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Showing posts with label Kokandy Productions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kokandy Productions. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2019

REVIEW: Kokandy Productions Head Over Heels Now Extended through September 8, 2019 at Theater Wit

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Kokandy Productions Presents the Chicago Premiere of Hit Musical
HEAD OVER HEELS
Songs by The Go-Go’s
Based on The Arcadia by Sir Phillip Sidney
Conceived & Original Book by Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder
Co-Directed by Derek Van Barham & Elizabeth Swanson
Music Direction by Kyra Leigh
Choreography by Breon Arzell

(left to right) Roy Samra, Caitlyn Cerza, Marco Tzunux, Jeremiah Alsop, Tiffany T. Taylor, Deanalís Resto, Caitlin Dobbins, Bridget Adams-King and Britain Gebhardt in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

EXTENDED!
Extended through September 8, 2019 
at Theater Wit
 Two added weeks of performances!

Review
by bonnie kenaz-mara

When I walked into HEAD OVER HEELS, 80's music blared amid colored lights, and the audience was already singing along, dancing in their seats and grinning in anticipation. The festive, party atmosphere was palpable and the good vibes were contagious. With catchy, familiar songs by The Go-Go’s and a surreal plot based on a prose romance work from the 16th century, HEAD OVER HEELS is a visual feast and hella fun. This convoluted and far fetched plot could have easily devolved into campy chaos, but Kokandy's delightfully diverse cast keeps the audience enthralled as they bring this tale to life on stageParker Guidry is a particular standout. They have charisma and stage presence to spare and they're one to watch. I've seen Parker in other productions, and this kid is going places. Liz Norton and Jeremiah Alsop were also a delight to see in action.



(left to right) Parker Guidry, Caitlyn Cerza and Jeremiah Alsop in Kokandy Productions’Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.


(front, l to r) Liz Norton, Jeremiah Alsop and Caitlyn Cerza with (back, l to r) Frankie Leo Bennett, Shane Roberie, Kaimana Neil, Marco Tzunux, Tiffany T. Taylor and Roy Samra in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.


Kudos to Kokandy for pushing the boundaries with a compelling range of ethnicities, ages, genders, shapes and sizes in this talented cast.

(front right) Liz Norton with the cast of Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Breon Arzell killed it with the choreography. And though the costumes, props and set are shoestring chic, with a solid thrift store aesthetic, they don't detract from this imaginative and highly entertaining romp. 


(center) Parker Guidry and the cast of in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.


HEAD OVER HEELS is one of summer's must see shows. Don't miss this! Extended and highly recommended. 


Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly).




(left to right) Bridget Adams-King, Deanalís Resto, Shane Roberie and Parker Guidry inKokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Kokandy Productions is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of the bold new musical comedy HEAD OVER HEELS, featuring songs by The Go-Go’s, based on The Arcadia by Sir Phillip Sidney, conceived and original book by Jeff Whitty and adapted by James Magruder. Making its Chicago debut just six months after concluding its Broadway run, HEAD OVER HEELS is co-directed by Kokandy’s new Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham (he/him/his) and Elizabeth Swanson (she/her/hers/they/them/theirs), with music direction by Kyra Leigh (she/her/hers) and choreography by Breon Arzell (he/him/his). HEAD OVER HEELS will play July 1 – August 25, 2019 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office.

The cast includes Bridget Adams-King (she/her/hers), Jeremiah Alsop (he/him/his), Emily Barnash(she/her/hers), Frankie Leo Bennett (he/him/his), Caitlyn Cerza (she/her/hers), Caitlin Dobbins (she/her/hers), Britain Gebhardt (she/her/hers), Connor Giles (he/him/his), Parker Guidry (they/them/theirs), Kaimana Neil(he/him/his), Liz Norton (she/her/hers), Deanalís Resto (she/her/hers/they/them/theirs), Shane Roberie (he/him/his), Roy Samra (he/him/his), Tiffany T. Taylor (she/her/hers) and Marco Tzunux (he/him/his)

Swings:Courtney Dane Mize (she/her/hers) and Patrick O’Keefe (he/him/his).


