James Braly’s Life in a Marital Institution (produced by Meredith Vieira Productions) premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, had a sold-out run at 59E59 Theater in New York City, before transferring Off-Broadway to critical raves at the Soho Playhouse.
DATES & TIMES Regular performance times (July 21-August 6) are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7pmand 8:30pm; and Sundays at 3pm .
LOCATIONS Performances are at Lifeline Theatre and Heartland Studio Theatre (free parking and shuttle available; see Performance Venues below for more details).
TICKETS Tickets (July 21-August 6) are only $10 for each performance, and Festival Passes are available for only $30, which allow admission to any number of performances through August 6. Tickets may be purchased from the Lifeline Theatre box office (773.761.4477) or online.
FINAL PERFORMANCE The final performance of the Festival (James Braly’s Life in a Marital Institution) will be held Sunday, August 7 at 5pm, at Mayne Stage. Tickets for this special production are $20(Festival Passes do not apply). Tickets for Life in a Marital Institution may be purchased from the Mayne Stage box office (773.381.4554) or through www.maynestage.com.
6912 N. Glenwood Avenue
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Heartland Studio Theatre
7016 N. Glenwood Avenue
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Mayne Stage (August 7 only)
1328 W. Morse Avenue
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All three venues are located in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, in the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, steps from the Morse Red Line CTA stop. Free parking is available at the designated lot west of the theatres (NE corner of Morse and Ravenswood) with free shuttle service before and after the shows. Street parking is also available.
For all performances July 21-August 6, call the Lifeline Theatre box office for tickets (773.761.4477) or click here. For tickets to the August 7 performance of Life in a Marital Institution, call the Mayne Stage box office (773.381.4554) or click here.
Two storytellers delve into the resilience of the human spirit and the inescapability of learning life’s lessons.
All performances at Heartland Studio Theatre Performances: Saturday, 7/23, 8:30pm; Friday, 7/29, 8:30pm; Saturday, 7/30, 7pm; and Thursday, 8/4, 8:30pm. Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
Ferocious Love and We’ve Got a Badge for That Ferocious Love written and performed by Deb R. Lewis We’ve Got a Badge for That written and performed by Kelli Strickland
Directed by Sharon Evans
Ferocious Love: From a wolf baby who bites to a lover whose kiss leaves lips raw and teeth humming, Deb R. Lewis serves up ferocious love and a quiet, mysterious presence.
We’ve Got a Badge for That: Near death experiences, puppy love, pyromania, and peach schnapps… one girl’s story of the scouts.
All performances at Heartland Studio Theatre Performances: Thursday, 8/4, 7pm; Friday, 8/5, 8:30pm; and Saturday, 8/6, 7pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here
Written and performed by the Lifeline Storytelling Project (Diego Colón, Leah Cox, Eduardo Garcia, Christina Hall, Tiffany Keane, Amanda Link, Darren Meyers, Brittney Love Smith, Jason Weinberg, and Jessica Wright)
Directed by Dorothy Milne
Generation Y takes the mic: Adventure stories from Lifeline 80s babies.
All performances at Heartland Studio Theatre Performances: Thursday, 7/21, 8:30pm; Friday, 7/22, 7pm; Saturday, 7/30, 8:30pm; and Friday, 8/5, 7pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
Written and performed by the Sweat Girls (Caroline Andres, Cindy D. Hanson, Dorothy Milne, Clare Nolan, Martie Sanders, and Pamela Webster)
Tales of loss, resurrection… and some hair, maybe.
All performances at Lifeline Theatre Performances: Saturday, 7/23, 7pm; Saturday, 7/30, 7pm; Thursday, 8/4, 7pm; and Saturday, 8/6, 7pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
I Got Sick Then I Got Better
Written and performed by Jenny Allen
Directed by James Lapine & Darren Katz
I Got Sick Then I Got Better is a comic riff on one woman’s adventures after falling down the medical rabbit hole. Diagnosed with and treated for ovarian cancer in 2005, writer and performer Jenny Allen (The New Yorker, The New York Times) tells her story of the harrowing tailspin she took following her diagnosis, combining biting humor with searing emotion in a witty, bittersweet monologue that limns the personal and family collateral damage a life-threatening illness brings.
