Showing posts with label Theatre Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theatre Chicago. Show all posts

Thursday, March 17, 2022

REVIEW: Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-prize Winning Drama SWEAT On Stage at Paramount's Copley Theatre Through April 24, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 





By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Imagine yourself in a dive bar in Philly, in a working class hood, at the end of the Clinton era. Generations of hard working Americans have made a decent living here, with seniority workers making up to $40 an hour. Yet that's all about to come crashing town, as factory after factory packs up and moves to Mexico and cheaper digs overseas, putting profits over people. Sweat spans the Bush era and the utter decimation of this factory town, and the poverty, desperation, violence, and addiction that follow in the wake of plant closings. 

It's a brilliant and crucial set up for understanding the Trump years and the ongoing rage of the working class who punch down and blame immigrants and other working poor instead of management, and wealthy factory owners. Sweat is a scathing look at racism, scapegoats, injuries, alcoholism driven by poverty and pain, and the difficulty of employment after incarceration. It's not all doom and gloom, though. Sweat also depicts lifelong friendships, bonding, birthdays, and the strength in a sense of community.

Photo credit for all production shots unless noted otherwise: Amy Nelson

If you're expecting Paramount's usual fare of crowd pleasing musicals with big song and dance numbers, this is not that production. Head across the street. If you're ready for an epic fight scene, an unflinching look at human nature under pressure, and complicated family dynamics, don't miss this! We love Lynn Nottage’s phenomenal writing, and her all too timely treatise on the dissolving of living wage, blue collar jobs, and the havoc it wreaks on individuals, families, and communities. Paramount's take on this vital, contemporary drama is outstanding.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're so excited for Paramount's new space and bold choices. The Copley Theatre renovation is a gorgeous mix of retro and modern with a nod toward a 1960's esthetic with a 2022 flair. 

Paramount's award winning main-stage shows have sparked an artistic renaissance in Aurora and now they're expanding to include a new space with an edgier lineup seldom seen in suburban theatre settings. What a wonderful resource for the region! We adored Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-prize winning drama, Sweat, when we caught it in 2019 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, and we're thrilled that Paramount's bringing it back with a phenomenal cast, in their intimate, new space. 

We truly felt like patrons in the on-stage bar, with the action taking place feet away. The set design is top shelf and the entire cast pours their hearts and souls into this production, expertly immersing the audience in their world. This production gave me chills and elicited a rousing, unanimous standing ovation from the opening night crowd. There were audible gasps in the audience during the vicious fight scene and more than a few patrons were moved to tears. This is the kind of theatre that leaves a mark, and sparks not only empathy, but vital post show discussions. Highly recommended. 

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theater critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Sweat, Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-prize winning drama, is the first of four Bold productions in 2022 in the newly modernized Copley Theatre, right across the street from Paramount Theatre

After two years of waiting, Paramount Theatre will launch its new Bold Series next month, bringing a new, four-show subscription series and a new type of live theater – fearless, unexpected and thought provoking – to the heart of Aurora’s downtown entertainment district.

The inaugural production is Sweat, Lynn Nottage’s acclaimed modern-day drama about life in an American Rust Belt town being battered by the constant threat of company shutdowns. Sweat, running March 9-April 24, 2022, opening to the press Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m., is the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play and a landmark achievement of American theater.

Just as exciting, Paramount will lift the curtain on its new home for its Bold Series, the newly remodeled Copley Theatre, right across the street from Paramount at 8 E. Galena Blvd., in the North Island Center.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Following a two-year, $2 million, top-to-bottom renovation, the Copley is no longer an unknown, underutilized space, but an intimate, state-of-the-art theater with 165 comfortable new seats and a modern new lobby bar, ready to attract more audiences to downtown Aurora.

Behind-the-scenes of Paramount’s inaugural Bold production, Sweat

Sweat is set in a bar in an impoverished American town, where factory workers gather to laugh, talk, and drink their cares away, despite the constant threat of company shutdowns. When promotions and layoffs are rumored, tensions and jealousy begin to rip apart their community. Can friendships and family endure when all hopes of economic stability and mobility disappear? An intense examination of race, class and the human costs of capitalism, Sweat captures the ever-present battle between human needs and business in America’s Rust Belt.

Veteran Chicago director Andrea J Dymond is director. The cast features Jordan Anthony Arredondo (Oscar), Tiffany Bedwell (Jessie), Emmanuel K. Jackson (Chris), Linda Gillum (Tracey), Joshua L. Green (Brucie), Bryant Hayes (Evan), Shariba Rivers (Cynthia), Randy Steinmeyer (Stan) and Gage Wallace (Jason).

The production team includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec, scenic designer; Yvonne L. Miranda, costume designer; Jessica Neill, lighting designer; Jeffrey Levin, sound designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; David Woolley, fight choreographer; Khalid Long, dramaturg; Jinni Pike, stage manager; and Lanita VanderSchaaf, assistant stage manager. 

The cast for Paramount’s Bold Series production of Sweat features Jordan Anthony Arredondo (Oscar), Tiffany Bedwell (Jessie), Linda Gillum (Tracey), Joshua L. Green (Brucie), Bryant Hayes (Evan),

 Emmanuel K. Jackson (Chris), Shariba Rivers (Cynthia), Randy Steinmeyer (Stan) and Gage Wallace (Jason).

Sweat performance schedule and ticket information

Previews start Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Press opening is Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. Sweat runs through April 24. Show times are Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at

2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $67 to $74.

The Copley Theatre is located at 8 E. Galena Blvd., in the North Island Center, directly across the street from Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Access Services

If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or in advance.

Paramount offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device.

Paramount Theatre’s Covid-19 commitment to and safety and protocol

Paramount Theatre is committed to the health and safety of all patrons, theater employees, production staff and artists, and adheres to federal, state and municipal COVID-19 protocols.

What’s next in Paramount’s new Bold Series

Following Sweat, Paramount’s new Bold Series continues with Hand to God by Robin Askins, a darkly humorous shocker told Sesame Street meets Exorcist style, puppets included, May 25-July 10. Next is the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home, book by Lisa Kron, music by Jeanine Tesori, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, playing the Copley August 3-September 18. The 2022 Bold series culminates with BULL: a love story, Nancy García Loza’s world premiere drama about a Mexican-American man who returns to Chicago to find a family who has moved on and a neighborhood he no longer recognizes, October 5-November 20.

