Showing posts with label theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label theatre. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

REVIEW: Noël Coward’s masterpiece HAY FEVER Via City Lit Now Playing Through October 9, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar


by Noël Coward

directed by Terry McCabe

Now Playing Through October 9, 2022


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

In the microcosm of Chicago's theatre scene, it's amazing how many synchronicities there are. Just one week after reviewing Hay Fever, I'll be out to see yet another Noël Coward play, Private Lives, opening at Raven Theatre. It's exciting Chicago audiences can do a mini immersive in Coward's period pieces with City Lit's Jeff Recommended Hay Fever from 1924 and Private Lives from 1931. His artsy, eccentric, manipulative characters are delightfully funny. Horrible humans behaving badly are eternally timeless yet timely. 

Prior to Hay Fever, my most memorable Noël Coward experience was a 1985 college production of Blithe Spirit at Anderson University in Indiana, where the not so ethereal ghost was a plus sized actress who fell through the stage staircase mid act! They had to stop the play and help extricate her from the rubble. Thankfully she wasn't injured and the audience was patient and understanding about the whole debacle. 

Conversely, City Lit's Hay Fever went off without a hiccup and was an immensely enjoyable night out. We laughed at much of the dialogue and wacky plot twists and were well entertained. Betsy Pennington Taylor was a standout as narcissistic actress, Judith Bliss, and marssie* Mencotti was an absolute hoot as the housekeeper, Clara. The entire cast did some lovely ensemble work with impeccable comedic timing. Shout out also to Ray Toler for the charmingly hilarious scenic design. I'm still laughing at the boar head with ear tassels! 

* Lower case marssie is intentional

Hay Fever's nothing to sneeze at, though this country escape gone wrong may have you laughing so hard your eyes water. If you're itching for a fun production, the foibles of the Bliss bunch are comedic gold.

Recommended. 3 out of 4 stars ★★★

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Producer and Artistic Director Terry McCabe will direct Noël Coward’s 1924 comedy HAY FEVER as the final production of City Lit Theater’s 41st season. It replaces the previously announced AZTEC HUMAN SACRIFICE, which has been moved to a slot in spring 2023. Both a comedy of manners and a farce, HAY FEVER has been proven to be exceptionally durable in the nearly 100 years since its first production, enjoying many successful revivals in the US, UK and Canada as well as multiple film and TV productions across the globe. The comedy lampoons the poor manners and deficient hospitality of the four members of an eccentric upper class English family, who each without the other three knowing it have invited a guest to spend the weekend at their country estate. 

McCabe’s cast will include Betsy Pennington Taylor as Judith Bliss, the absent-minded retired actress who is the wife and mother of the bad-mannered hosts; and Stephen Fedo (he/him) as Judith’s novelist husband David Bliss. Their children will be played by Travis Shanahan (he/him) as Simon, and Lizzie Williams (she/her) as Sorel. Appearing as the Bliss’s guests will be Robert Hunter Bry as Judith’s fan Sandy Tyrell, Elizabeth Wigley (she/her) as the vampish Myra Arundel, Melissa Brausch (she/her) as the dim but good-hearted flapper Jackie Coryton, and Gerrit Wilford as diplomat Richard Greatham. marssie* Mencotti will be the housekeeper Clara.

Tickets are on sale now at and by phone at 773-293-3682.

Top row L-R: Melissa Brausch, Robert Hunter Bry, Stephen Fedo

Second row L-R: marssie Mencotti, Travis Shanahan, Betsy Pennington Taylor.

Third row L-R: Elizabeth Wigley, Gerrit Wilford, Lizzie Williams

On the production team are Ray Toler (Scenic Design), Rachel S. Parent (Costume Design), Chris Matteky (Lighting Design), David Yondorf (Violence and Intimacy Design), Carrie Hardin (Dialect Coach), and Hazel Marie Flowers-McCabe (Stage Manager).

Previews August 26 – September 3, 2022

Preview ticket prices $30.00, seniors $25.00, students and military $12.00 (all plus applicable fees)

Regular run September 4 – October 9, 2022

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Mondays September 26 and October 3 at 7:30 pm.

Regular run ticket prices $34.00, seniors $29.00, students and military $12 (all plus applicable fees)

Performances at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Chicago 60660 (Inside Edgewater Presbyterian Church)

Info and tickets at and by phone at 773-293-3682.

Noël Coward's masterpiece. The four members of the eccentric Bliss family have each, without the other three knowing it, invited a guest to spend the weekend at their country estate. But the Blisses wouldn't be successful hosts to one visitor; confronted with four, they put their guests through their self-absorbed version of hospitality, utterly oblivious to the train wreck they've engineered. An irresistibly heartless comedy.



Proof of vaccination is required for all attendees of all performances (physical vaccination card or legible image of vaccination card. Refunds will not be issued if admittance is refused due to lack of vaccination documentation.


Noël Coward (Playwright) was an English playwright, composer, director, actor, and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise.”  Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as HAY FEVER, PRIVATE LIVES, DESIGN FOR LIVING, PRESENT LAUGHTER, and BLITHE SPIRIT, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta BITTER SWEET and comic revues), screenplays, poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE, and a three-volume autobiography. Coward's stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works, as well as those of others.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Coward volunteered for war work, running the British propaganda office in Paris. He also worked with the Secret Service, seeking to use his influence to persuade the American public and government to help Britain. Coward won an Academy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama IN WHICH WE SERVE and was knighted in 1969. In the 1950s he achieved fresh success as a cabaret performer, performing his own songs, such as "Mad Dogs and Englishmen", "London Pride", and "I Went to a Marvelous Party."

Terry McCabe (Producer, Artistic Director, Director) has been City Lit’s artistic director since February 2005 and its producer since July 2016. He has directed plays professionally in Chicago since 1981. He was artistic director of Stormfield Theatre for four years, resident director at Wisdom Bridge Theatre for five years, and worked at Body Politic Theatre three separate times in three different capacities over a span of 14 years. His City Lit adaptations of HOLMES AND WATSON, GIDGET (co-adapted with Marissa McKown), THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, SCOUNDREL TIME, and OPUS 1861 (co-adapted with Elizabeth Margolius) were Jeff-nominated. He won two Jeff Citations for directing at Stormfield and has been thrice nominated for the Jeff Award for Best Director, for shows at Court Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, and Victory Gardens. He has directed at many Chicago theatres either long-gone or still with us, as well as off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre and at Vienna’s English Theatre. His book MIS-DIRECTING THE PLAY has been denounced at length in American Theatre magazine and from the podium at the national convention of The Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas but has been used in directing courses on three continents and is now available in paperback and Kindle e-book.