“Embraceable… Ms. Allen speaks with passion and precision.”
—Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“Excellent… completely disarming…”
All performances at Lifeline Theatre Performances: Thursday, 7/21, 8:30pm; Friday, 7/22, 7pm; Thursday, 7/28, 7pm; and Friday, 7/29, 7pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
Life in a Marital Institution
Written and performed by James Braly
Directed by Hal Brooks
Produced by Meredith Vieira Productions
A poignant, darkly humorous autobiographical comedy set improbably in a hospice, James sits at the bedside of his dying sister, who asks him to trade places with her. Until she realizes that would mean trading places with him…being in his marriage…a fate worse than death! The monologue cuts back and forth between the hospice, where his sister is engaged to be married, and scenes from his marriage, exploring infidelity, near-death childbirth and other high-stakes yet hilarious adventures. In the process, the comedy explores the roots of romantic love in familial love, and the notion: not only can you go home again, you can’t not go home again; you can’t escape your past. Until you confront it…which James does through his sister’s deathbed wedding, before returning home to confront whether his own marriage should come to an end. Life in a Marital Institution premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, had a sold-out run at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, before transferring Off-Broadway to critical raves at the Soho Playhouse.
“A masterpiece of storytelling full of humor and pungent observation.”
“This is stylish monologue, reminiscent of those of Spalding Gray. Excellent.”
—The London Times
“Disarming insight into how the male mind works.”
Performed at Mayne Stage Performance: Sunday, 8/7, 5pm Tickets: $20; call 773.381.4554 or click here.
Love Thy Neighbor… Till It Hurts
Written and performed by Julie Ganey
Directed by Megan Shuchman
What does it mean to be a good neighbor in one of the most diverse communities in the country? Julie Ganey, Chicago theatre and storytelling veteran, and longtime resident of Rogers Park, brings you stories from Chi-town’s northern border. It’s a tenacious look at how we misunderstand, mistake and misjudge each other — and choose to live together anyway.
All performances at Lifeline Theatre Performances: Thursday, 7/21, 7pm; Sunday, 7/31, 3pm; and Friday, 8/5, 7pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
The Man Who Never Was, or the Man of Your Choice
Written and performed by Eric Warner
Directed by John Ragir
What do Bigfoot and Rod Stewart teach us about masculinity? And how a 30 year-old personality test for women makes Warner feel like a natural man.
All performances at Heartland Studio Theatre Performances: Friday, 7/22, 8:30pm; Saturday, 7/23, 7pm; Thursday, 7/28, 8:30pm; Friday, 7/29, 7pm; and Sunday, 7/31, 3pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
Must Be Nice
Written and performed by Jimmy Doyle
Directed by Jane Morris
Second City alumnus, loveable TV commercial dad, and South Side Irish, Doyle has been called “cranky, cracked, queer (and Catholic)” by the Chicago Reader. Exiled to Hollywood, Doyle finds himself battling a climate hostile to fair skin and intellectualism, all the while threatening to cash in his dual citizenship and live on a farm in Ireland. Married? Working? Must Be Nice.
All performances at Lifeline Theatre Performances: Saturday, 7/23, 8:30pm; Saturday, 7/30, 8:30pm; Thursday, 8/4, 8:30pm; Friday, 8/5, 8:30pm; and Saturday, 8/6, 8:30pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
Two Good Stories
Written and performed by Matt Miller
Directed by Erica Rosenfeld Halverson
A story about a very, very bad day in New York. And another story that’s a surprise.