Summing up the series, Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti said, "Up close and personal, the Bold Series calls audiences together urgently and right on time. By turns comic and cautionary, rendered by prize-winning, contemporary playwrights, passionate voices will soon be let loose in the dynamically renewed space of Paramount's Copley Theatre. Come discover what we've found for you in these four inaugural season productions. 

“After nearly two years since we were originally supposed to launch our Bold Series, the time has finally come to lift the curtain on an exhilarating and new storytelling experience,” added Tim Rater, President and CEO, Paramount Theatre. “Housed in the beautifully renovated Copley Theatre, audiences will discover stories that challenge, enlighten, engage and entertain. I could not be more excited to share these stories with our patrons and hope that when the lights come up, the conversations will last long after the ride home.”

Four-show Bold Series subscriptions are on sale now, ranging from just $134-$148. That’s a “buy two shows, get two shows free” offer. Single tickets to individual performances are $67-$74. To purchase subscriptions, single tickets or for more information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

All four Bold Series performances will be staged in Copley Theatre, located in the North Island Center, 8 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora. 

About Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts and education in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. The beautiful, 1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur, has been downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction since 1931.

After launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount Theatre grew to be the second largest subscription house in the U.S. Before Covid, more than 41,000 subscribers from all over Chicagoland and the Midwest were enjoying Paramount’s critically acclaimed, 2019-20 Broadway-caliber productions. In addition, Paramount also presents an array of internationally known comedians, musicians, dance troupes and family shows annually.

Paramount Theatre is one of four live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also manages downtown Aurora’s newly renovated 165-seat Copley Theatre, Paramount’s smaller, more intimate, 165-seat “sister” stage, right across the street at 8 E. Galena Blvd. ACCA also oversees the Paramount School of the Arts, RiverEdge Park, the city’s 6,000-seat outdoor summer concert venue, and Stolp Island Theatre, an immersive space opening in summer 2023.

Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals.

For the latest updates, visit or follow @ParamountAurora on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Playwright and director biographies

Lynn Nottage (playwright) is the first, and remains the only, woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. Her play Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Evening Standard Award, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination) premiered and was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. It moved to Broadway after a sold-out run at The Public Theater. Goodman Theatre presented the Chicago premiere of Sweat in 2019. Most recently, Nottage premiered MJ the Musical at the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway, and Clyde's at Second Stage Theater on Broadway. Other plays include Floyd's (Guthrie Theater) Mlima’s Tale (Public Theater), By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers; Stone and POOF! Nottage also wrote the book for the world premiere musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life of Bees, with music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. She is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, Steinberg "Mimi" Distinguished Playwright Award, PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, TIME 100 (2019), Merit and Literature Award from The Academy of Arts and Letters, Columbia University Provost Grant, Doris Duke Artist Award, The Joyce Foundation Commission Project & Grant, Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley Award, Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Creativity, The Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black Theatre Fest's August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, Lucille Lortel Fellowship and Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. She is also a screenwriter and an Associate Professor in the Theatre Department at Columbia School of the Arts. For more, visit

Andrea J Dymond (director) is a Chicago-based freelance director, specializing in developing and directing new work. Recent directing credits include Thirst at Strawdog Theatre, the world premieres of The Greatest Theatrical Event…EVER! at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Shepsu Aahku’s Black and Blue for MPAACT. Dymond was formerly Resident Director at Victory Gardens Theater, where she directed 11 productions, including seven world premieres, and helped to develop and launch the The Ignition Festival of New Plays. In addition to directing around Chicago and the U.S., her experience includes literary management, research and production dramaturgy, directing at new works festivals; serving as thesis play advisor for MFA playwrights at Carnegie Mellon University and directing at NNPN’s MFA Playwrights Workshops at the Kennedy Center. A teacher at Columbia College Chicago, Dymond's courses have included Directing, Collaboration, African American Scene Study, Text Analysis, Dramaturgy, Acting and New Play Development. She was also the facilitator of the Theodore Ward Award for African American Playwriting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

REVIEW: North American Premiere of SOLARIS Via Griffin Theatre Company Through March 27, 2022 at Raven Theatre

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  

North American Premiere!

Griffin Theatre Company Announces


By David Greig

Adapted from the novel by Stanisław Lem

Directed by Scott Weinstein

February 19 – March 27, 2022 at Raven Theatre

By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Imagine an austere space station on a remote outpost, with clever sliding doors and airlocks, a small crew, and a huge problem with uninvited entities. Outside the ship, psychedelic swirls and intricate illusions form on a vast ocean. Inside, the scientists struggle with dueling desires to study the alien phenomenon and protect themselves from a potential malevolent threat. Video journals from a dead team member and an unspeaking, unsmiling child that manifests out of thin air add to the mystery. These intrepid travelers bring the audience along on quite the psychological trip with the North American premiere of SOLARIS. 

(left to right) Alexandrya Salazar, Isa Arciniegas and Larry Baldacci in Griffin Theatre Company’s North American premiere of Solaris. All photos by Michael Brosilow.

When I first read the description I was a bit leery that it would be the old space trope of man versus life threatening challenges and human stupidity.  My husband and I call these the "Lack of Oxygen Channel" movies and I detest the genre. Solaris is not that show. It's something much darker and more disturbing, as the women on board battle longing and loss, and some are willing to pay the ultimate price to inhabit a blissful illusion just a bit longer. 

The Solaris cast is superb, with strong performances across the board, and compelling rapport that's a joy to see. All the elements combine to make this stellar production unique and fascinating. Special shout out to Joe Schermoly*(scenic design) and Izumi Inaba (costume design) for going above and beyond.  

(left to right) Isa Arciniegas and John Drea

As the real world is still reeling from over 2 years of pandemic losses and lockdowns, this play's themes of isolation, interconnection, memory, and codependency really resonate. Solaris is recommended. 