For over forty-one years, City Lit Theater has been dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination. City Lit produces theatrical adaptations of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material. City Lit Theater was founded with $210 pooled by Arnold Aprill (at the time the Body Politic Theatre’s box office manager), David Dillon, and Lorell Wyatt on October 9, 1979, and was incorporated on March 25, 1980. There were still so few theatres in Chicago that at City Lit’s launch event, they were able to read a congratulatory letter they had received from Tennessee Williams.

The United States Library of Congress has selected our Civil War Project blog for inclusion in its historic collection of internet materials related to the American Civil War Sesquicentennial. Check it out at

City Lit is in the historic Edgewater Presbyterian Church building at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. We are two blocks east of both the Bryn Mawr Red Line stop and the #36 Broadway and the #84 Peterson buses. We are one block west of the #147 Sheridan and #151 Sheridan buses. Divvy bike stations are located at Bryn Mawr & Lakefront Trail, and at Broadway & Ridge at Bryn Mawr. The metered street parking pay boxes on Bryn Mawr have a three-hour maximum duration and are free on Sundays. There are additional details about parking and dining options at 

City Lit is supported by the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Ivanhoe Theater Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and is sponsored, in part, by A.R.T. League. 

For more information and to donate, visit and by phone at 773-293-3682.

Friday, September 23, 2022

REVIEW: Southern Gothic In Open Run at Windy City Playhouse South at Petterinos' Beginning Sept 15th, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic 

I now have bragging rights that I have seen Southern Gothic in all three of its manifestations and locations. Each time, I appreciate the piece even more. It’s rare to witness the “same” show three different times and feel like you saw a new show each performance. I described the play to my sister, a first time viewer, as a “choose-your-own-adventure” concept. I explained how the audience can move around the staged “house” to select a new vantage point. My sis liked her window seat in the living room and chose to watch the shenanigans in their entirety from the exterior wall. I moved to the outside area near the kitchen to eavesdrop on the conversation there. It’s a hoot to be such a “voyeur” in other people’s private dramas. 

    All Production Photos by Michael Brosilow

In case you are unfamiliar, the setting is June 30, 1961 at the home of Beau Coutier (Max Stewart) and his perky wife Ellie (Sarah Grant, reprising her original role). It’s the 40th birthday for Beau’s sister Suzanne, and all of their old crowd are invited to celebrate. We see the hosts frantically preparing for their guests, and we are in their house with them as “flies on the wall.”  The set is truly remarkable and one of my favorite parts of this clever show, as the designer, Scott Davis, has created a “home” with open walls and added details so we feel transported to Beau and Ellie’s actual residence. The audience is free to move about, as long as we remain “invisible”: don’t speak, sit on the main furniture, or interact with the cast. You can even eat the snacks, popcorn and crackers with cheese and spam (!) on the dining room, kitchen, or back patio tables. Drinks are even served to all as part of the show. 

The first time I saw Southern Gothic, I watched the majority from the dining room. I was a bit shy about moving locations. I overheard some financial travails affecting a few of the male characters. The second time, I focused on being in the kitchen and had a couple passionately kissing only like a foot away from me! Omg. There was heat in the kitchen! It was a bit shocking; I wasn’t expecting that! This third viewing, I wandered out back. Each time, I have caught a different aspect of the intertwining plots. It’s delightful. There is a LOT going on and a bunch of backstory with these “old friends.” My sis caught a detail about two characters that I hadn’t connected before.    

I spotted co-creator Amy Rubenstein in the crowd just before curtain, and blurted,”I fucking love this show! This is my third time seeing it.” She was as gracious as the Southern Hospitality on display in the Coutier Home in Ashford, Georgia. The large glass of wine I had pre-show may have been partly responsible for my outburst, but my appreciation of this spectacle is sincere. It’s a blast, and I recommend that everyone see it just because it is so fascinating and unique. 

New to the cast is Windy City Playhouse favorite Carley Cornelius as Lauren Lyon, who is the daughter of a politician and now married to one who is equally ambitious as her powerful father. She is a wonderful addition to the show, and I marveled at how she was sitting forlornly on the patio while chaos stormed nearby. Reese Parish is lovely as Cassie Smith, an unexpected surprise at the party. 

The costumes by Sydney Moore are to die for, especially the gorgeous women’s dresses. My sis, a shoe fanatic, nudged me to point out the fabulous shoes on the party guests.  

Windy City Playhouse South is right next to Petterino’s and the Goodman Theatre. You can catch dinner, then meander over to Georgia to witness some Southern hospitality and mayhem. You’ll be so glad you did. And order a whiskey sour to go with the bedlam. Cheers! 

Highly recommended. 4 out of 4 stars ★★★★

Catherine Hellmann is usually at a theater production, exploring Chicago, or in school trying to mold young teenage minds. She has three awesome kids and thinks being an empty nester is simply astounding.  

Windy City Playhouse Announces Cast for the Downtown Debut of Immersive Smash Hit "Southern Gothic" Produced in Association with Goodman Theatre and Greg Schaffert 

Multiple Jeff Award-Winning Creative Team Including Director David H. Bell and Scenic Designer Scott Davis to Return for New Production, Set to Open Sept. 15 at New Playhouse at Petterino's Location, Adjacent to the Goodman

Windy City Playhouse Artistic Director Amy Rubenstein, together with Goodman Theatre and Greg Schaffert, announced the cast and creative team for the downtown debut of the hit immersive production “Southern Gothic,” created by Rubenstein and Windy City Playhouse Associate Artistic Director Carl Menninger. “Southern Gothic,” written by Leslie Liautaud and once again directed by David H. Bell, will transport audiences to a cocktail party in 1960s Ashford, Georgia where four couples gather to celebrate a birthday. The Chicago production will welcome 45 audience members per performance to the Playhouse at Petterino’s (150 N. Dearborn, next to the Goodman Theatre) beginning Sept. 15.  

Cast of SOUTHERN GOTHIC, from left to right: (row one) Joe Edward Metcalfe, Carley Cornelius, Max Bowdren, Sarah Grant, (row two) Reese Parish, Max Stewart, Anne Sheridan Smith, Miles Borchard.

The cast of “Southern Gothic” includes returning artists Sarah Grant as Ellie Coutier and Anne Sheridan Smith as Suzanne Wellington, in addition to new cast members Miles Borchard as Tucker Alsworth, Matt Bowdren as Charlie Lyon, Carley Cornelius as Lauren Lyon, Joe Metcalfe as Jackson Wellington, Reese Parish as Cassie Smith and Max Stewart as Beau Coutier. 

