“Priceless” by Barbara McDonald
May 20, 2019
Two couples, bound by friendship and blood, get together for dinner one Saturday night. Unbeknownst to one couple, a hidden agenda is at work, as is a disagreement about whether the agenda should be pursued on this particular night. Ultimately, what promised to be a pleasant social evening turns sour, as an intense argument breaks out and things are said that cannot be taken back.
About Barbara McDonald
In a prior life, Barbara McDonald was a lawyer and a judge, but now her passion for playwriting is her primary focus. Barbara’s full-length play “Priceless” was selected as a semi-finalist for the 2017 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference. Her short plays, “Good Grief,” “Truth (or the President is an Alien)” and “Eti-Tech” were produced in Chicago, the first two as part of the Women’s Theatre Alliance New Play Development Workshop and Showcase in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and the latter in 2016 as part of The 6th Annual Chicago One-Minute Play Festival. Two of Barbara’s one-act plays “Suspicion” and ”Armed and In Danger” had staged readings at Chicago Dramatists in 2012.
“A Play About A Baby Carrot” By Juliet Roll
April 15, 2019
Nephesh, the Hebrew word for soul, and gezer, the Hebrew word for carrot, are found together in the Torah approximately zero times. But when a grieving mother sees her deceased baby’s soul in a carrot, she must fight to protect it amidst a storm of bumbling parents, well-intentioned mourners and one absentee Rabbi. In Juliet Roll’s A Play About a Baby Carrot, a vegetable tests one woman’s faith amidst the aftermath of tragedy.
About Juliet Roll
Juliet Roll is a Chicago-based playwright who recently graduated from Northwestern, where she studied biochemistry and theatre. Her recent work includes 204 (Victory Gardens college night), Tatter & her Sister & also her Spoon, The Ice Inside an Ear Canal, and Umbriel (Northwestern University). She was part of a 2017 resident artist team with Dog Ear Theatre and Barn Arts Collective, and she received a 2016-2017 Undergraduate Research Grant to study science communication in France for her play Haigneré. She loves lemon juice, science history, and her siblings, and currently gets to pipette for a living. She is so excited to celebrate new work with you all!
“Big Bad” by Katherine Gwynn
March 18, 2019
Ruby is a 13 year-old girl who met something Bad on the way to Memaw’s house. Now her Memaw is a ghost, her Daddy is trying to be a good man, her Mama is dead, and Ruby brings baskets of goodies to something that tried to swallow her whole, hoping for answers. With questions haunting her about blood, shadows, and family, Ruby has to learn what being a monster means–and what exactly she can, and won’t, forgive
About Katherine Gwynn
Katherine Gwynn is a midwestern (born in Kansa City, now living in Chicago) playwright who writes in order to put women, queer people, and especially queer women, center-stage. Her play “Merely Players” was performed April 2015 in the KU Theatre Department, and was awarded the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award from the Women and Theatre Program of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education that following summer. Summer 2016 Gwynn co-wrote “Second Ladies” with Heidi Van for the Kansas City Fringe Festival, which was remounted at the Fishtank Theatre in Kansas City in August. Gwynn was a Resident Artist with the Fishtank Theatre from August 2016-2017. She recently finished a commission entitled “Portrait of a Woman’s Tears” for Rockhurst University (KCMO) which premiered in November 2017 and is a finalist for the 2018 Bay Area Playwright Festival. Her play “Big Big” was a playlab selection for the 2018 Great Plains Theatre Conference. She is Co-Directer for the Coterie Theatre (KCMO)’s “Project Pride” for the second year in a row.
2018 Past Readings
December 17, 2018 at 7pm
Riverview by Rolfe Sick
To grow up in the Carnival world is to know fantasy, excitement, the magical and make believe of the “Midway,” the high flying Ferris Wheel, and the heart stopping Parachute—and then there’s the grease, the sweat, body odor, the unshaven mixed with a little lawlessness amid the boom of the huckster. It’s Riverview, Chicago, 1955. The Berger brothers can’t seem to make it work—three generations of family business seem to be doomed to failure—a stubborn German father, a city of payoffs, a post war generation that’s changing the definition of living. If you can guess the weight of the midway guests, you can guess what happens when two desperate TWIN sisters secretly share the secretary’s job—and attentions of unsuspecting brothers in a Tunnel of Love, and a roller coaster of romance. It’s brother vs. brother, father against sons, and career vs. love—until one tragic ride delivers a message of life’s reality: a merry-go-round can’t go on forever.
About Rolf Sick
Have you ever ridden a freight train West, say Chicago to Denver, or raced a thundering ice boat across Lake Geneva? Or had the exhilaration of watching a”chef to be” create the finest haute cuisine of her life, because you taught her? Well, now you know what drives engaging works from Rolfe Sick.
Rolfe is a native of Chicago and a Chicago Dramatist Network playwright with two full length plays and several short 10 minute works. He is member of the Dramatists Guild and offers his plays on the New Play Exchange.
October 15, 2018 at 7pm
Home is Where by Pat Curtis
Directed by Scott Ozaroski
Featuring: Cat Hermes, Halli Stewart, and Shannon Marie Williams
Seventeen-year-old Caitlin has bounced from foster-home to shelter to foster-home for ten long years. She now finds herself in the home of a newly licensed single foster-mother in the tony Chicago suburb of River Forest. She’s unprepared for such verdant, affluent surroundings and is certain she’ll never fit in. But there’s something about her first-time, single foster-mother, Mickey, whom her caseworker refers to as a “hot mess,” that makes Caitlin feel right at home. Past and present collide and launch Caitlin into a future she had never imagined.
About Pat Curtis
Pat Curtis is a Chicago playwright. Her full-length drama, Joint Attention, was produced by Three Cat Productions at the Berger Park Coach House Theatre in October/November, 2013. Her ten-minute comedy, Sibling Ribaldry, was produced by Second City in October/November, 2012. In addition to playwriting, Pat is an avid theater-goer who believes life’s joyous little epiphanies are as likely to occur in a theater as anyplace else on Earth.
