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Stage Left Theatre presents Leapfest XII
From a press release

This article shared 1946 times since Mon May 4, 2015
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Chicago, May 4, 2015 — Stage Left Theatre is proud to present LeapFest XII, Stage Left's annual new-play festival, running July 13th — 31, 2015. LeapFest is an annual event featuring several new plays with socio-political themes, presented as workshop productions in rotating repertory. This year's festival includes new works from Kristiana ColÃ"n, Beth Kander, Evan Linder, and Jeff Tabnick .

Downstage Left ( DSL ) is Stage Left Theatre's new play development wing, and is comprised primarily of two programs: the DSL Playwright Residency and LeapFest. LeapFest's name stems from the DSL logo, which features a frog about to "take the leap." The three-week event is designed to help playwrights and their plays bridge the gap between development and full production. To further this objective, the festival features an extensive rehearsal process for each play, multiple workshop performances before the public, and post-show audience discussions after each performance. In addition to our general audiences, regional theater producers, literary mangers, and artistic directors are invited to attend the festival in order to get an advance look at some of the best new plays in the country.

Tickets, LeapPASS & General Information

LeapFest XII will be performed at Theater Wit at 1229 W Belmont in Chicago. Tickets and information for all events are available by calling 773-975-8150 or online at . Single tickets for LeapFest performances are $11 each. Patrons can save by purchasing a LeapPASS for $22. The LeapPASS entitles the bearer to full access to all four LeapFest shows.

Detailed performance schedules and information on the plays are provided below. The theater is handicapped and CTA accessible via the Belmont El ( Red, Brown, and Purple lines ).

While the workshop productions and plays are still in development and therefore not open for critical review, press coverage of this unique festival program and its significant history of success in refining, showcasing and placing new plays is welcome. Please contact Vance Smith at 773.883.8830 ( office ) or to arrange interviews and receive additional background material. This release and archived releases will be available at

The LeapFest XII Plays and Performance Schedule

The Bottle Tree

by Beth Kander ♦ directed by Amy Szerlong*

Friday, 7/17 @ 7:30pm; Wednesday, 7/22 @ 7:30pm; Tuesday, 7/28 @ 7:30pm

Years after a tragic school shooting, the small town of Maple, Mississippi, is still traumatized— no one more so than Alley, the sister of the shooter. Young love, old guilt, laughter, and lingering scars all keep the girl, the town, and Alley's "bottle tree" on the verge of shattering. The Bottle Tree was developed in part through one Stage Left's Downstage Left Playwright Residencies in the fall of 2014.

Byhalia, Mississippi

by Evan Linder ♦ directed by Andrew Hobgood

Monday, 7/13 @ 7:30pm; Saturday 7/25 @ 2pm; Wednesday, 7/29 @ 7:30pm

Jim and Laurel Parker are about to become new parents. When their overdue child finally arrives, the couple is faced with the biggest challenge of their lives: Laurel has given birth to a black baby boy, the result of an affair the previous year. The lives of their family and friends are thrown into turmoil in Byhalia, Mississippi, a town with a racially-charged past that still affects its present.

the darkest pit

by Kristiana ColÃ"n ♦ directed by Tara Branham

Saturday 7/18 @ 2pm; Friday, 7/24 @ 7:30pm

The ricochet of bullets breaks the hush of academia's ivory halls and four students and a teacher are trapped in a classroom. Attempts to remain calm are shattered by each new wave of terror and tension coils to the point of asphyxia. And then the shooter enters the room. the darkest pit is a fast-paced, emotionally wrenching thriller with a twist sure to give you whiplash.

Love in the Time of Bumblehive

by Jeff Tabnick ♦ directed by Emmi Hilger

Wednesday, 7/15 @ 7:30pm; Monday, 7/20 @ 7:30pm; Friday, 7/31 @ 7:30pm

Phil suspects his wife Allison is cheating on him. Luckily, Phil works for the NSA. Phil tricks Allison into calling a suspected terrorist so that he can get a warrant to read her e-mails and listen to her phone calls. When Allison figures out what Phil is up to, she plots her revenge and things quickly spin out of control.

*Stage Left artistic associate

The LeapFest XII Playwrights

Kristiana ColÃ"n is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, activist, and Cave Canem Fellow. Her play Octagon is the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work. In February and March 2013, she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, she opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf in Chicago while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere in London at the Arcola Theater. Kristiana appeared on season 5 of HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

Beth Kander is a writer, performer, and consultant with one foot in the South and the other in the Midwest. Selected playwriting awards: Charles M. Getchell New Play Award ( 2012 ); Eudora Welty New Play Awards ( 2013, 2010, 2008 ); Theatre Oxford 10 Minute Plays Audience Award ( 2012 ); Mississippi Theatre Association New Play Award ( 2009 ). Kander was named Best Writer by the Jackson Free Press three times. She has scripts represented by Steele Spring Stage Rights and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander has authored several works of fiction, including the novel Was and the children's book Glubbery Gray: The Knight-Eating Beast ( Pelican Publishing ). She holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Michigan. She lives with her husband and a small collection of rescue pets.

Evan Linder is a founding member and the Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony in Chicago. He works as a playwright, actor, and director. He also teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago. Evan's first play produced in Chicago, FRAT, was named as one of the Best of 2009 in the Chicago Tribune, Windy City Times and New City. Other works include 11:11, The Warriors, The Bear Suit of Happiness, B-Side Studio and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which received an Off-Broadway run and is published by Samuel French. Evan was recently listed on Chicago Magazine's 2013 Power List of Theater Scene Stealers. In 2014, Evan's play The Bear Suit of Happiness was published by Chicago Dramaworks. He also originated the roles of Jonathan in TNC's reWILDing Genius for Steppenwolf's Garage Rep and Orville in Orville and Wilbur Did It!. He is currently writing The Hunted, a drama detailing a rescue mission for gay Iraqis, with Paul Oakley Stovall. His new play The Issue is currently in workshops with The New Colony.

Jeff Tabnick is a New York based playwright. Jeff's play I Found her Tied to My Bed has been produced three times in NYC and has toured England. His adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot was produced by The Hangar Theatre's Lab Company and Propinquity Productions. His play Something Truly Monstrous received workshops at The Blank Theatre, Theater Breaking Through Barriers and 78th St. Theater Lab. Other works-in-progress include Tonight at Noon ( readings at Ensemble Studio Theatre, workshops at Telluride Playwright's Festival and Acme Theatre in conjunction with The Drilling Company ), This Is Where I Am Now ( staged reading at The Abingdon ) an adaptation of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich ( Lark Play Development Center's Round Table ). His short plays have been produced at numerous theaters around the country ( and Spain and Japan ) and published in collections by BackStage Books and Smith & Kraus.


Founded in 1982, Stage Left Theatre is committed to nurturing voices for the American theatre by developing and producing plays that raise debate and challenge perspectives on political and social issues. Through a full subscription season and Downstage Left, one of Chicago's most prolific new play development programs, Stage Left strives to bring high-quality new work and world premieres to the Chicago stage.

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