Showing posts with label Signal Ensemble. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Signal Ensemble. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Chi, IL Live Shows on Our Radar

Save the dates for Signal Ensemble Theatre's latest, the Chicago premiere of The Drowning Girls by Beth Graham, Daniela Vlaskalic and Charlie Tomlinson. The show will be directed by Signal Ensemble Member Melanie Keller at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., April 30 – June 6. Tickets are on sale now. ChiIL Live Shows will be there for opening night, so check back for our full review after May 1.   

Previews are Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. Opening/Press night is Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $23 for single tickets, $15 for industry/students/seniors/groups and $12 for previews. Tickets may be purchased by calling 773.698.7389 or by visiting

*NOTE: There will be no performance on Sunday, May 3 and there will be an added industry night performance on Monday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Bessie, Alice and Margaret have two things in common: they are married to George Joseph Smith, and they are dead.  Surfacing from the bathtubs they were drowned in, the three breathless brides gather evidence against their womanizing, murderous husband by reliving the shocking events leading up to their deaths.  Reflecting on the misconceptions of love, married life, and the not-so-happily ever after, The Drowning Girls is both a breathtaking fantasia and a social critique, full of rich images, a myriad of characters, and lyrical language.

The cast and production team for The Drowning Girls includes: 
CAST: Meghan Reardon (Alice), Katherine Schwartz (Bessie) and *Anne Sheridan Smith (Margaret)
*Indicates Signal Ensemble Theatre Member
CREW: *Melanie Keller (director), William Collins (assistant director), *Michelle Sellers (stage manager), *Buck Blue (set designer), Rachel Lambert (costume designer), Christopher Neville (properties designer), Amanda Herrmann (assistant properties designer), Brian Sidney Bembridge (lighting designer), *Anthony Ingram (sound designer), Tyler Rich (violence), Elise Kauzlaric (dialect coach), Brenna Schafer (assistant stage manager) and Joe Pindelski (dramaturg)   *Indicates Signal Ensemble Theatre Member

Melanie Keller is a member of Signal Ensemble Theatre, where her first appearance with them was as Beatrice in their Much Ado About Nothing. She was the winner of a Jeff Award for Best Principal Actress for her work in East of Berlin and The Russian Play, and was nominated for a Jeff Citation for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Weir. She also appeared in Signal's world-premiere production of Landslide, and played Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer. She was the Chicago Fellow at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada and is also an artistic associate of First Folio Theatre.  Melanie’s credits include roles at Northlight Theatre, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Next Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, BackStage Theatre Company, Strawdog Theater Company, Goodman Theatre, Seanachai Theatre Company (now Irish Theatre of Chicago), Breadline Theatre, Shaw Chicago Theater Company, and Lifeline Theatre, among others. Melanie trained at the Birmingham Conservatory of Stratford, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University.

Beth Graham is a co-creator of The Drowning Girls, which premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects’ 2008 PlayRites festival, went on to tour nationally, was published by Playwrights Canada Press, was nominated for the Carol Bolt Award, and received the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama. Other co-creations include: Comrades,Mules and Victor and Victoria’s Terrifying Tale of Terrible Things. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA acting program and is currently a member of The Playwright’s Forum at The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.

Daniela Vlaskalic is an actor and playwright who has performed in many theatres across Canada. Daniela began collaborating with Beth Graham and Charlie Tomlinson in 1999 with The Drowning Girls. In 2008, a new full-length version of The Drowning Girls premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects as part of the Enbridge PlayRites Festival and received four Betty Awards (Calgary). Daniela continued collaborating with Beth on several plays including; Comrades, nominated for four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards (Edmonton), The Last Train, which won the Alberta Playwrights Network Write-to-Win competition in 2003 and premiered at Shadow Theatre in their 2004/2005 season. Their most recent play Mules premiered at the 2006 Edmonton Fringe Festival.
Charlie Tomlinson is a teacher, director and actor who lives in St John’s, Newfoundland. He is the former artistic director of c2c theatre. He has worked at theatres from Newfoundland to the Yukon and has taught in Ontario, Alberta, and Newfoundland.

Signal Ensemble Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of The Drowning Girls by Beth Graham, Daniela Vlaskalic and Charlie Tomlinson and directed by Signal Ensemble Member Melanie Keller at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., April 30 – June 6.  Previews are Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. Opening/Press night is Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $23 for single tickets, $15 for industry/students/seniors/groups and $12 for previews. Tickets may be purchased by calling 773.698.7389 or by visiting
Street parking available on Ravenswood and Berenice (runs one way going west) CTA Brown line EL stops Irving Park and Addison. CTA busses #80-Irving Park, #152-Addison, #50-Damen, #11-Lincoln. The theatre is handicapped accessible.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Red Bud at Signal Ensemble Theatre Through Feb 28th

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've long been fans of Brett Neveu's dark comedies and psychological dramas. We had to reschedule reviewing his latest, Red Bud, because of the blizzard, but it's high on our must see list. We hope to be reviewing soon. Get your tickets while you can. Red Bud closes February 28th. 

