Showing posts with label ILESA DUNCAN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ILESA DUNCAN. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

OPENING: Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere Via Lifeline Theatre Through July 15, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Lifeline Theatre Presents 
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere
May 25 – July 15

Opens June 4
Performances with Open Captioning on June 16 and July 13
Performance with Touch Tour and Audio Description on June 24

(L to R) Jose Nateras as Richard and Samantha Newcomb as Door; in Lifeline Theatre’s production of Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere,” adapted by Robert Kauzlaric, directed by Ilesa Duncan. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett.

Running Time: approximately two and a half hours with one intermission. 
The novel will be on sale in the lobby.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we're eager to catch Lifeline's latest, a remount of their 2010 critically acclaimed, award winning hit, Neverwhere. We're also elated that Pegasus Theatre's Executive Artistic Director, Ilesa Duncan is directing. I'll be out for the press opening June 3rd, so check back soon for my full review. This is sure to be one to see. 

Lifeline Theatre presents Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, adapted by ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric and directed by Pegasus Theatre Executive Artistic Director Ilesa Duncan. Kauzlaric’s adaptation of Neverwhere premiered at Lifeline in 2010 and garnered three Non-Equity Jeff Awards (New Adaptation, Scenic Design, and Sound Design). After receiving dozens of productions across the U.S., Canada, England, and Ireland, Neverwhere returns home for the first time, with an entirely new production helmed by Duncan. Richard Mayhew commits an act of kindness on the streets of London and finds himself trapped in a shadow world beneath the city. Lady Door returns home one day to find her family slain and her life upended. Drawn together by fate – and forces more powerful than they can guess – these two must brave countless trials, uncover the truth behind a dark conspiracy, and face the indomitable Great Beast before they can set things right again. Journey to London Below with a rogues’ gallery of liars, outcasts, and assassins, on a treacherous quest to awaken the hero within. 

Neverwhere runs May 25 – July 15 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see below). Opening night is Monday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, May 25 and June 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, May 26 and June 2 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 27 at 4 p.m.)

Regular performance times (June 7 – July 15) are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 for regular single tickets, $30 for active and retired military personnel (with ID), $30 for seniors, $20 for students (with ID), $20 for rush tickets (available half hour before show time, subject to availability), and $20 for previews. Group rate for 12 or more is available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Accessible Performances: The Saturday, June 16, 4 p.m. performance and the Friday, July 13, 7:30 p.m. performance will feature open captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Sunday, June 24, 4 p.m. performance will feature a pre-show touch tour of the set at 2:30 p.m. and live audio description for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For more information about Lifeline’s accessibility services, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Erica Foster at 773.761.4477 x703 or at

The complete cast and production team for Neverwhere includes:

CAST: Guest artists LaQuin Groves (Mr. Vandemar & ensemble), Aneisa Hicks (Hunter & ensemble), Jose Nateras (Richard), Samantha Newcomb (Door), Michaela Petro (Jessica, Anaesthesia & ensemble), Michael Reyes (Islington & ensemble), John Henry Roberts (Mr. Croup & ensemble), Matthew Singleton (Marquis de Carabas & ensemble), and Dave Skvarla (Old Bailey, The Earl & ensemble). With understudies Paul Chakrin, Jennifer Cheung, Kim Fukawa, Gary Henderson, Dakota Hughes, Benjamin Ponce, and Roy Samra.

PRODUCTION TEAM: Lifeline Theatre ensemble members Aly Renee Amidei (Costume Designer), Alan Donahue (Scenic & Properties Designer), Robert Kauzlaric (Adaptor), and Maren Robinson (Dramaturg); with guest artists Becky Bishop (Stage Manager), Ilesa Duncan (Director), Andrew Hansen (Original Music & Sound Designer), Collin Helou (Master Electrician/AV Supervisor), Lavina Jadhwani (Casting Director), Becca Jeffords (Lighting Designer), Michelle Lopez-Rios (Dialect Coach), Liz Larsen (Assistant Stage Manager), Jennifer McClendon (Production Manager), Mike Oleon (Puppet Designer), R&D Choreography (Violence Designers), Joe Schermoly (Technical Director), and Michelle Underwood (Projections Designer).