September 17, 2018
Metadata by Amy Crider
Directed by Julie Heeren
Ada, just out of college with a BA in Psychology, lands an intriguing new job: studying human behavior on Facebook and social media. Relating to her weird, lonely boss is half the battle. When they create a political action group on Facebook to study its members, things take a disturbing turn. Just who is Bob, their mysterious boss? And are they the actual subjects of this experiment?
About Amy Crider
Amy Crider got her BA in theater from Goddard College, but didn’t have the opportunity to return to theater again for twenty-five years, starting with the comedy writing program at Second City, and joining Chicago Dramatists in 2010. Since then, she has had twenty-five staged readings in Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, and New York. She’s been a semifinalist for the O’Neill, Seven Devils, and the Princess Grace Award, and in 2012 attended the LaMaMa International Playwrights Retreat in Spoleto, Italy. Recently she produced her play Leda, donating the ticket proceeds to Mercy Corps. (See www.ledaplay.com.) Her website is www.amycrider.com.
August 20, 2018
Want by Shayne Kennedy, Directed by Jeri Frederickson
“Want” is an adaptation of Frank Norris’ late 19th century novel, “McTeague,” a piece of literature I’ve held dear since first encountering it at as an undergrad (Thanks, Dr. Zacharias!) and have continued to revisit over the last 25 years. Sometimes, I find in it a condemnation of humanity at its worst and greediest. In other readings, I’ve discovered a mournful prayer for people’s inability to connect with one and another. Moving the action from the late 1800s to 2008 allowed me to explore the resonance and timelessness of Norris’ themes.
About Shayne Kennedy
Shayne Kennedy is a Chicago-area playwright whose work has been produced in her hometown, as well as in parts around the Midwest. Her play, “Agreed Upon Fictions” was workshopped in Stage Left’s Leapfest in 2012 and went on to enjoy a Jeff-recommended run at Berwyn’s 16th Street Theatre in the fall of 2014. Her short play, “Blood Harmony,” premiered in Omaha, Nebraska in 2015 and was nominated for a TAG Award for Best New Work. This fall, her full-length play, “Handled,” will premiere at Creighton University. Shayne works as an Audio Describer at cultural venues around Chicago. She is the mother of three, and a knitter, and sings in a family band. www.shaynekennedy.com
July 16, 2018
The Vultures by Mark Ridge
When the will is read, Hunter West is named as the sole heir, on the condition that he doesn’t suffer from an insanity curse that has plagued the family. If Hunter is declared of unsound mind, a second envelope of the will must be opened, and it will designate an alternate heir. As the night progresses and the storm rages, Hunter’s sanity comes into question and one of the group goes missing. Who will ultimately inherit the fortune? Will it be the charming realtor, the handsome male model, the dimwitted nail technician, the bitter old woman, the gay hairdresser, or the mild mannered accountant?
About Mark Ridge
Mark Ridge holds theatre degrees from Vincennes University and The University of Evansville, where he won the campus playwriting competitions for two consecutive years. He is currently an Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate, a proud member of the Pee Wee Herman Fun Club and a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. As a playwright, he has been inspired by Tennessee Williams (for his brilliant use of language), Neil Simon (for his brilliant use of humor), and Penny Sycamore (who wrote plays simply because a typewriter was delivered to her home by mistake). Mark’s plays include RUSSIAN ROULETTE, OUT WITH A BANG, SOMETHING STRANGE IS HAPPENING AT THE C.C.&C., YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART & MY FRIDAY NIGHT BLUES and BESTSELLER. His recent works include EUPHORIA and KILLING KITTENS, which was produced by Theatre on the Square in Indianapolis and given a staged reading by La Strada Ensemble Theatre in New Jersey as part of the 2015 Pride Month Rainbow Reading Series. His musical parody 43rd Street, was given a staged reading by Three Cat Productions in Chicago and is was a finalist in The Shawnee Playhouse Original Playwriting Competition in 2017. In addition, discussions are underway for a full production in 2019 with a company in Canada.
June 18, 2018
Late to the Riots by Helen Valenta, directed by Aaron Mays
New York City, 1969. Jack and Bobby are a happy couple, except Jack flirts, Bobby drinks and neither are happy with the state of the world for gays. And then one night Jack decides he’s had it with the world–he throws a brick and the Stonewall Riots begin, setting into motion the gay rights movement. But will Bobby be able to join the growing revolution?
Helen Valenta is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. She has had work appear at The Artistic Home Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Starlite Players, Three Cat Productions and Small Fish Radio. Two of her plays have been featured in Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s Dionysos Cup Festival (2011 and 2014). She has an MA in writing, and her poetry has appeared in many small journals. Her radio play, ‘We are all foreigners here’ was on the BBC’s commended list.
May 21, 2018
She Lights the Fire by Kathleen Dugan, Directed by Jeri Frederickson
Seventeen years ago Maeve lost her son, Zaki, in a mass shooting that took place on the Muslim holy day of Eid Al-Adha. In response, she went on a calculated killing spree, shooting politicians, lobbyists and gun manufacturers that she felt were personally responsible for the death of her son. Maeve is about to be executed for her crimes and confronts family, friends and enemies as she navigates the questions of love, being a mother and the repercussions of her choices and actions.
About Kathleen Dugan
Kathleen Dugan’s play She Lights the Fire made it into the second round of the Austin Film Festival’s inaugural playwriting competition. No Harm Can Come to a Girl on a Shelf was read as a staged reading at Chicago Dramatists. She has several acting credits on stage and in independent films and graduated from the Theatre School at DePaul University with a B.F.A in playwriting. She teaches hot yoga and lives with her husband and two children in Chicago’s Albany Park.
April 16, 2018
The Passing by Gabriella Bonamici
Directed by Bec Willett
After the mysterious death of their grandmother, Ave returns home to help her sister Lorca plan a memorial service. But in digging up the past, she soon finds herself entangled in the disturbing memories of her childhood.
