Showing posts with label fest alert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fest alert. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

FEST ALERT: The 26th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival Via Lifeline Theatre Through January 22nd, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Lifeline Theatre's 26th Annual 

Fillet of Solo Festival 

Celebrating the breadth of Chicago's enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline brings together a dozen storytelling collectives and numerous solo performers for a two-week, multi-venue selection of powerful, personal stories. Come get your fill!

The 26th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival features solo performances by:

80 Minutes Around the World: Immigration Stories, Back Room Stories, Jimmy Carrane, Julie Danis, Ann Filmer, GeNarrations, Kevin Gladish, John Hahm, June Huitt, Is this a thing?, Loose Chicks, The Lifeline Storytelling Project, Maria Kostas, Mia McCullough, Errol McLendon, Geneva Norman, OUTspoken!, Paul Pasulka, R.C. Riley, Sarah Ruthless, Serving the Sentence, Connie Shirakawa, Tony Smith, Francesca Sorbrer, Mike Speller, Story Neighborhood w/ Lily Be, Story Sessions, Molly Surowitz, Sweat Girls, and Tellin' Tales w/ Tekki Lomnicki

Tickets for individual performances are only $12!

Festival Passes (see as many performances as you like) are only $60! 


Performances are at Lifeline Theatre and South of the Border (1416 W. Morse - a new location this year!). Free parking and shuttle available.


Performance times are: Fridays at 7:00 and 8:30pm at both venues, Saturdays at 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00, and 8:30 p.m. at both venues, and Sundays at 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, and 5:30 p.m. at both venues.

Click here for complete information on the 23rd Annual Fillet of Solo Festival

or call the Lifeline Theatre box office at 773-761-4477.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

FEST ALERT: Pride Winter Film Fest to include award-winning dramatic and documentary features and an international program of “Hot Holiday Shorts”

Festival to stream December 7 – January 8.

Pride Film Fest will follow its successful fall series of weekly LGBTQ online film screenings with a winter festival consisting of four separate programs, each streaming for 11 days. The festival will begin December 7, 2022, and continue through January 8, 2023. The feature films will include several award winners.  

The winter series will open with the feature-length documentary PAT ROCCO DARED – the life story of one of Hollywood’s gay pioneers, remembered both for his political activism and his erotic gay films. The film has won five “Best Documentary” awards in recent festivals from Australia, France, and throughout the United States. This winner of 10 awards overall has been seen in nearly 40  festivals worldwide and will stream from December 7-18.

Second in the festival will be the award-winning 2022 feature UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS, winner of two awards in the 2022 LA Outfest (Best Narrative Feature, Outstanding Performance in a Narrative Feature) and winner for Outstanding First Feature award in the 2022 Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. This entertaining road-trip dramatic film involving a dwarf and his alien-obsessed neighbor will stream from December 14-25.

Concluding the winter festival will be the Canada’s DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR, a dramatic feature about a trans woman returning home and introducing her new identity to her family on a farm in Nova Scotia, which will stream from December 28, 2022 – January 8, 2023.DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR has been recognized in eight recent film festivals in the US, Canada and Australia, in which it has won awards for Best Feature, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Audience Choice.



The festival’s third week will be HOT HOLIDAY SHORTS - a program of eight short films from the USA, France, Germany, Russia, and Denmark. The program explores gay male sexuality in genres ranging from the erotic, humorous, poetic, and fantastic; in situations that depict seduction, comic misunderstandings, and the support and freedom found within the gay community. The shorts will stream from December 21, 2022 – January 1, 2023.


From the short film BROTHERS. 

Access to the films is $12.00 per film. Monthly memberships are also available for $10.00 per month which entitles the purchaser to a $5.00 discount on each of the festival programs ($7.00 per program) plus one free membership event and free admission to an Open Space Arts staged play reading to take place in 2023. 

Tickets for the individual programs are now on sale HERE

Membership passes are available HERE

 Winter 2022-23 Pride Film Festival –Complete Schedule

Week 1 – December 7 - 18, 2022


(2021, USA, 1:30)

Directed by Morris Chapdelaine and Bob Christie

Written by Bob Christie

In this colorful trip back in time, filmmaker and activist Pat Rocco shares his incredible life story as one of Hollywood's original boundary-pushing gay pioneers, remembered both for his political activism and his erotic gay films. The cast includes Phyllis Diller, Rev. Troy Perry and Harvey Milk. Winner of 10 awards in festivals throughout the United States and the world.


Week 2 – December 14 – 25, 2022


Directed by Juan Felipe Zuleta

Written by Juan Felipe Zuleta and Leland Frankel

One of the most entertaining and unique road-trip movies! An uptight dwarf and his free-spirited, alien-obsessed neighbor hit the road on a border-defying search for their place in the universe. 2022 Award winner - Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival  (Outstanding First Feature), 2022 LA Outfest (Best Narrative Feature, Outstanding Performance in a Narrative Feature).

Week 3 – December 21, 2022 – January 1, 2023

HOT HOLIDAY SHORTS - Gay short films from the Gonella Film Collection 





BROTHERS (France/Russia, 9:20)

Damien and François decided to come out of the closet today, but no one believed them. They didn't look gay enough.

FIRE ISLAND ‘79 (USA, 7:44)

Directed by Todd Verow and Patrick McGuinn

Written by Todd Verow

When filmmaker Chase Hook committed suicide on December 31st, 1979, his conservative family destroyed all his gay erotic films. Recently super8 home movies of his last summer on Fire Island were found, along with the tape from his answering machine. The contrast between the natural freedom of the beach and the messages he got is remarkable.

LA DISYUNTIVA (Germany, 13:00)

Directed by Antonio Zucherino

Two men walk agitatedly on a dirt road between underbrush until one follows the other in the foliage. This short is intense and sexual.


A young man on Christmas Eve prostitutes himself in the streets of Paris when he meets a character who may be an angel Guardian.


Clockwise from top left: LE GOUT DE L'AUTRE, LOVE YOU TYLER, PD, and SPANDEX. 

LE GOÛT DE L'AUTRE (France, 8:43)

Written and directed by Jordan Fleury Kervella

Over a cup of tea, Julien tries to seduce Alan. Surprised, Alan avoids Julien. After this failure, Julien goes back to his sex addiction. Julien’s memories and imagination join to lose himself until he enters the poetic world of Alan.


Directed by Ari Itkin and Devon Diffenderfer

Things get a little awkward when Luke starts to talk about his new girlfriend, Tyler, who has the same name and career as his straight roommate.  This interaction is funny and unexpected.

PD (France, 7:19)

A cruising area takes on majestic proportions as we discover Greek-esque male bodies in the forest. The sonnets 18, 57, and 20 by William Shakespeare add to the film's Midsummer Night's Dream-like ambiance. PD began as an homage to the book Derek Jarman’s Garden photos by Howard Sooley and is filmed entirely with a mobile phone.


