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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.​

The Neighborhood Theatre presents 3 Sisters

Written by Anton Chekov and Maiya Corral

Directed by Kadin McGreevy

through June 15

at Ravenswood Fellowship Church, 4511 N Hermitage Ave

3 Sisters by Anton Chekhov & Maiya Corral is a four-year-long birthday party/wedding/funeral through atmospheres of quiet love, impending doom and war, songs of home just out of reach... and balloons. This particular adaptation gets curious about Chekhov’s age-old themes and The Neighborhood’s cast of over 25 storytellers brings the entire Prozorov House to a haunted Rummage Room to explore desire, choice, circumstance, grief & happiness.

The cast, artistic and production team include Maiya Corral, Park Williams, Millie Rose, Gloria Imseih Petrelli, Micheal Angelo Smith, Bradley Lorio, Dan Poppen, Sarah Wisterman, Colin Morgan, Danny Turek, Jenn Geiger, Anna Klos, Lo Miles & live music from Mr. & Mrs. Prozorovs’ Undead Circus Band led by Tyler Iiams.

Tickets are $Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or here

Random Acts presents columbinus

Written by Stephen Karam & PJ Paparelli

Directed by Nora Lise Ulrey

Through June 14

at Unity Lutheran Church (1212 W. Balmoral)

columbinus weaves together excerpts from discussions with parents, survivors and community leaders in Littleton, Colorado, as well as diaries and home video footage to bring to light the dark recesses of American adolescence. In the wake of dozens of recent school shootings, director Nora Lise Ulrey stages the play in two site-specific locations, with the audience and performers moving between acts. Random Acts honors the 20th Anniversary of the events at Columbine High by donating a portion of the proceeds to The Brady Campaign.

The cast, artistic and production team include Colton Adams, Alexandra Alontaga, Angelíca Grace, Ben F. Locke, Juan Muñoz, Savanna Rae, Bryan Renaud, Mark Yacullo, Patricia Hersch, PJ Paparelli, Nora Lise Ulrey, Ali Bailey, Shawn L. Bady, Savanna Rae and Alexandra Alontaga

Tickets are $20 are can be purchased here

Pride Films and Plays presents Desire in a Tinier House

Written by Ryan Oliveira

Directed by Topher Leon

Through June 29

at Pride Arts Center – 4139 N. Broadway

It only takes three seconds for Trevin and Carlos to lock eyes. But how many minutes, months, millennia will it take for them to remain in love in the middle of the woods – in the middle of an America determined to pull them apart? Can they truly keep the tiny house they’ve made for themselves forever?

Cast and production team include Rolando Serrano, Carlos Wagener-Sobrero, Alex Casillas, Uriel Gomez, Michelle Benda, Isaac Mandel, Erin Gautille, Gaby Labotka, Megan Chaney, Evan Frank, Blake Cordel and Hannah Herrera Greenspan.

Tickets are $25-40 can be purchased here.

Red Tape Theatre presents WE ARE PUSSY RIOT (or) Everything is P.R.

Written by Barbara Hammond

Directed by Kate Hendrickson

through July 6

at THE READY, 4546 N Western Aver

Pussy Riot is an anonymous collective of young Russian activists who protested the illegal 2012 presidential elections by marching into the Church of Christ the Savior in the center of Moscow and offering up a punk prayer to the Mother of God—“Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Away!” Their 48-second performance earned them a two-year prison sentence and jettisoned them to super-star status in the West. The spectacle was fueled by an unparalleled P.R. campaign from all sides that pitted church against state; East against West; and youth against tradition. We Are Pussy Riot (or) Everything is P.R. weaves together trial transcripts, letters, interviews, media coverage, and statements from celebrities and public officials, to re-imagine the story of Pussy Riot as told by a troupe of Yurodivy, ‘Holy Fools,’ who, in the Russian Orthodox tradition, strive with “imaginary insanity to reveal the insanity of the world.”

The cast features Dionne Addai, Casey Chapman, Zoë DePreta, Jalyn Green, Nora King, Emilie Modaff, Emily Nichelson, Alec Phan, Joseph Ramski, William Rose, Stephanie Shum, Ann Sonneville, Amrbose Cappuccio, Tara Malpass, Alex Oparka, Amelia Mroczkowski, Charlotte Long, Chris Popio, Rachel Sypniewski, David Goodman-Edberg, Steve Labedz and Catherine Miller

All tickets are FREE as part of the Free Theatre Movement. To guarantee a seat to sold-out performances, become a member here

Firebrand Theatre presents Queen of the Mist

Book, Music & Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa

Directed by Elizabeth Margolius

Music Direction by Charlotte Rivard-Hoster

through July 6

at The Den Theatre 1331 N Milwaukee Ave,

Queen of the Mist is based on the astounding and outrageous true story of Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor, who in 1901 set out to be the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists and activists. With a soaring score that incorporates turn of the century themes with LaChiusa’s signature complexity and insight, Queen of the Mist is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live.

The cast and production team features Barbara E. Robertson, Maryam Abdi, Neala Barron, Brianna Buckley, Max Cervantes, Liz Chidester and Hannah Starr, Rose Hamill , Lauren Nichols, Brenda Winstead, Cat Wilson, Wendy Huber, Giselle Castro, Daren Leonard, JC Widman and Adelina Feldman Schultz

Tickets are $20-55 and can be purchased here.

Steppenwolf Theatre presents Ms. Blakk for President

Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney and Tina Landau Directed by Tina Landau

through July 14

at Steppenwolf Theatre 1650 N Halsted St

Meet America’s first drag queen presidential candidate—Ms. Joan Jett Blakk—as she announces her bid to run for President of the United States. It’s Chicago, 1992, and with the AIDS crisis at its height, Joan and the newly formed Queer Nation Chicago have an urgent agenda. Joan sets off on an exhilarating and dangerous journey to drag queer politics out of the closet and into a future where ALL are visible and ALL have a place at the table. Inspired—but not bound by true events, MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT takes us into the heart and mind of one of Chicago’s most singular and radical citizens. Infused with music and hilarity, MS. BLAKK is part campaign rally, part nightclub performance, part confessional—and all party!

The cast and production team include Tarell Alvin McCraney, Patrick Andrews, Molly Brennan, Daniel Kyri, Jon Hudson Odom, Sawyer Smith, David Zinn, Toni-Leslie James, Heather Gilbert, Lindsay Jones, Rasean Davonte Johnson, Gigi Buffington, Christine D. Freeburg and Kathleen Barrett

Tickets are $20-94 and can be purchased here.

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