2014 SOLO Chicago


2014 SOLO Chicago Festival

August 13 to 23, 2014

Berger Park Coach House Theater

Three Cat Productions is excited to announce the lineup for the second annual presentation of the SOLO Chicago festival.  SOLO Chicago will feature individual performances by vocal artists, storytellers, and more.   2014 performers will include Captain Ambivalent, Mary Ruth Clarke, Jillian Erickson, Matt Griffo, Owen Kalt, Barbara Lau with George Booker, Marissa Lichwick, Megon McDonough,  Carson Reiners,  Maureen Riley, Laura Scruggs and Debbi Welch.   Each evening will showcase individual presentations by multiple performers.

The festival will run Wednesdays through Saturdays, August 13 to August 23, with performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Berger Park Coach House Theater, 6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660.

The SOLO Chicago festival is part of Three Cat Productions’ ongoing effort to offer Chicago artists a creative platform, foster relationships between local performers, and bring new work programming to the Edgewater area.

Flex Pass Savings

Purchase our SOLO Chicago flex pass and save!  $30 for 4 shows. (This saves you $30!)


Schedule of Performances:

SOLO Chicago Festival  Week Two

August 21 @ 7:30pm

Mary Ruth Clarke in “I Could Kill Him For Dying”
Debbi Welch in “Life Goes On”
Maureen Riley in “Confessions of a Salsaholic”

Tickets: $15



August 22 @ 7:30pm

Captain Ambivalent in “Pirate Ninja Zombie: The Not So Secret Origin of Captain Ambivalent“
Carson Reiners in “Stuck”
Jason Paul Smith in “Songs My Mother Never Taught Me”

Tickets: $15



August 23 @ 7:30pm

Mary Ruth Clarke in “I Could Kill Him For Dying”
Debbi Welch in “Life Goes On”
Jason Paul Smith in “Songs My Mother Never Taught Me”

Tickets: $15



About the SOLO Chicago Performers:


Captain Ambivalent in “Pirate Ninja Zombie: The Not So Secret Origin of Captain Ambivalent

The thrilling tale of a young nerd’s quest to escape the humdrum told through a bunch of weird giantish songs on accordion. And time travel. And a mad scientist. And a dinosaur!

About Captain Ambivalent

captainambivalent1Captain Ambivalent and the Accordion of Gold (www.captainambivalent.com) has been performing his uniquely funny songs since 2005, from his base in Northwest Indiana north to Chicagoland and south as far as Louisville. His first album, “Fear The Accordion”, was released in early 2012 with “Pirate Ninja Zombie” following in early 2014. In between he discovered his songs naturally fell into a faux auto-biography and began adding costume, prop, and video elements to flesh out the tale. This show had its origin at Front Porch Music in Valparaiso IN in February and was developed further at Three Brothers Theater in Waukegan IL in April. He has given somewhat less theatrical music performances at venues including GenCon, Pierogi Fest, WNIT South Bend, and Six Flags Great America, and was part of Ex-Pats Theater Company’s 20 hour festival.


Mary Ruth Clarke in “I Could Kill Him For Dying”

MaryRuthClarkeChapter 32: In which she unexpectedly finds herself in a compromising position in Vegas


Whatever You Think, That’s Not It

About Mary

MARY RUTH CLARKE co-wrote and starred in the original “Meet the Parents” and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her screenplay “Chimney Rock” is still under option. Her play Bonhoeffer’s Cost was recently produced at Provision Theater, and her play Suffer The Long Night, co-written with Greg Glienna was recently produced in Los Angeles and will be produced in Austin, Texas later this year. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she teaches screenwriting, and she is a member of the Writer’s Guide of America East and the Dramatists Guild.


Jillian Erickson in “3:00 a.m.: Slipping Beyond the Boundaries of a Bruised Mind ”

3am PixJillian Erickson was born and raised in Colorado, where she was highly involved in theatre and writing, filling piles and piles of journals, chronicling her large spectrum of emotions towards her internal core battles. She became in awe of performance art, spoken word and storytelling after being drawn in by Laurie Anderson, Spalding Grey, Meredith Monk, Marina Abramović and Henry Rollins and found her stepping stone to a renewed excitement her into her craft.