A lovely black and white film about sports and dance, love and friendship, and leopard print spandex!

Week 4 – December 28, 2022 – January 8, 2023

DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR (2021, Canada, 1:30

After her mother's death, a young trans woman returns to the family farm in Nova Scotia, where she sees her father and sister for the first time in many years and the first time since her transition.DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR has been recognized in eight recent film festivals in the US, Canada and Australia, in which it has won awards for Best Feature, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Audience Choice.



Pride Film Fest began in 2012 as Queer Bits, an in-person film festival that was a program of Chicago’s Pride Films and Plays artistic company. In 2002, Pride Film Festival was spun off as off as a separate entity and promises year-round LGBTQ film programming presented in streaming and occasionally in-person formats in Chicago.

Through this abundance of programming, Pride Film Fest will showcase the breadth of world LGBTQ film art – from shorts to features and everything in between - that expresses the variety and complexity of queer life across the globe. The fall schedule will include six separate programs streaming for 12 days each. Themes will explore the experiences of gay men and women, trans, gender queer, non-binary, and even asexual identities.

David Zak is the director of Pride Film Fest, a program of Open Space Arts. Open Space Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to performances related to contemporary issues. This past summer, Open Space Arts presented the world premiere of THE KRAMER PROJECT, a dramatic adaptation by David Zak of Larry Kramer’s seminal 2004 speech, “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays.”

Thursday, September 8, 2022

FEST ALERT: Destinos, 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival SEPTEMBER 14-OCTOBER 16, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar


Destinos, 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival will host (top, left) the U.S. premiere of Blanco Temblor by Puerto Rico’s Teatro Público, a play about mental health featuring Isel Rodríguez, September 29-October 2 at The Den Theatre. The Midwest premiere of Pequeños Territorios en Reconstrucción (top, right), a documentary about a group of Colombian women who built 98 houses with their own hands, from Mexico City’s Teatro Línea de Sombra, is co-presented by CLATA and Goodman Theatre, September 21-25. Mexican TV stars María del Carmen Félix (bottom, left) and Mariannela Cataño (middle) star in the world premiere of La Pájara de San Juan at the National Museum of Mexican Art, September 14-17. Latino favorite Flaco Navaja stars in UrbanTheater’s Midwest premiere of his first solo show Evolution of a Sonero, September 29-October 23. 

Destinos, 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, Chicago’s annual citywide festival showcasing Latino theater artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S. and Latin America, returns September 14-October 16, 2022.

Destinos kicks off Chicago’s Hispanic Heritage Month with five weeks of Latino-centric shows, panels and student performances at downtown venues, neighborhood theaters, and cultural institutions throughout the Chicago area.

The full Destinos 2022 line-up – 13 amazing productions including six world premieres, four U.S. premieres and three Midwest premieres – is set and tickets to most productions are on sale at

Chicagoans and visitors alike are encouraged to get their tickets now to experience new, vibrant solo shows and large scale productions playing on Chicago’s top stages in September and October, each celebrating the Latino experience.

Visit to purchase tickets and for full show information. Sign up for CLATA’s weekly e-newsletter for first notice of festival events. Follow Destinos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all at @latinotheater. 

Destinos is produced annually by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), a transformative cultural engine helping drive the city’s local Latino theater community to a more prominent level, founded in 2016 by Myrna Salazar, the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC), and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA). 

Chicagoans are still stunned by the recent loss of CLATA’s visionary leader, Myrna Salazar, who passed away suddenly on August 3.

“CLATA’s success would not have been possible without a visionary at the helm, a person with the tenacity and passion to bring Chicago’s Latino theater community to a level that had not yet been imagined,” wrote the CLATA staff in a program note dedicating this year’s Destinos to her memory. “Now, in her honor, CLATA is charged with the task of making sure her legacy forges ahead with the same unbridled zeal that Myrna brought to her beloved organization, the Destinos Festival, and her everyday life.” 

2022 festival highlights include three out-of-town productions from Mexico and Puerto Rico: 

The world premiere of La Pájara de San Juan, a Trump-era drama about two sisters, one documented, one not, on a fateful night in Chicago, starring Mexican TV stars María del Carmen Félix and Mariannela Cataño. It is written by Victor Salinas and Sergio Gezzi, and co-presented by CLATA and the National Museum of Mexican Art, September 14-17. Opens Wednesday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m.

The Midwest premiere of Pequeños Territorios en Reconstrucción, a documentary fable about a group of Colombian women who created the “League of Displaced Women” and built 98 houses with their own hands, from Mexico City’s Teatro Línea de Sombra, co-presented by CLATA and Goodman Theatre in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, September 21-25. Opens Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The U.S. premiere of Blanco Temblor by Puerto Rico’s Teatro Público. This is a dramedy about mental health as told via the story of Marina del Mar, a doctor in quantum astrophysics, a Puerto Rican, bipolar, suicide survivor, with a disease from birth: she could not tremble. Performances are September 29-October 2 at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park. Opens Thursday, September 29 at 8 p.m.

You want new plays by Latino writers? Destinos will see diverse new works by Chicago’s top Latino companies and artists, including:

Las Migas by Colectivo El Pozo, a world premiere drama set on the roof of a Chicago skyscraper as an eerie red moon disrupts city life below, presented at Chess Live Theater in Bridgeport, September 15-October 2. Opens Thursday, September 15 at 8 p.m.

The U.S. premiere of Bruna la Bruja Bruta by Mexican playwright Tomás Urtusástegui, starring Teatro Tariakuri Artistic Director Karla Galván as a modern-day Latina bruja who flies into her theater’s Marquette Park storefront space to get a few things off her chest before Halloween. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays, September 17-October 16. Opens Saturday, September 17 at 8 p.m.

The U.S. debut of Tebas Land by Uruguayan playwright Sergio Blanco, inspired by the Oedipus myth, about a series of meetings in a prison basketball court between a playwright and a young parricide (a person who kills a parent or close relative), presented by CLATA with the National Museum of Mexican Art, at Chicago Dramatists, September 22-October 9. Opens Thursday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The world premiere of Enough to Let the Light In, produced by Teatro Vista and co-presented with Steppenwolf Theatre Company. The playwright is Paloma Nozicka, a Mexican-American actor, writer, director and filmmaker, bred in Chicago, based in L.A. Her newest work introduces us to girlfriends Marc and Cynthia, who spend a night celebrating a milestone, but it quickly devolves into chaos as buried secrets are revealed and lives are irrevocably changed. Performances are September 21-October 23 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater. Opens Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m.

