Showing posts with label last call. Show all posts
Showing posts with label last call. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LAST CALL: Shattered Globe Theatre's Acclaimed Production THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK Must Close 10/21

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Chicago Premiere!
Shattered Globe Theatre Launches 2017-18 Season with 
By James Still
Directed by SGT Ensemble Member Louis Contey
Through October 21, 2017 at Theater Wit

(center) Lawrence Grimm and the cast of Shattered Globe Theatre’s Chicago premiere of THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK by James Still, directed by Louis Contey. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Featuring Lawrence Grimm as Abraham Lincoln 
and SGT Ensemble Member Linda Reiter as Mary Todd Lincoln

Shattered Globe Theatre is pleased to launch its 2017-18 Season with the Chicago premiere of Pulitzer Prize nominee James Still’s fevered, emotional epic THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK, a theatrical rendering of Abraham Lincoln's struggle as a man of conscience to lead a divided country, directed by SGT Ensemble Member Louis Contey*. THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK will play September 7 – October 21, 2017 at SGT’s resident home Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office.

THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK will feature Lawrence Grimm and SGT Ensemble member Linda Reiter* as Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, respectively. The cast also includes SGT Ensemble Members Kelsey Colleen Melvin*, Drew Schad*, Brad Woodard* and SGT Artistic Associate Darren Jones+, with Don Bender, Zach Bloomfield, Jennifer Cheung, Kate Harris, Tim Kough, Tim Newell, Leo Sharkey and Gus Zaruba.

Presented for the first time in the “Land of Lincoln,” THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK is Pulitzer Prize nominee James Still’s personal interpretation of the fevered, emotional months between the death of Abraham Lincoln’s young son and the signing of The Emancipation Proclamation. Cannon fire from across the Potomac echoes in the halls of the White House as dreams of Lincoln’s famous adversaries and unnamed soldiers walk through his waking life. His imperfections and humanity are both revealed in this moving theatrical epic which explores the conscience of the man who led America in a war that we’re still fighting today.

“The Heavens are Hung in Black portrays a transformational moment in Abraham Lincoln’s life and worldview,” comments Director Louis Contey. “In 1862, after nearly a year of bloody civil war, Lincoln must find a way of elevating the purpose of the conflict and save the Union. It is said that the office of President changes the individual who occupies it. With his conscience gnawing at him Lincoln begins to evolve as he considers the virtues and controversy of emancipation. The play, for me, embodies the essence of moral leadership and the idea of doing the right thing for the right reason, or as Lincoln himself states, listening ‘to the better angels of our nature’.”

THE HEAVENS ARE HUNG IN BLACK was commissioned by and premiered at Ford’s Theatre in 2009, where Lincoln was famously shot.

The production team includes Angela Weber Miller (scenic design), Madison Briedé and Hailey Rakowiecki (co-costume design), Michael Stanfill (lighting and projection design), Christopher Kriz+ (sound design), Vivian Knouse* (props design), Judy Anderson* (executive production manager), Jason Shivers (stage manager) and Ayanna Wimberly (assistant stage manager).

Regular Run: Thursday, September 14 – Saturday, October 21, 2017 
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added matinee on Saturday, October 21 at 3 pm.

Global Perspectives: SGT will be hosting post-show discussions immediately following 3 pm performances on Sundays, September 17 -October 15.

Tickets: Previews: $20 general admission, $10 students, $10 industry tickets with code “FRIEND”. Regular Run: $35 general admission. Discounts: $15 students, $28 seniors, $20 under 30. $15 industry tickets on Thursdays with code “INDUSTRY.” Tickets are currently available at, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150. Group discounts are currently available by contacting or by calling (773) 770-0333. 

* Denotes SGT Ensemble Member
+ Denotes SGT Artistic Associate

About the Artists:
James Still’s (Playwright) award-winning plays have been produced at theatres throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, China and Australia. He is the playwright-in-residence at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, artistic affiliate with American Blues in Chicago, a winner of the William Inge Festival’s Otis Guernsey New Voices in American Theatre Award, the Medallion for Sustained Achievement from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America and the Charlotte B. Chorpenning Playwright Award for Distinguished Body of Work. He is an elected member of the National Theatre Conference and a member in the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Three of Still’s plays have received the Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. His work has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. His plays have been developed and workshopped at the Sundance Playwrights Lab, the New Harmony Project, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the Lark Play Development Center, Telluride Playwrights Festival, the Bonderman Playwriting for Youth National Competition & Symposium and New Visions/New Voices at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Still’s plays featured by Dramatic Publishing include The Heavens  are Hung in Black, The Velvet Rut, Iron Kisses, Searching for Eden: the diaries of adam and eve, A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters, Looking Over the President’s Shoulder, He Held Me Grand, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, A Village Fable, Hush: An Interview With America, The Gentleman From Indiana and The Velocity of Gary. His new plays include I Love to Eat, The House that Jack Built and Illegal Use of Hands. In addition to his work in theatre, Still also works in television and film.He has been nominated for five Emmy awards and an award from the Television Critics Association. He was also twice a finalist for the Humanitas Prize. Still was a producer and head writer for the Discovery Kids series Paz, head writer of the television series Frog & Friends for Amsterdam-based Telescreen and writer for the children’s film Miffy. For Nickelodeon, he was a writer and story editor for Maurice Sendak’s long-running Little Bear and the Bill Cosby series Little Bill. He wrote The Little Bear Movie and the feature film, The Velocity of Gary. Still grew up in a small town in Kansas, graduated from the University of Kansas and lives on the West Coast.

Louis Contey (Director) recently rejoined the ranks of Shattered Globe Theatre as an ensemble member. The Heavens are Hung in Black marks his 22nd collaboration with SGT, where he has also directed The Tall Girls, In the Heat of the Night, A View From The Bridge, The Manchurian Candidate, A Streetcar Named Desire, All My Sons, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, Peter Pan, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Warhawks and Lindberghs, Holy Ghosts, Judgment at Nuremberg, Requiem for a Heavyweight, The Whaleship Essex, Meet John Doe, The Lower Depths, Escape From Happiness, Real Classy Affair, Rocket to the Moon, Anna Karenina and Brilliant Traces. He has directed over 75 plays, among them The Master & Margarita, Marriage Play, The Diviners, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Hamlet. He is an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre, where he directed Frost/Nixon, Awake And Sing!, The General from America, Lillian, Copenhagen, It’s All True, Pravda, Paradise Lost, A House With No Walls, The Apple Family Plays and The Price. He has also worked at The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Provision Theatre, Eclipse Theatre and American Theater Company. He is a twelve-time Jeff nominee and has received seven Jeff Citations, as well as an After Dark Award. He teaches part-time at The Theatre School/DePaul University where he received his MFA in Directing. 