She moved to Chicago 15 years ago spending many years as a Writer, Performer and Co- Producer/Director of Beast Women, and has experienced what feels to be a handful of very unique lifetimes worth revealing. As a result, she has created her first solo show 3:00 a.m.: Slipping Beyond the Boundaries of a Bruised Mind, a reflection of two different phases of bi-polar filled insomnia evenings. From Colorado to Chicago… from Ralph Machio to Religion…from Biological Clocks to a Norwegian obsession. 3:00 a.m. is an interweaving of years gone by and the smorgasbord of segments that have steered her towards her current path.


Matt Griffo Cabaret On The Lake Show mediumMatt Griffo in “Enjoy Yourself: Matt Griffo Live in Concert”

Matt Griffo is an up and coming Chicago based musician, actor, and comedian. He’s been performing at festivals across the country since 2008, has opened for Reggie Watts and is the composer for the Chicago smash hit: Jersey Shore The Musical. He has songs about the environment, racism, love, and zombies. He’s joined on stage by his piano, ukulele, and unique brand of witty and off the wall comedy.


Owen Kalt in “Danny’s Friend”

owenkaltIn 1975, a fifteen-year-old named Owen Kalt learned that his best friend was gay. And in 1975, that was a very big deal. (At that time, even Elton John was pretending to be straight!)  In this one-man show, Owen takes a humorous look at his life-long friendship with his best friend Danny. The show is about Owen’s attempts to balance his acceptance of Danny’s sexuality with his own fear that people might assume he was gay too – – and the guilt he felt about that fear.

About Owen

Owen Kalt is an experienced storyteller. This one-man show was created after he won Story Luck’s  2012 “End of the Year Prize,” for excellence in storytelling.  Story Luck is planning to produce this show in late 2014.  In addition, Owen recently won the Haymarket Moth Story Slam.  He is a professional writer of lyrics for show tunes. He used to be a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He is married to the most beautiful woman in the world.


Barbara Lau in “His Name Was,  and God Is” performed by George Booker

LAU photo1 copyHis Name Was, and God Is  views the “Right to Life” issue from an entirely new angle, as a husband laments  a string of miscarriages he and his wife have experienced. Now out of patience and hope, he’s looking for someone or something to blame.

About Barbara

BARBARA LAU is an active playwright, poet and educator living in Iowa. Her full-length drama, Raising Medusa, premiered at Riverside Theatre, Iowa City, partially supported by an NEA Artistic Excellence Award.  Barbara also has written a libretto for “Lady with the Pet Dog,” based on Chekhov’s beloved story.  She writes short plays and monologues too — and is thrilled that  Three Cats Productions is presenting one in their Festival.  Her first book of poetry, The Long Surprise, won the 2000 X. J. Kennedy National Poetry Prize.

About George

George Booker has spent his entire life in the Midwest. He attended Evanston Township High School where he began his improvisation and theatre career. His favorite credits included McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and The King in Big River. After graduation, George attended and graduated from the Second City Conservatory and iO training programs while also improvising and performing sketch comedy around Chicago. After two years of makeumups, he decided to take his performance to the next level by attending the Theatre School at DePaul University where he graduated in June. Some of his favorite credits included Joe in Waiting for Lefty, Daniel Reeves in Nine Circles, and Father/Rooster in Hansel and Gretel. Currently, George is a writer/performer on the children’s television show Green Screen Adventures and is producing his own YouTube sketch comedy series EXPERTS.


Marissa Lichwick in “Yellow Dress”

best shotYellow Dress is a performance born out of my experiences in America as an adoptee from South Korea. I came to this country when I was seven back in 1985, with my ten- year old brother. I left behind an orphanage and two minister parents that didn’t have room in their lives for children. We went abroad and landed into a family of ten in upstate New York. Not a biological family of ten, but a mixed family of ten consisting of five Korea adoptees, three American adoptees and (only) two biological children. Thus my new life began.

This piece is deeply meaningful to me, as it is an expression of my life in both the harrowing orphanage in South Korea and my baffling membership in the bi-cultural family of ten. It also explores my life as I try to retrace my Korean roots when I received a letter from my birth father back in 2006, on Christmas day.

I choose to express this story through solo theatre because it is a vulnerable and daunting form. It pushes an actor beyond his/her comfort zone, without a partner on stage, where communication with the audience becomes central. The story is the event. I was fortunate to be in an MFA Acting program that challenged us to create a ten-minute solo show: to teach us how to own one’s space, to be authentic and communicate through our stories. The assignment was to illuminate the discipline and foster independence and the creativity needed to be a self-generating artist. I knew no one would write this play for me, so I had to do it, on my own, in my personal way. I believe Yellow Dress offers an intimate solo theatre experience, which truly elevates the human spirit and both the audience and storyteller are deeply moved by the event.

