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The Young Playwrights Festival, the second oldest such festival in the United States, has for 30 years engaged and inspired high school students across Chicago by teaching them to craft one-act plays. Under the auspices of Pegasus Theatre Chicago, the winning teen playwrights' productions are work-shopped and staged as part of its main stage season. The competition enhances language arts, encourages independent, high-level thinking, strong personal values and influences career development for Chicago's teens.
Following his critically lauded production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, Robert Falls takes on the legendary playwright's sweeping, heartfelt salute to youthful indiscretion and small town life. For the shy and scholarly Richard Miller, fireworks aren't the only flames burning on Fourth of July—this 16-year-old has started going steady with his beautiful neighbor Muriel. Her father, however, disapproves of their relationship and forbids the couple from seeing each other. Spurred by this obstacle, Richard embarks on an evening of hilarious and unexpected rebellion. Ah, Wilderness! delightfully captures the rush of excitement, torment, emotional confusion and bliss that accompanies first love and growing up.
Unseen. Unheard. Unknown.
At the margins of society, on the knife-edge of survival, they work for low wages, in harsh conditions. No safety net. No insurance or protections. No guarantee of work tomorrow.
This critically-acclaimed piece, most recently produced at the UK's National Theatre, is re-imagined for Chicago by writer/director Alexander Zeldin. In association with Dark Harbor Stories, a company led by Ensemble Member David Schwimmer and Tom Hodges, this play is a gritty portrait of those who cling precariously to the bottom rung of the ladder. Full of life, humor, and tenderness, it sheds light on America's shadow economy and shines an unflinching spotlight on the incendiary intersection of race and class.
Winner of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award for Best Play, Bright Half Life follows the ups and downs of a modern lesbian relationship. Their moving story is told through a series of fast moving, fragmented memories – from elevator rides as strangers to steamy workplace romances to heartache and building a family.
Pastor Paul has spent 20 years successfully growing his church from a small storefront to a gleaming megachurch, but now he fears that there may be a crack in the theological foundation. As he shares his new belief in the nature of salvation, the message is met with surprise and then growing trepidation from his closest confidantes in the congregation, threatening to create a schism within the church. Lucas Hnath's fascinating new play looks with compassion at the relationship between belief and behavior — and its evenhanded, unbiased take on faith in modern America can be appreciated no matter what you believe.
Ever seen Hamlet in 10 seconds in reverse? If you like Shakespeare, you'll love this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you'll love this show. Three actors present all the Bard's 37 plays in 97 minutes, making it an irreverent, fast-paced romp that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter!
Diamond Dogs follows a 26th century team of humans and transhumans as they investigate a mysterious alien tower, bent on brutally punishing all intruders. Uncovering clues and solving puzzles, each crusader will make dangerous, eye-popping sacrifices to get to the mysteries atop the spire. Blood will spill.
As global destruction approaches, the lives of a climate scientist and his three estranged daughters come crashing, unexpectedly back together. The wildly epic Earthquakes in London embodies the chaos of today's society, while reminding us that our very survival may depend on our connections to our families, to our communities, and to our shared world.
In the woods of East Texas, the Top 'o the Hill Café offers comfort, solace and companionship for the regulars who come in each night. However, it is the summer of 1955, and times are changing. In the face of oppressive Jim Crow laws, seven strong-willed locals join forces to protect one of their own—until the unthinkable catches them by surprise, changing life at Top 'o the Hill forever. WT Resident Director Ron OJ Parson, who directed past WT hits The Caretaker and The Old Settler, staged a critically acclaimed and deeply impactful production of Eugene Lee's riveting play for Chicago's Onyx Theatre Ensemble two decades ago. He now revisits this powerful tale of friendship and heroism that remains intensely relevant in today's America.
Harrington T. Jordan was the fastest (and most famous) Hare that ever lived – so how did he end up losing his race against the Tortoise? The true story starts with a wager with a devious Mouse and ends in a madcap dash through the wilds of Lion Country with a fortune in endorsements and merchandizing on the line. But the fix is in, and a simple footrace soon becomes something much more complicated (and silly) as traps and predators lie in wait around every corner. Forget what you think you know about the Tortoise and the Hare and take the time to make some new friends in a world premiere comedy that turns the world of Aesop's fables on its ear.
