2014 New Work Festival


Three Cat Productions proudly presented the 2nd Annual Chicago New Work Festival.  Developed with the goal of showcasing Chicago playwrights, fostering relationships between playwrights and directors, and bringing new work programming to the neighborhood, the Chicago New Work Festival runs from January 13  to February 8 at the Berger Park Coach House Theater.  The festival will feature six Chicago playwrights and two Chicago musicals each show is partnered with directors to workshop full-length performances.  We are excited to offer these playwrights/composers the opportunity to develop their work in progress and partnership with directors and actors.   The festival is managed and curated by Jason Paul Smith, Three Cat Productions, Artistic Director.

Purchase a Festival Pass – $25 for Four Shows

We love a pass. Want to attend multiple shows?  For just $25, you can attend four readings of your choice!

Featured New Work:

Gruoch or Lady Macbeth by Paul Pasulka
3-Way Mirror by Blake Levinson
Locked Ward by Amy Crider
Hang You Hat At Mr. Kelly’s book by Jarrin Davis, music by Gary Gimmestad,  lyrics by Rob Dorn
Halfway by Molly Campbell
Of Moonjays & Motorcycles music by Clark and Plough, book by Kalena Victoria Dickerson
Netta at Ninety by Susan Lieberman
Penumbra by Hope Hommersand



February 3 to 8 (Performance February 8 at 1pm)

Netta at Ninety

written by Susan Lieberman
Directed by T. Paul Lowry

Please note:  Performance will be held in the Berger Park Mansion Ballroom



Brigid Duffy, Annemarie Friedo, Anne Marie Lewis, Maria Margaglione,  Marta Sand, and Tim Steinmetz

Netta is turning 90. Her niece Louise can’t wait to celebrate the legendary Chicago banker’s birthday. But when Louise and her daughter Caitlin arrive for the party, they uncover secrets about Netta’s legacy of investing in women entrepreneurs that they’d rather not know. A full-length drama.

Lieberman 2-2 Susan Lieberman is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and recipient of a Jeff Citation for Arrangement for Two Violas, Jeff Award nomination for Prairie Lights, as well as two regional Emmy nominations. Her plays have been produced at Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, Visions & Voices Theatre Co., Theatre Building Chicago, 20% Theatre Co., Clockwise Theatre, Bloomington Playwrights Project, Pandora Productions, Gallery Players, Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids, Jerusalem English Speaking Theatre and elsewhere. She has worked with American Theatre Company on two outreach playwriting projects; and workshopped plays with Northwestern’s Purple Crayon Players and Northlight Theatre’s “New Voices” series. She is currently the Literary Manager for Raven Theatre. 
 T. Paul Lowry has served in production, management and artistic capacities for such organizations as Playwrights Horizons, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Signature Theatre Co., New Haven Theater Company and Long Wharf Theatre. His directing credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, A Mid-Summer Nights’s Dream (NHTC), The Fantasticks, The Rock Horror Show, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (WSR), and several new works. He received an Outstanding Director Award with New Works New Haven for his work on Cindy.


February 3 to 8 (Performance February 8 at 4pm)


written by Hope Hommersand
Directed by Michael Driscoll

Please note:  Performance will be held in the Berger Park Mansion Ballroom



Susan Anderson, Sarah Hoch,  Todd Neal,  Paul Pasulka,  Whitney Pipes, Tony St. Clair, and Jeffrey Timms

PENUMBRA explores the symbiotic relationship between cutthroat financial competition and personal moral decay. It takes place in 2008 during the financial meltdown. The plot moves from the netherworld of the homeless to the stratosphere of high finance. The main characters are Josh, aka Slick, a homeless musician and Bart, the CFO of New World Financial. An unsolved murder is the catalyst that propels these men towards a confrontation. Cassie, a homeless woman, observes it all and serves as a quasi-Greek chorus.