About Marissa

Marissa Lichwick hails from New York City and is proud to present her Solo Show ‘Yellow Dress’. She currently resides in Chicago and has been seen around the country in off-broadway and regional theatres such as Urban Stages, La Mama Etc….New York International Fringe Festival (NYC), Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, The Denver Center, Hollywood Fringe Festival, among many others. ‘Yellow Dress’, first premiered in LA as apart of the Hollywood Fringe Festival and then moved to New York for the New York International Fringe Festival, where she was approached by NPR’s “This American LIfe”. She will next work and understudy at the Goodman Theatre in THE WORLD OF EXTREME HAPPINESS.


Megon McDonough in “How Ringo Saved Me From A Life in the Convent”

MegonMcDonough_SmallHow Ringo Saved Me From A Life in the Convent is the story of how young Mary Megan Margaret McDonough from Crystal Lake IL, would listen for “the calling” the nuns had instructed her to – butheard and answered another call that fateful Feb. night in 1964 that would take her all the way to Carnegie Hall and so many other places — inside and out. You just never know where the call will take you…

About Megon

Megon McDonough is probably best known for her work as an inaugural member of The Four Bitchin Babes along with Christine Lavin, which allowed Megon’s wit and folk sensibilities to comment on the ups and downs of everyday life. Perhaps not surprisingly, she is also an accomplished comedic actress having appeared in numerous theater productions including, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Beehive and a box office record-breaking starring role in Always Patsy Cline. She, in fact, classifies her music as folk/cabaret, citing her love of theatre and jazz as the reason for the unusual mix. She was inspired to play the guitar and sing after watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and wrote her first song at age eleven. (Folk lovers may remember a 17-year-old Megon opening for such acts as John Denver, Steve Martin and Harry Chapin in the 70’s.). This “Musical Memoir”, How Ringo Saved Me From A Life in the Convent, was born out of the class, Story Into Song, taught by Chicago Dramatists Resident Playwright Cheryl Coons.  She is thrilled to be included in The Chicago Solo Show Festival premiering her work. Megon is currently Music Director at Unity Northwest Church in Des Plaines, IL when she is not touring with her show; Her Way ~ An Interesting Bunch of Gals.

For all things Megon visit; www.megonmegon.com


Carson Reiners in “Untitled”

Carson ReinersI’ve spent many years abroad and though I stopped feeling as if I was leaving due to some philosophical/intellectual exile or need of personal relocation I found many conversations with others who were, and so it’s been a continuous idea that fosters in my head, what is the meaning of the idea of leaving your place of birth to find a new place of residence that better suits who it is that you are versus the need to leave in order to absorb a new identity because perhaps you were without one in the first place.

About Carson

Carson is happily a recent transplant to Chicago. She was born in NJ and moved to NYC at 16 and has been fortunate enough to work as an artist  throughout the USA, Europe, South Africa, Peru, India, and Israel. She attended CODARTS(Rotterdam,NL) and holds a BA from the Anton Bruckner Universitat(AU). As a free-lance dancer she has worked with many prominent artists in NYC and abroad. In 2011 she started to work in international collaborations starting with the project CROSSINGS in South Africa under the direction of Vincent Mantsoe and Michel Kelemenis, the following year, in 2012, she worked as a collaborator/performer in the production “Las Sacerdotistas de Machu Picchu” under the direction of Mariano Leon and Daniel Rey Goitia in Peru and last year she was one of the seven female collaborators curated by Shaked Dagan in the production of “Kindling” that toured Northern India in the summer of 2013. Until recently she was residing in Israel where she performed in the Stage’s production of “The Vagina Monologues” in Tel Aviv and taught dance. She has also worked as collaborator/performer with directors Ksenia Petrenko and Aleksei Zherebtsov of Liquid Theatre(RU), and was one of the original members of  the music/dance collaboration, Dovetail, headed by Andrea Hoag based out of DC. She believes very strongly in education and art and has taught in a wide range of environments in the USA, Germany, India, and Israel. www.carsonreiners.weebly.com


Maureen Riley in “Confessions of a Salsaholic”

My Mermaid image with tail final

This is a true story about how I found joy after divorce, and in the most unlikely of places. Getting lost in a new world, where none of my old co-ordinates exist has always been my way to heal. This time, it was in finding a young latin lover, learning  to Salsa dance ,and  ultimately win competitions, that brought my heart, my body and my sensuality together in a way I had never fully known.

