The 19th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival

Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline Theatre and Live Bait Theater are thrilled to bring 14 storytelling collectives and numerous solo performers together for a three-week, multi-venue selection of powerful personal stories.

The 20th Anniversary Fillet of Solo Festival features the work of:

Plus: solo performances by Nestor GomezKevin Crispin, and Annalise Raziq.

Performances are at Lifeline Theatre and Heartland Studio Theatre. Free parking and shuttle available: see Performance Venues below for more details.

Tickets are $10 for each performance, and Festival Passes are available for only $50, which allow admission to any number of performances. Tickets may be purchased from the Lifeline Theatre box office (773.761.4477) or online.


Lifeline Theatre
6912 N. Glenwood Avenue

Heartland Studio Theatre
7016 N. Glenwood Avenue

Both 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 Field School parking lot (7019 N Ashland, entrance on Greenleaf between Ashland and Greenview) with free shuttle service before and after the shows. Street parking is also available.

For all performances, call the Lifeline Theatre box office for tickets (773.761.4477) or click here.


Kevin Crispin

Invisible Now
Written and performed by Kevin Crispin
Directed by Christopher Marcum

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of pretty much everything. A lot of my fears were wildly irrational. Examples: I thought I was going to die in the Electric Chair, thought I was going to stick my head in a tornado siren and lose my hearing. These are true, and only the tip of the iceberg. It was a terribly lonely feeling as a kid and I believe it helped inform my idea and understanding of empathy. I know that a lot of people deal with irrational fears at one time or another in life, and I believe this show is, among other things, a reminder that we are not alone.

Kevin Crispin was born in central Illinois and has since resided all over the place, both central and not, including West Virginia, India, Massachusetts, the Philippines, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Chicago, where he currently resides. He lives near Lake Michigan — across the street, in fact — and he is petitioning to get it rebranded as an ocean. He knows that’s not how it works, but he has to have something to do with his weeknights. He is endlessly fascinated by the way people behave towards themselves, and each other. As you read this, he’s probably thinking about the Beatles.



An ensemble that specializes in creating sketch-comedy revues based on gay/lesbian themes. Since starting as a lesbigay focused workshop at the Second City Training Center in 1996, they’ve performed for massive, enthusiastic, sexy gay audiences in Chicago and across the country.



Thicker Than Water: Family and Other Complicated Stories
Featuring Elbert Tavon Briggs, Velma Gladney, Joyce Hicks, Kathleen Jiminez, Stephanie Medlock, Geneva Norman and Connie Shirakawa
Directed by Julie Ganey

Injustice Past
Featuring Afram Bill Williams, Rose Kelly, and Claudia Pate
Directed by Sharon Evans

Recipe Share: Just Delicious Stories
Featuring Laurie Barretto, Pauline Bastek, Dan Boyle, Pat Crowe, and Pat Stanczykiewicz
Directed by Tara Mallen

GeNarrations is the Goodman Theatre’s writing workshop for adults 55+. Both rigorous and inclusive, the program features participants from every corner of the city and every walk of life, crafting stories that are vibrant and nostalgic (but never sentimental)!


Nestor Gomez

Nestor Has Arrived: Stories from the Front Seat
Written and performed by Nestor Gomez
Directed by Tyler Greene
Sound design/live music by Nick Kawahara

Nestor Gomez is a 14-time Moth StorySLAM and 2-time Moth GrandSLAM winner, but he’s also a driver for a ride sharing company. Nestor gives you a front row seat to the dramatic, hilarious and just plain weird stories he’s collected along the way.

Born in Guatemala and a resident of Chicago for the last 25 years. Nestor Gomez is a self-taught poet and writer, salsa dancer and T-shirt designer. For the last two years of his life Nestor Gomez has been sharing his stories on stages all over Chicago and the USA. He holds the record for the most Moth Slam wins in Chicago, he has won two Moth Slams in Milwaukee and has won the Chicago Grand Slam twice. He was also the winner of the first Joyfest story slam but if you ask him he will tell you that his biggest accomplishment is making his family and mother proud and winning the heart of his girlfriend “sweet Mel”.


the kates

An all-female comedy showcase that provides an intimate night of comedy dedicated to showcasing talented and hilarious female-identified performers by creating inclusive and positive environments. Artists are encouraged to express their comic point of view in unique and non-apologetic ways – proving that women are equal in the eyes of comedy.


The Lifeline Storytelling Project

Written and performed by Brian Bush, Johanna Moffitt, Darren Meyers, Jameson Wentworth, Emily Wills, Ellen X & Micky York
Directed by Dorothy Milne
Music by John Cockerill, Sarah Jenks, Kailey Rockwell & Micky York

The Lifeline Storytelling Project produces monthly live music and storytelling events designed to develop and showcase artists affiliated with Lifeline Theatre.


