Showing posts with label season announcement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label season announcement. Show all posts

Thursday, September 9, 2021

SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT: Victory Gardens Theater 2021/2022 Season to Include 3 Mainstage Productions, a New Reading Series, and a New Play Festival

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Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for the 2021/2022 Season

Victory Gardens Theater announces their 2021/2022 Season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: Queen of the Night by travis tate, the World Premiere of In Every Generation by Ali Viterbi, and the Regional Premiere of cullud wattah by Erika Dickerson-Despenza.

Top row: travis tate, Ali Viterbi, Erika Dickerson-Despenza

Bottom row: Ken-Matt Martin, Devon de Mayo, Lili-Anne Brown 

In addition to the mainstage season, Victory Gardens presents the evolution of the Ignition Festival of New Plays, now renamed the Ignition New Play Program, sponsored by The Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation. The Ignition New Play Program consists of two events for the 2021/22 season: the Ignite Chicago reading series, offering free readings of new works between October 2021 and July 2022, and the 20/50 Festival in June 2022, featuring 3 new works by playwrights over 50, staged by VG Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows.

Top row: Nygel D. Robinson, Brian Quijada, Ada A.

bottom row: Nicholas Pilapil, Gage Tarlton, Rhiana Yazzie

“We have lost so much in the past 18 months, and I don’t take for granted that those of us still living are blessed to have survived,” says Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. “The pandemic has left many of us wondering, ‘How do we move forward?’ All of these plays feature families dealing with the fallout of situations beyond their control—much like the last 18 months we all just endured. These families move forward with love, humor, joy, and a commitment to healing long-held hurts. I am hopeful this season inspires those who see it to do the same.”

The Ignition New Play Program will include the 20/50 Festival and a yearlong new play reading series, Ignite Chicago. The 20/50 Festival will feature 3 playwrights over age 50, and all plays will be staged by the Directors Inclusion Initiative Fellows. Ignite Chicago readings will take place not only at Victory Gardens’ home in Lincoln Park, the Biograph Theater, but at partner locations throughout the city, to bring new plays into Chicago’s many

communities. “It was important to me to not only continue but expand the Theater’s commitment to new play development as we reopen, and credit goes to Roxanna Conner for her instrumental work in redeveloping Ignition for the future,” added Ken-Matt Martin.

“We’ll be offering more resources and opportunities for our Ignite Chicago playwrights, as well as creating a new festival devoted to those often overlooked in our industry: the veterans, and the next generation of up-and-coming artists. By bringing these two groups together, it creates a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and learning between artists who might not otherwise have the opportunity to create together,” shares Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner.

Flex Passes to the 2021/22 Season are currently on sale at or by phone at 773.871.3000, and offer 20% savings over single ticket prices. Single tickets will go on sale later this fall, and range from $29-$62. Registration for Ignition New Play Program events will be available at approximately one month before each event.

In conjunction with a coalition of member theatres of the League of Chicago Theatres, Victory Gardens has new attendance policies in place for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees to all in-person events will be asked to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours, and must remain masked for the duration of their time at the Biograph.

In addition to its onstage work, Victory Gardens has invested in inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and anti-racism (IDEAA) projects over the past year. The outcome of this work has been numerous adjustments to artistic practices and policies, as well as new initiatives designed to make IDEAA an integral part of the Theater’s daily work. For full details on changes and projects to date, visit 

Queen of the Night

By travis tate

Directed by Ken-Matt Martin

Saturday, January 29, 2022 - Sunday, March 13, 2022

Press Openings: Friday, February 4 and Saturday, February 5, 2022

A divorced father and his queer son head to the woods of southeastern Texas to relive the camping trips of earlier, easier days. But even without cell service, certain things are inescapable. Playwright travis tate explores masculinity and queerness through the lens of multi-generational Blackness, offering a hilarious, heart-rending family portrait about reckoning with the wilderness of a shared past, while facing an uncertain future. Staged

by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin, Queen of the Night will kick off the 2021/22 Season.

The Queen of the Night design team includes: Sydney Lynne (Scenic), Rueben D. Echoles (Costumes), Sim Carpenter (Lights), and G Clausen (Sound).

World Premiere

In Every Generation

By Ali Viterbi

Directed by Devon de Mayo

Saturday, April 2, 2022 - Sunday, May 1, 2022

Press Opening: Friday, April 8, 2022

Each Passover, for four millennia, we ask: why is this night different from all other nights? And each year, the Levi-Katz clan has answered, while grappling with questions of race and religion that never seem to get resolved. The family finds strength in tradition (vegan brisket or no); but each year of celebration brings more pressing questions about the future: if trauma is generational, then must we be defined by it? Will we ever be free? Written by Ali Viterbi, In Every Generation was the 2019 winner of the National Jewish Playwriting Contest, and will have its world premiere at Victory Gardens, staged by Devon de Mayo (If I Forget, Victory Gardens).

