Showing posts with label female directed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label female directed. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

OPENING: Midwest Premiere of The Book of Will at Northlight Theatre Through December 17th

Northlight Theatre continues its 2017-18 season
with the Midwest Premiere of
The Book of Will
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Jessica Thebus

November 9 – December 17, 2017

Here at ChiIL Live Show, we adore Shakespeare and can't wait to catch  Northlight Theatre's latest, The Book of Will, by Lauren Gunderson, author of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, last year's Jeff nominated holiday hit at Northlight. We're also elated this production is both written and directed by women! We'll be seeing it on November 22nd, so check back shortly after for our full review.

Northlight Theatre recently received the 50/50 Applause Award for 2017 from the International Centre for Women Playwrights. The company was among 58 recipients honored for producing 50% or more plays by women playwrights during the 2016/17 season (which included the World Premiere of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon).

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the Midwest Premiere of The Book of Will, written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Jessica Thebus.  The Book of Will runs November 9 – December 17, 2017 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. 

William Shakespeare wrote some of the world’s most beloved plays – but without his friends, they may have been lost to history! Follow the members of Shakespeare’s own company as they cunningly navigate the production of the First Folio in 1623. They may not have any money or clear-cut rights to his work, but they’re armed with wit, humor, a deep camaraderie and a passion to preserve the plays that shaped their lives. With the help of their wives and colleagues, two actors set out not only to print a collection, but to uphold a legacy for the world. From the author of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.

Artistic Director BJ Jones comments, “Lauren Gunderson is one of America's most produced playwrights thanks to Miss Bennet and now The Book of Will. We are proud to have introduced her work to Chicago, and of the Jeff nomination she received for Miss Bennet. Our continued collaboration with her is a joy for us and, we're sure, for our audiences.”

In The Book of Will, playwright Lauren Gunderson imagines the backstory of the creation Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies – commonly referred to as The First Folio. Shakespeare’s fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, were responsible for and had to collect copies of the plays in the form of actors’ sides, prompt books, quarto texts and handwritten versions. Without them we may have forever lost plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Twelfth Night.

The cast of The Book of Will includes Rengin Altay (Rebecca Heminges/Anne Hathaway), Dana Black (Alice Heminges/Susannah Shakespeare), McKinley Carter (Elizabeth Condell/Emilia Bassano Lanier), Thomas J. Cox (Ralph Crane), William Dick (Ben Jonson/Sir Edward Dering), Sam Hubbard (Boy Hamlet/Marcus/Bernardo), Gregory Linington (Henry Condell), Jim Ortlieb (John Heminges), Luigi Sottile (Ed Knight/Isaac Jaggard) and Austin Tichenor (Richard Burbage/William Jaggard).

Austin Tichenor, playing Richard Burbage/William Jaggard), co-wrote Pop-Up Shakespeare, an illustrated pop-up book showing scenes and moments from all of Shakespeare’s plays. The book was released in early October.  He wrote and performed in ten productions with the Reduced Shakespeare Company and hosts the weekly Reduced Shakespeare Company podcast.

The creative team includes Richard and Jacqueline Penrod (Scenic Design), Janice Pytel (Costume Design), Paul Toben (Lighting Design), and Rick Sims (Sound Design). The production stage manager is Kimberly Ann McCann.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (November 14 and 21 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm (except Thanksgiving – November 23); Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 11) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (November 12 and 26 only).

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production. All events are free.

Backstage with BJ: The Book of Will
Friday, November 3 at noon
at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL
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 The Book of Will will last approximately one hour. The event is free but reservations are required. Visit to reserve your spot.

Inside The Book of Will
Thursday, November 30 at 2:00 pm
Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton St., Skokie
Explore the ​inspiring true story of Shakespeare's First Folio and how that tale has been translated to the stage in a discussion and Q&A with artists related to the production.

Published in 1623, The First Folio contains approximately 900 pages and the following plays:
Comedies: The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All's Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, and The Winter's Tale
Histories: King John, Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, Henry V, Henry VI Part 1, Henry VI Part 2, Henry VI Part 3, Richard III, Henry VIII,
Tragedies: Troilus and Cressida, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline.

'Popping Up' with Austin
Tuesday, December 5 at 6:30pm
The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka
Cast member Austin Tichenor will discuss his experiences with the Reduced Shakespeare Company, The Book of Will, and his own ​recent ​book: Pop-Up Shakespeare. Event includes ​a brief performance, book signing, and Q&A.

The Book of Will was commissioned by Denver Center Theatre Company and developed at the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit.