About Gabriella Bonamici
Gabriella Bonamici is a Chicago-based playwright and a proud member of the Chicago Dramatist Network. Gabriella earned her BA in English-Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her 10-minute play, Ascension, was featured during the Marcia Legere Play Festival. Her short play, Jokes About Ted Bundy, was read as part of the Saturday Series’ Ten-Minute Play Festival at the Chicago Dramatists. Her most recent work was featured in the Holiday Radio Show at Three Cat Productions. Gabriella is excited to be taking part in the New Work Festival.
March 19, 2018
Boundary Waters by Dennis Fisher
Directed by Julia Heeren
George and Judith are urban professionals on a romantic kayaking trip in Boundary Waters National Park. They meet a pair of strangers and are soon drinking whiskey, throwing axes and shooting guns. The romance somehow gets pushed aside in favor of a revolution. We discover who has the strongest constitution.
About Dennis Fisher
Dennis is a member of the Chicago Dramatists playwrights group, the Morris Theater Guild, and Three Cat Productions Artist’s Incubator playwrights group. His play THE FRIEND’s TABLE was selected for a staged reading at the 2016 Chicago New Works Festival. His play JUDGMENT DAYS was produced and performed at the Morris Theater Guild. Dennis has had plays performed at staged readings at the Chicago Dramatist’s Russ Tutterow Theater and at Three Cat Productions. Dennis has done sound design for numerous productions including a season of Neil Simon plays. He recently performed the role of Daddy Catcher in KIN AND KIND for the Something Marvelous Festival in Chicago. He has performed at many readings at the Chicago Dramatists and has performed at staged readings at Three Cats, including the role of Thrash in Adam Hurst’s MATTHEW THREE HORN, and as Governor Fitzgerald in Amy Crider’s OUR DICK.
2017 Past Readings
November 20, 2017
by Ken Kaye
U.S. Attorney General Richard Graham is accused of using his Justice Department illegally to collect dirt on the leading candidate opposing the President’s re-election last year. While Graham categorically denies any federal involvement in the matter, TV news teams camp in front of his home and the White House leaves him “twisting in the wind.” Events point toward a familiar scene, the Apologetic Resignation with Loyal Wife at Elbow; but Anne Graham has put Richard on notice that she won’t be there for him. Their college-age daughter Liz has to confront her father with the hardest decision of his life.
October 16, 2017
Matthew Three Horn
by Adam Hurst, Directed Scott Ozaroski
Matthew is just like any other normal monster. He likes playing baseball, reading books, eating sandwiches. And after arriving on the first day of his new school he’s excited to make friends and fit in. Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plan as Thrash, the school bully, quickly teaches Matthew that he may not be so normal after all.
About Adam Hurst
Adam Eugene Hurst is a founding member of the Chicago based company Honest Theatre and a network playwright for the Chicago Dramatists. His playwriting credits include: A FAMILY PLAY, MATTHEW THREE HORN, and A HIGH SCHOOL PLAY. MATTHEW THREE HORN was most recently showcased in Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday series in 2015. He received his MFA in acting from Regent University and his BA from Vanguard University. He is a writer and performer for the sketch comedy and improv group Michael & Friends.
Sept 18, 2017
We Just Met
by Doug Van Hooser
Two young people meet. They have a night of drinking. Was it rape? Who gets to make that decision?
About Doug Van Hooser
Doug Van Hooser lives and writes in suburban Chicago. He is a network playwright at Chicago Dramatists Theatre where a number of his plays have been read. Two of his plays, My Father’s Son and Eulogy Unrequited, have been in Three Cat Productions Next Draft series. His poetry or fiction has appeared recently in Red Earth Review, Chariton Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Riding Light Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, and Stoneboat Literary Journal among others.
August 21, 2017
OUR 14 ABORTIONS
by Barbara Lau, Directed by Bec Willett
My 14 Abortions, by Barbara Lau, plows through our often cursory responses to this complex topic. Reminding us that every decision affects two lives at the very least, Lau explores a teacher devoted to her at risk students, a pregnant athlete and pro-life parent, a husband outraged by multiple miscarriages, a bewildered 14-year-old, and a feisty medical team feeling under siege. The play even weighs the constitutional rights of a fetus versus a full fledged citizen. Whatever your thoughts, this will offer much to ponder.
About Barbara Lau
BARBARA LAU is an active playwright, poet and educator living in Iowa. Her full-length drama, Raising Medusa, premiered at Riverside Theatre, Iowa City, supported by an NEA Artistic Excellence Award. Barbara also penned a libretto for “Lady with the Pet Dog,” based on Chekhov’s beloved story. She writes and produces short plays and monologues too, including “His Name was, and God Is” from My 14 Abortions, presented at 3 Cats in 2014. Her first book of poetry, The Long Surprise, won the 2000 X. J. Kennedy National Poetry Prize.
July 17, 2017
by Kalena Chevalier, Directed by Jen Henry
Carla Jones, a very serious and determined young architect, desperately wants to meet Marshall Parington— the head of the leading architectural firm in the country. When she becomes the math tutor for his obnoxious teenage son, Lloyd, she feels she has the key to her dream job. But what she didn’t prepare for was the family that comes along with the job. She is overwhelmingly embraced by this wacky clan— especially Lloyd’s older brother Frank— and Lloyd goes to drastic measures to try and make her an official part of the family. As Carla tries to keep the job and lose the family, her world and way of thinking is turned upside down.
About Kalena Chevalier
Kalena’s work has been performed at Goodman Theatre and Prop Theatre, produced by Project 891 Theatre Company, Breadline Theatre Group, and Three Cat Productions, and commissioned by Raven Theatre. Her plays The Unburnt House and The Paringtons were named as semi-finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2013 and 2015. Kalena has worked with performing arts organizations including Writers’ Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and currently serves as the Program Director for the Cultural Grants Programs at the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
June 19, 2017
by Amy Crider
Pete Blatchford, Jake Degler, Dennis Fisher, Johnny Garcia, Cat Hermes, Wesley James, Renee Lockett, Lauren Miller, and Andy Polacek
Ben Mars is a struggling comic, bombing everywhere and going nowhere, living with his supportive, kooky, but wise grandmother. Mars starts getting political when sex scandals escalate, then tries running for office himself as his path crosses with disgraced Senators and slick TV hosts.
