Showing posts with label Natalie West. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Natalie West. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

directed by JESS MCLEOD
FEATURING ENSEMBLE MEMBER NATALIE WEST, Artistic Associate Steve Schine, Jose Nateras, & Toya Turner

January 31 – March 24, 2019

I'll be out for the press opening February 9th, so check back soon for my full review. A Red Orchid Theatre is one of our favorite Chicago storefronts, with world class productions and edgy choices. 

A Red Orchid Theatre presents the Chicago Premiere of Fulfillment Center by Abe Koogler, directed by Jess McLeod, and featuring Ensemble Member Natalie West, Artistic Associate Steve Schine, Jose Nateras, and Toya Turner. Fulfillment Center runs January 31 – March 24, 2019 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells in Chicago. 

In the New Mexico desert, a down-on-her-luck folk singer takes a job at a giant retailer’s shipping center. Her young manager struggles to connect with his newly relocated girlfriend. A drifter living at a local campground dangerously links them all. Four lonely lives come together in the search for fulfillment in this raw, surprising and funny Chicago premiere.

The creative team includes Sarah JHP Watkins (scenic design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Ensemble Member Mike Durst (lighting design), Brando Triantafillou (sound design), and Jeremy Hollis (properties design). Christa Van Baale is the stage manager. 

About the Artists
ABE KOOGLER (Playwright) earned an MFA in playwriting from UT-Austin's Michener Center for Writers and is a 2016 graduate of Juilliard's Playwrights Program. His plays have been developed at Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Playwrights' Center, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Black Swan Lab. He is a Theatre Masters Visionary Playwright. Abe won the Kennedy Center's Paula Vogel Award and the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s L. Arnold Weissberger Award for KILL FLOOR, which premiered at Lincoln Center/LCT3 in the fall of 2015. Abe is under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club. He is a native of Washington State.

JESS MCLEOD (Director) is the Resident Director of Hamilton Chicago and the 2018 Next Generation Samuel G. Roberson Artistic Fellow at Victory Gardens Theater.  Chicago credits include developing and directing five short operas with local community groups with Lyric Unlimited (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s Hang Man (The Gift); Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On (Haven); Short Shakes! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakes); Marry Me A Little and Babes in Arms (Porchlight Music Theatre); Shawn Pfautsch’s Season on the Line (The House); Kevin Coval’s L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens); Venus (Steppenwolf Next Up!); Lauren Yee’s in a word (Strawdog), Kin (Griffin); and Fugitive Songs and The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company). New York credits include work by Joyce Carol Oates, Rachel Axler, Harrison David Rivers, and The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she served as Director of Programming from 2005-08. A teaching artist and believer in youth and community engagement, McLeod coordinated the Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival for Young Chicago Authors from 2016-17 and has worked as a teaching artist with Storycatchers Theatre.  2017 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow (Goodman Theatre). M.F.A., Northwestern University.

JOSE NATERAS (Alex) is a Chicago based actor, writer and director. Recent acting credits include: Frankenstein (Remy Bumppo); Neverwhere (Lifeline Theatre); Two Mile Hollow (First Floor Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Q Brothers Collective’s I <3 a="" amlet="" amp="" and="" anual="" appeared="" art="" as="" by="" cafe="" chicago="" cinema="" company="" cymbeline="" dame="" dventure="" elsewhere.="" festival="" fire="" font="" for="" fox="" from="" gift="" gogh="" graduate="" grapes="" gray="" group.="" he="" hicago="" his="" i="" ilament="" illinois="" in="" innocent="" institute="" is="" juliet="" labs="" loyola="" merican="" mfa="" montana="" my="" nbc="" night="" of="" on="" onion="" otre="" parks="" picnic="" proven="" radar="" received="" recently="" represented="" reprise="" romeo="" s="" school="" shadow="" shakespeare="" since="" soul="" spots="" stage="" studios="" suppose="" talent="" teatro="" the="" theatre="" toured="" trawdog="" twelfth="" university="" van="" vista="" well="" with="" wrath="" writing="">

STEVE SCHINE (John) returns to A Red Orchid with Fulfillment Center. An Artistic Associate, Steve has appeared at AROT previously in The Nether, Solstice, Louis Slotin Sonata, Hunger & Thirst, The Earl, and Gagarin Way. He has also performed in notable Chicago productions at The Goodman, Court, First Folio, Steep, Stage Left, Raven, Veterans Art Project, Strawdog, American Theatre Company, Lifeline, Piven, and the late, great Famous Door Theatre, among others. Regional credits include several productions with Lakeside Shakespeare, the Clarence Brown Theatre in Tennessee, as well as new work development at Abington Theatre in NYC. TV: Jack Gatins on Chicago Fire and Curtis on Chicago PD. Video Games: Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs. Additionally, as a voice over artist, he can be heard in many TV, radio, and internet commercials. Steve is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

TOYA TURNER (Madeleine) makes her Red Orchid Theatre debut! She attended the British American Drama Academy (BADA) at Oxford University. Stage credits include: Blues For An Alabama Sky (Court Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun (A Noise Within-CA), Intimate Apparel (Theatre Squared-AR). TV/Film credits include: Incredibles 2 (Disney-Pixar), The Mick & Empire (FOX), Easy (Netflix), Chicago Fire & Chicago Med (NBC). She is represented by Stride Management.

