Showing posts with label chi theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chi theatre. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

William Shakespeare’s ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL at Chicago Shakespeare Theater April 22–May 29, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces cast and creative team

William Shakespeare’s


directed by Shana Cooper

in the Courtyard Theater, April 22–May 29, 2022

Featuring Alejandra Escalante, Dante Jemmott, Ora Jones, Francis Guinan, Emma Ladji, Mark Bedard, Elizabeth Ledo, William Dick, Patrick Agada, Casey Hoekstra, Joseph Aaron Johnson, Jeff Kurysz, Pablo David Laucerica, and Tanya Thai McBride

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the cast and creative team for the upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, staged by acclaimed director Shana Cooper. No challenge can match the power of a determined woman. In love with a young man who does not return her affection, the resourceful Helena will go to any length to turn her visions of romance into reality—only to discover that happy endings are never quite as simple as they seem in fairy tales. Shakespeare’s rarely seen dark comedy is brought to new life in the uniquely intimate setting of the Courtyard Theater, April 22–May 29, 2022.

"The beautiful thing about All’s Well That Ends Well is that it’s about these transitional moments in life—about growing up and growing older—in the midst of profound loss and major shifts in the world… and I think we’re all in that space," shared director Cooper. "It’s ultimately a joyful ride through the intricacies of self-exploration and self-discovery."

Director Shana Cooper is known for her visceral approach to both classical texts and new works, often infusing movement and music to complement the muscularity of language. A company member at the acclaimed Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Cooper has directed at leading companies, including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep, and Yale Repertory Theatre. She notably staged the world premiere of Terra Firma off-Broadway in 2019. Her work has most recently been seen in Court Theatre’s The Lady from the Sea.

Appearing as Helena is Alejandra Escalante, a veteran of seven seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In addition to credits at American Players Theatre and Guthrie Theater, Escalante has also notably appeared at Goodman Theatre as Isabella in Measure for Measure and in featured roles in 2666, The Upstairs Concierge, and Song for the Disappeared. Portraying Bertram, the young nobleman at the center of Helena’s affection, is Dante Jemmott—who recently made an acclaimed debut as Romeo in R+J at the Stratford Festival in 2021. 

Esteemed performer Ora Jones is Bertram’s mother, the Countess of Roussillon. Jones has appeared on Broadway as Madame de Volanges in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Mrs. Phelps in Matilda the Musical, both on Broadway and in the first national tour. Her notable Chicago Shakespeare roles include Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII, Queen Charlotte in The Madness of George III, and Maria in Twelfth Night. Francis Guinan portrays the ailing King of France. An ensemble member since 1979, Guinan has appeared in more than 40 productions at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He made his Chicago Shakespeare debut in the world premiere of The Book of Joseph.

Emma Ladji is Helena’s accomplice, Diana. With multiple credits at Chicago Shakespeare, Writers Theatre, and Goodman Theatre, Ladji has also been an artist-in-residence at Links Hall and presented work at the New Now Festival in Amsterdam. Appearing as Parolles is Mark Bedard, who has performed off Broadway in Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in addition to seven seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jeff Award-winner Elizabeth Ledo plays Lavache, the clown of the Countess’s court. An artistic associate of About Face Theatre and recipient of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, Ledo has memorably appeared at Chicago Shakespeare as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Phoebe in As You Like It, and Myrtle in The King’s Speech. William Dick is Lafew. Highlights of Dick’s long theatrical career include Blind Date and Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, and 3) at the Goodman Theatre; We All Went Down to Amsterdam at Steppenwolf; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry VIII at Chicago Shakespeare. 

The company also includes Patrick Agada (Second Lord Dumaine), Casey Hoekstra (First Lord Dumaine), Joseph Aaron Johnson (Rinaldo), Jeff Kurysz (First Soldier), Pablo David Laucerica (Ensemble), and Tanya Thai McBride (Mariana).