Shattered Globe Theatre (Sandy Shinner, Producing Artistic Director; Doug McDade, Managing Director) was born in a storefront space on Halsted Street in 1991. Since then, SGT has produced more than 60 plays, including nine American and world premieres, and garnered an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 106 Jeff Award nominations, as well as the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. Shattered Globe is an ensemble driven theater whose mission is to create an intimate, visceral theater experience that challenges the perspective of audience and artist alike through passionate storytelling. Shattered Globe is inspired by the diversity of our city and committed to making the theater available to all audiences.   Through initiatives such as the Protégé Program, Shattered Globe creates a space which allows emerging artists to grow and share in the ensemble experience.

Shattered Globe Theatre is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The Shulman-Rochambeau Charitable Foundation, The James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, The Field Foundation of Illinois, The Shubert Foundation, The Blum-Kovler Family Foundation, and The Robert J. & Loretta W. Cooney Family Foundation.

For more information on Shattered Globe Theatre, please visit

Saturday, September 23, 2017

LAST CALL: MERCY KILLERS and SIDE EFFECTS at Greenhouse Theater Center Through 10/8

Check out Two Timely "Pay What You Want" one-act plays steeped in America’s controversial relationship with healthcare. Written and performed by Michael Milligan.

Greenhouse Theater Center and Poor Box Theater, in association
with Taffety Punk Theatre Company, present

Written and Performed by Michael Milligan
Directed by Tom Oppenheim
Through October 8, 2017 

MercyKillers (pictured) Actor and playwright Michael Milligan in MERCY KILLERS. Photo by Daylon Walton.

Side Effects-1 (pictured) Actor and playwright Michael Milligan in SIDE EFFECTS. Photo by Teresa Castracane.

Greenhouse Theater Center and Poor Box Theater, in association with D.C’s award winning Taffety Punk Theatre Company, are pleased to present THE AMERICAN MERCY TOUR: MERCY KILLERS and SIDE EFFECTS, two one-act plays steeped in America’s controversial relationship with healthcare. Written and performed by Michael Milligan and directed by Tom Oppenheim, these moving and unapologetic pieces will be presented as a single theatrical event, immersing the audience in the stories of patients and physicians, coming out of the waiting room and into the fray. 

MERCY KILLERS and SIDE EFFECTS will play September 7 – October 8, 2017 at The Greenhouse Theater Center (Upstairs Studio), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets (pay-what-you-want) are currently available at, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.  

In MERCY KILLERS, Joe, a blue-collar red state auto mechanic faced with his wife’s failing health, must grapple with the stark divide between his values and his reality. Pushed to the breaking point by debt, disease and a busted system, Joe must decide what compromises he will make to keep his wife alive. MERCY KILLERS is all at once a tender love story and an unblinking look at those the system leaves behind.

Flipping to the other side of the stethoscope, SIDE EFFECTS follows William, a family practice physician on the brink of burnout. Caught between his ambition to become the healer his father once exemplified and the corporatization of his chosen profession, William must reconcile the art and business of medicine, or be forced to lose his practice. In this Chicago premiere, we see the human side of those who heal us, throwing light onto the turmoil that remain out of sight from the examination table.

“Michael Milligan is one of those rare theatre artists who can combine his craft, intellect and activism in a perfect storm of unapologetically political performance,” comments Greenhouse Theater Center Artistic Director Jacob Harvey. “These pieces and the issues they explore are increasingly important in our political moment, but what truly sets them apart is their unwillingness to simplify. Milligan’s pieces are bi-partisan and in their splendid, terrifying honesty put faces to the statistics and figures we so easily grow numb to.”

History of “The American Mercy Tour”
“I wrote Mercy Killers in response to a number of personal encounters with the healthcare system,” comments Michael Milligan. “A good friend of mine showed up at the Folger Theatre stage door after a show, carrying a small duffle bag, in which he had all of his belongings. He’d been living on the streets for a couple years. I invited him back to my place, where I discovered he also had a number of medical problems, a slipped disk in his neck from a fall and a golf ball size lump on his arm. I took it on myself to try to get him in to see someone. The difficulty of that blew my mind. It was overwhelming. If I lived in any number of other nations, I could have made an appointment and walked my friend to a doctor’s office, and the first question would not have been ‘what insurance do you have.’” 

“The situation for many healthcare workers is also desperate.” Milligan says, “there’s even diagnostic terminology now for it, it’s called ‘moral distress.’ It’s crippling doctors and nurses; many of them are burning out and leaving the profession. The medical literature says that ‘moral distress occurs when one knows the ethically correct action to take but feels powerless to take that action.’ The healthcare system becomes more bureaucratized and corporatized every year, medical decisions are increasingly influenced by claims analysts, hospital administrators, and entitlement bureaucrats, Side Effects is a meditation on the conflicts of interest that arise as a result.” 

The impulse to create Side Effects was similarly visceral. When Milligan was on the road performing Mercy Killers, he started interviewing doctors and nurses in each community. Side Effects has already been well received by the medical community, including a special presentation by the Mayo Clinic. 

"Michael Milligan has captured the sum total of pressures that confront today's physicians in Side Effects. A realistic, engaging and very dramatic portrayal of the life of an average doctor trying to meet the demands of a busy practice as he nearly succumbs to a breakdown and considers leaving the profession he loves so much. Anyone involved in medicine, from the caregivers to the patients we serve, would benefit from seeing this performance." –Robert E McAfee MD, Former President, American Medical Association.