A comedy about life in a Lake Shore Drive high-rise condo building where a professional student from the University of Chicago is moonlighting as a janitor, a stressed-out apartment manager is at odds with the residents and on the edge of a nervous breakdown, and a motley assortment of other staff members struggles with survival in the face of urban pandemonium. And with the fact that one of them may be breaking into the units and stealing women's underwear.
Style. Status. Success. A group of twentysomething editorial assistants are pursuing it all at one of New York's most esteemed cultural magazines. When a seemingly normal day at the office turns out to be anything but, these cubicle captives and aspiring journalists recognize an opportunity to become the next Big Thing. But whose account is most valid, and to what lengths will each go to own the story? In this biting new comedy, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins shrewdly skewers the ravenous contemporary media landscape while demonstrating how professional relationships influence our lives in unexpected ways.
The classic dysfunctional family drama has crashed in a new place. Meet Paige, a wife and mother liberated from an oppressive and abusive marriage; Max, her newly out transgender son; and Isaac, Max's PTSD-addled older brother, who discovers a brand-new war zone when he comes home from Afghanistan. Hir's crusade to shake up the patriarchy is funny and absurd. The play looks at an American family forced to build a new world out of the pieces of the old.
Taylor Mac (who uses "judy" not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. Hir is one of the 17 full-length plays and performance pieces judy has written.
Who hasn't heard the urban legend about the Hookman? Lexi's mother certainly warned her about him and now, after a tragic accident, she begins seeing him everywhere. Hookman is a lethally sharp slasher comedy about death, growing up, what it means to be a woman, and the ever-present threat of being murdered by a man with a hook for a hand.
In to America is a world-premiere drama that traces the American immigrant experience from Jamestown to the present day through the stories of ordinary men, women, and children who left their homelands in the hope of creating a new life. Four hundred years in the making, In to America transcends time, space, and race to reflect the diversity and commonalities of the American experience. Dorothy Milne directs this journey through history; Bill Massolia (Letters Home) scripted it.
The affable Larry Yee remains a driving force in the San Francisco Chinese American community as the head of the Yee Family Association, a seemingly obsolescent men's club dedicated to the preservation of the Yee line. His daughter Lauren, however, is dismissive of its patriarchal culture policy, despite her father's lifelong dedication to the group. When Larry suddenly goes missing, Lauren's desperate search drops her into a strange but familiar world where she will have to embrace the past if she wants to get her father back. Explore the vivid history of America's largest Chinatown through the eyes of a new generation in Lauren Yee's hilarious and touching theatrical quest to connect with her family lineage.
Instinct, tenacity, biting humor, and trust in the future keep Lela alive as her world closes in around her. Based on a true story, Lela & Co. is an eerily funny and enthralling story about the horrifying enterprise of war and a girl who may or may not have eaten some frosting.
Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from the cot in his ex-wife's garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex — complicated, painful, and hilarious. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler is a modern misanthrope who must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.
Author Tracy Letts is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright, actor, and member of the Steppenwolf ensemble. His works include August: Osage County, Superior Donuts, The Man From Nebraska, and Killer Joe and Bug. He is also known for his portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in Showtime's Homeland and can be seen in The Big Short and HBO's Divorce.
Grace Harkaway, who considers herself immune to love, is marrying elderly Sir Harcourt Courtly for his money. Then she meets his son. Then Sir harcourt meets horse-riding virago Lady Gay Spanker, who enters in her leather-trimmed hunting suit wielding a riding crop, and goes on to complicate the already complicated romantic entanglements of the play. The comedy sensation of 1841 has been produced repeatedly in New York and London up to the present day, including National Theatre Live's worldwide broadcast in 2010, but has not been seen on a Chicago stage for 120 years. City Lit's production will feature Cameron Feagin as Lady Gay and Kingsley Day as Sir Harcourt.
Telling the tale of ten explorers who set out on four boats to map the raging rapids of the Green and Colorado Rivers on the government's first sanctioned expedition in the American West, Men on Boats is performed by a genderfluid cast of women and folks otherwise defined.
Winner of four Jeff Awards, including Best Production, and fresh off a national tour, the critically-acclaimed Moby Dick returns to the Lookingglass stage in this harrowing and intoxicating exploration of revenge, obsession, and destiny.