(front left) Liz Norton with the cast of Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

From the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q and Spring Awakening, HEAD OVER HEELS is a laugh-out-loud love story is set to the music of the iconic 1980’s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, featuring the hit songs, “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.”

A hilarious, exuberant celebration of love, HEAD OVER HEELS follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction – only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts.

Comments Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham, “A celebratory pop musical about self-love and acceptance? I can’t imagine a better way to spend the summer!  Whether you’re looking for escape or sanctuary, the world of Head Over Heels has something for everyone. There’s a universal journey of self-discovery at the pulse of this show, and I am so proud to be able to share it with Chicago!”

The production team includes Chris Rhoton (scenic design), Uriel Gomez (costume design) G. “Max” Maxin IV(lighting design), Mike Patrick (sound design) Adam Borchers (props design), Sarah Scanlon (intimacy design),Kate Booth (fight choreography), Nicholas Reinhart (production manager), Johnnie Schleyer (technical director),Abby Letscher (master electrician), Patrick O’Brien (sound engineer), Emily Boyd (scenic painter), Hannah Cremin (stage manager) and Rachel Caffey (assistant stage manager).

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Monday, July 1 at 7 pm, Tuesday, July 2 at 7 pm, Wednesday, July 3 at 7 pm and Friday, July 5 at 8 pm
Press performance: Saturday, July 6 at 8 pm
Regular run: Sunday, July 7 – Sunday, August 25, 2019
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Saturday, July 27 at 3 pm, Wednesday, July 31 at 8 pm, Saturday, August 10 at 3 pm, Wednesday, August 14 at 8 pm, Wednesday, August 21 at 8pm and Saturday, August 24 at 3 pm.
Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $40. Students/seniors $35. Tickets are available at www.kokandyproductions.comby calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office.

Rush tickets: Kokandy Productions will partner with TodayTix to offer $15 mobile Rush tickets beginning at 9 am each performance day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the TodayTix app.


(left to right) Caitlyn Cerza, Tiffany T. Taylor, Bridget Adams-King, Kaimana Neil, Liz Norton, Shane Roberie, Marco Tzunux and Frankie Leo Bennett in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

About the Artists

Derek Van Barham (Co-Director) is the Producing Artistic Director of Kokandy Productions, and a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. He previously served as Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays. For PFP, he directed Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination), and (co-directing) PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert. Choreography credits include The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier and BITE (PFP), all Black Button Eyes productions, and Salonathon. Other directing credits includeThe View Upstairs (Circle Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Boho) and Miracle! by Dan Savage and Skooby Don't! (Hell in a Handbag). He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing Chicago's LGBTQ+ community.

Elizabeth Swanson (Co-Director) is a Chicago-based theater director. Recent credits include I Know My Own Heart (Pride Films & Plays), Hildegard: A New Musical (With a Machete Productions), Where All the White Sneakers At? (Second City) and Lungs (Granary Theatre, Cork, Ireland). Assistant directing credits include Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Vardo for the Dublin Theatre Festival (Anu Productions). Elizabeth has also directed for Stage 773’s Artists Lab, as well as festival shows and readings with About Face Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Theater Marathon, The New Colony and Waltzing Mechanics, among others. Elizabeth holds an MFA from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at the University of Dublin. elizabethswansondirector.com

Kyra Leigh (Music Director) is active as both a musician and actor. She’s composed and performed for the prestigious Stewart Ostrow Musical Theatre Lab, Prop Thtr, and released a full length album, “Transfigure.” She’s acted with the Jeff Award-winning Theo Ubique, The National Pastime Theatre, and is making her debut with Pride Films & Plays. She’s performed as a solo artist at venues such at Mary's Attic, Park West, The Abbey Pub and Davenport’s. She also directs shows at the Chicago School of Rock and is an active church musician with North Shore Baptist. She is a passionate advocate for trans visibility in the worlds of pop music, classical music and theatre. She is currently represented by DDO Artists.