 CIMG0017Hope Hommersand was chosen to be a member of the Senior Network Playwrights for the 2012-2013 term at Chicago Dramatists, where her full-length comedy REHEARSING THE CHERRY ORCHARD received a staged reading on March 10, 2012. It was chosen for the 2011 Northern Writes New Play Festival sponsored by the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor, Maine.  In the spring of 2012 it was part of a symposium entitled “Chicago Playwrights and Their Plays” at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Her short plays, THE S-O-N CAFE, LOOKING FOR A SIGN, and THE ICE MAN received staged readings in Chicago Dramatists’ Scene Shop Showcase presentations.  THE S-O-N CAFE was produced in Chicago by Cold Basement Dramatics for its 2011 ten-minute play festival, “Secret Stash.”  THE ICE MAN was presented by SRO Productions on “Festival Night” at the Las Vegas Little Theatre, NV in 2013. CHINA DREAMS was included in Skeletal Remains Radio Theatre’s “Festival of Fear” at the Intuit Gallery, Chicago, 2012. She wrote the lyrics and collaborated on the book for the musical RIGHT AROUND THAT CORNER!  based on THE GILDED AGE by Samuel Clemens and Charles Dudley Warner.  It was produced by the MacDowell Artists Association of Oak Park, 1995.

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, 2005.

Hope also belongs to the Dramatists Guild, Actors’ Equity, Screen Actors Guild, and the Oak Park Writers Group where her work appears in KEYSTROKES, 2010 through 2013.

She holds a B.A. in Communications from DePauw University, Greencastle, IN and a  M.A. in Literature from Roosevelt University, Chicago IL.  

Michael Driscoll directed Up For It and For Another for American Theatre Company’s Big Shoulders Festival. He has directed several cabarets for About Face Theatre including Flip Flop and (HO)MOTOWN. He worked with GoodLuck Macbeth Theatre Company directing Blithe Spirit and assistant directing The Grey Zone. He assistant directed the Jeff award winning production of The Original Grease (American Theater Company), RENT (American Theater Company), the critically acclaimed Oh Coward! (Writers’ Theatre), See What I Wanna See (Bailiwick Chicago/Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Detective Partner Hero Villain (Strawdog Theatre), The Complete Works… (Abridged) (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), and Sunday in the Park with George (Porchlight Music Theatre). Michael is a 2008 graduate of Illinois State University where he directed The Last Five Years, Rain. Some Fish. No Elephants., selections from Sweeney Todd, and assistant directed Ghosts. Michael is the Director of Education at Bailiwick Chicago. He served as the Education Associate at American Theater Company where he managed ATC’s largest residency program, American Mosaic and after school program, Bridge. He is also a teaching artist and has taught with American Theater Company, Northlight Theatre, StageCoach Theatre Arts School, The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, and CCAP.


Past Readings


January 13 to 18 (Performance January 18 at 1:00pm)

Gruoch or Lady Macbeth

written by Paul Pasulka

Directed by Madison Smith

Mikah Berky, Catherine Dildilian, Amanda Raquel Martinez, and Nick Straus


“I have given suck, and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, have pluck’d my nipple from his boneless gums, and dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this.” With these words Lady Macbeth spurs Macbeth into killing King Duncan.

Indeed, the historical Gruoch, or Lady Macbeth, was mother to Luloch. Her first husband, Gilcogmain, killed Macbeth’s father and was, in turn, killed by Macbeth. Gruoch and her son therefore became Macbeth’s property, to keep or to kill as he chose.

Gruoch follows the future Lady Macbeth and her child as they escape the conflagration which kills her first husband, to a shelter for homeless families (run by three other witches). Romance, betrayal, and tragedy follow.