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theater critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

(left to right) John Drea and Larry Baldacci

Griffin Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this winter with the North American premiere of David Greig’s sci-fi thriller Solaris, adapted from the novel by Stanisław Lem and directed by Scott Weinstein*, playing February 19 – March 27, 2022 on Raven Theatre’s Schwartz Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Tickets on sale  at or by calling (773) 338-2177. 

Please note: Raven Theatre currently requires proof of vaccination and masking at all performances. Protocols are subject to change closer to the date of the event. For all of Raven’s current COVID-19 and vaccination information, visit


The cast includes Isa Arciniegas*, Larry Baldacci*, John Drea, Nicole Laurenzi* and TJ Thomas.

On a space station in the far reaches of the galaxy, a small group of scientists study the isolated ocean planet of Solaris. Sent from earth to investigate reports of abnormal activity on-board, a new scientist arrives to find one crew member dead and two who are seeing things that cannot be explained. Has the prolonged isolation in space caused those on board to hallucinate? Or is it something else? A vivid exploration of loneliness, isolation and how we deal with loss, this science fiction thriller asks if we can truly understand the universe without first understanding what lies within our hearts. 

Lem’s novel has been adapted numerous times for film, radio and theater. Prominent film adaptations include Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 version and Steven Soderbergh's 2002 version.

Solaris received its world premiere in 2019 at the Malthouse Theatre, in Melbourne, Australia in a co-production with the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. Following the run at the Malthouse Theatre the play was transferred to the Royal Lyceum Theatre and then to the Lyric Hammersmith in London, England. 

The production team includes Joe Schermoly* (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Brandon Wardell+ (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Ivy Treccani (properties design), Yeaji Kim (projection/video design), Courtney Abbott (intimacy director), Jonathan Mayo (production manager), Evan Sposato (technical director) and Sara Beaman (stage manager).

*Denotes Griffin Theatre ensemble member   +Denotes Griffin Theatre artistic associate

(left to right) Isa Arciniegas and John Drea 


Cast (in alphabetical order): The cast includes Isa Arciniegas* (Kelvin), Larry Baldacci* (Gibarian), John Drea (Ray), Nicole Laurenzi* (Sartorius) and TJ Thomas (Snow).

Location: Raven Theatre’s Schwartz Stage, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago

Dates: Previews: Saturday, February 19 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, February 20 at 3 pm, Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 pm, Friday, February 25 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 26 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run: Thursday, March 3 – Saturday, March 27, 2022

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews $30. Regular run $40. Students/active military and veterans $15. Group discounts are available for groups of ten or more. Tickets go on Thursday, January 27 at or by calling (773) 338-2177.

(left to right) TJ Thomas and John Drea

(left to right) Nicole Laurenzi, TJ Thomas and Isa Arciniegas

David Greig (Playwright, Adapter) is a multi-award-winning playwright who became the Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh in 2015. David’s most notable plays include The Events, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, Midsummer, Dunsinane and Europe. More recently, David’s new stage adaptation of Solaris, based on Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 soviet science fiction novel, was co-produced by The Lyceum, Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne Australia and The Lyric Hammersmith. In 2019, David teamed up with original creators Bill Forsyth and Mark Knopfler to adapt the international hit film Local Hero for the stage, which premiered in Edinburgh. David’s new stage adaptation of Joe Simpson's best-selling 1988 memoir Touching the Void, which was co-produced by The Lyceum and Bristol Old Vic, enjoyed a run at The Duke of York in London’s West End in 2019/20. His other adaptations include Strindberg’s Creditors (2018) and Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women (2016) and The Lorax (2015). David wrote the book for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which opened in the West End in 2013 and then transferred to Broadway in 2017. 

Stanisław Lem (Author, 1921-2006) was a Polish writer of speculative fiction and essays on various subjects, including philosophy, futurology and literary criticism. Many of his science fiction stories are of satirical and humorous character. Lem's books have been translated into over 50 languages and have sold over 45 million copies. His best-known novel “Solaris” (1961) has been made into a feature film three times. Lem's works explore philosophical themes through speculations on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of communication with and understanding of alien intelligence, despair about human limitations and humanity's place in the Universe. His essays and philosophical books cover these and many other topics and his works such as “The Cyberiad,” “His Master’s Voice” and “The Star Diaries” have entered the canon of world literature. Translating his works is difficult due to Lem's elaborate neologisms and idiomatic wordplay. The Polish Parliament declared 2021 Stanisław Lem Year.

Scott Weinstein (Director) is an award-winning director and writer based in New York City. His work as a director has been seen at major regional theaters around the country and he recently won the Joseph Jefferson award for his actor-musician, chamber style re-conception of Ragtime with Griffin Theatre, where he is an ensemble member. Other favorite credits include Titanic (Griffin); Something Rotten, Murder For Two (Marriott Theatre), South Pacific (The Rev Theatre), She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf/Buzz22 Chicago), Sex With Strangers (Cardinal Stage) and Rock of Ages (Pittsburgh CLO). Scott was the Associate and Resident Director for the Broadway National Tour, Las Vegas and Chicago productions of the hit musical Million Dollar Quartet and recently developed and directed the world premiere/first national tour of Million Dollar Quartet Christmas. He has developed new work at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Pittsburgh CLO, The American Music Theatre Project, The Marriott Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, The Rev, Norwegian Creative Studios and others. Graduate of Northwestern University and proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He is represented by William Morris Endeavor.

The Griffin Theatre Company is a Blue Star Theater and is proud to support our military enlisted and veterans. 


About Griffin Theatre Company 

Established in 1988. the mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.

The Griffin Theatre Company is the recipient of 125 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for theater excellence in Chicago. The Griffin was honored with four 2018 Jeff awards for Ragtime including Best Ensemble, Best Musical, Best Director-Musical and Best Performer in a Supporting Role-Musical. Additionally, the company was the repeat winner of the 2016 Jeff Award for Best Production of a Play for London Wall having won the same award in 2015 for its production of Men Should Weep.

The Griffin Theatre Company is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Funds for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the American Rescue Plan.