Award-winning choreographer Stephanie Martinez is the production’s Movement Designer. In addition to being the founder and artistic director of contemporary dance company PARA.MAR, Martinez has devised original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispánico, and Luna Negra Dance Theater, among others. Joining Cooper and Martinez on the creative team are Scenic Designer Andrew Boyce, Costume Designer Raquel Barreto, Lighting Designer Adam Honoré, Sound/Composition by Paul James Prendergast, and Hair & Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie. The team also includes Magic Consultant Nate Dendy (who memorably appeared as Ariel in Aaron Posner and Teller’s production of The Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare in 2015), Verse Coach Gregory Linington, Assistant Director Mallory Metoxen, Assistant to the Movement Designer Noelle Kayser, Intimacy Director Sarah Scanlon, and Casting by Bob Mason. The stage management team features Katrina Herrmann as Stage Manager and Kate Ocker as Assistant Stage Manager. Katie Lupica and Manna-Symone Middlebrooks are Assistants to the Director.

Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for All’s Well That Ends Well include:

Open-captioned Performances – Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.

ASL Duo-interpreted Performance – Friday, May 20, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.

All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.

Audio-described Performance – Sunday, May 22, 2022, at 2:00 p.m

A program that provides spoken narration of a play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

More information on the production at or on social media at #cstAllsWell.

All’s Well That End’s Well is presented April 22–May 29, 2022, in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater. Single tickets ($49–$90) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at

Chicago Shakespeare’s most up-to-date health protocols can be found at


A Regional Tony Award recipient, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a year-round season—featuring plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming, each year serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers, one in four audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, Chicago Shakespeare works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire.

Sunday, March 6, 2022


 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 


THE 2020 HIT 



The Factory Theater is Back with America’s First-Ever Tribute to Cleveland 

in a Return to Stage Remount of its Acclaimed Comedy 

Written by Mike Beyer and Kirk Pynchon and directed by Kim Boler

The Factory Theater,1623 W. Howard St., is pleased to announce the LIVE return of its hit production, Last Night in Karaoke Town, March 25-April 30. Written by Mike Beyer and Kirk Pynchon and directed by Kim Boler, the original run was ended during its run in spring 2020 due to COVID and the Factory is thrilled to remount the only known tribute to Cleveland in the history of American theater this fall to relaunch its space and to welcome its audiences back to Howard Street. Previews are Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 at 3 p.m. 

The regular performance schedule is Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets for Last Night in Karaoke Town are $10 - $25 and may be purchased through the Box Office by calling 866-811-4111 or by visiting

One of Cleveland’s oldest karaoke bars may have to close its doors forever, unless its long-time proprietor can convince the new building owner not to change it into a cider bar. With a neighborhood slowly gentrifying around them, the longtime patrons embark on a plan to keep their beloved watering hole intact. It all comes down to one final night, where the beer flows freely and the karaoke soars higher than Steve Perry’s vocals on “Don’t Stop Believin’.” 

Last Night in Karaoke Town during its original run was Jeff nominated and garnered rave reviews, including Katy Walsh of who said “It’s a fun evening—Cleveland-style!” and Amy Munice of who called it "A collection of diverse personalities that bond around music, shots and beer for whom you instantly feel affection." In addition to being Chicago Reader Recommended, Max Maller said Last Night in Karaoke Town is “A raucous showdown between the dual opposing forces of innovation and authenticity.”

The Cast for the 2022 Production includes Wendy Hayne* (Diana), Ashley Yates* (Shannon), Genna Ellis* (Audrey), Gabriella Fernandez* (Lily), Abbie Warhus* (Fran), Jillian Leff* (Shawn), Brittney Brown* (Evelyn), Vic Kuligoski+ (Brad), Michael Jones+ (Ted), Bob Pantalone+ (Miles), Chase Wheaton-Werle+ (Kenny), Amber Washington* (Avery), Hilary Sanzel* (Diana U/S), Tuesdai B. Perry*^ (Avery U/S), Theresa Liebhart* (Lily/Audrey U/S), Lizzy Mosher* (Fran/Evelyn/Shawn U/S), Marshall Kious+ (Ted/Miles U/S), Marisa Lerman* (Shannon U/S).