About Maureen

Cited in Who’s Who of American Creative Women, Maureen Riley is a native Chicagoan who has been making films, Latin dancing, writing and performing live Lit, poetry & solo shows and practicing energy healing and psychotherapy in Chicago for decades. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Sparrowgrass, The Columbia Poetry Review, Private Arts & Nit & Wit Magazine. PBS broadcast her 5- time national award-winning documentary, “The Road Home”, which she produced, directed & edited.  Maureen has appeared in two auto-biographical solo shows, “Give Me Space in My Time “, at the Chopin Theatre, and “Confessions of a Salsaholic”, which was written up as ‘best of show’ by WFMT and produced by Second Story. Currently in the throes of finishing a full-length theatrical piece called,“Who Stole The Goddess”, in the meantime, spoken word-jazz CD “Bonfire Heart”, her series of poems for the Goddess set to music by former Miles Davis keyboardist and jazz great, Robert Irving, is on sale at Cdbaby.com.


Laura Scruggs in “Punk Grandpa”

card_front“Punk Grandpa” is the story of how I did not fit into my family, church or other social groups and how my grandpa helped me find my identity/realize that it’s okay to be different.  We were both freaks.  He was the free-est person I ever knew.  The show takes place over one magical weekend when I was 5 3/4 years old and exhibits my grandpa’s unique sense of humor and reckless, unabandoned approach to life!  The story is portrayed through storytelling, music, dance, family photos & film footage and a little bit of puppetry.

“Intersections of identity and vulnerability and honesty and history and family, executed by a very talented and special performer, coming together in a way that touched everyone’s hearts. 

If you’ve ever felt different and admired the freedom that comes with just being true to that difference, no matter what other people think or say, go see it!  Really. 

I am glad that a one-woman show has a platform like the Fringe Festival, otherwise I would never have heard this story, shed tears, laughed and come away with new insight.”   ~Aaron Salamonson, audience member

About Laura

Laura has taught theatre in a variety of environments, from the Chicago Park District to inner city schools to a Jewish community center. She has her M.A. in Communication, Media and Theatre and her B.S. in Elementary Education, with a Jr. High/Middle School Theatre Endorsement. She is the Internship Program Director for The Chicago Fringe Festival, a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a Dramatist Guild member. Some of her favorite roles include: Joanna in “Home Free,” Fairy Freak Finooza in “Six Stories Up, Up & Away,” Mary in “The Red Coat,” Prunella in “Canker Sores and Other Distractions” and Mother of victim in “Bully: The Hip Hop Musical.” She also enjoys faeries, puppets, festivals (especially Pierogi, crafts & circus), hiking, thrift shopping, hanging out in coffee shoppes and social justice!


Debbi Welch in “Life Goes On”

Debbi WelchIn “Life Goes On”, Debbi Welch examines the lessons learned from her mother. Through the unique and humorous tales, we’re learn about love, forgiveness and the lessons only family can teach.

 About Debbi

Debbi Welch has told her stories at a number of Chicago storytelling venues, including This Much is True, Story Sessions, Story Lab, Here’s The Story, Serving the Sentence, Is This a Thing? and Essay Fiesta and she recently performed at Seattle’s Rain City Slam. An advocate for young writers and performers, she’s currently president of the board of Young Chicago Authors – an organization that transforms the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication and performance education.


Past Performances:

SOLO Chicago Festival : Week One

August 13 @ 7:30pm

Barbara Lau’s “His Name Was,  and God Is” performed by George Booker
Marissa Lichwick in “Yellow Dress”
Megon McDonough in “How Ringo Saved Me From A Life in the Convent”


August 14 @ 7:30pm

Jillian Erickson in “3:00 a.m.: Slipping Beyond the Boundaries of a Bruised Mind ”
Owen Kalt in “Danny’s Friend”


August 15 @ 7:30pm

Barbara Lau’s “His Name Was,  and God Is” performed by George Booker
Marissa Lichwick in “Yellow Dress”
Megon McDonough in “How Ringo Saved Me From A Life in the Convent”


August 16 @ 7:30pm

Jillian Erickson in “3:00 a.m.: Slipping Beyond the Boundaries of a Bruised Mind ”
Owen Kalt in “Danny’s Friend”
Maureen Riley in “Confessions of a Salsaholic”

August 20 @ 7:30pm

Matt Griffo in “Enjoy Yourself: Matt Griffo Live in Concert”
Carson Reiners in “Stuck”
Laura Scruggs in “Punk Grandpa”