Alma, an American Blues Theatre world premiere about a single mom who has single-handedly raised her daughter on tough love, home-cooked comida, and lots of prayers. But on the eve of her daughter’s SAT, she’s nowhere to be found. Alma, written by 2019 National Latinx Playwriting Award winner Benjamin Benne, runs September 22-October 22 at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Opens Wednesday and Thursday, September 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Poet, actor, singer and Latino favorite Flaco Navaja stars in his first full-length solo show Evolution of a Sonero, a Midwest premiere from UrbanTheater Company. With unabashed love for the Bronx, a gift for crafting memorable characters, and genuine good humor, Navaja and five top-notch musicians bring on the charm, the rhythm, and the soul essential to a Bronx Sonero. Don’t miss this fresh salsa epic about growing up, getting inspired, and staying on track. Performances are September 29-October 23. Opens Thursday, September 29 at 8 p.m.

The world premiere of BULL: a love story by Chicago playwright Nancy García Loza, about a Mexican American ex-con who returns to his old Chicago neighborhood, Lakeview, only to discover how much has moved on without him. BULL: a love story is a Paramount Theater BOLD Series production, October 5-November 20 at the new Copley Theatre in downtown Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city with a 40 percent Latino population. BULL also marks the first-ever expansion of Destinos into a Chicago suburb. Opens Wednesday and Thursday, October 12 and 13 at 7 p.m.

The midwest premiere of Sancocho by Visión Latino Theater Company, written by Christin Eve Cato, directed by Xavier M. Custodio. The play tells the story of two sisters, 25 years apart, who come together to discuss their father’s will while making a traditional sancocho stew that suddenly becomes peppered with revelations about their family history. Performances are October 8-30 at Windy City Playhouse. Opens Monday, October 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The U.S. premiere of Cintas de seda from Aguijón Theater in Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin/Hermosa neighborhood. Set on the eve of the Day of the Dead, this play by Norge Espinosa imagines a painter and nun coming together for an impossible dialogue with ghosts, hallucinations, and images of the past, October 13-November 20. Opens Friday, October 14 at 8 p.m.

The world premiere of The Wizards by Ricardo Gamboa, a supernatural thriller about a Brown and Black genderqueer couple who find a Quija board in their new Pilsen apartment that connects them to a ‘70s Mexican-American Motown cover band. The Wizards, co-produced by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance at Pilsen’s historic APO Cultural Center, runs October 14-November 26.

About Destinos, 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival

Now entering its fifth year, Destinos is the signature program of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), a transformative cultural engine helping drive the city’s local Latino theater community to a more prominent level. The organization’s goal is to create the country’s leading international Latino theater festival with an emphasis on showcasing Chicago Latino theater artists and companies. 

Visiting companies making their Destinos Festival debuts include Teatro Línea de Sombra (México), Teatro Público (Puerto Rico), and La Pájara de San Juan (Mexico/Washington D.C.). Participating Chicago Latino theaters are Aguijón Theater, Colectivo El Pozo, Concrete Content, Teatro Tariakuri, Teatro Vista, UrbanTheater Company and Visión Latino Theater Company. Presenting partners are Goodman Theatre, the National Museum of Mexican Art and Steppenwolf Theatre. Collaborating partners are American Blues Theater and Paramount Theater. Venue partners are APO Cultural Center, Chess Live Theater, Chicago Dramatists, The Den Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble and Windy City Playhouse. 

CLATA, which produces Destinos, was founded in 2016 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization by Myrna Salazar and Chicago’s three most prominent Latino arts organizations: the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC), and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA). 

“In Spanish, the word ‘destinos’ has multiple meanings: destinies, destinations or fate,” explained CLATA’s late Executive Director Myrna Salazar, who passed away suddenly this past August, and to whom the 2022 festival is dedicated. “Destinos showcases Latino theater artists from Chicago, across the U.S. and Latin America to present engaging and thought-provoking stories that transcend boundaries, amplify Latino voices, and diversify Chicago stages to encourage cross-cultural conversation.” 

Additionally, CLATA continues to provide local groups ongoing organizational, marketing and financial support, and works diligently to create a permanent home for Chicago’s Latino theater artists. Ultimately, CLATA strives to underscore Chicago’s reputation as one of the most exciting and culturally diverse theater cities in the world.

CLATA gratefully acknowledges foundation support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Ford Foundation, Walder Foundation, Driehaus Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, Creative Reaction Lab, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Illinois Arts Council Agency and National Endowment for the Arts. Supporting partners are Allstate, Choose Chicago, Xfinity, 3Arts, ComEd and Wintrust.

For more, visit or call (312) 631-3112.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Pay What You Can: Rhinoceros Theater Festival April 1 – May 7, 2022 at Jimmy Beans Coffee & Pride Arts Center

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Fest Alert 

The Curious Theatre Branch, in association with Pride Arts Center and Jimmy Beans Cabaret, Prop Thtr and Labyrinth Arts, is pleased to present A Hint of Rhino: Rhinoceros Theater Festival 2022, playing April 1 – May 7, 2022. Shows will run Thursdays – Sundays at Jimmy Beans Coffee (2553 W. Fullerton Ave, second floor) in Logan Square and the Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center (4139 N Broadway Ave) in Uptown.

Curious and friends present a pared-down, curated series of events including music, spoken word, new plays, drag and variety events. Programming on Sunday, May 1 at Pride Arts Center will include a special celebration of Matt Rieger, longtime Managing Director for Curious, who died suddenly in October 2021, and whose final play, Jimmy and the Nickels, will run Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings at Pride Arts. Rhino Fest returns this year following a hiatus in 2021, in which festival producers awaited the return of safer gatherings in public spaces rather than shifting to a virtual format. This Rhino Fest represents the result of invitation and collaboration among small groups of Chicago artists, making inquisitive and expansive events for the current moment.

Tickets to all events are $20 or pay-what-you-can. 

Proof of vaccination will be required at the door, and audience members and crew will remain masked inside venues. Cash and credit cards accepted at the door. Tickets are currently available through Eventbrite. Further additional information and updates, visit


The full Rhino Fest 2022 line-up includes:

 A Hint of a Rhino Party

Saturday March 26 at 7 pm, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts

An opening night party to mosey back to Rhino. An evening of food and drinks, presentations, some previews of shows to come, a film or two, some jokes and lots and lots of mingling.  


John & Paul: Strictly Platonic

Fridays at 8 pm, April 1 – 29, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

Chicago sketch comedy veterans John Klingle and Paul Brennan bring their anarchic humor back to the stage in a raucous celebration of dysfunctional friendship. Watch John and Paul juggle the roles of emasculated fathers, naive prison guards and problematic method actors, all while struggling to keep their corporate sponsorships. Special guests include drag artist Tara Bitchup, songstress Zoë Pike\ and stand-up comic Katie Zane.


