Showing posts with label The Hypocrites. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Hypocrites. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

The Hypocrites'

The eleven comedies of Aristophanes adapted into a five-hour marathon event, complete with food and a cash bar. The Hypocrites’ Lead Artist, Sean Graney will direct this script he adapted as a stand alone follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Our Tragic.

Aristophanesathon Tickets

THE ARISTOPHANESATHON: The eleven comedies of Aristophanes adapted into a four hour event, complete with food and a cash bar. Artistic Director will direct this script he adapted as a follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Our Tragic. Six actors perform twenty-drive actors in this energetic exploration of connection, failure, government, humor, and death.  (By the way, can you name the eleven Aristophanes plays? The Acharnians, The Knights, The Clouds, The Wasps, Peace, The Birds, Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, The Frogs, Ecclesiazusae, Wealth.)

Tickets are moving fast, buy them early!

Tickets are $60, includes a light meal and snacks. Click any of the dates below to order your tickets.

Friday, April 20, 6:30pm

Saturday, April 21, 6:30pm

Sunday, April 22, 4:00pm

Friday, April 27, 6:30pm

Saturday, April 28, 6:30pm

Sunday, April 29, 4:00pm

Friday, May 4, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 5, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 6, 4:00pm

Friday, May 11, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 12, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 13, 4:00pm

Friday, May 18, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 19, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 20, 4:00pm

Friday, May 25, 6:30pm

Saturday, May 26, 6:30pm

Sunday, May 27, 4:00pm

For the first production under the Ticket Pledge system, the Hypocrites will perform The Aristophanesathon, Sean Graney’s follow-up to All Our Tragic, a four-and-a-half-hour adaptation that combines the eleven surviving plays of the Old Comedy Greek Playwright Aristophanes. This play exists in the same universe as All Our Tragic, but also acts as a stand-alone piece. The cast of six will feature Hypocrites Ensemble members Breon Arzell, Sasha Smith and Tien Doman.

The Hypocrites are working off of a new non-profit business model after the company was forced to cancel a portion of their 20th anniversary season. Instead of a traditional season of shows, The Hypocrites will operate on a project-by-project basis and secure all production expenses before each individual show is programmed. The company says “the capital for our productions will be obtained mostly through negotiated contracts with partner organizations but we are also creating a new system for funding self-produced show while testing audience viability, called Ticket Pledges.”

The company has invited thirty actors to join the ensemble, who will collaborate with Sean Graney to develop new material for the company. Dropping the title of Artistic Director, Sean Graney will become the Lead Artist. Kelli Strickland, the former Executive Director, will continue as a contracted advisor. The Hypocrites Board of Directors remains.

When the Hypocrites have a project for consideration, they will post the description of the proposed show online and ask for a set number of ticket pledges that will cover all production costs. Patrons may either Purchase a ticket or Pledge to Purchase a ticket. The Ticket-Pledge window will remain open for ten weeks. When a patron makes a Pledge to purchase a ticket, they will collect the patron’s name and email, but no credit card information. They will also be accepting tax-deductible donations that will be go toward covering the cost of the production.

Once a show reaches its “Critical-Interest” number of ticket pledges, the company will officially program the show and the patrons will be contacted to make purchasing arrangements. If a proposed show does not reach its minimum amount of ticket pledges, the company will not pursue that project.

The company will also continue touring their popular Gilbert & Sullivan adaptations featuring many Ensemble members and longtime artistic collaborators.

“We are extremely excited to announce these changes to our organization that will lead to stronger, more successful art being brought into the world. We want to make theater for audiences. Therefore, we are making the audiences a central part of the dialogue for programming each show,” said Graney.

“This decision just makes good business sense. This way, the business side of the company will always be operating in the black without reliance on surpluses in sales goals or fundraising to plug any revenue holes,” said Strickland.

In December, financial constraints forced the well-respected company to cancel the final two shows of their season and cut short the run of their well-received production of WIT. David Cromer and many of the cast members from they original blockbuster production of OUR TOWN returned for a benefit performance the help right the ship in January.

