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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.​

Teatro Vista presents HOPE: Part II of a Mexican Trilogy

Written By Evelina Fernandez Directed by Ricardo Gutiérrez & Cheryl Lynn Bruce

through October 27

at The Den Theatre 1330 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Hope follows the voyage of the Morales family through the turbulent, transformational ‘60s, a time marked by a young new president, the dawn of the sexual revolution and the rock ‘n’ roll explosion. Filled with nostalgic ballads, fantasy sequences and strong doses of humor, Hope pops with keen visuals and poignant storytelling as it offers a glimpse into the life of a Mexican American family in ‘60s America.

The cast features Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel (Elena), Eddie Martinez (Charlie), Ayssette Muñoz (Gina) and Tommy Rivera-Vega (Rudy), with Janyce Caraballo (Betty), Andrea Cañizares-Fernandez (Mari), Nick Mayes (Johnny) Victor Maraña (Enrique) and Joaquin Rodarte (Bobby). Designers are Jose Manuel Diaz (set), Sanja Manakowski (costumes) and Joe Burke (lighting and video design). Stage manager is Alden Vasquez. Sylvia Lopez is Managing Director.

Tickets are $25-$35 and can be found here

Some free tickets are available:

The Gift Theatre presents Kentucky

Written by Leah Nanako WInkler

Directed by Chika Ike

Through November 16

at Theatre Wit 1229 W Belmont

When her sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at 22, NYC-transplant Hiro, takes it upon herself to return home to Kentucky to stop the wedding and salvage her sister’s future. Identity, religion, and love collide in this unique coming of age story.

The cast and production team includes Paul D'Addario, Martel Manning and Hannah Toriumi with Maryam Abdi, Ian Voltaire Deane, Emjoy Gavino, Helen Joo Lee, Michael E. Martin, Emilie Modaff, Ana Silva, Jess Vann, Graham Carlson, Kim Fukawa, Tamarus Harvell, Gabrielle Maalihan, WIl Ann Whedbee, Harmony Zhang, Ryan Emmons (scenic design), Rachel Sypniewski (costume design), Rachel Levy (lighting design) and Alex Oparka (stage manager)

Tickets are $24-42 are can be purchased here.

Some free tickets are available:

There will be a captioned performance on Sunday, November 3.

Aguijón Theater presents Exquisita Agonía

Written by Nilo Cruz

Directed by Marcela Muñoz

through November 24

at Aguijón Theater, 2707 N. Laramie Avenue, Chicago

World famous soprano Millie Marcel is unable to return to her elegant jet setting life after the death of her equally sophisticated and famous composer husband. An obsession with knowing exactly who received her husband's heart leads Millie on a relentless pursuit to meet its recipient and, inadvertently, uncovering devastating truths within her own family.

The cast and production team features Rosario Vargas, Israel Balzandor Menedez, Elio Leturia, Victor Salinas, Andrea Leguizamon, Marcopolo Soto and Oswaldo Calderon.

All tickets are $10-30 and can be purchased here

First Floor Theatre presents Sugar in Our Wounds

Written by Donja R. Love

Directed by Mikael Burke

Through November 23

at The Den Theatre 1330 N. Milwaukee Ave.

On a plantation during the Civil War, a mystical tree stretches toward heaven. It protects James, a young slave, while he reads newspapers about the imminent possibility of freedom, as war rages on. When a brooding stranger arrives, James and his makeshift family take him in. Soon, an unexpected bond leads to a striking romance, and everyone is in uncharted territory. The award-winning SUGAR IN OUR WOUNDS is part of playwright Donja R. Love’s trilogy of black love at pivotal moments in history, helmed by Mikael Burke, director of last season’s acclaimed production of HOODED, OR BEING BLACK FOR DUMMIES.

Cast and production team include Ashley Crowe, Renee Lockett, Grainne Ortlieb, Londen Shannon, Michael Turrentine, Joy Ahn (scenic design), Madeleine Rose Byrne (costume design), Eric Watkins (lighting design), Sam Clapp (sound design), Sana Selemon (dialect coach), Ian Maryfield (violence and intimacy design), Caitlin McCarthy and Cole von Glahn (co-production management), Emma Franklin (stage manager) and Julia Toney (assistant stage manager)

Tickets are $35 can be purchased here.

Some free tickets are available:

Urban Theater Company presents Back in the Day

Written by Miranda Gonzalez

Directed by Raquel Torre

Choreographed by Breon Arzell

Through November 2

at Urban Theater, 2620 W Division

Back in the Day follows three Northside Chicago dance crews, The All Stars, led by Jose "Gringo" Echevarría and their frenemies, The Culitos and Imported Taste when African-American, Latino and LGBTQ dominated the 1980's after hours scene in such legendary local juice bars as Jenal's and Medusas. Back in the Day is much more than the memories of one man about an era in Chicago's history of urban dance and music. It is a fun, poignant portrait of that period, enriched by the voices of dozens of members of those dance crews who shared their experiences and stories with the play's cast and crew during its initial run. It is now part of the collective history of a forgotten aspec of Chicago House music.

The cast includes Christian D. Wilson, Sofia Tew, Isaly Viana, Omar Fernández, Adriel Irizarry, Matty Robinson, Gabriela Castillo, Mateo Hernández, Jermaine Robinson, Jr., Brittany Harlin, Nathaniel Andrew and Angelíca Grace.

Tickets are $25-30 and can be purchased here

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