Showing posts with label adult night out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adult night out. Show all posts

Sunday, July 17, 2016

REVIEW: Cathy Schenkelberg's “SQUEEZE MY CANS” at Greenhouse Theater's Solo Celebration

JULY 14 – JULY 24

Takes Audiences Through the No-Holds-Barred Tale of Surviving Scientology

It was my great pleasure to catch opening night of Cathy Schenkelberg's Squeeze My Cans” last Thursday. She's a mom, actress, singer, writer, recovering Scientologist, and all around funny gal. This marks the 3rd show in Greenhouse Theater's excellent Solo Celebration series. 

One woman shows are challenging and intense to write and perform and Schenkelberg pulls it off with humor, grace and style. This piece is particularly compelling because it's even harder for someone to admit she's been conned, and speak of the vulnerability of losing her religion, a small fortune, and a support network of folks she thought were trustworthy long term friends. 

Cathy's brave and crazy enough to share her journey with us in this excellent production. Her downward spiral into the financial, and mental toll of an obsession with Scientology reminded me of a gambling addiction or a high stakes, real world claw game. The more time, money and energy she invested, the more she had to stay in the Scientology game, hoping for rewards and spiritual pay outs. We highly recommend Squeeze My Cans,” as a must see, cautionary tale, and a highly entertaining and enlightening adult night out.

Tickets are affordable and the talent is terrific. Squeeze My Cans,” is a short 10 show run, so don't miss this. Check back early and often for the scoop on the coolest theatre, arts and entertainment and more in Chi, IL and beyond. 

The Greenhouse Theater’s “Solo Celebration!” continues with “Squeeze My Cans,” a limited engagement autobiographical solo-play written and performed by Cathy Schenkelberg and directed by Shirley Anderson. Making its Chicago premiere, Schenkelberg shares a glimpse behind the velvet curtain of Scientology in this strangely hilarious and unbelievable story of resilience, loss, and extraterrestrials. “Squeeze My Cans” runs July 14 – July 24 at The Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N Lincoln Avenue); the press performance is July 14 at 7:30 p.m.

“Cathy’s brave journey through Scientology is at once humorous and shocking, detailing her nearly 20-year experience with America’s foremost intergalactic faith. Through Cathy’s lens, audiences are offered a rare glimpse into this secretive religion, re-living her account of coming into and getting out of the Church of Scientology,” said Artistic Director of the Greenhouse Theater Center, Jacob Harvey. “Together with Shirley and their entire team, Cathy has crafted an intimate story of survival and the power of perseverance, refusing to stay silent.”

“Squeeze My Cans” asks audiences: What do you do if the “carrot of spiritual freedom” was dangled in front of you, waiting to be seized? In this cautionary tale, we learn what chasing the “carrot” got Cathy Shenkelberg, and how after studying and searching to become “more herself,” she could be found blowing alien life forms off her body farther than ever from the person who she had hoped to be.

”Squeeze My Cans” received its first developmental workshop production at Lifeline’s Filet of Solo Festival.

Performance Schedule: 
Thursday, July 14 at 7 p.m.; Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 16 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, July 21 and Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. For tickets and additional information, click here.

Flex passes to the Solo Celebration! series, which offers admissions to three plays for $99 or five plays for $164, are now on sale.  Single tickets, which range in price from $25 – $30 are also on sale.  Flex passes and tickets can be purchased by contacting the box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting

Cathy Schenkelberg (Performer/Playwright) is a Nebraska native and Chicago/LA-based actress, singer, and voiceover talent. Early on in Chicago, she has been seen in productions such as "Jacque Brel," "Working," "Little Shop of Horrors,” "Noises Off" and "Moms the Word." Schenkelberg also played Chrissy in the National tour of “Hair” and Pepper the Clown on WGN’s “Bozo Show.” She has worked as a dancer/singer at clubs and cruise ships - even impersonating Dolly Parton, Madonna and Marilyn Monroe (all at the same time). In her recent return to the stage, she had the good fortune to play Madame Thenardier in “Les Misérables,” Violet, Zuzu and Ma Hatch in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and Sue Ellen in “Honky Tonk Angels” at Sierra Repertory Theatre in Sonora CA, as well as Veronica in “God of Carnage” at American Stage in St. Petersberg, Fl. But it has been her work in spoken-word at such venues as Write Club LA, Spark off Rose, and Louder than a Mom where “Squeeze My Cans” was conceived.