The Hypocrites Ensemble ensemble is now comprised of Aja Wiltshire, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Breon Arzell, BrittneyLove Smith, Dana Omar, Deanna Myers, Doug Pawlik, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carrillo, Elle Walker, Emjoy Gavino, Erin Barlow, Geoff Button, Greg Hardigan, Isa Arciniegas, Janelle Villas, Jennifer Grace, Joel Rodriguez, John Taflan, Kate Carson-Groner, Kurt Ehrman, Lauren Vogel, Leslie Ann Sheppard, Matt Kahler, Maximillian Lapine, Mechelle Moe, Rob McLean, Sasha Smith, Shawn Pfautsch, Tien Doman and Tina Muñoz Pandya. The Ensemble is managed by Justine Palmisano and Miranda Anderson.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

OPENING: The Hypocrites' Dracula at Mercury Theater Chicago 10/7-11/5/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Mercury Theater Chicago Presents
A world-premiere play adapted and directed by Sean Graney.
October 7 – November 5, 2017

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we love it when our friends play well together. We're excited to see The Hypocrites emerge from The Den, their usual haunt, and present their world premiere take on Dracula at one of our favorite venues, Mercury Theatre. We'll be out for the press opening on Friday the 13th, so check back soon for our full review. We can't wait!

I would love to be a fly on the wall of the home of adapter/directors Sean Graney (Dracula) and Vanessa Stalling (United Flight 232), who are both currently working on intense Chicago productions. I sat in front of them for the United Flight 232 press opening, and can't rave enough about this award winning must see. Stalling's heartfelt and harrowing United Flight 232 is currently on stage as a critically acclaimed remount at The House Theatre. 

Award-winning director, Sean Graney's current project is directing The Hypocrites' Dracula, a script he adapted from an original script by Timothy F. Griffin for this world-premiere production. 

Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Avenue – is thrilled to present The Hypocrites’ production of DRACULA, from October 7th through November 5th, 2017. Led by Jeff Award Winner Breon Arzell as Dracula, a multi-talented cast of accomplished Hypocrites company members will take audiences on a thrilling adventure of passion, yearning, cruelty and sacrifice.

The performance schedule for DRACULA is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

Individual tickets range from $30-$55, and are available online at, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

Director Sean Graney promises “exciting horror, at least a gallon of stage blood every night, moments of humor and a depth of character not often explored in this fantastical story.” Dracula just might stake its claim as this Halloween's most thrilling adventure.

“The characters in Dracula occupy a world on a threshold between repression and liberty,” commented director Sean Graney. “Women are beginning to live autonomous lives separate from the typical yolks of oppressive tradition. The men, though they will never admit it, fear the women and want them to return to their domestic posts. Dracula, to me, asks the question, ‘How do you deal with a society that claims to promote equality, yet everyday actions and attitudes prove that the gatekeepers are afraid of losing their advantage?’ To me, that is the world we occupy now.”

DRACULA features a strong ensemble of Hypocrites company members. 

Jeff Award Winning actor/director/choreographer Breon Arzell (The Wiz, Harry Ape) will be featured in this bloody mystery as Dracula. 

Janelle Villas (Chimerica, The King and I) will portray Lucy Seward, under the care of Rob McLean (Pirates of Penzance, Love’s Labor Lost, The Shakespeare Project of Chicago) as Dr. Van Helsing. 

Insane asylum administrator Jack Seward will be played by John Taflan (All Our Tragic, Adding Machine). Aurora Real de Asusa (You on the Moors Now) will be in the role of coveted young school mistress Mina. Erin Barlow (All Our Tragic, Men on Boats) will portray insane asylum inmate Renfield. Maurice Demus (You on the Moors Now, Sucker Punch) will be Jonathan. The scenic design is by John Musial with costume design by Samantha Jones, lighting design by Mike Durst, sound design by Joe Griffin with Jon Beal as the violence and gore designer. The production stage manager is Richard Lundy.

Sean Graney is a Chicago-based theater artist who has concentrated on adapting and directing stories to create relevant theatrical pieces for our contemporary society for the last 20 years. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, a company he founded in 1997.  In 2013, he was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University where he completed writing All Our Tragic, a twelve-hour adaptation combining all thirty-two surviving Greek Tragedies. It garnered six Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Director and Best Adaptation. As a director, Sean has helmed over 75 productions. He was a participant in the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors in 2004. He has received four other Joseph Jefferson Awards for directing and adaptation. He is also the director and co-adaptor three Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, which have been playing at many great theaters across the country.

