Steppenwolf Theatre Company Named One of Nation’s Top Small Workplaces

Steppenwolf theatre_pic Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company is pleased to announce it has been named one of the nation’s Top Small Workplaces by the Wall Street Journal and Winning Workplaces.  Steppenwolf is one of 15 winners announced today from a pool of 330 initial applicants and 35 finalists. 
“We are honored to be the first arts organization in the U.S. to receive this distinguished recognition,” comments Steppenwolf’s Executive Director David Hawkanson.  “This is a tribute to the entire Steppenwolf family – our talented artists, dedicated administrators, extraordinary production team and ambitious apprentices.  We’ve worked very hard as a team to create an exceptional work environment – and will continue to make it a top priority,” adds Hawkanson.
The Top Small Workplaces list showcases exceptional employers that have built workplace environments that foster teamwork, flexibility and professional growth while providing an atmosphere and benefits that encourage employee loyalty.  A national panel of small business experts chosen by the Wall Street Journal and Winning Workplaces judged the finalists based on specific metrics and qualitative assessments of their success in creating workplaces that nurture, challenge and reward employees.  A complete list of winners can be found at (article) or



Oxygen & BET Star Erica Watson is Coming Back Home to Chicago

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Erica Watson – “big, bold and beautiful" actor, comedian, director and commentator for the Oxygen Network and BET – returns to her hometown Chicago with the solo show “Fat Bitch!”  This five-night only run is a funny yet thought-provoking look at how society’s obsession with weight, race and class have formed the way the world views her shape, and includes her interactions with men, from the boardroom to the bedroom.  Written and performed by Watson as a hybrid of theatre and stand-up, “Fat Bitch!” explores how black women and their bodies have always been subjected to admiration and ridicule.

Through personal vignettes, anecdotes and video clips, “Fat Bitch!” also offers a humorous and honest glimpse at the American “fat and sassy” black woman stereotype.  How these media images have impacted Watson’s self-esteem are covered – from PETA’s recent “Save the Whales” billboard campaign aimed at overweight women, to the current national “war on obesity” and the recent controversy surrounding President Obama’s nomination of a plus-sized black woman for Surgeon General.

Erica 38 Watson is a Columbia College Chicago graduate, with a BA in Film and TV (1998), and a MA in Media Management (2005).  Influenced by the quick wit of Whoopi Goldberg, the blunt comedic observations of Wanda Sykes, and the larger-than-life confidence of Mo’Nique, Watson (who is in the upcoming film “Precious” with Mo’Nique, as well as 2006’s “Dirty Laundry” with Loretta Devine) creates a universal point of view yet offers a new voice in comedy.


Watson will be performing at Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green St., Chicago.  The show is about 90 minutes without intermission, and is for ages 18 and up (some limited profanity in show).

For tickets please call 312-733-6000.

-Some street parking one block west of Halsted (off Chicago Ave.)
$8 parking lot directly across Green Street next to Thalia restaurant
-CTA Buses – #66 Chicago and #8 Halsted.  CTA El – Red Line Chicago/State; Brown Line Chicago/Franklin; Blue Line Chicago/Milwaukee/Ogden

Mayor Daley Announces Friday as “Laugh Out Loud Day” In Honor of Goodman’s “Animal Crackers”


On Friday, September 18, "Laughter, merriment, and general carrying-on is expected and encouraged…in honor of Goodman Theatre’s production of Animal Crackers," wrote Mayor Richard M. Daley, proclaiming this day "Laugh Out Loud Day" in Chicago. "(I) urge all Chicagoans to take a moment to laugh out loud as they reacquaint themselves with the Marx Brothers and the Goodman’s madcap musical."

groucho glasses Starting at 12 noon on "Laugh Out Loud Day," cast members from Animal Crackers deliver a sneak peek of the show, performing a sampling of musical acts at Macy’s on State Street (1st Floor, Handbag Department).
Chicagoans of all ages can meet "Groucho Marx," receive a pair of Groucho glasses* and take home an Animal Crackers-inspired creation from a balloon artist.  Stop by the Estée Lauder counter, with Groucho glasses in hand, to receive a complimentary consultation and gift with purchase.  Register to win a four-pack of Animal Crackers tickets at the Macy’s Express Desk with any purchase made on September 18. *One per customer, while supplies last.  The mayhem continues at select Loop locations—including Borders and Petterino’s—throughout the day as patrons can enter to win tickets to Animal Crackers and spot "Groucho," as he makes his way to the first performance of Animal Crackers at Goodman Theatre (170 North Dearborn) at 8pm that evening.

Goodman Theatre launches its new 2009/2010 Season with tap dancing, acrobatics and tumbling in an original take on the rarely-produced Marx Brothers classic musical Animal Crackers.

Animal Crackers runs September 18 – October 25, 2009 in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre.



Learn Backstage Secrets at Steppenwolf’s Fundraiser


Ever wonder what it takes to make an ensemble member fly?  Or make a surprise entrance through a trap door?  Find out when Steppenwolf Theatre Company opens the doors of its Scene Shop for the first time ever at BEHIND THE CURTAIN on Saturday, October 10, 2009, at 7:00 p.m.  Guests at this inaugural fundraising event will experience a unique, behind-the-scenes look at Steppenwolf’s backstage production “secrets.”