About Amy Crider
Amy Crider received her BA in theater from Goddard College in 1982, but didn’t return to it again until moving to Chicago, earning a sketch comedy certificate from Second City in 2008. She studied with Chicago Dramatists for five years. Her work has been seen in New York, Columbus, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Waukegan, and Chicago. She attended the LaMaMa International Playwrights Retreat in Spoleto, Italy, in 2012. In November she’ll be producing her comedy Leda at The Cornservatory in Lincoln Square.
April 17, 2017
PORK and HAM
by David Egan, Directed by Pat Henderson
PORK and HAM are the first two parts of a prospective triptych of short dark comedies entitled THREE LITTLE PIGS. PORK unfolds in a world where vegetarianism is mandated by law. A visitor from an idyllic commune visits the urban home of two of his patrons only to learn that the city is not the vegetarian utopia he had imagined. In HAM, young Sally wonders why her best pig friend poses as a harmless stuffed animal whenever her parents are present. She finds out the hard way when a game of “I’ll feed you mine if you feed me yours” goes horribly awry.
About David Egan
David Egan is a playwright and academic philosopher originally from Vancouver, Canada. His first play, THE FLY-BOTTLE, premiered at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, in the summer of 2003 and was nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Award. TOM’S A-COLD, about the Franklin Expedition to the Northwest Passage, was produced at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond-upon-Thames in 2010 and at Toronto’s Next Stage Theatre Festival in 2011. That play and YURI GAGARIN DREAMS OF GOD have both been honored by Canada’s Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition. For his day job, David teaches in the Humanities Division at the University of Chicago.
May 15, 2017
White Man in a Black Box
by Scott Cooper, Directed by Bec Willett
Against the backdrop of the greatest terrorist attack in American history and with the imminent threat of world war, an up-and-coming Chicago theatre director with a reputation for abusing the people who work for him tries to take responsibility for the damage he’s done, rebuild his career, and make amends to one of the woman he’s hurt the most.
About Scott Cooper
Scott Carter Cooper has been a producer, playwright, director, actor and singer with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Steppenwolf, City Lit, Circle Theater, Bailiwick Repertory, Trap Door, Theo Ubique and many other non-Equity theatres in the Chicago area.
February 27, 2017
Lock and Dam
by Dennis Fisher, Directed by Jason Paul Smith
On a remote Illinois River waterfront, Thompson takes stock of his life. People are dying around him with unsettling regularity, he is barely paying the bills by selling dirty magazines to deck hands on barges that pass by, and his best friend has taken up with his ex wife. He petitions God for answers. The Gods respond. It does not go well.
About Dennis Fisher
Dennis Fisher is a Chicago area playwright. His plays include Judgment Days, The Friend’s Table and The Harp Star. His work has been produced and/or developed by The Chicago Dramatists, Three Cat Productions, and the Morris Theater Guild. His play Judgment Days received a full production by the Morris Theater Guild, and his play The Friend’s Table was chosen for the 2016 Chicago New Works Festival. He is a network playwright at The Chicago Dramatists and a member of the Morris Theater Guild.
March 20, 2017
The Cassava Man
by David Finney, Directed by Jason Paul Smith
Captain Alfred Lawson, a mercenary in the Army of the Congo (circa 1900) has been hired by the Franco-Belgium Rubber Company to take his soldiers, seize a Congolese village, and force the villagers to collect rubber. Accompanying him on this mission are Andre Beloit, the District Agent for the rubber company and Lawson’s aide corporeal KaKengo Bakaji. Beloit is a snob hoping to rise in the company. Bakaji is a black man doubtful about living in a white world. The desire to better one’s self and the belief that money can make that happen drive this military campaign. And the seizing of the village triggers a clash of cultures that brings all three men to the brink of destruction.
About David Finney
David Finney is a writer and television producer who worked in Chicago for many years. He was given the Ohio State Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for his production of CRIME OF INNOCENCE, a dramatization of the murder of Emmett Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago, murdered by two white men in Money, Mississippi in1955. He also won a Chicago Emmy for his half-hour teleplay, EMBRACE THE STARS: A PORTRAIT OF LORRAINE HANSBERRY. Mr. Finney created and was the Executive Producer of the award-wining Chicago Playwrights Festival, a series of three teleplays written by local playwrights, featuring the work of Chicago actors and directors. The festival was broadcast by WMAQ-TV (NBC) for four years.
His play, THE CONSPIRACY, won for best adaptation in City Lit Theater’s Art of Adaptation Festival (2016). Other Chicago productions include: THE SELLOUT (Gorilla Tango Theater) and THE INTRUDER (Intuit). His full-length play THE GORILLA KING received readings at Chicago Dramatists and Three Cat Productions. His one-act, LOVE IN A MINOR KEY, won first place in the one-act play festival sponsored by Frostburg State University (MD) and was produced by the university: MAYBE, a one-act, was produced by the Seoul Players of Seoul South Korea. He is at work on a trilogy of plays about an Irish-American family living in Chicago that traces the family’s story from the early 1900’s through the 1960’s.
2016 Past Readings
The Gorilla King by David Finney
Directed by Kristina McCloskey
December 19, 2016 at 7pm
It’s 1948 and times are changing for the Callahan family and their little grocery store. The store, a fixture in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood for years, is going broke; it’s customers siphoned away by the new A&P that just opened down the block. Thomas Callahan refuses to face the problem. His daughter, Ona, struggles to balance the books, hoping she can squeeze enough out of them to pay the bills. In addition, Ona’s dreamy nine-year-old son, Bobbie, a child she has never understood, can’t read. Father Sullivan, Principal of St., Jude’s Elementary, has just told her Bobbie will not pass into the fifth grade if he cannot pass the school’s reading exam at the end of summer.