Breon Arzell (Choreographer) Most commonly known as an actor, Arzell's breakout, and award-winning, premiere as a Chicago choreographer came with Oracle Productions' The Hairy Ape. The Detroit native received his first training while at Miami University. In Chicago, he has worked as a dancer, choreographer and instructor at Joel Hall Dancers & Center, Porchlight Music Theatre, Vagabond School and The Goodman Theatre (for their Musical Theater Program). Developing his own style of dance (hip-hop, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary and body percussion) and storytelling, movement credits include: We Are Proud to Present (Steppenwolf Theatre), Poseidon!(Hell in a Handbag), The Total Bent (Haven Theatre/About Face), Rightlynd, The House That Will Not Stand(Victory Gardens Theater), Night Runner, Wig Out (DePaul University); Julius Caesar (Writers Theatre), Marie Christine  (BoHo Theatre), The Wiz  (Kokandy), Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre), and more. His talents have allowed him to work all across the U.S., Canada, England, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Singapore and Malaysia.

(left to right) Bridget Adams-King and Caitlyn Cerza in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

About Kokandy Productions

Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago's non-Equity musical theater community.

The company's artistic staff is comprised of Derek Van Barham (Producing Artistic Director), Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer), Adrian Abel Azevedo (Artistic Associate) and Leda Hoffmann (Artistic Associate).

For additional information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.



(left to right) Bridget Adams-King, Deanalís Resto, Jeremiah Alsop and Caitlyn Cerza in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

SAVE THE DATES: Chicago Premiere of Head Over Heels Via Kokandy Productions July 1 – August 25, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Kokandy Productions Announces the Chicago Premiere of
HEAD OVER HEELS
Songs by The Go-Go’s


 The creative team for Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere of HEAD OVER HEELS includes (left to right) Co-Directors Derek Van Barham and Elizabeth Swanson, music director Kyra Leigh and choreographer Breon Arzell.

Based on The Arcadia by Sir Phillip Sidney
Conceived & Original Book by Jeff Whitty
Adapted by James Magruder

Co-Directed by Derek Van Barham & Elizabeth Swanson

Music Direction by Kyra Leigh
Choreography by Breon Arzell

July 1 – August 25, 2019 
at Theater Wit


Kokandy Productions is pleased to announce the Chicago premiere of
the bold new musical comedy HEAD OVER HEELS, featuring songs by The Go-Go’s, based on The Arcadia by Sir Phillip Sidney, conceived and original book by Jeff Whitty and adapted by James Magruder. Making its Chicago debut just six months after concluding its Broadway run, HEAD OVER HEELS is co-directed by Kokandy’s new Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham and Elizabeth Swanson, with music direction by Kyra Leigh and choreography by Breon Arzell. Casting will be announced shortly. 

HEAD OVER HEELS will play July 1 – August 25, 2019 at Theater Wit,
1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.kokandyproductions.comby calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. I'll be out for the press opening July 6th, so check back shortly after for my full review.

From the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q and Spring Awakening, HEAD OVER HEELS is a laugh-out-loud love story is set to the music of the iconic 1980’s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, featuring the hit songs, “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.” A hilarious, exuberant celebration of love, HEAD OVER HEELS follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction – only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts.

Comments Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham, “A celebratory pop musical about self-love and acceptance? I can’t imagine a better way to spend the summer!  Whether you’re looking for escape or sanctuary, the world of Head Over Heels has something for everyone. There’s a universal journey of self-discovery at the pulse of this show, and I am so proud to be able to share it with Chicago!”

