November 18, 2016

Continuing our support of productions that embrace inclusion for artists and audiences, below are shows that you can buy tickets to this week that we feel are moving our community in the right direction. Let your wallet do the talking. Buy tickets to shows that celebrate inclusion.​ Then write to producers and tell them you want to see more of it. Decision makers are led by numbers and this is one way we can all make a difference.

Nothing Without a Company presents [Trans]formation 

Devised by Ronen Kohn, Darling, Squire, Avi Roque, Gaby Labotka and Kevin Sparrow

Directed by Company Member Gaby Labotka

Co-produced by The Living Canvas, this world premiere is devised from the works of and performed by transgender/genderqueer/intersex/non-binary artists. Designed and directed in the style of The Living Canvas, nude performers embody the expressive power and diversity of the human form under evocative projections to reveal, instead of conceal, every body’s beautiful possibility.

The [Trans]formation cast includes Gabriel Faith Howard, Ronen Kohn, Lily Ryan-Lozon, Chase Nuerge, Ben Polson, Kevin Sparrow and Charlie Baker.

 At The Vault @ Collaboraction STudios

The Flat Irons Arts Building

1579 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Through December 17

Reserve tickets HERE

Red Tape Theatre presents Hedda Gabler

Written by Henrik Ibsen
Adapted and translated by Nigel O Hearn
Directed by Max Truax 

O’Hearn distills the action of Ibsen’s text, placing greater focus on the inner conflict that drives Hedda to extremes.  Newly married and returned from her honeymoon, Hedda finds herself ensnared by social circumstances and surrounded by reminders of her oppression.  Her attempts to manipulate her oppressors and reclaim personal agency only serve to reveal the inescapability of her plight.  With inventive staging by Artistic Director Max Truax, Red Tape’s production of A HEDDA GABLER will portray the world as Hedda sees it – starkly formal, suffocatingly rigid and entirely unjust.

The cast includes Aayisha Humphrey, Johnard Washington, Michael Kingston, Austin Oi, Joan McGrath, Sarah Grant

Pride Arts Center
4147 N Broadway
Through December 17

Get your tickets HERE

Griffin Theatre Company presents WINTERSET
Written by Maxwell Anderson 
Directed by Jonathan Berry

A rare revival, in keeping with the Griffin's work to explore lost plays like London Wall and Men Should Weep. Inspired by the infamous murder case of the 1920s when the Italian anarchists and immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were arrested, convicted and electrocuted despite the insubstantial evidence against them. Anderson's 1935 poetic verse play follows a young man's quest to prove his father's innocence years after he was executed for a murder he may not have committed Winner of the first New York Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best Play.

The cast includes Maurice Demus, Kiayla Jackson, Chris Acevedo, Larry Baldacci, Johnny Moran, Josh Odor, Matt Rockwood, Skylar Schrempp, Londen Shannon, Bradford Stevens and Norm Woodel

The Den's Upstaris Mainstage
1323 N Milwaukee Ave
Through December 23

Get your tickets HERE

About Face Theatre presents I Am My Own Wife
Written by Doug Wright
Directed by Andrew Volkoff

I AM MY OWN WIFE is based on the true story of transgender antique collector Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (born Lothar Berfelde) who, against all odds, survived the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin living openly as a female. Traditionally staged as a one-person play performed by a male actor, Director Andrew Volkoff’s re-examination will feature transgender actress Delia Kropp and three additional actors. The new production will frame Charlotte’s story through a transgender lens, celebrating transvisibility through the life story of one of the most fascinating transgender women in the historical record.

The cast features Scott Duff, Matt Holzfiend, Ninos Baba and Delia Kropp.

Theatre Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave
through December 10

Get your tickets HERE

Eclipse Theatre Company prsents The Little Flower of East Orange
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Steve Scott

When Therese Marie arrives in the emergency room of a small hospital in the Bronx, suffering from hypothermia and in shock, no one there knows her story. To the doctors and nurses, she is just another abandoned elderly woman who can't even tell them her name. But Therese Marie's dementia is not all that it seems. And when her prodigal son, Danny, returns to New York, Therese Marie must fight to maintain her dignity in light of her son's insistence on confronting the ugly secrets of their past. In this unconventional family drama, Stephen Adly Guirgis gives us a mother and son who must face a long family legacy of abuse in order to find the true meaning of grace. 