Madness rages like the angry sea when man pits himself against leviathan in Herman Melville's epic and poetic tale, furiously reimagined by director David Catlin.
Climb aboard the Pequod with Ishmael, Starbuck, and the intrepid crew on a voyage into the darkest reaches of the human psyche with an insatiably driven Captain Ahab at the helm in reckless pursuit of the legendary white whale.
Monster, adapted from the 1999 National Book Award-nominated novel by Walter Dean Myers, tells the story of Steve Harmon. Steve is a 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker in juvenile detention whose life has been turned upside down by his alleged participation in a robbery gone awry. Now he may have to spend the rest of his life behind bars. As the prosecution makes its case, Steve writes his story as a screenplay, trying to understand if he's really the monster people say he is.
Traveling storytellers Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth captivate audiences with spell-binding tales. But one day, The Big Bad Wolf mysteriously dies before his story is complete. Fairytales disappear from the pages, characters are utterly forgotten, and Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth must journey through the stories to restore order before they are lost forever.
Written and directed by Ensemble Member Doug Hara, this world-premiere weaves an exceptional story of adventure, love, and unexpected endings. Influenced by Neil Gaiman and other fantasy writers, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth is brought to life through the wondrous puppetry of Blair Thomas and reveals the transformational power of storytelling.
Charlotte and Jonny have grown up together, and are now trying to determine whether their close friendship might be something more. When they discover exactly what "more" actually entails, however, it comes as a surprise to them both—and to Charlotte's parents, who are holding secrets and resentments of their own. This compelling story of intricate relationships is an explosive and contemporary look at race, sexual identity and family dynamics.
Marti Lyons, one of Chicago's finest emerging directors, brings her unique vision to this deeply insightful and very funny new play, using the intimacy of WT's Gillian Theatre to bring audiences face-to-face with the challenges of loving someone completely while trying to determine exactly what that means.
Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and his pregnant wife Tania, a doctoral candidate, think they have hit the jackpot with their new home. It seems to have everything they dreamed of: a nice neighborhood, plenty of bedrooms for their growing family, outdoor space, and friendly neighbors. When Pablo and Tania decide to upgrade the eyesore chain link fence in their backyard, neighbors Virginia and Frank couldn't be happier. Happy until they think their new neighbors are taking more than they deserve. A disagreement over a property line quickly spirals into a war of taste, class and entitlement in Native Gardens, a hilarious comedy by Karen Zacarias and directed by Marti Lyons.
A young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, triggering an interrogation into the darkest corners of the imagination and the most basic of human desires. The Nether is a virtual wonderland that provides total sensory immersion; a beautiful escape that ultimately begs some very serious questions about responsibility, connectivity and love.
After surviving a tumultuous upbringing in war-torn Liberia, Shedrick Yarpai has found a new home in a sunny, coastal Australian city. Safe from the horrific perils of guerrilla soldiers and refugee camps, Shedrick now faces a different type of danger: the haunting memories stirring inside him. Inspired by writer Charles Smith's friendship with a Liberian refugee-turned-acclaimed-actor, the playwright crafts a harrowing story of personal honor vs. familial obligation and the responsibility that comes with being a survivor.
In this bold, incendiary riff on Waiting for Godot, two young black men are standing around on the corner — talking smack, killing time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. When a white man wanders into their space, an escalating crisis threatens to prevent their escape from the block. In Pass Over, pop culture collides with historical and religious references to create a hilarious and disturbing meditation on manhood, race, and the cycle of violence that prevents too many from realizing their potential.
Playwright Antoinette Nwandu is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group. Her plays have been produced and developed by Page73, Ars Nova, the Flea, and Naked Angels, among others. She is a recipient of the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company's Douglas Turner Ward Prize, and a literary fellowship from the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. In spring 2016, Pass Over received a workshop as part of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project under the mentorship of Katori Hall.
Matthew's wife, Lisa, is having an affair with Adrian, a British director. Or perhaps the affair is part of a play being rehearsed. Or perhaps Matthew has imagined it all. But a mysterious woman who seems to shadow the others brings the story to its surprising conclusion…or does she? The audience plays the role of detective in this hilarious, multi-layered comedy of suspicion about love, lust, and the power of deception in which nothing is ever quite what it seems.
PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error in their calculations, which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences?
Helena is dreading her sister's wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers. She knows her sister, Belmira, only wants to escape their quiet Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. Three days before the wedding, a mysterious stranger is pulled out of the river—a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future.
What starts off with an amusing exchange at a hip Manhattan party quickly turns into something more complex. When close friends Charlie and Lewis meet Clea, a determined young woman making her mark on the New York scene, it sets them off on an emotional roller coaster. This provocative comedy-drama explores the dark edges of commitment and the struggles of balancing authenticity with ambition.
WT Resident Director Kimberly Senior, who recently directed the Pulitzer Prize-wining Disgraced on Broadway and who has helmed past WT hits The Letters, Hedda Gabler, The Diary of Anne Frank and Marjorie Prime, takes on Theresa Rebeck's wickedly biting and often hilarious play about the search for the ever elusive "place-to-be," and the three old friends whose lives are irrevocably changed when they discover how fragile the foundations of their relationships really are.
The Oscar-winning romantic comedy about Shakespeare and his Chamberlain's Men returns to its rightful home—the stage. Imagine a young playwright on the make struggling to write his new tragic love story, "Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter." The title just doesn't have the right ring—and young Will Shakespeare knows it. He's got writer's block and must do something quickly. Will needs a muse, and he finds one in Viola, a vivacious beauty who will do anything—even disguise herself as a man—to audition for the stage where no women are permitted to perform. Once revealed, the torrid affair begins inspiring the completion of the most romantic tragedy ever penned. Backstage maneuverings jostle hilariously with onstage dramas in this love letter to Theater itself, directed by multiple Jeff Award winner and Chicago Shakespeare favorite Rachel Rockwell.
Young Peter's childhood adventures are told through shadow puppetry and movement. This celebration of first experiences is a visual feast! Enjoy the enchantment of a small child growing up in a big city experiencing his first snowfall, first pet, and first crush. Featuring the first African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book series, four of author Ezra Jack Keats' best-selling books — including two Caldecott Award winners — are combined to bring this captivating and poignant play to life.
As Ed, a widower, prepares to celebrate Christmas, he calls his three grown sons back to the family home. Games are played, Chinese food is ordered, and brotherly pranks and trash talk distract them from the ongoing issue that threatens to ruin the festivities: When personal identity is essential and privilege is a problem, what is a straight white man to do? Playwright and director Young Jean Lee takes an outside look at the traditional father-son play narrative, shedding new light and hilarity on a story we think we know.
Our third world premiere Shirley Jackson adaptation, staged by three-time Jeff-winning adapter Paul Edwards. Jackson's eerie, wickedly comic novel opens on the evening of the funeral of Lionel Halloran. His wife is convinced that Lionel was pushed down the stairs and murdered by his mother, who now stands to inherit the Halloran mansion, a house which is itself a character in the the story. Constructed by Lionel, it is laid out perfectly symmetrically, as are the grounds and garden. Only the sundial stands off-center, bearing the inscription: WHAT IS THIS WORLD?
Jon Maran's Off Broadway hit about the founding of the Mattachine Society, the first sustained LGBT rights organization in the U.S., and the love affair of two of its founding members, Harry Hay and emigree Rudi Gernrich.
The Neo-Futurists' signature show, performed since 1988, is the longest-running production in Chicago history. Too Much Light... is an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. Each week the ensemble adds between two and twelve new plays to the menu. Every performance creates an inimitable, living-newspaper collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, the visceral and experimental.
A secluded country estate becomes the setting for unrequited love, renewed rivalries and ruminations both absurd and tragic on roads barely taken and passions left unfulfilled. Chekhov's timeless study of the agonizing intersections of youth and mid-life finds contemporary immediacy in Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker's fresh and compelling new adaptation.
The artistic team that brought you The Gospel of Lovingkindness and An Issue of Blood, director Chay Yew and playwright Marcus Gardley, now explore the Great Migration from the Deep South to Chicago in the early 1900s. On a frigid winter's night, a 90 year old woman is admitted to an ICU in Bronzeville. Over the final hours of Queen's life she teaches those around her lasting lessons of history, from the Jim Crow south to Chicago's nightclub scene. Told through music, poetry, and dance, A Wonder in My Soul is a beautiful story of one Queen's journey home.