Shirley Anderson (Director) is a Northwestern alum who spent the 90s in Chicago, adapting, producing and performing a solo adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s short story “Big Blonde,” at the Red Lion Pub, then in jazz clubs, colleges and theaters in Chicago, Edinburgh and Los Angeles.  Anderson has written and performed as a solo performer ever since in Chicago and Los Angeles.  In 1993, Anderson collaborated with Molly McNett on “Sculpture in Vitro: Growing Up Female in the Age of Liposuction” at Live Bait Theater after premiering the work in cooperation with Lookingglass Theatre and before touring the show to high schools and colleges. She has collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre Company, Plasticene and Studio 108 in Chicago and Sacred Fools, Theater Movement Bazaar, Zoo District, Son of Semele and Theater of NOTE in Los Angeles, where she currently lives and directs business operations for Blum & Poe art gallery. 

About Solo Celebration!
“Squeeze My Cans” is one of 12 plays featured in Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!,” which will include ten full productions and two limited engagements running June 2016 through February 2017. Among the other directors connected to solo series are Goodman Theatre Producer and Artistic Collective Member Steve Scott, Writer’s Theatre Resident Director Kimberly Senior, Directors Lab Chicago Artistic Director Elizabeth Margolius and Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Linda Gillum. Some of the performers confirmed to star in solo works include Jeff Award-winner Kate Buddeke, acclaimed British actor Simon Slater, Karen Rodriguez and Carin Silkaitis.  Most productions will be produced in their entirety by Greenhouse, while other plays will be stated with co-producers including Sideshow Theatre Company and The Other Theatre Company.  Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!” is co-produced by Forum Productions and underwritten by the Wendy and William Spatz Charitable Foundation.

About the Greenhouse Theater Center
The Greenhouse Theater Center is a nonprofit performance venue located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, an in-house rehearsal room, and Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre book store.

Our mission at the Greenhouse is first and foremost to grow local theatre. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, to develop and produce their work. In 2014 alone, The Greenhouse Theater Center provided space for almost 1,000 ticketed performances, serving more than 54,000 patrons. Among these events, were at least 30 productions by our resident companies, including the celebrated American Blues Theater and Remy Bumpo Theatre Company. Through our Trellis Program, we offer the community affordable access to our work by housing Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex, as well as offering a free reading series each Tuesday night where local artists workshop their latest scripts. Additionally, we also continue to play an active role in cultivating and nurturing our community through continued partnerships with the League of Chicago Theaters and local Chambers of Commerce.

As of 2016, the Greenhouse Theater Center embraced the true spirit of growth and launched its producing entity. With the announcement of our 8 month long Solo Celebration Series, helmed by Artistic Director Jacob Harvey, we will produce 10 solo plays from June 2016 to February 2017. Through this inaugural effort, we hope to expand the solo play cannon while also cultivating a larger conversation about the possibilities of the one-person play.

With new ideas always incubating, the Greenhouse Theater Center is flourishing. Come grow with us!

Monday, April 25, 2016

OPENING: Babes With Blades' 180 Degree Rule

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s 180 Degree Rule,
Opening April 25, 2016

**Do note, there is violence & violence of a sexual nature**

A love story wrapped in a mystery.

Come see the show inspired by the pioneering female film directors in early Hollywood...and the world that was stacked against them.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama we've long been fans of Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s excellent productions. I'll be there for the press opening so check back soon for our full review. They're excellent about providing a showcase for women in stage combat roles as well as showcasing talents of female directors and writers. They excel at historical pieces and this show will be their 18th world premiere production!

About the Play
 A 1960s film professor searches for the missing film masterpiece of an obscure lesbian director - killed pre-World War II at the height of her talent - and speculates she was murdered because of her defiant flaunting of her sexuality with the studio’s “it” girl. But once the director’s former lover, now an aging, reclusive German movie star, is involved in the search, a more disturbing narrative unravels. Moving between 1930s Berlin and Hollywood and the late ’60s, this play shifts from film to live action, flashback to the present as it reveals the truth behind a doomed romance.