All performances at Heartland Studio Theatre Performances: Thursday, 7/21, 7pm; Sunday, 7/24, 3pm; Thursday, 7/28, 7pm; Saturday, 8/6, 8:30pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
You Only Shoot the Ones You Love
Written and performed by Jeffrey Sweet
Thirty years of dealings with Del Close, Paul Sills and the mad pioneers of Chicago Improv.
All performances at Lifeline Theatre Performances: Friday, 7/22, 8:30pm; Sunday, 7/24, 3pm; Thursday, 7/28, 8:30pm; and Friday, 7/29, 8:30pm Tickets: $10; call 773.761.4477 or click here.
Jenny Allen’s essays and articles have appeared for years in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vogue, Esquire, More, Huffington Post, and Good Housekeeping. Recent essays appear in “Disquiet, Please!” a new anthology of humor pieces from The New Yorker, and in In The Fullness of Time: 32 Women on Life After 50 (Simon & Schuster). She is the author of a book of fables for grown-ups called The Long Chalkboard, illustrated by her husband, Jules Feiffer. She produces and performs stand-up comedy evenings in Manhattan, has appeared in Spalding Grey: Stories Left to Tell, and is a participating storyteller for The Moth. I Got Sick Then I Got Better was first performed on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2007; director James Lapine then collaborated with Allen and with Darren Katz on shaping and expanding the material. New York Theatre Workshop produced the show in 2009, extending it three times. I Got Sick Then I Got Betterhas been seen in theaters, hospitals, universities and at cancer conferences around the country. Ms. Allen received the 2010 “It’s Always Something” award from Gilda’s Club NYC. She has two children, Halley, an actress, and Julie, a high school student, as well as a stepdaughter, Kate.
James Braly is a writer and performer. His stories have been broadcast nationally on This American Life, NPR, and Marketplace. He has performed in theatres, festivals, and art venues around the world, including The Whitney Museum, Long Wharf Theatre, and the Moth, where he won the Moth Grandslam Storytelling Competition…twice! He is the author of a forthcoming memoir from St. Martin’s Press as well as the screenwriter of a feature film based on Life in a Marital Institution for Meredith Vieira Productions. Life in a Marital Institution was James’s first theatrical effort after a successful 20-year career writing motivational speeches for Fortune 500 companies. It premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, had a sold-out run at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, before transferring Off-Broadway to critical raves at the Soho Playhouse. His most recent monologue, The Monthly Nut (How Much Misery Does It Take To Be Happy?), directed by Seth Barrish (Sleepwalk with Me), is in development at The Barrow Group Theatre.
Jimmy Doyle is a Second City alumnus and spoken word performer living in Los Angeles. His most recent one man show, Must Be Nice, was work shopped at the Comedy Central stage at the Hudson Theatre, directed by Bill Cusack; and premiered at the fanaticsalon in November of 2010, directed by Jane Morris. Doyle is a regular performer with Sit n’ Spin at the Comedy Central stage, and has appeared on the “I Love a Good Story” podcast. Doyle’s essays have been published in various websites, including “Fresh Yarn,” the West Cork writers collective, and “I’m From Driftwood.” Jimmy was also chosen as a “My Turn” contributor for Newsweekmagazine in 2008.
Julie Ganey is a Chicago-based performer, writer and teacher. As an actor, she has worked with Victory Gardens, Northlight, Goodman, Chicago Dramatists, Noble Fool and Drury Lane. She regularly performs her original stories as part of 2nd Story, and has been featured on NPR’s WBEZ. Her solo show The Half-Life of Magic was included in Fillet of Solo 2010, and was also produced by Next Theatre as part of the What’s Next series.
Deb R. Lewis is a writer and storyteller. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Cellstories.net, Criminal Class Review, IsGreaterThan.net, Gertrude, Susurrus, Invisible Cities Wiki, Outsider Ink (Artist Spotlight), Velvet Mafia, Blithe House Quarterly, Sleepwalk, Dyversity (UK), and Hair Trigger, as well as the forthcoming Windy City Queer anthology (University of Wisconsin, Fall 2011). She’s a company member with 2nd Story (a hybrid performance group that combines story, wine, and music) and teaches fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago.