The cast features Jeannie Affelder, Donavan Diaz, Ashley Hicks, Ebony Joy, John Arthur Lewis, Jess Manard, John Henry Roberts, Mark A. Roberts, Abbas Salem and Michael Stark

The Athenaeum Theatre
2936 N Southport Ave
Through December 18
Get your tickets HERE

The House Theatre of Chicago presents The Nutcracker
Written by Jake Minton and Phillip Klapperich
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rapley

The House’s fantastical expansion of this holiday classic centers on young Clara’s journey to save Christmas in the face of grief. With the help of a magical nutcracker, this brave girl will risk the darkness, fight the Rat King, and save her family! This modern holiday production weaves together riveting dialogue, astonishing puppetry, original song, and spellbinding spectacle to tell a heartwarming, darkly moving story of magic and hope -- a fun outing fit for the whole family.

The cast includes Amanda de la Guardia, Nicholas Bailey, Ian Maryfield, Torrey Hanson, Joey Steakley, Rachel Shapiro, Desmond Gray and Ariana Burks 

Chopin Theatre
1543 W Division St
Through December 28

Get your tickets HERE

Court Theatre presents Electra
Written by Sophocles
Adapted by Nicholas Rudall
Directed by Seret Scott

Proclaiming justice, Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus murdered her husband, Agamemnon, after his triumphant return from the Trojan War. Now, many long, quiet years have passed and she cannot anticipate the judgments that will soon arrive in Argos. Her vengeful daughter Electra and son Orestes reunite and scheme to confront their mother-upholding the House of Atreus' eternal mission to balance the scales, they seek to reclaim their father's throne.

The cast of Electra includes Caren Blackmore, Thomas J. Cox, Kate Fry, Emjoy Gavino, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Rashaad Hall, Sandra Marquez, Michael Pogue, Tracy Walsh and Dexter Zollicoffer.

Court Theatre
5535 S Ellis Avenue
Through December 11
Get your tickets HERE

The Second City presents You and Me

Developed by Michael Patrick Thornton

YOU & ME is a two-person, entirely improvised, no suggestion set with Michael Patrick Thornton & a guest artist. YOU & ME originally premiered at The Den Theatre where it enjoyed a year-long run. It has since appeared at the Chicago Improv Festival and at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where Artistic Director Les Waters calls the show “Hilarious, horrifying, and human. Quite magical, really.”
Thornton says, “I keep hearing from my actor friends how fearful and alien improv feels to them and vice-versa with my improv pals regarding theater. This is an unfortunate and unnecessary perceptual divide. Whether dialogue is written or invented, great scenes are about people needing each other and listening to each other. YOU & ME hopes to playfully re-patch this schism, refresh our faith in collective imagination, and reinforce the liberating truism that for this particular theatrical event, all we need and have is You & Me.”  A portion of the proceeds from this run of YOU & ME will be donated to Roundup River Ranch.

YOU & ME will feature Michael Patrick Thornton with Hannah Toriumi, Linsey Page Morton, Robert Schleifer, Tracy Letts and Emjoy Gavino

The Blackout Cabaret 
230 W North Avenue
Through December 16
Get your tickets HERE

The Hypocrites present Cinderella at the Theater of Potatoes
by Andra Velis Simon
based on Cendrillion by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Directed by Sean Graney

Adapted from Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s 1904 opera Cendrillon, and many of her other compositions, Andra Velis Simon’s musical-play is an elegantly irreverent exploration of the classic fairy tale. Here, Cinderella’s version of happily-ever-after does not include acceptance by the Prince. In the actor-as-orchestra style of The Hypocrites’ Gilbert & Sullivan opera work, Artistic Director Sean Graney directs this fun holiday-time show, perfect for the whole family. From the co-adapter of H.M.S. Pinafore and director of All Our Tragic.

The cast features Gay Glenn, Amanda Martinez, Dana Omar, Joel Rodriguez, Leslie Ann Sheppard*, Alex Walker and Aja Wiltshire.