About the Artists
Michael Milligan (Playwright/Actor) Broadway: August: Osage County, La Bete, Jerusalem. Off Broadway: Thom Pain, Mercy Killers. The Golem. Chicago: Iago in Othello and Tug of War: Civil Strife at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Mercy Killers at American Theater Company. Michael will appear in the Goodman’s upcoming world premiere, Blind Date. Michael has performed Shakespeare hither and yon with groups like the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Shakespeare Theater in DC. Alabama, Utah, Colorado, New Jersey, Milwaukee, and Illinois Shakespeare festivals, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and Shakespeare and Company. Regionally, Michael has played at the Guthrie, Westport Playhouse, The McCarter Theater, St. Louis Rep, Cincinatti Playhouse and more. Michael received the 2013 Fringe First award in Edinburgh for Mercy Killers which he has performed 100s of times around the country. Michael’s other plays include Phaeton, Heroin, Urgent: Aliens, The Sea Wolf, and a musical adaptation of Aesop’s Fables commissioned by Circle in the Square in NYC. Television credits include: Law and Order, Person of Interest, The Knick, Chicago Justice, and APB.  Michael is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division where he received the John Houseman Prize. When not acting and writing, Michael is director of PR and Marketing for his brother’s knife company, New West Knifeworks and is also the founding artistic person of the Poor Box Theater. Michael lives in Chicago.

Tom Oppenheim (Director) Directorial credits include Michael Milligan’s Mercy Killers, which won the prestigious Fringe First Award at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe; A Bright Room Called Day off-Broadway, As You Like It by William Shakespeare (with Steve Cook), Songs and Statues by Peter Nickowitz (world premiere), Our Town by Thornton Wilder, What Shall I Give My Children? by Don K. Williams (world premiere), Imagining Heschel by Colin Greer (all for the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company). As artistic director and president of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting for over 15 years, Tom has articulated a mission, engaged top faculty, structured a world-class training program and created a cultural center. He originated the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company in 2002 which has since presented over twenty production including 11 world premieres. He created MAD (the Harold Clurman Center for New works in Movement and Dance Theater) a dance theater company that has resented over 30 new works, the majority of which were commissioned world premieres, and which includes Marie Gillis, Bill T. Jones and Mikhail Baryshnikov on the advisory board. He spearheaded the creation of the Harold Clurman Art Series which has presented artists including Harold Bloom, Edward Albee, John Ashbery, Julianne More and Harold Mabern in events that are free and open to the public.  Under Oppenheim’s leadership, the Stella Adler Outreach Division, a program originally designed to educate urban youth, was created.  Since 2004, the division has provided free theater training to over 5,000 low income New York City citizens.  In addition, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting trains over 500 actors per year. Oppenheim studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory and with his grandmother, Stella Adler. Acting credits include the title role in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” as well as Michael in Buzz McLaughlin’s “Sister Calling My Name”, both with the Harold Clurman Theater Company. Tom co-edited The Muses Go To School (New Press 2012) and his writing is featured in Arthur Bartow’s Training of the American Actor (TCG, 2006).

About the Companies 
The Greenhouse Theater Center is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre.

The Greenhouse Theater began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchhill, after which came 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an 8 month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. This year, the Greenhouse announced a full subscription season, with a mix of multi-character and solo plays. With a focus on our community, the Greenhouse is also launching the Trellis playwriting residency, an initiative designed to cultivate the next generation of Chicago theatre creators and a two-tiered education program for college and high school students.

As a performance venue, our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, two high-capacity lobbies, and an in-house rehearsal room. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, and to develop and produce their work. In 2016, the Greenhouse announced a new residency program, which offers a reduced rate to local storefront companies while giving the Greenhouse a stake in the resident’s success. We house Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex. 

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

Taffety Punk Theatre Company’s mission is to establish a dynamic ensemble of actors, dancers and musicians who ignite a public passion for theatre by making the classical and the contemporary exciting, meaningful, and affordable. The company was recently nominated for Helen Hayes Awards in choreography for 2016’s productions of Phaeton and An Iliad. Past awards include the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at the 2008 Helen Hayes Awards. The company was also a 2010 finalist for the D.C. Mayor's Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts. 

      The Poor Box Theater
      An actor, an audience, and an empty space.
      Keeping overhead low, we reach high.
      Through simplicity, we delve into complexities.
      Limiting spectacle, we expand imagination.
      A light in dark corners reveals hidden treasures.
      One vulnerable heart redeems the whole world.
      The greatest revolution is empathy.

The Poor Box Theater brings “pop up” performances to theaters, arts centers, church basements, libraries, union halls, medical schools, conferences and living rooms around the country. The Poor Box Theater is committed to bringing challenging, quality theater to out of the way parts of America — Mercy Killers has toured West Virginia, Oregon, Texas, Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, California and more. From the Mayo Clinic, to bilingual performances with the Living Hope Wheelchair Association in Texas, from the floor of the House of Representatives in St. Paul, to a 16-city tour with the California Nurses Association, the Poor Box Theater sparks needed dialogue about the issues of the day.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

LAST CALL: SPAMILTON at The Royal George is Closing 10/8/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


After a Seven-Month Run in Chicago, “Spamilton” Premieres in Los Angeles November 12

Kenaz-Mara 2017

Don't miss your chance to keep a souvenir "Playkill"!
A big favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows is leaving Chicago,
so catch it while you can.

Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows we highly recommend Spamilton. This show is more of an irreverent roast of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the whole Broadway musicals genre than a parody of Hamilton in particular, though it does include brilliantly funny lyric rewrites of Hamilton tunes. Both of my teens adored it as much as I did, and we all laughed early and often throughout the show. It's fabulously funny and exceeded all our expectations.

If you're looking for something to entertain the tough to please teen demographic, Spamilton is a good bet. This is also a fun find for a date night or multigenerational entertainment. If you're searching for a show as funny to the kids as it is to the grandparents, Spamilton is nearly 90 minutes of non stop fun. They keep the sets and costumes minimalist and two of the sisters are puppets, but the over the top creative writing, fabulous vocals, and heartfelt hilarity is more than worth the admission. There's not a bad seat in the place, as the Royal George cabaret space is intimate. There's also a convenient bar, right at the back of the seating. 

