Showing posts with label Vanessa Stalling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vanessa Stalling. Show all posts

Sunday, August 19, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

AUGUST 22 – NOVEMBER 4, 2018

Lusia (Emily Berman, left) and Rose (Bri Sudia) are two sisters trying to reconnect after years of separation brought on by the rise of the Nazis.
Photo by Lara Goetsch

Vanessa Stalling to make her TimeLine directorial debut,
Emily Berman and Bri Sudia to star as separated sisters 
in Barbara Lebow’s moving exploration of 
family, faith, and forgiveness

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're looking forward to Timeline's season opener and I'll be out for the press opening. Check back soon for my full review. I've enjoyed Vanessa Stalling's directing all over town, particularly at House Theatre and The Goodman, and I'm eager to see her Timeline directing debut. Timeline has long been a favorite of ours for thought provoking choices and stellar production values. We're also huge fans of their lobby installation tie-ins with each show. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us this season.

(Top, from left) Playwright Barbara Lebow, director Vanessa Stalling, and cast members Emily Berman, Carin Schapiro Silkaitis (bottom, from left) Charles Stransky, Alex Stein, Bri Sudia, and Sarah Wisterman. 

TimeLine Theatre Company announces the cast and creative team for the launch of its 22nd season—a revival of A Shayna Maidel, Barbara Lebow’s moving family drama about two sisters reunited after years of separation caused by the rise of the Nazis.

Director Vanessa Stalling, who recently helmed the Goodman Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, makes her TimeLine debut with A Shayna Maidel.

Previews begin August 22. Press Night is Wednesday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is August 30 and performances run through November 4 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. For tickets and information, visit or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.

A powerful and poignant drama, A Shayna Maidel begins with the story of a daughter and her father, Rose and Mordechai Weiss, who escaped Poland shortly before World War II and have adapted to life as new Americans in New York City. In their escape, they were forced to leave behind Rose's sister Lusia and her mother. When Rose and Lusia are reunited, Rose struggles to engage with an older sister who, having survived the horrors of war overseas, now seems a stranger. And Lusia—haunted by vivid memories of her past—is uncertain about connecting with a family she’s never known.

Stalling’s revival of A Shayna Maidel for TimeLine will feature Emily Berman (she/her) as Lusia and Bri Sudia (she/her) as Rose. The cast also includes Carin Schapiro Silkaitis as Mama (she/her), Alex Stein as Duvid (he/him), Charles Stransky as Mordechai (he/him) and Sarah Wisterman as Hanna (she/her). Note: Carin Schapiro Silkaitis steps in for Hanna Dworkin, originally announced as Mama.

The production team includes TimeLine Associate Artist Collette Pollard (Scenic Designer, she/her); Samantha C. Jones (Costume Designer, she/her); Rachel K. Levy (Lighting Designer, she/her); Jeffrey Levin (Sound Designer and Composer, he/him); Elise Kauzlaric (Dialect Designer, she/her); and Deborah Blumenthal (Dramaturg, she/her).

Written in 1984, A Shayna Maidel was widely produced by America's leading regional theaters and became a long-running success Off Broadway from 1987 to 1989. The New York Times hailed A Shayna Maidel as “a tribute to the sustaining power of family,” The Hartford Journal Inquirer called the play “an emotional powerhouse of almost overwhelming proportions,” and the Atlanta Constitution raved that “anyone who sees it will not soon forget it.” The Chicago Reader, in a 2002 review, wrote that it presents “history as intimate as a snapshot,” underscoring the play’s fit with TimeLine’s history-based mission. 

Fast forward to this April, when The New York Times reported that 41 percent of Americans, as well as 66 percent of Millennials, “cannot say what Auschwitz was,” and lack “basic knowledge” about the Holocaust. 

“Don’t we know our own history?” responded Stalling. “It's disturbing to recognize our country's current ignorance about the Holocaust while at the same time witnessing rising anti-Semitism and white nationalism. Rather than shaping a world informed by the mistakes and traumas of our past, our lack of historical knowledge is shaping a country that feels like it's regressing. Simply put, our ignorance is dangerous.”

Vanessa Stalling (Director) most recently directed Joshua, by Ali Viterbi, for the Wagner New Play Festival. Prior to that, she directed Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves at The Goodman, which earned a four-star review from Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones, who called her “a specialist in immersive productions and a true artist.” Other productions include Lauren Yee's Hookman at Steep Theatre, and United Flight 232, a production she adapted from the book Flight 232 by Laurence Gonzales, for The House Theatre of Chicago, which received Jeff Awards for Outstanding Production – Midsize Theatre and Ensemble. Stalling was a primary artist at Redmoon Theater, serving as a director, performer, and Associate Artistic Director. As an artist at Redmoon, she directed several productions, including a remount of The Cabinet, which toured Brazil as part of the FILO Festival; Last of My Species; Winter Pageant; Princess Club; Twilight Orchard; and roaming performances for President Obama's Halloween celebrations at The White House. She has held teaching positions at Roosevelt University, Columbia College, University of Chicago, and is an assistant professor of directing at the University of California San Diego's Department of Theatre & Dance. She was the 2016 Michael Maggio Fellow at the Goodman Theatre and a Newcity 2018 Player. 