Brett Neveu knows how to write stage combat, and he's got an endearing, edgy streak of the macabre. From what we've read, it sounds like Red Bud continues in that vein. Like many before him, this Chicago based playwright had to move to LA for fame and acclaim, but Brett turned the tables on this cliche by moving his family back to Chicago. We're eager to see his latest endeavor, brought to life on stage by Signal Ensemble Theatre. 

RECOMMENDED - "Brant Russell's production for Signal Ensemble brings out the best in Neveu's drama: the performances are strong and subtle, and the pacing is just leisurely enough for us to feel the fear and quiet desperation that grips them all." - Chicago Reader

RECOMMENDED - "The hyper-realism that permeates this production affects, alienates and engrosses the audience all at once." - Newcity Chicago

RECOMMENDED - "This intriguing play is really about those undercurrents and how we avoid addressing them." - Crain's Chicago Business

"Fleet and hard hitting performances...the cast dives into the nasty pyrotechnics with zest."- Chicago Tribune

- "[T]he production, ably directed by Brant Russell and well performed by a very solid cast is one that has no flaws" - Around The Town Chicago

A group of forty-somethings take their annual trip to "Red Bud," a championship motocross race. The group has nearly wrung their mutual friendship dry and uses the overnight camping party to relive past glories, play asinine games and beat the holy hell out of each other. The fly in the ointment is the eighteen year old "girlfriend" of one of the forty-somethings. Frustration, weirdness and old baggage rapidly comes to the surface and old friendships die hard.

Monday, July 8, 2013

ACT OUT OPENING: PRODUCE at Signal Ensemble Theatre July 26-27 & Aug 9-10

The Ensemble Project & Signal Ensemble’s Julie Ballard and Anthony Ingram present:  PRODUCE

Returning for a Third Season of Artistic Mixing and Matching
at Signal Ensemble Theatre July 26-27 and Aug 9-10, 2013

WHAT:   The Ensemble Project Presents PRODUCE: a multi-arts experiment in four parts

WHO:  Hosted by Lauren Warnecke and Signal Ensemble member Anthony Ingram, with participating artists Country Death Trip, Mark Hardy / Celestial Architecture, Carol McCurdy and Michael Zerang, Philip Elson, The Nexus Project (Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Benjamin Holliday Wardell),
crawlspace (Lydia Feuerhelm), Newman and Newman (Cara and Julia Newman), and hey girl hey omg girl real life (Heather Marie Vernon and Darling Shear).

WHEN:  Friday and Saturday July 26-27 at 7:30pm and Friday and Saturday August 9-10 at 7:30pm

WHERE:  Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice, Chicago, IL 60613. Street parking available on Ravenswood and Berenice (runs one way going west) CTA Brown line EL stops Irving Park and Addison CTA busses #80-Irving Park, #152-Addison, #50-Damen, #11-Lincoln. Handicapped accessible. For additional parking and transportation information, visit

HOW MUCH:  Tickets are available for $8 ($25 season pass) at the door or online at

The Ensemble Project and Signal Ensemble Theatre’s Julie Ballard and Anthony Ingram present PRODUCE for its third season in collaboration with Lauren Warnecke / Art Intercepts. Selected by Time Out Chicago as one of the top dance performances of 2012, PRODUCE is a multi-disciplinary lab for sound and movement artists to play with their work, and with the traditional audience format. Selected artists are “mashed” together in various combinations and conditions over four consecutive performances. 

Throughout each performance and the series, the audience has an opportunity to provide real-time feedback, ask questions, figure out what experimental performance is and how it works, and help to inform the next phase of the performance (the substance of which is largely decided in the moment). Artists and audience alike witness the deconstruction and regeneration of existing works thrust into unforeseen territories as dictated by co-hosts Lauren Warnecke and Signal Ensemble member Anthony Ingram.

First devised by co-producers Lauren Warnecke and Milwaukee-based musician Timothy Russell, the series premiered in 2011 and continued last year with hosts Warnecke and Chicago sound artist Russell Weiss. 