This wickedly witty and wonderful production is an absolute must see for anyone familiar with Hamilton and/or Broadway musicals. Don't miss this!

 Check out our full review and more show info HERE then GO already.

The producers of “Spamilton,” the critically acclaimed parody of “Hamilton,” announced an October 8 closing date for the Chicago run at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted). Created by Tony Award honoree Gerard Alessandrini, the mastermind behind “Forbidden Broadway,” “Spamilton” officially opened in Chicago on March 12 to rave reviews, with Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times calling “Spamilton” an “altogether brilliant, hilarious, cliché-demolishing send-up of ‘Hamilton,’” Chris Jones of Chicago Tribune noting “You really don’t want to miss ‘Spamilton,’” and Barbara Vitello of the Daily Herald exclaiming the show is “deliciously silly. The laughs come fast and furious!” The all-Chicago “Broadway ready” (Chicago Sun-Times) cast includes Becca Brown, Aaron Holland, Adam LaSalle, Yando Lopez, Gabriel Mudd and David Robbins. Original cast members include Donterrio Johnson, Michelle Lauto and Eric Andrew Lewis.

The final tickets for “Spamilton” are available now. The final performance takes place Sunday, October 8 at 5 p.m. Tickets ($59 – $99) can be purchased at the Royal George Theatre’s box office online, at or by calling 312.988.9000.  

“After seven great months in Chicago here at the Royal George with our talented local cast, we feel very lucky to have been so well-received for so long,” said Alessandrini. “While it’s bittersweet to be leaving the Windy City, we’re thrilled about the next steps for ‘Spamilton,’ including continuing our open run in New York and opening the Los Angeles production in November.”

“Spamilton,” which was initially scheduled in New York as an exclusive 18-performance off-Broadway engagement, has extended three times and is now playing its seventeenth smash month of an open engagement at the 47th Street Theatre in the heart of New York’s Theatre District. The New York production earned rave reviews across-the-board, with Ben Brantley of The New York Times calling it “smart, silly and convulsively funny!” and Lin-Manuel Miranda exclaiming “I laughed my brains out!” In its Chicago premiere, the local cast received additional acclaim, with critics hailing the production “endlessly entertaining” (Performink), “A Must-See!” (, and “razor sharp and filled with wit and humor” (Chicago Theatre Review). On opening night, cast members from the Chicago production of “Hamilton” were in the audience, and following the performance Wayne Brady called the production “Amazing! It’s the perfect blend of funny and parody. Go see ‘Spamilton!’ This fall, “Spamilton” makes its West Coast debut at the Kirk Douglas Theatre with Center Theatre Group November 5 – December 31, 2017.

In addition to Alessandrini, the creative team includes Gerry McIntyre (Choreography), Dustin Cross (Costume Design), Milo Blue (Scenic Design), Andy Kloubec (Lighting Design), Matt Reich (Sound Design), Jamie Karas (Prop Design), Leah Munsey-Konops (Wig Design), Fred Barton (Musical Director), and Richard Danley and Fred Barton (Musical Arrangements).

“Spamilton” is produced in Chicago by John Freedson, David Zippel, Gerard Alessandrini, Margaret Cotter and Liberty Theatricals, in association with JAM Theatricals. Brandon Kinley and Keirsten Hodgens are the understudies for the production.

The performance schedule for “Spamilton” is as follows: Tuesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. For additional details, visit or

For more information, visit

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

LAST CALL: World Premiere of Still Dance The Stars at Chicago Dramatists Must Close Friday

New Light Theater Project and Chicago Dramatists
Present the World Premiere of Jayme McGhan’s


Written by Jayme McGhan
Directed by Sarah Norris
Closing Friday, September 15th 

Tonight we're finally catching Still Dance the Stars at Chicago Dramatists. Can't wait to ChiIL in Chi, IL at this world premiere that features a cast from across the country including 3 Elmhurst natives who now live and work in New York

New Light Theater Project and Chicago Dramatists present the World Premiere of Still Dance the Stars, a highly theatrical story based on the struggles of love in the face of unthinkable loss. Directed by the Founding Artistic Director of New Light Theater Project, Sarah Norris, and written by highly acclaimed American playwright, Jayme McGhan, this work takes on the struggles of marriage in a unique and fictitious manner that has never been seen before on stage. This play is the recipient of the renowned Chicago Dramatists’ Grafting Project, a project designed to partner with theatre companies to produce Resident Playwright’s world-premiere plays. An energy packed performance filled with both romance and comedy that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, Still Dance the Stars is on stage for a limited time engagement at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W Chicago Ave.

Still Dance the Stars tells the story of James and Anne, the viral Internet proposal sensation couple that has hit a rut in their sixth year of marriage. The night before another nationally televised interview on the proposal story, these two get into a drunkenly infused battle with a box of stuffed animals over the fate of their marriage. One of these stuffed animals, Hope the Hippo, comes to life to make it her quest to save the marriage of James and Anne and rekindle the flame of love they once shared. 

“This play takes the idea of heartache and infuses it with comedy and dance, creating a storyline for the whole audience to enjoy,” says McGhan. “This story brings to life a couple’s biggest struggles and triumphs in a unique yet relatable fashion. It is a performance you will most definitely not want to miss.”

The casting lineup for Still Dance the Stars stuns with actors and actresses nationwide including: Martel Manning (Chicago), Bethany Geraghty (New York City based actress and Chicago native), Ariana Sepúlveda (Philadelphia), Courtney Knysch (New York City based actress and Chicago native), Michael Aguirre (New York City based actor and Chicago native), Carl Jaynes (New York City based actor and Chicago native), Claudia Campbell (New York City), Dana Martin (Los Angeles), and Kaycee Jordan (Chicago).

In addition to the Director Sarah Norris, the creative team also includes Ashlee Wasmund (Choreographer), Ashley Poteat (Set and Costume Designer), John Kelly (Lighting Designer), Andy Evan Cohen (Sound Designer), Becs Bartle (Stage Manager) and Alan Weusthoff (Technical Director).

Jayme McGhan (Playwright) is the author of 20 full-length plays that have been produced across the country. He is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Associate Artist at Chicago’s Stage Left Theatre, and serves as the Director of the School of Stage and Screen at WCU. He lives in North Carolina with his wife & son.