Feeling trapped and isolated, Ona dreams of escaping the store and becoming a baker but she hasn’t enough money to pay the tuition to the city’s culinary vocational school. When Michael O’Fallon, a successful shopkeeper, shows up asking her for a date, she plots to scam the tuition money from him and escape the family grocery. Her one major problem: Bobbie thinks Michael is a “knucklehead” and he’s figured out her plan. Her scheme tears open the Callahan family and forces her to make a decision between her dreams and her son.
About the Playwright
David Finney worked in broadcasting and advertising for well over forty-years arriving in Chicago in 1972 when he was hired as a television news writer at WBBM-TV (CBS2). He moved to WMAQ-TV (NBC5) to become a producer/writer for a magazine show and then, for five years, was the station’s Program Director. In the early 90’s, he left broadcasting to become the Creative Director for the Atrium Marketing Group, writing and producing commercials for such clients as Johnson & Johnson, BlueCross BlueShield, Humana and Tribune Syndication. Following that, he joined Chicago Public Schools as Director of Television Services and several years later took a job as Education Director for the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, a vocational school teaching radio and television production. He is now retired.
minutes&seconds, a Post Apocalyptic Comedy by Christopher vanDer Ark
Directed by Bec Willett
November 21, 2016 at 7pm
When the Sun shut off, leaving the Earth approximately eight minutes and twenty seconds left of light (and life), those final minutes seemed like the perfect opportunity for Brielle’s family to get things off their chest. On top of Brielle’s husband announcing his affair with her half-brother, her Vicodin-Addicted mother insists on making family dinner for one last shot at normalcy.
However, life on Earth doesn’t end as quickly as they thought. Secrets must be dealt with and changes adapted to– while minute by minute they slowly freeze over.
About the Playwright
New to the city, Christopher has been writing, directing, and stage managing in Chicago for a year now. Past writing credits include In Which a Window Makes a Woman Go Blind (906 Theatre Co.), Playing House; or, The Cancer Play (Semifinalist, Dionysos Cup Festival, 2015), [exit Mrs Behn] or, The Leo Play (Lake Effect Fringe Festival), Feminine Tragedies on Grecian Themes; or, The Scorpio Play (Finalist, Forget Me Not’s New Work Comp. 2016). Most recently, his play Her Escapades was a finalist in the NewVember Play Festival in New York. You can find Christopher on the New Play Exchange.
Why Good Things Happen to Bad People by Hope Hommersand
Directed by Scott Ozaroski
October 17, 2016 at 7pm
The action takes place in a vacation cottage owned by MAVIS, a self-proclaimed witch and master chef. VIVIAN, a cleric, is with her friends who are celebrating their fifteenth wedding anniversary. VIVIAN is in a spiritual funk because she has to give a sermon on above title and is clueless on how to approach the subject. What was supposed to be a celebratory evening turns topsy-turvy with the machinations of MAVIS, her French boyfriend and the interference of a local ghost.
About the Playwright
Among Hope’s plays that have received productions and staged readings are Rehearsing The Cherry Orchard that was in the “Northern Writes New Play Festival” in Bangor, Maine. It also received a staged reading at Chicago Dramatists. Penumbra was in the 2014 “New Work Festival” at the Berger Park Coach House. An Encounter in Greenwich Village was aired by Small Fish Radio’s “Not Your Average Horror Show.” One of Hope’s short plays The Ice Man was produced by SRO productions at the Las Vegas Little Theatre, NV.
She was the artistic director of Theatre Classics, an ensemble that presented adaptations of literary works for high school audiences, and wrote THE ESSENTIAL MARK TWAIN for this program. It was presented at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Hope also belongs to the Dramatists Guild of America, Network Playwrights at Chicago Dramatists, Actors’ Equity and the Oak Park Writers Group.
Eulogy Unrequited by Doug Van Hooser
Directed by Pat Henderson
September 19, 2016 at 7pm
Jack is dead. His best friend, his daughter, and his ex-lover meet in the mortuary just prior to the service. The past and present are a tangled knot of loyalty and possibilities. Someone has to give the eulogy.
About the Playwright
Doug Van Hooser lives and writes in suburban Chicago. He is a network playwright at Chicago Dramatists Theatre where a number of his plays have been read. His play My Father’s Son was read in last year’s Three Cat Productions Next Draft series. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry Quarterly, The Riding Light Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Stoneboat Literary Journal, On the Rusk, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine in the last year.
Blue Fish in a Tall Clear Vase by Fouad Teymour
Directed by Elyse Dolan
August 15, 2016 at 7pm
While confined in a suffocatingly tight container, Blue Fish ponders about the state of the universe and his quest for freedom, and tries to concoct a plan for escape. This play is inspired by a painting by Maryam Gaber. It includes live sketching by one of the main characters (the painter) and requires casting of an artistically gifted actor in this role.
About the Playwright
Fouad Teymour is a Chicago-based Egyptian American playwright. He was born in Cairo, Egypt. He came to Madison, WI, in 1982 to pursue a doctoral degree in engineering at UW, and has subsequently lived in Racine, WI and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia before relocating to Chicago in 1993. He is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and a member of the Advisory Board for International Voices Project (IVP). He has collaborated with IVP in bringing 4 Egyptian plays, including his translation of The Castle and The Sparrow, to Chicago audiences. He has written 6 full length plays, which have been read and discussed at the Chicago Dramatists First Draft series, and are at various stages of development. His play, The Night Jesus Joined the Revolution, received a series of staged reading performances at Silk Road Rising in December 2012, and his play, An Afternoon with My Mother, was performed in the 2015 Chicago New Work Festival at Three Cat productions. Fouad Teymour is a Professor of Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Between the Sheets by Anthony Seed
Directed by Dylan Roberts
Featuring: Chad Bay, Taylor Glowac, Sarah Mergener, Ben Page, Neil Schneider, and Anne Walaszek
July 18, 2016 at 7pm
Two young escorts, one a Harvard undergrad desperate for money, find themselves in bed together at a fancy New York hotel, and provide service to one another before discovering that both are escorts. What to do, and how will they recover the $2,000 fee each desperately requires?
