LOOKING FORWARD: Chicago Shows We're Excited About

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.​

AboutFace Theatre presents

This Bitter Earth

At Theater Wit

Written by Harrison David Rivers

Directed by Mikael Burke

through December 8

A deep love is challenged by divisive political realities. Jesse, an introspective black playwright, finds his choices called into question when his boyfriend, Neil, a white Black Lives Matter activist, calls him out for his political apathy. As passions and priorities collide, this couple is forced to reckon with issues of race, class and the bravery it takes to love out loud.

The cast, artistic, and production teams include: Sheldon Brown, Daniel Desmarais, Joe Schermoly, Bob Kuhn, John Kelly, Eric Backus, Emma Cullimore, Sasha Smith, Catherine Allen, Helen Lattyak, Jacob Janssen, AJ Schwartz, Brian Sprague, Alon Stotter, Natalie Santoro, Andrea Enger, Keira Fromm and Stephen Schellhardt

Tickets are $15-38 and can be purchased here.

Broken Nose Theatre presents

Plainclothes

at The Den Theater

Written by Spenser Davis

Directed by Kanome Jones and Spencer Davis

Through December 15

When a violent encounter with a shoplifter leaves half of their team fired or in the hospital, the security guards of a downtown Chicago retail store find themselves under corporate investigation. Short-staffed, ill prepared, and faced with accusations that threaten to dismantle the crew, they’re forced to decide: do we give the higher-ups exactly what they want, or do we try to do what’s right – even if it means risking everything? PLAINCLOTHES is a story of tribalism and taking a stand set against the bright, boisterous backdrop of the holiday shopping season. In the style of their breakout hit At The Table, Broken Nose Theatre and playwright Spenser Davis tailor-fit each role in this world premiere to fit the members of this all-star cast.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Alejandro Tey, Carmen Molina, Adam Soule, Stephanie Shum, Elise Marie Davis, Rob Frankel, Teresa Kuruvilla, RJW Mays, Ben Locke, Kim Boler, David Weiss , Becca Holloway, Rose Hamill, Devon Green, MIchael Joseph, Joe Klamerus, Evan Frank, Rachel Spyniewski, Isaac Mandel, Jon Beal, Therese Ritchie and Daryl Ritchie

Tickets are pay-what-you-can and can be purchased here.

Teatro Vista presents

American Jornalero

at Urban Theatre Company

Written by Ed Cardona Jr.

Directed by Nate Santana

Through November 18

In an empty lot on a New York street corner, six men wait: For coffee. For work. For news. For their luck to change. This vital new play places a literal fence line through the center of contemporary dialogue on labor and immigration—and asks whether it’s a divide that can ever be scaled.

American Jornalero focuses on the plight of a group of day laborers/jornaleros in Queens. It is a portrait of the intersecting transient lives in the search for a daily wage in a land of many compromised American dreams. American Jornalero is a compassionate, clear-eyed and illuminating look at lives and people too often ignored in the U.S. landscape.

The cast and production team includes Victor Marana, Jordan Arredondo, Dillon Kelleher, Mike Cherry, Ramon Camin, Tony Bozzuto, Stephanie Hurovitz, Ricardo Gutierrez, Jose Manuel Diaz, Diane D. Fairchild, Caitlin McLeod, Kendall Barron, Agata Pacia and Kate Lass

Tickets are $20-$25 and can be purchased here.

Victory Gardens Theatre presents

Rightlynd

Written by Ike Holter

Directed by Lisa Portes

Through December 23

Rightlynd is Chicago’s 51st Ward. The L doesn’t run here anymore and it is full of abandoned storefronts, crumbling apartment buildings, and its fair share of crime. A powerful real estate conglomerate is planning a massive redevelopment project that would gentrify the neighborhood and change Rightlynd forever. Only one woman stands in the way: Alderman Nina Esposito. In award-winning local playwright Ike Holter’s ambitious new work, one woman tries to use her street smarts and raw determination to save the Chicago neighborhood she loves. But will the political machine turn her into the very person she is trying to destroy? Lisa Portes (BREACH, A Little Bit Not Normal) directs the first play that sets in motion Holter’s ongoing seven play saga set in this fictional Windy City neighborhood; the story cycle that includes previous pieces Exit Strategy, Sender, Prowess, and The Wolf at the End of the Block.

The cast, artistic, and production team include: Jerome Beck, Robert Corelius, Lakesia Harris, Anish Jethmalani, Eddie Martinez, Monica Orozco, Sasha Smith, Collette Pollard, Samantha C. Jones, Jared Gooding, MIkhail Fiksel, Charlie Coffeen, Breon Arzell, Jaq Seifert, Eleanor Kahn, Skyler Gray and Mara Sagal

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased here.

MPAACT presents

Black and Blue

at The Greenhouse Theater

Written by Shepsu Aakhu

Directed by Andrea J. Diamond

Through November 18

Davoe Sexton and Jayson Rabedeau patrol the notorious neighborhood on Chicago’s long-neglected south-east side. The area is known to locals as “Terror Town.” As veteran cops who “happen to be Black,” these men must navigate the streets, the policies of policing, and the deeply conflicted roles that they play in the lives of those that they are supposed to “serve and protect.” Set in 2016, these officers find themselves at ground zero when long-suppressed evidence surfaces (via the media) illuminating an officer involved shooting on the very streets that they patrol. Over the course of a single day these officers must confront the most corrosive questions that face African-American officers... Are they Black? Are they Blue? Or are they a volatile mix of Black and Blue?

The cast includes Juwan Lockett & Justin Walker

Tickets start at $22 and can be purchased here.

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