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.
Babes With Blades Theatre Company presents
Women of 4G
Written by Amy Tofte
Directed by Lauren Katz
Through September 14
at Factory Theatre, 1623 W Howard St Chicago
This is the Babes first adventure into the world of science fiction as this production takes place 75 years in the future. In Women of 4G, an all-female crew and their male captain depart on what appears to be a routine mission to Mars until the captain is murdered and the real mission comes to light. Part murder mystery, part space thriller, Women of 4G uses a science fiction world to ask questions about women in power as well as their leadership, responsibility and, ultimately, sacrifice.
The cast, artistic and production team include Jillian Leff* (Ensign Pierce), Ashley Yates (Stark), LaKecia Harris (Nataki), Jazmin Corona (Wollman), Catherine Dvorak+ (Baston), Renee Lockett (Dr. Cava), Judi Schindler (Dr. Toulle), Samantha Price (u/s Pierce/Baston), Tehilla Newman (u/s Cava/Toulle)STAFF: Sarah West (Stage Manager), Stephanie Mattos (Assistant Director), Kate Booth (Assistant Fight Director), Anika Jones (Production Manager), Jessica Baldinger (Scenic Designer), Jeremiah Barr (Technical Director), Elle Erickson (Costume Designer), Gabrielle Strong (Lighting Designer), Hannah Foerschler (Sound Designer), Auden Granger (Props Designer)
Tickets are $15-28 and can be purchased here
The Gift Theatre presents
Written by Hansol Jung
Directed by Jess McLeod
Through August 18
at The Gift Theatre 4802 N Milwaukee Avenue
An American couple decides to ‘un-adopt’ their young Korean son because they have a newborn at home. After an internet chat room search for the right family, the father ‘re-homes’ the boy with a lesbian couple, where one half is desperate for a child and the other half is fighting for her career. As the boy – who thinks he’s a wolf but is really a puppet – adjusts to his new life, he forms bonds with the unlikeliest of culprits while the rest of the adults squabble about what is best for the child.
The cast, artistic and production team include Gift ensemble member Jennifer Glasse with Isa Arciniegas, Dan Lin, Tim Martin, AJ McGhee, Hayden Burke, Whitney Dottery, Jaegen Ellison, Zimbo Gessert, Gaby Labotka, Colleen Layton, Danielle Fraser, Sarah Choe and Ellen Hao (dramaturgy), Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Mike Durst (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Stephanie Diaz (puppetry design), Emjoy Gavino (Casting), Amanda Herrmann (prop design), Rachel Flesher and Zach Payne (Violence and Intimacy).
Tickets are $25-50 can be purchased here.
** A captioned performance will be Thursday, August 15
Kokandy Productions presents
Head Over Heels
Conceived by Jeff Whitty, Adapted by James Macgruder
Co-Directed by Derek Van Barham & Elizabeth Swanson
Music Direction by Kyra Leigh
Choreography by Breon Arzell
through August 25
at Theatre Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Head Over Heels is the bold new musical comedy from the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q and Spring Awakening. This laugh-out-loud love story is set to the music of the iconic 1980’s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, including the hit songs, “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.” A hilarious, exuberant celebration of love, Head Over Heels follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction—only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts.
The cast includes Bridget Adams-King, Jeremiah Alsop, Emily Barnash, Frankie Leo Bennett, Caitlyn Cerza, Caitlin Dobbins, Britain Gebhardt, Connor Giles, Parker Guidry, Kaimana Neil, Liz Norton, Deanalis Resto, Shane Roberie, Roy Samra, Tiffany T. Taylor and Marco Tzunux, with swings Courtney Dane Mize and Patrick O’Keefe. The production team includes Chris Rhoton (scenic design), Uriel Gomez (costume design) G. “Max” Maxin IV (lighting design), Mike Patrick (sound design) Adam Borchers (props design), Patrick O’Brien (sound engineer), Emily Boyd (scenic painter), Nicholas Reinhart (production manager) and Hannah Cremin (stage manager).
Tickets are $35-40 and are currently available at kokandyproductions.com, by calling (773) 975-8150 or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office. Kokandy Productions will partner with TodayTix to offer $15 mobile Rush tickets beginning at 9 am each performance day. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively through the TodayTix app.
Haven Theatre presents
Written by Guillermo Calderón
Directed by Monty Cole
Associate Directed by Abhi Shrestha
Through August 18
at The Den Theatre 1333 N. Milwaukee
Two couples meet for their weekly soap opera viewing party, but that standing double date quickly starts to feel like a soap opera itself when the friends unpack scandals, secrets and their heart-rending passions. Guillermo Calderón has written a bold and political theatrical experience that explodes the romantic drama and asks what it means to empathize with a culture and conflict that is not your own.
The cast, production and artistic team include Salar Ardebili, Monty Cole, Gloria Imseih Petrelli, Arti Ishak, Sami Ismat and Cassidy Slaughter-MasonUnderstudies: Nina Jayashankar. Ruchir Khazanchi, Joan Nahid, Kate Nawrocki, Ian Michael Smith, William Boles (scenic design), Emily Boyd (props design), Kotryna Hilko (costume design), Claire Chrzan (lighting design), Zach Gipson (technical director), Adam Goldstein (dialect coach), Gaby Labotka (intimacy direction), Katelyn Le-Thompson (associate lighting design), Jeffrey Levin (sound design), Liviu Pasare (projections designer), Marika Mashburn (casting director), R&D Choreography (Violence Design), Angela Salinas (production manager), May Truehaft-Ali (dramaturg), Corbin Paulino (production stage manager) and Mitch Ward (stage manager).
Tickets are $35 can be purchased here.
** A captioned performance will be Sunday, August 11