Anchored by several members of the original production’s multiple Jeff Award-winning team, the creative team for this production includes David H. Bell who won a Jeff Award for his previous direction of Windy City Playhouse’s two-year, 606-performance run of “Southern Gothic,” playwright Leslie Liautaud, co-creator Amy Rubenstein, co-creator and dramaturg Carl Menninger and scenic designer Scott Davis, who also received a Jeff Award for the original production. In addition, the production includes Sydney Moore (Costume Designer), Aaron Lichamer (Lighting Designer), Lindsay Jones (Sound Designer), Eleanor Kahn (Properties and Details Designer), Max Fabian (Fight Choreographer), Donica Lynn (Assistant Director), Lauren Nigri (Associate Scenic Designer), Andres Mota (Assistant Costume Designer/Costume Coordinator), Rebecca Lister (Production Stage Manager), Hannah Weiss (Assistant Stage Manager), Danny Halminiak, (Technical Director), Hannah Bolstad (Lead Electrician) and Joe Johnson (Assistant Technical Director).

Hailed by critics during its inaugural run, “Southern Gothic” received four stars from Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones, who called the set “astonishing;” the Chicago Sun-Times said, “Immersive ‘Southern Gothic’ makes you feel right at home;” the Chicago Reader called “Southern Gothic” a “memorable and unique theater experience;” and PerformInk declared the show is “superb and fascinating... the kind of play that could easily develop a cult following.”

During the intimate, immersive show, audiences will be free to roam throughout the Jeff award-nominated house set, exploring various spaces and eavesdropping on clandestine conversations. Each visitor will create their own unique perspective on the evening’s proceedings. The cast of “Southern Gothic” does not interact with the audience, leaving patrons free to watch the scenes happening around them like an invisible guest, traveling from room to room and sampling period-appropriate cocktails and snacks throughout the performance. 

“Southern Gothic” is presented in partnership with producer Greg Schaffert and Southern Gothic Nash LLC. Schaffert, a producer best known for the Tony Award-winning “Peter and the Starcatcher,” looks to open a commercial run of the show in Nashville later this year.   

Tickets to “Southern Gothic” are on sale now and will range from $65 to $105. Press performances are slated for September 15 through 18. The production will run Wednesdays through Sundays at the Playhouse at Petterino’s, located at 150 N. Dearborn. For more information and ticketing, please visit

About the Production 

Leslie Liautaud (Playwright) has worked for over 30 years in professional theatre as actor, director, choreographer and playwright. Leslie is the author of “Midnight Waltzes” (2006), “He Is Us” (2008), “The Wreck” (2009), “Saligia” (2011) and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Millennial Edition” (2012). Her screenplays/webisodes include “Taj Mahal” (2006), “Web” (2010) and Jimmy John’s/Whateverhollywood (2010) parody web series. Leslie directed her one-act play, “The Mansion” (2010) and directed Tennessee Williams’ play “The Chalky White Substance” (2011) for the “Tennessee at 100” series both at ParklandCollege in Champaign, IL. She wrote “Spectacle Lunatique” for Redmoon Theatre in Chicago, IL (2012). Leslie’s plays have been produced throughout the Midwest United States and her plays “Midnight Waltzes” and “The Wreck” both received translations for the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent where they are used as classroom curriculum. Both are archived at the Opendoek Library in Antwerp.

Leslie has performed and choreographed for various Midwest theatres and organizations such as Ibsen Theatre, Exposure Inc., Liberty Symphony Orchestra, Worlds of Fun and Westport Ballet Company. Leslie co-founded the “People in Motion” high school youth performance program (1995) in Kansas City, MO. She is the author of the coming-of-age novel, “Black Bear Lake” and the psychological thriller, “Butterfly Pinned.”  

David H. Bell (Director) returns to Windy City Playhouse after directing last season’s Jeff Award-nominated “The Explorers Club.” He is a professor and Director of the Music Theatre Certificate program and Artistic Director of the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. David has worked all over the world as a director, choreographer, and author. 

His work has received 44 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, for which he has won 11; the Dramalogue Award (L.A.); the Helen Hayes Award (Washington, D.C.); five Carbonall Award nominations (Florida); a Laurence Olivier Award Nomination (London); seven Atlanta Journal and Constitution Awards; the Atlanta Circle of Dramatic Critics Award; and three National Endowment writing grants. 

He has served as Artistic Director for the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and as Associate Artistic Director for Atlanta’s Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. He has had more than 40 new plays and musicals produced internationally, including the Laurence Olivier-nominated Musical “Hot Mikado.” Recently, he collaborated withNorthwestern University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in presenting “Atlantic,” a pair of new musicals at the Edinburgh Festival last summer. He has collaborated on world premiere musicals with Craig Carnelia, Cy Coleman, Russell Baker, Jimmy Buffett, Herman Wouk, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, Bob Gaudio, Henry Marsh, Barry Mason, Jim Stafford, Eddie Seago, and Mike Leander, among many others. He directed and coauthored “Knute Rockne: All-American” at The Theatre at the Center, and his adaptation of “The Boys from Syracuse,” for which he was nominated for 3 Jefferson Awards, played at the Drury Lane Oakbrook. He directed his musical “The Bowery Boys” at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and directed and choreographed “Once on This Island” at Marriott and “Hot Mikado” at Drury Lane. In summer 2011, David directed his own “Fanny Brice” musical at Florida’s Asolo Rep Theatre; wrote a program of musicals to accompany the AIDS Memorial Quilt to Washington D.C.; directed “Hamlet” at Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival and a World Premiere of HERO at the Marriott Theatre and Asolo Repertory Theatre; and wrote “The Rules Of Love” in Istanbul with Turkish rock stars Sertab Erener and Demir Demirkan. David opened “Shakin’ the Rafters” for Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre in Atlanta; directed “South Pacific,” “9 to 5,” “Cabaret” and “On The Town” for the Marriott Lincolnshire; and directed “The Comedy Of Errors,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Pericles” for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. For Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, David has directed “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” and six Waa-Mu Shows: “Another Way West,” “Beyond Belief,” “What’s Next?” “Off The Map,” “Flying Home” and “Gold.” David is currently writing and directing “The Museum Of Broken Relationships” with composer Daniel Green. 

Carl Menninger (Co-Creator/Dramaturg) lived and worked in Chicago for many years. He won the 2020 Joseph Jefferson Award for his direction of “The Boys in The Band.” He also directed the 2016 production of THIS at Windy City Playhouse. Carl was one of the writers of “A Recipe for Disaster!” as well as the co-writer of our recent production of “Sons Of Hollywood.” He is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at American University, in Washington, D.C., where he ran the Theatre and Musical Theatre program for eight years. While in Chicago, Carl worked with Victory Gardens and Chicago Dramatists. In addition to working with D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre, Studio Theatre and Adventure Theatre, his play “Everything But You: A Modern Romance” received a staged reading at Keegan Theatre in D.C. Carl is the co-author of “Minding the Edge: Strategies for a Fulfilling, Successful Career as an Actor.” 