 “This is a murder mystery, but it’s also a memory play,” says director Rachel Edwards Harvith. “It involves characters reaching across time to find each other. Memory plays tricks on us. Sometimes we remember hard facts, and other times we fill in gaps with assumptions—over time those assumptions become rewritten history. This production has visual poetry layered in with scenes, weaving between time periods, as characters struggle to find the truth, detect the lies, and express love they have been afraid to show.”

Inspired by the pioneering female directors of early Hollywood, such as Dorothy Arzner, Alice Guy-Blaché, and Lois Weber, 180 Degree Rule’s  most extensive historical nod is to Arzner, an open lesbian who was notorious for affairs with her leading women, including Joan Crawford.  She worked throughout the 1920s-40s, creating films with independent, complex female protagonists – often with lesbian subtext.

180 Degree Rule is a 2013 graduate of BWBTC’s Fighting Words script development program, was a finalist in the 2013 Pride Series Women’s Work Competition (for works by women with lesbian characters or themes), and was hosted for a final public reading by Chicago Dramatists.

This production has been awarded grants by the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation and the Dramatists Guild Fund.

Post-show discussion, pay-what-you-can dates, and lots of desserts are in store for audiences during the run of the show

Events and deals have been announced for Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s 180 Degree Rule, written by Chicago playwrights Barbara Lhota (playwright, The Double and BWBTC ensemble member) and the late M.E.H. Lewis, to be performed at City Lit Theatre, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., in Chicago. The show will run Thursdays-Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 3 from April 28 - May 21, plus Wednesdays May 11 and May 18 8pm.

180 Degree Rule is directed by Rachel Edwards Harvith (Associate Artistic Director, Chicago Dramatists) and the cast features Kate Black-Spence, Tommy Bullington, Chris Cinereski, Amy E. Harmon*, Lisa Herceg*, Kimberly Logan*, Jason Narvy, and Kelly Yacono.*

The design and production team of 180 Degree Rule includes Leigh Barrett* (Sound Design), Libby Beyreis* (Violence Design), Kurt Brandt (Props Design), Jason Fleece (Dialect Coach), Adam Greye (Stage Manager), Kaitlyn Grissom (Technical Director), Amy E. Harmon* (Production Manager), Beth Laske-Miller (Costume Design), Barbara Lhota* (Production Manager), Carter Martin (Film Director/Editor), G. Max Maxin IV (Projection & Scenic Design), Heather Meyers (Dramaturg), Tim Tavano (Director of Photography), and Laura Wiley (Lighting Design).

*denotes BWBTC ensemble member

The Thursday performances of May 5 and May 12 will offer pay-what-you-can admission.

Sunday, May 8, stick around after the show for a post-show dessert buffet, featuring an array of tasty treats, homemade by the BWBTC ensemble. Delicious and free!

Wednesday, May 11, join us for “Cookies and Collaboration,” a post-show discussion with playwright Barbara Lhota.

Wednesday, May 11 and Wednesday, May 18 will be Industry Nights, offering ½ price tickets to anyone with proof of industry affiliation.

All closing weekend, May 18-21, BWBTC will be collecting monetary donations for the Pro Bono Network (

Additional discounts and deals will be offered on BWBTC’s Facebook page:

180 Degree Rule is a 2013 graduate of BWBTC’s Fighting Words script development program, was a finalist in the 2013 Pride Series Women’s Work Competition (for works by women with lesbian characters or themes), and was hosted for a final public reading by Chicago Dramatists.

This production has been awarded grants by the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation and the Dramatists Guild Fund.

$22 general admission
$14 students and seniors
$10 previews
Available at or 773-904-0391.

About the Company

Babes With Blades Theatre Company uses stage combat to place women and their stories center stage. Through performance, script development, training, and outreach, our ensemble creates theatre that explores the wide range of the human experience, and cultivates broader perspectives in the arts community and in society as a whole.