Lifeline Theatre presents Neverwhere, running May 25 – July 15 at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave. (free parking and shuttle; see
below). Press opening is Sunday, June 3 at 4 p.m. Opening night is Monday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. (Previews are Fridays, May 25 and June 
at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, May 26 and June 2 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 27 at 4 p.m.)

Regular performance times (June 7 – July 15) are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices are $40 for regular single tickets, $30 for active and retired military personnel (with ID), $30 for seniors, $20 for students (with ID), $20 for rush tickets (available half hour before show time, subject to availability), and $20 for previews. Group rate for 12 or more is available upon request. Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Lifeline Theatre is accessible by CTA (Red Line Morse stop/busses) and free parking is available at Sullivan High School (6631 N Bosworth Ave, lot located on Albion Ave. just east of Bosworth) with free shuttle service before and after the show.  Street parking is also available. Lifeline is accessible to wheelchair users and visitors who need to avoid stairs.

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

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

Thursday, March 1, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere of The Green Book Via Pegasus at Chicago Dramatists 3/1/18-4/1/18

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

The Green Book
By Calvin A. Ramsey | March 1-April 1, 2018 | Chicago Dramatists
A co-production with ShPIeL Performing Identity

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Pegasus Theatre in association with ShPIeL Performing Identity for the opening performance this Sunday, March 4th. Check back soon for my full review. I remember how astonished I was to learn of The Green Book, a few years back. As much as I thought I knew of the history of racism in our country, I'd never contemplated the actual logistics of trying to road trip through miles of country where stopping for a bite to eat, gas, lodging or even a bathroom was forbidden, based on skin color or ethnicity. This very topic just came up again on stage at Black Ensemble Theatre in their excellent current production, Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute To Chuck Berry. Like many others, he toured the country in an era where it was illegal for him to stay in the hotels where his shows were selling out. Even famous performers often had to travel miles away to the outskirts of town to find room and board. With states again making noises about legalizing exclusion based on race, religion, and sexual orientation, this play is quite timely. We must know and own our past history as a country, to move forward and not repeat past mistakes. I'm looking forward to catching this one.

Pegasus Theatre Chicago, in association with ShPIeL Performing Identity, announce the Chicago premiere of The Green Book, inspired by Victor Green’s historical, “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” March 1 – April 1 at Pegasus’s resident home Chicago Dramatists, 765 N. Aberdeen. The Green Book is written by Calvin A. Ramsey, and directed by Pegasus’ Producing Artistic Director Ilesa Duncan. Previews are Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. with added Sunday 6 p.m. performances. Tickets are $18 - $30 and are available at Discounts available for groups of ten or more at Group Theater Tix, 312-423-6612. 

Group and student pricing available!

On March 1, Pegasus Theatre Chicago—the recipient of seventy-seven Joseph Jefferson awards— will present  The Green Book by Calvin A. Ramsey. Produced in association with ShPIeL Performing Identity Theatre, tickets are now on sale for the Chicago premiere and the unveiling of a new full-length version.

The play is an homage to the historical travel guide, “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published by Victor Green from 1936 – 1967, and centers on the Davis’, an African-American family who open their home to Negro travelers needing during Jim Crow segregation and the dawn of civil rights activism. The Green Book takes place during a weekend when the Davis’ are hosting three travelers while anticipating the arrival of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. Their plans are interrupted by the sudden, unexpected arrival of a Holocaust survivor seeking a room.

Adult $30 | Seniors $25 | Students $18
Group Rates Available – Call Group Tix at 312.423.6612

About the Production Team
CALVIN A. RAMSEY (Playwright) is an Atlanta-based playwright, photographer, and folk art painter whose plays include Bricktop, The Musical; Damaged Virtues; Canada Lee; Sherman Town, Baseball, Apple Pie and The Klan; Enlightenment; Sister Soldiers; Kentucky Avenue; Somewhere In My Lifetime; Johnny Mercer: A Man and His Music, and The Age of Possibilities. His plays have been performed throughout the United States. Ramsey grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and Roxboro, North Carolina. He is a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award. His children’s books are “The Last Mule of Gee’s Bend” and “Ruth and The Green Book.”

