, and a discussion about how to center survivors and their work. Featured in The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, HBO's Def Poetry Jam and on international television and radio, multidisciplinary artist Nikki Patin has been writing, performing and educating for almost 15 years. She has performed at EXPO Chicago, the National Black Theater in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Black Artists Retreat, Arie Crown Theater, UIC Pavilion and many other spaces throughout the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.

Reading | Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress (United States), directed by Lili-Anne Brown
7 – 9pm | VIP reception to follow

Broadway, 1957. An integrated theater company gathers to rehearse a new play—the one they hope will be the next big hit on the Great White Way. Against the backdrop of misperceptions and stereotypes within the company, veteran actress Wiletta Mayer grapples with the choice between an once-in-a-lifetime chance to play the lead role in a Broadway show, and the cost of compromising her principles. Trouble in Mind is a groundbreaking backstage story of egos and attitudes, and an insightful look at who we are and who we want to be. American novelist/playwright/actress Alice Childress (1916-1994) described her work as "attempt(ing) to interpret the 'ordinary' because they are not ordinary. Each human is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice. We are uncommonly and marvelously intricate in thought and action, our problems are most complex and, too often, silently borne." Childress formed an off-Broadway union for actors, and her paper archive is at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY.


Film Screening | Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed
12:30 – 2pm

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm, a brilliant black congresswoman from Brooklyn, became the first woman to boldly bid for the presidency--and demand that the body politic represent all Americans. Shola Lynch is an award-winning American filmmaker best known for the feature documentary, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners and the Peabody Award winning documentary, Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed.

Workshop | Playwriting as Activism
Led by Mojisola Adebayo
11am – 12 Noon

Led by UK-based Playwright Mojisola Adebayo, who transcribed Sandra Bland's arrest to create The Interrogation of Sandra Bland which will premiere during the closing of the “I AM…FEST,” her bespoke workshop, inspired by her expertise in Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, will provide participants with a tangible insight into how best to use their voice and writing talent to create activist-driven artistic work. Adebayo is one of the UK's most prolific activist playwright and will share her experience of the impact that her work has had on her personal life, career and audiences across the world.

Panel Discussion | Women Leaders of Color
12:30 – 2pm

Some of the most inspiring Black Female Artistic Leaders within the Chicago Art Community gather to share their journey, experiences, challenges and successes. This panel discussion will provide audiences with an insight into leadership as well as, provide tips and advice on how best to reach goals and achieve a sustainable trajectory in the arts industry.   

Reading | So What’s New? by Fatima Dike (South Africa), directed by Andrea Dymond
3 – 5pm | Panel discussion to follow

So What’s New? is a domestic South African comedy about four township women who work in and outside of the legal system. While revolution brews outside, the women watch soap operas, and their private lives acting as an increasingly powerful counterpoint to the forces of darkness at work beyond their garden wall.

Reading | Chiaroscuro by Jackie Kay (United Kingdom), directed by Kemati Porter
7 – 9pm | Panel discussion to follow

‘If you’re white, you’re alright, if you’re brown stick around, if you’re black stay back’. Beth and Opal are a couple, and Aisha and Yomi are very close friends. Aisha hosts a dinner--and as more wine gets poured, discussions get heated. The definition of “chiaroscuro” is “the treatment of light and shade in a drawing or painting.” Centering on four women of color (mixed race, Asian decent and black), Chiaroscuro explores issues around shadism, loss of the mother tongue and homosexuality within the black community.


Black Lives Black Words International Project– 10-minute Play Showcase and The Interrogation of Sandra Bland

- Jezelle the Gazelle by Dominique Morrisseau, directed by Patrese McClain
- Yet to Be by Nambi E. Kelley, directed by Chika Ike
- #SuiteReality by TS Hawkins, directed by Nicole Michelle Haskins
- Revolt.Ing by Lisa Langford, Directed by Sydney Chatman
- Principles of Cartography by Winsome Pinnock, Directed by Veronda Carey
- His Life Matters by Yolanda Mercy, Directed by Melanie Thompson
- I Am Woman by Loy Webb, Directed by Am'Ber Montgomery

In addition to the 10-minute play showcase, the festival will conclude with the U.S. premiere of The Interrogation of Sandra Bland, by Mojisola Adebayo, directed by Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway.