Sarah Norris (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of New Light Theater Project. Her work has been seen both around the country (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Maine & Alaska) and around the world (Australia, England, & Ireland). She has worked with: Playwrights Horizons, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), LAByrinth Theater Company, Disney Theatrical Productions, BAMA Theatre Company, The Flea Theater, and The Gallery Players to name a few. She is a proud member of AEA and associate of SDC.

Performances for Still Dance the Stars are as follows: 
Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 6:00 p.m. There will not be a performance on Sunday, Sept 3rd. Performances are at Chicago Dramatists (1105 W Chicago Avenue). Tickets are $35.

To purchase tickets, visit

About New Light Theater Project (NLTP)
New Light Theater Project (NLTP) is an ensemble-driven theater company that strives to capture the Little Theater Movement (artistry over commerce; producing new and classic works) in the NYC indie theater community. To accomplish this, NLTP places the ensemble at the center of the process, where all members, regardless of artistic role, bear weight and voice to the stories selected to tell. NLTP devises and develops new work, brings classical texts and revivals to life, and creates a spirit of community for all theatrical collaborations. NLTP illuminates other artists and companies through a network of shared resources, such as The Darkroom Series, while cultivating theatrical partnerships around the world. For more information, visit

About Chicago Dramatists
Since 1979, Chicago Dramatists has been dedicated to the development and advancement of playwrights. Chicago Dramatists nurtures extraordinary playwrights with the space, resources, and collaborators needed to realize new work and thrive as artists. Workshops, readings, classes, and special programs, provide opportunities for beginning and established dramatists to develop their work, expand their professional affiliations, showcase their plays and collaborate with actors, directors, and audiences during the creative process. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 3, 2017

LAST CALL/ REVIEW: American Blues Theater's Beauty's Daughter

Chicago Premiere
by Dael Orlandersmith, Directed by Ron OJ Parson
Featuring Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine

 All photos feature Wandachistine and are to the credit of Michael Brosilow

The final days of American Blues Theater's acclaimed one woman show, Beauty's Daughter, are upon us. Wandachristine is nothing short of stunning as she embodies a host of diverse characters with ease. We adored this exploration of community, love and loss, families we choose and those we're born into. 

With the slight exception of a bit of confusion when one monologue jumps locations from New York to Ireland, her storylines and characters were clear and easy to follow. We particularly liked the overlap in narrative where the various personas introduced us to the others before we met them. This show is thought provoking, multilayered and magnificent and Wandachristine brings the words to life in a captivating collage of the senses.

Kudos also to the set designers and the brains behind the projections. The imagery was evocative and provided a fabulous canvas for the storyline to play out on. I've never seen projections concentrated directly on a character's clothing before and it was eerily effective.

If there's any drawback it's the sight lines in some of the upper seats. It's an intimate venue so audio is fine anywhere, but if you want an unobstructed view of the seated monologues, arrive early and aim for the lower rows. 

Beauty's Daughter is highly recommended. Don't miss this!

Beauty's Daughter Trailer from American Blues Theater on Vimeo.

Ending August 5, 2017

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
Beauty’s Daughter
American Blues Theater

American Blues Theater season with the Chicago Premiere of Beauty’s Daughter by Dael Orlandersmith, directed by Ron OJ Parson, and Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine. Beauty’s Daughter runs July 7 – August 5, 2017 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. 

Thursday:7:30 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday:7:30 p.m.
Sunday: 2:30 p.m. 

Regular Run: through August 5, 2017

Additional performances on Wednesdays, July 12, 19 & 24 at 7:30pm; Wednesday, August 2 at 2:30pm; and Saturday, August 5 at 3:00pm.  There will be no performance on Saturday, August 5 at 7:30 pm.

Location: Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago

Ticket prices: $19 - $49

Box Office: Buy online at or by calling 773.327.5252.

This Obie Award-winning play by Dael Orlandersmith depicts one woman’s journey through life’s obstacles in an East Harlem neighborhood. Artistic Affiliate Wandachristine takes on 6 different characters during the course of this solo play—some broken, some on the way down, but all memorable.

“Wandachristine’s performance is wholly engrossing as she embodies the gestures, voices, and exceptional rhythms of Ms. Orlandersmith’s world,” says Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside.

The creative team for Beauty’s Daughter includes Caitlin McLeod (scenic design), Artistic Affiliate Jared Gooding (lighting design), Michael Alan Stein (costume design), Eric Backus (sound design), Mary O’Dowd (props design), and Artistic Affiliate Paul Deziel (projection design). The assistant director is Artemis Steakley Freeman, the dramaturg is Wilson Cain and the stage manager is Cara Parrish.

About the Artists
Dael Orlandersmith is a Goodman Artistic Associate and Artist-in-Residence at the new Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement at the Goodman. Ms. Orlandersmith collaborated with the Goodman on Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men during the 2012/2013 Season and Stoop Stories during the 2009/2010 Season. Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men was developed as a co-commission between the Goodman and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it was staged in May 2012. Ms. Orlandersmith first performed Stoop Stories in 2008 at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and Apollo Theater’s Salon Series; Washington, D.C.’s Studio Theatre produced its world premiere in 2009. Her play Forever, commissioned by the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, was performed at the Mark Taper Forum in fall 2014. The show was then performed at the Long Wharf Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and Portland Center Stage in 2015. Her play Until the Fall will play the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in fall 2016. Her play Horsedreams was developed at New Dramatists and workshopped at New York Stage and Film Company in 2008, and was performed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2011. Bones was commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, where it premiered in 2010. Ms. Orlandersmith premiered The Blue Album, in collaboration with David Cale, at Long Wharf Theatre in 2007. Yellowman was commissioned by and premiered at McCarter Theatre in a co-production with the Wilma Theater and Long Wharf Theatre. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman in 2002. The Gimmick, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered in their Second Stage OnStage series in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop; Ms. Orlandersmith won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick in 1999. Her play Monster premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in November 1996. Ms. Orlandersmith has toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry) throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Yellowman and a collection of her earlier works have been published by Vintage Books and Dramatists Play Service. Ms. Orlandersmith attended Sundance Institute Theatre Lab for four summers and is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim award and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation award for a playwright in mid-career. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter.

