CHICAGO WRITERS BLOC NEW PLAY FEST, MAY 4 - JUNE 10
TO PREMIERE NEW WORKS BY 19 ILLINOIS PLAYWRIGHTS
Chicago Writers Bloc New Play Festival 2015, the largest in CWB history, features the work of college students, emerging playwrights, and writers whose musicals, comedies and prizewinning dramas have been produced throughout the U.S. and abroad. All shows will be performed at the Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes St., Evanston.
Tickets for each show are available from Brown Paper Tickets, on line at www.brownpapertickets.com, or 1-800-838-3006. Tickets will also be sold at the door. Tickets for an Opening Benefit ( includes free food and drinks, a silent auction and a raffle) are $25. Tickets for the readings of all other shows are $10. A Festival pass good for all performances including the benefit is $45.
Monday, May 4 - 7 p.m. Benefit Night: Joanne Koch and Barbara Georgans present A TRIBUTE TO JOHN SPARKS, honoring his leading role, as Artistic Director of Midwest New Musicals and Theatre Building Chicago, in the creation of hundreds of new musicals emanating from Chicago with hit songs from Koch’s BELLE BARTH: IF I EMBARRASS YOU TELL YOUR FRIENDS and Georgans’ NOBODY LIKES RETSINA. The evening also features food and drink, a raffle, silent auction, and gifts of tickets from leading Chicago theaters. Joan Mazzonelli, Festival Coordinator and a producer at Midwest New Musicals, will direct the Tribute.
Tuesday, May 5 - 8 p.m. June Finfer’s WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE? Adapted from Tales of The Alhambra. A Moorish prince’s father keeps him locked in a tower to keep him from learning about love/sex to prepare him for his future responsibilities until...the prince learns the language of birds.
Wednesday, May 6 - 8 p.m. Chloe Bolan’s one act plays: BLIZZARD - 3 couples trapped in their cars discover they have to worry more about their companions than the weather. THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE - 2 cats blithely discuss topics from quantum physics to gourmet cat food until discovering their owner’s new plans.
Monday, May 11 - 8 p.m. Zan Skolnick’s JONAH’S LOVE. Soon to be married Jonah seeks to save his sister from an unhappy home situation. Greek tragedy in a once middle-class, fatherless family. Presented by AstonRep Ensemble.
Tuesday, May 12 - 8 p.m. Southern Illinois University graduate student Kristen Easton’s GIRLS WITH BODIES. How can young women learn to love their bodies if they’re not what the media consider “hot” or gorgeous? This coming of age play offers true stories providing a range of answers that work.
Wednesday, May 13 - 8 p.m. Southern Illinois University graduate student Jaclyn Grogan’s LAST SEEN ALICE. Living in a magical R.V. park, Alice tries to return to the place by the river with the red rocks...not easy to do in an ever-changing environment. The question is: can you ever go back?
Monday, May 18 - 8 p.m. Hope Hommersand’s WHY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE. Vivian, a cleric in crisis because she cannot frame a sermon on the title’s topic, is invited to relax at an island cottage with married friends. Will the strange behavior of the cottage owner help Vivian resolve her dilemma? And what role is played by the island’s legendary ghost?
Tuesday, May 19 - 8 p.m. Bev Rosen’s STOP THE PRESS! Press has a double meaning here, as a family copes with unfriendly media attacks. Comedy tonight.
Wednesday, May 20 - 8 p.m. Thomas Weber’s GENOMENON. In this comedy a young idealist finds an opportunity to realize his convictions by sabotaging a biotech startup. His choice is complicated by the founder’s daughter.
Tuesday, May 26 - 8 p.m. Judy Veramendi’s ALEGRIAS Y LAGRIMAS--HAPPINESS AND TEARS...intertwines the riveting stories of Latin American immigrants to the U.S. with lively dances from their countries of origin.
Wednesday, May 27 - 8 p.m. Nic Hamel’s TURKEY BOYS. The heartbreaking true story of a group of mentally disabled men discovered living in neglect and squalor in a rural Iowa town. Their plight turned a small town scandal into a national disgrace.
