Hi.  My name is Jeff Trainor.

I’m a member of the Chicago Inclusion Project and an actor here in Chicago.

I wanted to say something to the white actors and performers in this city.

If you are accepting roles to play characters that are not of your racial background, then you are actively contributing to the whitewashing of Chicago stages and stories.

Representation is important. Its important for artists of all different races, genders,  and physical capabilities to create, to be seen on stage, to have their voices heard and its important for the audiences coming to see shows to see themselves up on stage.

So, to the white actors and performers in Chicago that are accepting roles to play characters that are not of their racial background, what are you going to do?

Do you want to be remembered as Ed Skrein?  Who recently withdrew from the Hellboy reboot when he realized the character he is portraying is Asian.

Or do you want to be like Laurence Olivier in blackface?

It’s your choice.

June 22, 2018

Continuing our support of productions that embrace inclusion for artists and audiences, below are shows open or opening soon in Chicago that we feel are moving our community forward.  As a staff, we have not necessarily seen all of these shows but are really glad they are happening.

We are excited to list shows that offer some or all of the following:


- Non-traditional casting

- Accessible storytelling

- Variety of perspectives on the design and production teams

- Playwrights/Directors from underrepresented communities

- Diversity in season programming

Buy tickets to shows that celebrate inclusion. Then write to producers and tell them you want more of it. Decision makers are led by numbers and this is one way you can make a difference.​

The Roommate

Written by Jen Silverman

Directed by Phylicia Rashad

June 21st - August 5th

Sharon is Midwestern nice. But to Robyn, her new roommate from the Bronx, that just means very nosy and very, very talkative. A comical mismatch leads to a surprising and touching friendship in this new comedy about how early-life choices lead to mid-life challenges and the unexpected rewards of bridging the divide. The Roommate is a warm, funny story about a chance cohabitation that sets two lives spinning. Think The Odd Couple meets Breaking Bad.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Ora Jones, Sandra Marquez, John Iacovelli, Samantha C. Jones, Xavier Pierce, Rob Milburn, Michael Bodeen, Laura Glenn, Christine D. Freeburg, JC Clementz and Hallie Gordon.

Tickets are $24 - $76 and can be purchased here.

Tilikum

Written by Kristiana Rae Colón’s

Directed by Lilli-Anne Brown

June 22nd - July 29th

Tilikum was a king, and the oceans of the world were his. Now, he is a captive in a marine amusement park, doomed to live merely as an opportunity for profit. Alone behind bars he forgets the feel of freedom, but when fellow prisoners ignite the fires of his memory, he starts down a path that threatens to consume everything. Ripped from the headlines, Kristiana Rae Colón’s Tilikum explores captivity, violence and rebellion in a vital and visceral blend of theatre, drumming and dance. Poetic and lyrical, Tilikum calls out the power structures--both corporate and human--that ensure continued oppression, and the complicity of those willing to stand by and do nothing.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Gregory Geffrard, Matt Fletcher, Sigrid Sutter, William Boles, Izumi Inaba, Jared Gooding, Victoria Deiorio, Paul Deziel, Amy Peter, Noelle Simone, Coco Elysses, Melissa F. DuPrey, Joyce Liza Rada Lindsey, Savannah Clements, Benjamin W. Dawson, Ellen Willett, Isaac Gomez, Chad Hain

Tickets are $20 can be purchased here.

From the Mississippi Delta

Written by Endesha Ida Mae Holland

Directed by Tim Rhoze 

June 16th - July 1st 

This beautifully authored dramatic autobiographical play captures the story of a young girl growing up in the 1950's in an impoverished Southern community, battling against the harsh realities of that era. We follow her as she courageously fights her way to personal, spiritual and professional triumph. This inspiring production with live music will reaffirm that self-determination, love and faith can conquer the most insurmountable odds. Without a doubt, an engaging piece of theatre.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Asia Jackson, Jazzma Pryor, Elana Elyce and Nuwki Nu.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

The View Upstairs

Written by Max Vernon

Directed by Derek Van Barham

June 22nd - July 22nd 

Circle Theatre is also proud to announce the Chicago premiere production of The View UpStairs, by Max Vernon. When Wes, a young fashion designer from 2017, buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, he finds himself transported to the UpStairs Lounge, a vibrant seventies gay bar. As this forgotten community comes to life, Wes embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-exploration that spans two generations of queer history. The View UpStairs asks what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can help guide all of us through an uncertain future.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Kevin Webb, Averis I. Anderson, Jeff Bouthiette, Frederick Harris, Caitlin Jackson, Ruben Melendez Ortiz, Robert Quintanilla, Selene Perez, Eric Lindahl, Matt Frye, Jennifer Ledesma, Ben F. Locke, Cari Meixner, Juwon Tyrel Perry, Roy Samra, Jon Martinez, Jeff Bouthiette, Jimmy Jagos, G. Max Maxin IV, Chris Tuttle, J.C. Widman, Denise Yvette Serna, Tyler Miles, Nicholas Reinhart, Bobby Arnold.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

De Troya

Written by Caridad Svich

Directed by Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary

through June 30

A mysteriously wounded girl washes on shore and meets young Mara on the riverbank. Worried sisters Lupe and Lena wonder if tonight is the night that their niece will disappear without a trace? Nostalgic Horacio drives his restless grandson away with another rambling story from his childhood. Boiling under the surface of a fallen city, two families wrestle with rebellion, regret, and loss of faith.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Valeria Rosero, Isaly Viana, Tamika Lechee Morales, Isabel Quintero, Arik Vega, Noe Jara, Alina Arzeta de Pomian, Aissa Guerra, Raul Santiago, Tony Adams, Cat Davis, Uriel Gomez, Jeffrey Levin, Mark Trace Umstattd, Sasha Smith, Amy Skrodski, Megan Gray, Corrine Hastings, Sofia Tew and Ian Scarlato

There are two ways to see a performance: 1) First come, first served, no-cost admission: Halcyon holds at least one-third of our seats to be available for no-cost admission on a first come, first served basis for each performance. To access these seats, provide your contact information at our box office beginning one hour prior to the show. 2) Guaranteed admission: Audience members who want to guarantee entry to a performance can do so for a small fee paid in advance online on in person at our box office. ($20 for plays and can be purchased here.)