Now in its third season, this year's line-up includes:
Country Death Trip, Mark Hardy / Celestial Architecture, Carol McCurdy and Michael Zerang, Philip Elson, The Nexus Project (Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Benjamin Holliday Wardell), crawlspace (Lydia Feuerhelm), Newman and Newman (Cara and Julia Newman), and hey girl hey omg girl real life (Heather Marie Vernon and Darling Shear). Adding to the PRODUCE family in 2013 is new co-host and Signal Ensemble member Anthony Ingram who, with fellow Signal Ensemble associate Julie Ballard will be producing the series under The Ensemble Project. The Ensemble Project creates opportunities for Signal members and associates to work on individual projects outside the company’s performance season by providing them with space, marketing opportunities and mentorship. Working alongside Ballard and Ingram is original curator/producer Lauren Warnecke / Art Intercepts. 

With this change in venue come increased support, possibilities, and production value, as well as a new performance structure.  Instead of four single weekly performances, Season 3 of PRODUCE consists Friday and Saturday performances two weeks apart.

PRODUCE runs July 26-27 and August 9-10 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $8 general admission.  Season passes are available for $25.  All performances are located at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice, Chicago, IL 60613. For more information, call Lauren Warnecke at 773-341-8940 or purchase tickets online at

Mark Hardy / Celestial Architecture: Mark Hardy is a musician, composer and artist currently living in Chicago. His music has been performed by the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Butchershop Quartet, and other ensembles around the world.  Painting and drawing has always been a passion for him concurrent to music writing, and his graphic scores for improvisation that merge these two disciplines. Celestial Architecture is a group with revolving members assembled to perform “Constellations.”
Michael Zerang of McCurdy/Zerang: Michael Zerang has been a professional musician, composer, and producer since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms. As a percussionist and composer, Michael has over eighty titles in his discography and has toured nationally and internationally to 34 countries since 1981, and works with and ever-widening pool of collaborators.
Country Death Trip, Staring Barry Thaded and The Deacon: Country Death Trip hit the road, the Summer of ’72 – the year of the Rat. Touring the backwaters of Terrebonne Parish, LA – raising hell and saving babies – they were eventually run out of the state by peckerwood Sheriff Allan T. Complain… for honin in on his territory. Since then, CDT has circled the world 5 times (not necessarily in that order) sleeping on the sofas of adoring jailbait – and occasionally wedged between the Pepsi machine. At one point they were to open for the Residents, but were dropped from the roster when Randy’s eyeball went missing. Today, the Trip recaptures its long lost youth, playing prom dates, quinceañeras, and the occasional bris.
The Nexus Project (Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Benjamin Holliday Wardell): The Nexus Project is a complex choreographic collaboration in which twelve Chicago-based choreographers from a wide range of dance backgrounds each had twelve hours to choreograph a duet on the two of us. Now, we are breaking all the duets apart and remixing them to create a unique choreographic vocabulary out of strictly nothing but the original choreographers’ movements.  This vocabulary will comprise the movement for an evening of storytelling in November 2013.
Carole McCurdy of McCurdy and Zerang: Carole McCurdy has performed at spaces including the Chicago Cultural Center, Epiphany Dance, Links Hall, Hamlin Park, High Concept Laboratories, Movement Research (NY), and Defibrillator Gallery. She has created solo performance pieces and work for ensemble, danced in butoh pieces with Nicole Legette’s Blushing Poppy, and worked with a talented array of Chicago improvisers and devisers.
crawlspace (Lydia Feuerhelm): Lydia Feuerhelm is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance at Columbia College Chicago and plans to graduate in the Spring of 2014. Her choreographic and improvisational work has been presented  at various events including The Dance Repertory Company, The American College Dance Festival Association, Manifest Urban Arts Festival, WedLocal, and Chicago Art Institute’s After Dark.  Her recent performance credits include works by Charlotte Kahler, Alexa Rittichier, and Andy Slavin. Besides investigating movement, Feuerhelm has a keen interest in exploring dance for camera and multi-media collaborations.
“hey girl hey omg girl real life” (Heather Marie Vernon and Darling Shear): We want a lot of things to happen we want to make people aware of their surroundings, what they say, how they move, how they interact with each other and the world around them.  We want them to be playful with what happens when we do push those boundaries and navigate those bordered spaces. We want people to figure out what and who they are – like a bird who makes her nest based on the circumference of her wingspan and what’s around her.