New Speculative Fiction

Friday, April 1 at 7 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

Sharon Houk, Andy Sullivan, and Tanner Vaughan Halversen read new work.


Labyrinth Hour Cabaret

Saturdays at 8 pm, April 2 – 30, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

A musical and variety adventure featuring bands, musical guests and variety acts.

April 2 & 23: The Improper Behavior Jump Blues Band featuring Miss Sharon and Keith Fort.

April 9 & 16: Drag Show with Narcisca and Slussy Vanity. Further guest artists to be announced. Produced and directed by Diane Hamm with Labyrinth Arts and Performance Collective.


The Chicago Beast Women

Saturdays at 10 pm, April 2 – 30, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

Chicago’s longest-running showcase for veteran and premiering female artists comes to Pride!  An inspiring line-up of solo and collaborative artists showcasing new and urgent work. Jillian Erickson, Michelle Power, Cristina McCrystal, Alley Cat and many, many more beloved Chicago performers.


Vernon Tonges

Saturday, April 2 at 7 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

Known to many as Spoo Willoughby, Vernon Tonges is a low-profile performing songwriter and singer known for his crippling introversion and disastrous inability to adequately self-promote. Many of his shows occur unannounced in random parking lots where his audience mainly consists of drivers idling in the drive-through line awaiting takeout chicken. Surplus thigh meat comprises his chief compensation. The world remains a tough nut to crack.


The Crooked Mouth and Special Guests

Saturday, April 2 at 9 pm and Saturday, May 7 at 9 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

A Chicago-based music group including Jenny Magnus, Beau O'Reilly, T-Roy Martin, Vicki Walden and Heather Riordan with ample harmonies and lyrics to sink one's teeth into. Rock/pop/alt-country/vaudeville, if you must have a genre.

April 2: Special guest Izzy Yellen. "Izzy yellin'? No, he's making ambient folk."

May 7: Special guests Michael Amandes and Mac Modean


Writers Aloud

Sunday, April 3 at 3 pm, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

For over three years, from in-person to online and now both live and streaming – this unassuming monthly forum organized by Donna Dunlap, Karen Fort and Cordis Heard for those who write and have seldom if ever spoken their own written words – a core Prop Thtr tradition. Two hours with three to five readers.


Jimmy and the Nickels

Sundays: April 3 at 5 pm, April 24 & May 1 at 3 pm. Note: the May 1 show will be followed by a celebration of Matt Rieger, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

Thursdays: April 7, 14, 21, 28 at 8 pm, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

A follow up to 2020’s lauded My Dinner with Joe, this chamber comedy, the last work of the beloved and abruptly departed Curious playwright and Managing Director Matt Rieger, features Mike McKune, Don Schroeder, Nick Leininger and Paul Brennan, and is directed by Stefan Brün with Charlotte Lastra.



Friday, April 8 & 22, Saturday April 9 & 23 at 7pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

A new monologue from Chicago poet and fringe theater mainstay Barrie Cole.


Cafe Neckbeard To Go

Fridays: April 8, 15, 22, 29 and May 6 at 9 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

Saturdays: April 9, 16, 23, 30 at 9 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

PR Representative and Procurement Specialist Chris Bower will theatrically update the world on the ongoing saga of the most experimental and explosive and explosively experimental cash-only fine dining celiac-intolerant temporarily to-go cafe in The Historic Logan Square Neighborhood (THLSN): Chef Anton "*" Anis's Cafe Neckbeard! Featuring Chris Bower and Steak Richardson.


The Problem With Flowers

Sundays: April 10, 17, 24 at 5 pm, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

Thursdays: April 14, 21, 28 at 7 pm, Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center

Roberto Del Rio’s solo work playfully examines the loves and miseries, the delights and betrayals in an emotional day off. From dawn until dusk we’ll hear those struggles, triumphs, fears and desires that only manifest when we’re by ourselves.


Deconstructing Desolation Row

Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16 at 7 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

Four writers respond to Bob Dylan's 1965 ballad from Highway 61 Revisited in song and lecture. Performances by Jayita Bhattacharya, Frank Bonacci, Michaela Chan and Bill Ferguson.


Time in a Teacup

Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30 at 7 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

New work by Jay Sebastian. Musings on time, memory, and baloney sandwiches through stories, original songs and 8mm movies.


The Anchovy's Song, The Pelican's Apocalypse

Friday, May 6 at 7 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

Jeff "Hollywood" Dorchen weaves together songs, obvious lies (elaborate and simple) and poems.


Sheila Donohue and Friends

Saturday, May 7 at 7 pm, Jimmy Beans Coffee

Performance poet and four-time National Poetry Slam Champion Sheila Donohue returns to Rhino Fest for an evening of new and archival work, with special guests.

Venue Note: Broadway Theater at Pride Arts Center is a first-floor space and is wheelchair accessible, with two accessible bathrooms. Jimmy Beans Cabaret is up one flight of stairs and is not easily accessible for wheelchair users.


About Rhino Fest

The event that became the Rhinoceros Theater Festival began in 1988 as an offshoot of the Bucktown Arts Fest, and in its first year featured just two days of performances, including work by Jenny Magnus and Beau O'Reilly. When the event's founder moved away from Chicago in 1990, he asked a ragtag group of local artists (including Beau O'Reilly and Theatre of the Reconstruction’s Scott Turner) to keep the festival going, and the Rhino Fest was born. The Curious Theatre Branch went on to produce the Rhino across many neighborhoods and venues over the years, with events variously taking place in Wicker Park/Bucktown, Rogers Park, Andersonville and Avondale; at spaces including the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Café, the Neo-Futurarium, the Society for New Things, The Garage, The Firehouse, Remains Theatre and Prop Thtr. In the mid-2000s, Rhino Fest settled at Prop Thtr in Avondale as its long-term base, and Prop and Curious co-produced the festival among a shifting group of curators for many years. Following the closure of Prop's Elston Ave. space in 2020, and a year off during the height of the pandemic, Rhino Fest is once more becoming itinerant, this year producing shows at The Broadway at Pride Arts Center in Uptown and Jimmy Beans Coffee in Logan Square.

Monday, January 6, 2020


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Lifeline Partners with 15 Chicago Storytelling Collectives

Former Lifeline Theatre Artistic Director Dorothy Milne and former Live Bait Theater Artistic Director Sharon Evans are pleased to announce the 23rd Annual Fillet of Solo Festival, running January 10–26, 2020. Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline brings 15 storytelling collectives and nine solo performers together for a three-week, multi-venue selection of powerful personal stories.