Amy Rubenstein (Co-Creator) is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Windy City Playhouse. Since the theater’s premiere in March 2015, she has overseen 17 mainstage productions, including the recent world premieres “Southern Gothic” and “A Recipe for Disaster!” of which she was also a co-creator and writer. During her tenure, the Playhouse has been lauded for its uniquely contemporary approach that focuses on audience experience and has received numerous industry accolades, including 23 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, 11 Chicago Theater Awards including the 2018 Trailblazer Award, and 3 International Centre for Women Playwrights’ 50/50 Awards. Prior to her current role at the Playhouse, Ms. Rubenstein’s credits include performing with Long Beach Playhouse, Human Race Theatre, and Center Stage Theater, among others. She is a proud graduate of Brandeis University. She is also a partner at Windy City RE and Clear Investment Group, two leading Chicago real estate investment firms. 

Miles Borchard (Tucker Alsworth) most recently appeared in “A Recipe For Disaster!” with Windy City Playhouse and is returning for another exciting immersive piece. Prior to the pandemic, Borchard was featured as the Teenage Boy in “Dead Man Walking” at the Lyric Opera and as Paul Morel in “Sons and Lovers” at the Greenhouse Theatre. He has appeared on film in leading roles for DePaul Productions, Philhouse Productions, and SHOED! Productions. He is also a professional circus performer, working in cabarets and street performing across the city. Borchard graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. 

Matt Bowdren (Charlie Lyon) is thrilled to make his Windy City Playhouse debut. In Chicago, Matt was most recently seen in “Rutherford and Son” (TimeLine Theatre).  Matt is a founding member of The Story Theatre where directed the inaugural production of “Leave Me Alone!” Regionally, Matt is an Artistic Associate for The Rogue Theatre where he has performed in over 30 productions including “Hamlet,”“The Crucible,” and“Waiting for Godot.” Other regional credits include Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Repertory Theatre, Hudson Shakespeare Company, and Southwest Shakespeare. Recent film credits include, “The Lot,” “The Coming” and “Happily Never After” (Lifetime). Matt is represented by DDO Chicago and holds an MFA in Performance from The University of Georgia. 

Carley Cornelius (Lauren Lyon) Carley Cornelius returns to WCP where she previously appeared in “A Recipe for Disaster!” and “Becky Shaw.” In Chicago she has had the pleasure to collaborate with Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers Theatre, Chicago Sketchfest, The House Theater of Chicago, and is an ensemble member of Definition Theatre  (“White, An Octoroon,” “The Dutchman”). Some regional credits include work with Colorado Theatreworks (“Venus In Fur,” “Constellations,” “Detroit”), Urbanite Theatre (“The Drowning Girls”), Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (“Shakespeare In Love”) TheatreSquared (“At The Wedding”), as well as productions with Montana, Texas, Door and Great River Shakespeare Festivals. You may have seen her telling you to “read a f*^#ing book” on The Onion, searching for multiple children on NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” drinking Maker’s Mark on Hulu or trying to find a home on HGTV’s “House Hunters.” Carley holds degrees from Ball State University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and is represented by Big Mouth Talent. #stayinit 

Sarah Grant (Ellie Coutier) is thrilled to be returning to “Southern Gothic” as Ellie. Other Chicago Credits include: “Mr. Dickens’ Hat” (Northlight Theatre, u/s); “Upstairs Concierge” (Goodman Theatre, u/s); “A Very Merry Madrigal” (Theo Ubique); “Sleeping Beauty” and “Godspell” (Provision); “Hamlet Is Dead. No Gravity.” and “A Hedda Gabler” (Red Tape); “Death and Harry Houdini” (House Theatre). Regional credits include: “The Dos and Don’ts of Time Travel” (Phoenix Theatre, IN). She teaches at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and holds a master's degree in the humanities from the University of Chicago. Sarah is represented by Lily’s Talent and thanks her family, friends, and partner Anthony who plays all the parts. 

Joe Metcalfe (Jackson Wellington) Is beyond grateful to be returning to Windy City Playhouse! He was last seen at Windy City understudying in “A Recipe for Disaster!” where he went on a handful of times. CHICAGO: “Romeo And Juliet” (Kane Repertory Theatre), “Keely & Du” (Redtwist Theatre), “Bent” (Muse Theatre Co.) and “Grant In Othello” (Theatre Witt) – “Regional: Re-Entry” (Montana Rep), “Other Desert Cities” (Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol, FL), “Two Conversations”…  (WP - Humana) by Sarah Ruhl, “Dreamerwake” (WP - Humana) by Anne Washburn, “Dracula” (Actors Theatre of Louisville). TV/FILM: “Soundtrack” (Netflix), “NeXt” (FOX). TRAINING: Actors Theatre of Louisville PT Company, MFA – Northern Illinois University. He is represented by Big Mouth Talent. - - For Cyndi, always. 

Reese Parish (Cassie Smith) Reese, current DePaul Junior, is elated to be making her Windy City Playhouse debut! As a Milwaukee native, she’s worked extensively with The Milwaukee Repertory Theater most recently seen in “West Side Story,” Love in “Everybody,” and also appearing as Wendy Darling in the world premiere production of “Lost Girl.” Other theater credits include Annie in “Annie Jump And The Library Of Heaven,” Cassandra in “Bliss Or Emily Post Is Dead” (Renaissance Theaterworks) and Dorothy in THE WIZ (First Stage).

This past year Reese has had the privilege of working on web-series “APT” (Everything Bagel Productions) and was seen as Anna in “Ferdinand Avenue” and Christina in “Afterword” (Paper Crown Productions). Reese is represented by Paonessa Talent and is thrilled to be back on stage doing what she loves! Special thanks to her village who is with her at every step and bow.   

Anne Sheridan Smith (Suzanne Wellington) is happily returning to the role of Suzanne Wellington and working with Windy City Playhouse again. Born and brought up in Chicago, Anne is rooted in its theatre community. Her Chicago theatre production highlights include “The Drowning Girls” (Jeff Nomination, Best Ensemble - Play, Signal Ensemble Theatre), “Once Upon A Mattress” as Queen Aggravain (Theo Ubique), “Fun Home” as Helen (Victory Gardens Theatre), “Bat Boy,” “The MusicAL” as Meredith (Jeff Nomination, Best Supporting, Griffin Theatre), “The Good Soul Of SZECHUAN” (Strawdog Theatre), 1776 as Abigail (Jeff Award, Best Musical, Signal Ensemble), “9 To 5, The Musical” as Violet (Firebrand), “Juno” as Maisie (TimeLine Theatre), “Mother Courage And Her Children” as Yvette Pottier (Vitalist Theatre). She received her B.A. in Theatre and Acting from Western Illinois University. Anne is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent. 