For additional information, visit

(left to right) Nicole Laurenzi, Isa Arciniegas and TJ Thomas in Griffin Theatre Company’s North American premiere of Solaris. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

EXTENDED: Porchlight Music Theatre's Acclaimed Blues in the Night Now Playing March 20, 2022






Now Extended Through March 20, 2022

 Felicia P. Fields* All Photos by Anthony Robert La Penna


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Every time I see a Porchlight Music Theatre I am stunned by the incredible performers we have here in Chicago. I'm convinced the second city is second to none when it comes to powerhouse vocals, snazzy choreography, and sheer talent. Blues in the night brings an award winning cast together for a sultry, stunning production that's truly a treat. The top notch musicians play on stage and are a joy to see in action, as are the actors. The stage chemistry is palpable and this show is sure to warm your winter weary heart. Highly recommended. Don't miss this!

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theater critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Donica Lynn* 

Terrell Armstrong+ in BLUES IN THE NIGHT from Porchlight Music Theatre, Feb. 9 - March 20 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Photo by Anthony Robert La Penna

(L to R) Evan Tyrone Martin+ and Clare Kennedy* in BLUES IN THE NIGHT from Porchlight Music Theatre, Feb. 9 - March 20 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Photo by Anthony Robert La Penna
Blues in the Night featuring Tony-Nominated Actor Felicia P. Fields*, Jeff Award-Winner Donica Lynn*, Jeff Award-Nominated Evan Tyrone Martin+, Clare Kennedy* and Terrell Armstrong+

 Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)

New dates for Porchlight Music Theatre productions:

Blues in the Night

Conceived by Sheldon Epps

Directed and Choreographed by Kenny Ingram+

Music Directed by David Fiorello+

Associate Music Director and Conductor Maulty Jewell IV+

Assistant Choreographer Ariel Dorsey*

NEW DATES: February 9 - March 20

The Blues is one of America’s original art forms and Chicago was the home to some of the greatest Blues performers ever. Set in a history-filled hotel on Chicago’s south side one fateful night in the late 1930s, this Tony Award-nominated celebration interweaves the stories of three women who share their highs and lows of romance through the iconic songs of Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and others.

Ticket Price: $25 – $74


Terrell Armstrong+


The Blues in the Night cast includes Felicia P. Fields* ("The Lady from the Road”) in her Porchlight Mainstage debut;  Donica Lynn* ("The Woman of the World") last seen by Porchlight audiences in her Jeff-Award nominated role in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies,  Clare Kennedy* ("The Girl with a Date”) a follow up to her performance in Porchlight’s New Faces Sing Broadway 1961;  Evan Tyrone Martin+ ("The Man in the Saloon) last seen in Porchlight’s Jeff Award-winning  Dreamgirls and Terrell Armstrong+ ("The Dancing Man”) last seen in Porchlight’s  A Chorus Line.

Blues in the Night’s production team includes: Kenny Ingram+, (director & choreographer); David Fiorello+, (music director);  Ariel M Dorsey*, (assistant choreographer) and Maulty Jewell IV+ (associate music director/conductor), Alden Vasquez+ (production stage manager); Ruben Echoles+ (costume and wig designer), Brandon Wardell+ (lighting designer), Eric Backus+ (sound designer), Angela Weber Miller* (scenic designer), Caitlin McCarthy* (properties designer), Matthew Chase+ (audio engineer), Rachel West* (lighting supervisor), Jennifer Aparicio* (production manager), Henry Wilkinson+ (technical director), Rashaad A. Bond+, (producing artistic associate); Alex Rhyan+, (production and operations director) and Michael Weber+, (artistic director).

Information about Porchlight Music Theatre’s COVID-19 Guidelines a its events may be found at:

ABOUT KENNY INGRAM +, director and choreographer

Kenny Ingram last directed and choreographed Triple Threat, a play that moves and sings starring James T. Lane ahh The Zeiders American Dream Theatre in Virginia Beach. He received the White Nights Film Festival Diploma for his direction and choreography for Chicago Performing Theatrical production of The Moment in Russia. Ingram directed and choreographed for Chicago Shakespeare’s first summer musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Navy Pier. He choreographed The New York Times Critics Pick re -mount of Emojiland, Off Broadway at The Duke on 42nd, and Till, The Musical based on the story of Emmett Till Off Broadway at Signature Theatre for the New York Musical Festival. Ingram won outstanding Choreography for his moves in Emojiland in 2018 at NYMF. Although he lives in Harlem, he is excited to return home to Chicago where he began his career at Lou Conte Dance Studio on Scholarship, taught jazz dance here at The Ruth Page Center and choreographed at many Chicago Legendary Theatre’s including Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Organic Theatre, Hasted Street Theatre and now to cap it off Porchlight. 

ABOUT DAVID FIORELLO+, music director

David Fiorello is a music director, performer, director, composer and arranger who’s no stranger to Porchlight. He has served as music director for Porchlight’s Gypsy, Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi, Porchlight Revisits Woman of the Year, several seasons of the New Faces Sing Broadway series, as well as several Chicago Sings and ICONS GALA benefits. He also appeared onstage as Joe in Porchlight's mainstage production of Merrily We Roll Along. David currently serves as founder and artistic director of The Beautiful City Project, a theatre company committed to raising funds for local Chicago charities and nonprofits, using some of the city’s finest musical theatre talents. He’s music directed national and international tours, including John Doyle’s re-imagining of Sweeney Todd. He also served as music director for the Off-Broadway hit Danny & Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical. His orchestrations and arrangements have been heard across the nation, and on several albums. He’s taught and directed/music directed as part of the International Lyric Academy in Italy and is adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago. An in-demand vocal coach, Fiorello Studios has also provided unique cabaret programming featuring the music of The Indigo Girls, Jason Mraz, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Cassidy, Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat. 

Evan Tyrone Martin+ 


Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to be a member of the vibrant Ruth Page Center for the Arts community and an In-Resident Organization. Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts’ programming is this program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they grow or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and assisting dance and other performing artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artistic community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a destination for quality performing arts, accessible to a wide community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability. An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the vision of its founder, legendary dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community.


Porchlight Music Theatre is the award-winning center for music theatre in Chicago. Through live performance, youth education and community outreach we impact thousands of lives each season, bringing the magic of musicals to our theatre home at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in the Gold Coast and to neighborhoods across the city. Porchlight has built a national reputation for boldly reimagining classic musicals, supporting new works and young performers, and showcasing Chicago’s most notable music theatre artists, all through the intimate and powerful theatrical lens of the “Chicago Style.” 

