2017 SOLO Chicago Festival

Three Cat Productions is excited to announce the lineup for its 2017 SOLO Chicago festival.  The 2017 SOLO Chicago will be divide into two sessions Winter and Spring with individual performances by vocal artists, storytellers, and more.   2017 performers will include Ada Cheng, Rob Dorn, Ralph Gerbie, Margaret Ghielmetti, RjW Mays, Roberta Miles, Sameena Mustafa, Victoria Podesta, Theresa Puskar, R.C. Riley, Marybeth Saunders, Eileen Tull, and Deb Watassek

2017 Spring Schedule

May 16 at 7:30pm
Theresa Puskar
Truth Be Told…

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“Don’t believe everything you think!” – you never know what you will find in the recesses of your mind! Terri goes on a spiritual quest to India, only to find herself experiencing the antithesis of everything she “thought” was spiritual. The messengers on her journey towards awakening were long forgotten archtypes – the fairytale princesses that she idolized throughout her childhood!

About Theresa
With over 15 years of experience on the stage, Theresa Puskar is delighted to be returning to the stage to perform her solo show, Truth Be Told…! Having been a professional director, stage and television actress for over 15 years, she has performed an impressive array of roles as Sue Lawson and Miss Wilkinson in the hilarious farces of Cooney and Chapman, to Meg McGrath in Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart. She left the business in 1999, vowing that someday she would return, but on her terms. Now seventeen years later, she has written her solo show, “Truth Be Told…” as her foray back into the industry she so dearly loves!

May 17 at 7:30pm
Roberta Miles
I Want A Banana and Other Desperate Love Stories

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Roberta Miles chronicles her quest for mental and physical health with brutally hilarious candor. She has crafted her monologues into the one-woman show, “I Want a Banana, and Other Desperate Love Stories.” Her award-winning autobiographical monologues touch on growing up in Chicago in the 70’s and her life’s indiscretions and romantic regrets.

About Roberta
ROBERTA MILES is a jazz singer, writer and visual artist. Roberta performs her work at live lit and storytelling events including God, Sex & Death, This Much is True, The Make Ready at the Dandelion Theatre, Stoop Stories, Seven Deadly Sins, Serving the Sentence, TenX9, and Sappho’s Salon. She is a staple performer with Beast Women and Three Cat Productions, and is a co-host at the Flabby Hoffman’s Radio Extravagonzo.
She is the producer of the long-running shows Cafe Cabaret and Loose Chicks, and has written and performed with Steppenwolf’s Project Compass.


May 23 at 7:30pm
Ralph Gerbie
Growing Up Gyne

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Did you ever stand by your dad to watch a ball game?  How about to watch him surgically craft a working vagina?  Did you ever ask your dad a really difficult question?  How about asking how he manages not to get aroused when intimately examining an endless stream of naked women?

In this heartfelt solo tribute to the father – son relationship, writer and performer Ralph Gerbie takes us on a personal journey through his experience growing up as the son of a world renowned Obstetrician and Gynecologist. Originally developed as a series of creative non-fiction essays at the University of Chicago Writers Studio, Gerbie has adapted his work for the solo stage in conjunction with acclaimed solo artists affiliated with Chicago Dramatists.  By critically examining his special relationship with his father, Gerbie exposes a warm heart, keen intellect and self-deprecating humor described by some as reminiscent of the work of spoken word artists Spaulding Gray, David Sedaris and Ira Glass.

About Ralph

Ralph Gerbie is a Chicago based writer, spoken word performer and musician.  He is a member of the Writer’s Studio at The University of Chicago, where he studied creative non-fiction essay writing for two years and he spent three years as a member of the highly acclaimed New Tuners Musical Theatre Writers Workshop.  His full-length musical, “Skyscraper,” received a reading at Theatre Building Chicago for which he wrote the book, lyrics and music. 

He has presented his creative non-fiction essays in staged readings at 57th Street Books and The Gleacher Center, and has performed spoken-word solo material with “Page to Stage” at Chicago Dramatists, “Do-Not-Submit” at Uptown Underground, “VoiceBox” at Fitzgerald’s and “In One Ear” at The Heartland Cafe.  He is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where he has studied play writing and solo show technique.  Gerbie holds a BA from The University of Colorado and an MBA from The University of Michigan.


