Festival to feature new work by John S. Green, Chloe Bolan, and other local Chicago playwrights
Chicago Writers’ Bloc is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a benefit and staged readings of 10 new works presented as part of its 2022 New Plays Festival, running May 23 to June 14 at the Raven Theater in Edgewater. The festival features six new plays and four new musicals from 12 local Chicago playwrights including John S. Green (Jeff winner and Pulitzer nominated, THE LIQUID MOON), Chloe Bolan (O’Neill semi-finalist, LOVE IN THE TIME OF DEMENTIA), Joanne Koch (National Nantucket Short Play Competition winner), Fern Schumer Capman (Illinois Author of the Year), Richard Reardon (Goodman Theater, Marriott Lincolnshire), Brian Kalz (Hell in a Handbag) among others. Launching the festival is a benefit featuring MOTHERLAND by Fern Schumer and founding member of Chicago Writer’s Bloc, Joanne Koch. Based on a book by Schumer Chapman, the play details the true story of a post-Holocaust homecoming for a Jewish family. The performance will be available in person as well as on-line. Tickets and more information are available HERE
The 2022 New Plays Festival will begin on May 23 with the 30th Anniversary Benefit featuring food and drink, a silent auction, raffle, an in-person performance and online pass to MOTHERLAND, and a pass to see any show in the series. The proceeds from the benefit will go towards continuing Chicago Writers’ Bloc’s mission to develop and present new plays and musicals from Chicago area writers. Over the past 30 years, the theater has helped launch many new plays and musicals. Many produced works have gone on to win national and international prizes with productions locally and around the country.
In addition to MOTHERLAND, the festival will include four new musicals including HELL IS CANCELLED (by Wencke Braathen with music by Gerald H. Bailey), A STRANGER IN THIS WORLD (by Gerald Cole with additional music and lyrics by Gerald H. Bailey and John S. Green), DRIVING THE DREAM (by Chloe Bolan with music by Gerald H. Bailey), and MEET ME ON THE CORNER (by Gayle Ann Weinstein with music by Gerald H. Bailey). The series also features two evenings of short works, by Trish Elliott and Brian Kalz, respectively.
You can hear Gary Zidek, host of The Arts Section on WDCB 90.9 FM, talk with Gerald Cole, the organizer of the Chicago Writers’ Bloc’s 2022 New Plays Festival. Enjoy!
CHICAGO WRITERS’ BLOC 2022 NEW PLAYS FESTIVAL
May 23 – June 14, 2022
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at 7:30 pm (No performance Memorial Day, Monday May 30)
Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago
For tickets and further information
Staged readings of 10 new works presented as part of its 2022 New Plays Festival, running May 23 to June 14 at the Raven Theater in Edgewater. The festival features six new plays and four new musicals from 12 local Chicago playwrights including John S. Green (Jeff winner and Pulitzer nominated, THE LIQUID MOON), Chloe Bolan(O’Neill semi-finalist, LOVE IN THETIME OF DEMENTIA), Joanne Koch (National Nantucket Short Play Competition winner), Fern Schumer Capman (Illinois Author of the Year), Richard Reardon (Goodman Theater, Marriott Lincolnshire), Brian Kalz (Hell in a Handbag) among others. The festival will launch with a May 23 benefit featuring MOTHERLAND by Fern Schumer and founding member of Chicago Writer’s Bloc, Joanne Koch. Based on a book by Schumer Chapman, the play details the true story of a post-Holocaust homecoming for a Jewish family. The performance will be available in person as well as on-line.
SCHEDULE AND SYNOPSES
May 23 at 7:30 PM. MOTHERLAND by Joanne Koch and Fern Schumer Capman (based on the book by Fern Schumer Chapman). 52 years after she had fled to America for safety, Edith Westerfeld returns to her small German hometown with her daughter and faces the townspeople who turned against the family in 1938-all but one. The true story of what happened to their family during the Holocaust.
May 24 at 7:30 PM. LONG TERM CARE by Richard Reardon. A battle begins at the Baptist’s Heavenly Acres Assisted Living Facility: Our hero, Herber Aarden, a gay senior, is at war with Jesus, His followers, and the ghosts of his past. Who will win?
May 25 at 7:30 PM. HELL IS CANCELLED: THE MUSICAL by Wencke Braathen with music by Gerald H. Bailey. Archangel Michael comes down to Hell to tell Lucifer that God has decided to liquidate his department.
May 31 at 7:30 PM. A STRANGER IN THIS WORLD: THE MUSICAL by Gerald Cole with additional music and lyrics by Gerald H. Bailey and John S. Green. Gender is in question as Frankie struggles to become Therese, the woman she has always known she is. But her struggles include a sister and father who are opposed to transgender identities.
June 1 at 7:30 PM. CAFÉ SOUNION by Barbara Georgans. As a young playwright, inspired by the works of Agatha Christie, types her new play, a restaurant patron at the Café Sounion is killed. Then another, and another, and…
June 6 at 7:30 PM. A CORNUCOPIA OF SHORT PLAYS by Brian Kalz. Included are: “Mr. Beauty Culture, 1984”; “The Power Play;” “Lois from Omro;” “I’m Sorry, Two Thousand Four.”