Now in its 27th season, Porchlight's quarter-century production history includes more than 70 mainstage works with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Porchlight’s commitment to the past, present and future of music theatre led the company to develop the Porchlight Revisits and New Faces Sing Broadway program series, both quickly becoming audience favorites. 

Porchlight's education and outreach programs serve schools, youth of all ages and skill levels and community organizations, most notably the ongoing collaboration with Chicago Youth Centers. Porchlight annually awards dozens of full scholarships and hundreds of free tickets to ensure accessibility and real engagement with this uniquely American art form. 

The company’s many honors include 178 Joseph Jefferson Award (Jeff) nominations and 45 Jeff awards, as well as 33 Black Theatre Alliance (BTA) nominations and 12 BTA awards. In 2019, Porchlight graduated to the Large Theatre tier of the Equity Jeff Awards, and was honored with eight nominations in both technical and artistic categories and won three awards in its inaugural year in this tier, most notably Best Ensemble for Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies. 

Through the global pandemic, Porchlight emerged as one of Chicago’s leaders in virtual programming, quickly launching a host of free offerings like Sondheim @ 90 Roundtables, Movie Musical Mondays, Porchlight by Request: Command Performances and WPMT: Classic Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio. For the 2020-2021 season, Porchlight’s fall schedule included all-new ticketed virtual programs including Broadway by the Decade, New Faces Sing Broadway 1987, Chicago Sings Rock & Roll Broadway, New Faces Sing Broadway 1961 and the return of The Ruffians’ Burning Bluebeard as well as collaborations with Hershey Felder and L.A. Theatre Works. Porchlight recently launched its first summer performance schedule in 2021 that included a sold-out performance of New Faces Sing Broadway 1979 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, the premiere of its outdoor music series Broadway in your Backyard, performed throughout Chicagoland this summer and special appearances at Sundays on State and Navy Pier’s Chicago Live Again. 

Award-winning Porchlight Music Theatre announces the cast for Blues in the Night, conceived by Sheldon Epps+, with the music of Bessie Smith, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Gordon Jenkins, Alberta Hunter and others., January 15, 2022 - February 27, 2022 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. The first mainstage production of 2022 is directed and choreographed by Kenny Ingram+, music directed by David Fiorello+, assistant choreographed by Ariel M. Dorsey and associate music director and conductor Maulty Jewell IV+.  Blues in The Night’s previews are Saturday, Jan, 15 at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 16  at 2 and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 19  at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 20 at 1:30 p.m. with the press opening Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at 7 p.m. The regular run performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with  weekday matinees Thursday,  Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Single tickets are $25 - $74 and subscriptions to the entire 2021 - 2022 season are available at or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884. (Please note: complete performance schedule is available at the end of this release.) 

Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from  Actors’ Equity Foundation; Allstate; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Chapman | Spingola, LLP; Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation; Gen Ops Plus; Elegant Event Lighting; Glimpse Vision; James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation; Hearty Boys; A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation; The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince; the Pritzker Traubert Foundation; Ryan and Spaeth, Inc.; Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation; The Saints and Dr. Scholl Foundation.

The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. 

Porchlight Music Theatre wishes to thank members of the Matching Gift Corporate Program including Abbvie; Allstate; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Peoples Gas; Pepsico; Polk Bros Foundation and The Saints. 

From L.A. to Amsterdam to Berlin, a young musician chases youthful dreams and spiritual clarity against a shifting backdrop of locales and acquaintances as he rebels against his conservative upbringing. This hit rock musical, loaded with soulful lyrics and passion, debuted to critical acclaim on Broadway in 2008, winning both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards and went on to be a critically acclaimed motion picture filmed by Spike Lee+ in 2009. The New York Times said about its Broadway debut, “Call it a rock concert with a story to tell … Or call it a sprawling work of performance art … I’ll just call it wonderful.”

All performances take place at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts at 1016 N. Dearborn Street. 

Updated performance schedule:


Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 27 at  2 p.m.


Thursday, March 3 at  7 p.m.

Friday, March 4 at  8 p.m.

Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m. (Open Caption Performance)

Sunday, March 6 at  2 p.m.


Thursday, March 10 at 7p.m.

Friday, March 11 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 12 at 3 p.m. (Open Caption Performance)

Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m.


Thursday, March 17 at 7p.m.

Friday, March 18 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. 

Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

Ticket Price: $25 – 74


(L to R) Clare Kennedy* and Terrell Armstrong+ in BLUES IN THE NIGHT from Porchlight Music Theatre, Feb. 9 - March 20 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Photo by Anthony Robert La Penna

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Celebrate Black History Month With Chicago Theatre Week February 17 – 27, 2022

 Chicago Theatre Week marks its 10th year,

February 17 – 27, 2022

Among offerings are productions to celebrate Black History Month


There's a black renaissance happening on stages across Chicago and here at ChiIL Live Shows we've seen some amazing openings featuring black narratives, actors, directors, and more that coincide with both Black History Month and great ticket discounts through Chicago Theatre Week. Check out some stellar storytelling from Chicago's impressive black talent pool without breaking the bank. Want more of a deep dive into shows? Check out our original reviews, theatre news, giveaways and more at (adult) and (family friendly). We've highlighted shows we've seen and recommend in red below.

Chicago Theatre Week (#CTW22), an annual celebration of the rich tradition of theatre-going in Chicago during which visitors and residents can access value-priced tickets, returns for its 10th year and will take place February 17-27, 2022. Tickets, value-priced at $30, $15, or less, are on sale at Book NOW for the best selection. Top shows do sell out fast.

Chicago Theatre Week is back in-person after a quieter and mostly online 2021 theatre scene during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chicago Theatre Week, spanning a week and two full weekends, is heading into its 10th year. As a program of the League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago, theatres in neighborhoods throughout the city and suburbs are expected to participate.