 OPENING: Discord at Northlight May 6 - June 12

Northlight Theatre concludes its 2015-16 season with
The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord
By Scott Carter

Directed by Kimberly Senior

May 6 – June 12, 2016

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Northlight Theatre concludes its 41st Season, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, with The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord by Scott Carter. Discord, directed by Kimberly Senior, runs May 6 – June 12, 2016 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. 

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we can't wait to catch Discord. Kimberly Senior is one of our absolute favorite directors and this debate looks like a dozy!

**Kimberly Senior previously directed 4000 Miles and The Whipping Man at Northlight.  She directed the Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-nominated play Disgraced on Broadway and in several theaters across the country.**

Previews: May 6 – 12, 2016
Regular run: May 13 – June 12, 2016

Schedule: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (May 10 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except May 25) and 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except May 7) and 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm; and 7:00pm (May 8 and 29 only)

Location: Northlight Theatre is located at the North Shore
                             Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd,

Tickets: Previews: $25-$54
             Regular run: $25-$79
             Student tickets are $15, any performance (subject to availability)

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.

What do a Founding Father, a Victorian novelist and a Russian revolutionary have in common? Not much, but each of these notoriously great minds was once brazen enough to pen his own Gospel. Brought together, they debate the meaning of life and the nature of God in a whip-smart comedy that illuminates the brilliance, flaws and humor of three unforgettable philosophers.

**Playwright Scott Carter is the Executive Producer/Writer of Real Time with Bill Maher since its debut on HBO in 2003. Carter has been an Emmy co-nominee for Real Time with Bill Maher every year since 2005 for both Writing in a Variety/Talk show and Outstanding Variety/Talk show. He has also received eight Emmy nominations for his writing and producing work on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect from 1993 to 1997.**

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production.  All events are free, unless otherwise noted: 

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal.  Backstage with BJ for Butler will be held on April 29 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour.  Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3555 or

An Artist Q&A will be held on Monday, May 23 at 3:00pm at the Wilmette Public Library. Northlight artistic staff will facilitate a discussion with members of the cast, who will also present scenes from the play.

Local experts join a Northlight facilitator for a series of Post-Show Discussions, engaging audiences in a dialogue about the play's themes and the creative process behind live theatre. Discussions will be held after performances on May 8 at 2:30pm, May 10 at 7:30pm, May 11 at 7:30pm, May 18 at 1:00pm, May 22 at 2:30pm, May 26 at 7:30pm and June 1 at 1:00pm.

An Open Captioning performance is scheduled for Saturday, May 28 at 2:30pm.

“Did you know that Thomas Jefferson, Count Leo Tolstoy and Charles Dickens all had their own versions of the New Testament? Imagine tossing those egos into a Limbo to debate their world views and to grapple in an intellectual cat fight. Carter has done just that in this fascinating and imagined depiction of three of history's gigantic intellects and their little known exercises of retelling the Bible,” comments BJ Jones. “Scott Carter, best known as a writer/producer of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, applies his intensive research to these towering personalities, and through their work has crafted a hilarious debate ranging from faith to political beliefs and sprinkled with artistic observations and petty jealousies. We are thrilled to have Scott's work with us this season, and as directed by Northlight veteran Kimberly Senior, this sharply told tale is both insightful and entertaining.”

The cast includes Nathan Hosner (Jefferson), Mark Montgomery (Tolstoy) and Jeff Parker (Dickens).

The designers include Jack Magaw (Scenic Design), Nan Zabriskie (Costume Design), Sarah Hughey (Lighting Design), Andrew Hansen (Sound Design), and Stephan Mazurek (Projection Design).  The Production Stage Manager is Rita Vreeland.

Northlight’s production of The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord is supported in part by Cramer-Krasselt, Coldwell Banker Evanston, Michael and Joan Callahan and Carol and Steve Mullins.