About the Playwright
Mr. Seed is a writer in the Chicago area, a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild. He is an award-winning short-story writer, a former award-winning newspaper journalist, and a Vietnam veteran. He has a bachelor degree from Indiana University and he and his wife, Eileen, have been married thirty-seven years. They have a son, Jason.
Doug Needs a Vacation by Laura Lewis-Barr
Directed by Cole Von Glahn
June 20, 2016 at 7pm
Doug and his wife, Tess, struggle to relax on their first camping trip. Three crows have their own struggles.
About the Playwright
Laura Lewis-Barr has been writing, directing, performing and teaching theatre for over 15 years. Her play, Cloistered Honey was recently made into a low budget film through Inspirare Productions. “Cloistered Honey” has been an official selection at the Red Dirt International Film Festival (nominated for Best Writing – Drama) and the Eugene International Film Festival (Awarded Best Screenplay – Feature.) It was recently picked up for distribution by The Bosko Group. Chernobyl’s Fire won the Playwrights First Award and was a finalist in the O’Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference Competition. Marvelous Tales, was recently published by YouthPlays and The Vase is published with Heartland Plays. Darwin’s Dilemma was seen in Circle Theatre’s New Play Fest. Darwin was also featured in the St. Tammany One-Act Competition and Steel Beam Theatre’s “New Play Series.” Chernobyl’s Fire and Abelard and Heloise (Cloistered Honey) were named Finalists in the Metropolis New Plays Contest. Recent productions of Laura’s work include: Chernobyl’s Fire; Addicted to Mars (Pittsburgh New Works Festival—“intriguing and carefully drawn…. Lewis-Barr’s writing drives the production.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette); Golden Chalices (LoveCreek Productions and The Riant Theatre in New York); Dove Killers (the side project in Chicago– “riveting” Windy City Times). A dozen other plays, including Re-writing History thru a Fly’s Eye, The Vase, and The Dangers of Catnip have had readings and productions in Chicago and California . Laura’s Masters Degree in Drama is from San Francisco State University . Before her move to the country, (to work as Artistic Director/Theatre Professor at Sauk Valley College) Laura was a member of the Playwrights Collective and Chicago Dramatists.
Paper Covers Rock by Jonathan Black
May 16, 2016 at 7pm
A tony book group meeting gets raucous with the surprise arrival of a new member. Then, as a storm approaches, the evening turns violent as members begin to reveal the lies and secrets that govern their lives.
About the Playwright
Longtime writer and magazine editor in New York and Chicago, author of several non-fiction books (on the Motivational Speaker business and Fitness Legends), as well as a popular thriller. Near north side resident with a wife and two teenage sons. Many years ago directed theater in Cambridge, Mass. and New York.
I Should Have Learned My Lesson by Steve Johns
April 18, 2016 at 7pm
I SHOULD HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON is a one act play. The play is a one character play. It takes place in a prison cell. Brandon has been in prison for many years. He is prison because he murdered someone. He has grown weary of being in prison. In order to pass the time, he talks to himself about his past. Brandon is sad that his life has progressively gotten worse over the course of his life before ending up in prison. In the end, he promises to reform himself.
About the Playwright
I am a playwright, poet, and a salesman. Plays are works of art. They should show the beauty of the English language or any language that they are written in. I am a playwright because I want to do something that glorifies the English language.
Marvelous Madeleines by Wendy Schmidt
March 21, 2016 at 7pm
Marvelous Madeleines and National Cookies are two companies that are more than friends. But when their respective chief cookie designer and director of marketing fall in love, the struggle begins for who gets to be considered a person and who doesn’t.
About the Playwright
Wendy Schmidt is a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists and a Dramatists Guild member. Her full-length play The New Republic received a staged reading in Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series on February 28, 2015, and was workshopped in Three Cat Production’s Chicago New Works Festival earlier that month. In January of 2015, her full-length play The Newlyweds was included in 20%’s Dark Room series, with a month-long workshop and two staged readings. Her ten-minute play Tornado Alley was a finalist for the 2015 Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award. She wrote The Angel Blues for the collaborative work Holiday Stories, part of Three Cat Productions’ 2014-2015 season at Berger Park in Chicago. Her radio play Goose Noir was recorded live at Chicago Dramatists as part of the February 2013 episode of Small Fish Radio Theatre, and was included in Small Fish’s Atlanta Fringe Festival program that year.
2015 Past Readings:
The Death of Captain Hero by Amy Crider
directed by Pat Henderson
December 21, 2015 at 7pm
In 1974, as Watergate in the background destroys our sense of heroes, the lead actor of a Saturday morning cartoon show dies a scandalous death. The head writer, Chuck, wants to give him a heroic send-off on the show. But it’s against FCC regulation to have a character die on a Saturday morning cartoon. As Chuck struggles with his artistic vision, he realizes he doesn’t really know what a hero is.
About Amy Crider
Amy Crider received her BA in Theater from Goddard College in 1982, but didn’t return to theater for over 20 years. In 2008 she completed the writing program at Second City under the late Mary Scruggs. She has been studying at Chicago Dramatists since 2010. The Death of Captain Hero was a semi-finalist at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in 2013 and also a first place winner in The Chameleon Theatre Circle’s 14th Annual New Plays Festival. Her plays have been read in New York, Minnesota, Ohio, and Chicago. Her previous plays with Three Cat have been Locked Ward and Between Here and Our Destination.
43rd Street by Mark Ridge
directed by Scott Ozaroski
October 19, 2015 at 7pm
43rd STREET or THE SOUND OF A STAR BEING BORN WHILE SINGING A TORCH SONG IN THE RAIN ON 42nd STREET is a new, musical comedy by Mark A. Ridge. It’s a pastiche or parody of many classic Broadway and Hollywood musicals and movies, primarily the films 42nd STREET and TORCH SONG.
The two act musical utilizes updated versions of vintage tunes from some of Tin Pan Alley’s greatest composers. Betsy Barker has left her home in French Lick, Indiana and traveled to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a Broadway star and falling in love. When the greatest director in the world casts her in the chorus of his new show, he pairs her off with a handsome young partner.
