Behind the Curtain

Nov: Saturday Series

Chicago Dramatists' Saturday Series: NOVEMBER
Playwrights, theatre artists, and the general public convene in the Chicago Dramatists' theatre to witness the birth of a new work for the stage and to participate in its development by offering feedback to its playwright. The plays are always directed and rehearsed and are presented with minimal staging. After each reading, the audience members are invited to fill out written response sheets and to join in a post-reading discussion.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Cardboard All-Stars
by Resident Playwright Jon Steinhagen
Directed by RONAN MARRA, Co-Artistic Director, Signal Ensemble Theatre

Matthew and Daws have a one-night stand; the next morning, one learns the other is homeless and has been hustling the occasional "easy mark" for a night in a warm bed. A sudden act of violence brings the two men back together for what might be a showdown or a lesson in empathy, as they both discover their circumstances are not what they seemed to be.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Until Death
by Resident Playwright DANA LYNN FORMBY

The 11/15 reading of UNTIL DEATH marks the start of a 28-Hour Workshop (that’s 2 weeks) for the play, in preparation for its winter production at Concordia University, an annual program that Chicago Dramatists conducts with Concordia.

Devon Thompson is in love and, inspired by her feminist roots, has just proposed to the man of her dreams, Josiah Boor. But her mother-in-law-to-be is a Mormon, and the pair cannot see eye to eye on what it means to be a family. As the two battle their way through their relationship, à la Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, they find that life is more precious than the differences that try to keep them apart.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

By Network Playwright BARBARA LHOTA
Directed by Associate Artistic Director ANNA C. BAHOW

Abby, an autistic teen, only speaks in echo-speech, until she is introduced to a promising communication method that requires a facilitator to help her type letters into a communicator. Abby’s mother is thrilled, but her sister and father are dubious about this new method - the latest in a long line of therapies. Just as the facilitator convinces the family Abby is actually communicating, she types a shocking accusation. “Echo” examines the complex dynamics of a family driven by the increasing pressures of hope.

These events are FREE and open to the public.

Nov 9: Family Fun Day

Come to the FREE Family Fun Day at the Auditorium Theatre!

Sunday, November 9, 2014
(Open House)
at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago

On Sunday, November 9, the Auditorium Theatre will open its doors from 1– 5PM for a free Family Fun Day full of interactive activities and hands-on experiences highlighting the rich history of the landmark theatre.


  • Scavenger Hunt (Recommended for ALL AGES): Explore the nooks and crannies of the Auditorium, and ensure you don’t miss a thing by completing the Family Scavenger Hunt! Guests can show completed booklets to staff at two check-in points treat and to be entered in our “Family Night Out” Raffle!
  • Stained Glass Ornaments (Recommended for ALL AGES): Create an ornament to take home with you!
  • Birthday Doodles (Recommended for ALL AGES): Many of the famous performers who have stepped onto our stage left a doodle for our theatre crew. Check out some celebrity doodles, then add your own birthday doodle to our collection!
  • CJP Instrument Petting Zoo (Recommended for ALL AGES): Interact with the instruments played by musicians on our stage!
  • Lyric Opera (Recommended for ALL AGES): Discover the connection that this iconic Chicago opera company has with the Auditorium Theatre, while participating in fun, interactive activities!
  • Make ‘Em Laugh (Recommended for ages 7+): Jump in and improvise with some of our favorite improvisers and comedians!
  • Concessions Open: Selling soda, popcorn, and candy at reduced cost, as well as 125th merch.
SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES includes Family Dance Classes with Joffrey Ballet, Backup Singer Dance Moves with Jennifer Edgecomb, Creative Drama with Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop, Interative Tours, Ghosts of Chicago Theatres, and World's First Brownie Cooking Demonstrations. For times and more information, click here.

Free and open to the public!

Nov 3: DanceMakers Session with Heidi Latsky

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago proudly announces DanceMakers Sessions, a FREE series combining artist discussions, shared practice, and experiential learning for a deeper exploration of the choreographic process.

Monday, November 3, 2014

at Access Living, 115 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Master teachers and world-renowned dance artists who have contributed to the progressive landscape of the art form and underscored The Dance Center’s legacy of presenting bold contemporary dance in Chicago will offer unique insights into the crafting and execution of dance gleaned from their many years of making work. Each session is individually designed to reflect the creative aesthetic of the presenting artist and offers the opportunity for meaningful exchange between dancers and dancemakers.

Recommended for professional dance artists, dance students, dancemakers, and movement practitioners.

FREE but advanced registration is required.
Click here to RSVP.
Future DanceMakers sessions can be found here.

Nov 3: The Making of Isaac's Eye

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of the shows you love?
For each production, Writers Theatre offers insight into a different aspect of creating theatre to a group of Writers Theatre patrons. Venture behind-the-scenes of Isaac's Eye through a discussion led by designers and other experts.