The 2020 Fillet of Solo festival will perform January 10-26, 2020, in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood at Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.) and The Teal Room (6956 N. Glenwood Ave. – new location this year). Free parking and shuttle available. Performance times are Fridays at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at both venues; Saturdays at 4, 5:30, 7, and 8:30 p.m. at both venues; and Sundays at 4 and 5:30 p.m. at both venues. Ticket prices are $10 for regular single tickets, and $60 for a Festival Pass (allows admission to any performance). Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting


The 23rd Annual Fillet of Solo Festival offers easy access to 15 Live Lit groups and numerous solo performers that perform regularly throughout Chicago. On Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 at 7 p.m., at The Teal Room, 6956 N. Glenwood Ave. Dorothy Milne of Lifeline Theatre will lead a conversation with numerous local storytellers and share a taste of things to come in the festival.

Discounted Passes: Fillet of Solo Festival Passes will be offered at a special discounted rate of $30 at the free kick-off event (regularly $60).

The Kick-Off Night is free, no reservations required. Contact the Lifeline Theatre Box Office, 773.761.4477, for more information.

The 23rd Annual Fillet of Solo Festival will feature solo performances by:

·         Jamie Black: “It’s My Penis and I’ll Cry If I Want To”
·         Shelby Marie Edwards: “Lost Home, Win Home”
·         Kristina Lebedeva: “It’s Easy to be a Hero: Disability in Exile”
·         Arlene Malinowski: “A Little Bit not Normal”
·         Janki Mody: “Hear Me, See Me”
·         Anne Purky: “The Fixer (Notes from a Helicopter Mom on Steroids)”

·         Victoria Reeves: “Brassy + Intrepid”
·         R.C. Riley: “Take It Easy on the Left Hand, Please”
·         Shannon Wright: “LOVE, SHANNON XO”

Plus the work of the following storytelling collectives:
·         80 Minutes Around the World: Immigration Stories ( – Curated and produced by Nestor Gomez. Celebrated storyteller and 20-time Moth Slam winner Nestor Gomez has assembled a group of local performers to help illuminate the voices of immigrants in our city.
·         Back Room Stories ( The Back Room is a curated show that features voices from across the spectrum of storytelling.  Margaret Burk co-produces and co-hosts three monthly storytelling events in Oak Park/River Forest: Back Room Stories at Hamburger Mary’s, Illinois Storytelling’s series at Dominican University, and Do Not Submit Oak Park at the Eastgate Cafe.
·         GeNarrations ( A personal narrative performance workshop hosted at the Goodman Theatre and in senior centers around Chicago.
·         Is This a Thing? ( Produced by Jake Cowan, Damian Raszewski, and Suzy Kahn Weinberg. Is this a thing? is a storytelling show that features new and experienced writers and tellers of true personal tales in a welcoming and nurturing space and place. Since 2014, our theme-inspired monthly show happens in the warm embrace of a Northside neighborhood pub, O’Shaughnessy’s at Ravenswood and Wilson on the second Monday of the month, February-July and September-December.  The stories all benefit from a super helpful and supportive workshop for the performers and producers to listen to each other and share ideas. Is this a thing? Yes. Yes it is.
·         the kates ( An all-female comedy showcase that provides an intimate night of comedy dedicated to showcasing talented and hilarious female-identified performers by creating inclusive and positive environments. Artists are encouraged to express their comic point of view in unique and non-apologetic ways - proving that women are equal in the eyes of comedy.
·         The Lifeline Storytelling Project ( The Lifeline Storytelling Project produces live music & storytelling events designed to develop and showcase artists affiliated with Lifeline Theatre.
·         Loose Chicks ( Before #MeToo began empowering women, there was Loose Chicks. Loose Chicks is a collection of courageous women who share experiences that most women keep to themselves. Each show features six exceptional writers and performers who allow themselves to be vulnerable as they share with uncommon honesty.
·         Serving the Sentence ( Serving the Sentence is a live lit show in which different storytellers take the same first sentence -- each in their own direction. At the end of the show, a new sentence is drawn that the next show's storytellers will embark from!
·         Stir-Friday Night! ( A 23-year-old Asian-American comedy group, based in Chicago and performing at Second City, iO, Annoyance, Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, and at festivals all over the country. Stir-Friday Night! alumni include Danny Pudi from Community, and Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead. Stir-Friday Night! is a nonprofit theater company, specializing in sketch comedy and improvisation, and offers touring shows and workshops for schools, companies, and organizations        .  
·         The Stoop ( The Stoop is hosted by Moth GrandSLAM champion Lily Be. Featured storytellers are given a theme and each share a short story related to that theme. The Stoop is a platform to bring Chicagoans to a better understanding of each other and to inspire change. Performing regularly at Rosa's Lounge in Humboldt Park, it is as much about community and survival as it is about entertainment.
·         Story Sessions ( Produced and hosted by Jill Howe. Story Sessions is a monthly show in Edgewater featuring a collection of curated performers and open mics sharing true personal stories that will tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone and take your mind on a wild adventure. First Fridays at Sauce and Bread Kitchen also feature delicious fresh pizza and BYO. The show is an hour long without intermission, so there is plenty of time to hang out with fellow story lovers. The show is free and always will be.
·         Sweat Girls ( With 26 years of shared history, the Sweat Girls represent the greying edge of Chicago's Live Lit community.  Known for their "contagious gusto" the Sweat Girls have been called "the undisputed tribal elders" of the solo performance scene (Chicago Reader, 2014).
·         Tellin’ Tales Theatre, featuring Tekki Lomnicki ( Tellin' Tales Theatre shatters the barriers between the disabled and non-disabled worlds through personal story — adult solo performances as well as "Six Stories Up,” a mentoring program and show featuring kids and adults, with and without disabilities. Tekki Lomnicki is a solo performer, playwright, director and educator. 
·         Universal Sound ( Hosted by Vincent Greco. Universal Sound is a storytelling event that is part curated and part open mic, designed for people to tell their stories their way.  It is sponsored by Voice Power Chicago on the ·         We Met at Nine ( Hosted and Produced by Lindsay Eanet and Lindsey Schroeder. We Met at Nine is a quarterly storytelling show at Chicago’s Laugh Out Loud Theater involving true stories told by pairs. Each show features five pairs (partners, parent and child, coworkers, siblings, best friends, exes).  Stories might be about a first date, an ill-fated road trip, a science fair experiment gone awry—whatever memory speaks to both parties. The name of the show comes from the Lerner & Loewe song “I Remember It Well,” where an old married couple go back and forth, each recalling their first date very differently.


WEEK ONE (January 10-12):

Friday, January 10
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
7:00 p.m.    Lifeline Storytelling Project                     7:00 p.m.    Universal Sound
8:30 p.m.    80 Minutes Around The World                8:30 p.m.    Is This A Thing?