Chicago Theatre Week occurs in February each year, coinciding with Black History Month. Several productions honoring the Black experience featuring Black theatres and theatre-makers are participating in Chicago Theatre Week, including:


Gem of the Ocean

Goodman Theatre

January 22- February 27, 2022

**Highly recommended--ChiIL Live Shows**

Goodman revives the play that begins August Wilson’s epic 10-play American Century Cycle—on the stage where it premiered in 2003. Tensions flare into riots across Pittsburgh’s Hill District as chaos threatens a city desperate for freedom. It’s 1904, the dawn of the new century—yet slavery’s shadow looms large. There is solace to be found at the home of 285-year-old Ester Tyler, keeper and transmitter of African American history and cleanser of souls. When a suspicious traveler appears at her door in search of a new life, Aunt Ester guides him on a journey of spiritual awakening.

Trial in the Delta


February 26, 2022

Collaboraction presents a theatrical staged reading of Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till, an adaptation of the trial transcript of the State of Mississippi vs. Milam and Bryant, the men who were found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till. The script was adapted by company members G. Riley Mills and Willie "Prince Roc" Round and produced by Collaboraction and The DuSable Museum of African American History.



Invictus Theatre Company

February 17- March 20, 2022

This winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize is set in a small mining town in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ruined follows Mama Nadi, a shrewd businesswoman in a land torn apart by civil war. But is she protecting or profiting by the women she shelters? How far will she go to survive? Can a price be placed on a human life?


TimeLine Theatre Company

January 21 - February 26, 2022

**Highly recommended--ChiIL Live Shows**

Set in the Black Victorian era, Relentless looks at the deep personal secrets we keep to protect the ones we love most. The year is 1919. After the death of their mother, two sisters come home to Philadelphia to settle her estate. Annelle is a happy socialite desperate to return to the safe illusion of a perfect life with her husband in Boston. Janet is a single, professional nurse, determined to change history and propel Black women to a place of prominence and respect. After discovering diaries left by their late mother, they find themselves confronted with a woman they never really knew, exposing buried truths from the past that are chillingly, explosively Relentless.

Blues In the Night

Porchlight Music Theatre

February 9 - March 13, 2022

The Blues is one of America’s original art forms and Chicago was the home to some of the greatest Blues performers ever. Set in a history-filled hotel on Chicago’s south side one fateful night in the late 1930s, this Tony Award-nominated celebration interweaves the stories of three women who share their highs and lows of romance through the iconic songs of Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and others.

The SuperAfroWavyDrippyExtraBrilliantDope Show

The Second City

February 1 - March 9, 2022

Black on Black shines as The Second City celebrates the comedy contributions of our BIPOC alumni, including Sam Richardson, Keegan-Michael Key, Amber Ruffin, Tim Meadows, and more. Performed by an all-Black cast who will soon be household names themselves, The SuperAfroWavyDrippyExtraBrilliantDope Show proves the Blacker the berry, the funnier–and doper–the show.


Northlight Theatre

January 20 - February 20, 2022

**Recommended--ChiIL Live Shows**

The Civil Rights Movement has ignited the South, and the charismatic Rev. Charles Grace needs a new speech to galvanize the people. But it is Olivia, his pregnant wife, who writes those fiery speeches, and her tolerance for playing the supporting role to her husband is wearing thin. As the growing weight of secrets threatens her marriage, and a nation’s hatred threatens her child’s future, Olivia must rediscover the place that love has in her world.


Queen of the Night

Victory Gardens Theater

January 29 - March 13, 2022

**Recommended--ChiIL Live Shows**

A divorced father and his queer son head to the woods of southeastern Texas to relive the camping trips of earlier, easier days. But even without cell service, certain things are inescapable. Playwright travis tate explores masculinity and queerness through the lens of multi-generational Blackness, offering a hilarious, heart-rending family portrait about reckoning with the wilderness of a shared past, while facing an uncertain future. Staged by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin, Queen of the Night kicks off the 2021/22 Season.


Women of Soul

Mercury Theater Chicago

January 28 - March 6, 2022

**Recommended--ChiIL Live Shows**

A celebration of the most powerful women of soul to ever grace the stage. You’ll jump to your feet as we honor incredible women including Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Janis Joplin, and of course, you’ll get a little of Gladys, Dionne, and Patti. Featuring powerhouse voices singing memorable music including “I Say a Little Prayer”, “I Will Survive” and “Respect.” This review recognizes the struggles and triumphs these women went through to reach the pinnacle of their success. This is a once-in-a-lifetime musical masterpiece that you will want to experience over and over again! 

Chicago Theatre Week is presented by the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago. Subscribe to the Theatre Week email newsletter or follow @ChicagoPlays on Twitter for updates and announcements.

The official hashtag for Chicago Theatre Week 2022 is #CTW22. Follow along on social media and tag your own experiences too!

There are limited ticket quantities available for some shows, so it is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance. Most theatres are requiring proof of vaccination and masks in order to attend a performance. Venue-specific COVID-19 policies are listed on Theatre Week show offer pages; however, we recommend checking with the theatre for updates before attending.

About Chicago theatre 

Chicago theatre is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theatres throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theatres to the most renowned resident theatres in the country, including 5 which 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. Each year Chicago theatres send new work to resident theatres across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. For more information, visit #ChiTheatre


The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement

Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens. The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres, which leverages its collective strength to support, promote and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city.


About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Follow @ChooseChicago on Twitter and on Instagram @choosechicago. Like us on Facebook. For more information, visit #CaptureChicagoExcitement | #ChicagoHome | #Only1Chicago


OPENING: World Premiere of Wife of a Salesman Via Writers Theatre March 3 – April 3, 2022

 Writers Theatre continues its 2021/22 Season with

the world premiere of

Wife of a Salesman

by Eleanor Burgess

directed by Jo Bonney

featuring Kate Fry, Amanda Drinkall and Rom Barkhordar

March 3 – April 3, 2022

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy, continues its 2021/22 Season with the world premiere of Eleanor Burgess’s Wife of a Saleman, directed by Jo Bonney, and in association with Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Wife of a Salesman runs March 3, 2022 – April 3, 2022 in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. 

An iconic drama. An imagined meeting. A recentering of where “attention must be paid.” What if a 1950s housewife from a particularly well-known American play drove from Brooklyn to Boston to confront her husband’s mistress? Would the encounter be explosive? Or would the two women discover they have more in common than one might assume? Taking inspiration from Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, this world premiere play imagines how a potentially combustible confrontation brings themes of marriage, duty and division to the surface—and the ways in which the world has, and hasn’t, changed across generations.