Monday, November 3, 2014

at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, IL

Venture behind-the-scenes of Isaac's Eye through a discussion led by Literary Manager Bobby Kennedy and Set Designer Collette Pollard. Enjoy a short and lively presentation by Writers Theatre as they walk you through the process of preparing for and executing a show.

Seating is limited.

FREE but RSVP is required.
Email or call 847-242-6018 to RSVP.

Nov: Pre-Ambles for King Lear

King Lear 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. King Lear runs through November 9, 2014 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Sunday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. – Gina Buccola
Sunday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m.
– Carla Della Gatta

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

Oct 31: Backstage with BJ

Northlight Theatre 'Backstage with BJ': The Mousetrap
Join Artistic Director BJ Jones for a mid-day discussion featuring special guest artists, actors, directors, and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. The Mousetrap runs Nov 7 - Dec 14, 2014 in Skokie, IL.

Friday, October 31, 2014

at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL

Join Northlight Theatre Artistic Director BJ Jones and special guest artists on Friday, Oct 31 at noon for behind-the-scenes insight into The Mousetrap while it is still in rehearsal.
Backstage with BJ will last approximately one hour.

FREE but RSVP is required. Call 847.679.9501 x3605 to RSVP.

Nov 2: Deck the Halls

Sunday, November 2, 2014
3:00 - 4:30pm

at the Chopin Theatre Lobby
1543 W. Division, Chicago

In preparation of The Nutcracker, join The House Theatre of Chicago in decking the halls of the Chopin Lobby! Volunteers are needed to hang lights, wrap (pretend) presents, and decorate the tree. Cookies, milk, and decorations provided.

If you can lend a hand, click here to RSVP.

Nov 1-2: Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

A staged reading at The Wirtz Center at Northwestern University
Dig into Northwestern's performance of The Laramie Project, running Oct 24 - Nov 2.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

at Ethel M. Barber Theatre, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston


by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber

On September 12th, 2008, ten years after the completion of the original production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, five members of Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie to try to understand the long-term effect of the murder of Matthew Shepard. What they found was a town wrestling with its legacy and its difficult place in history. In addition to revisiting the community members whose words riveted audiences around the world in the original play, this time around, the company also spoke with the two murderers, McKinney and Henderson, as well as Matthew's mother, Judy Shepard. THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER is a bold new work, which asks the question, "How does society write its own history?"

Admission is free.
To RSVP for Saturday, Nov 1, click here.
To RSVP for Sunday, Nov 2, click here.

Oct 29 - Nov 16: New Stages Festival

Goodman Theatre's New Stages Festival
Founded in 2004, the New Stages Festival is a celebration of innovative new plays designed to give playwrights an opportunity to take risks and experiment.

New Stages offers Chicago theatergoers a first look at dozens of plays, many of which have gone on to become successful full productions—including Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined.

Join Goodman Theatre for this year’s festival, which features an exciting roster of developmental productions and staged readings.

Click here for a full line-up and to reserve your free tickets.
New Stages runs October 29 through November 16, 2014.


Artist Encounter: New Stages
Sunday, Nov 2 | 4:00pm | Chicago Cultural Center: Garland Room, 78 E Washington, Chicago

Join Goodman for a discussion featuring the directors and playwrights from the New Stages workshop productions:
Charise Castro Smith and Henry Godinez (Feathers and Teeth)
Thomas Bradshaw and Benjamin Kamine (Carlyle)
Andrew Hinderaker and Halena Kays (The Magic Play)

Moderated by Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer.
Click here to reserve free tickets.

Oct 28: Free TimePieces Play Reading

TimeLine Theatre Company's TIMEPIECES Play Reading Series
The series offers audiences a chance to hear new or rarely produced plays inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago

by Anna Ziegler directed by Damon Kiely

1968. A child is born. A terrible accident occurs. Desperate parents turn to a famed doctor for help. The story that follows is a heartbreaking tale of nature, nurture and the indefinable things that make us who we are. Featuring a cast of actors you've seen on TimeLine's stage before, including Lawrence Grimm (My Name is Asher Lev), Rob Fagin (The Farnsworth Invention), Kat McDonnell (Dolly West's Kitchen) and Bret Tuomi (Enron).

Also includes a brief post-show discussion to give you a chance to reflect on the piece and the themes and issues it presents.

FREE and open to the public. Reservations strongly recommended; seating is limited!
For reservations, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or email

Oct 31: Chicago Movie Sing-A-Long & 1920s Costume Party

Jazz up Halloween with the Auditorium Theatre this year!
This Halloween, Auditorium Theatre launches its “Made in Chicago” Movie Series, a series of free screenings of movies set or made in Chicago.