Ron OJ Parson is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theatre program. He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of The Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago, a Resident Artist at Court Theatre and an Associate Artist with Teatro Vista and Writers Theatre. Since moving to Chicago from New York in 1994, he has worked as both an actor and director. His Chicago credits include work with Victory Gardens, Goodman, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, Urban Theatre Co., ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Chicago Theatre Company, and Writers Theatre. Regionally, Ron has directed shows at Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Virginia Stage and Portland Stage (Maine), among others. Ron also has directed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. Acting credits on television and film include ER, Early Edition, Turks, American Playhouse, Vamping, Barbershop 2, Primal Fear, Ali, Drop Squad, Boss and most recently Fox’s Empire.

Wandachristine has graced the small screen in many memorable guest starring roles; the last one playing Birdie on Chicago PD. On the large screen, she’s worked alongside talents like Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Paul Newman, Tom Selleck, Clifton Davis; and she starred as Mrs. Jones, in the hit dramedy Me and Mrs. Jones along with Kim Fields and Brian White. On stage, she has appeared in such notable productions as, Spunk, The Vagina Monologues, Oo-Bla-Dee, and the touring company of Fences. However, her role as Quilly in the Writer’s Theatre production of Old Settler, garnered both a Supporting Actress nomination and the Best Actress nomination for the noted Ruby Dee/Black Theater Alliance Award, which was also the last time she and director Ron Oj Parson worked together. Her voice work includes commercials for Mc Donald’s, political campaigns, Scarface the video game, The Justice League and work with Eddie Murphy on the PJ’s. As an alumni of Loyola University, she was commissioned to write a one-act play Welcome Home for the opening of the Newhart Family Theater.  Recent literary projects include her first novel, “I Love You…More Than Shoes!” and her most recent play One Day.

About American Blues Theater
Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s prestigious 2016 National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home.  American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.

The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago.  The 37-member Ensemble has 530+ combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2016, the theater and artists received 186 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 31 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.  

The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and William Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Darren Canady, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Austin Cook, Laura Coover, Ian Paul Custer, Lauri Dahl, Joe Foust, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Heather Meyers, John Mohrlein, Christopher J. Neville, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross, and Gwendolyn Whiteside.

American Blues Theater programs and activities are made possible, in part by funding by The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at Prince, the Shubert Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, SMART Growth Grant, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Anixter Foundation, Actors’ Equity Foundation, and the Chip Pringle Fund. ComEd is the Season Lighting Sponsor.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

LAST CALL: REVIEW: Agency Theater's World Premiere of Nautilina at The Den Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


(L to R) Armando Reyes, Manny Ortiz.
Photo by Robert Littwin

Grab a drink at one of the Den's several well stocked bars and saunter on in to Finnegans, a dark and edgy alternate reality Cheersesque bar, where nobody knows your name. Pull up a bar stool or pick a booth, or table. It's impossible to tell the actors from the audience at first, and you just may find yourself sharing space with someone with more than a few lines... pick up or otherwise. There's even a live piano man with a storied past, ready to reminisce through a medley of memorable music. The plethora of candles are illuminating, and the characters' back stories even more so. From PTSD and search for meaning in dead end jobs through crazy rants full of wisdom and loves found and lost, Nautilina will keep you captivated. Recommended.

The Agency Theater Collective is pleased to announce its summer  production the world premiere of Nautilina, written by Brian Foster and co-directed by Sommer Austin and Anna Lucero, June 16 – July 16, at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Opening night is Friday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Closing is Sunday, July 16 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices for previews are $15 and for the regular run $24.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call The Den Theatre Box Office at 773-697-3830.

Nautilina is series of scenes and monologues that lock into each other like puzzle pieces to create a larger narrative of a fracturing psyche. Nautilina is an examination of what makes people tick, what makes them behave the way they do and the power that history has over us all.

Meg Elliot
Photo by Andrew Gallant

The Agency Theater Collective Nautilina acting company includes:
The artistic and production staff of includes: Sommer Austin*, co-director; Anna Lucero, co-director; Niki Dreistadt, asst. director and sound designer; Kathryn McNall; production stage manager; Shannon Lauzier, asst. stage manager; Hope Rehak, dramaturg; Kate Jacobsen*, costume designer; Ellie Humphrys*, lighting designer; Alec Long, scenic designer; Manny Ortiz, technical director; Taylor Tolleson, properties designer; Zachary Sigelko and Huck Poe, video designers; Michael Chancellor, scenic painter.  Andrew Gallant, artistic director of The Agency; Sommer Austin, managing director of the Agency and Tim Touhy, company manager of The Agency.

The acting ensemble includes: Matthew Collins, (The Couple/Rod); Meg Elliott (Ray); Zach Hebert (Owen); Logan Hulick (Eric); Alex Kliner (Piano Player/Walter); DeChantel Kosmatka (Cassandra); Manuela Rentea (Simone/Mary); Bob Norman (Bar Patron/John); Manny Ortiz (Bar Patron/Robert); Armando Reyes (Bartender/Paul/SSG Cooper); Sara Faye Richmond* (The Couple/Ashley); Kate Gilbert (Understudy); Kate Jacobsen* (Understudy); Carter Petray (Understudy); and David Trudeau (Understudy).

*indicates The Agency Theater Collective Company member

Founded in 2010, The Agency Theater Collective creates relevant, authentic work with a focus on new or rarely produced plays. Past productions include Paul Pasulka’s Skin for Skin, Mia McCullough’s Chagrin Falls, Copi’s Four Twins, Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost, Out of Tune Confessional, I Wish to Apologize to the People of Illinois, At the Center, Truth in Context (Non-Equity Jeff Award nominee for Best New Work in 2015/2016), and The Spirit of ’76. The Agency also hosts “No Shame Theatre,” a weekly theatrical open mic, every Saturday night at The Lincoln Loft. The Agency Theater Collective hold these principles sacred: revelation, paradox, humor, mischief and collaboration.