The Hypocrites is one of Chicago's premier off-Loop theater companies specializing in mounting bold productions that challenge preconceptions and redefining the role of the audience. Under the direction of Sean Graney, the company has a reputation in Chicago for creating exciting, surprising and deeply engaging theater as it reinterprets classics and tackles ambitious new works.

The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is an intimate jewel box of a theater in the heart of the Southport Corridor, a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful theater destination, Mercury Theater Chicago takes care of its guests from the moment they arrive with valet service and dining at its adjoining restaurant, Grassroots.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Theatre Thursdays Offer World Premiere Productions And Exclusive Access to Artists.

League of Chicago Theatres Announces
Theatre Thursdays Series for 2016-2017 Season

Series Includes Carroll Gardens (16th Street Theater), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre),
Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites),
The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular (Hell in a Handbag Productions),
Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass Theatre Company),
The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), The Snare (Jackalope Theatre Company),
Linda Vista (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and Relativity (Northlight Theatre)

The League of Chicago Theatres announces the Theatre Thursdays line-up for the 2016-2017 Chicago theatre season including world premiere productions of Carroll Gardens (16th Street Theater), A Life Extra Ordinary (The Gift Theatre), Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes (The Hypocrites), The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular (Hell in a Handbag Productions), Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth (Lookingglass Theatre Company), The Wolf at the End of the Block (Teatro Vista), The Snare (Jackalope Theatre Company), Linda Vista (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and Relativity (Northlight Theatre).  Additional information for each event is available at

The Theatre Thursdays initiative, first launched in 2005, strengthens and diversifies the Chicago theatre community by encouraging Chicagoans to explore new venues and companies. Last season, the League revamped the program to focus on new work with twelve Theatre Thursday events, one per month. Each monthly event provides audiences with a world premiere production and an inside look at the creative process behind new works, including exclusive access to artists.

The 2016-2017 series includes:

Thursday, September 22
Written by A. Zell Williams
Directed by Ann Filmer
16th Street Theater at the Berwyn Cultural Center, 6420 16th Street in Berwyn
Event begins at 6:30 pm, Show begins at 7:30 pm
Tickets $18 at with promo code: THRTHURS

Join 16th Street Theater for a world-premiere of A. Zell Williams's comedy, Carroll Gardens. Theatre Thursday guests are invited to a pre-show beer tasting courtesy of Oak Park's Kinslahger Brewing Company at 6:30pm. Stay after the show for a conversation with director Ann Filmer and the cast.

Davis and Robby were childhood friends. But that was a long time ago. Now Davis lives in Brooklyn which is a long way from Stockton, CA, in all ways. When Robby shows up unexpected on Davis' doorstep, Robby's brash nature sparks conflicts amongst Davis' new circle spurring debates of race and class and forcing Davis to question who he has remade himself to be and where his loyalty lies.

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Written by Melissa Ross
Directed by John Gawlik
The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee in Jefferson Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Annabel Anderson McCafferty is an expectant mother who vanishes from her small Ohio town on Christmas Eve. Both mystery and memory play, A Life Extra Ordinary untangles and re-assembles the moments that make a life.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
Written by Andra Velis Simon
Based on Cendrillon and other compositions by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Directed by Sean Graney
The Hypocrites at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Adapted from Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s 1904 opera Cendrillon, and many of her other compositions, Andra Velis Simon’s musical-play is an elegantly irreverent exploration of the classic fairy tale. Here, Cinderella’s version of happily-ever-after does not include acceptance by the Prince. In the actor-as-orchestra style of The Hypocrites’ Gilbert & Sullivan opera work, Artistic Director Sean Graney directs this fun holiday-time show, perfect for the whole family. From the co-adapter of H.M.S. Pinafore and director of All Our Tragic.

