Behind the Curtain

May: Free Clowning & Puppetry Workshops

Join First Floor Theater for FREE clowning and shadow puppetry workshops for ages 6-12.
Meet at the Humboldt Park Field House (First Floor Theater's performance space) at 2:00 pm for special crafts, games, and a snack before the performance at 3:00 pm. Participation in the workshop earns the participant and their accompanying grown-ups free admission to the 3pm matinee.

Three workshops remaining: Sundays at 2PM on May 4, 11, and 18! at the Humboldt Park Field House, 1400 N. Sacramento, Chicago

A NOTE FOR PARENTS: First Floor Theater's teaching artists are working together with the Chicago Park District to create a unique, educational experience for your children! In the free workshops, your child will learn great team-building theater skills as well as put imaginations to work..what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. No sign-up necessary, just drop by and First Floor will take it from there. Come back at 3pm if you'd like to see the show with your child; Tollbooth is an enjoyable treat for all ages!

Contact for more details.

(Click here to download a flyer with your chance to receive an EXTRA special prize!)

April 29: Free Staged Reading

Free reading of The Running Mate by Skye Robinson Hillis
Polarity Ensemble Theatre: This is one of the four DIONYSOS CUP scripts for this year in a preview reading.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago

In THE RUNNING MATE, a presidential campaign functions as a battle ground for the candidate and his equally successful wife. As they struggle to navigate America's changing political climate and weave in and out of favor with the electorate, they must also find the balance of happiness, fulfillment, and sacrifice between the two parties of their own marriage across fifty states and fourteen months' time.

< Photo: Playwright Skye Robinson Hillis
Directed by Richard Shavzin with dramaturg Jesse Roth and a cast featuring Norm Woodel, Janet Ulrich Brooks*, Steve Savage, Lindsey Pearlman, Sean Sinitski, Alyssa Thordarson, Shantelle Szyper, and Elaine Rivkin*.
*member of Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

Also, there's free parking in the lot a block north. Drinks are half price for the informal conversation in the lobby after the reading.

This is one of the four Polarity Ensemble Theatre DIONYSOS CUP scripts for this year in a preview reading. The full festival workshop performances of the scripts will take place July 10-20.

April 30: Cross-Country Collaborations

Cross-Country Collaborations: How The Lark is Creating a Movement Around New Plays
A dialogue for Chicago theatre-makers and funders initiated by the current production of Pinkolandia at 16th Street Theater, playing through May 10, 2014.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
6:30 PM

in the Healy Rehearsal Room at Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn, Chicago

A dialogue for Chicago theatre-makers and funders. Meet the four Artistic Directors who engaged in producing the rolling world premiere of Andrea Thome's new play Pinkolandia in four cities across the country. Spearheaded by Lark Play Development Center, the Launching New Plays into the Repertoire program puts the playwright at the center of the process in an experiment to “create a movement” around selected plays, ideally changing the narrative of the American Theatre. How can this model be replicated? What is to be gained from cross-country collaboration? How has spending time and resources going "deeper and wider" with this new play impacted these four theater companies and the playwright?

Lisa Rothe, Offsite Programs and Partnerships, Lark Play Development Center: New York, NY
John Eisner, Artistic Director, Lark Play Development Center: New York, NY
Andrea Thome, playwright Pinkolandia
John Dias, Artistic Director, Two River Theatre Company: Red Bank, NJ
Lou Moreno, Artistic Director, INTAR: New York, NY
Jenny Larson, Artistic Director, Salvage Vanguard: Austin, TX
Ann Filmer, Artistic Director, 16th Street Theater: Berwyn, IL

Moderated by: Tanya Palmer, Director of New Play Development, Goodman Theatre

This special dialogue is FREE, but reservations are required.
Reserve here.

April 27: Our Class - Between the Lines

Remy Bumppo’s Between the Lines event presents guest speakers, noted experts in a range of fields, who share insights on the play in a pre-show discussion, and then re-join the audience for a post-show Q&A session.

Sunday, April 27, 2014
Pre-show discussion at 1:30pm

Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center
2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

Dr. Linda Underhill, Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literature at UIC, is a specialist in several areas of pertinence to Our Class. She speaks Polish and Yiddish, teaches classes in Polish Literature, and is particularly involved with Polish-Jewish culture and history.

Our Class Show Description:
For decades, it was believed the annihilation of the Jewish population of Jedwabne, Poland, in 1941 was a Nazi atrocity. The truth turned out to be even more shocking. In Our Class, which won a top Polish literary prize, Slobodzianek looks at the build-up to the massacre, the events themselves, and the impact on the lives of survivors, through the eyes of ten classmates, half Jewish and half Catholic. Our Class is a searing, open-minded look at the heart-breaking acts of cruelty and courage we can inflict on each other in the struggle to retain humanity under repression.