Friday, October 31, 2014
6pm Speakeasy
7pm Film Begins
at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago

It all starts in the Auditorium Theatre's lobby speakeasy, where you'll sip period cocktails from the cash bar, strut your flapper dresses, tassels and fedoras, and move to the sultry crooning of cabaret artist Kimberly Lawson.

Then it's into the theatre for a spectacular sing-along screening of the smoking hot Oscar-winning movie musical Chicago while the live-action Merry Murderess Dancers will have you doing the Charleston in the aisle.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
Best Dressed
Most Creative
Best Group Costumes

Free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

Oct 23: The World of 'The Night Alive'

EXPLORE: The world of THE NIGHT ALIVE at Steppenwolf Theatre
The Night Alive is now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre through November 16, 2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

at Steppenwolf's Rehearsal Hall
758 W North Ave. (at the corner of North & Halsted), Chicago

Grab a drink and join Steppenwolf for their first-ever McPherson Slam as Chicago director Matt Miller emcees, Chicago’s hottest actors blaze up Conor McPherson’s greatest scenes. Enjoy Kilmaley, one of Chicago’s coolest traditional Irish bands, a stand-up set from Chicago Irish comedian Adam Burke, a chance to practice your own Irish brogue with professional dialect coach Eva Breneman, plus a few other surprises.

Explore events are FREE, but space is limited.
RSVP to reserve your spot today by calling Audience Services at 312–335–1650.

Oct 15: #Stage37 Performance

Adventure Stage Chicago will present a sneak peek of Theater Unspeakable's THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION as part of Block Thirty Seven's #Stage37 performances series.‪

Positioned conveniently between the CTA’s red and blue lines, the pedway level of Block Thirty Seven at 108 N. State is the place to experience free live pop-up entertainment during lunchtime and rush hour on select dates throughout the fall.

Hot Tix is proud to present this performance as part of #Stage37 series. Before you hop on the train, stop by for a taste of theatre, dance, comedy, music, and more!

Wednesday, October 15 at 12:00pm – Adventure Stage Chicago and Theater Unspeakable
7 actors. 21 square feet of space. 2 feet off the ground. With only the actors bodies and voices, Adventure Stage Chicago and Theater Unspeakable bring a 15-minute pop-up performance of THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION to Stage 37.

Come upstairs before or after to snag some half-price tickets at Hot Tix (open 10am-6pm).

Oct 12: Between the Lines

A lecture around Remy Bumppo's production of Both Your Houses
Remy Bumppo’s 2014/2015 'Between the Lines' event presents guest speakers, noted experts in a range of fields, who share insights on the play in a pre-show lecture. Both Your Houses runs now through November 9, 2014.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

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

1933. In Anderson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning satire, even a leading member admits Congress is a cauldron of “graft, special privilege, and corruption.” Strange expenditures for special interests abound. No surprise there. Enter a crusading young congressman, so straight he opposes a project in his own district, even probing his own campaign donors – long before Mr. Smith went to Washington. Our hero is on the verge of excising the pork when a key vote is suddenly reversed. But fear not – on the verge of defeat, the crusader comes up with a plan so outlandish it’s bound to save Congress from itself! Or is it?

The pre-show lecture is free and open to the public.

Oct 12: A Tale of Two Plays

A Tale of Two Plays: Chicago Theatre and the Works of Lucas Hnath
Isaac's Eye is playing now through December 7, 2014 at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL
Death Tax is playing now through October 12, 2014 at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 12, 2014

at Lookingglass Theatre
821 N. Michigan, Chicago

Chicago’s theatrical institutions have embraced the words of budding playwright Lucas Hnath. Join in a conversation between Heidi Stillman (Lookingglass Theatre Director, Death Tax) and Michael Halberstam (Writers Theatre Director, Isaac’s Eye) as they discuss the similarities, differences, and shared themes of these Hnath plays, and why each story resonates for Chicago theatre-goers today.

FREE. No RSVP required.

Oct 9: Adapting Native Son

A conversation around Court Theatre's NATIVE SON featuring distinguished guest lecturers
Professor Kenneth Warren will engage scholars Arnold Rampersad emeritus Stanford University and Melissa Barton Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in a discussion about Native Son. Native Son runs now through October 19, 2014.

