Showing posts with label lineup announced. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lineup announced. Show all posts

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.

Monday, June 4, 2018

FINAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED for the 4th Annual NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival at The Second City's UP Comedy Club

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

The Second City announces lineup for the
4th Annual NBCUniversal Break Out Comedy Festival
Hosted by Godfrey, David Pompeii and Azhar Usman
June 7 - 9 at Second City’s UP Comedy Club

The Second City announces the lineup for the NBCUniversal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival, which spotlights rising talent from across the country. The festival will be hosted by incomparable comic Godfrey (Comedy Central, VH1, BET), Second City alumnus David Pompeii (Comedy Central, Key and Peele) and special guest Azhar Usman (Comedy Cellar of NY).

“The Second City Diversity and Inclusion program was formally introduced over 25 years ago as part of Second City’s ongoing mission. The Bob Curry and Break Out Festival events, which are the centerpieces of the initiative and a vital part of the overall programming at Second City, are not to be missed. The weekend is exploding with fresh, diverse voices,” said Dionna Griffin-Irons, Director of Diversity Talent and Development. “The stories and narratives that will be seen on stage June 6-9 at Second City are the perfect antidote to the political and social climate in America these days.”

4th Annual NBCUniversal Second City Break Out Comedy Festival
Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
June 7 - 9, 2018
Tickets: $10-$25, 312-337-3992,

Thursday, June 7 at 7:30pm ($20-$25): Hosted by David Pompeii
with special guest Azhar Usman
Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at 7:30pm and 10pm ($20-$25): Hosted by Godfrey
Saturday, June 9 at midnight ($10): Hosted by Azhar Usman

Back for its fourth year, this dynamic partnership with NBCUniversal and Second City will again showcase some of the hottest emerging and seasoned diverse comedic acts in stand-up, sketch and improv from around the country. This year’s Break Out Comedy Festival features hosts Godfrey (Comedy Central, VH1, BET), David Pompeii (Comedy Central, Key and Peele), Azhar Usman (Comedy Cellar of NY).

On Thursday, June 7, 7:30pm, Second City alum, David Pompeii will host with special guest Azhar Usman. Veteran Chicago stand-up comics will perform, along with up-and-coming new talent. Performers include newcomer Vincent Bryant Second City trained comedians Anthony Bonanza, Joel Boyd, Amy Ramelli and Lauren Walker, award-winning journalist Mariam Sobh (WBBM radio), Marz Timms (founder of Pimprov), and Bob Curry Fellowship Toronto alum Carol Zoccoli.

Friday, June 8, 7:30pm and 10pm, will be hosted by Godfrey with introductory emcee Alex Kumin (Chicago Reader’s Stand Out Comics to Watch). The show will feature Second City alum Mona Aburmishan, Jayson Acevedo and Stephanie Branco (Second City’s Urban Twist), current Bob Curry fellow Aaron Branch, newcomer Max Desolhn, Adam Mamawala (Funny or Die’s Top 30 Under 30 Comedians to Watch), Naperville native Vik Pandya, Felonious Munk (Blipster Life, Comedy Central), and Wisconsin comic Esteban Touman,

The Saturday, June 9, 7:30pm and 10pm performance will be hosted by Godfrey and will include introduction emcee Alex Kumin, Kerry Codett (BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), New York-based comic Paul Elia (Conan), Houston comic Mickey Housley, Chicago comedians TMurph, Calvin Evans and Shannon Noll, Azhar Usman and Toronto-based comedian Carol Zoccoli.

On Saturday, June 9, midnight, the late night show will be hosted by Azhar Usman and will feature up to five performers who be selected from the Break Out Stand Up Social event earlier that day.

All shows will also feature select graduates of the Bob Curry Fellowship Program.

Break Out Stand Up Social Event
Second City’s UP Comedy Club (230 W North Ave, 3rd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
Saturday, June 9th
12pm - 2pm
FREE Event

Break Out Comedy Festival’s panel and social event for newcomers and emerging comics to network, connect with local and out of state comedians to compete for a chance to perform in Saturday’s Late Night (midnight) show, hosted by Azhar Usman. Up to five comics will be selected after the panel event to share their material and set for selection.

The Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase
Second City’s e.t.c. Theater (230 W North Ave, 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley)
Wednesday, June 6 at 8pm
Tickets, $15, 312-337-3992,

The 5th annual cohort of the Bob Curry Fellowship program, comprised of 16 of the best and brightest new voices in comedy, will perform together in the Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase, directed by Second City Co-Artistic Director, Matt Hovde. The showcase will highlight ten weeks of master improv training, with original material and best of Second City archival scenes.