May 24 at 7:30pm
RjW Mays
The Fat Black Sanctified Girl

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About RjW

RjW Mays is estatic to be making her solo debut. She was last seen in “The Other side of Christmas at Three Cat Productions and “Leavings” with Polarity Ensemble Theatre. She has worked with Profiles, Victory Gardens, Broken Nose, Eta, Fjt, Interrobang and a host of other Theatres.  She was the face of Trident Gum 2014 and other TV credits include the pilot for “Disciples” 2014 and The Onion”s Election Special 2016.


May 30 at 7:30pm
R.C. Riley
Wrong Way Journey

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Wrong Way Journey is a story about a young woman who as a result of a college rape is forced out of naiveté into a journey towards healing, wholeness, and liberation. Along the way she grapples with her spirituality and sexuality as she learns how to adjust to, accept, and reject the world’s ideas and expectations of women’s sexual behavior. This is one queer woman’s story…

About R.C.

R.C. Riley is a warrior woman who began writing as a means of healing after a sexual assault. During her healing process, R.C. realized that she had journaled stories that would heal, liberate, and enlighten others. While she has a background as an actor, dancer, and violinist, writing is R.C.’s greatest passion. Wrong Way Journey is based on the life of one female survivor-turned warrior woman. It is a story of where faith meets sexuality. This is the intersection at which you, as the audience will travel along a true journey of pain, peace, trepidation and triumph. Get ready to experience Wrong Way Journey!


May 31 at 7:30pm
Sameena Mustafa
Mean Girl: A Middle Child in the Middle West

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About Sameena
Sameena Mustafa is an actor, stand-up comedian, and writer. She most recently starred in Three Cat’s “The Other Side of Christmas.” She has performed stand-up and acted on world-famous stages like New York Comedy Club, Laugh Factory, Zanies, and the Biograph Theater. A graduate of Northwestern University, she is also a published poet and essayist. In 2015, she founded Simmer Brown, a stand-up comedy collective, which has received praise for its commitment to diversity and successful run from the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, and WGN Radio. The Chicago Reader included her in the “Best of Chicago Comedy 2016.” In addition to her creative work, she represents businesses and nonprofits as a commercial real estate broker and serves on the Sounding Board, an advisory board for Chicago Public Media (WBEZ/Vocalo).


June 6 at 7:30pm

Victoria Podesta
The Designated Daughter

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Every family has one: the dutiful child who stays behind shouldering familial responsibilities.  Victoria wasn’t that daughter. Successful, sophisticated, her carefully constructed life threatens to crumble when 73-pound Marie, her elderly mother, moves in with her, wreaking comic chaos, forcing painful confrontation with a buried past, and offering one last chance to build a bond of love, truth and the search for the perfect pillow.

About Victoria
Victoria Podesta is a Chicago playwright.  Her early work included the one-woman show FAR TO GO, presented at Life on the Water and The Marsh theatres in San Francisco, in association with Bill Talen (Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping).  Following a 30-year career as a corporate communications executive, she is returning to the theatre with THE DESIGNATED DAUGHTER  and other tales of the mother/daughter bond/bind. She has studied with Chicago playwrights Arlene Malinowski and Douglas Post and is a member of Chicago Dramatists.


Past SOLO Festival Performances:

2017 Winter Schedule

January 17 at 7:30pm
Eileen Tull
Title TBA

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About Eileen
Eileen Tull recently returned to Chicago after stints in the Bay Area and her hometown of Cincinnati. Eileen’s work as a performer, poet, and theatre maker have been seen throughout the country. In Chicago, she has worked with Theatre Seven of Chicago, Prologue Theatre, Casa Duno, and The Abbie Hoffman Festival. Catch her doing stand-up and performing poetry around town. www.eileentull.com


January 19 at 7:30pm
Rob Dorn
bob fred

In his one man show, Rob Dorn tells as many stories as the various “handles” he has had. From Robert to Robbie to Bob to Rob and several names in between. Rob’s tales include grade school horror stories, unintentional androgyny, mishaps of the heart and self discovery both hysterical and at times heartbreaking.

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About Rob Dorn
His performance career has taken him throughout the United States in regional theatre, national tours and as a member of the vocal group, Three Hits and a Miss of which he was the founder and artistic director. He considers Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Patti Duke, Chet Baker, Leslie Ann Warren and Barbra Streisand among his influences.