Philip Elson: is a dance artist engaging with various arenas of dance research and performance including live performance, dance for camera, and experimental collaboration. He received a BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. Currently, Elson is in his fifth season dancing with contemporary dance company The Seldoms, with whom he also serves as Technology and Media Coordinator. Elson’s choreographic work has been showcased in Chicago as part of MIX with SIX presented by The Seldoms, Dance for $9.99 presented by Chicago Moving Company, The Open Space Project, Poonie’s Cabaret, The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010: Chicago, Red Tape Theater’s CFANN 2010, Manifest Urban Arts Festival, Links Hall’s Linkages Program, and at The Loyola University Museum of Art in conjunction with The Seldoms. Elson’s choreography has also been presented nationally and internationally by Performance Works NorthWest (Portland, OR), Collin College’s Dance Fusion (Plano, TX), In It For Life Productions (New York, NY), Muscle Memory Dance Theater (Dallas,TX), the American College Dance Festival (Urbana,IL), and Basso (Berlin, Germany). Elson’s collaborative roles with dance involve sound and video design, web design, video documentation and editing, curation, and arts administration. Elson has served as curator for Bizarre Bazaar: A Holiday Special hosted by Red Tape Theatre, The 2011 Chicago Fringe Artists Networking Night (CFANN), the Student/Alumni Stage for 1306: Ten Years Later at The Dance Center of Columbia College, and Dive – a festival event presented by The Open Space Project. Elson has had the pleasure to work with companies and artists such as Carrie Hanson/The Seldoms, tEEth, Joanna Rosenthal/ Same Planet Different World Dance Theater, Paige Cunningham-Caldarella, Colleen Halloran, Jonathan Meyer/Khecari Dance Theater, Liz Burritt, Matthew Hollis, Jyl Fehrenkamp, and Muscle Memory Dance Theatre.

Newman and Newman: Cara and Julia Newman have been dancing together for over two decades. Cara Newman received her BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011 and has been making work and performing in Chicago since then. Her work has been performed at Links Hall, the Fasseas White Box, and the ATTIC.  Cara began collaborating with her sister Julia Newman recently in an effort to investigate the quality of movement and references made as a result of two sisters creating work together. Julia Newman received her training at the Dance Centre in Lombard, IL and is currently a nursing student at Loyola University.  Cara and Julia would like to thank their parents for creating quite the duo.

Lauren Warnecke / Art Intercepts is a Chicago-based dance artist, writer, and educator. She trained in classical ballet and modern dance, earning a BA at Columbia College Chicago. Lauren completed an MS in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is a full-time Clinical Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer (American College of Sports Medicine). Created in 2009 as a platform for dance-based discourse, Lauren owns and operates Art Intercepts. She is a contributing author/blogger at Dance Advantage, SeeChicagoDance, 4dancers, The L Stop, and the Huffington Post.  Lauren also freelances as a choreographer, grant writer, and production/stage manager, and enjoys baking scones and digging in the dirt.

Julie E. Ballard is a Chicago-based lighting designer, photographer, production/stage manager and sound/media designer.  She worked as the Lighting Director at the Dance Center of Columbia College for nearly 8 years, and is owner/operator of Overlap Lighting Productions.  As an independent, freelance artist, Ms. Ballard is an Artistic Associate with Signal Ensemble Theatre and Unnatural Spaces, as well as Technical Director for The Seldoms, Same Planet/Different World, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre.  Ms. Ballard has been a part of numerous festivals as well as American Dance Festival, and has toured nationally and internationally with David Dorfman Dance and The Seldoms.  Some of her favorite theatre designs include Cabaret (University of Florida), 1776 (Signal Ensemble Theatre) and I Sing (Whitehorse Theatre).  Ms. Ballard holds a BA in Theater, and earned her MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Florida.

Anthony Ingram is in his eighth season as an ensemble member with Signal.  His sound designs with the company include Princes of Waco, Hostage Song, Motion, East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, Aftermath, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Six Degrees of Separation, The Birthday Party, Old Wicked Songs, Fool for Love, Hamlet, The Weir, Closer, The Dumb Waiter and The Zoo Story, She Stoops to Conquer and Seascape. He has stage-managed prior Signal Ensemble productions including Catch-22 and the original run of Waiting for Godot,  performed as Lucky in the remount of Godot, and directed Accidental Death of an Anarchist. He has been building, designing, performing in, directing and stage-managing productions in the Chicagoland area since his arrival in 2002. His other recent sound designs include Lifeline’s Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, The Factory’s Dead Wrong, Right Brain Project’s And They Put Handcuffs On The Flowers, Shattered Globe’s The Little Foxes, and Bailiwick’s Thrill Me.

Signal’s mission speaks to our commitment to challenge and support our distinguished ensemble in their artistic growth.  The season of shows provides opportunities to grow as an ensemble within the framework of the company’s vision, but we recognize our artists’ potential as individuals outside of that as well.

The Ensemble Project has been created to provide our ensemble members and associates with an outlet for their individual projects.  These are not limited to the theatrical medium and can be proposed at any time.  Upon approval, Signal provides the space, certain marketing opportunities and other help, which is determines on a case-by-case basis.  The individual is the primary producer on this venture and assumes the remaining production responsibilities.

For more information, visit

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