ILESA DUNCAN (Director) is the producing artistic director at Pegasus. Her recent directing work includes SHAKIN’ THE MESS OUTTA MISERY (Jeff Recommended), RUTHERFORD’S TRAVELS (co-adapter, Jeff Nominated), FOR HER AS A PIANO and BLACULA: YOUNG, BLACK & UNDEAD at Pegasus, DARLIN’ with Step Up Productions, BROKEN FENCES at 16th Street Theater, the Jeff Award-nominated NATIVITY with Congo Square, and the Jeff Award-winning JAR THE FLOOR at ETA Creative Arts. Duncan has also worked with Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Lifeline Theater, Stage Left and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio), The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC) and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). Ilesa’s creative nonfiction short stories have been published (Columbia College Chicago), and she’s written poems and screenplays.  For the stage, she was a co-writer and director of BLAKK LOVE: STOEEZ OF A DARKER HUE,  and facilitated the group writing project PORTRAITS (2007) for the Chicago Foundation for Women and the devised project DO YOU SEE WHAT I’M SAYING for Chameleon.

David Y. Chack (ShPIeL/Co-Producer) is Artistic Director of ShPIeL–Performing Identity Theatre in Chicago and the Bunbury-ShPIeL Identity Theatre Project in Louisville. He directed A Jewish Joke by Phil Johnson and Marni Freedman at Victory Garden and Skokie Theatre; and produced The Timekeepers from Israel. He teaches “Holocaust Theatre”; “Jewish-American Performance”; “Identity Theatre” at DePaul University. His doctoral work was under Elie Wiesel at Boston University; MA work at Tufts University in Drama and Holocaust Theatre; BFA from NYU / Circle-in-the-Square Theatre. He has written numerous articles on theatre and advised/curated exhibitions including the first exhibition on “The Yiddish Theatre and New York Theatre” at the Museum of the City of New York. He is also the Executive Director of the Alliance for Jewish Theatre.

Joan Mazzonelli (ShPIeL/Script Dramaturg) has produced, directed, and designed original works in Chicago and New York City.  She has served in leadership roles with City Lit Theater, Griffin Theatre, Midwest New Musicals, Athenaeum Theatre, Theatre Building Chicago, On Stage Productions, Opera Shop at the Vineyard Theatre, and National Shakespeare Company. Her musical books include: Bottom’s Dream with James L. Kurtz, the adaptation for the stage of All in the Laundry by Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Reasonable Terms with Karena Mendoza and Marianne Kallen, and High Fidelity, The Proposal, Dorabella’s Daughters and The Passion of John with Philip Seward, as well as the co-adaptation of Border Crossing with Marianne Kallen.


Dan Davis……………………………………………… Henri Watkins
Barbara Davis…………………………………………Stacie Doublin
Neena Davis……………………………………… Demetra Drayton
Keith Chenault……………………………………… Malcom Banks
Jacob Levinsky……………………………………….Michael Stock
Cpt. George Smith/Samuel……………………… Terence Sims
Jacqueline Smith…………………………………… Quenna Lené


Scenic Design/TD…………………………………….Nick Schwartz
Lighting Design…………………………………………Carley Walker
Costume Design………………………………………….Uriel Gomez
Sound Design…………………………………Devonte Washington
Props Design………………………………………………… Katy Vest
Production Manager…………………….. Noelle Hedges-Goettl
Master Electrician…………………………………………Becs Bartle
Stage Managers………………………………………..Taylor Hobart
……………………………………………………………..Auden Granger

Malcom Banks (Keith Chenault) is a film, television and stage actor.  Recent credits include Jitney at Congo Square Theater.  Film/TV credits include NBC’s Chicago PD and the independent film Side Effects. Malcom also wrote and directed his first film, 7Svens Law, available on Amazon.

Stacie Doublin (Barbara Davis) was recently in Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery with Pegasus Theatre. Other Chicago credits include:  Streetcar Named Desire, The Room, and Diner Tales (Raven Theatre); MacBeth, Twelfth Nite, Taming of the Shrew (Oak Park Festival Theatre); Skin of Our Teeth, Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness (The Artistic Home); Love Child (Live Bait Theatre, Chicago Theatre Company); and Elephant Man (The Side Project). Stacie has also worked with Victory Gardens, Next Theatre and ETA Creative Arts.