**Cast members Mark Montgomery (Outside Mullingar) and Jeff Parker (Mothers and Sons) are returning to the Northlight stage.  Nathan Hosner is making his Northlight debut.**

KIMBERLY SENIOR (Director) Previously at Northlight: 4000 Miles, The Whipping Man. Broadway: Disgraced (2013 Pulitzer Prize, Best Play Tony nominee). Her many Chicago credits include Disgraced; Rapture, Blister, Burn (The Goodman); Marjorie Prime, The Diary of Anne Frank, Hedda Gabler, The Letters (Writers Theatre, where she is a Resident Director); Want, The North Plan (Steppenwolf); Inana, My Name is Asher Lev, All My Sons, Dolly West's Kitchen (TimeLine Theatre, where she is an Associate Artist); Disgraced (American Theater Company); Waiting for Lefty (American Blues), among others. New York and regional credits include: Sex with Strangers (Geffen Playhouse); Disgraced (Lincoln Center Theater 3, Seattle Rep, Berkeley Rep);The Who and The What (La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theater 3); Little Gem (City Theatre); Games Afoot, Murder on the Nile, A Few Good Men (Peninsula Players); Mauritius (Theatre Squared, Fayetteville, AR). Kimberly is a proud member of SDC.

SCOTT CARTER (Playwright) is Executive Producer/Writer for Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. He produced the first 1,100 episodes of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, from its 1993 Comedy Central debut to its 1997 move to ABC. While at “P.I.,” producer/writer Carter won eight Emmy nominations and three consecutive CableAce Awards for Best Talk Series. In 1997 Variety named him one of “50 Creatives to Watch.” In 2007, he won the Producers’ Guild of America’s Johnny Carson Award for Real Time. In addition to his two full-length monologues Heavy Breathing and Suspension Bridge, Carter’s full-length play, The Gospel According To... Discord had an extremely successful 2014 and was produced at both the NoHo Arts Center and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

NATHAN HOSNER (Jefferson) is making his Northlight debut. Chicago credits include productions with Writers, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Paramount, About Face, First Folio, Shaw Chicago and Shakespeare Project of Chicago. Other credits include: Peter and the Starcatcher (First National Tour) and productions with American Players, New Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, BoarsHead Theater, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Door Shakespeare and Madison Repertory New Play Festival. Nathan is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.

MARK MONTGOMERY (Tolstoy) returns to Northlight where he appeared in Outside Mullingar and Experiment with an Air Pump. Other Chicago credits: 2666, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Camino Real and Stage Kiss (Goodman); Hedda Gabler and The Letters (Writers); Agamemnon, Iphigenia in Aulis and M. Butterfly (Court); Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, Rose Rage, Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 and As You Like It (Chicago Shakespeare); In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Victory Gardens); The Wheel, The Time of Your Life and Want (Steppenwolf); In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison (Journeymen, After Dark Award) and productions at Remy Bumppo, among others. New York credits: The Seagull and Mamma Mia! (Broadway), Our Town (Barrow Street), Macbeth (Public), The Runner Stumbles (Actors Company) and The Madras House (Mint). Regional credits: Julius Caesar (American Repertory) as well as the show's French tour. Television: Law & Order and Chicago Fire.

JEFF PARKER (Dickens) returns to Northlight where he most recently appeared in Mothers and Sons. Recent Chicago credits: Objects in the Mirror (Goodman), The Secret Garden (Court), Samsara (Victory Gardens) and Isaac's Eye (Writers). Other Chicago credits include: Camino Real, Candide, Turn of the Century and Bounce (Goodman); The Brother/Sister Plays (Jeff Award - Best Ensemble) and Venus (Steppenwolf); Cymbeline, As You Like It and The Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare); Sweet Charity and Days Like Today (Writers); and Nine (Jeff Nomination - Best Actor in a Musical, Porchlight). Off-Broadway and regional credits: Candide (Huntington), My Fair Lady (Asolo Repertory), 1776 (A.C.T.), Boy Gets Girl (Manhattan Theatre Club), The American in Me (Magic) and Winesburg, Ohio (Kansas City Repertory). Television and film credits: Chicago P.D., Love is a Four Letter Word, Prison Break and Early Edition. Jeff holds a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Southern California.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now entering its 41st season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including more than 40 world premieres.  Northlight has earned 194 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 32 Awards.  As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; Cramer Krasselt; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; NorthShore University HealthSystem; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; Tom Stringer Design Partners; Turner Construction; and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

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