Board President Scot Kokandy comments, “I also wanted to take this opportunity to share some updates to our staff and board. In January, we welcomed new board member Katherine Smith to fill the vacancy that occurred due to the passing of Gitta Jacobs. We know Gitta will always be with us in
spirit cheering us on and we thank her for her wisdom and guidance while working with us. Nik Whitcomb has left as one of our Artistic Associate – we wish him well on all his artistic endeavors. Lastly, founding member John D. Glover retired from the organization last year and I want to acknowledge his contributions. Not only did John contribute to the artistic formation and ongoing
vision of the company by directing sixs shows over six years, but he made significant contributions financially, both personally and through his fundraising efforts. If it wasn’t for John’s efforts and support early on, the company wouldn’t be here today.”

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Monday, July 1 at 7 pm, Tuesday, July 2 at 7 pm, Wednesday, July 3 at 7 pm and Friday, July 5 at 8 pm
Press performance: Saturday, July 6 at 8 pm
Regular run: Sunday, July 7 – Sunday, August 25, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added performances on Saturday, July 27 at 3 pm, Saturday, August 10 at 3 pm and Saturday,
August 24 at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $40. Students/seniors $35. Tickets are available at www.kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office.

About the Artists
Derek Van Barham (Co-Director) is the Producing Artistic Director of Kokandy Productions, and a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. He previously served as Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays. For PFP, he directed Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination), and (co-directing) PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert. Choreography credits include The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier and BITE (PFP), all Black Button Eyes productions, and Salonathon. Other directing credits include The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Boho) and Miracle! by Dan Savage and Skooby Don't! (Hell in a Handbag). He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing Chicago's LGBTQ+ community.

Elizabeth Swanson (Co-Director) is a Chicago-based theater director. Recent credits include I Know My Own Heart (Pride Films & Plays), Hildegard: A New Musical (With a Machete Productions), Where All the White Sneakers At? (Second City) and Lungs (Granary Theatre, Cork, Ireland). Assistant directing credits include Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Vardo for the Dublin Theatre Festival (Anu Productions). Elizabeth has also directed for Stage 773’s Artists Lab, as well as festival shows and readings with About Face Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Theater Marathon, The New Colony and Waltzing Mechanics,
among others. Elizabeth holds an MFA from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at the University of Dublin. elizabethswansondirector.com
Kyra Leigh (Music Director, she/her/hers) is active as both a musician and actor. She’s composed and performed for the prestigious Stewart Ostrow Musical Theatre Lab, Prop Thtr, and released a full length album, “Transfigure.” She’s acted with the Jeff Award-winning Theo Ubique, The National Pastime Theatre, and is making her debut with Pride Films & Plays. She’s performed as a solo artist at venues such at Mary's Attic, Park West, The Abbey Pub and Davenport’s. She also directs shows at the Chicago School of Rock and is an active church musician with North Shore Baptist. She is a passionate advocate for trans visibility in the worlds of pop music, classical music and theatre. She is
currently represented by DDO Artists.

Breon Arzell (Choreographer) Most commonly known as an actor, Arzell's breakout, and award-winning, premiere as a Chicago choreographer came with Oracle Productions' The Hairy Ape. The Detroit native received his first training while at Miami University. In Chicago, he has worked as a dancer, choreographer and instructor at Joel Hall Dancers & Center, Porchlight Music Theatre, Vagabond School and The Goodman Theatre (for their Musical Theater Program). Developing his own style of dance (hip-hop, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary and body percussion) and storytelling, movement credits include: We Are Proud to Present (Steppenwolf Theatre), Poseidon! (Hell in a Handbag), The Total Bent (Haven Theatre/About Face), Rightlynd, The House That Will Not Stand (Victory Gardens Theater), Night Runner, Wig Out (DePaul University); Julius Caesar (Writers Theatre), Marie Christine  (BoHo Theatre), The Wiz  (Kokandy), Scottsboro Boys (Porchlight Music Theatre), and more. His talents have allowed him to work all across the U.S., Canada, England, Italy,
Germany, Denmark, Singapore and Malaysia.

