CHICAGO A Red Orchid Theatre announces its 30th season, kicking off the with world premiere of The Malignant Ampersands by Ensemble Member Brett Neveu, directed by Ensemble Member Dado (September 29 — November 20, 2022). The season concludes with the Chicago premiere of Is God Is by Aleshea Harris, directed by Marti Gobel (April 6 — May 28, 2023). In addition to these two productions, we look forward to a winter of experimentation and incubation by Ensemble members that will include several opportunities for audience engagement. Subscriptions to the 30th Season are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the box office at 312-943-8722 or visiting www.aredorchidtheatre.org .
Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald shares:
"Cycles make for familiar processes and helpful tools for growth. Cycles can also be harmful — destructive, even — and are perhaps best broken. There is a cycle of theatrical production, and while it would be easy to let that cycle become a bit of a hamster wheel — to do it all the same — not all stories, not all artists, and not all times call for the same processes.
I am thrilled to bring you two plays in our 30th year that dig into cycles and stepping off that hamster wheel in very different ways. Each of them interrogates what it means to survive and what we need to thrive. Through the epic journey of Is God Is and the hilarious and heartbreaking every-day of The Malignant Ampersands, we explore the breaking of cycles to reclaim both the narrative and the best of what lies ahead.
In the spirit of breaking cycles, we are very excited to make time for experimentation and incubation; time dedicated to joyful coming-together, risk taking, and the cultivation of new collaborations. There is great desire to examine artistic process, and I am thrilled to invite our patrons into the process earlier with opportunities to attend readings, open rehearsals, experimental performances, and conversations this winter."
A Red Orchid Theatre's 2022-2023 season includes:
The World Premiere of
The Malignant Ampersands
By Ensemble Member Brett Neveu
Directed by Ensemble Member Dado
September 29 — November 20, 2022
Press Performances: Saturday, October 8, 2022
Playwright Brett Neveu returns to the Red Orchid stage with this very unofficial sequel to Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons. A century ago, the Ampersands were a wealthy, thriving family; today, they are cursed with disease and misfortune. As the young descendants grow older and approach their seemingly inevitable decline, they cling to the belief that the best of their lives is yet to come.
Brett Neveu joined A Red Orchid's ensemble in 2004. His productions at AROT include Traitor, Pilgrim's Progress, Megacosm, The Meek, The Earl, 4 Murders, and Eric LaRue. Past theatre work includes productions with The Royal Court Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company in London; SkyPilot Theatre Company in LA; and The Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, The House Theatre, The Inconvenience, The Side Project, TimeLine Theatre Company, American Theatre Company, Greenhouse Theatre, Signal Ensemble, and Strawdog Theatre in Chicago. His film productions include the Shudder original feature film Night's End, the short film Convo with Breakwall Pictures, and the feature The Earl with Intermission Productions. A Sundance Institute Ucross Fellow, Brett is also a recipient of the Marquee Award from Chicago Dramatists, the Ofner Prize for New Work, the Emerging Artist Award from The League of Chicago Theatres, and an After Dark Award for Outstanding Musical (Old Town). He has developed plays with companies including The Atlantic Theatre Company and The New Group in New York and The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. Brett is a resident-alum of Chicago Dramatists, a current member of TimeLine Theatre Company's Writers Collective and an alumni member of the Center Theatre Group's Playwrights' Workshop in Los Angeles. He has been commissioned by numerous theaters and has had several of his plays published through Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing and Nick Hern Publishing. Brett has taught writing at DePaul University, The Second City Training Center, and Northwestern University.
Dado is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre. Her most recent AROT productions were The Moors (in which she played the Moor-Hen), Killing Game by Eugene Ionesco, and Grey House, in which she originated the role of The Ancient. Her AROT production of Sam Shepard's Simpatico moved to the McCarter Theatre. Dado portrayed Karla Stock in the world premiere of AROT's production of Traitor by Brett Neveu, directed by Michael Shannon; this adaptation of Ibsen's Enemy of the People won three Joseph Jefferson Awards. Dado is the recipient of the Edes Prize from the University of Chicago and produced David Lang's chamber opera little matchgirl passion (Facility Theatre) with this award. She is also the director of Erik Satie's surrealist Ruse of Medusa (Facility Theatre) and the original Vacuum Cleaner Opera, which was produced at the MCA and Prop Thtr. At A Red Orchid, she has directed The Mutilated, The Unseen, The Room, Megacosm, Fastest Clock in the Universe, The Grey Zone, and others. Dado is currently a professor at Purdue University Northwest and holds an MFA in visual art from the University of Chicago.