Demetra Drayton (Neena Davis) is honored to work with Pegasus Theatre Chicago for the first time! She last performed in ETA Creative Arts’ The Tiger Who Wore White Gloves. Demetra graduated from East Carolina University where she received her BFA in Professional Acting. A few of her credits include Miss Pat, Topsy and Normal Jean in The Colored Museum, Lillian Stride in Migration, Vixen in Dracula with the Loessin Playhouse, The Lady in Orange in For Colored Girls with the Joyner Theatre, A Fury in The Furies with the Loessin Playhouse, Lorraine in All Shook Up with Trumpet in the Land Theatre and many more; she was assistant director for Woman from the Town, Drowsy Chaperone, and Three Penny Opera.

Quenna Lené (Jacqueline Smith) is a Chicago native who received her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch and a Masters in Applied Theatre from the University of Southern California. Recent Chicago credits include: Theatre Unspeakable’s Moon Shot, Cor Theatre’s Late Company, The Runaways Theatre Lab’s Dead Youth, or The Leaks, Pegasus Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival 30, , good friday at Oracle, and a starring role as Dr. Beverly Long in Nikkole Salter’s Lines in the Dust at eta Creative Arts Foundation. 

Terence Sims (Cpt. George Smith) is thrilled to make his Pegasus Theatre debut. Previous credits include Skeleton Crew (U/S Northlight Theatre); Barbecue (Strawdog Theatre); Force Continuum (Eclipse Theater); Monster (Steppenwolf Theatre); Between Riverside and Crazy (u/s, Steppenwolf Theatre); To Kill A Mockingbird (Children’s Theatre Madison); He has studied American Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College in London, and is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Terence is also a member of Kinfolk Collective, an afrofuturist aesthetic tribe of artists & scholars working to rewrite the present and remaster the narrative of the African diaspora.

Michael A. Stock (Jacob Levinsky) has performed extensively in Chicago, regionally, as well as Off-Broadway and in the NYC Indie Theater scene.  Michael is also a playwright, director, teacher, visual artist, and founding artistic director of Sideway Theater.    Piven Alum.  School At Steppenwolf Alum.  Certified Practitioner of Lessac Voice and Body Training.  BS Performance Studies, Northwestern University.  MFA Acting, Theatre School at DePaul University.  Visit Michael A Stock:  

Henri Watkins (Dan Davis) is very excited to be doing his first production with Pegasus Theatre.  Chicago credits include Jitney, Misanthrope, and Waiting for Godot (Court Theatre), CCX for Modofac Productions at Rivendell Theatre, and The Marvin Gaye Story (Black Ensemble Theater).  Regional: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Piano Lesson (Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Sarasota, Florida).  Film credits include Sundance award winners: “Chameleon Street” and “Detroit Unleaded.”

ShPIeL develops and deepens the theatre artist and performance projects through cultural identities and narratives; provides professional networks for theatre and performing art; and is dedicated to creating a transformative community. David Y. Chack is the Producing Artistic Director of ShPIeL, now in its 5th year and a professor in Holocaust Theatre and Jewish Theatre at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Joan Mazzonelli is a co-producer and dramaturg with ShPIeL.

Pegasus Theatre Chicago has been a mainstay in the Chicago theater community for nearly 38 years. Its mission is to produce boldly imaginative theatre, champion new and authentic voices and illuminate the human journey. The theatre adheres to the core values of community engagement, social relevance, boldness, adventure and excellence.

Pegasus is also committed to initiating important conversations through the arts with strong community engagement and socially relevant programming, including the Young Playwrights Festival for high school-age scribes, which celebrated its 31st Anniversary this year. Pegasus Theatre Chicago has received seventy-seven Joseph Jefferson Citations since its inception.

The Green Book Chicago premiere is made possible in part by The Chicago Community Trust and Affiliates. Pegasus Theatre Chicago is also generously supported by the MacArthur Fund at Richard Driehaus Foundation, the Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and a CityArts grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (Rahm Emanuel, Mayor).

The Anti-Defamation League is also a production partner.

Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery
31st Young Playwrights Festival
The Green Book

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