Monday, June 1- 8 p.m. National Louis University graduate student Frank Friedlander’s THE OLD BALL GAME. Way before the Chicago Cubs became “loveable losers,” the team began life as the cream of the National League. Led by gritty Adrian “Cap” Anson and flamboyant Michael “King” Kelly, the team was poised for greatness. This fact based comedy shows how this late 19th century odd couple derailed what might have been baseball’s first dynasty.
Tuesday, June 2 - 8 p.m. Blake Levinson’s THE LOST BAR MITZVAH SPEECH OF JESUS. This black comedy focuses on a pimply-faced Jewish kid named Jesus whose impending Bar Mitzvah has him obsessing – how will he avoid throwing up while delivering his speech and how will he write it while wrestling with nagging questions of faith and self-worth.
Wednesday, June 3 - 8 p.m. Three short plays by Gerald Cole: THE BALANCE MUST BE PAID. President Lincoln, while deciding the fate of a young army deserter, encounters a trio of spirits who offer their perspectives of the Civil War. THE QUIET WOMAN. A man searching for a perfect match meets a woman who appreciates his humor, but is most of all- quiet. SOAP OPERA. Butch, is just released from a long stretch in prison. But does he know about the money? What happened to his son (if it was really his son)? And what about the Green Bay Packers?
Monday, June 8 - 8 p.m. Two one-acts by recent graduates of the National Louis University’s Master’s in Written Communication Program. Bernadette Jones’ A TILTED WORLD in which a mother and daughter desperately struggle to forgive each other despite wounds from past adversities, and Jai Love’s ANSWER MY PRAYERS, that chronicles the journey of a young woman searching for a perfect balance of love and family.
Tuesday, June 9 - 8 p.m. The Chicago Writers Bloc (CWB) is proud to announce, as a part of its New Play Festival 2015, the reading of a new Nero Wolfe play based on Rex Stout's novella, Bitter End. In attendance at this event will be Rebecca Stout Bradbury, Rex Stout's daughter and manager of his literary estate, and Robert Goldsborough, the Chicago author entrusted with carrying on the Nero Wolfe series.
The stories of detective Nero Wolfe and his associate, Archie Goodwin, have entertained the public since 1934. This play, set in November of 1940, involves industrial espionage, a hot-blooded murder, and the revenge of the world's greatest detective, Nero Wolfe. Archie Goodwin will delve into the complex and cutthroat world of the food industry, and the lives of the corporate bigwigs who bring tragedy to everyone they touch. Upon reporting the facts to his boss, Nero Wolfe will determine the truth behind this convoluted tale and deliver the villain into the hands of justice.
Chicago writer, Philip S. Bloch, known for his short fiction and one-act plays, was delighted to take on the challenge of creating this stage adaptation. Terry McCabe, the Artistic Director of the City Lit Theater Company of Chicago, will draw upon over 30 years of directing experience to make this a thrilling evening of mystery.
Bitter End is only the second Nero Wolfe play ever developed. This reading will be at the Piven Theater (Evanston) for one night only, June 9 at 8 p.m. After the reading, fans of the mysteries of Rex Stout will have the opportunity to speak with Rebecca Stout Bradbury and Robert Goldsborough, and meet with those involved in the play’s production.
Wednesday, June 10 - 8 p.m. Jill Elaine Hughes’ THE MAN UPSTAIRS. Contemporary white privilege is laid waste in this drama, when a Caucasian woman and her Cantonese husband buy a condo in a gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. Their world view is turned upside down by their African-American neighbor resulting in a tug-of-war between their liberal ideologies and their own deep buried prejudices
Chicago Writers Bloc, is a play development group led by Evanstonian Joanne Koch, a widely produced playwright and Director of the National Louis University Master’s in Written Communication Program. Supported, in part, by the Dramatists Guild Fund, Inc., CWB during the past 15 years has brought hundreds of new plays and musicals to fruition. Many of these plays have gone on to win local, national, and international prizes with productions locally and around the country. “Our thanks go to all our supporters, who by attending our Festivals contribute to the evolution of “Theater” throughout the Chicago area and beyond.