The Lifeline Storytelling Project is an incubation program for young professional performers to participate in solo writing/performing workshops led by Artistic Director Dorothy Milne and ensemble member Jenifer Tyler, both veterans of the Chicago solo performance scene. 2011 participants include: Diego Colón, Leah Cox, Eduardo Garcia, Christina Hall, Tiffany Keane, Amanda Link, Darren Meyers, Brittney Love Smith, Jason Weinberg, and Jessica Wright.
Matt Miller is a Chicago-based stage director and teacher. As a storyteller, Matt performs frequently around Chicago with groups like 2nd Story (where he is a company member), Write Club!, Fillet of Solo, Essay Fiesta, Stories at the Store, and The Moth (StorySlam Winner, February 2010). Recent directing credits include the Jeff Recommended revival of The Weir for Seanachaí Theatre Company, the staged reading of 4000 Miles for Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory (with Tony winner Deanna Dunagan), Serendipity’s Chicago and L.A. productions of Girl, 20 (Best Director and Best Ensemble nominations LA Weekly 2008 Theatre Awards), and the world premiere of Graceland for Profiles Theatre (Top 10 Plays of the Year 2009, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times). Matt is also a proud twelve-year company member of Barrel of Monkeys, a group that provides creative writing workshops for Chicago Public Elementary Schools that lack arts funding. Originally from Kent, Ohio, Matt remains a faithful Indians fan, although he flirts with the Cubs a lot.
Kim Morris earned her MFA from Columbia College Chicago and her BA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications. She’s written short plays included in Theatre Seven of Chicago’s Yes, This Really Happened to Me and We Live Here. She’s a company member of 2nd Story and has performed her stories at many venues throughout Chicago.
Kelli Strickland has acted or directed with many theatres around town. Most recently she appeared in Raven Theatre’s The Cherry Orchard, and starred in the feature film Hannah Free, which appeared in over 50 film festivals internationally and won multiple awards, including ‘Best in Fest.’ Kelli is on faculty in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University and is the Director of Education and Outreach of Raven’s “Take Flight” program, serving Chicago Public Schools.
The Sweat Girls are best known for their long running Chicago hits I’m Sweating Under My Breasts, Sweat Dreams, The Motherlode, Cirque du Sweat, and Sweatily Ever After, as well as a host of briefer runs, including last year’s entry in Fillet of Solo, The Sweat Girls Are A-Ga-Ga. Performing in San Francisco, New York, Michigan and Chicago, this collective of women writer-performers has spent 18 years entertaining its devoted following. As individuals, they also have exciting theatrical histories and projects:
Caroline Andres enjoyed playing Bertha in Wants Unwished Work (Sacred Fools in Los Angeles), which garnered her a Drama Critics Award Nomination for comedic acting. Favorite Chicago roles include Lila in Working Magic (Victory Gardens); Rosemary in Picnic (Athaneum Theatre Co.) and Meg in Crimes of the Heart (Village Players). Caroline was a founding member of the Around the Coyote Festival, served as Administrative Director for Piven Theatre, and was Coordinator of Ready Set PLAY with Center Theatre in Los Angeles, an after-school theatre program serving LA Unified School District.
Cindy D. Hanson is the co-writer of Cooking with Lard and co-adaptor of Hen Lake, both first produced at Lifeline Theatre. She has written and performed Evelyn Dancesin Chicago, Louisville and San Francisco, where she was nominated for a Bay Area Critics Award. Cindy has also written the play Henry & Helen, nominated for the Cherry Lane Theatre’s Mentor Project, and the performance piece Me and My Chakras, work-shopped for Manhattan Theatre Source’s Playground Development Series and Flourish Studios in Chicago.