“The Interrogation of Sandra Bland, performed by 100 women of color, is a righteous uprising and a solemn requiem; both testimony and witnessing, theatre art and activism, a memorial imagined through the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Playwright Mojisola Adebayo. “All 100 women speak the words of Sandra Bland, together, recalling the arrest that lead to her death in police custody. In this moment she is an ‘everyblackwoman’. We elevate her status and all those who have faced such racist atrocities, through the amplification of the voice, a magnification of the struggle.”


Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway (Founder and CEO of Artistic Directors of the Future ( and Co-founder, Executive Producer and Creative Director at Black Lives, Black Words International Project), has been listed three consecutive years in the Stage Top 100 Power List and last year was named in the London Evening Standard The Progress 1000: London's most influential people 2018 - Performance: Theatre. She is also the Founder/CEO of Beyond The Canon (, former troubleshooter and Manager of the National Theatre's Black Play Archive, Editor of the first monologue anthology for Black Plays inspired by black British Plays: The Oberon Book of Monologues for Black Actors: Classical and Contemporary Speeches from Black British Plays which was followed by a second monologue anthology published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama: Audition Speeches for Black, South Asian and Middle Eastern Actors, interim Associate Producer at Theatre Royal Stratford East and former Trustee at the Directors Guild of Great Britain and Company of Angels Theatre Company. She also worked nationally and internationally as a theatre director, producer, dramaturg, teacher/guest lecturer, audience development consultant. Hodge-Dallaway is currently a member of the editorial team for the Backpages Selection of the Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge/UK). 

Reginald Edmund (Co-Founder and Managing Curating Producer for Black Lives Black Words International Project) is a Resident Playwright at Tamasha Theatre in London, England and an Alumni Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists Theatre, an Artistic Associate at Pegasus Theatre-Chicago, and an Artistic Patriot at Merrimack Repertory Theatre and a ‘10-‘11 Many Voice Fellow with the Playwrights’ Center. His play Southbridge was runner up for the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry and Rosa Parks National Playwriting Awards, and most recently named winner of the Southern Playwrights’ Competition, the Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best New Play, and the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. His nine play series titled The City of the Bayou Collection, which includes Southbridge, Juneteenth Street, The Last Cadillac, and All the Dying Voices were developed at esteemed theaters including Pegasus Theatre-Chicago, Deluxe Theatre, Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Bush Theatre (UK), Boston Court @ Theatre, the Landing Theatre, the Playwrights’ Center, and The National Theatre (UK). Edmund received his BFA in Theatre-Performance from Texas Southern University and his MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University. 


Black Lives, Black Words is an international initiative that provides local creatives with an artistic platform across various art forms to respond to social injustices that impact on underrepresented communities, in particular- people of color and women. BLBW uniquely merges arts and activism to empower artists of color and women to view themselves as leaders, global citizens and ambassadors for change. By working in partnership with leading theatres, culturally diverse organizations and academia, BLBW has provided opportunities to artists and leaders from a wide range of ages, ethnicities, experiences and socio-economic backgrounds. Since its inception in 2015, our work has spread both nationally and internationally through forging strong relationships with organizations, such as; The Guthrie (Minneapolis), Buddies in Bad Times (Canada), Obsidian Theatre (Canada), Victory Gardens (Chicago), Bush Theatre (London), Black Ensemble (Chicago), as well as academia, including; Rose Bruford (London), Northwestern University (Chicago) and Western Michigan (Kalamazoo). Black Lives, Black Words International Project premiered at the Greenhouse Theatre in Chicago in 2015 and was heralded as “It’s a hopeful performance that comes from a place of love and optimism” by The Resident Magazine (UK).


AMERICA’S “BEST REGIONAL THEATRE” (Time magazine), Goodman Theatre is a premier not-for-profit organization distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and civic 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 (celebrated revivals include Falls’ productions of Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh). Goodman Theatre artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards, over 160 Jeff Awards and many more accolades. In addition, the Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle;” and its annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, which recently marked its 41st production, has created a new generation of theatergoers. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production partner with local off-Loop theaters and national and international companies by providing financial support or physical space for a variety of artistic endeavors.

Committed to three core values of Quality, Diversity and Community, the Goodman proactively makes inclusion the fabric of the institution and develops education and community engagement programs that support arts as education. This practice uses the process of artistic creation to inspire and empower youth, lifelong learners and audiences to find and/or enhance their voices, stories and abilities. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of such programming, most offered free of charge, and has vastly expanded the theater’s ability to touch the lives of Chicagoland citizens (with 85% of youth participants coming from underserved communities) since its 2016 opening.