Saturday, January 11
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
4:00 p.m.    GeNarrations                                        4:00 p.m.    Janki Mody
5:30 p.m.    Tellin’ Tales Theatre/Tekki Lomnicki       5:30 p.m.    Serving the Sentence
7:00 p.m.    Story Sessions                                      7:00 p.m.    the kates
8:30 p.m.    Sweat Girls                                           8:30 p.m.    Stir-Friday Night!

Sunday, January 12
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
4:00 p.m.    Arlene Malinowski                                 4:00 p.m.    Back Room Stories
5:30 p.m.    Anne Purky                                           5:30 p.m.    Loose Chicks
WEEK TWO (January 17-19):

Friday, January 17
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
7:00 p.m.    Lifeline Storytelling Project                     7:00 p.m.    the kates
8:30 p.m.    80 Minutes Around The World                8:30 p.m.    Victoria Reeves

Saturday, January 18
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
4:00 p.m.    GeNarrations                                        4:00 p.m.    Kristina Lebedeva
5:30 p.m.    Tellin’ Tales Theatre/Tekki Lomnicki       5:30 p.m.    Serving the Sentence
7:00 p.m.    Sweat Girls                                           7:00 p.m.    Loose Chicks
8:30 p.m.    Shannon Wright                                    8:30 p.m.    Universal Sound

Sunday, January 19
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
4:00 p.m.    Shelby Marie Edwards                           4:00 p.m.    The Stoop
5:30 p.m.    R.C. Riley                                             5:30 p.m.    We Met at Nine 
WEEK THREE (January 24-26):

Friday, January 24
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
7:00 p.m.    Shelby Marie Edwards                           7:00 p.m.    Is This a Thing?
8:30 p.m.    80 Minutes Around the World                 8:30 p.m.    Lifeline Storytelling Project                    
Saturday, January 25
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
4:00 p.m.    Jamie Black                                          4:00 p.m.    Janki Mody
5:30 p.m.    Tellin’ Tales Theatre/Tekki Lomnicki       5:30 p.m.    The Stoop
7:00 p.m.    Sweat Girls                                           7:00 p.m.    Back Room Stories
8:30 p.m.    R.C. Riley                                             8:30 p.m.    Stir-Friday Night!

Sunday, January 26
Lifeline Theatre                                                     The Teal Room
4:00 p.m.    GeNarrations                                        4:00 p.m.    Victoria Reeves
5:30 p.m.    Shannon Wright                                    5:30 p.m.    Kristina Lebedeva

Lifeline Theatre presents the 2020 Fillet of Solo festival will perform January 10-26, 2020, in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood at Lifeline Theatre (6912 N. Glenwood Ave.) and The Teal Room (6956 N. Glenwood Ave. – new location this year). Free parking and shuttle available. Performance times are Fridays at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at both venues; Saturdays at 4, 5:30, 7, and 8:30 p.m. at both venues; and Sundays at 4 and 5:30 p.m. at both venues. Ticket prices are $10 for regular single tickets, and $60 for a Festival Pass (allows admission to any performance). Tickets may be purchased at the Lifeline Box Office, 773.761.4477, or by visiting

Now in its 37th season, Lifeline Theatre is driven by a passion for story. Our ensemble process supports writers in the development of literary adaptations and new work, and our theatrical and educational programs foster a lifelong engagement with literature and the arts. A cultural anchor of Rogers Park, we are committed to deepening our connection to an ever-growing family of artists and audiences, both near and far. Lifeline Theatre – Big Stories, Up Close.

Lifeline Theatre’s programs are partially supported by Alphawood Foundation; A.R.T League Inc.; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Chicago CityArts, a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; The Common Cup; Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; FGMK LLC; Flex Print, Inc.; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency;  MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Polk Bros. Foundation; Rogers Park Social; S&C Electric Company Fund; The Shubert Foundation; and the annual support of businesses and individuals.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Join over 400 queens of comedy from all around the world for one of the biggest funny festivals in the country, now with their first ever all-Spanish speaking set, August 22-25

Chicago knows funny, and we're ready to launch some laughs again, with four days of fem fun. This year, for the first time ever, the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival will also feature an all-Spanish speaking slot showcasing a stand up show, a sketch group, and two improv groups! 

Check it out. The 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival is taking place August 22 through August 25 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival is the largest celebration of women in comedy in the country and offers talented, and funny individuals the opportunity to learn, teach, and empower each other and audiences who all love to laugh. Featuring a spectrum of comedic genius ranging from ‘relatable stand up’ to ‘highbrow musical improv’, the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival has something for everyone. 

Blending long term veterans with fresh newcomers, the fest packs over 80 shows into four funny-filled days, making it easier than ever to discover new groups to love. 

The full schedule and searchable calendar for the 8th Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival can be viewed at  

“Chicago is home to one of the biggest comedy scenes in the world, and with that comes an immeasurable number of very funny and highly talented women who are constantly re-defining the industry and setting the stage for what it means to be a comedian,” said Valentine. “We are honored to have the opportunity to unite these women and deliver a festival that is full of fun laughs, inclusion, and empowerment.”

Featuring an array of veteran talent and newcomers, highlights for the 2019 festival include stand up acts like longtime favorite, Patti Vasquez, whose solo show will take audiences on a journey of awkward dates, embarrassing moments and other funny stories of personal humiliation that will make you think “Wow, I guess my life isn’t so bad after all”, Dina Nina Martinez, who the Late Late Show’s James Corden hails as “…very funny”, longtime couple and dynamic comedy duo Anna Vocino and Loren Tarquinio of Married AF with their special part stand up, party storytelling, part improv set, and ventriloquist Hannah Leskosky with her magical mouth moving and substance abusing puppet unicorn, Marzipan Lavender Sparkles.

The brand new all-Spanish speaking set of shows will feature standup comedian, Eliana La Casa, an Argentinian comedian living in Chicago who blends personal stories and opinions into laugh out loud relatable moments, La Carne Asada #2: The Seasoning, a hilarious sketch show re-living all that a Latinx family dinner has to offer, Las Tinas Improv, creating a one night only audience based telenovela, and Ratas De Dos Patas, who will translate suggestions into Spanish to create hilarious streetwise teaching moments for the audience.

Other lineup highlights include the marvelous talent of improv group Bosses in Bonnetts with their “Black Girl Magic” Sketch Revue offering lots of laughs and real thoughts on the black female experience, the Chicago Reader’s 2016 Best Improv Troupe, Hitch* Cocktails, with their Alfred Hitchcock style improv fueled by audience suggestions, and the Super Tasty variety show featuring frank and funny talks about sex, performances, demos and more.