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Written by David Cerda
Directed by Steve Love
Hell in a Handbag Productions at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. in Andersonville
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

We close the year with an old friend and Handbag creation, Rip Nelson played by Handbag favorite, Ed Jones (think, the mutant love child of Paul Lynde, Rip Taylor and Charles Nelson Reilly) in The Rip Nelson Holiday Spectacular, a show that makes The Brady Bunch Variety Hour look like Citizen Kane.

It’s 1982 and a newly sober Rip (ensemble member Ed Jones) manages to land another TV special after the death of his arch-rival, Paul Lynde. Rip is determined to get his career back on track but can he handle the stress of a network television special and stay sober? Luckily he’s got help from a cavalcade of the hottest stars of 1982! Rip pulls every trick in the book to breathe some life in the dying variety series format and save his career but soon questions if his career is worth saving.

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Written and Directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara
Puppetry by Blair Thomas
Lookingglass Theatre Company, 821 N. Michigan Ave., Downtown Chicago
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth captivate audiences with spell-binding tales. But one day, The Big Bad Wolf mysteriously dies before his story is complete. Fairytales disappear from the pages, characters are utterly forgotten, and Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth must journey through the stories to restore order before they are lost forever.

Written and directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara, this world-premiere weaves an exceptional story of adventure, love, and unexpected endings. Influenced by Neil Gaiman and other fantasy writers, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth is brought to life through the wondrous puppetry of Blair Thomas and reveals the transformational power of storytelling.

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Written by Ike Holter
Featuring Ensemble Members Sandra Márquez and Gabe Ruíz
Teatro Vista at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Chicago. Fall. One night, a boarded up bar on the dark side of the block becomes a terrifying crime scene. In the following 48 hours, the neighborhood digs deep into escalating mystery, working against time to separate fact from fiction. But as the clock ticks down, the clues spiral into a razor sharp jigsaw, and what began as a simple mystery quickly twists into a personal, pointed and political thriller. The Wolf at The End of The Block is a full-length play with five characters, three of which are Latino. The play explores the issues of racial profiling, media manipulation and family relationships. Highly charged, Holter’s story is brutally raw, funny and deftly pierces universal truths.

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Written by Samantha Beach
Directed by Elana Boulos
Jackalope Theatre Company at the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway in Edgewater
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Ruth is your average eighth-grader, keeping busy with basketball, preparing for her school’s Civil War Day, and trying to be more like her babysitter. One night, in the quiet of her bedroom, Ruth hears the voice of the devil, telling her to take action. Unprepared, Ruth’s pastor mom and family struggle to walk a path between pragmatism and faith. In this world premiere play about good vs. evil, and growing up, the question is: who will you believe?

Thursday, April 13, 2017
A world premiere by ensemble member Tracy Letts
Featuring ensemble members Ian Barford and Tim Hopper
Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted in Lincoln Park
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from the cot in his ex-wife’s garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex—complicated, painful and hilarious. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler is a modern misanthrope who must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor and member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. His works include August: Osage CountySuperior DonutsThe Man from NebraskaKiller Joe and Bug, among others. He is also known for his portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in Showtime's Homeland and can be seen in The Big Short and HBO’s Divorce. His play Mary Page Marlowe premiered at Steppenwolf, in March 2016.

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Written by Mark St. Germain
Directed by BJ Jones
Featuring Mike Nussbaum
Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie
Event details for this Theatre Thursday event will be announced closer to the date.

In 1902 Albert and Mileva Einstein had a baby daughter. After 1904 she was never seen or spoken of again. Forty years later, a reporter interviews Einstein about this mysterious piece of his past, revealing shocking secrets about his family and his personal life. While the reporter questions Einstein on his theory of relativity and his decisions, she also poses a query of her own: to be a great man, does one first need to be a good man?

The author of Freud’s Last Session and Becoming Dr. Ruth showcases his signature blend of insight, intellect, humor and heart in this fictional account of a legendary figure.

Please note that Theatre Thursdays event information and dates are subject to change.  Theatre Thursday events for June, July and August will be announced later in the year.

The 2016-2017 Theatre Thursdays sponsors are the Chicago Reader and Chicago Splash.
About Chicago theatre
Chicago theatre is a leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 5 that have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theatres serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. In the 2014-2015 season, Chicago theatre companies produced more than 100 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year, Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world.