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 of the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Brian Dennehy, Rebecca Gilman, Henry Godinez, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor, Henry Wishcamper and Mary Zimmerman. David W. Fox, Jr. is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Denise Stefan Ginascol is Women’s Board President and Megan McCarthy Hayes is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

Friday, December 7, 2018



Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (BTE), the professional Equity company in residence at the McAninch Arts Center, hosts a “Give Stories Life” Friendraiser benefit BTE at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., on the campus of College of DuPage, Dec. 14, 6-8 p.m.

This event will serve as an opportunity for the public to learn more about BTE and join members of the BTE Ensemble and Board as they celebrate BTE’s joining of the Glen Ellyn Chamber, and acknowledge Dr. Donald G. Westlake’s enduring support of the company. This event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested but not required. To RSVP or for more information email

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a reception featuring light refreshments and beverages. A ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 6:30 p.m. to mark BTE’s inaugural year with the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce. The evening will also provide a quick look back via trailers of moments from some of BTE's recent productions and, at 7 p.m., a program by Dr. Donald G.  Westlake, featuring some of his memoirs, including regarding BTE. The evening will conclude with a look at the scenic build in process for BTE’s next production, “Defiance” by John Patrick Shanley, directed by BTE Ensemble Member, Kurt Naebig (Jan. 31-March 3) and a backstage tour.

“Don has seen all of our productions, since BTE's inception, and has been a strong advocate for us, always, including our 2016 return to our residence at the MAC. We would not be who and where we are without his enduring support,” BTE Artistic Director Connie Canaday Howard.

Westlake, currently a resident of Wheaton, grew up in Elburn Ill. and received his B.S. in Ed. from Northern Illinois University. He was a mathematics and physical education teacher in his home town before becoming an analytical chemist at Argonne and, then, in the U.S. Army. He received his Ph.D. in Metallurgy from Iowa State University before returning to Argonne in 1959. Dr. Westlake retired in 1984 as a Senior Scientist in the Materials Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory. As an author he has written two books co-authored with his late wife Helen Gum Westlake, plus a book of poetry, “Elburn: Forty-four Miles to Chicago,” which received the Studs Terkel Award from the Illinois Humanities Council. His stories can be heard on the podcast “Reflections from the Cloud.”

Buffalo Theatre Ensemble

The mission of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble is to provide a forum in which artists, scholars, writers, students and community members explore new ideas and provocative issues through the production of high-quality theater for the enjoyment of its audiences. Since 1986 BTE has staged more than 117 productions. For more information about BTE visit

BTE thanks the DuPage Foundation for their generous support in the reinstatement and continued operation of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble. BTE also thanks the Norm Woodel Inspiration Fund for its assistance in the rebirth and further development of Buffalo Theatre Ensemble.

2018-2019 shows include Chicago Premiere of “The Dingdong, or How the French Kiss,” a new adaptation by Mark Shanahan from “Le Dindon” by Georges Feydeau (Sept. 6-Oct.7); “Defiance” by John Patrick Shanley, directed by BTE Ensemble Member, Kurt Naebig (Jan. 31-March 3) and “Miracle on South Division Street” by Tom Dudzick, directed by Steve Scott (May 2-June 2). For tickets or more information, visit or call 630.942.4000.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

REVIEW: Red Theater Chicago's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity Through August 10th

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

FREE Remount of Red Theater Chicago's 
Award Winning Production
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
5 Performances Only! 

All Production Photos Via Red Theater Chicago

Tuesday night, my son, Dugan and I made the trek from Chicago's northwest side down to 7059 S. South Shore Dr. My son was particularly excited to see the show, since he had worked on productions at Actors Gymnasium with several involved with the show, and Alejandro Tey had directed a couple AG youth circus shows both of my teens were in. 

Parking was plentiful and it was easy to find the elegantly retro, south side gem, The South Shore Cultural Center. I'd been there decades ago for their jazz fest and on a wedding location scout with a friend, but I'd forgotten the opulent chandeliers and solarium. It was like walking into another world. 