 Paul Pasulka bio-pic (1)Paul Pasulka is a network playwright at The Chicago Dramatists and a psychologist on faculty at Northwestern University Medical School. Many of his plays have received readings in the First Draft Series at The Chicago Dramatists and several were selected for staged readings at The Chicago Dramatists and Adventure Stage Chicago. When the Levee Breaks was produced by Second City Chicago in conjunction with The Chicago Dramatists. When the Wheels Fall Off was selected as a finalist for The Artist’s Home’s “Cut to the Chase Festival.” Dark Angels was performed at the American Theatre Company (ATC) and Roberto Clemente High School in ATC’s Bridge Program. Paul frequently writes magical realism (Biblical Job as an Iraqi-American contractor in Abu Ghraib Prison; PT Barnum and Saul Alinsky at the gates of heaven; The Snow Queen, a play for adults, in a modern setting). He also writes plays for children (Aesop’s FableSarah’s Story). Paul is thrilled to be included with the fine playwrights, directors, and actors of the New Work Festival with Three Cats Productions.
 Madison Smith is thrilled to be working with Three Cat Productions on the 2014 Chicago New Works Festival. Madison is a proud graduate of the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film where her directing credits include MilkMilkLemonade, All You Need Is, and No Talent: Rejected Plays and Other New Works. Other directing credits include Apollon Co-Creation Art’s The Devil You Do(n’t). Madison would like to thank her mother, Nick and the makers of refined sugar for all of their support.


January 13 to 18  (Performance January 18 at 4pm)

3-Way Mirror

by Blake Levinson
Directed Elyse Dolan

Megan Gotz, Scott Ozaroski, Ben Schlotfelt, Debbi Welch, and Sheila Willis


A beautiful, middle-aged actress obsessed with her outward appearance is interviewed by three aspiring playwrights competing in a writing contest. When she later performs cold readings of the three short plays inspired by those interviews, she is devastated to learn that her beauty is only skin deep. 

 IMG_0001A Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Dramatists Guild member, Blake Levinson’s full-length, 2-actor play BY REASON OF SANITY was performed this spring in staged readings at Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series and at Evanston’s Next Theater in the Writers’ Bloc New Play Festival. This drama about two battered women will have two more staged readings this Fall when it is used as a training tool for mental health professionals at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Earlier this year, BY REASON OF SANITY was the featured story in an article entitled Before the Curtain Rises by Pamela Powell. Also in 2013, Blake’s humorous short plays WISHBONER and SPEED BUMPS were produced at the Bodhi Spiritual Center’s LoveFEST Short Play Festival, his radio play CLOTHES MAKE THE MANIAC was performed in Skeletal Remains Radio Theater’s Festival of Fear, and his full-length play PERVERSE MORTGAGE was performed in a staged reading at Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series. Along with being a member now of the Improv group called Bodhi Language, Blake was a contributing member and co-founder of the Improv group Slippery When Wet. He was a drama major in college and studied with Byrne Piven for six years at Piven Theatre Workshop. He has also taught writing at Columbia College and Oakton Community College. In addition to writing plays, Blake is an award-wining advertising copywriter who learned his lessons well at some of the largest, most successful ad agencies in the world including: Leo Burnett, Foote Cone & Belding and BBDO. Presently, he is the owner, writer and creative director for DaVinci & Poe Advertising in Chicago.
 Elyse Dolan is still relatively new to the Chicago area and is grateful for the opportunity to work with Three Cat Productions. This past fall she was Assistant Director on Broken Fences at 16th Street Theater and she is currently Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director at American Blues Theater. Elyse graduated from Denison University in Granville, OH with a B.A. in Theatre and English Literature. At Denison, she directed productions of Smudge and Mary’s Wedding, and was Assistant Director on productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Nerd.