Barbara Lebow (Playwright) is a California resident who grew up in New York, moved to Atlanta in the 1960s and joined The Academy Theatre's developmental workshop, eventually becoming playwright in residence. Among her plays with first productions there are A Shayna Maidel (which ran Off Broadway 1987-89 and continues to receive regional and international productions), The Left Hand Singing, The Keepers, Cyparis, Little Joe Monaghan, The Adventures of Homer McGundy Revised, Trains, and Tiny Tim is Dead. In addition to her own writing, Lebow facilitates play creation with disenfranchised segments of the population including homeless and addicted individuals, youth at risk, developmentally and physically disabled persons, and women in prison. In recent years, she has worked with residents of Los Prietos Boys Camp, supported by a grant from the Fund for Santa Barbara. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting, a TCG/Pew Theatre Artists Residency, an NEA/TCG Residency, an Atlanta Mayor's Fellowship in the Arts, a Georgia Governor's Award in the Arts, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Santa Barbara County Probation Department. Other recent plays include The Phenom; Plumfield, Iraq; La Niñera: The Nursemaid; and Killing Spiders. Her newest play, The Hebbles, deals with the effects of a mass shooting on one small American family.


Previews of A Shayna Maidel are Wednesday, August 22 through Saturday, August 25 at
8 p.m.; Sunday, August 26 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday August 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Press Night is Wednesday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Opening Night is Thursday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Regular performances continue through November 4: Wednesdays and Thursdays at
7:30 p.m. (except no performance on Wednesday, September 19, and additional matinee performance on Thursday, September 20 at 2 p.m.); Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at
4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (except no performance September 1 at 4 p.m.); and Sundays at
2 p.m.


—    Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the production dramaturg and members of the cast on Wednesday, September 5; Thursday September 13; Sunday, September 16; Thursday, October 11; Sunday, October 14; and Wednesday, October 17.

—    Pre-Show Discussions: Starting one hour before these performances, a 30-minute introductory conversation hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and the production dramaturg on Sunday, September 30, and Wednesday, October 3.

—    Company Member Discussion: A post-show discussion with the collaborative team of artists who choose TimeLine’s programming and guide the company’s mission on Sunday, September 23.

—    Captioned Performance: An open-captioned performance with a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance on Saturday, September 29 at 4 p.m.

—    Sunday Scholars Panel Discussion: A one-hour post-show discussion featuring experts on the themes and issues of the play on Sunday, October 7.
All discussions are free and open to the public. For further details about all planned discussions and events, visit


The best way to secure seats to A Shayna Maidel is to purchase a 2018-19 TimeLine Theatre FlexPass Subscription, on sale now, offering four amazing shows, starting at only $88.

Single tickets go on sale July 10, 2018. Preview tickets are $25. Single tickets to regular performances are $40 (Wednesday through Friday), $49 (Saturday evenings) and $54 (Saturday and Sunday matinees). Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine is also a member of TCG’s Blue Star Theatre Program and is offering $25 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family.

Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Ticket buyers age 18-35 may join TimeLine’s free MyLine program to obtain access to discounted tickets, special events and more. Visit for more about Blue Star, MyLine and other available discounts.

To purchase a FlexPass, single tickets or for more information, visit or call the Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.


A Shayna Maidel will take place at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway, inside the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building. TimeLine is served by multiple CTA trains and buses. TimeLine offers discounted parking at the Standard Parking garages at Broadway Center ($8 with validation; 2846 N. Broadway, at Surf) or the Century Mall ($9 with validation; 2836 N. Clark), with other paid parking options nearby, plus limited free and metered street parking.


TimeLine Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Two wheelchair lifts provide access from street level to the theatre space and to lower-level restrooms. Audience members using wheelchairs or who need to avoid stairs, and others with special seating or accessibility needs should contact the TimeLine Box Office in advance to confirm arrangements. See DISCUSSION & ACCESSIBILITY EVENTS above for information about the open-captioned performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.


In addition to A Shayna Maidel, TimeLine’s Theatre’s 2018-19, four-show subscription season includes: 

—    Master Class, Terrence McNally’s acclaimed play about the formidable opera star Maria Callas, inspired by a series of classes she taught at Julliard in the 1970s, directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, music directed by Doug Peck, and starring TimeLine Company Member Janet Ulrich Brooks (The Audience), presented at Stage 773, October 19 – December 9, 2018.