Max Stewart (Beau Coutier) Max is a graduate of The Theatre School at Depaul University and has studied at the British American Dramatic Academy in Oxford.  He is a NFAA Young Arts Award Winner in Spoken Theatre and won a William Faulkner Literary Award for his play “Antarctica” which premiered at Curious Theatre Company in Denver.  Recent theatre credits include: “Walk on The Wild Side” (Pale Horse Playhouse), “Sons Of Hollywood” (Windy City Playhouse) and Romeo in “Romeo And Juliet” (Kane Repertory Theatre Company). Selected TV/Film Credits include: Chicago Fire (NBC), Soundtrack (Netflix) Dir. Joe Swanberg, Worth Dir. Austin Lewis, (Best Supporting Actor Winner Nashville 48 Hour Film Festival) and Never the Bride Dir. Alex Heller.  Max is represented by Gray Talent Group. Instagram: @maxflash4 CN Mason (Cassie Smith U/S) Candice (CN) is a proud native of the California Bay Area who is excited to be joining the “Southern Gothic” team. She was last seen onstage as an understudy in the 2022 production of “Middle Passage” at Lifeline Theatre where she made her Chicago debut. Recently signed to 10 MGMT, she hopes to use her platform to continue cultivating community and give life to stories of the global-majority on stage and film. When not acting you can find her being an educator.  

About Windy City Playhouse 

Windy City Playhouse is a professional theater and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located on Chicago's northwest side. Premiering in March of 2015 with a mission to present contemporary, relevant, and approach art, the Playhouse has quickly become a mainstay of the Chicago theater scene. In 2018, its runaway hit, the immersive

“Southern Gothic” solidified the Playhouse as the first choice in Chicago theater for one-of-a-kind audience experience. "Experience driven. Audience first." 

For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


About Goodman Theatre 

Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community

organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. Led by Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play

development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earner two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fifth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters. As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s Action Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Access (IDEAA) was born out of the belief that progress means action, which includes building on the decades-long commitment to using art, assets and resources to contribute to a more just, equitable and anti-racist society. 


Thursday, September 22, 2022

REVIEW: World Premiere of The HOA At The Factory Theater September 9 - October 20, 2022

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar





Guest Review 
by Catherine Hellmann

“We have to devolve to evolve,” proclaims Syd, the President of the HOA and guru of health, therapy, and mindfulness. Syd seems the local expert on all matters in this odd close-knit community that is not what it seems. If a neighbor needs a handyman, Syd “knows a guy.” Yardwork? Syd has someone he can recommend. Need happy pills to get through daily living?? Syd is certainly your connection for that…  and apparently he’s providing for everyone. 

Cassie and Steve are a happily married couple who move to this strange new town after Steve lands an incredible promotion. Cassie loved her job developing pharmaceuticals, but she has stepped back on her own career momentarily while Steve settles in at his new position. He assures her that she doesn’t have to find employment if she doesn’t want to, they can afford their lifestyle without her job. But Cassie finds fulfillment through work. Strangely, all the other women in their subdivision are full-time homemakers, all of them having left successful careers behind, including Daphne who’d been a neurosurgeon. Huh?? Who walks away from being a neurosurgeon?? Things don’t make sense in this eerily Stepford-Wives World. 

The women are introduced as “belonging” to their husbands. “She belongs to Brent.” Hmmm… Every couple is in counseling. The women assume that Cassie’s big news is that she’s pregnant when she is about to announce she has found a new job; their enthusiasm is dimmed with the career advancement over the possibility of motherhood. It feels very retro, but not in a good way. Things are just…really “off.”   

Jennifer Betancourt as Cassie and Andrew Cawley as Steve really shine in their roles. I felt for Cassie as she begins to seriously question her marriage and her sanity. The large cast for this tiny space does a wonderful job. Even the scene changes got laughs as the fairy-like silly music prompted the actresses to wisk away furniture and props in an animated fashion.

Eric Frederickson as Syd has a great presence domineering all of the residents. He has to be larger than life for all of the influence he controls over his neighborhood association.

The set is awesome, and I love this theater. It’s impressive how such a big cast navigates the allotted room. The night I attended, I think the audience was comprised of the actors’ friends and family. While it is lovely to be supportive, the woman next to me acted like it was an interactive show. A character asked a question onstage, and she answered a response out loud.What the hell. It took all my self-control to not tell this woman to shut up…and I really credit the actress for not being thrown off in her performance. 

This is a great show in a truly Chicago-style storefront. Go support them. And---Be sure to wear your black spandex bike shorts. You’ll fit right in. 

Catherine Hellmann is a self-proclaimed “theater whore,” who teaches at a charter school where she can look at the Chagall mosaic during lunch. She loves that. She lives in Rogers Park, and the 49B bus driver is her new best friend.   

The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., is proud to announce the cast and creative team for the first production in its 28th season, the world premiere of The HOA, September 9 - October 20, written by Angelina Martinez and directed by Christy Arington. The new season begins with an The HOA Launch Party, Thursday, Aug. 11 from 7 - 10 p.m. Previews for The HOA are Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 11 at 3 p.m. We'll be out for the Press Opening Sept. 16th so check back shortly for our full review. The performance schedule is Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets for HOA are $25 and may be purchased through the Box Office by calling 866-811-4111 or by visiting

The HOA tells the story of two successful professionals, Cassie and Steve, moving to a new city after Steve receives a promotion. Their new neighbors seem nice, but it becomes clear to Cassie that something is really out of the ordinary. See what happens when a local couple finds their dream home in a neighborhood that’s not quite right.

The HOA cast includes Jennifer Betancourt~ (Cassie), Andrew Cawley (Steve), Moira Begale (Stephanie), Eric Frederickson✝ (Syd), Erin Stewart (Colleen), Ben Veatch (Brent), Devri Chism (Barb), Chase Wheaton-Werle~ (Max), Brittany Ellis (Maddie), Reginald Hemphill (Patrick), Ashley Yates~ (Daphne), TBD (Shawn), Sydney Back (Cassie U/S), Cooper Bohn (Steve U/S), Hilary Sanzel (Stephanie U/S), Daniel Vaughn (Syd U/S), Erika Rose (Colleen/Maddie U/S), Colin Jackson (Brent/Patrick U/S), April Lowery (Barb/Daphne U/S) and Ryan Blanchard (Max/Shawn U/S).

The HOA production team includes Angelina Martinez** (playwright), Christy Arington (director), Melissa Golden (associate director), Lindsey Chidester (stage manager), Rose Hamill (production manager), AJ Morely (set design and props), C.W. van Baale~  (master electrician), Pete Dully (lighting and projections design) and Jessica Van Winkle (costume design).

~ denotes Factory Ensemble

✝ denotes Factory Artistic Associate

**Denotes Factory Theater Ensemble Emeritus

Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)


Angelina Martinez is a proud Factory emeritus member. In addition to playwriting, she has been an actor, director and set designer (not all at the same time) for several productions during her tenure with the company. She has also done these types of activities for other theater companies as well. She might possibly do any of these things again in the future. 