About Kokandy Productions
Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater
to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-
based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago's non-Equity musical theater
community.

The company's artistic staff is comprised of John D. Glover (Artistic Producer), Allison Hendrix
(Producing Artistic Director), Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer) and Kory Danielson (Resident
Music Director).

For additional information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

THEATRE NEWS: Kokandy Productions’ Producing Artistic Director Allison Hendrix To Step Down

Kokandy Productions announced today that Allison Hendrix will step down as the company’s Producing Artistic Director. Hendrix has served as PAD since the company was founded in 2010. Kokandy will launch a search for a new Producing Artistic Director this week.


Allison Hendrix is stepping down from her role at Kokandy to pursue her yoga career. 
(Popio Stumpf Photography)

Under Hendrix’s leadership, Kokandy has presented 13 musicals and numerous staged musical readings, establishing the company as a leader in the growth and visibility of storefront musical theatre in Chicago. During her tenure, Kokandy has earned over 40 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, including four wins, and gained national recognition in publications such as American Theatre and The Sondheim Review. Hendrix’s credits with Kokandy include music direction for The Great American Trailer Park Musical, The Last Five Years and Bonnie and Clyde; direction of Loving Repeating and Little Fish; and acting in The Last Five Years and Assassins. 

Board President Scot Kokandy comments, “I can’t believe it was six years ago this summer that we produced our first musical and since have produced a total of 13 shows. Allison has been a great influence on Kokandy Productions from the very beginning and the company wouldn’t be what it is today without her. I want to thank Allison for her time, talent and contributions in the various roles she served over the last six years. Allison will remain on the board of directors and the board and I will be posting the position of Producing Artistic Director this week."

Adds Hendrix, “Working with Scot and so many of Chicago’s exceptionally talented actors and musicians has been one of the formative experiences of my lifetime. I’ve grown as a human and an artist, in ways I could never have expected. As so many storefront theatre makers know, the work is demanding and time-consuming, and I’ve reached a place where I need to take my energy and focus into my personal life and yoga teaching career.”

About Kokandy Productions
Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago's non-Equity musical theater community.

For additional information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.

Monday, September 4, 2017

REVIEW: Kokandy Productions' Bonnie and Clyde a Musical Melee of Carnage and Charisma

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: 

Kokandy Productions Presents the Chicago Premiere of
BONNIE & CLYDE

August 27 – October 15, 2017 at Theater Wit

**Run time 2 hours 20 minutes including 15 min. intermission**

All Photos by Evan Hanover

Bonnie&Clyde (front, l to r) Max DeTogne as Clyde and Desiree Gonzalez as Bonnie with (back, l to r) Tia L. Pinson as Young Bonnie and Jeff Pierpoint as Young Clyde in Kokandy Productions’ Chicago premiere musical BONNIE & CLYDE. 

Review:
I had the great pleasure of catching the press opening of Bonnie & Clyde at Theater Wit on Saturday, and I was wowed by the vocal chops of the entire cast. With a live band comprised of fiddle, guitar, keyboard, and percussion, and a southern rockabilly, blues, and gospel infused score, the scene is set for a stellar new take on this familiar tale. I was particularly intrigued by the double casting of Bonnie & Clyde as their childhood selves around age 10/12, along with their young adult, outlaw personas. The younger selves not only opened the show, but reappeared on stage and sang with their older versions in an effective visual and auditory reminder of childhood hopes and dreams gone awry.   
  

Though billed as a musical play rather than a musical, spoken lines are sparse and there are dozens of duets, that strengthen the characters' relationships with one another as much as they advance the plot. Set during the desperate times of The Great Depression, the foreclosures, destitution, and lack of options among the Texas townspeople could just as easily have happened today. The placating preacher peddling the placebo of religion, could also be believably set in this millennium. 



The lighting design, with ominous foreshadowing of prison stripes, between the Barrow brothers' first prison break and subsequent arrests, and later as Buck contemplates rejoining his brother and returning to a life of crime, was eerily effective.