Chicago Women’s Funny Festival was founded in 2012 when producers Jill Valentine and Liz McArthur wanted to build a comedy festival where women could come together and celebrate all art forms of comedy under one roof. The first festival boasted 66 shows and 400 performers in five days. Women’s Fest also hosted events throughout the week where women from across the country could network with each other and more importantly, celebrate one another’s work. The response from comedians and audience members was overwhelmingly positive – which is why the festival is coming back for an eighth year.

Jill Valentine is a Chicago Southside native who has been the Executive Director of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival (the largest of its kind in the nation) since the festival’s inception in 2000. She is also Stage 773’s Executive Director and a founding principal of the building. Jill performs in several popular and critically acclaimed groups in Chicago, including The Cupid Players, Off Off Broadzway and Feminine Gentleman who have performed all over the country.

Liz McArthur hails from St. Louis and has worked with the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival since 2005. McArthur can be seen with groups such as Off Off Broadzway, OneTwoThree Comedy, and Feminine Gentlemen. McArthur is also part of the hit zombie comedy Musical of the Living Dead.

All performances will take place at Chicago’s home for the city’s most innovative, creative and passionate off-Loop performing artists, Stage 773, located at 1225 W. Belmont. Stage 773 is a non-profit Chicago company that produces produces Bye Bye Liver, The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival, The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, education and program opportunities, as well as offering subsidized theater rental space to the hundreds of Chicago’s itinerant off-Loop companies and performers.

Tickets for the 8th Annual Women’s Funny Festival are $15 each. Nightly and festival passes are also available ranging from $36 to $150. Tickets and information are available online at, by phone 773.327.5252, and in person at the Stage 773 box office, located at 1225 W Belmont.

About Stage 773
Stage 773 is a vibrant anchor of the Belmont Theatre District and home to Chicago’s finest off-Loop talent. As a performance and tenant venue, our four stages provide entertainment for everyone: comedy, theatre, dance, musicals and more. We are a not-for-profit, connecting and catalyzing the theater community, while showcasing established artists and incubating up-and-coming talent.

Friday, June 14, 2019

FREE With RSVP: Victory Gardens Theater Announces Lineup for IGNITION Festival of New Plays August 2 - 4, 2019

Fest Alert:
Victory Gardens Theater Announces
Lineup for IGNITION Festival of New Plays
2019 Festival runs August 2 - 4, 2019

Victory Gardens Theater Artistic Director Chay Yew, Executive Director Erica Daniels and Director of New Play Development Skyler Gray announce the lineup for the 2019 IGNITION Festival of New Plays, including The Tasters by Meghan Brown; The Gradient by Steph Del Rosso; [hieroglyph] by Erika Dickerson-Despenza; #NEWSLAVES by Keelay Gipson; Reckoning: Furies from a New Queer Nation by Geraldine Inoa; and They Could Give No Name by Exal Iraheta. The 2019 Festival runs August 2 -4, 2019 at Victory Gardens Theater, located at 2433 N Lincoln Avenue.

All readings are free and open to the public, though a reservation is strongly encouraged. For more information or to RSVP, visit or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.

IGNITION’s six selected plays will be presented in a festival of readings and will be directed by leading artists from Chicago, including Lili-Anne Brown, Mikael Burke, Monty Cole, Elly Green, Devon de Mayo, and Chay Yew.

"I'm excited to introduce a brave new generation of American playwrights for our eleventh edition of Victory Gardens' IGNITION Festival of New Plays. Since its inception in 2008, we have given world premiere productions to some of our country's most innovative voices from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Lauren Yee to Jackie Sibblies Drury and Kristoffer Diaz. We're thrilled to have shared these plays with Chicagoans and the world," says Artistic Director Chay Yew. "This year, we give a home to emerging playwrights who shine light on our diverse humanity, whose powerful plays create meaningful dialogue towards a more unified and equitable world."

"This year's Ignition Festival includes six of the most exciting new voices writing today. Each piece is exploring our complicated world and the people in it with a rich complexity and vibrant urgency that demands these stories be told,” says Director of New Play Development Skyler Gray. “I could not be more excited to introduce Chicago to these powerhouse writers who are paving a new road in the American Theater."

The 2019 Lineup Includes:

Friday, August 2 at 7:30pm
By Keelay Gipson
Directed by Mikael Burke

This Is the Story of Football and Football is the Story of America. A Sports Fantasia on the Commodification of the Black Body in America - Using the NFL Draft as a jumping off point, the show follows three black men as they attempt to free themselves from the history of a nation pitted against itself.

About Keelay Gipson

Keelay Gipson is an Activist, Professor, and award-winning Playwright whose plays include imagine sisyphus happy (Finalist; Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference; P73 Summer Residency at Yale University),  #NEWSLAVES (Finalist; Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils Playwright Conference), CRH, or the placenta play (Semi- Finalist; The O’Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Conference, AADA Main Stage Live!), Nigger/Faggot (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), The Lost, Or How to Just Be, What I Tell You in the Dark (Premiere Stages Finalist), and Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of friederich schiller's classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival, partnership with Wendy’s Subway and Lambda Literary). He is the recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Founders’ Award, the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, as well as writing fellowships with Lambda Literary, The Amoralists, Page 73, Dramatist Guild Foundation and Playwrights’ Realm. He has held residencies with the MacDowell Colony, New York Stage and Film, the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of New York, and the Administration of Children’s Services of the City of New York. His work has been seen/developed at the Wild Project, Poetic Theater Productions, HERE Arts Center, The Theater at Alvin Ailey, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, Pace University, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, The University of Houston, The National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. Represented by Abrams Artists Agency.

Saturday, August 3 at 11am
They Could Give No Name
By Exal Iraheta
Directed by Chay Yew

Somewhere in the southern end of Arizona, medical examiner Nellie Ramirez descends into near-madness when her fiancé, a border patrol agent, accidentally kills a young immigrant girl. In order to save her future family, Nellie must make a decision that threatens to tear her life apart. Little does she know that soon the desert will come to collect what is due to it. This macabre, magical play takes an unsettling look at the complexities of identity, cruelty of immigration, and the power behind a name.

About Exal Iraheta

Exal Iraheta is a Salvadorian American playwright & screenwriter, born in Houston, TX who is now based in Chicago, IL. Sometimes humorous and often uncomfortable, his writing explores the intersections of Latinx realities, innocence, queerness, violence, and sex. Exal earned an MFA from Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program in 2019, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film & Video Production in 2009. He has worked with several Chicago-based organizations as videographer and editor, media advisor, and film/video equipment instructor. Recently, his short play Open Venas received a production as part of Theater Master's 2019 Take Ten Festival NYC. And his full-length play Rules of a Closed Door was a semi-finalist for 2019 Activate: Midwest New Play Fest, with an excerpt reading at The Goodman Theater the previous year. Exal is a 2018 Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, 2018 Fornés Playwriting Workshop participant, and 2019 Theater Masters Playwright.