The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 
1329 N. Milwaukee Ave
Through January 8
Get your tickets HERE

Lifeline Theatre presents Thumbelina
by Hans Christian Andersen
Adapted and directed by Amanda Delheimer Dimond

In collboration with Marian Green, Brandi Lee and Liz Rice

Born from a flower and stolen away by a greedy toad, tiny Thumbelina never knew a family of her own. Pursued by all manner of woodland creatures eager to possess her, she must make her way through the great big world with nothing but her wits and will to protect her. A series of whimsical and magical adventures unfold as she sets out to find a community to call her own. Let your imagination soar with Thumbelina as she travels over streams, through forests, and on the wings of majestic birds in a powerful, dance-inspired tale about growing up and finding your own path, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen.
Recommended for kids 5 and up. Children under 2 are not permitted.

The cast includes Bryan Bosque, Antoniao LaVance, Bouie Jr, Nate Buursma, Brandi Lee, Krystal Ortiz and Dominque Watkins

Lifeline Theatre
6912 N Glenwood Ave
through November 27
Get your tickets HERE

Poetic Forum Collective presents Devour
Directed by Tara Branham

We've been blessed with a platform to PERFORM our PURPOSE. 
We bring our TRUTH
We bring our JOY
We bring you VOICES that don't tell the full story but acknowledge that in a times such as this, we must SPEAK
This is an amalgamation of poetry, prose, audience participation, puppetry, music, and LOVE.

The ensemble features Greg Geffrard, Asia Calcagno, Heather Roberts and Jeff Trainor.

Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave
November 20
Get your tickets HERE

November 15, 2016

The Chicago Inclusion Project's mission to illuminate our shared human story by bringing together communities of people who have been separated for a multitude of reasons, embracing the idea of acceptance and truly seeing each other seems more pressing now than ever before.  Creating spaces for each and every one of us to grieve and create and expand is vital.  Action is the only option.

But what do we do?  And how do we do it?

For starters, we can put our energy, support, money, time, whatever we have available to us into the institutions that will protect the communities at now risk. This city contains a stunning amount of organizations you can volunteer for RIGHT now -- these are just a few:

For the LGBTQI communities

Broadway Youth Center:  For more than 1,500 teens and young adults, the Broadway Youth Center (BYC) of Howard Brown Health is a haven to seek refuge, medical care, social services, clothes and other much-needed care. All of our services are for youth, ages 12 to 24. BYC sees anyone, regardless of ability to pay.

- Chicago Ambassadors of the Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.  The Chicago Ambassadors are a network of inspiring volunteers who help to expand our reach, raise awareness of our programs, raise life-saving funds, plan regional events, and advocate for the young people we serve.Ambassadors are an integral part of our mission to prevent suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.  

- Center on Halsted:  Center on Halsted is proud of our legacy of advocacy, support and educational services. The same services that helped form the core of Center on Halsted's programming.

- Chicago House - Chicago House and Social Service Agency serves individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV prevention services, legal services, and other supportive programs.

For Immigrant and Refugee, Muslim and Latinx Rights

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:  Dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

Grassroots Illinois Action – A community-based organization building a permanent, grassroots independent political organization. GIA works to expand the progressive influence of our members by organizing and empowering eachother to address community needs and promote economic and racial justice.Our community needs leadership who will fight for policies that benefit working families, and who will address the issues that affect our communities.

- Enlace Chicago - Enlace Chicago is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the residents of the Little Village community by fostering a physically safe and healthy environment in which to live and by championing opportunities for educational advancement and economic development.

- Muslim Women Resource Center - The Muslim Women Resource Center’s mission is to assist immigrant and refugee Muslim women and their families in overcoming cultural and language barriers, while empowering them with the appropriate occupational skills for them to become self-sufficient and ready to enter the job market.

For the African American community

- the #LetUsBreathe Collective -This aims to harness creative capital and cultural production to deconstruct systemic injustice in America and worldwide. A grassroots alliance of artists, journalists, and activists, we use our talents to amplify marginalized voices, disrupt the status quo, offer opportunities for healing and education, and provoke critical thought and dialogue about the intersections of oppression through film, music, theater, poetry, and civil disobedience.