It's easy to see the allure of violence and crime, to those who have nothing and little to lose. With cops literally out to get them since childhood, for crimes real and imagined, Clyde and his brother, Buck, rightfully feel they have limited options. With a charming grin, a lead foot, and the invincibility of youth, Clyde was nearly irresistible to Bonnie, a young girl with big aspirations, desperate to get outta town, and longing for adventure. Bonnie and Clyde reveled in the infamy and press exposure as much as the material gain, and that's readily apparent in this production. 

Through catchy, upbeat tunes and romantic ballads, the audience is swept up in the love stories of the doomed Barrow brothers and their respective wife and lover. Even after a trail of carnage and crime, these folk heroes were then and are still sympathetic characters today. It's amusing to me, in a dark way, that Bonnie signed autographs for admiring fans during bank robberies and finally achieved her childhood dreams of publishing her poetry and becoming a household name, though not as a silver screen starlet in Hollywood, as she'd hoped. 


The Kokandy cast makes excellent use of the intimate Theater Wit main stage, with multiple levels and playing spaces and clever, minimalist props like the "vehicle" above, made from headlights and a metal rail. The soaring choruses and verses of this scintillating score more than fill the space and make the show's nearly two and a half hours fly by. Highly recommended.


Tickets: Regular run $33 - $38. 
Sunday, September 3 – Sunday, October 15, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added matinee performances on Saturday, September 30 at 3 pm, Saturday, October 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, October 14 at 3 pm.

 Tickets are currently available at www.kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. 



Book by Ivan Menchel 
Music by Frank Wildhorn, Lyrics by Don Black
Directed by Spencer Neiman 
Music Direction by John Cockerill
Choreography by Aubrey Adams



BONNIE & CLYDE will feature Desiree Gonzalez as Bonnie, Max DeTogne as Clyde, Missy Wise as Blanche and Cisco Lopez as Buck. The cast also includes Patrick Tierney as Ted, Nathan Carroll as Preacher, Tia L. Pinson as Young Bonnie, Jeff Pierpoint as Young Clyde and Sarah Hayes as Emma, with an ensemble including Brittney Brown, Erin Creighton, Ann Delaney, Jacob Fjare, Jon Patrick Penick, Maisie Rose and Jonathan Schwart.

BONNIE & CLYDE centers on real-life Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the ill-fated lovers and outlaws whose story has been infamous since they achieved folk hero status at the height of the Great Depression. Fearless, shameless and alluring, the Tony Award-nominated musical from the legendary Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Civil War, Dracula) is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country, with a non-traditional score featuring blues, gospel and rockabilly music.

The world premiere of BONNIE & CLYDE was presented at La Jolla Playhouse in 2009, and transferred to Broadway in 2011. There, it was nominated for three Outer Critics Circle Awards and five Drama Desk Awards (both including Best New Musical), as well as two 2012 Tony Awards nominations.






About Kokandy Productions
Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater works while raising the profile of Chicago’s storefront musical theater community. Kokandy Productions is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization.

The company's artistic staff is comprised of John D. Glover (Artistic Producer), Allison Hendrix (Producing Artistic Director) and Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer).

For additional information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of Musical Story BONNIE & CLYDE Via Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Kokandy Productions Presents the Chicago Premiere of
BONNIE & CLYDE
Book by Ivan Menchel 
Music by Frank Wildhorn, Lyrics by Don Black
Directed by Spencer Neiman 
Music Direction by John Cockerill
Choreography by Aubrey Adams


August 27 – October 15, 2017 at Theater Wit

Tonight ChiIL Live Shows will be ChiILin' on Chicago's north west side in the Belmont Theatre Corridor at one of our favorite multi stage venues, Theater Wit. Check back soon for our full review. As a child named Bonnie, "Where's Clyde" jokes were the bane of my existence, but I'm eager to catch acclaimed Kokandy Productions' Chicago premiere musical about the infamous mass murdering duo.