Rob’s art career includes work as a graphic designer, web designer, illustrator and cartoonist. He has contributed to books, greeting cards, theatrical posters, logos, t-shirts and mugs. He considers W.W. Denslow, Charles Schultz, Edward Gorey and Creepy Magazine as influences.

Rob is an advocate for helping people like himself, deal with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder… if he could only remember to do so.


January 24 at 7:30pm
Ada Cheng
Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire

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In this solo, I use personal stories, monologues, and characters to explore my journey as an immigrant woman from East Asia. Stories center around the intersection of race, immigration, gender, and sexuality. I use “not quite” to connect three main themes: meanings of home, the fractured yet intersectional nature of Asian American identity, and the perils of living under Trump for immigrant women of color like me. I intend this show to be an intervention and a challenge to current politics. This is one of the ways I resist and protest as an artist-storyteller-scholar.

About Ada
Ada Cheng is a professor-turned storyteller, improviser, and stand-up comic. She is a one-time Moth storyslam winner, a presenter at the National Storytelling Conference, and a runner-up at Chicago’s Bughouse Square Debates. She has been featured at storytelling shows in Chicago and Atlanta. She has also told stories at The Moth in Chicago, New York, Denver, and Detroit. Her book, Standing Up: From Renegade Professor to Middle-Aged Comic, published in December 2016 by Difference Press, aims at encouraging people, particularly mid-lifers, to embrace fear and uncertainty and to pursue their passion and dream. Her motto: Make your life the best story you tell. Check out her website www.renegadeadacheng.com for more information.


January 26 at 7:30pm
Marybeth Saunders
GUTS: the story of BooBoo, ED, & me

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Six-year-old BooBoo just wants the horribles to stop. When being very, very good fails, she becomes very, very small. GUTS: the story of BooBoo, ED, & me is a poignant, autobiographical journey of two sisters driven apart by mental illness and brought back together again…just in time.

About Marybeth

Actress, singer, teacher, and recording artist, Marybeth Saunders’ mission is to destroy eating disorders one solo show at a time. After the death of her sister Becky from 40+ years doing battle with anorexia nervosa, and experiencing the ignorance of medical professionals along with people’s fear of talking about this rampant, often deadly disease, Marybeth was called to combine her talents and humor with activism and the result is GUTS: The Story of BooBoo, ED, and Me.

Marybeth is thrilled and humbled that Jason Smith at Three Cat Productions has chosen her solo show for the 2017 Chicago Solo Show Festival for its premiere and launch of a national tour.

She could not have written this difficult piece without the expertise and encouragement of her teacher and co-developer, Arlene Malinowski. The gratitude Marybeth has for her HP, and the patient support of her husband, friends and colleagues near and far is immeasurable.


January 31 at 7:30pm
Debra Watassek
NIGHTCAP MELODY (how one step at a time became a dance)

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To the sounds of Big Band music, a daughter brings her aging father and his saxophone to live with her…temporarily. Five years later, she recalls the challenges, humor, sweetness and remarkable music. She realizes that living with someone of diminished capacity can hold unpredictable richness and leave a lifelong song in your heart.

About Debra

As a member of Actors’ Equity she’s performed in 50 some musicals and plays throughout the country, notably at Ravinia as Tessie Tura in GYPSY with Patti LuPone. She can also be found dancing to Big Band music, singing in church and fostering dogs.


February 2 at 7:30pm
Margaret Ghielmetti

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Just one sentence from her mother is all it takes to shut down a five year old’s creative voice. Margaret turns her fierce energy inward for decades. But then – after a lifetime of mother and daughter learning each other by heart – it’s just one sentence on her mother’s deathbed that changes everything.

About Margaret
Margaret recently moved back to Chicago – after living in Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Paris (and even exotic New York City…)

Her travels to more than 40 countries have inspired a memoir of her travel (mis)adventures abroad – appearing soon!

Margaret started telling stories at Second City Sunday Mornings, and has performed in Singapore and all over Chicago.

She hails from up the road in Evanston, where she loves spending time with her 93-year old dad, and credits him with her love for the spoken word. (When they read bedtime stories together, he played Beauty so Margaret could have the role she really wanted: The Beast!)