- The Lucy Parsons Lab - A transparency non-profit that seeks to engage our community in a horizontal manner while organizing around digital rights issues, supporting free and open source projects and seeking the free flow of information globally.  The Lucy Parsons Labs is a Chicago-based collaboration between data scientists, transparency activists, and technologists which focuses on the intersection of digital rights and on-the-streets issues. The core group is made up of data scientists, sysadmins, and activists with a goal of merging these issues into a functional non-profit.

- Black Youth Project 100 - BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a collective focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens.

- Rainbow PUSH Coalition - The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Their mission is to protect, defend, and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.

For Reproductive Rights and Sexual Assault Victims

- Planned Parenthood of Illinois - Planned Parenthood of Illinois is Illinois' most trusted provider of reproductive health care. Each health center provides preventive services that help women, families and communities stay healthy including: lifesaving cancer screenings, breast health care, well-woman exams, contraceptive services, and sexually transmitted infection prevention and treatment.  

- American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois - The ACLU’s Reproductive Rights Project seeks, through litigation, public education and legislative advocacy, to make certain that all in our society have access to safe and effective contraception, sexuality education and information, reproductive technologies, prenatal care, childbearing assistance and safe, legal, and accessible abortion. ACLU strives to ensure that women have the right to decide whether and when to bear a child and the resources to effectuate their decisions. They believe that these decisions should be made without government interference and that all people must have equal access to the information and resources necessary to make informed, independent choices about their reproductive lives. Because of our work, Illinois has become a destination for people throughout the country seeking quality reproductive healthcare and information without harmful government restrictions.

- Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault - ICASA member rape crisis centers are located across the state and provide services to approximately 98% of the state's population. Each center responds to victims of sexual assault and several centers provide services to multiple counties. Each center operates a 24-hour-hotline that provides services every day of the year. Staff and volunteers provide counseling, education and advocacy for victims and their families regardless of age, race or income. The rape crisis centers conduct training and prevention programs for local schools, law enforcement, hospitals and civic groups.

- Sarah's Inn - Sarah’s Inn provides comprehensive services for families affected by domestic violence so that they get the support they need to find safety, rebuild their lives, and heal. Our legal support services help ensure that survivors of domestic violence receive equal rights and protection under the law. Sarah’s Inn is a community leader in educating children and adolescents about how to cultivate healthy relationships to prevent future violence from occurring. Working in partnership with local stakeholders, we run education and training programs to promote an appropriate community response to violence.

For the Arts 

Albany Park Theater Project - A multiethnic, youth theater ensemble that inspires people to envision a more just and beautiful world. Dedicated to art, to youth, and a vision of social justice, APTP makes a home in one of the three most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the entire country, where we create original theater based on the life experiences of people whose stories might otherwise go untold: urban teens, immigrants, and working-class Americans. The art APTP makes enriches the cultural vitality and quality of life in their neighborhood and throughout Chicago.

- Barrel of Monkeys Productions - Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is an ensemble of actor/educators who create an alternative learning environment in which children share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations. BOM accomplishes this through creative writing workshops and in-school performances of children’s stories. BOM also engages the broader community in support of the visions of children through public performances of their work. BOM's vision is a radically kind Chicago that champions children’s ideas.

- Free Street Theater - Free Street Theater creates performance by, for, and with a wide range of participants, challenges ideas of where theater belongs and who belongs in a theater, and uses theater to ask questions, prompt dialogue, and build community.

- A.B.L.E. - Artists Breaking Limits & Expectations. Their mission is to provide artistic experiences through which individuals with special needs feel accepted and empowered to discover their own unique voices, and develop the confidence and skills to share who they are and what they are truly ABLE to do!

- Hope 31:9 - This company strives tell stories that will speak up for the people who have no voice, no dreams, deferred hope. As an ensemble they will serve as the vessels of those whose voices demand to be heard.

November 5, 2016

Continuing our support of productions that embrace inclusion for artists and audiences, below are shows that you can buy tickets to this week that we feel are moving our community in the right direction. Let your wallet do the talking. Buy tickets to shows that celebrate inclusion.​ Then write to producers and tell them you want to see more of it. Decision makers are led by numbers and this is one way we can all make a difference.