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


Mike Beyer is a current ensemble member at the Factory Theater and has been with the company since its inception. He is the author/co-author of several past Factory plays, including White Trash Wedding and a Funeral (with Bill Havle), Hey! Dancin’! (with Kirk Pynchon), Hey! Dancin’! Hey! Musical! (also with Kirk Pynchon), Dirty Diamonds, and Herb Stabler: Wandering Spirit. Beyer has also appeared in several Factory productions, and makes his home in Chicago. 


Kirk Pynchon is a Factory Theater emeritus ensemble member, having been with the Factory since the early '90s. Over the years he has written several successful plays for the Factory, including Man Card, Poppin' and Lockdown, Poppin' and Lockdown 2: Dance the Right Thing, Hey! Dancin'! (with Mike Beyer), and Hey! Dancin'! Hey! Musical! (also with Mike Beyer). Pynchon lives in Los Angeles and is the Managing Editor of a small media firm. He is also a co-host of the indie podcasts Music Raygun and Nostalgicast.


Kim Boler has been an ensemble member of the Factory Theater since 2015 and will be making her Chicago directorial debut with Last Night in Karaoke Town. She has also appeared as an actor in numerous Factory productions: Zombie Broads, Jenny & Jenni, The Last Big Mistake and Fight City.


For more than 25 years, the Factory has created its shows from scratch, doing exactly the kind of theater they wanted to do. From writing workshops to the closing night bash, Factory shows are a unique experience that fits its exacting standards: original, bold, and full-tilt. Its shameless ensemble are ambassadors of a good time, making certain that Chicago remains heartily entertained.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

REVIEW: Victory Gardens Theater To Stream Final Five Live Performances of Queen of the Night March 9–13, 2022

ChiIL Live And Streaming Shows On Our Radar   

Victory Gardens Theater to live-stream

Queen of the Night

with an innovative pilot program

Five live performances to be streamed

March 9–13, 2022

By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we're loving the trend of theatres live streaming part of their run for those out of town or otherwise unable to sit indoor with a crowd. I caught opening night and Terry Guest (Ty) and André Teamer (Stephen) are wonderful in this poignant LGBTQ parenting adventure. 

Gay, young adult, Ty is hilariously out of his element in the wilderness with his father, but trying to embrace the experience and unpack some baggage. His father, Stephen doesn't stoop to the usual cliche of working class father of a gay son. 

Though they have a complicated and somewhat negative past history, he has evolved and is trying hard to bond with his adult son. I also love the intimacy of Victory Gardens Theater's 109 seat, upstairs Richard Christiansen Theater, named for beloved, long time Chicago critic, who passed away in January at age 90. Shout out to the set designer and sound designer for creating a delightful, overgrown wilderness that's exciting to escape to. 

Parenting children who don't turn out like you is complicated. Divorce and remarriage is difficult. Bridging not only the generation gap but the chasm between gay and heteronormative cultural can be daunting. Navigating relationships with your biological family as adults can be intense, and Queen of the Night explores this all too human experience in a tender, funny, heartfelt way. There's something especially dynamic and compelling about a 2 person show, and Queen of the Night nails it. 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). 

Victory Gardens Theater, in partnership with Assemble Stream, will live-stream the final five performances of its critically acclaimed production of Queen of the Night. The pilot program includes cameras that have been mounted in the theater and throughout the set for superior live-stream capabilities and making the live performance simultaneously available to patrons at home and in the theater. This is the first program of its kind in Chicago.

"We are excited to be partnering with Assemble this season especially after watching their work on Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s on Broadway. With livestream performances, we will be able to reach a broader audience than ever before, and share work by Chicago artists with theater-lovers around the world who may never have the opportunity to visit Victory Gardens in person," comments Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin.