Regular run: November 18 – December 17, 2017

Schedule: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (November 14 and 21 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm           
Thursdays: 7:30pm (except Thanksgiving – November 23)
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 11) and 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (November 12 and 26 only)

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

Tickets: Previews: $30-$57
Regular run: $30-$81
Student tickets are $15, any performance
(subject to availability)

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

OPENING: The Night Season at Strawdog Theatre Through 6/24

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


**Note: Adult themes and partial nudity. Recommended for 18+**

We're elated to see Strawdog Theatre presenting an acclaimed female playwright and female director for their closing production for this season which has explored the theme of Lives in Exile. In an era where the theatre industry is still male dominated in areas from scripts to stage, kudos to Strawdog for tipping the scales toward more inclusion and gender balance. We can't wait to catch this production.

THE NIGHT SEASON was made by women. This show was written by a woman, directed and assistant directed by women, features a women-driven storyline and stars some of our favorite women. Women designed the lights, props & costumes and coached the dialects. Women production managed and stage & assistant stage managed this show. And even more women and their allies onstage & behind-the-scenes made it all possible.

Strawdog Theatre Company is proud to announce the third and final production in its 2016 - 2017 season, 

Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s The Night Season, Now – June 24, 
directed by Elly Green, 
at The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard. 

The performance schedule is Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.

All performances have ground level access and are wheelchair accessible, with a special Access Project performance Sunday, June 4 at 4 p.m. with a touch tour at 2:45 p.m.* An industry performance is on Monday, June 5 at 8 p.m for $18. Preview tickets are $15 with regular run tickets $30, they may be ordered online at or by calling OvationTix toll-free: 866-811-4111. Subscriptions, group, rush, senior and student discounts are also available.

When the tiny, seaside hometown of W.B. Yeats gets occupied by an English film crew making his biopic, the Kennedys figure giving lodging to the lead actor will put a few extra coins in their pockets. They do get plenty of change, and not just Euros, as the family’s three sisters and their delusional grandmother all decide it’s time to stop letting life pass them by. The mother who ran away, the father who can barely leave the house, a big pile of pent-up desire, it all gets confronted in this skewed romantic comedy helmed by the director of Sideshow Theatre’s No More Sad Things, Stage Left’s Rabbit and Strawdog’s Season 28 smash After Miss Julie.

Cast includes ensemble members Janice O’Neill, Michaela Petro, Michael Reyes, John Henry Roberts, Justine C. Turner, Jamie Vann and guest artist Stella Martin.

The Night Season production team also includes Strawdog Company Ensemble Members Brittany Dee Bodley, costume designer, Heath Hays, sound designer and Mike Mroch, set designer with guest artists Ben Chang, dramaturg; 

All productions in Strawdog’s 2016-2017 season are wheelchair and ADA compliant. In addition, Strawdog Theatre’s Access Project performance Sunday, June 4 at 4 p.m., includes open captioning, audio description and touch tour services. A touch tour begins at 2:30 p.m. on the day of the Access Project performance.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz is an acclaimed playwright whose work has been performed all over the world. She was the first living female playwright to have an original play - the celebrated Her Naked Skin, which explored the suffragette movement - performed on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage. Other plays include: Soho – A Tale Of Table Dancers, The Night Season, Shoreditch Madonna, The Painter, The Typist, The Invisible and Jane Wenham. Adaptations include An Enemy Of The People, Ghosts, The Soldier's Tale, The Turn Of The Screw, Miss Julie and The Tempest.

Lenkiewicz also writes for radio, film and television. She co-wrote the film Ida with director Pawel Pawlikowski which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2015, the BAFTA and the SPIRIT awards for the same category and the Best Film awards at both the London Film Festival and the Warsaw Film Festival in 2013.  She has recently written a screenplay for Kristin Scott Thomas to direct, The Sea Change, and collaborated on The Sweet Life with Russian director Alexander Zeldovich. She has co-written Disobedience with Sebastian Lelio, a feature for Film 4 to which Rachel Weisz is attached.  Currently, she is adapting a book for Scott Free/BBC TV for Kevin MacDonald. Lenkiewicz is presently working with Steve McQueen and Rainmark films on a seven-hour drama for the BBC and is writing a two-hour drama Mystery in White for Origin Pictures/ BBC.

Elly Green is a freelance director who previously worked with Strawdog on After Miss Julie by Patrick Marber. She also recently directed the US premiere of The Distance by Deborah Bruce for Haven Theatre and the co-world premiere of Hansol Jung’s No More Sad Things for Sideshow Theatre. Other credits include: The Woman Before (Trap Door), Rabbit (Stage Left – Jeff Nominated), Happy (Redtwist), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Theatre Seven) and The Tomkat Project (Playground Theatre & NY Fringe). Elly was assistant-director on Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) and Proof (Court Theatre). She is an artistic associate with Sideshow Theatre and Stage Left Theatre. Elly originally trained in London on the MFA in Theatre Directing from Birkbeck College. Her UK directing credits include: Our Country’s Good, My Balloon Beats Your Astronaut, Beyond Therapy, About Tommy, Copenhagen, Skylight, The Beach, & The Zoo Story.

Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers their audience the unexpected.

Strawdog recently announced that it has taken residence at 1802 West Berenice in North Center. Its next season will take place here and is currently available for rental by other theatre companies.

Strawdog Theatre Company is proud to announce the third and final production in its 2016 - 2017 season, Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s The Night Season, May 12, 2017 – June 24, 2017, directed by Elly Green, performed at The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard. The performance schedule is Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. All performances have ground level access and are wheelchair accessible, with a special Access Project performance Sunday, June 4 at 4 p.m.* Preview tickets are $15 with regular run tickets $30, they may be ordered online at or by calling OvationTix toll-free: 866-811-4111. Subscriptions, group, rush, senior and student discounts are also available.

Strawdog Theatre Company offers six tickets at a 50% discount one hour before every production. The rush ticket must be purchased in person, exclusively at the Strawdog Box Office. Limit of two tickets per person, not applicable with other discounts, offers or on previously purchased tickets, first come, first served. 

Season Theme: Lives in Exile
How much of who we are is where we are? For twenty five seasons, Strawdog had a home of our own. Now we move forward as an an itinerant company. We're looking our new reality straight in the eye, and taking on a season of beautiful plays all about losing one's place.

1 world premiere, 1 Chicago premiere, 1 bold new take on a classic. 0 shows you want to miss. 

Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The Alphawood Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and through the generous contributions of businesses and individuals. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gift Theatre Opens Season With World Premiere of Unseen

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

World Premiere
Feb 16 - April 9


The Gift Theatre, 4902 N. Milwaukee Avenue

ChiIL Live Shows will be out to review on February 24th, so check back shortly after for our full review. We're elated Gift Theatre is tipping the scales toward presenting more female written and directed shows this season. Unseen is the first of three world premieres written by women that comprise Gift's exciting 2017 season. This tiny but might theatre is big on presenting world class, professional productions in an incredibly intimate space. They're favorites of ours and we can't wait to catch their latest.

The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Avenue, kicks off its 2017 Season with the world premiere of Mona Mansour’s play Unseen. Ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner directs a cast featuring ensemble members Brittany Burch (Mia) and Alexandra Main (Jane) with guest artist Ashley Agbay (Derya).  Unseen runs from February 10 – April 9, 2017 

Conflict photographer Mia wakes up in the Istanbul apartment of her on-again, off-again girlfriend after being found unconscious at the scene of a massacre she was photographing. Mia can’t even remember being there, but she wired photos of the site hours before being found. The two women resume their volatile push-pull when Mia’s well-meaning Californian mother arrives from the United States, trying to help unravel the mystery of what happened to her daughter.

“When I first read this play, it took my breath away,” says Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton. “To recognize each other’s humanity, to see each other’s pain and say ‘I love you completely for who you are’ is the highest gift we can give each other. As wars continue to rage on our planet, Unseen is a masterwork about love, trauma, and repair in the lives of those for whom war is not just a story, but real life. We are humbled and thrilled to tell this story at The Gift.”

Unseen’s design team includes Sarah Watkins (set), Rachel Sypniewski(costumes), John Kelly (lights), Sarah Ramos (sound), Sarahi Salazar (props) and Brock Alter (projections).

Performance schedule
Previews: Friday, February 10 – Wednesday, February 15
Press Opening: Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Run: Friday, February 17 – Sunday, April 9

Curtain: Thursdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for Unseen range from $30-$40 and are available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting Season subscriptions are also on sale now and range from $75-$190, with special pricing available for members under the age of 30 

About The Gift Theatre
TEN, The Gift’s annual kickoff celebration of ten-minute plays curated by artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and associate artistic director Paul D’Addario takes place in January. The all-new season consists of three world premieres and kicks off in February with Mona Mansour’s war-torn drama Unseen, directed by ensemble member Maureen Payne-Hahner (February 10–April 9), followed by Claire Kiechel’s futuristic Pilgrims, co-directed by ensemble member Michael Patrick Thornton and guest artist Jessica Thebus (June 2-July 30). The  season closes with Janine Nabers’ time-hopping love story A Swell in the Ground, directed by guest artist Chika Ike (October 13-December 10). Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers (“Gifters”) receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. 

Senior, Student, Veterans and Industry discounts available.
Come Closer on Sunday, April 2 for a talkback with the cast, drinks, and a couple of themed appetizers! Tickets to this special event are $55 and sell out quickly. Reserve your spot today.

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