About the League of Chicago Theatres
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres which leverages its collective strength to promote, support, and advocate for Chicago's theatre industry locally, nationally, and internationally. The League of Chicago Theatres Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the art of theatre in the Chicago area through audience development and support services for theatres and theatre professionals.

Additional information about Theatre Thursdays is available at

For a comprehensive list of Chicago theatre productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website,  Half-price tickets are available at or at one of three downtown locations.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

REVIEW: Shakespeare 400 Continues With I, Malvolio and Tug of War at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

Tonight, ChiIL Mama will be ChiILin' out at The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre with England's hilarious Tim Crouch. As I've mentioned many times before, Twelfth Night has been a favorite of mine since I was in the show myself in college. As many wildly varied adaptations as I've seen, I can't say I've ever seen it done as an hour long solo show from Malvolio's point of view. I'm very much looking forward to it. Get your tickets fast, as this is a short one week run.

I, Malvolio | Tim Crouch Theatre at Chicago Shakespeare Theater | Photo by Bruce Atherton and Jana Chiellino

Shakespeare 400 Chicago continues with 
Celebrated UK theater-maker, Tim Crouch’s reimagining of Twelfth Night
Hilarious and thought-provoking rant by Twelfth Night's slandered steward
5 performances only as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago, June 2–5

On the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016, Chicago Shakespeare Theater welcomes one of Britain’s most innovative and respected theater makers, Tim Crouch, in his inventive one-man show 
I, Malvolio as part of the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival line-up. Following the international success of Crouch’s I, CalibanI,Peaseblossom and I, Banquo—a collection of plays shedding light on some of Shakespeare’s more shadowy characters—I, Malvolio plucks the pompous steward out of Shakespeare’s  Twelfth Night and unravels a hilarious and thought-provoking story of cruelty, self-hatred and revenge. 

Conceived, written and performed by Crouch and designed by Olivier Award-winner Graeme Gilmour, I, Malvolio is performed in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare for five performances only, June 2–5, 2016.  

Performance Listing
Thursday, June 2 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 3 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 4 – 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 5 – 2:00 p.m.
For more information about the production, visit

Reimagining the much-maligned steward pining for his mistress in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, I, Malvolio is a charged, hysterical and sometimes unsettling rant from a man adrift in front of a cruel audience. Crouch’s Malvolio asks the audience to explore the delight we take in other people’s suffering. Part clown, part theater-hating disciplinarian, Malvolio is ultimately a man sorely wronged. Both heart-breaking and ingenious with a crass sense of humor, I, Malvolio takes the audience on a one-hour ride, humanizing the character with raw honesty.

The Guardian gives I, Malvolio five stars—saying “Tim Crouch is at the top of his game, sharing a text that plays as much with intelligence as slapstick.” 

The New York Times declares “I, Malvolio improbably finds its own delicate sweet (and sour) spot between comedy and self-subverting analysis.” 

The Times (UK) praises “this is a treasure…Immaculate, moving, funny, wise.” 

Crouch’s Malvolio is described by the Scotland Herald as “a pompous ass who falls somewhere between the buffoonery of Boris Johnson, the absurdism of Vic Reeves and the misguided self-importance of the late Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell.” 

The production has amused and affected audiences on stages around the globe in Sydney, Singapore and New York. Described as “one of the smartest artists making theatre in Britain now” by Kulturflash, Tim Crouch is a multi-talented theater maker who writes, performs and produces new work. Crouch’s work is noted for rejecting theatrical conventions and for engaging the audience in an active role during the performance. He has collaborated with some of the UK’s finest theater companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre and the British Council. 

Currently, he is adapting and directing Spymonkey’s highly anticipated premiere of The Complete Deaths, which will be presented by Chicago Shakespeare as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago, November 30–December 11, 2016.

More of ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List:
Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Tug of War is a 6 hour epic and we highly recommend it! The live band on stage, melding of anti war ballads, and tales of soldiers, kings, passion and power plays makes this production a must see. I never thought I'd hear Pink Floyd ballads and Shakespeare sharing a stage! Chicago Shakespeare makes it work and then some. Ancient history comes alive and it's stunning how little has truly changed in the world in over 400 years. The "Tug of War" is indeed mighty and nearly inescapable. 