Regional Premiere

cullud wattah

By Erika Dickerson-Despenza

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Saturday, June 11, 2022 - Sunday, July 17, 2022

Press Opening: Friday, June 17, 2022

Thanksgiving, 2016: Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for 936 days. Marion, a third-generation General Motors assembly line worker, worries over impending layoffs while struggling to fight the poison that floods her home—and her family's bodies. When her sister, Ainee, seeks restitution for lead poisoning, secrets bubble to the surface, threatening to capsize not only their family, but all of Vehicle City. Penned by award-winning playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza, cullud wattah will be staged by Victory Gardens Resident Director Lili-Anne Brown (Lottery Day; School Girls: Or The African Mean Girls Play, Goodman Theatre).

The cullud wattah design team includes: Sydney Lynne (Scenic), Christine Pascual (Costumes), Jason Lynch (Lights), Trey Brazeal (Associate Lights), and Victoria Deiorio (Sound).

cullud wattah is sponsored by The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation.

Ignite Chicago Reading Series

Readings will take place at Victory Gardens Theater and partner locations to be announced. All readings are free to attend, but RSVPs will be required, as capacity for each reading is limited.

October 2021: Mexodus by Nygel D. Robinson & Brian Quijada

November 2021: Tokens of Promise by Ada A.

December 2021: The Bottoming Process by Nicholas Pilapil

February 2022: exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body by Gage Tarlton

July 2022: Nancy by Rhiana Yazzie

20/50 Festival

June 2022 at Victory Gardens Theater

Featuring 3 new works by playwrights over age 50. Full details to be announced next year.

For complete details on the 2021/2022 Season and artists, Flex Passes, and the Ignition New Play Program, please visit

Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Allstate Insurance, Alphawood Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Exelon Corporation, Illinois Arts Council, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, and The Shubert Foundation.

Victory Gardens also receives support from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Coffman Law Offices, Conant Family Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Food, Goldman Sachs, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Mayer Brown LLP, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, and The Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin and Acting Managing Director Roxanna Conner, 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, which 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, and continued by former Artistic Director Chay Yew.

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.

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

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Mercury Theater Chicago Grand Re-Opening Season to Include Diversity and Feel Good Fun

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Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've been reviewing at Mercury Theater for years, and we were devastated during the pandemic when it looked like they were going dark for good. Happily that's not the case and their upcoming season looks like a fun one. Check back with us early and often for updates. Tickets are on sale now for their first show opening November 5th through January 9th. We're crossing our fingers that Delta will be done with us by then and we can get back to in person theatre, with all the joy and energy of live performances. 

Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter and Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran announced the 2021-2022 Mercury Theater Chicago season. Mercury Theater Chicago welcomes audiences back in November to its beautiful home in the Southport Corridor with the feel-good blockbuster hit SISTER ACT directed by Reneisha Jenkins, featuring Chicago favorites Alexis J. Roston and Hollis Resnik.  The season continues with a tribute to WOMEN OF SOUL, written and directed by Daryl D. Brooks.  A spectacular musical based on the movie PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, will celebrate PRIDE Month directed by Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter and features Honey West; and the Chicago Premiere of the hilarious murder mystery CLUE, directed by Executive Producer Walter Stearns. 

“As Mercury Theater Chicago prepares for its joyous reopening, I am ecstatic and energized by the season we have assembled. Our goal was to program diverse productions that provide an entertaining experience for all as we gather together again,” comments Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter.

Memberships and tickets for Sister Act are on sale now at

The Mercury Theater Chicago 2021/22 Season:

SISTER ACT November 5, 2021 to January 9, 2022
Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellne, and Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Reneisha Jenkins
Music Direction by Diana Lawrence
Choreography by Christopher Chase Carter
Featuring Chicago Legends Alexis J. Roston (Deloris) and Hollis Resnik (Mother Superior)

This feel-good musical comedy is based on the hit 1992 film that has audiences jumping to their feet!  Featuring original music by Tony and Oscar winner, Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), this uplifting musical was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  When disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won't be a found: a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior. Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but, in doing so, blows her cover.  Sister Act is reason to rejoice!

About Mercury Theater Chicago
The beautifully renovated Mercury Theater Chicago is in the heart of the Southport Corridor at 3745 North Southport Avenue, within a sophisticated neighborhood of restaurants and boutiques just steps from Wrigley Field. A delightful destination, Mercury Theater Chicago is a live-theater seating 280 people, adjoining Venus Cabaret Theater (seating 80). 

The building that houses the Mercury opened in 1912 as a silent film nickelodeon, named The Blaine Theatre after actor and former Senator and Secretary of State James G. Blaine. The Blaine became obsolete when talking pictures became popular nationwide in 1928. The building served a variety of uses until 1994, when it was purchased by theater producer Michael Cullen and transformed into a live theatre, named the Mercury Theatre.

In 2010 the building was sold again and reopened as Mercury Theater Chicago under the direction of Walter Stearns, a veteran theater director and producer. Mercury Theater Chicago is thrilled to be part of the city's vibrant theatre community, boasting record-setting long runs, employing hundreds of artists and recognized with dozens of award nominations. Mercury Theater Chicago's team includes Christopher Chase Carter (Artistic Director), Shane Murray-Corcoran (Managing Director), Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon (Executive Producers) and Honey West (Cabaret Director). Visit

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