June 7, 2018

Continuing our support of productions that embrace inclusion for artists and audiences, below are shows open or opening soon in Chicago that we feel are moving our community forward.  As a staff, we have not necessarily seen all of these shows but are really glad they are happening.

We are excited to list shows that offer some or all of the following:
- Non-traditional casting

- Accessible storytelling

- Variety of perspectives on the design and production teams

- Playwrights/Directors from underrepresented communities

- Diversity in season programming

Buy tickets to shows that celebrate inclusion. Then write to producers and tell them you want more of it. Decision makers are led by numbers and this is one way you can make a difference.​

Bull in a China Shop

Written by Bryna Turner

Directed by Keira Fromm

May 24th - June 30th

“You want a training ground for good pious wives? F**k that. I’ll give you fully evolved human beings.”

Determined to teach the women of Mount Holyoke College that there is more to life than marriage, Mary Woolley takes her role as President very seriously. However, her partner, Jeannette Marks, is more interested in igniting a revolution that extends beyond the hallowed halls of the university. This fast paced feminist comedy is a chronicle of bravery, romance, and the reinvention of women’s education during the suffrage movement. Class is in session! 

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Kelli Simpkins, Aurora Adichi-Winter, Adithi Chandrashekar, Mary Beth Fisher, Emjoy Gavino, William Boles, Mieka Van Der Ploeg, Claire Chrzan, Eric Backus, Jamie Karas, Helen Lattyak, Andrea Enger, and Catherine Allen. Tickets are $20 - $38 and can be purchased here.

The Displaced
Written by Isaac Gomez

Directed by Jo Cattell

May 31st - July 1st

Marísa and Lev have just moved into their new Pilsen apartment in hopes of rekindling a spark that's long been extinguished. While looking for the circuit breaker in the attic, a mysterious coconut appears, leftover from the previous tenants with a dark history inside it. The Displaced explores the wake of pain and yearning left behind when gentrification forces people out of their homes and the kind of vengeance that can come from it.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Rashaad Hall, Karen Rodriguez, Arnel Sancianco, Christine Pascual, Erik Barry, Sarah D. Espinoza, Emily Boyd, Rachel Flesher, Zack Payne, Marika Mashburn, Rebecca Adelsheim, David Moreland and MJ Dougherty. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Neverwhere

Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman 
Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric 
Directed by Ilesa Duncan

May 25th - July 15th

Richard Mayhew commits an act of kindness on the streets of London and finds himself trapped in a shadow world beneath the city. Lady Door returns home one day to find her family slain and her life upended. Drawn together by fate – and forces more powerful than they can guess – these two must brave countless trials, uncover the truth behind a dark conspiracy, and face the indomitable Great Beast before they can set things right again. Journey to London Below with a rogues’ gallery of liars, outcasts, and assassins, on a treacherous quest to awaken the hero within, in a new production of Lifeline’s hit adaptation of the 1996 novel by Neil Gaiman.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: LaQuin Groves, Aneisa Hicks, Jose Nateras, Samantha Newcomb, Michaela Petro, Michael Reyes, John Henry Roberts, Matthew Singleton, Dave Skvarla, Paul Chakrin, Jennifer Cheung, Kim Fukawa, Gary Henderson, Dakota Hughes, Oly Oxinfry, Becky Bishop, Aly Renee Amidei, Alan Donahue, Morgan Gire, Andrew Hansen, Becca Jeffords, Michelle Lopez-Rios, Kyle Mundil Dye, Mike Oleon, Victor Bayona, Richard Gilbert, Maren Robinson and Michelle Underwood. Tickets are $20 - $40 and can be purchased here. 

Hamlet

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Monty Cole

June 1st - July 29th 

After the death of his dad, a young black man named Hamlet returns home to grieve and seek revenge. Fighting against the injustice of his father’s murder and the powers that want him out of the picture, Hamlet quickly loses power and sanity. Directed by guest artist Monty Cole, The Gift’s retelling of Shakespeare’s great tragedy will crack open the mind of one of western drama’s most fascinating and entertaining characters. Running Time: 3 Hours.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Daniel Kyri, John Kelly Connolly, Gregory Fenner, Martel Manning, Hannah Toriumi, Robert Cornelius, Shanésia Davis, Casey Morris, Alex Lam, Netta Walker, William Boles, Samantha Jones, Claire Chrzan, Michelle Benda, Jeffery Levin, Michael Petersen. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here. 

The Opportunities of Extinction
Written by Sam Chanse
Directed by Jen Poulin
June 1st – 30th


While taking refuge from a social media firestorm on a last-minute camping trip, Mel and Arjun encounter Georgia, a solitary young woman studying the impact of climate change on the imperiled Joshua Tree.  At the crossroads of creation and obliteration, lovers and strangers in the Mojave Desert explore what it means to survive in a relationship – and a world – on the brink of extinction.


The cast, artistic, and production team include: Echaka Agba, Richard Costes, Aria Szalai-Raymond, Priya Mohanty,  Vijay Sarathi, Elsa Torner, Jackie Marschke, Rose Hamill, David Weiss, Devon Green, Martin Hanna, Eric Backus, Cat Davis, and Therese Ritchie. All tickets are pay-what-you-can. 

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