Dorothy Milne is the Artistic Director of Lifeline Theatre. She received a Non-Equity Jeff Award (Direction) for Around the World in 80 Days and Non-Equity Jeff Nominations (Direction) for Pistols for Two, Jane Eyre (After Dark Award), Strong Poison, and Gaudy Night. Outside of Lifeline, she has directed Little Brother, Stardust, and No More Dead Dogs for Griffin Theatre and received an Equity Jeff Nomination for her direction of Eleemosynary at Interplay Theatre Company.
Clare Nolan has performed with the Body Politic, Lifeline, Organic Theatre, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, New Tuners’ Theatre, and Blind Parrot Productions. Clare served as Artistic Director of Blind Parrot and co-wrote original productions of American Gothicand Exploits of a Living Newspaper (Jeff Citation: New Work). Clare teaches acting at Columbia College and preaching through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools’ Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program.
Martie Sanders played Mae West in Dirty Blonde (Madison Repertory) and was chosen “Top Ten Performance of the Year.” Other favorite roles: Lina LaMont, Singin’ In The Rain (Theatre at the Center); Janis Joplin, Love Janis (Royal George); Jenny Diver, Three Penny Opera (ATC); Hero, Much Ado About Nothing (Chicago Shakespeare); and Irene, Public Enemies (with Johnny Depp). Martie’s solo venture, The Me, Mom & Dad Show!, played at 16th Street in the Goodman Theater’s “Women Taking the Stage” Festival.
Pamela Webster received a Jeff Award for Artie in Eleemosynary at Interplay, a Jeff Citation for her performance in Noises Off at Pegasus Players, and a Jeff Nomination for best supporting actress for Interplay’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. With a fellow Sweat Girl, Pamela co-adapted a children’s musical, Hen Lake, which premiered at Lifeline Theatre. She is a certified LAMAS Qi Gong instructor.
Jeffrey Sweet has been a constant presence in Chicago since 1979, mostly at his home theatre, the Tony-winning Victory Gardens (including Porch, The Value of Names, Flyovers, The Action Against Sol Schumann, Bluff, and Court-martial at Fort Devens, all of which were nominated for or won Joseph Jefferson or American Theatre Critics Association prizes). His plays have been produced on stages large and small around the country, in New York and around the world, as well as on TV and radio, featuring such actors as Helen Hunt, Amy Morton, William Petersen, Nathan Lane, Jack Klugman, Shelley Berman, Michele Pawk, Richard Kind, Reed Birney, Dan Lauria, John Astin, Judy Kaye, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker and Hector Elizondo. Court-martial is scheduled to open in New York at the New Federal Theatre. He co-wrote two musicals: What About Luv? (with Susan Birkenhead and Howard Marren) and I Sent a Letter to My Love (with Melissa Manchester). His book on Second City, Something Wonderful Right Away (a “classic” said the Chicago Tribune) is the starting point of his solo show, You Only Shoot the Ones You Love. His book on playwriting, The Dramatist’s Toolkit, is in wide use as a text and he consults with writers privately and runs workshops for theatres and colleges. He is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, and is an alum of New Dramatists. He welcomes correspondence on Facebook.
Eric Warner realized in 7th grade that he would have to spend too much time working out in order to be Batman when he grew up, so he re-focused his energies on art & writing. (He still took Home-Ec sewing to make his own costume, just in case.) He moved to Chicago in 2004 to attend the Art Institute on a full scholarship, & co-founded the performance collaboration Nicholas & Warner in 2007, co-creating eight original productions. His new solo works are theatrical monologues, focusing on how the images, stories & details that surround us can enrich or obfuscate our identities.
Scott Whitehair is a writer and actor originally from Pittsburgh, PA. As creator/host of This Much Is True and Story Lab Chicago, he is honored to be a part of the Chicago storytelling community. Scott has been fortunate to work with some amazing groups of people over the last few years, including WNEP Theater, 2nd Story, The Playground Theater, Noah Ginex Puppet Co., Blewt!, and Theater Momentum, to name just a few. Bikes, cook outs, and random acts of kindness make him smile.