Showing posts with label Running in Repertory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Running in Repertory. Show all posts

Saturday, June 9, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Mordaunt Shairp
directed by Amy Sarno

A charming young man is forced to choose between the love of his fiancée, the lifestyle of his male mentor, and the prescription of his upbringing. This is the infamous comedy of manipulation that, in 1933, made a leading Broadway star of Laurence Olivier, opposite his then-wife Jill Esmond. THE GREEN BAY TREE (1933) was a scandalous hit in the West End and on Broadway.

A torrid British drama of homosexual lust that premiered in London in 1933, starring Laurence Olivier. Through clever use of unspoken implications, THE GREEN BAY TREE avoided censorship from the Lord Chamberlain's office in an era when any depiction of gay love was banned from public performance.

Widely considered to be the first modern play to deal with homosexuality, THE GREEN BAY TREE suggests a same-sex attraction from Dulcimer toward Julian but does it so subtly that the text escaped censorship from the British government of the 1930’s – an era in which homosexuality was still illegal in Great Britain. THE GREEN BAY TREE – whose title refers to an Old Testament Bible verse from Psalms in which wickedness is said to spread “like a green bay tree” – was revived in London in 2014.

Left: Bradley Halverson, Kristen Alesia, Alexander McRae. Photo by David Zak.

The Pride Films and Plays production will be directed by Amy Sarno, whose stage credits include directing the world premieres of THE EXISTENTIAL GOURMET by Mindi Dickstein, THE DIVINE MISS DEA translated by Jack Street, CONCRETE DUALISM AND YOU by Juan Insua, and MEDEA (INCULTURATED) by Amy Sarno. Sarno is also the former Artistic Director of Erasing the Distance. It will play in The Buena, Pride Arts Center, in repertory with PINK ORCHIDS, through July 8.

Sarno’s cast will include Bradley Halverson as the young man, Julian.  Halverson appeared as Czechowski in the extension of Pride Films and Plays’ YANK! and was previously in the cast of the Jeff award-winning musical of 2017, HIGH FIDELITY. His fiancée, Leonora, will be Kristen Alesia. Alexander McRae has been cast as Julian’s wealthy mentor, Dulcimer. Gary Smiley will play Julian’s father, Mr. Owen. Buzz Leer, seen most recently at Redtwist Theatre in OUR TOWN and I SAW MY NEIGHBOR ON THE TRAIN AND DIDN'T EVEN SMILE will play Dulcimer’s butler, Trump.

Sarno’s design team will include Evan Frank (scenic design), Noel Huntzinger (costume design), Blake Cordell (lighting and sound design), Hillarie Shockley (properties design), Richard Gale (dramaturg), and Jackson Dougherty (Stage Manager).

THE GREEN BAY TREE will open to the press in Wednesday, June 13, following previews on Monday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 12. It will run through July 8th, playing in repertory with PINK ORCHIDS, which will open on June 8 following previews on June 6 and 7. 

The “PAC Pride Series” will continue with Joe DiPietro’s FUCKING MEN playing from July 1 – August 25, a world premiere, HURRICANE DAMAGE by Kevin Brofsky playing from August 1 - 26 and the American Premiere of HOLDING THE MAN, by Australian playwright Tommy Murphy, from August 5 – 26, 2018.

Tickets for all events are on sale now at or by phone at 866-411-4111 or 773-857-0222

Mordaunt Shairp (playwright) was an English dramatist and screenwriter. Educated at St Paul's School, London, and Lincoln College, Oxford, he spent much of his life as a schoolmaster in London and wrote many plays for pupils to perform.  His adult plays dealt with darker interpersonal relationships and included THE CRIME AT BLOSSOMS as well as THE GREEN BAY TREE. Shairp also spent a short spell in Hollywood as a screenwriter, including THE DARK ANGEL, which starred Frederic March, and THE WHITE ANGEL.

Amy Sarno (director) Amy Sarno’s stage credits include directing the world premieres of THE EXISTENTIAL GOURMET by Mindi Dickstein, THE DIVINE MISS DEA translated by Jack Street, CONCRETE DUALISM AND YOU by Juan Insua, and MEDEA (INCULTURATED) by Amy Sarno.  Sarno received a Fulbright to create PLAN B, a verbatim play about domestic violence.  Her verbatim play, IMPRINTS, was produced by Wisconsin’s New Court Theatre. Sarno is also the former Artistic Director of Erasing the Distance. 

June 11 – July 8, 2018
Previews Mon. 6/11, Tues. 6/12 at 7:30 pm
Opening Weds. 6/13 at 7:30 pm
Beginning Sat. 6/16, Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 pm through July 8. Extra performance Thursday, July 5 at 7:30 pm. No shows Sunday, June 24 or Wednesday, July 4

Buena Theater
Pride Arts Center
4147 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60613

Tickets: Previews $15, Regular Run: Premium seats $30, General Admission $25, Seniors/Students/Military $23
Tickets available at or by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222.