Loose Chicks

Loose Chicks is a collection of courageous women who share experiences that most women keep to themselves. Each show features six exceptional writers and performers who allow themselves to be vulnerable as they share with uncommon honesty.




OUTspoken! is comprised of storytellers who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or queer recalling true personal events. Stories are often funny, heartfelt, and sometimes historically significant. The audience will get a window into the lives of a variety of human experiences that will connect on an emotional level regardless of sexual identity.


Annalise Raziq

I Know A Place: a memory play with music
Written and performed by Annalise Raziq
Directed by Tyler Greene
With Mike Przygoda (keyboard), Ausberto Acevedo (bass), and Miles Tesar (saxophone)

I Know A Place is the story of a black stepdad and the Polish Arab girl who loved him fiercely – he rescued her, he adored her, he raised her, he abandoned her, and ultimately, he forgot her. What’s left in the end, when everything else has fallen away? The music. And the love.

Annalise Raziq is a versatile performer; she has worked with renowned playwright Tony Kushner and also played the back end of a dragon. She sings professionally in a variety of venues, most recently with the Americana band “Annalise and the Backsliders,” and her warm and arresting voice is garnering attention on the Chicago music scene. She is a writer and improviser, and used these skills to help create the show “Sisters Rising” with a group of formerly incarcerated women. Annalise is a three-time Moth Story Slam winner and has had a story featured on public radio’s The Moth Radio Hour (and available on the podcast). She has also told stories for Risk!, Story Jam, This Much Is True, The Truth or Lie Reading Series, and the Boston Palestine Film Festival and the Palestinians Podcast. But by far, her most creative act has been raising her amazing daughter Kalila Holt.


Sappho’s Salon

Sappho’s Salon is a multi-disciplinary performance event that occurs once a month at Women and Children First bookstore. The performers are female-identifying or non-binary and are exploring gender, feminism, or sexuality in their work.



Serving the Sentence

Different storytellers take the same first sentence — each in their own direction. At the end of the show, a new sentence is drawn that the next show’s storytellers will embark from!




Stir-Friday Night!

One of the country’s premier Asian-American comedy troupes, Stir-Friday Night! is made up of an ensemble of Asian-American actors/writers that travel the nation performing improv and sketch shows that educate all audiences, from an Asian-American perspective.


The Stoop

The Stoop is an off book (no notes/reading) storytelling show. Featured storytellers are given a theme. They take that theme and share a 7-10 minute story related to that theme. Hosted by Moth GrandSLAM champion Lily Be and Badass Clarence Browley.


Story Club

“We give you a mic and 8 minutes. You tell us a story.” Story Club is a non-fiction storytelling show. Story Club mixes the spontaneity of an open mic with the experience of live theatre. Each show has both featured performers and open mic performers.



Sweat Girls

The Sweat of the Union
Written and performed by Caroline Andres, Dorothy Milne, Clare Nolan, Martie Sanders, Cindy Hanson & Pamela Webster

The Sweat Girls speak with honesty, authenticity and humor about the human condition as they’ve experienced it. They have been writing and performing storytelling shows in Chicago for over 20 years.


Tellin’ Tales Theatre

Bad Decisions
Solo performances by Amy Eaton & Tekki Lomnicki

Tellin’ Tales Theatre builds community through story — adult solo performances as well as “Six Stories Up,” a mentoring program and show featuring kids and adults, with and without disabilities.

Tekki Lomnicki is a solo performer, playwright, director and educator. She is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship in New Performance Forms, the 2008 3Arts Artists Award in Theater and the 2010 Grigsby Award for Excellence in Solo Performance.


That’s All She Wrote

Chicago’s only live lit show held in a tattoo shop. They are a non-competitive venue for storytellers of all stripes, co-produced by Angela Benander and J.H. Palmer, who share the mic with a new lineup of readers on the second Sunday of every month at Great Lakes Tattoo.



You’re Being Ridiculous

“Good stories are better than good times!” A group of real people telling real funny stories about their lives with a theme as their guide. They laugh at themselves and with each other.


Live Bait Theater developed more than 200 world premieres over its 20-year history and was nominated for over 50 Non-Equity Jeff Awards, predominately in the category of New Work. Sharon Evans was the Artistic Director from 1987-2008, and in 1995 she created the Fillet of Solo Festival, which featured over 200 solo artists in its first 13 years.

In 2009, Live Bait closed its doors, but Evans’ enthusiasm for new work and for the Festival remained undiminished. When searching for a new producer of the Festival, it was important to her that it be a theater dedicated to new work and she was delighted to find a perfect fit with Lifeline Theatre. In 2010, Lifeline and Live Bait co-produced the 14th Annual festival, and Lifeline has been carrying on the tradition ever since.