June 7 at 7:30 PM. BOUNDARIES by John S. Green. A poignant family drama exploring mental illness, alcoholism and spiritual healing. “When you throw a life preserver to someone, make sure you tie it to the pier.”
June 8 at 7:30 PM. DRIVING THE DREAM: THE MUSICAL by Chloe Bolan with music by Gerald H. Bailey. A musical about Bertha Benz whose contribution to the automobile in 1888 Germany was the marketing event that drove the industry, leaping from the most common form of transportation, the horse, to the future one, horsepower.
June 13 at 7:30 PM. A STUNNING EVENING OF SHORT PLAYS by Trish Elliott. 4 short plays with Chicago and International settings that explore love, art, dreams, and relationships.
June 14 at 7:30 PM. MEET ME ON THE CORNER: THE MUSICAL by Gayle Ann Weinstein with music by Gerald H. Bailey. In the early 1900’s, a couple immigrate from Russia and Poland. The author chronicles these entertaining stories about her grandparents’ journeys.
Joanne Koch – the founding member of the Chicago Writers’ Bloc, Joanne’s show SOUL SISTERS has toured 32 universities across the country and is anthologized in her collection (along with Sarah Blacher Cohen) SHARED STAGES: 10 AMERICAN DRAMAS OF BLACKS AND JEWS. Her one-act, 2-person play, STARDUST, won the National Nantucket Short Play Competition.
Fern Schumer Chapman – is the author of MOTHERLAND, her memoir of discovering her past. Her most recent book, BROTHERS, SISTERS, STRANGERS: SIBLING ESTRANGEMENT AND THE ROAD TO RECONCILIATION was released in April 2021. In 2004, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE) named Ms. Chapman the “Illinois Author of the Year.” Twice.
Richard Reardon – prior to pursuing his writing career was an actor at the Goodman Theater, Marriott Lincolnshire, and the Broadway tour of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, among others. His work has been featured in the Three Brother’s Theater Reading Series. Richard was recently awarded a residency at the Ragdale Foundation.
Wencke Braathen – is a student of art history, medieval history, and the theater. She found out that the stage is the perfect vehicle for our world and its interactions between humans, ghosts, angels, and everyone else. Her latest work is the historical novel, MARY MAGDALENE: RITUALS IN SACRED STONE.
Gerald H. Bailey – (composer) has been involved in over 200 productions as an actor, director, musical director, and composer in several professional Midwest theaters. Mr. Bailey’s works include: ALL THAT ENTERTAINMENT (Playhouse at Mill Dinner Theater) and The Christmas Cookie Caper. His most recent musical, THE NEXT BIG THING, played off-Broadway at the Helen Mills Theater featuring Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll.
Gerald Cole – Gerald Cole is the author of KRAMPUS AND FRIENDS: TALES OF TERRIFYING CHRISTMAS MONSTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. A Chicago Playwright, author, and screenwriter, he has had productions of his plays in Chicago and San Diego. His short play, THE QUIET WOMAN, has been published and is available at Heartland Plays, Inc. (heartlandplays.com).
Barbara Georgans – is a diverse playwright who has written comedy, drama, and book for musical theater. She recently was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Grant for her work on her play .
Brian Kalz – has been writing and acting in Chicago since 1996. He has been published in William Johnson’s quarterly MARY, and in DAY W/O ART by Pandemonium Press. BC has performed in many stage productions, including THE BIRDS (twice) by Hell in A Handbag.
John S. Green – is a busy Chicago-based writer, actor, and musician. His play, THE LIQUID MOON, won Chicago’s Jeff and After Dark awards for Best New Work and was nominated for a Pulitzer. His collection of poetry, ORDINARY LIGHT, was published by Xlibris Publications, his fictional story, THE ME ZONE, won the Guild Literary Complex, and he won the Jeff Award for his rendition of George in Of Mice and Men.
Chloe Bolan – has won fellowships and grants for playwriting from Illinois Arts Council and Target, among others. She is a published poet, short-story writer, and essayist. Her musical PARASOL with Jerry Bailey composing was a finalist in 3 contests; her play LOVE IN THE TIME OF DEMENTIA was an O’Neill semi-finalist.
Trish Elliott – BA and MA in theatre from Purdue and University of Illinois, working in theatre, film, and commercials since 1977. In 1989 she started Redmink Productions, where she produced, created, and/or performed in over 1,000 events a year. She is also Audible Books narrator and an AT Team Member of the Jeff Committee.
Gayle Ann Weinstein – is a graduate of the Creative Writing Certificate program and the Graham School of the University of Chicago. Her play, RAIZEL’S RETURN, won honorable mention in the Jewish Play Project in 2021. Many of her stories have been published in works such as, Persimmon Tree Literary Magazine and Lilith Magazine.
ABOUT CHICAGO WRITERS’ BLOC
Chicago Writers’ Bloc is a play development group that focuses on presenting new plays developed in monthly sessions and regular new play festivals. Led by Joanne Koch, a widely produced playwright and noted Emeritus Director of the National Louis University Master’s in Written Communication Program, the not-for-profit 501 (c ) (3) Writers’ Bloc has brought over 250 new plays and musicals to Chicago area audiences, supported in part by grants and by festival attendees and contributors. Many of these plays have gone on to win national and international prizes with productions locally and around the country, including Midwest, East Coast, West Coast, off-Broadway and in publications.