Playwright Eleanor Burgess (The Niceties) brings her gift for sharp dialogue and spirited debate to Wife of a Salesman, influenced by interviews with her grandmothers in addition to the work of Arthur Miller. Staged in the intimate Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, this world premiere co-presentation with Milwaukee Rep is sure to be the must-see theatrical event of the spring!

Wife of a Salesman was commissioned and developed through Writers Theatre’s Literary Development Initiative, in joint partnership with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy [he/him] comments, “We are proud to continue Writers Theatre's 30th Anniversary Season with the world premiere of Wife of a Salesman. This play, commissioned and developed in partnership with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, connects both the past and future of live theatre. Having staged dozens of productions of theatrical classics over the years, it is exciting to now be a place where fresh voices are creating original work in dialogue with dramatic tradition. Eleanor Burgess has written a new play that brilliantly and passionately carves out space for women in a familiar narrative where little existed previously, making a call for attention to be paid not only in the mid-century era defined by male writers like Arthur Miller but in our own time as well. I’m thrilled to be giving this play its debut staging, and to be working with Jo Bonney, one of the foremost directors of new plays, for the first time. With a cast and design team full of both returning artists and newcomers, this production brings the past and future together to create something I think audiences will find extraordinarily refreshing and poignant.”

Kate Fry returns to Writers Theatre where she previously performed in A Minister’s Wife, Oh Coward, The Letters, Hedda Gabler, Marjorie Prime, and Arcadia. Rom Barkhordar performed at WT more than 20 years ago at Books on Vernon in Incident at Vichy and Fallen Angels.

The cast is Kate Fry (The Wife), Amanda Drinkall (The Mistress), Rom Barkholder (Jim/The Radio) with Dekyi Rongé (Angela/The Radio) and Karmann Bajuyo (The Radio). The understudies are Heather Chrisler (The Mistress/Violet), Stacy Stoltz (The Wife/Heather) and Keith Kupferer (Jim).

The creative team for Wife of a Salesman includes Jo Bonney (Director), Heather Gilbert (Lighting Designer), Courtney O’Neill (Scenic Designer), Raquel Adorno (Costume Designer), Sarah Espinoza (Sound Designer), Rae Watson (Properties), Kate DeVore (Vocal Coach) and Courtney Abbott (Violence Designer). The stage manager is Katie Klemme.


About the Artists

Writers Theatre previously produced Eleanor Burgess’ play The Niceties in its 19/20 season. Scenic Designer Courtney O’Neill and Lighting Designer Heather Gilbert worked on that production as well.

Eleanor Burgess (Writer) is a playwright whose plays include The Niceties, Start Down, Chill and These Dying Generations. Her work has been produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter Theatre Center, Geffen Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, the Alliance Theatre, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Portland Stage Company and Centenary Stage, and developed with The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Alley Theatre, Writers Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Salt Lake Acting Company, the Hermitage Artists Retreat, the Lark Play Development Center and the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop. She’s also been a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Page 73's writers' group Interstate 73, The Civilians’ R&D Group, and New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship. Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, she studied history at Yale College and Dramatic Writing at NYU/Tisch.

 Director Jo Bonney is an award-winning director known internationally for her work on world premiere plays.

Jo Bonney (Director) has directed premieres of plays by: Alan Ball, Hilary Bettis, Eric Bogosian, Hammaad Chaudry, Culture Clash, Eve Ensler, Jessica Goldberg, Isaac Gomez, Danny Hoch, Ione Patricia Lloyd, Neil LaBute, Warren Leight, Martyna Majok, Lynn Nottage, Dan O'Brien, Dael Orlandersmith, Suzan-Lori Parks, Darci Picoult, John Pollono, Will Power, David Rabe, Jose Rivera, Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, Christopher Shinn, Diana Son, Universes, Naomi Wallace, Michael Weller. Productions of plays by: Caryl Churchill, Nilo Cruz, Anna Deavere Smith, Charles Fuller, Lisa Loomer, Paul Lucas, Carey Perloff, Lanford Wilson. Productions directed at: ART, Boston; PS 122; The Public Theater NYC; NYTW; Second Stage; Goodman Theatre; La Jolla Playhouse; MCC, NY; Geffen Playhouse; Williamstown Festival; McCarter Theater; Playwrights Horizons; Arena Stage; CTG, LA; Signature, NY; Long Wharf; The New Group; CSC; Humana Festival; Almeida, London; Edinburgh Festival; The Market Theatre, Johannesburg; The Baxter, Cape Town SA, Cine 13, Paris. She is the recipient of two Obie Awards for Sustained Excellence of Direction, Lucille Lortel Best Musical and Lucille Lortel Best Revival, Drama Desk nomination for Direction of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, and Alliance and Lilly Award. Audelco Award for Father Comes Home from the Wars. Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Cost of Living. Editor of Extreme Exposure: An Anthology of Solo Performance Texts from the Twentieth Century (TCG).

Kate Fry (The Wife) is happy to be back at Writers, where she has performed in A Minister’s Wife, Oh Coward, The Letters, Hedda Gabler, and Marjorie Prime. Elsewhere in the Chicago area she has worked with Court Theatre (over a dozen productions including The Belle of Amherst, Electra, Mousetrap); Northlight Theatre (Outside Mullingar, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Mother of the Maid); Goodman Theatre (The Winter’s Tale, Ah, Wilderness!), Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (As You Like It, Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV parts 1 and 2—also at the Royal Shakespeare Company) and Victory Gardens (In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play). Elsewhere, she has worked with Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, McCarter Theatre Center, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Lincoln Center. Film/TV includes episodes on Boss, Empire, Proven Innocent, and Chicago PD. She is the recipient of 4 Joseph Jefferson Awards, the Sarah Siddons award for Chicago’s Leading Lady, the After Dark Award, and Chicago Tribune’s actress of the year. Kate is married to actor/teacher Timothy Edward Kane. They have two sons.