This event will include appetizers, cocktails, a silent auction and raffle plus the opportunity to meet behind-the-scenes professionals and designers including Todd Rosenthal, the Tony Award winning Scenic Designer of Steppenwolf’s August: Osage County.

When we set out to create a new event for Steppenwolf Theatre last year, our goal was to break the traditional fundraising model,” comments Behind The Curtain Chair Greg Desmond. 

We began by selecting an interactive party venue: the Steppenwolf Scene Shop which houses 34 years of production treasures.  In addition to raising funds for one of the nation’s leading theaters, Behind The Curtain will also offer attendees an opportunity to mix and mingle with the industry’s top artists on the sets of some of our most memorable productions,“ adds Desmond.

Steppenwolf theatre_picBehind The Curtain will take place at Steppenwolf Scene Shop, 1010 N. Kolmar Ave.

Tickets are $250 per person.  To purchase tickets, contact Steppenwolf’s Special Events Department at (312) 654-5632 or

New Management at Bailiwick Repertory Theatre

bailiwicklogo%20copy Bailiwick Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director, David Zak, and its Board President, Don Cortelyou, announced today that Artistic Associate Kevin Mayes has assumed management of the company as Executive Director.  Mayes will be leading a group of dedicated Bailiwick artists to reorganize the company and reenergize its artistic mission.  David Zak will continue to be involved in the company, and will transition into the role of Artistic Director Emeritus.

 We are excited that Kevin has agreed take on this challenge,” said Board President Don Cortelyou, “and look forward to supporting him, along with a core team of Artistic Associates, as they work together to continue Bailiwick’s remarkable 27-year legacy.

 "Running the Bailiwick has been an incredible life experience," said David, "and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done, especially the world premieres we’ve produced with artists like Larry Kramer, Dennis DeYoung, and Claudia Allen, among many, many others. But I look forward to handing the reigns over to Kevin. He has worked closely with me over the past five years, and he cares deeply about the mission of the Bailiwick. I know that he, along with the other extremely talented and motivated Artistic Associates who have stepped up to the plate, will do great things together. I look forward to working with them as a close advisor and director of future productions."

Kevin Mayes has been an active member of the Chicago theater scene for the last decade. He has twice been nominated for Best Actor in a Musical by the Jeff Committee (“My Favorite Year” and “A Man of No Importance”), and has worked as a Director and Musical Director in both Chicago and New York. He worked closely with Lloyd Richards at the O’Neill Theater’s National Playwrights Conference, and with Wendy Wasserstein on the original production of “The Sisters Rosensweig” at Lincoln Center. He has his degree in Theater and Music from Yale University, and has more than 15 years executive management experience working with large corporations as well as small start-ups.

"We’ve had our challenges over the past few years, many related to the state of the economy, and others due to the dynamic nature of the Chicago theater market," said Mayes.  "But I’m extremely excited by the opportunity to lead this organization forward. My initial focus will be on improving our operations and fiscal stability. Meanwhile, I hope that the artistic community and our faithful audiences will support us as we redefine – and recommit to – our artistic mission. I’m very excited to work with this passionate group of actors, directors, designers, and stage managers. I’m also extremely thankful to David for his vote of confidence, and look forward to his advice and counsel over the coming months in his new role."


Lifeline Theatre Presents “Treasure Island”

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Lifeline Theatre opens its 27th anniversary MainStage season with the world premiere adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” adapted by Lifeline ensemble member John Hildreth, directed by Lifeline ensemble member Robert Kauzlaric


A treasure map discovered in a dead pirate’s sea-chest leads young Jim Hawkins on an expedition across the ocean to recover a fortune in plundered gold.  Fair winds and favorable seas soon give way to mutiny, greed and the evil machinations of a one-legged scoundrel named Long John Silver.  Join Jim on an unforgettable adventure as he fights for his life – and the lives of his friends – in this legendary tale of piracy and heroism.

Treasure Island 2 LR The show runs approximately two hours with one intermission, and is appropriate for ages ten and up.  Copies of the book will be on sale in the lobby.

Lifeline Theatre has a reputation for high quality productions, and I have a lot of respect for their staff.

Lifeline Theatre is located at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Parking available (street and lot)                                                                                           CTA accessible (Red Line Morse stop/buses)
-Free designated parking lot west of the theatre at the NE corner of Morse and 
Ravenswood with free shuttle service before and after the show



“The House on Mango Street “Opens at Steppenwolf Theatre


Steppenwolf for Young Adults opens their 2009-2010 season with The House on Mango Street by Tanya Saracho based on the novel by Sandra Cisneros and directed by Hallie Gordon.  The production runs October 13 – November 1, at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago.

Based on the celebrated novel by Chicago writer Sandra Cisneros and infused with lively original music, The House on Mango Street recounts a young girl’s colorful memories of growing up in one of Chicago’s culturally diverse neighborhoods. Esperanza Cordero dreams of life far away from her tiny home on rundown Mango Street in this unforgettable coming-of-age story about the universal experiences that shape who we are and what we believe.

The cast features Belinda Cervantes, Gina Cornejo, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernandez, Ricardo Gutierrez, Christina Nieves, Tony Sancho and Mari Stratton.

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