We particularly loved the minimalist set design reminiscent of tire swings, junk yards, and children's playground games like capture the flag and king of the hill. The costume design was also fantastically ragtag and we adored the kings' capes with their names running around the bottom hem and their likenesses on their backs. This production is highly entertaining and a fabulous alternative to binge watching TV at home. Try out this historical Game of Thrones. There's something cathartic about seeing so much live theatre for hours on end that has to be experienced at least once.

Take a day for this full on Shakespeare immersion. Great for an adult day out or for families with tweens and up. My 15 year old son has now completed the Chicago theatre trifecta with me in the last couple of years. Together we enjoyed the award winning 12 hour All Our Tragic by The Hypocrites, the 9 hour Hammer Trinity by House Theatre and now Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Tug of War. This show makes ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List. Highly recommended.

Get ready for the ultimate game of thrones... Artistic Director Barbara Gaines takes us on a riveting gallop through two centuries, distilling six Shakespeare masterworks into two action-packed dramas that trace the rise and fall of kings, and the uncommon courage of common men. Power plays, ego, lust, humor and, yes, even love: no writer surpassed Shakespeare in portraying the forces that drive leaders to war—or the wisdom and valor of the common soldier. Twenty-two actors including a four-member band, form the company that will satisfy your craving for a multi-episode immersion into some of the most brilliant stories of the cyclical human condition. The adventure begins with Edward III, Henry V and Henry VI, Part 1 in Foreign Fire, where France is the prize. The action continues in Fall 2016 when turmoil seizes England in Tug of War: Civil Strife.

This fabulous, free program has been a favorite of ours since it's inception. Bring a picnic, a chair and as many friends, neighbors and family members as you can rally. Shakespeare in the Parks is a multigenerational must see and great for Chicago's communities. ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?! Highly recommended. ChiIL Mama's ChiIL Picks List: Family Friendly Fun for all ages.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. During 2016, CST has spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

Shakespeare 400 Chicago is a yearlong international arts festival in 2016 celebrating the vibrancy, relevance and reach of Shakespeare. As the world commemorates the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Shakespeare 400 Chicago engages more than 500,000 Chicagoans and visitors to the City through 850 events. Spearheaded by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and with leading support from the Julius Frankel Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, this quadricentennial celebration is anticipated to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive celebration of Shakespeare’s enduring legacy. Current and upcoming highlights include: Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Tug of War: Foreign Fire, adapted and directed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines (ongoing to June 12); CST’s Chicago Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night (July 14–August 14); David Carl in NY Fringe Festival hit, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (July 12–17) and the Shakespeare’s Globe production of The Merchant of Venice starring Jonathan Pryce (August 4–14)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

OPENING: The Hypocrites World Premiere of Sean Graney & Emily Casey's Johanna Faustus

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Johanna Faustus
From Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

Co-adapted by Emily Casey and Sean Graney

Directed by Sean Graney

Don't miss this limited run! Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've been fans of Sean Graney's adaptations and unique vision for years. He has a depth and insight embedded with a rare, playful streak, that makes his productions utterly unique and entirely compelling. The Hypocrites are one of our favorites on the Chicago theatre scene and we highly recommend checking them out.

What would you trade for happiness?

In the spirit of Sean Graney’s previous hits including 12 Nights and Romeo Juliet, six actors tell a modern Faust story. The performers are also the design team, with purposeful limited resources they will enact the tale using the barest elements. In this new adaptation, Faust is a woman questioning her choices that brought her to success but also isolation. 

Limited Engagement May 20 - May 29, 2016

Fri 5/20/2016
at 8:00 PM

Sat 5/21/2016
at 3:00 PM

Sat 5/21/2016
at 8:00 PM

Sun 5/22/2016
at 3:00 PM

Fri 5/27/2016
at 8:00 PM

Sat 5/28/2016
at 3:00 PM

Sat 5/28/2016
at 8:00 PM

Sun 5/29/2016
at 3:00 PM

Price: $36
The Den Theatre's Heath Main Stage
1329 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL 60622
Box Office: 773-398-7028

Johanna Faustus is an hour-long modern Faust story told by six actors who also serve as the design team in the spirit of Graney’s previous hits 12 Nights and Romeo Juliet. The tale is enacted using the barest elements with purposeful limited resources. In this new adaptation, Faust is a woman questioning whether success can really bring power. What would you trade for satisfaction?