Zach Hebert, DeChantel Kosmatka
Photo by Andrew Gallant

Saturday, June 3, 2017

LAST CALL: REVIEWS: Up Close & Personal Series at Victory Gardens Theater Ends June 4th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Victory Gardens Theater presents the
Up Close & Personal Series 
A Little Bit Not Normal, written and performed by Arlene Malinowski,
St. Jude, written and performed by Ensemble Playwright Luis Alfaro,
and Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, written and performed by Brian Quijada

Three solo shows run in rotating repertory April 27 – June 4, 2017

It was our great pleasure here at ChiIL Live Shows, to catch all three of these heartfelt solo shows. The series covers everything from birth to death, hilarious slice of life moments, mental illness, loss, and love. There's something incredibly intimate about listening to playwrights and actors revealing glimpses of their own lives, beliefs, experiences and truths on stage to an audience, in person. These three are all brave, strong pieces with universal human truths, and deeply personal situations. All three productions are quite different in tone and content but equally full of wisdom and insight. Recommended.

Arlene Malinowski is brave and beautiful in A Little Bit Not Normal. She brilliantly breaks the stigma and silence around bipolar disorder with her one woman show. Even in 2017, so many struggle with mental illness in silence and isolation, because it's invisible, never realizing just how prevalent it is. I have many friends and even family members fighting the same demons, who can't or won't speak about the realities of this disease, and this play was a huge help to me in understanding and empathizing. A heartfelt thank you to Arlene for eloquently expressing and embodying this struggle for those who have no words, and those who love them.

Brian Quijada's Where Did We Sit on the Bus? is a hilarious and comprehensive life story from laugh out loud funny moments in the womb and during birth through his present life. This immigrant story joins a vital body of works this season, on stages throughout Chicago, that serve as a much needed antidote to the rising tide of bigotry and racism in our country. We loved hearing Brian's unique struggles as the theatre loving son of two hard working immigrant parents, struggling to give their children better lives. He has great insight into the experience of being a poor hispanic kid in a rich, predominantly Jewish school. Later he has more nuggets of wisdom on his interracial marriage, the struggles to make a living in the arts, and how our own ancestor stories get embellished and passed down for posterity.

Finally, Luis Alfaro's St. Jude, takes audiences through the loss of a parent, as Luis struggles with his father's long illness, recovery, relapse, and finally, his death. This one man show is original in that he passes out many readings to audience members before the show, and they become a chorus of voices, adding to his own. Luis has the audience singing along with religious songs, familiar to many, and joining him in fond childhood reveries and abusive revelations. This powerful tribute to family aptly examines how where we come from shapes who we become. 

Up Close & Personal Series 
The Up Close & Personal Series is running April 27 – June 4, 2017 and includes A Little Bit Not Normal, written and performed by Arlene Malinowski; St. Jude, written and performed by Ensemble Playwright Luis Alfaro; and Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, written and performed by Brian Quijada. Shows in the Up Close & Personal Series will run in rotating repertory in the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.  The Press Openings are: Where Did We Sit on the Bus? on May 6 at 3:00pm, A Little Bit Normal on May 6 at 7:30pm, and St. Jude on May 18 at 7:30pm.

Individual tickets to each production are $20, or a three show package, including a ticket to each production, is $40. Both are available through the box office at 773.871.3000 or online. With every ticket purchased, Victory Gardens Theater will provide one free ticket to a Chicago Public School student. For a complete performance schedule or to purchase tickets, visit

"We're thrilled to welcome Luis, Arlene and Brian back to Victory Gardens for our Up Close & Personal series this spring. Each of these remarkably personal stories are written and performed with humor, poetry and courage,” comments Artistic Director Chay Yew. “Now, for six weeks only, these national and Chicago artists will share their most intimate struggles and triumphs of family, hidden disabilities and immigration through performance." 

About the Up Close & Personal Series
All performances take place upstairs at Victory Gardens in the Richard Christiansen Theatre. A calendar of the performance schedule can be viewed online at

A Little Bit Not Normal
Written and Performed by Arlene Malinowski
Directed by Lisa Portes
3:00 pm: April 29; 13, 14, 27(ASL Interpreted)
7:30 pm: April 30; May 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 20 (ASL Interpreted), 21
Press Opening: May 6 at 7:30 pm

With her trademark humor, Arlene confronts her own state of mind when Depression walks into her kitchen, lights a cigarette, and makes himself at home. A Little Bit Not Normal is a serious comedy about depression and naming it, claiming it, and standing to be counted. It’s the journey of a love story tested and the secrets we keep about crazy.

St. Jude
Written and Performed by Ensemble Playwright Luis Alfaro
3:00 pm: May 21, 28, June 4
7:30 pm: May 17, 18, 25, 27; June 1, 2, 3
Press Opening: May 18 at 7:30 pm

Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble member Luis Alfaro (Mojada, Oedipus el Rey) returns to Chicago to perform a new version of his emotionally charged solo work. St. Jude takes us on a personal and powerful journey with Luis as he learns of his father’s stroke and is summoned home to the California Central Valley of his childhood. As his family gathers, Alfaro conjures memories of his youth; from picking grapes, to gospel-infused big tent revivals, from family celebrations, to running away from home. In Alfaro’s words, St. Jude takes us from “who I am” to “who I was.”

Where Did We Sit on the Bus?
Written and performed by Brian Quijada
Directed by Chay Yew
10:00 am: May 3, 5, 10, 12, 19
3:00 pm: April 30; May 6, 20; June 2, 3
7:30 pm: April 27, 28 29; May 4, 11, 13, 24, 26, 28, 31, June 4
Press Opening: May 6 at 3:00 pm

The multi-2016 Jeff Award winner Where Did We Sit on the Bus? is an electric one-man show pulsing with Latin rhythms, rap, hip-hop, spoken word, and live looping. During a third grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask, “Where did we sit on the bus?” and his teacher can’t answer the question. This thrilling autobiographical production examines what it means to be an artist and a son of Latino immigrants through the eyes of a teenager.

Production Sponsor: The Wallace Foundation

About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing 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 The Wallace Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Shubert Foundation, The REAM Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Exelon, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, LLP, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Saints, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Whole Foods Market, and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

LAST CALL: Three Stellar Shows Closing This Weekend Include Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane, A Disappearing Number at Timeline, and The Hard Problem at Court Theatre

Don't Miss This:

Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane,  A Disappearing Number at Timeline, and 

The Hard Problem at Court Theatre

If you still haven't made it to these shows, it's your final chance. We caught the press openings of all 3, and they all made our highly recommend list. All must close this Sunday, April 9th.

