Showing posts with label all-woman cast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label all-woman cast. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2019

ONE NIGHT ONLY: All-woman cast to perform staged reading of TWELVE ANGRY MEN

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

All-woman cast to perform staged reading of 
at Pride Arts Center on April 8 at 7:30 pm

Reading is one of hundreds to be performed across the US from April 5 -8 to promote gender equality and voter engagement

An all-star cast of women will lend their impassioned voices to a staged reading of the classic play, TWELVE ANGRY MEN by Reginald Rose, Pride Films and Plays Executive Director David G. Zak announced today. The reading will take place on Monday, April 8 in the  Broadway Theatre of the Pride Arts Center at 4139 N. Broadway. All seats are $10.00 and are available at

Top row L-R: Dana N. Anderson, Debbie Banos, Brook Celeste, Colleen DeRosa.
Middle row L-R:  Julia Germeroth, Samie Jo Johnson, Jacquelyne Jones, Diana Kaiser.
Bottom row L-R: Whitney Masters, Joan McGrath, Roxane Saylor, Shannon Leigh Webber.

The reading is one of many such readings across the country from April 5 – 8, as part of an initiative produced by the organization 12,000 Voices, to promote gender equality. The organization’s website notes that 12 ANGRY MEN was written in 1954, 19 years before women were permitted to serve on juries in all 50 states. 12,000 Voices producer Lauren Class Schneider says, “The readings will take place in every nook & cranny of the country: red, blue and purple communities in all 50 states! And after each staged reading there will be the opportunity to update voter registration and learn about voter engagement.  Voter suppression is real. Gerrymandering is real. Our voices and our votes matter. We can increase awareness and participation through the medium we all love.”

For the reading at Pride Arts Center, Brittany Gillespie will direct a cast to include Colleen DeRosa (Juror 1, the foreman), Samie Jo Johnson (Juror 2), Shannon Leigh Webber (Juror 3),  Diana Kaiser (Juror 4), Debbie Baños (Juror 5), Brook Celeste (Juror 6), Julia Germeroth (Juror 7), Dana N. Anderson (Juror 8), Joan McGrath (Juror 9), Roxane Saylor (Juror 10), Whitney Masters (Juror 11), and Jacquelyne Jones (Juror 12).

Following the staged reading on April 8,  audience members, cast, and staff will have the opportunity to update their voter registration,  Information will also be given about how to increase voter registration and voter turnout.


The play was adapted from Reginald Rose’s 1954 teleplay of the same name for the CBS Studio One television series. The success of the made-for-television courtroom drama resulted in a film adaptation directed by Sidney Lumet. TWELVE ANGRY MEN was Lumet's first feature film, and the only producing credit for Henry Fonda, who also starred in the film. Viewed as a classic, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay. The Broadway debut of TWELVE ANGRY MEN came 50 years after CBS aired the play, opening on October 28, 2004 at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre where it ran for 328 performances and was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor in a Play, and Best Direction of a Play.

In the story, a 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open and shut case until one of the jurors begins opening the others' eyes to the facts. Sequestered in a small room, each juror reveals their own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, and the murder is re-enacted. Tempers get short and arguments grow heated The jurors' final verdict and how they reach it is shown in tense and electrifying scenes.

Brittany Gillespie (Director) is a Chicago based freelance director, casting director, and storyteller. She is proud to be casting director and artistic associate of Stage Left Theatre. Directing credits include: UN-LIKEABLE (Ski-Productions); PASQUINADE PARADE (Crowd Theater); THE VELVETEEN RABBIT (Millbrook Playhouse); and various pieces for Drekfest (Stage Left Theatre) & Big Shoulder Festival (American Theatre Company). Assistant director credits: THE SOURCE (Route 66); WHAT OF THE NIGHT?  (Stage Left & COR); THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN (Stage Left Theatre); BRUISE EASY (American Theatre Company); and LOVE IN THE TIME OF BUMBLEHIVE (Leapfest). Brittany spends her time outside the theater working as a bicycle tour guide and scavenger hunt host. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, where she majored in theatre with a concentration in directing and a minor in German.

Monday, April 8 – 7:30 pm
All seats $10.00
Pride Arts Center – the Broadway, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
Tickets available by phone at 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222 or online at


Pride Films and Plays is working to produce year-round theater and film projects that change lives through the generation of diverse new work (or work that is new to Chicago) with LGBTQ+ characters or themes that are essential viewing for all audiences. The company produces a five-play season of full productions, shoots one short film each year, and continues our famed play developmental projects. Pride Films and Plays is the principal tenant in Pride Arts Center. 

Pride Arts Center produces events complimenting the PFP vision, including dance, cabaret, film, and more. Events can be one-night or limited run productions or feature national treasures like Charles Busch.  PAC occupies The Broadway at 4139 N. Broadway, which has 85 seats, and The Buena, which has 50 seats at 4147 N Broadway.

Pride Films and Plays is supported by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago’s City Arts Fund, the Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, Proud to Run, The Pauls Foundation, The Heath Fund, The Service Club of Chicago, the AmazonSmile Foundation, Arts and Business Foundation, Tap Root Foundation, Arts and Business Council, and Alphawood Foundation. 