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.

Written by travis tate and directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin, Queen of the Night features Terry Guest (Ty) and André Teamer (Stephen). The live-stream performance options will be available March 9-12, 2022 at 7:30pm Central, and March 13, 2022 at 3pm Central. Streaming tickets are $24 and can be purchased at

OPENING: Rolling World Premiere of In Every Generation April 2 – May 1, 2022 at Victory Gardens Theater


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Victory Gardens Theater Presents

the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of

In Every Generation

By Ali Viterbi

Directed by Devon de Mayo

April 2 – May 1, 2022

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 2021/22 Mainstage Season with the world premiere of In Every Generation, written by Ali Viterbi and directed by Devon de Mayo. This is a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by Victory Gardens, the Olney Theatre Center (MD), and San Diego Repertory Theatre (CA). In Every Generation runs April 2 – May 1, 2022 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. I'll be out for the press opening April 8th so check back soon for my full review. Tickets are on sale now and available by phone at 773.871.3000 or online at

Each Passover, for four millennia, we ask: why is this night different from all other nights? And each year, the Levi-Katz clan has answered, while struggling with questions of race and religion that never seem to get resolved. The family finds strength in tradition (vegan brisket or no); but each year of celebration brings more pressing questions about the future: if trauma is generational, then must we be defined by it? Will we ever be free? Written by Ali Viterbi, In Every Generation was the 2019 winner of the National Jewish Playwriting Contest, and will have its world premiere at Victory Gardens, staged by Devon de Mayo (If I Forget, Victory Gardens).

The In Every Generation cast includes Eli Katz (Valeria), Sara Lo (Dev), Esther Fishbein (Yael), Paul Dillon (Davide), and Carmen Roman (Paola), with casting by The Chicago Inclusion Project.

The In Every Generation creative team includes Andrew Boyce and Lauren Nichols (Scenic Design), kClare McKellaston (Costume Design), Heather Sparling (Lighting Design), Jeffrey Levin (Sound Design), Yeaji Kim (Projections Design), Caitlin McCarthy (Props Design), Courtney Abbott (Intimacy Design) and Adam Goldstein (Language and Dialect). The creative team also includes Kat Zukaitis (dramaturg), Adelina Feldman Schultz (Assistant Director), Casie Morell (Stage Manager) and Shandee Vaughan (Production Manager). Additional creatives to be announced.

About the Artists

ALI VITERBI (Playwright; she/her) is a playwright, television writer, and educator from San Diego. Her plays have been developed, produced, or commissioned by Geffen Playhouse, The Kennedy Center/National New Play Network, La Jolla Playhouse, Round House Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Barrow Group, and North Coast Repertory Theatre, among others. Her play In Every Generation won the 2019 National Jewish Playwriting Contest, and she has been a finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Ali has developed TV projects with AMC and Anonymous Content. She was a member of the 2020/2021 Geffen Playhouse Writers’ Room, and she is the associate artistic director of the annual Lipinsky San Diego Jewish Arts Festival. Ali received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.F.A. in Playwriting from UC San Diego.

DEVON de MAYO (Director; she/her) Victory Gardens: If I Forget and Ignition Festival in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Chicago Credits: First Love is the Revolution (Steep Theatre); The Tasters, Laura and the Sea & The Scientific Method (Rivendell Theatre); Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theatre Wit); The Burn (Steppenwolf Theatre); Harvey (Court Theatre); Sycamore (Raven Theatre); You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites); Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre); You Can’t Take it With You and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre); Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony). Broadway: Resident Director under Stephen Daldry on The Audience. International: Guerra: A Clown Play (La Piara, Mexico). Devon received her MFA from Middlesex University in London and did further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali.