American Theater Company CORE presents Battleaxe Betty, a workshop and talkback

Written by Molly Brennan
Songs by Diego Colon
Directed by Jay Worthington, Malic White and others

"Battleaxe Betty" is the story of a Warrior Princess who enlists a Heavy Metal Rock Star to assist her in challenging her predestined fate.  For this workshop, a crew of collaborative artists are going to explore storytelling techniques that include and celebrate a wide range of ability differences. Artists who are blind, who are deaf, or who use a wheelchair or other device will be devising with artists who are not disabled to make a Heavy Metal Fantasy Sword Fighting Awesomeplay.  This is strictly a workshop to experiment with the material, and will be presented as a demonstration of the kinds of work that may be included in a full production.

Collaborators/Performers: Evan Bivins, Lindsay Bivins, Matt Bivins, Becca Brown, Sydney Charles, Richard Costes, Sammi Grant, Havalah Grace, Sharriese Hamilton, Terri Hudson, Justin LaPorte, Jessica Lyons, Marti Lyons, DK Madison, Aidan McCormack, Almanya Naruda, Darcy Woods and MORE!

At American Theater Company 

1909 W Byron St

November 7

Reserve tickets HERE

Pegasus Theatre Company presents Rutherford's Travels

Adapted Ilesa Duncan and David Barr III

Directed by Ilesa Duncan

A spellbinding tale based on the beloved book MIDDLE PASSAGE. Told through Rutherford Calhoun’s 1830s log entries, the newly freed Illinois youth has migrated south to New Orleans seeking fortune, where he stows away on an outbound rigger to escape debtors. But The Republic isn’t just any ship. It’s a slave ship and it’s headed to Africa!

Ensemble includes Breon Arzell, Osiris Khepera, Gary Houston, Darren Jones, Andrew Malone, Ron Quade, Nelson Rodriguez, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Naima Hbrail Kidjo, Heather Chrisler and David Fehr.

At Chicago Dramatists
773 N Aberdeen

Through December 4

TICKETS $18-30

Reserve your tickets HERE

The Goodman Theater in collaboration with Free Street Theater presents Every 28 Hours

Featuring work by Rasheedat Badejo, Hedi Van, Ova Saopeng, Aleshea Harris, Shruti Purkayastha, Sigrid Gilmer, Claudia Alick, Prince Gomolvilas, Anu Yadav, Amina Henry, Psalmayene 24, Ike Holter, Paul Tully, David Henry Hwang, James McManus, Shishir Kurup, BrianKushner, Marshall Jones III, D'lo, Neil LaBute, Tarell Alvin Mccraney, Stew, Jerome A Parker and UNIVERSES

The Every 28 Hours Plays, commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and developed with the One-Minute Play Festival, is a national collaboration inspired by our current Civil Rights Movement. The title focuses on the widely shared and contested statistic that every 28 hours in America, a black person is killed by the police, vigilante, or security guard. The collection of 75 one minute plays about this historic time were written by playwrights across the nation and then developed in a week-long residency in St Louis which included community members, artists, law enforcement and activists.

The Goodman, in collaboration with Free Street Theater, will be one of several theatres across the country presenting a staged reading of these plays and engaging in a conversation born out of the outrage surrounding Michael Brown’s 2014 death in Ferguson, Missouri. 

At Goodman Theatre
170 N Dearborn St Chicago

November 7

TICKETS free, reservations required 

Reserve your tickets HERE

Timeline Theatre Company in collaboration with The Yard presents Cardboard Piano

Written by Hansol Jung

Directed by Mechelle Moe and Joel Ewing

On the eve of the millennium in Northern Uganda, the daughter of an American missionary and a local teenage girl steal into a candlelit church to exchange vows in a secret wedding ceremony. But when an escalating civil war encroaches on their fragile union, they cannot escape its reach. Confronting the cost of intolerance, this powerful drama examines violence and the struggle to rebuild in its wake, as well as the human capacity for love and forgiveness.

The cast features TimeLine Associate Artist Charles Andrew Gardner; The Yard Company Members Dana Murphy, Victor Musoni, Liv Shine, Sharrell Rhodes and Ireon Roach; and Brittney Love Smith and Julian Parker.

At Timeline Theatre

615 W. Wellington Ave. 

November 7

TICKETS free, reservation required 

Reserve your tickets HERE

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