NATALIE WEST (Suzan) is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre where she last appeared in Traitor. Other A Red Orchid productions include Evening at the Talk House, The Mutilated, Strandline, Mud Blue Sky, The Butcher of Baraboo and Abigail's Party. Most recently she was seen in Nell Gwynn at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Other credits include shows at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Northlight among others. She is a former ensemble member of Remains Theatre. Natalie was a regular on the television show Roseanne as Crystal and has recently reprised her role on The Conners. Natalie is the recipient of three Jeff Awards for supporting actress for The Butcher of Baraboo, Abigail's Party (A Red Orchid) and Life and Limb (Wisdom Bridge). She holds a MSW from Loyola University Chicago, a BA in Theatre at Indiana University and she attended Webber Douglas Academy in London.

Designers: Sarah JHP Watkins (scenic design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Ensemble Member Mike Durst (lighting design), Brando Triantafillou (sound design), and Jeremy Hollis (properties design). Christa Van Baale is the stage manager.

Dates: Previews: January 31-February 9, 2019 
Press Performances: Saturday, February 9 at 3:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. 
Opening: Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. 
Red Night: Friday, February 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. 

Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.
Fridays: 7:30 p.m. 
Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  
Sundays: 3:00 p.m.  

A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.
Tickets: $15-$25 previews, $30-$40 regular run.  ($30 Thurs, $35 Fri & Sat Matinee, $40 Sat evening &Sun matinee) 
Box Office: Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online 

Ticket Information
A Red Orchid continues the FLASHPASS. As always, FLASHPASS holders get reserved seats, ticket and date flexibility, no-fee ticket exchanges, discounts for friends & family tickets, and early access to events such as readings, panel discussions, and more. The Three-show FLASHPASS is $90 and includes one ticket to each of the 3 shows in our 26th Season, excluding Opening and Red Nights. The Three-show Red Night FLASHPASS is $150 and includes a ticket to each of the 3 show's Red Night Opening and post-show receptions with the cast and creative team.  The Preview FLASHPASS is $60 and includes one ticket to a preview performance of each of the 3 shows in our 26th season.

FLASHPASSes may be purchased from the Box Office at 1531 N. Wells Street, Monday through Friday from 12pm to 5pm, by telephone during office hours by dialing (312) 943-8722, or online at Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.

With our 26th season of ambitious and powerful storytelling, we continue to champion A Red Orchid Theatre’s Red League, which is a gift $1k or more, and the Founders Circle, which is a gift of $5k or more annually for a three-year pledge. These donors represent a community of our most committed and impactful cultural investors. Every profound and shocking moment on our stage is made possible through their critical annual contributions. Their philanthropic leadership fosters the development of raw and relevant work, creates a platform for our talented ensemble to reach new audiences, and ensures that A Red Orchid Theatre remains a source for honest, compassionate, and aesthetically rigorous theatre.

About A Red Orchid  
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored last year with a 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 25 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories. 

A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

OPENING: Nell Gwynn at Chicago Shakespeare September 20–November 4, 2018.

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Scarlett Strallen and Timothy Edward Kane lead
North American premiere of Olivier Award-winning comedy
featuring stand-out acting company:
David Bedella, Emily Gardner Xu Hall, Hollis Resnik, John Tufts, Natalie West and Larry Yando

 Scarlett Strallen is Nell Gwynn. Photo by Jeff Sciortino.

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows we're eager to catch Chicago  Shakespeare Theater's latest, Nell Gwynn, Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy! With Scarlett Strallen, a two-time Olivier Award nominee  and multiple Jeff Award-winner Timothy Edward Kane on board, this is high on my fall "must see" Chicago theatre list. I'll be out for the press opening September 28th. Check back soon for my full review at  

Timothy Edward Kane is King Charles II and Scarlett Strallen is Nell Gwynn in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of the Olivier Award-winning comedy Nell Gwynn, directed by Christopher Luscombe, in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, September 20–November 4, 2018. Photo by Jeff Sciortino.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the cast for the North American premiere of Jessica Swale’s exuberant new comedy Nell Gwynn, September 20–November 4, 2018. The music- and dance-filled play took London audiences by storm when it debuted at Shakespeare’s Globe, followed by a celebrated run on the West End. Director of the original London production, Christopher Luscombe, helms the new Chicago Shakespeare production. Star of Broadway and the West End Scarlett Strallen appears as Nell; Chicago leading actor Timothy Edward Kane performs the role of King Charles II.