Saturday, August 3 at 2pm
Reckoning: Furies from a New Queer Nation
By Geraldine Inoa
Directed by Monty Cole

2015: a year when the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on marriage equality coincided with a record number of trans women being murdered. Reckoning: Furies from a New Queer Nation examines the most pressing issues affecting Queer America today: gay white male privilege and the systemic oppression of trans women. Because when a Supreme Court ruling like marriage equality passes, we must ask: what did we accomplish and who did we leave behind?

About Geraldine Inoa

Geraldine Inoa is a writer for theater and television. She is a story editor for AMC's “The Walking Dead.” Her play Scraps had its world premiere production at the Flea Theater in New York during the 2018/19 season, marking her professional debut. Scraps is making its West Coast premiere at The Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles during summer 2019. As a playwright, she is an alumnus of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group and the inaugural recipient of The Shonda Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwriting Commission. She is a L. Arnold Weissberg New Play Award finalist, a P73 Playwriting Fellowship finalist, and a twice-named Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semifinalist. Her work has been developed at the Atlantic Theater Company and the Labyrinth Theater Company. She holds a B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She resides in Los Angeles with her dog Alfred.

Saturday, August 3 at 7:30pm
The Tasters
By Meghan Brown
Directed by Devon de Mayo

With government leaders getting poisoned left and right, the Tasters have an important job — eating delicious, gourmet meals, and then waiting to see if they die. When rebellious Taster Elyse goes on hunger strike, she kicks off a series of events that will change the course of history… while putting all of the Tasters’ lives in jeopardy. In her sharp, energetic new play, Meghan Brown (The Pliant Girls) explores the nuances of political resistance, self-interest, and individual action creating hope in the face of hopelessness.

About Meghan Brown

Meghan is an Ovation Award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and lyricist based in Los Angeles. Current projects include These Girls Have Demons (Pittsburgh CLO SPARK Festival), Cowboy Elektra (with Rogue Artists Ensemble), The Tasters (Portland Center Stage’s JAW Festival), What Happened While Hero Was Dead (Moving Arts’ MADlab Development Lab), and the film adaptation of her play, The Kill-or-Dies. Meghan wrote the lyrics for the song cycle Untuned Ears Hear Nothing but Discord, which premiered at Lincoln Center as part of In Need of Music: The Songs of Ben Toth with Tony Award-winner Lindsay Mendez as Emma Goldman. Full-length plays include The Pliant Girls (winner of the 2014 Ovation Award for Playwriting for an Original Play), The Kill-or-Dies (Max K. Lerner Fellowship winner, Princess Grace Award semifinalist), Psyche (Princess Grace Award finalist), The Fire Room (Hollywood Fringe Festival Award winner), The Gypsy Machine, This Is Happening Now, Perfect Teeth for Crocodile Land, and Shine Darkly, Illyria. She wrote the libretto for Operaworks’ social just opera The Discord Altar, and the book and lyrics for a new musical version of Jane Austen’s Emma with composer Sarah Taylor Ellis. Emma has been workshopped in London, Washington D.C., Brooklyn, Orlando, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Sunday, August 4 at 11am
By Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Involuntarily displaced in Chicago two months post-Katrina, 13-year-old Davis wrestles with the cultural landscape of a new city and school community while secretly coping with the PTSD of an assault at the Superdome. With her mother still in New Orleans committed to the fight for Black land ownership and her father committed to starting a new life in the Midwest, divorce threatens to further separate a family already torn apart. Will Davis be left hanging in the balance? [hieroglyph] traverses the intersection of environmental racism, sexual violence, and displacement, examining the psychological effects of a state-sanctioned man-made disaster on the most vulnerable members of the Katrina diaspora.

About Erika Dickerson-Despenza

Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk feminist poet-playwright, futurist, educator and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a 2019 New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence, a 2019 New Harmony Project Writer-in-Residence, a 2018-2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, The Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellow and a 2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist. Erika is a 2019-2020 member of Ars Nova Play Group and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie-winning Youngblood collective. Current plays in development include: Ocean’s Lip/ Heavn's Shore, Took/Tied; Hung/Split, Shadow/Land and Cullud Wattah (Public Theater, 2020). In addition to this water tetralogy, Erika is developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, including [hieroglyph], focused on the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its state-sanctioned man-made disaster.

Sunday, August 4 at 3pm
The Gradient
By Steph Del Rosso
Directed by Elly Green

Tess just landed her dream job at sleek tech start-up The Gradient: a center where men accused of sexual misconduct are sent to be rehabilitated. The clients go in with a lifetime of toxic male conditioning and emerge as new people, sensitized and redeemed. It sounds too good to be true, and maybe it is. The Gradient asks what it means to say I'm sorry and whether it's possible for people to truly change.

About Steph Del Rosso

Steph Del Rosso is a playwright, film and television writer, and educator. Her play 53% Of is the winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and will receive its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in March 2020. Her play Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill premiered at The Flea Theater and is published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. Her work has been developed or produced by Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, JACK, New York Stage and Film, The Lark, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Colt Coeur, SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Kennedy Center, and others. She is a Theater Masters Visionary Playwright and is currently commissioned by Studio Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse. BA, Northwestern University. MFA, UC-San Diego.

The IGNITION Festival of New Plays receives major support from the Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Southwest Airlines - Victory Garden Theater’s official travel sponsor, and Suite Home Chicago-Victory Gardens Theater’s housing sponsor for the 2019 IGNITION Festival.

Performances are at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Admission to all festival readings and events is free, though an RSVP is strongly encouraged. For more information or to RSVP, visit or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Executive Director Erica Daniels, 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 that 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.

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.

Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis Alfaro, Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho, and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater.

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

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The REAM Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wallace Foundation. Additional major funding comes from Crown Family Philanthropies, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Polk Bros. Foundation.

Major funders also include: Allstate, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, The Harvey L. Miller Supporting Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Additional funding this season Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation Inc., Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Capital Group Private Client Services, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, ComEd, Conagra Brands Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Foods, Goldman Sachs, John R. Halligan Foundation, Illinois Humanities Council (with support from the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety + Justice Challenge), ITW, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Negaunee Foundation, Roberta Olshansky Charitable Fund, Origin Ventures, Pauls Foundation, PNC Financial Services Group, Poetry Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, Service Club of Chicago, Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Foundation.

In-kind support is provided by: Italian Village Restaurants, Southwest Airlines, Roy’s Furniture, Suite Home Chicago, Taco Joint, and Whole Foods Market.

Capital improvement support from the Performing Arts Venue Fund at the League of Chicago Theaters, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Capacity Building support by Compass-Chicago.

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