When the star of the show, who happens to bears an uncanny but masculine resemblance to Joan Crawford and her character from TORCH SONG, is injured a replacement must be found. It seems all Betsy’s dreams are about to become a reality. The show must go on. But when that curtain opens, who will be the leading lady? Does Betsy have what it takes to be an overnight sensation?
43rd STREET is the ultimate back-stage musical with a decidedly gay sensibility.
About the Playwright
Mark A. Ridge holds theatre degrees from Vincennes University and The University of Evansville, where he won the campus playwriting competitions for two consecutive years. As a director, his production of THE GREAT NEBULA IN ORION was selected to showcase at the American College Theatre Festival and earned both cast members Irene Ryan nominations. A graduate of The Second City Actor Training Program, Mark has appeared in shows with the Shawnee Professional Theatre Company, The Court Theatre and was a founding member of The Griffin Theatre Company in Chicago. Mark is currently an Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate, a proud member of the Pee Wee Herman Fan Club and a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. As a playwright, he has been inspired by Tennessee Williams (for his brilliant use of language), Neil Simon (for his brilliant use of humor), and Penny Sycamore (who wrote plays simply because a typewriter was delivered to her home by mistake). Mark’s plays include RUSSIAN ROULETTE, OUT WITH A BANG, SOMETHING STRANGE IS HAPPENING AT THE C.C.&C., YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART & MY FRIDAY NIGHT BLUES and BESTSELLER. After a nearly 25 year break spent working in the Chicago film industry, Mark is excited to resume working in the theatre. His recent works include EUPHORIA and KILLING KITTENS, which was produced in Indianapolis in 2013. Currently, Mark is working on a musical parody 43rd STREET and waiting for Matt Bomer to call.
> (GREATER THAN) by John Luzar
directed by Jacque Lueken
Featuring: Justine D’Amour, Baird Brutscher, Erin Caswell, and Wesley James!
September 21, 2015 at 7pm
Years after their disastrous relationship and breakup, Drie and Jamey believe they’ve finally put their pasts behind them. New jobs, new relationships, new lives. But when their paths cross again, they’re forced to re-evaluate their progress. Meanwhile, their new partners, Phil and Carol, attempt radical reinventions of their own. > (GREATER THAN) explores whether or not it is truly possible to escape our worst selves.
About the Playwright
John Luzar has been acting in and around Chicago for more than a decade now, appearing with A Red Orchid, Lifeline, TimeLine, Theatre Wit, The Den, Factory, Chicago Dramatists, Steep, Strawdog, ATC, Bailiwick, Metropolis, Boxer Rebellion, and others. > (GREATER THAN) is his first script, a portion of which appeared in the Scene Shop Showcase at Dramatists.
My Father’s Son by Doug Van Hooser
August 17, 2015 at 7pm
What does it mean to be a man over the generations as society evolves? Are we changing our commitment to marriage and family? Two life-long friends and their son confront their decisions and each other as a son and a father.
About the Playwright
Doug Van Hooser has lived and worked in the western suburbs his entire life. He recently sold his business and returned to writing full time. He is a network playwright at Chicago Dramatists where three of his plays have been read. His poetry recently appeared in the Stoneboat Literary Journal and his short fiction in The Riding Light Review.
And Then Galatea Laughed: A Very Modern Romance
by Scott Carter Cooper, directed by Scott Ozaroski
July 20, 2015 at 7pm
In the hours following the final rehearsal of Pygmalion nothing is working, and what was to become one of the most important productions of George Bernard Shaw’s career is about to disintegrate into chaos. Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree is not happy with his role, his co-star, or his producer. Mrs. Patrick Campbell has suddenly returned from an unannounced three-day absence, and George Bernard Shaw is quietly trying to maintain order long enough to get his masterpiece in front of an audience. And Then Galatea Laughed: A Very Modern Romance is a romantic comedy depicting the final moments before Shaw’s masterpiece was revealed to the world and his relationship with his dear friend Mrs. Patrick Campbell changed forever.
About the Playwright
Scott Carter Cooper is a singer, actor, director, and playwright who has worked with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Steppenwolf, Profiles Theatre, Trap Door Theatre, CityLit, Circle Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Company, Bailiwick Repertory, Center Theatre and many other small companies throughout the Chicago area. He holds a BFA in theatre from Drake University and an MA in writing from DePaul University.
Way Station by Wes Payton, directed by Bec Willett
May 18, 2015 at 7pm
Way Station tells the story of a down-and-out novelist looking back on his life as he contemplates suicide. The action takes place in a shabby barroom that was a haunt of the writer and his friends twenty years before. To his surprise, he discovers that several of the key figures from his former life as an up-and-coming novelist still frequent the bar, but the homecoming is bittersweet as fond memories give way to old grievances. This three-act play features a nonlinear narrative, with the first scene of each act taking place today and the third scenes occurring twenty years ago; the second scenes take place in the mind of the writer. As Jean-Luc Godard said: a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order.
About the Playwright
Wes Payton works as an instructional designer in the Chicago area and enjoys creative writing in his spare time. He has a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in English, having written a play for his master’s thesis. He has been a short-story presenter at the Illinois Philological Association and is currently working on his first novel. He and his wife live in Oak Park and are expecting their first child soon.
Pursuit of Happiness by Frederick Mensch
April 20, 2015 at 7pm
After a disastrous blind date at an upscale Chicago restaurant, beautiful young twenty-something EMMA MALONE strikes up a conversation with 46-year old JACK ROBERTS, a happily married, successful suburban businessman. They stumble into a one-night stand that turns into something more complicated, dangerous and destructive than either of them could have expected.
About the Playwright
Frederick Mensch is a Chicago-based writer whose screenplay Nightingale, starring David Oyelowo (Selma, The Butler), premiered at the 2014 L.A. Film Festival, where it garnered excellent reviews. His stage play Father was the winner of the 2013 Tennessee Williams One Act Playwriting Competition, and premiered at the 2014 New Orleans Literary Festival prior to publication in Bayou Magazine. His screenplay Supreme Ruler is in pre-production with Ron Livingston and Marcia Gay Harden attached to star.