For more than 25 years, the Factory has created its shows from scratch, doing exactly the kind of theater they wanted to do. From writing workshops to the closing night bash, Factory shows are a unique experience that fits its exacting standards: original, bold, and full-tilt. Its shameless ensemble are ambassadors of a good time, making certain that Chicago remains heartily entertained.

The Factory Theater,1623 W. Howard St., begins its 28th season with the world premiere of The HOA, September 9 - October 20, written by Angelina Martinez and directed by Christy Arington. Previews are Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 11 at 3 p.m. The Press Opening is Friday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. and the performance schedule is Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets for The HOA  are $25 and may be purchased through the Box Office by calling 866-811-4111 or by visiting

Saturday, September 10, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 





Running time is approximately 60 minutes (no intermission)

Goodman Theatre and the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) presents the Midwest premiere of Pequeños Territorios en Reconstrucción by Teatro Linea de Sombra of Mexico City, appearing in a limited engagement September 21-25 at the Goodman. The production is produced as part of Destinos—the 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, a five-week festival of Latino theater artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S. and Latin America in shows, panels and student performances at venues citywide. Pequeños Territorios en Reconstrucción appears September 21 – September 25 in the 350-seat flexible Owen Theatre. Tickets ($10 –$25, subject to change) are now available at or by phone at 312-443-3800.

Photo Credit: Julie Cherki

The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), a transformative cultural engine helping drive the city’s local Latino theater community to a more prominent level, was founded by Myrna Salazar and the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA), the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC) and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA). Chicagoans are still stunned by the recent loss of Ms. Salazar, who passed away suddenly on August 3. “CLATA’s success would not have been possible without a visionary at the helm, a person with the tenacity and passion to bring Chicago’s Latino theater community to a level that had not yet been imagined. Now, in Myrna’s honor, CLATA is charged with the task of making sure her legacy forges ahead with the same unbridled zeal that she brought to her beloved organization, the Destinos Festival, and her everyday life,” wrote the CLATA staff in a program note dedicating this year’s Destinos to her memory.

Pequeños Territorios en Reconstrucción is among the six world premieres, four U.S. premieres and three Midwest premieres featured at 2022 Destinos. The complete festival line-up, with performances presented at marquee venues downtown, neighborhood storefront theaters and cultural institutions throughout Chicago, is now available at Directed by Jorge A. Vargas, the Midwest premiere features Sonya Madrigal, Shanttal Saad, Abril Pinedo and Alicia Laguna in a story about the “City of Women” in Turbaco, Colombias where 15 years ago, a group of women displaced by armed conflict created the “League of Displaced Women” and built 98 houses with their own hands. After a short stay there, Teatro Linea de Sombra created a documentary fable posing a series of ethical questions on the potential destiny of the settlement, of the women who built it and especially of the children who inhabit it.

Photo Credit: Julie Cherki


Jorge A. Vargas (Director) has been the artistic director of Teatro Línea de Sombra (Shadow Line Theatre) since its inception in 1993.  In the mid 1980s he studied at École de Mime Corporel Dramatique of Ettiene Decroux in Paris, which led to his first work, Galería de Moribundos (Gallery of Dying Men), and established Vargas in physical and visual theater in México City.  He subsequently trained with the International Theatre School for Latin America and the Caribbean in Havana, Cuba (1990) and Tlaxcala, Mexico (1994.) Until 2010, he alternated between devising experimental theater and directing plays written by authors such as Roland Schimmelpfenning, Jon Fosse, Anthony Neilson, Neil LaButte and Lars Norén. The Association of Theater Writers and Critics (UCCCT) twice recognized Vargas and Teatro Línea de Sombra (TLS) with Best Theatre Group in the Provinces (1982, 1991), and Vargas with two awards for Best Research Theatre Director (2001, 2005). Their work tours throughout Mexico and has toured to major festivals and theaters in France, Argentina, the U.S., Canada, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Spain, Finland, Russia, Korea, Slovenia and Macedonia. Amarillo, the hallmark work by Vargas with TLS, received the Latin ACE Award for the Best Foreign Production in New York, in 2012 and the Audience Award for the Best Performance of the 21st Exponto International Performing Arts Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Universal Forum of Cultures Monterrey commissioned Vargas to create and direct The Forge of the World, a large-scale performance piece inside Oven 3 of Fundidora Park in Monterrey. More than a million spectators attended its 80 performances. Their most recent international co-production, which Vargas also co-directed, is Artículo 13 (Article 13) with Cie Carabosse in France, an immersive installation regarding migratory movements around the world.  Last pieces of the company are – Baños Roma (2013); Pequeños Territorios en Reconstrucción (2014); Durango66; El Puro Lugar,  a Site Specific piece in Jalapa Veracruz and Theatre Version ( 2016-2017); Filo de Caballo(s) (2018), a commission of the Contermporary Arts Museum in Chicago that opened in fall 2018 at Teatro El Galeón; Danzantes del Alba, a co-production of Internation Cervantino Festival Teatro UNAM and TLS (2020-2021). Their most recent project is Zona Clausurada, a scenic installation presented at Museo Universitario del Chopo, UNAM.  

Sonya Madrigal (Narrator) is thrilled to be making her Goodman Theatre acting debut. Previously Sonya choreographed and was a movement consultant on the Goodmans productions of Zulema and American Mariachi. Sonya is a proud first-generation Mexican-American from Chicago IL, where she received her BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently an MFA acting candidate at the University of Iowa. Favorite Chicago credits include Day of Absence (Congo Square); Hope Part II; A Mexican Trilogy (Teatro Vista); Oedipus Rex and the premiere of David Auburn's The Adventures of Augie March (Court Theater). Recent credits include Henry V (Riverside Theater); Letters From Cuba and Our Lady of 121st. Sonya is proudly represented by Stewart Talent.  

Shanttal Saad is a Mexican-American actress, singer and songwriter with over 10 years of experience in working with performing arts with a focus on vocal proficiency and experimental music. With studies in drama, she has performed for theatrical productions in the U.S., Mexico and Europe as an actress and as a live musician working with international theater companies such as Teatro Línea de Sombra. She has created original soundtracks for theater, movies and radio. Shanttal is also known as Frida Canti in a project where she transforms into the lead performer of her own compositions and explores Latin genres, rock and folk music. 

Abril Pinedo was born in Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua in 198 and graduated from the University Theater Center, UNAM in 2010. With more than 20 years of artistic experience, she has performed in almost all areas of the performing arts. As an actress, she has participated in more than thirty productions, including Desert under lunar scenery by Alberto Villarreal; Words of love in German by Gilberto Guerrero; Bullet music by Hugo Salcedo under the direction of Alfonso Cárcamo; Nothing Always Everything Never with Colectivo Macramé directed by Mariana Gándara and Tales of Boca en Boca with Vereda Teatro, directed by Sofía Sanz. She has collaborated on numerous occasions with T3Y Teatro as director of Tania Mayrén's text, Hedda. She is the artistic director of the Colectivo La Maqueta with whom she has directed two productions, Radiocuento, music noise and sound (2016) and What can be invented, not all stories are for children (2016). She is currently working on her new project La Casa.