Drury Lane's Saturday Night Fever has been extended 3 weeks due to high demand, but it must close this Sunday. This new rewrite is a delight on stage and a welcome respite from the current exhausting political climate. Drury Lane's high energy production leaves everyone grinning, and harkens back to the disco days of the 70's with an instantly recognizable score. I'd forgotten the still timely pro-immigrant, pro-tolerance twist, the teen angst of changing blue collar neighborhoods, underemployment, and the trauma and drama of accidental death. As always, Drury Lane does a stellar job casting the best and brightest local talent. 

We'll be back out on the 28th, for the press opening of Chicago, so check back soon for our full review.

Don’t miss out on the hottest ticket in town! This critically-acclaimed new version, rewritten for the Drury Lane stage, features music and lyrics by The Bee Gees, based on the smash-hit Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nik Cohn, and adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oaks. This North American version was written by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti and is helmed by Tony-nominated director and choreographer Dan Knechtges with musical direction by Roberta Duchak. 

Tickets, priced $43 - $60 are available by calling 630.530.0111 or at 

Alex Newell (Glee) joined the cast of Saturday Night Fever in the role of disco singer Candy. He stars alongside Adrian Aguilar as Brooklyn teen Tony Manero and Erica Stephan as Stephanie Mangano. Newell is an actor and singer best known for playing the transgender student Wade “Unique” Adams on the Fox musical series Glee. He has also appeared at the North Shore Music Theater and is a recording artist with Atlantic Records.

Based on the 1977 hit film, Saturday Night Fever follows Tony Manero in his attempt to escape his troubles by spending weekends at the local disco. Watch Tony win the admiration of the crowd, as well as his heartthrob Stephanie Mangano, as he burns up the dance floor with his electric moves. This new production features favorite Bee Gees songs from the movie such as “Night Fever,” "Stayin' Alive,” and "Jive Talkin’.”

To accommodate the extension of Saturday Night Fever, Drury Lane's electrifying new production of Chicago, featuring a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, will now run April 20 – June 18, 2017. The Press Opening is Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. This fiery new take on Chicago is directed by Drury Lane Theatre’s Artistic Director William Osetek with choreography by Jane Lanier, the Tony-nominated student of Bob Fosse.

Season and Subscription Information
Drury Lane Theatre’s 2017-2018 season will open with Chicago – the first professional Chicagoland production of the hit musical in 30 years. The season continues with the Pulitzer-winning play The Gin Game featuring Chicago theatre legends John Reeger and Paula Scrofano, followed by the powerhouse musical tribute to the 1980s Rock of Ages. For the holiday season Drury Lane will stage beloved tap classic 42nd Street and then close its 17-18 season with the iconic Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The 2017/2018 season runs March 30, 2017 through March 25, 2018 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.

Subscriptions for the 2017 - 2018 Season are priced from $144.60 to $175.80. Subscribers receive special offers on dining, flexible ticket exchanges and early notification and priority seating for added events and concerts. For more information, visit

The performance schedule for all productions is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $40 for matinees. Dinner and show packages are also available. For individual ticket on-sale dates and ticket reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visit

About Drury Lane Theatre
Under the leadership of President Kyle DeSantis and Artistic Director William Osetek, Drury Lane Theatre is a major force in the Chicagoland theatre scene, presenting world-class productions in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading actors, artists, writers and directors. Over the past 30 years, Drury Lane has staged more than 2,000 productions and has been nominated for more than 350 Joseph Jefferson Awards. Drury Lane is committed to breathing new life into beloved classics and introducing audiences to exciting new works.

Throughout its 30-year history, Drury Lane has employed more than 7,500 actors and 10,000 musicians, designers and crewmembers to entertain upwards of nine million audience members. Originally founded by Anthony DeSantis, Drury Lane Theatre remains a family-run organization known for producing breathtaking Broadway classics, top-rated musicals, bold new works, hilarious comedies and unforgettable concert events.

A Disappearing Number

Timeline Theatre's A Disappearing Number and Court Theatre's The Hard Problem are both Chicago premieres with a scholarly bent, strong female protagonists, and psychological real world applications for the studies of academia. Let's hear it for the brainy blondes. Both shows have striking similarities and are thought provoking, multilayered explorations in human nature that are utterly compelling. Highly recommended. 

A Disappearing Number

The Hard Problem

A Disappearing Number 
If the thought of higher math classes gives you hives, never fear, you won't be called to the white board to solve equations. A Disappearing Number deals with the cool side of mathematics, too, like coincidence and synchronicity. As always, we recommend you come early and explore Timeline's lobby. They delve into the artistic side of math with fractals, math in art and architecture, optical illusions and more! We adored this production, based on a real life occurrence from 1913, expertly interwoven with the present day.

Check out more of my original photos of Timeline's lobby at the bottom of this feature.

“A mathematician, like a painter, or a poet, is a maker of patterns 

… and beauty is the first test.”
The long-awaited Chicago premiere of this exquisite, internationally acclaimed play about love, math, and how the past and future connect. In 1913, a clerk in rural India named Srinivasa Ramanujan sends a letter to famed mathematician G.H. Hardy, filled with astonishing mathematical theorems. In the present, a math professor and a businessman fall in love. Told in a whirlwind of vignettes spanning history and time, A Disappearing Number is a love letter to numbers, blending the beauty of everyday relationships with the mysticism of the cosmos.
Winner of the 2007 Critics’ Circle Theatre, Evening Standard, and Laurence Olivier awards for Best New Play, TimeLine’s production is a new and rare staging of this mesmerizing play.

The Hard Problem

I don't want to give away any spoilers, because this production benefits from the mystery. Suffice it to say, there are some craftily wrought plot twists that make this drama a delight. Don't miss this. The Hard Problem is classic Tom Stoppard and a thrill to see. Kudos to Court Theatre for producing this Chicago Premiere.

ChiIL Mama's Adventures in Timeline's lobby
at A Disappearing Number:

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