Learn more here.

April 13: Touch Tour

Raven Theatre "Touch Tour"
Before the 4/13 performance of Good Boys and True

Sunday, April 13, 2014

at Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St., Chicago

At 1:45pm, before the 3:30pm performance of Good Boys and True, Raven Theatre will conduct a Touch Tour for the visually impaired. Guests will tour the set and meet the cast before the performance.

The "Touch Tour" is free and open to the public.

April 4: Vibrations at Collaboraction

Vibrations: Part of Orange Dot First Fridays
Orange Dot First Fridays showcase the best in local art, design, dining & culture in Wicker Park/Bucktown on the first Friday of every month until 10pm. Collaboraction is one of the neighborhood organizations creating a unique experience this month.

Friday, April 4, 2014
Doors open at 6:00pm

at Collaboraction in the Flat Iron Arts Building
1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

8:00 pm Casa de los Angeles by Alex Palma
Casa de los Angeles tells the story of a daycare in central Mexico which works with single working mothers. It is a blend between a portrait piece and developing story of the daycare/organization's philosophy on creating sustainable solutions being put to the test.

8:30 pm Local Chicago Rapper Goni Perfect

9:00 pm A screening of Collaboraction Company Member Lonnie Edwards' new film Parietal Guidance
Narrated only through limited dialogue, sound-bites, and music, 'Parietal Guidance' follows a 10 year old girl named Alinah for the duration of her day. The film allows the viewer an opportunity to capture and process information through the mind of a child by focusing on all her senses as she encounters things many would consider unsuitable.

The event is FREE and open to all.

Mar/Apr: Pre-Ambles for Road Show

Road Show Pre-Ambles at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
A half-hour lecture scheduled one hour before the curtain on selected weekend dates, the Pre-Amble examines a CST production both from the point of view of scholarship and performance. This program is free and no reservations are necessary. Dates, times and presenting scholar subject to change. Road Show runs through May 4, 2014 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Addison (right: Michael Aaron Lindner) amazes the socialites of Palm Beach
with his inventive architecture. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Friday, March 28 at 6:45 p.m. – Stephen Bennett
Saturday, March 29 at 2:00 p.m. – Stephen Bennett
Sunday, March 30 at 1:00 p.m. – Stephen Bennett
Saturday, April 5 at 2:00 p.m. – Bea Bosco
Sunday, April 6 at 1:00 p.m. – Ira Murfin
Saturday, April 12 at 2:00 p.m. – Bea Bosco
Sunday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m. – Ira Murfin
Sunday, April 20 at 1:00 p.m. – Bea Bosco

For more information about Chicago Shakespeare Theater's FREE Open Door audience enrichment programs, click here.

March 30: Stage to Screen

Free Screening of the 1963 film version of The Playboy of the Western World
Raven Theatre's production of The Playboy of the Western World closes on April 5, 2014.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

at Raven Theatre's West Stage, 6157 N. Clark, Chicago

Join Raven Theatre on Sunday, March 30 for a FREE screening of the 1963 film version of The Playboy of the Western World featuring famed Irish actress Siobhan McKenna as Pegeen Mike.

Free to all; Reservations not necessary.

March 25: Women in Science

Women in Science: The How and the Why
A free panel discussion inspired by The How and the Why at TimeLine Theatre.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
5:00pm check-in
5:30 - 7:00pm panel discussion with reception to follow

This event will take place on Northwestern University's Chicago Campus in Baldwin Auditorium of the Lurie Building, 303 E. Superior St., Chicago.

Sarah Treem's The How and the Why is a smart and compelling new play about science, family, and survival of the fittest that features two women—both brilliant evolutionary biologists—who share a zeal for science and a bold, contrarian approach to their male-dominated field.

At a time when women hold fewer than 18% of science faculty positions in higher education, The How and the Why inspires a closer examination of the role of women within academia. Join TimeLine as they use brief scenes from the play (performed by actors Janet Ulrich Brooks and Elizabeth Ledo) to embark on a scholarly discussion exploring how to increase and enhance the role of female scientists.

The panel will feature (pictured above, from left):

Keira Fromm, the director of TimeLine's production of The How and the Why
Melina Kibbe, MD, professor in Surgery-Vascular & Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Monica Laronda, PhD, a Post Doctoral Fellow, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Teresa Woodruff, MD, director of the Women's Health Research Institute, Chief & Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Phyllis Zee, MD/PhD, the Associate Director of the Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology, Professor in Neurology, Feinberg School of Medicine & Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University

Admission for this special event is FREE but reservations are required.
Make your reservations here.
Questions? Call the TimeLine Box Office at 773-281-8463 x6.