 South Shore Cultural Center Photos by B. Kenaz-Mara 

Then we entered the theatre, and it was like walking into another universe. A wrestling platform, ringed with risers full of seats, dominated an arena with loud music playing, and a palpable excitement among the fans filing in. A lone wrestler, Alejandro Tey, begins to warm up and runs through his paces, bouncing off the walls, practicing impressive acro moves, and crashing to the mat with thunderous reverberations. 

A wall full of screens comes to life with vivid wrestling promo videos and character intros, and we're off. This fast paced production is full of award winning stage combat, stunning choreography, and non stop excitement. The action is impressive and the characters colorful, but what really elevates The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is the depth and insight this show brings. The production is a microcosm of the world of marketing racism, fear and stereotypes for profit and entertainment. This is a searing look at capitalism, complicity, ego, and the chasm between minority reality and scripted drivel for profit. It's easy to see how Kyle Encinas won the 2018 Jeff Award for Fight Choreography for this production. Truly impressive work!

Alejandro Tey breaks down the 4th wall with his monologues directly to the audience, in a phenomenal performance that's as thought provoking as it is physical. Kristoffer Diaz's writing is spot on and the entire cast brings his words vividly to life and slams them home. Chad Deity provides a terrifically timely and much needed springboard for conversations around how our society falsely elevates some and crushes many, without regard for actual talent or skill. When this extends to entire socioeconomic classes and/or races or religions, we have a huge problem that needs to be acknowledged and fixed. I highly recommend catching this excellent production.

Tuesday, August 7 at 7pm 
Wednesday, August 8 at 7pm 
Thursday, August 9 at 2pm 
Thursday, August 9 at 7pm 
Friday, August 10 at 7pm
South Shore Center

Robeson Theater, South Shore Cultural Center 
7059 S. South Shore Dr. 
Chicago, IL 60649

Tickets are FREE. Secure yours now!
Click here or call 312.742.7994

Red Theater Chicago's Jeff Award-winning production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity will receive a limited remount as part of the 2018 Theater on the Lake Summer Theater Festival. Written by Kristoffer Diaz and directed by company member Jeremy Aluma, performances will take place August 7-10, 2018 at The South Shore Cultural Center.

What people are saying about The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity: 

* 2017 Top 10 Best Off-Loop Productions – Chicago Tribune

* 3.5 STARS “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity shows exquisite staying power.” – Chicago Tribune 

* “Aluma’s production is, quite simply, all-inclusive & terrifically breathtaking.” – Chicago Theatre Review 

* “Aluma’s direction sizzles and his cast of actor/wrestlers are all outstanding.” – Third Coast Review

* 2017 Best Revival of a Play Nomination – Broadway World

Kyle Encinas won the 2018 Jeff Award for Fight Choreography for his work with The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, and Alejandro Tey (Mace) was nominated for Performer in a Principle Role. Don't miss this rare opportunity to check out the show that the Tribune said delivers a power slam!

How does one pursue the "American Dream" in a country that refuses to offer opportunity indiscriminately? That is the question at the heart of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, an American satire set in the professional entertainment wrestling world. We follow Macedonio Guerra, an excellent Puerto Rican wrestler, as he rises from the bottom of the pecking order. In this interactive physical comedy, Mace talks directly to the audience as fans in his arena. The play dissects race, xenophobia, ego, and our moral compass - topics even more relevant now than when it premiered nine years ago.

Alejandro Tey as MACE, Harsh Gagoomal as VP, Breon Arzell as CHAD DEITY, Frank Stasio as EKO, Will Snyder as THE BAD GUY, and Dave Honigman as REFEREE.

Stage Manager: Jamie Crothers 
Costume Designer: Hailey Rakowiecki 
Lighting Designer: Charles Blunt 
Sound Designer: Sarah D. Espinoza 
Technical Director & Set Designer: Becca Venable 
Projection Designer: Alberto Mendoza and Matt Hooks 
Fight Choreographer: Kyle Encinas 
Props Designer: Kat Moraros 
Assistant Director: Nathan Speckman 
Dramaturg: Joseph Galizia 
Associate Producer: Rory Jobst

ABOUT RED THEATER: Red Theater is a Jeff Award-winning company that asks dangerous questions, striving to deliver productions that go beyond entertainment, challenging an audience to interpret the themes and ideas presented on a personal level. Since 2008, our commitment to accessibility through every stage of the creative process also lowers the barriers of access, allowing all audiences to see new and reimagined works that broaden perspectives and inspire dialogue.

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