The 2018 Bob Curry Fellows are: Angela Alise, Trumane Alston, Damian Anaya, Aaron Branch, Menaka Delekar, Jillian Ebanks, George Elrod, Steve Han, Maya Haughton, Javid Iqbal, Asia Martin, Julia Morales, Yazmin Ramos, Ana Silva, Max Thomas and Shadee Vossonghi.

Building upon a unique partnership established with Universal Television, the Bob Curry Fellowship is a professional mentoring and development program focused on cultivating the best new voices in improv and sketch comedy. A highly competitive and rigorous process, applicants must audition to be considered for the program. In 2018, over 250 applicants submitted with sixteen diverse actors and improvisers from a diverse, array of multicultural, ethnic backgrounds being selected. The Bob Curry Fellowship is offered bi-annually at Second City Toronto, and an inaugural program launches at The Second City Hollywood this summer.

The success of The Bob Curry Fellowship program is felt on Second City’s stages, as several participants in the fellowship have been cast in The Second City’s professional companies. Tyler Davis and Tien Tran are graduates of the fellowship who now perform in the current Second City Chicago Mainstage production of Dream Freaks Fall from Space, with numerous other fellows touring with the Second City Touring Company and Second City Theatricals.

About Bob Curry
Bob Curry was Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor and director. In 1966, Curry became the first African-American to join The Second City’s resident company before joining what evolved into the first-ever touring company. In 1986, he received a Jeff Award for the Northlight Theatre production of Boesman and Lenam, tying for Best Supporting Actor with Danny Glover. An inspired director, Curry coached many actors of color in the Chicago theatre community on several projects, and he directed Paul Robeson at Kennedy-King College shortly before his death in 1994.

About NBCUniversal Talent Development & Inclusion
NBCUniversal Talent Development & Inclusion hosts a variety of programs and events and partners with other entertainment entities to develop, nurture, showcase and provide networking opportunities for new and diverse actors, writers, directors and other talent.  The programs include Late Night Writers Workshop, NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, NBCU Emerging Directors Program, Writers on the Verge, StandUp NBC, Scene Showcase, the Casting Apprentice Program and the Diverse Staff Writer Initiative, among others.  For more information, please log onto

About The Second City
Since opening its doors 1959, The Second City has grown to become the world’s premier comedy club, theater and school of improvisation, entertaining 1 million theatergoers a year around the globe. Alumni of The Second City’s resident stages, touring companies, and theatrical divisions include some of the biggest names in entertainment, and in addition to the sold-out shows playing nightly on resident stages in Chicago and Toronto, the comedy empire has staged productions with a wide range of illustrious creative partners and theatre companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, Center Theater Group Los Angeles, Portland Center Stage, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and even the Chicago Bulls.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Solo Celebration Play Selections Announced Via Greenhouse Theatre Center


12-Play Series Includes Works by Chicago Playwrights Douglas Post, Philip Dawkins, 
Susan Padveen and Brett Neveu As Well as Critically Acclaimed Work 
From London and Off-Broadway 
Creative Teams Include Jeff and Tony Award Winners and Nominees

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're excited about the upcoming Solo Celebration featuring some of our favorite Chicago-based playwrights including Isaac Gomez, Brett Neveu, Douglas Post, Susan Padveen and Philip Dawkins (who will also be performing his solo work). Joining these local artists are award-winning authors Stacyann Chin (who will also star in her autobiographical piece), Laurence Leamer, John Walch, Sarah Myers andMatty Selman.  The series will include ten full productions and two limited engagements. 

Among the directors connected to solo series are Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winner Cynthia Nixon, Goodman Theatre Producer and Artistic Collective Member Steve Scott, Writer’s Theatre Resident Director Kimberly Senior, Directors Lab Chicago Artistic Director Elizabeth Margolius and Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Linda Gillum. Some of the performers confirmed to star in solo works include Jeff Award-winner Kate Buddeke, acclaimed British actor Simon Slater, Karen Rodriguez and Carin Silkaitis.  Most productions will be produced in their entirety by Greenhouse, while other plays will be stated with co-producers including Sideshow Theatre CompanyThe Other Theatre Company and Rosie O’Donnell.

Jacob Harvey, Artistic Director of the Greenhouse Theater Center, announced the 12 plays that will be presented as part of the “Solo Celebration!” series, running June 2016 – February 2017. 

“I was surprised at the breadth of submissions we received, not only in genre and sheer volume, but also in the exciting ways in which playwrights are experimenting with the form of the one-person play,” said Harvey. “Each of the works that we have selected for full production possesses something special that we think contributes to the national conversation about solo-plays, as well as creates a diverse and robust series. Our series encapsulates everything from comedy to tragedy, and features new works by both local and national playwrights that have crafted compelling and challenging new roles for each show’s solo-actor.”

