GREENHOUSE THEATER CENTER ANNOUNCES PLAY SELECTIONS FOR “SOLO CELEBRATION!” RUNNING JUNE 2016- FEBRUARY 2017
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 Company, The 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:
“MotherStruck!” 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”’
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?”
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”
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”
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?
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.
“Squeeze My Cans” Chicago Premiere
Written and performed by Cathy Schenkelberg
Directed by Shirley Anderson
July 14-July 24
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
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 greenhousetheater.org.
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!