Pride Films and Plays creates diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that is essential viewing for all audiences. We accomplish this mission through fully-staged productions, writing contests and staged readings, and filming one short film each season.

PFP is the primary tenant in the Pride Arts Center (PAC), which connects and promotes other artists who share our values, creating a safe environment for all. PAC books one-night events or limited runs, cabaret, film, dance, comedy, and other events. PAC opened in 2016 and consists of two performance spaces: The Buena at 4147 N. Broadway which has 50 seats and The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway which has 85 seats.
Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation and Alphawood Foundation. 

PFP is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Films and Plays is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois and The League of Chicago Theatres.

For more information, visit or call 1.800.737.0984.


PRIDE ARTS CENTER has become an important part of the arts environment in the Buena Park neighborhood and beyond. In addition to performances by PFP, (, PAC hosts monthly events including play readings, film screenings, cabaret nights, and variety shows. Guest productions are also included in the PAC schedule. Find a full calendar of everything happening at PAC here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Running in Repertory
February 13 – March 20, 2016

Black Ensemble Theater Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor opens the 40th Anniversary Season (The Season of Greatest Hits) with audience-favorites Doo Wop Shoo Bop and Those Sensational Soulful ‘60s running in repertory, February 13 – March 20, 2016. 

Doo Wop Shoo Bop, written by Jackie Taylor and Jimmy Tillman, and directed by Jackie Taylor, runs February 14 – March 20, 2016 with the official press opening on Sunday, February 21 at 3:00pmThose Sensational Soulful ‘60s, written and directed by Jackie Taylor, runs February 13 – March 19, 2016 with the official press opening on Sunday, February 21 at  7pm.  Doo Wop Shoo Bop and Those Sensational Soulful ‘60s will be performed at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, 4450 N. Clark Street in Chicago.

“The Black Ensemble 40th Anniversary Season is something to celebrate,” says Jackie Taylor.  “All season-long, we are bringing back some of the most critically-acclaimed and popular productions that help to reflect the 40-year history of the Black Ensemble Theater.  Together with the Black Ensemble musicians, performers and designers, I look forward to a season full of some of the greatest stories ever told, beginning with two of our most popular shows playing in repertory—Doo Wop Shoo Bop and Those Sensational Soulful ‘60s.” 

Doo Wop Shoo Bop takes a melodic look at the Doo Wop era, celebrating such iconic groups as The Platters, The Drifters, The Spaniels, The Bobbettes, The Chantels and many, many more.  The show first premiered in 1995 and has had several revivals because it is, indeed, a Black Ensemble Theater treasure.  Snap your fingers to the beat as we take a stroll down memory lane hearing those beautiful songs like “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” “This Magic Moment” and “Maybe.” This production explores how the successful music of today is related to the magical era of Doo Wop, bringing the ‘50s into the 21st Century. 

Those Sensational Soulful ‘60s is a highly energetic and fun remembrance of the golden era of the sixties. Audience will re-live some beautiful memories as Black Ensemble brings back the hits of the great 60's groups such as The Temptations, The Supremes, The Marvelettes and The Four Tops.  This well- loved production also features music from the soul singers of the era including Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Mary Wells with many other soulful surprises. 

Featured in both productions are RaShawn Thompson, Melanie McCullough, Kyle Smith, Shari Addison, Jessica Seals, David Simmons and Kylah Fry.  Direoce Junirs and Kora Green join the cast of Doo Wop Shoo Bop exclusively.  Rueben Echoles, Theo Huff and Kenny Davis are exclusively a part of "Those Sensational Soul '60s." 

The designers are Ruth Ann Swanson (costumes), Denise Karczewski (lighting), Aaron Quick (sound and projection) and Coco Ree Lemery (set). The production stage manager is Bekki Lembrecht.

As with all Black Ensemble productions Musical Director is Robert Reddrick (drums).  Doo Wop Shoo Bop will feature Donald O'Conner (bass), Herbert Walker (guitar) Justin Dillard piano, and Paul Howard (trumpet), Dudley Owens (saxophone) and Bill McFarland (trombone).

Those Sensational Soulful ‘60s will feature the Black Ensemble Theater musicians, including Robert Reddrick (Musical Director/drums), Mark Miller (bass), Gary Baker (guitar), Justin Dillard (piano), Paul Howard (trumpet), Dudley Owens (saxophone) and Bill McFarland (trombone).

The Black Ensemble Theater

Founded in 1976, by the phenomenal producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. Through its Five Play Season of Excellence, The Black Ensemble Theater dazzles audiences locally, nationally and internationally with outstanding original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Black Ensemble Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists.

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