January 20 to 25  (Performance January 25 at 1pm)

Locked Ward

written by Amy Crider
Directed T. Paul Lowry

Catherine Dildilian,  Sarah Jordan, Adam Overberg, Scott Ozaroski,  Ben Schlotfelt, Tim Steinmetz, and Sheila Willis


A group of psychiatric patients with a wide range of diagnoses and backgrounds must band together to solve a murder in their ward. “This play was inspired by my brief time in psych wards in 1993, and some of the minor incidents are real, particularly the shaving incident. I think people don’t realize the wide variety of people in a psych ward, that many of them are not necessarily very ill, often staying in a ward just to try out a new anti-depressant, and that “shock therapy” is a voluntary treatment for severe depression, not a punishment. I hope I put a human face on this exotic-seeming setting.” ~ Amy Crider, Playwright


Amy Crider received a BA in theater in 1982, but didn’t return to theater again until moving to Chicago, receiving a sketch writing certificate from Second City in 2008. Since then she has been studying playwriting at Chicago Dramatists.  In 2013 she had readings in New York and Minnesota, and was a finalist for Fusion Theatre’s “The Seven” festival.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild.  In June 2013 her play “Fading Away” was in the Women’s Theatre Alliance “The Bechdel Test” show at Stage 773. She was also a semi-finalist in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.

 T. Paul Lowry has served in production, management and artistic capacities for such organizations as Playwrights Horizons, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Signature Theatre Co., New Haven Theater Company and Long Wharf Theatre. His directing credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, A Mid-Summer Nights’s Dream (NHTC), The Fantasticks, The Rock Horror Show, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (WSR), and several new works. He received an Outstanding Director Award with New Works New Haven for his work on Cindy.


January 20 to 25  (Performance January 25 at 4pm)

Hang You Hat At Mr. Kelly’s

book by Jarrin Davis, music by Gary Gimmestad,  lyrics by Rob Dorn,

Creative Producer: Jason Paul Smith

Directed by John Buranosky, Musical Direction by David Pollak



Valerie Banks, Emily Berman, Meredith Freyre, William Gevirtz, Katie Keenan, Todd Neal, Paul Pasulka, David Sherman, Gemini Sunshine, Bethany Thomas, and Jeffrey Timms

Step into the old Chicago’s jazz scene as Ella, Barbra and the crew take us on a red-hot ride in the new musical revue Hang Your Hat at Mr. Kelly’s. Told through the eyes of a cook and bellhop, who watch as magic unfolds, the story draws from the history of one Chicago’s most famous jazz clubs, Mr. Kelly’s, which during its operation from 1957 to 1975 launched many great careers. The show is packed with music, comedy and dance to delight both those who remember the time and those who are new to the vibrant history of Chicago jazz.

_Jarrin FaceJarrin Davis is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Theater. Upon graduation, he was offered the position of Artistic Director at Omaha Center Stage where he worked for nine years and directed over 30 productions. While there, his production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ won first prize in the Toyama International Theater Festival held in Toyama City, Japan. Not only did the production win top honors from 66 other countries’ best performance entries, Davis was also named Best Director at this prestigious International Festival. As playwright, his first play Son of a Distant Moon has received performances in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, while his latest play, The Second Bullet Hole is in its final stages of development. His latest work, 168 Bricks was featured in the Black Ensemble Theater of Chicago’s 2013 Black Playwrights Festival this past summer.

Easter with Gary & JohnHang Your Hat at Mr. Kelly’s is Gary Gimmestad’s second project with Three Cat Productions. His first was composing the incidental music for the Pat Davis play, Joint Attention which ran at Berger Park Theater in November, 2013. Gary’s delighted to be working with Jason again, with Jarrin for the first time and to be collaborating with Rob again. Gary and Rob shared the stage on several projects including Forever Plaid (pianist) and with the vocal quartet Three Hits and a Miss (arranger, music director and pianist). Gary and Rob also collaborated on two very fun recording projects, Mixing it Up (with Three Hits and a Miss) and Rob’s solo CD, I’m Wishing (arranger, producer and pianist). Among other theatrical projects, Gary has worn various musical hats on tour and in sit-down runs in a variety of shows including Ain’t Misbehavin’, 1940s Radio Hour, Little Shop of Horrors, Beehive, The Medora Musical, and many others. Gary has also performed as pianist in jazz settings with The Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra, The Dick Whitbeck Big Band and Excalibur on the S.S. Oceanic.