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, Nell Gwynn tells the extraordinary true story of an unlikely heroine—the beloved mistress to a king. Young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges in the burgeoning West End when she is discovered by a theater troupe, and becomes one of the first women to take center stage as the leading actress of Restoration England. With her quick wit and exceptional beauty, she wins over audiences—and the heart of King Charles II.

Appearing as Nell Gwynn is Scarlett Strallen, a two-time Olivier Award nominee who starred on the West End in She Loves Me, A Chorus Line, Singin’ in the Rain, HMS Pinafore, and in the title role of Mary Poppins—which she reprised on Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include Travesties and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Portraying King Charles II is multiple Jeff Award-winner Timothy Edward Kane in his seventeenth production at Chicago Shakespeare. Kane’s notable performances include Richard III in Tug of War: Civil Strife (2012), Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012), Horatio in Hamlet (2006), and as Poins in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 (2005) at Chicago Shakespeare and on tour to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival in Stratford-upon-avon.

Two-time Olivier Award-winning actor David Bedella, best known for numerous West End appearances (Jerry Springer – The Opera, In the Heights) and UK television roles, appears as Edward Kynaston, the displaced actor who had played the woman’s roles before Nell’s admission to the troupe. Joining the company are multiple Jeff Award-winners and veterans of National Broadway Tours and Chicago stages: Larry Yando as Charles’ chief minister, Lord Arlington, and Hollis Resnik in the dual roles of Ma Gwynn and the Portuguese Queen. Yando has appeared on the Chicago Shakespeare stage more than 20 times, including recently in Shakespeare in Love, The Tempest, and in the title role of King Lear. Resnik is a twelve-time Jeff Award-winner, including a win for her performance as Carlotta in Chicago Shakespeare’s Follies. She has also appeared in the national touring casts of Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Portraying Charles Hart, the leading actor in the King’s Company, is John Tufts—who has appeared in twelve seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and now returns to Chicago Shakespeare after Love’s Labor’s Lost and the two-part Tug of War saga. Emily Gardner Xu Hall portrays two of Charles’ mistresses: Lady Castlemaine and Louise de Keroualle. In addition to being an award-winning composer/lyricist, Hall’s theatrical credits include In Rooms Such As These at Signature Theater and the US Premiere of Stockholm at Hudson Stageworks. Multiple Jeff Award-winner Natalie West—perhaps best known for her recurring role on the original long-running sitcom, Roseanne—is Nell’s dresser, Nancy.

Emma Ladji appears as Nell’s sister, Rose. Portraying members of the King’s Company are Christopher Sheard as playwright John Dryden and Bret Tuomi as director Thomas Killigrew. Rounding out the ensemble are Jeff Diebold, Dylan Obrochta, Emily Rohm, and Carter Sherman. Making his Chicago Shakespeare debut is canine actor Bentley playing King Charles’ beloved spaniel.

Director Christopher Luscombe is internationally acclaimed for his vibrant productions of Shakespeare, musicals and new works. As an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Luscombe recently staged a repertory pairing of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing and a production of Twelfth Night, which went on to be broadcast worldwide via RSC Live. His directing credits also include The Madness of George III and Spamalot in the West End, The Comedy of Errors and The Merry Wives of Windsor for Shakespeare’s Globe, and numerous international touring and West End productions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Luscombe returns to Chicago Shakespeare after his 2014 production of Henry V.

Joining Luscombe on the creative team is Drama Desk Award-winning Composer Nigel Hess, who has scored more than twenty productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway, and Music Director Jermaine Hill. The lush set and costumes of Restoration England are being created by Emmy and Olivier Award-winning designer Hugh Durrant, who is internationally recognized for his work in theater, opera, and concerts, including Cher’s Farewell Tour. Jeff Award-winning Lighting Designer Greg Hofmannn returns to Chicago Shakespeare where his credits include Mary Stuart, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and Ride the Cyclone. Stephen Ptacek is the production’s Sound Designer; a three-time Jeff Award-winner, Ptacek has designed with Victory Gardens Theater, Gift Theatre, and Northwestern University. The production’s period styles are complimented by designs from Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie, who has created designs for over thirty productions at the Theater. Completing the creative team are Choreographer Amber Mak, Dialect Coach Eva Breneman, and Assistant Director Lanise Antoine Shelley.

For more information, visit

Nell Gwynn is presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, September 20–November 4, 2018. Single tickets are $48–$88. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for Nell Gwynn include:

Open-captioning – Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
ASL Duo-interpretation – Friday, October 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Audio-description – Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.

A global theatrical force, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, musicality of language, and empathy for the human condition. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be, putting forward a company that delights in the unexpected and defies theatrical category. A Regional Tony Award winner, the Theater produces acclaimed plays at its home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. In 2017, the Theater unveiled a new stage, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard positions Chicago Shakespeare as the city’s most versatile performing arts venue.

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