Starring and Designed by Breon Arzell, Kate Carson-Groner, Whitney Dottery, Dana Omar, Sasha Smith, and Lauren Vogel.
Johanna Faustus will conclude The Hypocrites’ 2015-16 season with a limited engagement May 20 – 29, 2015 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

Emily Casey and Sean Graney

Emily Casey’s (Co-Adapter) past credits include All Our Tragic (The Hypocrites, Getty Villa)Sailress Billi/Captain Cat Coran in HMS Pinafore (The Hypocrites and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), Yum-Yum/The Mikado in The Mikado (The Hypocrites, Steppenwolf Garage, American Repertory Theatre), Pirates of Penzance (The Hypocrites, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, American Repertory Theatre), Frederick (Chicago Children’s Theatre), The Casuals (Jackalope Theatre), Woody Sez (Northlight Theatre), Scapin (Hope Summer Repertory Theatre).  She holds a BA in Theatre from Hope College.

Sean Graney (Co-Adapter/Director) has directed over 30 productions for The Hypocrites since 1997, including the critically acclaimed All Our Tragic. He recently returned from a Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. In 2004, Graney was a participant in the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. He has won four Joseph Jefferson Citation awards for the Direction and Adaptation for Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses, and Directing of Equus and Machinal. He has directed Edward II (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Hairy Ape (Eugene O’Neill Festival at Goodman Theatre), The Comedy of ErrorsThe Mystery of Irma Vep and What the Butler Saw (Court Theatre), Yankee Tavern (Milwaukee Rep) and The Elephant Man (Steppenwolf for Young Audiences). Graney currently serves as the Hypocrites’ Artistic Director.

About The Hypocrites
Artistic Director Sean Graney created The Hypocrites in 1997. The Hypocrites, one of Chicago’s premier off-Loop theater companies, specializes in startling and thoroughly entertaining adaptations of classic plays and stories, mounting bold productions that challenge preconceptions and redefining the role of the audience through unusual staging (such as promenade and in-the-round) and direct engagement. The mission is to explore recognizable stories—mixing the familiar and the strange—to make theater that thrills and provokes, defying expectations with humor, staging, and surprise. The company has a reputation in Chicago for creating exciting, surprising, and deeply engaging theater as it re-interprets well-known works for contemporary audiences, reveling in the absurd while revealing the core of what makes classics classic. 

The company has grown significantly in the past few years, receiving acclaim for productions at the Steppenwolf Garage, Goodman Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, DCASE Storefront and Chopin Theater. The company’s smash-hit production of Our Town, directed by David Cromer, transferred in 2009 to Off-Broadway, Los Angeles and Boston. The Pirates of Penzance has appeared at Actors Theater of Louisville and American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.). A.R.T. has also brought Romeo Juliet, 12 Nights and The Mikado (forthcoming). The American Theatre Wing, best known as the creator of the Tony Awards, presented The Hypocrites with one of the 2013 National Theatre Company awards. The critically acclaimed fall 2013 production of All Our Tragic was brought back by popular demand in June 2015. Graney’s critically acclaimed ALL OUR TRAGIC, an epic 12-hour adaptation of all 32 surviving Greek tragedies, was honored with six 2015 Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Play (midsized), Best New Adaptation and Direction for Graney and the prestigious Ensemble Award. 

The Hypocrites on the Road 
The Hypocrites continue to make a national imprint, with remounts of Graney’s wildly popular musical adaptations from the Gilbert & Sullivan canon set for engagements across the U.S. THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE and THE MIKADO will play the The Olney Theatre Center near Washington, D.C. (July 14 – August 21, 2016). 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rockin' Farewell to Hypocrite's Idiot and Mark Your Calendars For The Rest of Their Season

It's your last chance to catch The Hypocrites' acclaimed production of American Idiot. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?! If you have seen it, go again. They've managed to create something incredible here. They've made a more legitimately punk performance than Green Day ever was. 