Gary also runs his own business, Dal segno Music Services (www.dalsegnomusicservices.com), which offers music preparation services to composers, orchestrators, songwriters, arrangers and musicians. He’s currently working on projects with Minneapolis singer / songwriter Tom Lieberman and with the Dallas Brass. Gary is also currently studying Cinematic Orchestration under the tutelage of film composer and orchestrator Milton Nelson through a course offered by a British enterprise called ThinkSpace.

Rob-dornRob Dorn is proud to once again host BabFab. He most recently appeared as Jacey Squires and top tenor in the Barbershop Quartet in Paramount Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of “The Music Man.” He has performed in hundreds of theaters across the country, including The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Hey City Stage, Minnesota Orchestra and Carnegie Hall. Locally he’s worked with Silk Road, Three Cat Productions, Court Theatre, Wisdom Bridge, Apple Tree, Light Opera Works and Pegasus Players. He toured for many years with the pop vocal group, “Three Hits and a Miss” and currently sings with Alan Gresik’s Swingshift Orchestra at Chicago’s Green Mill. Rob is also an award winning Graphic Designer and Illustrator. His favorite Streisand album is “The Second Barbra Streisand Album” for several reasons which he may reveal this evening. robdorn.com
John Buranosky has been involved with theatrical productions throughout the Chicagoland area for over 25 years. Having been on the stage and behind the scenes, he is familiar with many facets of the theater process. Recently, John collaborated with David Csicsko and the Towle Theater where he designed the set and costumes for ROBOT MIKE. He has worked on properties with Hell in a Handbag Productions, Chicago Cultural Center and various regional theaters. His favorite directorial endeavors include: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, GUTENBERG: THE MUSICAL, and SOMETHING’S AFOOT. John was last seen onstage as Aldolpho in his Northern Indiana Excellence in Theater nominated performance in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE.


January 27 to February 1 (Performance February 1 at 1pm)


written by Molly Campbell

Directed by Madison Smith


Connor Culpepper, Catherine Dildilian,  Michael Donley, Adam Overberg, Tim Steinmetz, and Kayla Zaniboni

Rick’s home life shatters when he receives a letter from his biological father. With help from this girlfriend, Nora, he goes on a quest to meet the man who raped his mother, and face his own conceptions of self-identity.

molly_BWMolly Campbell wrote horror fiction before trying her hand at playwriting. Since picking up the theatre bug, she has had over a dozen short plays produced in theatres from San Diego to New York City. She is a winner of the Omaha Theatre Arts Guild Best New Script award for the 2005-2006 season, and a second place winner at the Henrico Theatre’s 21st Annual Playwriting Competition. Molly is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Chicago Dramatists. She lives in Chicago, where she works as a speech-language pathologist and enjoys swimming. 
Madison Smith is thrilled to be working with Three Cat Productions on the 2014 Chicago New Works Festival. Madison is a proud graduate of the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film where her directing credits include MilkMilkLemonade, All You Need Is, and No Talent: Rejected Plays and Other New Works. Other directing credits include Apollon Co-Creation Art’s The Devil You Do(n’t). Madison would like to thank her mother, Nick and the makers of refined sugar for all of their support.


January 27 to February 1 (Performance February 1 at 4pm)

Of Moonjays & Motorcycles

music by Clark and Plough, book by Kalena Victoria Dickerson
Musical Direction by David Pollak


Paul Brutscher, Jake Degler, Megan Farley, Claire Feeney, Sarah Hoch, Joseph Lugosch, Martha Stai, Anthony Whitaker, and Ann Marie White

This modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s Pericles takes you on one average Midwesterner’s epic journey through life. Ethan Michaels, Jr., of a suburban town called Cascade, is a young man with a head full of big ideas who has inherited his father’s landscaping business at a young age. His ideals are challenged when he learns that his mentor, Mr. Carter, has purchased an invasive species to damage the town’s iconic horn trees, solely to benefit the Carter pesticide business. Unable to break Cascade’s corruption, Ethan sets out on a mission to travel to many towns and help them build communities in which each person can offer their talents and thrive. Along the way he finds something perhaps more inspiring than social change – love. When this love is lost, he gives up on all his life missions and leaves his daughter Harley to be raised in a town full of hope where he feels she can live out his dreams. But Harley’s life, like, Ethan’s, has a bump in the road at every turn. Ethan and Harley are vagrant visionaries that have to find a way to come to terms with what life throws at them and decide what’s truly valuable.

 Steve Clark (Composer & Lyricist) first picked up a guitar when he was eighteen. He’s been writing songs ever since. While studying theatre at Bradley University, a professor heard Steve playing outside. The teacher encouraged him to underscore the six hour epic The Kentucky Cycle. By blending simple rhythms with unique chord changes, Steve discovered the magic of music interacting with theatre. Since then he has written a children’s show about inventors (From Thought to Finish), penned songs for the social justice theatre Scrap Mettle S.O.U.L., and underscored several productions with Tantalus Theatre Group. More recently, he is developed a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol with an eight-piece folk ensemble (The Haunting of Old Ebenezer.) In 2003, he began collaborating with Ed Plough. Together they achieve a quirky sound first exhibited in their experimental rock band …i think not. Ed and Steve’s cocomposing matured, eventually leading to a full length musical (Slide) and a commitment to continue writing musicals for decades to come.

 Ed Plough (Composer & Lyricist) is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature at Oklahoma State University. Ed holds a PhD in Renaissance Literature from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, an MA in Shakespeare Studies from University of London, Royal Holloway, England, and a BA in English with a minor in Theatre from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He has attended numerous conferences on varied literary topics and his papers “Shakespearean Idiots & Prerogativa Regis: A Study of the Connection between Elizabethan Law & Shakespeare’s Poetic Strategy” and “Humanism in Rabelais’ Gargantua: The Alcofribas Persona.” were read at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Literature & Law Conference and Purdue University’s Renaissance Comparative Prose Conference, respectively. His MA dissertation examined Choral Mediation in Shakespeare’s Drama and his PhD dissertation explored the process of adapting Shakespeare’s Pericles into the original musical Of Moonjays & Motorcycles. He has been writing musicals with Kalena Victoria Dickerson and Steve Clark for six years and has completed three full length musicals during this time, one of which (Slide) received a workshop production by Tantalus Theatre Group in 2005. Ed has co-composed music for several theatre productions in the Chicago-area.

 Kalena Victoria Dickerson (Bookwriter) is a Chicago-area playwright whose work has been performed at Goodman Theatre and Prop Theatre, produced by Breadline Theatre Group, Tantalus Theatre Group, and Chemically Inbalanced Comedy, commissioned by Raven Theatre, and workshopped by the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago. Her play The Paringtons received the Dennis McIntyre Prize for Distinction in Undergraduate Playwriting and the Theatre Associates Celebrate Playwriting Award from the University of Michigan in 2003, was selected as a finalist for the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild’s Julie Harris Playwriting Awards in 2005, and was recently named as a finalist for Dayton Playhouse’s Future Fest 2012. Kalena graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Writing and History, and a Bachelor of Theatre Arts. Kalena has worked artistically and administratively with several local performing arts organizations including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Writers’ Theatre and currently serves as the Manager of Institutional Grants for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

 David Nathaniel Pollak is an internationally performed professional musical theater composer and orchestrator based in Chicago, IL.  His orchestrations have been heard recently at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, and The Goodman Theatre.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music.

David is the composer for the original musicals Richard (book by A. George Bajalia), The Play Within (lyrics and book by Julian Breslow), and the upcoming The Wrong Box (book by A. George Bajalia).