March 23: Spark Sneak Peek

SPARK Free Sneak Peek
A special open rehearsal at Adventure Stage Chicago.

Sunday, March 23, 2014
4:00 - 5:00pm

at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St.
in the heart of Chicago’s West Town neighborhood

Check out this special open rehearsal of SPARK! Participate in an interactive story circle similar to those conducted during the play's early development process, and see an excerpt of the upcoming production. Enjoy refreshments afterward and mingle with the cast and crew.

Recommended for ages 9 (grade 4) and up. For more information about the play, click here.
No reservations required...just come on out!

March 24: New Work Series

Bailiwick Chicago presents a table read of BILLY: A POST-APOCALYPTIC COMEDY by Derek Lee Barton
Bailiwick Chicago's reading series is free of charge and open to everyone. Invite friends and make an evening of it!

Monday, March 24, 2014
6:00 - 8:30pm

Upstairs at Schuba's Tavern
3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60657

What happens when ideals like ‘freedom’ and ‘love’ collide with a reality in which everything has a price, and corporations determine the value of the human soul? Billy examines the struggle of a young man, Ruston, whose life is bounded by the walls of his cubicle, and whose memories only vaguely hint at a life outside those walls. Inspired by the current recession and housing crisis, Billy depicts a nightmare other America in which everyday people are pushed to ever greater extremes to merely eat or keep a roof over their head, and in which everything can be bought and sold, even one’s own body and identity.

Free and open to the public.
To RSVP, click here.

March 20: Luna Gale Webinar

How to help the real Luna Gales and their families in the child welfare system
Did the play Luna Gale at Goodman Theatre touch and inform you of the dangers and biases inherent in the child welfare system?

Thursday, March 20, 2014
12:15pm - 1:15pm

Free Online Webinar presented by the Family Defense Center and co-sponsored by Goodman Theatre


• Current information about the child welfare system in Illinois and nationally, and how the play Luna Gale mirrors real issues involving the best interests of children and families
• Policies to prevent real-life Luna Gales from being lost in the system and ways in which these policies need to be enhanced
• Recommendations for how you can become involved in helping children and families in the child welfare system
• Opportunity to ask questions of experts who work on child welfare advocacy in Illinois

Diane L. Redleaf, founder and executive director of the Family Defense Center, a nationally renowned legal advocate who has represented children and families in the child welfare system for 30 years

Angela Inzano, staff attorney and lead policy advocacy attorney at the Family Defense Center

April Curtis, nationally renowned advocate for foster youth

Anita Weinberg, clinical law professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and director of Loyola's innovative Legislation and Policy Clinic and the Policy Clinic within the Civitas Childlaw Center

Shawn Taylor, moderator of panel, journalist and president of communications and media firm Treetop Consulting

To register for the webinar, click here.

March 23: Mosque Alert

Mosque Alert: The Intersection of Theatre and Civic Engagement
A free workshop presented by Silk Road Rising Artistic Director, Jamil Khoury.

Sunday, March 23, 2014
3:00 - 4:30pm

at the Evanston Public Library
Main Library, Community Meeting Room, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, IL 60201

At the event, Jamil Khoury will introduce his latest work-in-progress, Mosque Alert, and share select video clips from the groundbreaking new play development and civic engagement process he has created online. Mosque Alert explores resistance to the building of mosques in communities across the U.S. with a specific focus on two families, one Muslim, the other Christian, living in Naperville, IL. Khoury's talk will address questions of religious pluralism, Islamophobia, and civil rights, drawing upon local, national, and international contexts. After the presentation, the audience will be invited to participate in a talk-back with Khoury and to share their personal experiences and comment upon the fictional scenarios created in Mosque Alert. In 2013, Mosque Alert received the ChangeMaker Award in recognition of the project's contributions towards creating a socially just environment for Muslim Americans.

The event is 90 minutes long and includes a speech by Khoury, screening of a video, and a discussion with attendees.
Free and open to the public.

March 24: American Promise

American Promise
A public program for The Gospel of Lovingkindness, now playing at Victory Gardens Theater through March 30, 2014.

Monday, March 24, 2014

at Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

A special screening of the documentary produced and directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson. Spanning 13 years, American Promise, follows Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., as the pair turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country.

Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. An Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Free and open to the public.
To RSVP, visit
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