The Chicago Premiere of
Is God Is
By Aleshea Harris
Directed by Marti Gobel
April 6 — May 28, 2023
Press Performances: Saturday April 15
Featuring Ensemble Members Karen Aldridge and Travis A. Knight
When twins Racine and Anaia receive a letter from the mother they thought was dead, they swear to avenge her and themselves with blood. Their epic "mission from God" spans from the Dirty South to the California desert, from hip-hop to Afropunk, from ancient tragedy to the Spaghetti Western. Winner of the 2016 Relentless Award and the 2018 Obie Award for Playwriting, Is God Is asks us to consider the roots, futility, and inevitability of cyclical violence, and to question ourselves for wallowing so happily in stories that traffic in it.
Aleshea Harris's play Is God Is (directed by Taibi Magar at Soho Rep and Ola Ince at the Royal Court) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an Obie Award for playwriting in 2017, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award in 2019 and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Her play What to Send Up When It Goes Down, a play-pageant-ritual response to anti-blackness, had its critically acclaimed NYC premiere in 2018 (directed by Whitney White and produced by The Movement Theatre Company), was featured in the April 2019 issue of American Theatre Magazine, and received a rare special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The play was subsequently remounted at Woolly Mammoth, A.R.T., BAM and Playwrights Horizons. Her newest play, On Sugarland (directed by Whitney White) premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in the spring of 2022. Awards: Windham-Campbell Literary Prize, Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Award, Hermitage Greenfield Prize, Horton Foote Playwriting Award, Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Harris is a two-time MacDowell Fellow and has enjoyed residencies at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Hedgebrook, and Djerassi.
Marti Gobel is a nationally recognized actor, director, and teaching artist. Upon graduating from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Performance Theatre and Philosophy (with an emphasis in Religious Studies), Ms. Gobel began a rich career on stage and in television and film. With works from Wisconsin to South Africa she has embraced the game changing nature of storytelling with dedication and love. A proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, Ms. Gobel is thrilled to make her A Red Orchid Theatre directorial debut.
Experimentation & Incubation*
*These projects are not included in a season subscription purchase
December 2022- February 2023
Look for an announcement this fall about readings, open rehearsals, experimental performances, and conversations to come.
FLASHPASS subscribers enjoy ticket flexibility and exchanges, additional ticket discounts, and reserved seating. The Regular FLASHPASS is $70 and includes one ticket to each of the 2 productions in our 30th Season, excluding Opening Night. The Preview FLASHPASS is $50 and includes one ticket to a preview performance of each of the 2 shows in our 30th season.
FLASHPASSES and individual tickets may be purchased online at www.aredorchidtheatre.org .
A Red Orchid Theatre remains grateful for the support of our board, donors, and loyal audience who continue to champion our ambitious and powerful storytelling. We are currently looking for season sponsors to foster the development of our work. These sponsors help to create a platform for our talented Ensemble to reach new audiences, and ensure that we remain a source for honest, compassionate, and aesthetically rigorous theatre. Interested in sponsoring a production? We view our sponsors as partners, helping to take our work to the next level of artistic excellence while also providing you with deeper access to our artists and the creative process. To learn more, please contact Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-943-8722.
Covid 19 Policies
Until further notice, all patrons will need to be masked and fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine in order to attend a performance at A Red Orchid Theatre. All patrons ages 5 and older must show proof of vaccination at their time of entry into the venue with their valid ticket. "Fully vaccinated" means the performance date must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single-dose vaccine. All patrons are required to wear a mask throughout the performance and during their time in the theatre. Refreshments and all concessions will not be served this season at A Red Orchid.
About A Red Orchid
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored with a 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 30 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, playwrights, and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories.
A Red Orchid Theatre is: Karen Aldridge, Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Myron Elliott-Cisneros, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Levi Holloway, Mierka Girten, Lawrence Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Travis A. Knight, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Sadieh Rifai, Grant Sabin, Steve Schine, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.