The 12 plays included in this series are as follows:

Chicago Premiere of the Off-Broadway Hit
Written and Performed by Staceyann Chin; Originally Directed by Cynthia Nixon
Co-Production with Rosie O’Donnell, Robert Dragotta and Culture Project
June 10 – July 17

Audaciously funny and powerful, “MotherStruck!” is Staceyann Chin’s Off-Broadway hit exploring her deeply personal journey to motherhood, as a single woman, lesbian and activist who does not have health insurance or a ‘serious, stable financial set up.  Told through Chin’s uniquely poetic lens, her magnetic performance takes audiences on a bullet train adventure as she reflects on how the process changed her life and making peace with what she learned along the way.

“The Way She Spoke: A Docu-mythologia”’                    

World Premiere
Written by Isaac Gomez; Directed by Laura Baker; Starring Karen Rodriguez
June 10 – July 10

When an actress enters an empty warehouse to read a new play about the missing and murdered women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, she embarks on an expedition through the broken roads of a city offering far more questions than answers. With thousands of women disappearing every year, who is responsible for these crimes? “The Way She Spoke: A Docu-mythologia” is a daring solo-performance piece pulling from hundreds of interviews collected down a rabbit hole of drug cartels, ex-convicts, unsavory reporters and resilient women; asking audiences, “what lies in the shadows of telling a story that isn't yours?”

 “The Portrait”                                                                      

World Premiere
Written and Directed by Susan Padveen
Co-Production with The Neopolitans
July 15 – August 14

Gustav Klimt, the famous Viennese painter of The Kiss, crafted a multitude of beloved and enigmatic works while struggling to support his family in a world that did not yet recognize his genius. This provocative new play renders a portrait of the artist as he tries to win an attractive young woman’s interest and a sizable commission, as he wrestles with a decision that could alter the trajectory of his life. Torn between duty and defiance how will Klimt navigate the tumultuous decisions ahead?


U.S. Premiere of the London Hit
Written by Douglas Post; Directed by Patrick Sandford; Starring Simon Slater
August 5 – September 11

Taut and suspenseful, “Bloodshot” is a one-man murder mystery following photographer Derek Eveleigh, as he is hired by an anonymous benefactor to pursue a showgirl through the streets of 1957 London.  After witnessing the young woman’s murder by an unknown assailant, he embarks on an investigation to find her killer that takes him through the bowels and backstreets of London, to find the young woman’s killer.  Along the way he meets hustlers, musicians and magicians and begins to find himself falling in love with a dead woman that he’s never met.


Chicago Premiere of the Off-Broadway Hit
Written by best-selling author Laurence Leamer; Directed by Steve Scott
August 19 – September 25

"There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot."

In this intimate portrait of Camelot’s queen-mother, we meet a stalwart 79-year old Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy just after the tragedy at Chappaquiddick, which led to the accidental death of Mary Jo Kopechne at the hands Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Alone with her invalid husband in the house in Hyannis Port, Rose attempts to retrace the rise and fall of this great family that traversed continents, shaped history, and inspired a people. The Kennedy’s story is the story of our nation, as it implores audiences to access the costs of creating a political dynasty.

“I Do Today”                                                                         

World Premiere
Co-Production with The Other Theater Company
Written by Sarah Myers; Directed by Jacob Harvey; Starring Carin Silkaitis
September 2-October 9, 2016

Failed relationships, former lovers and half eaten wedding cake clutter the mind of one Jewish woman determined to track the trajectory of love and loss in her life. “I Do Today” builds a constantly confounding and quickly changing family tree of many marriages (and even more divorces), posing questions about how modern marriage fits into old ideals.  Bisexuality, kabbalah and baby teeth dangle from the branches of this thoughtful play exploring how we might use our inheritances to re-imagine what’s possible.

 “The Happiest Place on Earth”                                         

World Premiere
Co-Production with Sideshow Theatre Company
Written and Performed by Philip Dawkins; Directed by Jonathan L. Green
September 17-October 23

Once upon a time in an Anaheim, California orange grove, a magical kingdom was built and dedicated to America's history, dreams and wildest hopes. Eight years later, one family’s American prince died on live television while delivering the Albuquerque sports scores, leaving his four daughters and their mother behind. Left reeling from the loss of their patriarch, the family underwent a quest to reach the magical kingdom and seek solace and recovery. Now, more than fifty years after their journey, acclaimed playwright and storyteller Philip Dawkins retraces and illustrates the true story of the women in his family, exploring their history and asking if there really is a place where the dream that we wish can come true.

“Uncle Philip’s Coat”                                                           Chicago Premiere
Written by Matty Selman; Directed by Elizabeth Margolius
November 27 – December 31, 2016

When Matty, an unemployed actor, inherits an old, decrepit coat from his recently deceased great-uncle Philip, he is unsure whether he has been given an heirloom or a heap of rags. Through his attempts to find the answer he travels across time, territories and tragedies in an effort to uncover the history of an unfaltering dreamer. “Uncle Philip’s Coat” takes Matty on a journey of self-discovery that poses larger questions of family, mythology and the inheritance of a Jewish son. How did a man who made it to the land of opportunity become a homeless wanderer, and what can he teach us about the stories that we tell to surround ourselves and keep away the cold?