This scrappy store front troupe gives a stripped down, gritty realism to the musical that works far better for the story line than the big budget Broadway versions. The set is a graffiti strewn hole in the wall where the pre show is a band. During the show, characters grab and chug beers from the audience and toss dime bags (of Smarties) to the lucky. 

In this "Hair" for the new millennium, the teens experience love, loss, addiction, military deployment, and teen pregnancy. Although the kids begin the show desperate for freedom and jonesing to leave town for adventures, ultimately they all discover there's no place like home.  The vocals are powerful stuff, and the cast connects with each other and the audience in a compelling way. We loved it and highly recommend it.

Now Playing:
The smash musical by Grammy Award-winning punk rock band Green Day
"A visceral and impassioned theatrical experience"
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

"Succeeding where Broadway failed"
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

"An impressive, immersive underground-style gig"
Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

Book by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer
Music by Green Day, Lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong
Directed by Steven Wilson
Musical Direction by Andra Velis Simon
Choreography by Katie Spelman
Running August 28 – October 25, 2015

August 28 – October 25, 2015
Directed by Steven Wilson, Musical Direction by Andra Velis Simon

The critics agree, "American Idiot feels precisely as raw, real, reckless and angry as it should." - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times; "A visceral and impassioned theatrical experience... Director, Steven Wilson, integrates the amazing flexibility of his hugely talented young cast with the material in a strikingly rich fashion." - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune; "A rousing reinvention." - Time Out Chicago; "Utterly entertaining." - Chicago Readers; "Go see it before it's over." - Gapers Block; "This particular version ofAmerican Idiot is a work of endurance, timing, commitment, passion and insuppressible talent... The Hypocrites continue to rise not just to the rank of one of our city’s best storefronts but one of Chicago’s best theaters period." - Newcity Stage

American Idiot at The Den Theatre's Heath Main Stage, 1329 N Milwaukee Ave. Purchase American Idiot Tickets Today

It's your final chance to catch season opener, American Idiot (and pick up a Hypocrites tee & American Idiot drink ware!), but mark your calendars for 

They are some of our favorite locals with talent to spare and one of our consistent top picks here at ChiIL Live Shows. They have the dramatic chops to take on everything from French absurdist classics and ancient myths, to modern musicals, and everything in between! 

Congrats to Sean Graney and the cast of All Our Tragic for winning Best New Work and Best Ensemble respectively.

Up Next:

Sean Graney's The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-SuicideOct 30 - Nov 8. Co-directed by Joel Ewing and Mechelle Moe. Featuring Brian Baren, Justin Burns, Hunter Dunn, Heather Lauritzen, Jauhara Saunders, Cleo Shine and Olivia Shine. Presented in a special artistic collaboration with Senn Arts Magnet High School's The Yard.

More info, cast bios and tickets at

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Hypocrites Tixs:

October 30 – November 8, 2015
By Sean Graney, Co-Directed by Joel Ewing and Mechelle Moe

November 17 – December 13, 2015
Co-adapted by Sean Graney, Andra Velis Simon, and Matt Kahler; Directed by Sean Graney

November 19, 2015 – January 10, 2016
By Jay Torrence, Directed by Halena Kays

January 22 – March 6, 2016
By Tennessee Williams, Re-imagined and Directed by Hans Fleischmann

March 8 – 20, 2016
Adapted and Directed by Sean Graney

March 18 – May 15, 2016
Directed by Geoff Button

May 20 – 29, 2016
Co-Adapted by Emily Casey and Sean Graney; Directed by Sean Graney

July 14 – August 21, 2016
Adapted and Directed by Sean Graney; Pirates co-adapted by Kevin O'Donnell

Heads Up San Fran:

ChiIL Live Shows adored The Hypocrites' Pirates of Penzance and highly recommend it. Now Chi, IL theatre is taking California by storm, bringing The Hypocrites' delightfully immersive, lovingly loopy, and fantastically eccentric 80-minute take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s preposterous, topsy-turvy world to Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

If you are in the Bay Area, come join the party!

October 16 – December 20, 2015
Co-adapted by Sean Graney and Kevin O'Donnell, Directed by Sean Graney

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