Pride Films and Plays is a member of the Smart Growth Program of the Chicago Community Trust. Pride Arts is a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Northhalsted Business Association, Uptown United, and The League of Chicago Theatres.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

OPENING: All-Woman Cast Stage Suffragette Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare 9/16-11/12/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

All-woman cast takes on Shakespeare's 
raucous comedy 
The Taming of the Shrew
Staged by Barbara Gaines, 
September 16–November 12, 2017

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines stages Shakespeare’s raucous comedy The Taming of the Shrew with a powerhouse, all-woman cast—setting up a witty and thought-provoking debate on politics, power, and love. Framed as a performance by a band of Suffragettes with additional dialogue by Second City’s Ron West, The Taming of the Shrew launches Chicago Shakespeare’s 2017/18 Season in the Courtyard Theater, September 16–November 12, 2017.

This concept makes my feminist heart proud. I can't wait to check out this version of The Taming of the Shrew in the capable hands of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines! We'll be out for the press opening so check back soon for our full review. 

The year is 1919 and, amidst suffrage marches in Chicago, a women’s theater troupe is convening to rehearse their upcoming comedy: The Taming of the Shrew. In the play, fortune-seeking suitors compete for the hand of the demure Bianca, but her father has decreed that her fiery and tempestuous sister Katherine must first wed. Petruchio takes on the task of wooing and winning her—and so begins the notorious battle of wits. Along the way, the Suffragettes re-examine the characters in Shakespeare’s story, as well as their own status as women in society.

“There is a supreme power in reclaiming this story to be told by women, particularly now,” Director Barbara Gaines notes. “Looking at this play through a woman’s eyes brings the play’s themes into sharp focus with wit, wisdom, and humor, and sheds new light on Shakespeare’s characterizations of both men and women, and their relationships. These women are wickedly smart, and strong—and they will not be tamed.”

Each actress in the ensemble cast performs dual roles: as one of the suffragettes presenting the play, and as a character in their performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Leading the company are Alexandra Henrikson (Mrs. Louise Harrison/Katherine) and Crystal Lucas-Perry (Mrs. Victoria Van Dyne/Petruchio). Henrikson appeared on Broadway in Larry David’s Fish in the Dark and was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for her role in Ironbound at Round House Theatre. Lucas-Perry performed off Broadway in Storm Still: A King Lear Adaptation, and in Lincoln Center’s Bull in a China Shop. Olivia Washington (Mrs. Emily Ingersoll/Bianca) appeared off Broadway as Laura in The Glass Menagerie; and on film in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Robert De Niro’s The Comedian.

Six-time Jeff Award-winner E. Faye Butler (Dr. Fannie Emmanuel/Baptista) has appeared in multiple national touring productions (Mamma Mia!, Ain’t Misbehavin, Nunsense), and on stages from coast to coast, including The Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Signature Theatre. Hollis Resnik (Miss Judith Smith/Gremio) is a twelve-time Jeff Award-winner, including a win for her performance as Carlotta in Chicago Shakespeare’s Follies. She has also appeared in the national touring casts of Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Jeff Award-winner Heidi Kettenring (Mrs. Dorothy Mercer/Tranio) returns to Chicago Shakespeare in her eighth production, after having appeared in the Tug of War saga, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The School for Lies. Tina Gluschenko (Mrs. Beatrice Ivey Welles/Hortensio) was a member of CST’s collaboration with the Second City: Hamlet the Musical, which later played in New York at Ars Nova. Other Chicago credits include Candide and A Little Night Music at the Goodman Theater. Kate Marie Smith (Mrs. Olivia Twist/Lucentio) appeared in Chicago Shakespeare’s productions of King Charles III and Twelfth Night, and on Chicago Fire.

Rounding out the cast are Lillian Castillo (Mrs. Lucinda James/Biondello), Cindy Gold (Mrs. Sarah Willoughby/Vincentio), Ann E. James (Mrs. Elizabeth Nicewander/Pedant), Rita Rehn (Mrs. Mildred Sherman/Grumio), and Faith Servant (Mrs. Barbara Starkey/Curtis).

Ron West creates additional dialogue for the production, setting the Suffragette’s story alongside Shakespeare’s play. West’s illustrious career spans over two decades, having written for shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, as well as serving as a writer and associate artistic director at The Second City. West previously collaborated with Gaines on The Comedy of Errors in 2008, which garnered Jeff Awards for Best Production and Best Adaptation. West also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for The Second City’s Romeo and Juliet Musical: The People vs. Friar Laurence, The Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, which had a wildly popular run at Chicago Shakespeare in 2005.

Joining Barbara Gaines on the creative team are Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Costume Designer Susan Mickey. Depinet returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where he has designed more than a dozen productions, including most recently Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Heir Apparent, and Sense and Sensibility. Jeff Award-winning designer Mickey is best known for her sumptuous and playful costumes—exemplified in her previous CST designs for Shakespeare in Love, Sense and Sensibility, and The School for Lies. Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie completes the character’s looks with period hairstyles. Lighting Designer Thomas Hase is a veteran designer for international opera and theater stages, including the 2006 Broadway revival of Company. David van Tieghem, who most recently worked on CST’s Measure for Measure, leads the production’s sound design. Completing the creative team are Rinska Carrasco as Assistant Director and Kevin Gudahl as Verse Coach.

For more information, visit

The Taming of the Shrew will be presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, September 16–November 12, 2017. Single tickets are on sale now for $48–$88 (subject to change). Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. The Taming of the Shrew will have an Audio-described performance on Sunday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. (with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.); Open-captioned performances on Thursday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and an ASL Duo-interpreted performance on Friday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m.

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

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