—    The Chicago premiere of Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung, a powerful story of faith, love, and the human capacity for forgiveness set amidst violent conflict in northern Uganda, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe, January 9 – March 17, 2019.
—    The Chicago premiere of Too Heavy for Your Pocket by Jiréh Breon Holder, a hopeful and moving story taking place at the height of the Civil Rights Movement that explores family, responsibility, and the personal sacrifices that enable progress, directed by TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, April 24 – June 29, 2019.

Save on tickets to TimeLine’s 2018-19 Season with a FlexPass Subscription. Four tiers, priced from $88 to $204, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit


In addition to its 2018-19 four-show subscription series, TimeLine Theatre is excited to be partnering with Firebrand Theatre—Chicago’s new musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women—on Firebrand’s upcoming fall production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Caroline, or Change, featuring music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Violet), book and lyrics by Tony Kushner (Angels in America), and direction by Lili-Anne Brown. Rashada Dawan stars in the title role as Caroline.

Riveting, moving and awe-inspiring, Caroline, or Change features music ranging from Motown to Klezmer, and storytelling from political to magical. This production will be presented at Firebrand’s resident home, The Den Theatre, located at 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

PLEASE NOTE: Caroline, or Change is not included in TimeLine’s 2018-19 FlexPass Subscription, but the partnership will include exclusive ticket opportunities for TimeLine subscribers and patrons.


TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. To date over 21 seasons, TimeLine has presented 75 productions, including 10 world premieres and 33 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 12th year of bringing the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 54 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.

TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Eileen LaCario. Company members are Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Behzad Dabu, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.

Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, The Crown Family, The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.

TimeLine is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres, Theatre Communications Group, Choose Chicago, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Green Theatre Alliance, and Chicago’s Belmont Theater District.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

OPENING: House Theatre's Heartfelt and Harrowing UNITED FLIGHT 232 Returns To Chopin Theatre 9/1-10/21


Production image of United Flight 232 (2016) by Michael Brosilow

The Play Based on True Events is the Winner of the 2016 Joseph Jefferson Awards for 
“Best Production of a Play” and “Best Ensemble”

We're beyond elated that The House Theatre's highly acclaimed production of United Flight 232 is returning to Chopin Theatre’s Upstairs space. We'll be out for the press opening so check back soon for our full review.

The House Theatre of Chicago is proud to announce the return of the 2016 Joseph Jefferson award-winning show for “Best Production of a Play (midsize),” adapted and directed by Vanessa Stalling+, United Flight 232. The adaptation of Laurence Gonzales’ book Flight 232 tells the story of the harrowing July 19, 1989 flight bound for Chicago’s O’Hare airport. United Flight 232 runs September 1 through October 21 and plays at Chopin Theatre’s Upstairs Theater, 1543 W. Division St.  

Previews begin Friday, September 1 and play through Saturday, September 9. Opening/press night is Sunday, September 10 at 7 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm from September 14 – October 21. Preview tickets are $15 and regular run tickets range from $25 to $45. $15 same-day tickets for students and industry professionals are available for all dates, seats permitting. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832.

A show you “shouldn’t miss” and is “deeply engrossing”
-  Chicago Tribune. 

“Documentary theater doesn’t get much better”
- Chicago Reader.

On July 19, 1989, a DC-10 headed for O’Hare with 296 aboard is paralyzed mid-air. For 44 minutes, the aircraft descended towards an emergency landing and crashed at Sioux City Gateway airport. To the astonishment of all who witnessed the event, 184 of 296 passengers and crew survived. Drawing on the interviews and research conducted by Evanston author Laurence Gonzales for his critically acclaimed book, Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival this award-winning original play, United Flight 232, is a reflection on how to comprehend tragedy and celebrate human ingenuity in the face of overwhelming challenges.

The House Theatre of Chicago welcomes back four members the 2016 Joseph Jefferson Award winning cast for “Best Ensemble,” which includes Company Members Brenda Barrie*+, Elana Elyce+, and Johnny Arena+, along with guest artist Alice da Cunha who’s performances are heralded in Performink as “authentic, heartbreaking and funny.”  Joining the 2017 cast is Company Member Abu Ansari+ and guest artists Dan Lin, Carlos Olmedo, Joseph Sultani, and Jessica Dean Turner.

The Production and Design team includes John Musial, Scenic Designer; Delia Ridenour, Costume Designer; William C. Kirkham*, Lighting Designer; Kaili Story, Associate Lighting Designer; Steve Labedz, Sound Designer & Composer; Matthew Muniz+, Music Director; Paul Deziel, Projection Designer; Eleanor Kahn, Props Designer, and Brian DesGranges, Stage Manager*+.

United Flight 232 was commissioned and developed by The House Theatre of Chicago and the Chicago Performance Lab through the Theatre and Performance Studies Program at the University of Chicago. 