Thursday, October 9, 2014
6:30 - 8:30pm

at The DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Place, Chicago

On October 9, join Court Theatre and The DuSable Museum for a conversation on 'Adapting Native Son'. Featuring distinguished lecturers:

Arnold Rampersad, Emeritus Stanford University, - He has also taught at Rutgers University, Columbia University, and Princeton University. He is the author of Ralph Ellison, a biography of the novelist (1914 - 1994). His other books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois (1976); The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vols., 1986, 1988); Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997). In addition, he has edited several volumes including Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; the Library of America edition (2 vols.) of works by Richard Wright, with revised individual editions of Native Son and Black Boy; and (as co-editor with Deborah McDowell) Slavery and the Literary Imagination. He was also co-editor, with Shelley Fisher Fishkin, of the Race and American Culture book series published by Oxford University Press. His teaching covers such areas as nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature; American autobiography; race and American literature; and African-American literature. From 1991 to 1996, he held a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is a 2010 recipient of the National Humanities Medal.

Melissa Barton, PhD, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library - is Curator of Prose & Drama for Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She earned her PhD in 2013 from the Department of English at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation, "Staging Liberation: Race, Representation, and Forms of American Theatre, 1934-1965," explored the relation of politics and drama in the “Negro People's Theatres” from the Great Depression to the Civil Rights Movement. In her third chapter , “‘The Problem of the Hero’: Liberating Bigger Thomas on Stage,” she examines the process of adapting Richard Wright’s Native Son to the stage as part of the Negro People’s Theatres’ transition from productions that celebrated collective action to more strictly realist productions that focused on individual character psychology.

Nambi Kelley, playwright and adapter of Native Son now playing at the Court Theater. Moderated by Kenneth W. Warren; Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Department of English University of Chicago. Nambi has penned plays for Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, and Court Theatre in Chicago, Lincoln Center in New York, and internationally. Most recently, her adaptation of Native Son is being presented at Court Theatre with American Blues Theatre. Kelley returned to Singapore to perform in her co-adaptation of The Book of Living and Dying that will be published in an anthology of plays in Singapore in 2014. Nambi is also a professional actress, and has a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College.


Kenneth W. Warren - Fairfax M. Caone Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English, University of Chicago. Kenneth Warren specializes in African-American literature and 19th- and 20th-century American literature and critical theory. His work has ranged from studying such major 20th-century writers as Leon Forrest and Ralph Ellison to such 19th-century critics as William Dean Howells. Warren is a member of the editorial boards of the Cambridge Series of American Literature and American Literary History.He is the author of So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (University of Chicago Press, 2003) and Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism (University of Chicago Press, 1993). He has been at Chicago since 1991.

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

Oct 5: Inside the Work of Lucas Hnath

Go 'Inside the Work' with playwright Lucas Hnath
Isaac's Eye is playing now through December 7, 2014 at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL
Death Tax is playing now through October 12, 2014 at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 5, 2014

at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, IL

Join Michael Halberstam (director of Isaac’s Eye) and Heidi Stillman (director of Lucas Hnath's Death Tax at Lookingglass Theatre Company) for a lively discussion about interpreting and staging the stylistically innovative works of playwright Lucas Hnath, one of the most exciting writers working today.

FREE but RSVP is required. Email or call 847-242-6018 to RSVP.

Oct 5: Dead or Alive: Taxed by Death

A free discussion around Lookingglass Theatre's production of Death Tax
Lookingglass Theatre's production of Death Tax closes on October 12, 2014.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan, Chicago

When we engage with rivals, we sometimes lose our best selves. In Death Tax, the central character challenges humanity’s ultimate rival: death. What is permitted when good people seek to defeat death? What happens to relationships when the truth is expendable and money is no object?

Don’t miss this discussion between Director Heidi Stillman and Raven Foundation Founder Suzanne Ross about rivalry and self-deception in a play that begs the question: if you live your life in order to defeat death, are you as good as dead already?

Free and open to the public. Seating is subject to availability.

Oct 6-7: Dreams: Plagiarizing Reality

Salon XLII: Dreams: Plagiarizing Reality
Join The Plagiarists and a group of specially selected artists from many different disciplines as they explore dreams and the journey we all make as we cross back and forth between the subconscious and the "real world."

October 6 and 7, 2014

at The Black Rock Pub & Grill
3614 N. Damen, Chicago, IL 60618

A fine line between the conscious and unconscious, a permeable membrane where the real world and the fantastic meet and mix without rules or preconditions. our dreams often mirror or bend reality in ways that provide insight, terror, embarrassment, anger, nostalgia, sadness, and even ecstasy. But, whether you wake up screaming, crying, or beaming with delight, dreaming lets us cross over into the depths of our subconscious minds and lets our subconscious cross over into the real world.

Produced as part of Chicago Artists Month.

Free and open to the public.

Sept 29: "Alive Inside" Screening

Free Film Screening: ALIVE INSIDE
A public program for Rest, playing at Victory Gardens Theater Sept 12 - Oct 12, 2014. Connecting the theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between audiences and productions.

Monday, September 29, 2014

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

Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia — many of them alone in nursing and assisted living facilities. This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.

The recipient of the “Audience Award” at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.

Free and open to the public.
To RSVP, visit

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