Alicia Laguna has trained at the Universidad de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico. She has been the artistic co-director of Teatro Línea de Sombra (TLS) since 1993 and a company actress and a creator of plays addressing the context of Mexico’s socio-political reality for over ten years. She has toured with TLS in Europe, South America, Canada, USA, Korea, China and Russia. As an actress she has participated in movies such as Norteado, directed by Rigoberto Perezcano and has won the prize for best actress at the Abu Dabhi Film Festival. She was, along with film director Maria Berns, a co-creator of the experimental film So Long. 


Sonya Madrigal

Shanttal Saad

Abril Pinedo

Alicia Laguna

Please note: Masks are currently recommended, but not required, while in the theater. Policies may change based on prevailing medical guidance. Learn more about Goodman’s current Health and Safety Protocols at


Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. The theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earner two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades. The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fifth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

Using the tools of the theatrical profession, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand the cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered free of charge for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

As a cultural and community organization invested in quality, diversity and community, Goodman Theatre is committed to using the art of theater for a better Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s Action Plan for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Access (IDEAA) was born out of the belief that progress means action, which includes building on the decades-long commitment to using art, assets and resources to contribute to a more just, equitable and anti-racist society.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation on the new Goodman center in 2000.

Today, Goodman Theatre is led by Artistic Director Susan V. Booth and Executive Director Roche Schulfer. Theater leadership also includes the distinguished members of the Artistic Collective: Rebecca Gilman, Dael Orlandersmith, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Kimberly Senior, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor and Mary Zimmerman. Jeff Hesse is Chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Fran Del Boca is Women’s Board President and Craig McCaw is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.


Now entering its fifth year, Destinos is the signature program of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), a transformative cultural engine helping drive the city’s local Latino theater community to a more prominent level.

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

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

The organization’s goal is to create the country’s leading international Latino theater festival with an emphasis on showcasing Chicago Latino theater artists and companies. Additionally, CLATA provides local groups ongoing organizational, marketing and financial support, and works diligently to create a permanent home for Chicago’s Latino theater artists. Ultimately, CLATA strives to underscore Chicago’s reputation as one of the most exciting and culturally diverse theater cities in the world.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2022

OPENING: World Premiere of Enough to Let the Light In at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater September 21-October 23, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar




The performance is presented in English. Runtime is 85 minutes

Melissa DuPrey (left) and Lisandra Tena star in Teatro Vista's psychological thriller Enough to Let the Light In

Teatro Vista opens its 2022-23 season with Enough to Let the Light In, a world premiere drama about love, truth, and the ghosts that won't let us go by Mexican-American actor/playwright/ filmmaker/director Paloma Nozicka.

It’s co-presented at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, September 21-October 23, 2022, as part of the 5th Destinos, Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. I'll be out for opening night, September 23rd, so check back soon for my full review. 

Enough to Let the Light In is a riveting psychological thriller about girlfriends Marc and Cynthia, who start an evening together celebrating a milestone. But the night quickly devolves into chaos as buried secrets are revealed and lives are irrevocably changed. 

(from left) Playwright Paloma Nozicka, director Georgette Verdin, and actors Melissa DuPrey and Lisandra Tena

Chicago’s own Melissa DuPrey, known for her role as Dr. Sara Ortiz on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, plays Marc. Lisandra Tena, who trained at the Theater School of DePaul and played Lola Guerrero on AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead, is Cynthia. Georgette Verdin directs.

“Enough to Let the Light In is a taut, poignant and startling exploration of love and loss,” said Verdin. “Audiences will experience one fateful evening in the lives of Marc and Cynthia, two women who are very much in love. But what happens when everything they thought they understood about each other gets thrown into question and their commitment is put through the ultimate test? Paloma’s play will have you leaning in and grasping for solid ground.” 

Nozicka, the playwright, elaborated, “Enough to Let the Light In is, at its core, a love story - albeit a different version than what we’re used to seeing onstage. I wanted to write something that features the characters that I want to see more of in theater - funny, complicated, deeply flawed women who are trying their best to deal with truly strange circumstances. My hope is that this play, and these characters, stay in people’s minds for a long, long time.”  

Teatro Vista’s production team includes Sotirios Livaditis (scenic design), Gregory Graham (costumes), Stefanie M. Senior (sound), Emma Deane (lights), Lonnae Hickman (props), Courtney Abbott (intimacy director), Adelina Feldman-Schultz (casting), Julie Jachym (production manager), Johnnie Schleyer (technical director) and Conchita Avitia (master electrician). Stage manager is Wendye Clarendon. Olivia Ellery is assistant stage manager. Covers are Gaby Moldovan and Sofia Tew. Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo are co-artistic directors of Teatro Vista. Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel is artistic producer. 

Previews of Enough to Let the Light In are Wednesday and Thursday, September 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. Press opening is Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. Performances run through October 23: Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater is located at 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Tickets, $25-$45, are on sale now at

Sign up for Teatro Vista’s e-newsletter at to receive first notice of new shows, episodes, and behind-the-scenes content, or follow Teatro Vista on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. 

Teatro Vista’s Enough to Let the Light In doubles as the company’s entry in the 5th Destinos, Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. This year’s annual, city-wide event, produced by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), will showcase top Latino theater artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S. and Latin America for five consecutive weeks, September 14-October 16, 2022. Visit to purchase tickets and see the full line-up.

Play Description: En Espanol

Una pareja disfruta una noche de celebración, pero rápidamente se convertirá en un caos a medida que algunos secretos vayan siendo revelados y sus vidas cambien para siempre. Enough to Let the Light In es un thriller psicológico sobre el amor, la verdad y los fantasmas que no nos abandonan.

This is a Teatro Vista Joint: In-person show discount opportunities

Student Nights: Thursday nights are Student Nights at Teatro Vista. Students with a valid student ID can get tickets at $15 with the code TVSTUDENT to every Thursday performance. (Please note: one ticket per student ID.)

Teatro For All: Teatro For All is a new initiative to offer affordable tickets to students, artists, seniors or anyone on a tight budget. Teatro For All tickets are available for every performance on a first come first served basis. We trust our community inherently and hope these tickets find the folks who need them most. If you need to access a Teatro For All priced ticket, please use code TEATROFORALL at checkout.

Group Tickets: Booking a group of 10 or more? Group rates are available. To check availability or other details, please send an email to

Covid-19 Policy: Enough to Let The Light In is co-presented at Steppenwolf 1700 Theater, which, at press time, requires patrons to wear masks. 