Creative Team: Andrew Boyce and Lauren Nichols (Scenic Design), kClare McKellaston (Costume Design), Heather Sparling (Lighting Design), Jeffrey Levin (Sound Design), Yeaji Kim (Projections Design), Caitlin McCarthy (Props Design), Courtney Abbott (Intimacy Design) and Adam Goldstein (Language and Dialect). The creative team also includes Kat Zukaitis (dramaturg), Adelina Feldman Schultz (Assistant Director), Casie Morell (Stage Manager) and Shandee Vaughan (Production Manager).

Previews: April 2 – 7, 2022 

Press Performances:  Friday, April 8, 2022 at 7:30pm

Regular run:  April 9 – May 1, 2022 



Tuesday-Saturday 7:30pm (except April 2, April 12, April 16, April 19)

Wednesday: 2:00pm (April 20 only)

Saturday: 3:00pm (April 16 only)

Sunday: 3:00pm & 7:30pm (April 3 only)


Accessible Performances:            

Word for Word (open captioning): Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 2:00pm; Friday, April 22, 2022 at 7:30pm; Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 7:30pm

ASL Interpretation: Friday, April 22, 2022 at 7:30pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, April 22, 2022 at 7:30pm; Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 3:00pm (Touch Tour begins 90 minutes prior to showtime)

Location:   Victory Gardens Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue 

Tickets: $29 - $62

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago.  773.871.3000;

Victory Gardens Theater 2021/22 Mainstage Season

The Victory Gardens Theater 2021/22 Mainstage Season includes Queen of the Night by travis tate, directed by Ken-Matt Martin, January 29 - March 13, 2022; the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of In Every Generation by Ali Viterbi, directed by Devon de Mayo, April 2 - May 1, 2022; and the regional premiere of cullud wattah by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, directed by Lili-Anne Brown, June 11 - July 17, 2022.

Flex Passes to the 2021/22 Season are currently on sale at or by phone at 773.871.3000, and offer 20% savings over single ticket prices. Single tickets for all three shows are on sale now at and range from $29 to $62.

The Ignition New Play Program 

The Ignition New Play Program (formerly the Ignition Festival of New Plays) consists of two events for the 2021/22 season: the Ignite Chicago reading series, offering six free readings of new works between October 2021 and July 2022, and the 20/50 Festival in June 2022, featuring three new works by playwrights over 50, staged by VG Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows. Ignite Chicago readings will take place not only at Victory Gardens’ home in Lincoln Park, the Biograph Theater, but at partner locations throughout the city, to bring new plays into Chicago’s many communities. 

 Upcoming Ignite Chicago readings include: 

●      April 2022: Primary Trust by Eboni Booth  

●      July 2022: Nancy by Rhiana Yazzie 

All readings are free to attend, but RSVPs will be required, as capacity for each reading is limited. Registration will be available at approximately one month before each event. 

For complete details on the 2021/2022 Season and artists, Flex Passes, and the Ignition New Play Program, please visit  

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Bradshaw Family Foundation, Exelon Corporation, Illinois Arts Council, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, Pritzker Foundation, The Small Business Administration, and The Joyce Foundation.

Victory Gardens also receives support from the Alphawood Foundation, Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund,Mayer Brown LLP, TheNational Endowment for the Arts, thePritzker Pucker Family Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, The Seabury Foundation, and The Venturous Theater Fund of Tides Foundation.


Victory Gardens Theater COVID-19 Attendance Policy

To protect the health of all who attend Victory Gardens productions, the following policies are in place for the 2021/22 Season: All audience members must be masked for the duration of their visit. Masks are available onsite if needed. All audience members ages 5+ must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination; audience members ages 16+ must also show a valid photo ID at the door to be admitted to the theater. These policies follow state and local guidelines for safe operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are subject to change based on the current recommendations.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays, which has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater, and continued by former Artistic Director Chay Yew.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage, and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

For more information about Victory Gardens, visit . Follow us on Facebook at, Twitter @VictoryGardens, and Instagram @victorygardenstheater.

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