Amanda Drinkall (The Mistress) makes her Writers Theatre debut. She was most recently seen as Desdemona in The Tragedy of Othello at Court Theatre. Other Chicago credits include: Venus in Fur, A Winter’s Tale, Measure for Measure, Continuity, Bernhardt/Hamlet, and Ah, Wilderness! (Goodman Theatre); Mary Page Marlowe (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); King Charles III (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); White Guy on the Bus, Funnyman, By the Water (Northlight Theatre); Southern Gothic (Windy City Playhouse); Significant Other (About Face Theatre); Dutchman (American Blues Theatre); Pygmalion (Oak Park Festival); Rest (Victory Gardens), The Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre-Jeff Award-Best Actress), Great Expectations (Strawdog), Pride and Prejudice (Lifeline); and more than 20 shows with The Back Room Shakespeare Project, where she is a Partner. As an ensemble member of Red Tape Theatre, her favorite credits include: hamlet is dead. no gravity, The Skriker, Brand, and Pullman, WA. Regional credits: Sheltered (Alliance Theatre); My Father’s War (TheatreSquared), Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s The Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet and North Carolina Shakespeare Festival’s King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. Film/TV credits include: The View From Tall, Christmas...Again?! (Disney Channel), Chicago Med (NBC), Bobby & Iza (NBC). Ms. Drinkall is represented by Gray Talent Group and is married to actor Gage Wallace.

Rom Barkhordar (Jim/The Radio) is VERY happy to be making a return to Writers Theatre after a 21-year hiatus, where he appeared in Incident at Vichy and Fallen Angels. Chicago credits include: Acts of God, Around the World in 80 Days (Lookingglass Theatre); Yasmina’s Necklace, Ruined (u/s) (Goodman Theatre); The Elephant Man, Homebody/Kabul (u/s)(Steppenwolf Theatre Company); The Who and the What (Victory Gardens Theatre); Mosque Alert, Night over Erzinga (Silk Road Rising); Pravda, Halcyon Days, Not About Nightingales (Timeline Theatre). Regional: Proof (Kitchen Theatre); Disgraced (Virginia Stage Co.); The Who and the What (Huntington Theatre) Around the World in 80 Days (Kansas City Rep.) (Centerstage Theatre). Film: Canal Street, Abi, Roundabout American. Television: Proven Innocent, Chicago Med., Chicago Justice, Mind Games, Chicago Fire, Boss, The Beast.

Cast: Kate Fry (The Wife), Amanda Drinkall (The Mistress), Rom Barkholder (Jim/The Radio) with Dekyi Rongé (Angela/The Radio) and Karmann Bajuyo (The Radio). The understudies are Heather Chrisler (The Mistress) Stacy Stoltz (The Wife) and Keith Kupferer (Jim).

Creative team: Heather Gilbert (Lighting Designer), Courtney O’Neill (Scenic Designer), Raquel Adorno (Costume Designer), Sarah Espinoza (Sound Designer), Rae Watson (Properties), Kate DeVore (Vocal Coach) and Courtney Abbott (Violence Designer). The stage manager is Katie Klemme.



First performance: Thursday, March 3, 2022

Press opening: Friday, March 11, 2022 at 7:30pm

Closing performance: Sunday, April 3, 2022



Wednesdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm


Location: The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe



Prices for all performances range from $35 - $90

Purchase early for best prices                                   

Box Office:       

The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe;



The Writers Theatre season began with Dishwasher Dreams, written and performed by Alaudin Ullah, directed by Chay Yew, and produced in association with Hartford Stage. Following Wife of a Salesman, is the Chicago premiere of Athena, written by Gracie Gardner, choreographed by Steph Paul, and directed by Jessica Fisch. The season concludes with the world premiere of Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues, a musical revue created by Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson and directed by Parson.

The 2021/22 Season will see the company return to live performances and celebrate its 30th Anniversary, now firmly at home in its award-winning building at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Productions will be presented in two spaces in the theater complex including the 255-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre as well as the Gillian Theatre, a 50 to 99-seat flexible theatre space. 

The theatre, along with over 60 other Chicago performing arts organizations, will require patrons to be fully vaccinated and masked when attending performances. Please visit for full details.



Writers is offering a variety of Classic Subscriptions, which include a ticket to each production throughout the season and includes renewal into fixed seats on set dates once each run is announced.

Subscriptions include three familiar package types that all offer fixed seats to see all four WT productions this season, one ticket to each production. Subscriptions are made for those who are looking to set their schedule in advance and gain access to seating at the top of the Season.

For the 2021/22 Season, Writers will continue the Membership Program, which includes 4 tickets to be used throughout the season as the Member chooses.

There are two types of Memberships: The most flexible option to “Pay As You Go” after an up-front Membership fee, or the option to pay in full for 4 tickets to be used throughout the season (“Up Front Flex”). Memberships are designed for those who want the freedom and flexibility of a more adaptable package.

Classic Subscriptions range in price from $160 to $240. Customizable payment plans are available. A “Pay As You Go” Membership is $35 per ticket after a one-time $60 Membership fee, or patrons may opt for the “Up Front Flex” Membership for $200 up-front 

Season package subscribers receive exclusive benefits including complimentary ticket exchanges by phone and mail (upgrade fees may apply), access to special play readings and lectures, special “subscriber-rate” prices on additional tickets, a year subscription to The Brief Chronicle digital newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit

Season Packages are available online at, and at the Box Office by calling 847-242-6000.

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2021/22 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s ninth consecutive year as season sponsor.


WT also offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit for more information.

Writers Theatre is also working with Erika Walker and Maylene Peña of the Walker Thomas Group on workplace culture and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional information about this important and ongoing work can be found at


Writers Theatre boldly looks to the future as it begins its 30th season. Having captivated audiences for years with its dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible, the theatre is now a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called “America’s finest regional theater company” by The Wall Street Journal.

Since 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions—everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy.

Writers Theatre now welcomes more than 60,000 patrons each season and has helped establish the North Shore of Chicago as a premier cultural destination. Through its Literary Development Initiative, which has been responsible for the nurturing and premiering of over two dozen world premieres, the theatre has established itself as a major originator of new theatrical works. Serving as an extension of the Writers Theatre mission, WT Education programs engage an average 10,000 students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.

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