Enough to Let the Light In: Playwright, director and actor bios 

Paloma Nozicka (playwright) is a Mexican-American actor, writer and director. TV acting credits include recurring roles on The Red Line (CBS); Proven Innocent, Empire (FOX); Chicago Med, Chicago PD (NBC). She’s worked at some of the country's most prestigious theaters, including Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre. She's written several short plays, two short films, and currently has a feature film in development. Directing credits include her short film Each Lovely Thing (currently in festivals).

Georgette Verdin (director), is a Cuban-American director, arts educator and the current Michael Maggio Directing Fellow at Goodman Theatre. Since 2015, she has served as the Managing Artistic Director of Interrobang Theatre Project. Verdin is also a company member with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Select directing credits include Chagall in School (Grippo Stage Company at Theater Wit), Spay by Madison Fiedler (Rivendell Theatre), This Wide Night by Chloë Moss (Shattered Globe Theatre/Interrobang Theatre Project), Tribes by Nina Raine (Western Michigan University), the U.S. Premiere of Out of Love by Elinor Cook, as well as, Utility, the 2016 Yale Drama Series winner by Emily Schwend (Interrobang Theatre Project). Verdin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from McNeese State University and a Master in Directing from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Verdin received 3Arts Make-A-Wave grant in 2021 and is an associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Melissa DuPrey (Marc) is a multidisciplinary artist with roots from Humboldt Park, Chicago. After earning double Bachelor of the Arts degrees from the University of Houston, she returned to Chicago to join the all-Latina theatre company, Teatro Luna. Her one-woman show, SEXomedy (2012), was developed during their monthly series for women of color in the arts and received a Chicago Reader Recommendation, a Member's Pick, and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York. The popular show spurred a progressive sequel, SEXomedy 2.0, which debuted at Steppenwolf Theatre in April 2019. Her second solo show, SUSHI-frito, has also been critically acclaimed as part of MPAACT's Signature Series for solo artists. DuPrey is also a community organizer and spiritualist who also launched The Good Grief Project-an extension of the social justice component from her play GOOD GRIEF where communities of color are connected to local, accessible and multidisciplinary mental and spiritual wellness practitioners of color. In 2021, the New York-based new work development company, ARS NOVA, invited her to develop her fifth solo play, RISE OF THUNDERDOME, to a national digital audience. Her full-length play BRUJAJA was selected as part of 16th Street’s New Play Pop Up Reading Series for 2019 and received its world premiere in 2021 as a digital theatrical release produced by UrbanTheater Company. In 2014, she was selected as a new talent in the ABC Diversity Showcase in New York City. She has performed stand-up comedy in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. She is a featured actor in the Emmy-nominated web-series Brown Girls and has many regional and non regional theater credits in Chicago. She is credited with playing “Dr. Sara Ortiz” on Grey's Anatomy (Season 17 and 18). Other TV credits include a recurring appearance on Empire (FOX), and guest appearances on The Resident (FOX), Chicago PD (NBC), and The Chi (Showtime). Film credits include: Relative (2022), Long Division (2022), Cherry (2020), Two in the Bush (2017), The Way We Speak (2014) and Bromance (2014). As a musician and active member of her community, she is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture by way of the folkloric music, Bomba y Plena, with Africaribe and Las BomPleneras. She is currently an Ensemble Member at UrbanTheater Company and Artistic Associate at Sideshow Theater.

Lisandra Tena (Cynthia) graduated magna cum laude from the Theatre School at DePaul University. Stage credits include Mother Road (Goodman Theatre), Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology (Collaboraction Theatre), Your Problem with Men (Los Angeles Theatre Center), and her self-written one-woman show, Güera (tour included Illinois, New Mexico, and Arizona). Tena has also appeared in numerous films, commercials, and voiceovers. She is best known for her role as Lola Guerrero on AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead. Other television credits include The Good Place, NCIS, Chicago PD and Good Trouble. She is currently based in Los Angeles. 

Coming Soon as part of Teatro Vista’s 2022-23 season

Teatro Vista’s season’s theme is “Shadow Work,” featuring two world premiere live productions and two exciting new digital works intended “to bring to light that which sits in the unconscious mind.”

(from left) Marvin Quijada, Sandra Márquez, Alice da Cunha

Next spring, Chicago will be hailing The Dream King, a silent musical by Teatro Vista ensemble member Marvin Quijada, co-directed by ensemble member Sandra Márquez and Alice da Cunha.

The Dream King is a story of a man who falls in love with the woman of his dreams while in his dreams. A story told using no words. An exploration of the psyche told through movement, circus, projections, puppetry, and a willingness to let go of what one thinks a play should be. Performance dates and venue are TBA.

Teatro Vista digital productions in 2022-23

(from left) Isaac Gómez, Monty Cole

Digital productions dropping this season are La Vuelta, an original Teatro Vista film exploring how our existence in the world has ripple effects beyond us, particularly in times of great crisis and isolation. La Vuelta is written by ensemble member Isaac Gómez, directed by Monty Cole, and devised by ensemble members Charín Álvarez, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Ramón Ybarra, Eddie Torres, Sandra Marquez and Sandra Delgado.  

Gabriel Ruiz

In addition, look for season two of The Fifth World, a serial fiction podcast written by ensemble member Gabriel Ruiz.

Season one, voiced by an all-Teatro Vista ensemble cast, followed Sebastian Reyes as he arrived in the small desert town of Palomas, Arizona to make his name producing a true crime story about a missing child. But things weren’t always what they seemed in Palomas, and Seba found himself in a whole other world. called season one of Teatro Vista’s serial podcast “tense, suspenseful, horrifying, gorgeous, and evocative…a must-listen.” Season two will uncover even more mysteries and seal Seba’s fate in a riveting tale rooted in Aztec mythology, set in modern times and influenced by a pandemic.

Get ready by listening to season one of The Fifth World, available to stream for free via, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Enjoy Season 1, episodes 1 & 2 of The Fifth World. If you dare.

“At Teatro Vista, we believe the artists we collaborate with are inherently genius”

Teatro Vista Co-Artistic Directors Lorena Diaz (left) and Wendy Mateo

In a statement accompanying Teatro Vista’s season announcement, Co-Artistic Directors Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo wrote, “At Teatro Vista, we believe that the artists we collaborate with are inherently genius. These artists have not always been given the privilege to explore their work through different expressions in spaces where they see themselves reflected. As artists of color, we know what it means to be drawn into boxes we feel powerless to break out of. It is the work of our artists that defies the idea of what we have been known to produce as a Latine theater company and pushes us into greater depths of expression. Teatro Vista’s 2022-23 ‘Shadow Work’ season will explore what healing looks like and how humans are nurtured to fight against their dark unconscious, in a courageous search for the peace of mind of their inner light.”

Sign up for Teatro Vista’s e-newsletter at to receive first notice of new shows, episodes, and behind-the-scenes content, or follow Teatro Vista on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. 

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