The Longing of a Stray Dog by Helen Valenta
March 16, 2015 at 7pm
Eve is a beautiful older woman desperate to hold onto her relationship with Will, a much younger man prone to silence. Kurt is a handsome drifter trying to recover from a recent tragic incident. When their lives collide over the course of one deadly hot weekend in Chicago, it appears all is lost–and then a fourth character enters–the most desperate of all. Can love save anyone or are we all lost to one another?
About the Playwright
Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Work has been seen at Chicago Dramatists, The Artistic Home, Clockwise Theater and Polarity Ensemble Theater, where 2 plays were featured in their Dionysos Cup Festival (2011 and 2014). Radio play ‘We are all foreigners here’ was on the BBC’s commended list.
The Diligent Do Not Die by Joe Carlson, directed by Pat Henderson
Ruth Kaufman, Pat Henderson, Wesley James, Whitney Pipes, Lauren Twombly, and Demetrous White.
February 16, 2015 at 7pm
As much character study as drama, the play provides a multifaceted view of the recently widowed Alice Kinch as she faces disparate concerns that sometimes clash, sometimes overlap, sometimes mesh. What seems an opportunity may be a threat; what seems a weakness may be a strength. Far from debilitating Alice this interplay of uncertainties stimulates her. Interactions with her son Tommy and daughter Susan address matters physical and financial. With Reverend Richard Berry matters of spirituality that Alice investigates after a largely secular life. With Althea Jackson matters pertaining to the new business they plan to open together. With Paula Garzinski, Alice’s oldest and best friend, matters personal bordering on the playful. Plot is driven by outcroppings of the above as well as Alice’s determination to remain independent of others who believe they, not she, know what’s best for her.
About the Playwright
Joe Carlson was born in California, raised in New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and currently resides in Evanston. He has worked as a freelance writer for 10 years in Chicago with a wide range of assignments. As an active participant in The Zoetrope Virtual Studio, he developed a keen interest in screenwriting. He served as a frequent reviewer of other people’s screenplays as part of the intensely collaborative process favored at Zoetrope. He also wrote three feature-length film screenplays of his own: Archangel, The Return of Victor Sweet, and Suntreader. An ardent theatergoer, his two-act The Diligent Do Not Die is his first work for the stage and he thanks Three Cat for the opportunity to have a professional reading.
2014 Past Readings:
The Last Reunion by David Bald
June 23 at 7pm
Directed by Pat Henderson
Every five years, Jason and Rick, Class of ’87, attend their high school reunion. Every five years they wonder why. And what ever happened to Molly, the Third Musketeer in their “all for one and one for all” threesome? At the 25th reunion, Molly finally turns up, missing her glasses and carrying a very large suitcase. The Last Reunion is a story about memories, friendship and love, lost and found.
Pillow Talks by Katalin Berland
July 21 at 7pm
Directed by Pat Henderson
There’s a reason why Liz and Brian’s sex life is deteriorating: While Liz feels overwhelmed with her roles as wife, mother, and career woman she turns to alcohol. Though the challenges keep piling up the couple tries hard to stay on top of their games.
Solutions by Paul Moulton
August 18 at 7pm
Directed by Scott Ozaroski
After Brian’s sister is murdered by her boyfriend, he joins a shadowy organization dedicated to protecting abuse victims. He learns that the price of vengeance by proxy might be his life.
Scarlet Sisters Everleigh by Jason Paul Smith and Gary Gimmestad
Sept 15 at 7pm
Living in New York City, Ada and Minna, former Everleigh Club madams, are struggling to enjoy their retirement. As a reporter starts to pry into the sisters past, their wall of secrets begins to crack. Funny, poignant, and sad, the Scarlet Sisters Everleigh is walk through some of Chicago’s scandalous past.
Holiday Stories by David Bald, Kalena Chevalier, Steve Clark, Amy Crider, Hope Hommersand, Blake Levinson, Paul Pasulka, Ed Plough, Lisa Scott, and Wendy Schmidt
October 20 at 7pm
Directed by Jason Paul Smith
A Short History of the Mob in America by Joe Weintraub
December 15 at 7pm
Directed by Madison Smith
Michael Donley, Ryan Lambert, Joe Lugosch, Lauren Miller, Scott Ozaroski, Chadwich Sutton, and Kayla Zaniboni
Opening with the assassination of Benjamin (“Bugsy”) Siegel, A Short History of the Mob in America flashes back to depict the events and circumstances that led to the rise and eventual fall of what was probably the most successful crime cartel in the nation’s history. Rising from the dead to confront his assassin, Siegel is eventually joined onstage by Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and his mistress, Virginia Hill, and together they give voice to their dreams and aspirations for power, respectability, and celebrity, as they attempt to justify the bloody acts that determined their fate. Drawn from the histories, biographies, and chronicles of the times, the play is an attempt through dramatic confrontation and language to expose the truth behind the many myths and fabrications that have arisen from these often romanticized incidents and characters.
About the Playwright
J. Weintraub is a Chicago writer, dramatist, poet, and translator. He has had radio plays produced by Scattered Sounds Productions and Small Fish Radio Theatre and has had one-act plays produced by the Theatre-Studio and La Petite Morgue in New York City, Theatre One in Middleboro, MA, Black Box Theatre in Colorado Springs, CO, and by Second City, American Blues Theatre, Blank Page Theatre, Summer Place Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, AMST Productions, and 8 Scribes in the Chicago area. His writings have appeared in such literary journals as Massachusetts Review, The New Criterion, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and many others, as well as in regional and specialty publications such as The Chicago Reader, Nevada Magazine, The Seattle Weekly, and Modern Philology. Many of his works have been anthologized, and among the writing awards he has received are Illinois Arts Council Awards for fiction and creative nonfiction. He is currently a network playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Website: http://jweintraub.weebly.com