 Kokandy Productions is pleased to continue its 5th anniversary season with the Chicago premiere of BONNIE & CLYDE, the musical story of two small-town nobodies searching for meaning at the height of the Great Depression from the creative team of Frank Wildhorn, Ivan Menchell and Don Black. Directed by Spencer Neiman, with music direction by John Cockerill and choreography by Aubrey Adams, BONNIE & CLYDE will play August 27 – October 15, 2017 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. 

 Tickets: Regular run $33 - $38. 
Sunday, September 3 – Sunday, October 15, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be added matinee performances on Saturday, September 30 at 3 pm, Saturday, October 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, October 14 at 3 pm.

 Tickets are currently available at www.kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. 


Photo by Evan Hanover


BONNIE & CLYDE will feature Desiree Gonzalez as Bonnie, Max DeTogne as Clyde, Missy Wise as Blanche and Cisco Lopez as Buck. The cast also includes Patrick Tierney as Ted, Nathan Carroll as Preacher, Tia L. Pinson as Young Bonnie, Jeff Pierpoint as Young Clyde and Sarah Hayes as Emma, with an ensemble including Brittney Brown, Erin Creighton, Ann Delaney, Jacob Fjare, Jon Patrick Penick, Maisie Rose and Jonathan Schwart.

BONNIE & CLYDE centers on real-life Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the ill-fated lovers and outlaws whose story has been infamous since they achieved folk hero status at the height of the Great Depression. Fearless, shameless and alluring, the Tony Award-nominated musical from the legendary Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Civil War, Dracula) is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country, with a non-traditional score featuring blues, gospel and rockabilly music.

The world premiere of BONNIE & CLYDE was presented at La Jolla Playhouse in 2009, and transferred to Broadway in 2011. There, it was nominated for three Outer Critics Circle Awards and five Drama Desk Awards (both including Best New Musical), as well as two 2012 Tony Awards nominations.


The production team for BONNIE & CLYDE includes: Ashley Ann Woods (scenic design), Robert S. Kuhn (costume design), Alexander Ridgers (lighting design), Michael J. Patrick (sound design), Jaq Seifert (violence/intimacy design), Allison Hendrix (asst. music director), Lindsay Brown (production manager) and Kait Samuels (stage manager).

About The Creative Team
Spencer Neiman (Director) returns to Kokandy Productions, previously working as a director with the company's New Works Initiative. Credits include work with The Hypocrites, Griffin Theatre Company, Windy City Playhouse, co-founder/director of site-specific, new work event series party/theater/party and associate director for Million Dollar Quartet on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Spencer has recently gotten involved in local politics and serves as the Volunteer Outreach Coordinator for Ameya Pawar's gubernatorial campaign. Proud Northwestern graduate. 

John Cockerill (Music Director) is a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and music director, and he’s delighted to be working on his first show with Kokandy Productions! Recent credits include: María de Buenos Aires (Des Moines Metro Opera), Xanadu (American Theatre Company), and High Fidelity (Refuge Theatre Project). He was a featured pianist on the premiere recording of Ross Crean’s opera, The Great God Pan (Navona Records, 2017), and he’ll be joining Chicago Fringe Opera for their upcoming season of As One and The Great God Pan. 

Aubrey Adams (Choreographer) is a Chicago performer and choreographer, whose choreography was recently Jeff nominated for BoHo Theatre’s production of Urinetown. Other recent credits include associate choreographer for Trevor at Writers Theatre, assistant choreographer for Mamma Mia and A Christmas Story at The Paramount Theatre.





About Kokandy Productions
Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater works while raising the profile of Chicago’s storefront musical theater community. Kokandy Productions is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization.

The company's artistic staff is comprised of John D. Glover (Artistic Producer), Allison Hendrix (Producing Artistic Director) and Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer).

For additional information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.


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