“Miss America”                                                                    

World Premiere
Written by Brett Neveu; Directed by Linda Gillum; Starring Kate Buddeke
January 6-February 12, 2017

The Midwest sits, still and silent, between two oceans in the center of a continent, and beneath we find “Miss America” in a cold and cluttered basement. Written for award-winning actress Kate Buddeke, Brett Nuveu’s stark and entrancing sketch of an ordinary woman will leave you shaken and unsure, as she uncovers the artifacts of her youth and comes to terms with the forces that have made her who she is today. 

“Circumference of a Squirrel”                                            Chicago Premiere
Written by John Walch; Directed by Jacob Harvey
January 13 – February 12, 2017

An inner-tube, a bagel, a donut, a lifesaver, a holiday wreath, a tire-swing, a cycle of abuse: circles. And at the center of them all sits an enigmatic squirrel. Orbiting that squirrel is Chester, a self-described “rodentophobe” who spins the outlandish, funny, and bruising tale of growing up with a father who developed a rabid hatred for squirrels that eventually infected every aspect of his life. Pursued by memories of his father’s intolerant legacy, Chester is pulled into the black hole at the center of his own life, unsure of how he will break free from the darkness that encircles him in this savagely comic one-man show.

Limited Engagments

“Squeeze My Cans”                                                               Chicago Premiere
Written and performed by Cathy Schenkelberg
Directed by Shirley Anderson
July 14-July 24
Limited Engagement

Have you ever wondered if Bozo was a suppressive person? Have you ever considered what it might be like to audition to be Tom Cruise’s girlfriend? What do you do if the” carrot of spiritual freedom” was dangled in front of you, waiting to be seized? Writer performer Cathy Schenkelberg decided to chase it and what she found was Scientology, America’s foremost intergalactic theology. After studying and searching to become “more herself” she found herself blowing alien life forms off her body and moving farther from than ever from who the person she had hoped to be. Now she is sharing the story in this no holds barred cautionary tale of how she survived the pseudoscience.

*”Squeeze My Cans” received its first developmental workshop production at Lifeline’s Filet of Solo Festival.

“Mother (and me)”                                       

Chicago Premiere of FringeNYC Award-Winner
Written and performed by Melinda Buckley
As originally directed by Kimberly Senior
August 4 – 14
Limited Engagement

A larger-than-life Hungarian “Mama Rose” is slowing slipping into dementia as her Broadway baby, Melinda slips into “de’middle age.”  A brilliantly funny and touching story of two women who are losing everything they’ve ever been—in very different ways—as they lose each other. This one-woman tour-de-force by Broadway performer and comedian Melinda Buckley was an award-winner at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival. The play asks “who’s it harder for?  The one who can’t remember?  Or the one who can’t forget?”

Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
The performance schedule for each play will be announced at a future date.  Most plays will be performed Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees.  The press opening dates will be announced at a future date.  All performances will take place at one of the venues within the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.

Flex passes are on sale now.  Flex passes provide guests with admissions to five different full-production plays at a cost of $160 (or $32 per performance).   Flex pass-holders may also purchase tickets for additional plays for $32, and may purchase tickets for limited engagement productions for $20 (a 33% savings).  Flex passes can be obtained by visiting or calling the Greenhouse Theater box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting

Additional casting, special events and appearances, including musical performances and comedians, will be announced at a future date.

About the Greenhouse Theater Center
The Greenhouse Theater Center is a nonprofit performance venue located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, an in-house rehearsal room, and Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre book store.

Our mission at the Greenhouse is first and foremost to grow local theatre. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, to develop and produce their work. In 2014 alone, The Greenhouse Theater Center provided space for almost 1,000 ticketed performances, serving more than 54,000 patrons. Among these events, were at least 30 productions by our resident companies, including the celebrated American Blues Theater and Remy Bumpo Theatre Company. Through our Trellis Program, we offer the community affordable access to our work by housing Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex, as well as offering a free reading series each Tuesday night where local artists workshop their latest scripts. Additionally, we also continue to play an active role in cultivating and nurturing our community through continued partnerships with the League of Chicago Theaters and local Chambers of Commerce.

As of 2016, the Greenhouse Theater Center embraced the true spirit of growth and launched its producing entity. With the announcement of our 8 month long Solo Celebration Series, helmed by Artistic Director Jacob Harvey, we will produce 10 solo plays from June 2016 to February 2017. Through this inaugural effort, we hope to expand the solo play cannon while also cultivating a larger conversation about the possibilities of the one-person play.

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

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