*Member Actor’s Equity Association

+Company Member of The House Theatre of Chicago

Laurence Gonzales was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in Houston and San Antonio, Texas.  His book about the crash of United Flight 232 at Sioux City, Iowa, July 19, 1989, Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival, from W.W. Norton, was published on July 7, 2014. San Francisco Chronicle called the book, “A richly detailed story that is equal parts heartbreaking [and] inspiring…” while The Washington Post said, “Flight 232 stands alone for its absolutely riveting depiction of the flight’s last minutes and the horrendous aftermath: for its vivid sympathetic portraits of many of those aboard the plane, the crew most particularly.” 

He is also the author of numerous books, including the bestseller Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why and the sequel, Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience (both from W.W. Norton). Gonzales has won many awards, including two National Magazine Awards and the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has appeared as a speaker before groups ranging from the Santa Fe Institute to Legg Mason Capital Management, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also on the adjunct faculty at Northwestern University in the Medill School of Journalism. His most recent novel is Lucy (Alfred A. Knopf). His essays are collected in the book House of Pain (University of Arkansas Press). He is a Miller Scholar the Santa Fe Institute.

He divides his time between Evanston and Santa Fe. For more, see                                                    

ABOUT VANESSA STALLING, adaptor and director
Vanessa Stalling is excited to once again be at The House, where she is now a company member. Most recently, she directed Lauren Yee's Hookman at Steep Theatre. 

Her upcoming productions include Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves at The Goodman Theatre. Vanessa is also known for her work as an artist of Redmoon Theater. While at Redmoon, she enjoyed performing, directing and serving as associate artistic director. Redmoon directing credits include a remount of The Cabinet, Winter Pageant, Princess Club, and roaming performances for President Obama’s White House Halloween Celebrations. She is also an instructor of theater and has taught students at Columbia College, Roosevelt University, and University of Chicago.

The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 66 Joseph Jefferson Awards (23 wins), became the 
first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 
2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 16th season of original work will begin September 2017 and The House will continue its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.  

The House Theatre of Chicago is proud to announce the return of the 2016 Joseph Jefferson award-winning show for “Best Production of a Play,” adapted and directed by Vanessa Stalling, United Flight 232. The adaptation of Laurence Gonzales’ book Flight 232 tells the story of the harrowing July 19, 1989 flight bound for Chicago’s O’Hare airport. United Flight 232 runs September 1 through October 21 and plays at Chopin Theatre’s Upstairs Theater, 1543 W. Division St.  Previews begin Friday, September 1 and play through Saturday, September 9. Opening/press night is Sunday, September 10 at 7 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays -  Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm from September 14 – October 21. Preview tickets are $15 and regular run tickets range from $25 to $45. $15 same-day tickets for students and industry professionals are available for all dates, seats permitting. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call 773.769.3832.

Monday, January 12, 2015

ON SALE: Circuscope Is Coming To Actors Gymnasium February 14th-March 22

February 14 - March 22, 2015 

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama, we've been captivated by the stellar circus arts at Actors Gym for years. They're a ground breakingly creative collective featuring some of the top physical actors in the city. We'll be there to review opening night. In the meantime, get your tickets early for the best seats, and range of dates. Their seating area is small and fills fast! 

Enthralled by the extraordinary shapes and sizes of life, the creators of the Actors Gymnasium Winter Circus will explore a fascinating world on the other side of the microscopic lens. Directed by spectacle-theatre veteran Vanessa Stalling and featuring acclaimed Chicago clown Dean Evans, Circuscope will transport audiences through surprising acrobatics, mime, live music and other-worldly design. Circuscope also features Meredith "Tommy" Tomlins, Molly Plunk, and Leah Leor. 

Circuscope is written by Deans Evans and Vanessa Stalling with percussion choreography by Rick Kubes, musical composition by Ronnie Kuller, choral direction by Alex Balestrieri, lighting design by Nick Carroll, sound design by Connor Murray, video design by Asher White, costume design by Delia Ribenour, performance object design by Elizabeth Brietand circus choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. 

Beat the rush - Get your tickets today at 

February 14 - March 22, 2015 
Fridays at 7:30pm 
Saturdays 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm 
Sundays at 3:00 pm 

$20 for adult tickets! 
$15 for children, students and seniors! 

The Actors Gymnasium is dedicated to bringing a new physicality to the American Theatre. Encouraging ground-breaking theatrical exploration, The Actors Gymnasium teaches circus arts, physical theatre and multi-disciplinary performance to children and adults; produces original, daring works of circus-theatre; and serves as a talent resource, providing performance opportunities to our students and innovative professional event entertainment for a wider audience.  At The Actors Gymnasium, people Learn To Fly - physically, emotionally, and creatively. 

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