Dearest Members, Patrons, Volunteers, Artists, and Guests,
This past year has been difficult. In the grand scope of things, losing theater seems small amongst the many illnesses and deaths, the emphasis on racial and social justice, and the political conflicts that our nation has faced. However for us, the people for whom theater is a diversion, a hobby or, in some cases, a career, the lack of live theater has been an added insult to the injury of 2020 and early 2021.
While we did provide some entertainment in the last year, a holiday cabaret, a staged Zoom reading of a new work and a filmed collection of monologues, our focus over the last year at Patio Playhouse was organizational maintenance. After adopting the Chicago Theatre Standards in 2019, we adapted them to fit our theater better, and created more parameters to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who works at Patio Playhouse. This document, the Patio Playhouse Policies and Procedures on Diversity, Inclusion, and Consent, outlines best practices to ensure that our artists and volunteers are safe from harassment and are able to meet their full potential as artists. We created a committee to help our productions meet the standards set by this document. We also overhauled our bylaws and committee structure to help streamline our work and make it easier for us to provide for the community. All of this coupled with some actual physical maintenance of our facilities and equipment has put us in a strong position for a fierce return to live theater in the coming year… and that return is quickly approaching.
I am thrilled to announce our 55th season of shows. This season is about resilience, family, and human connection. We hope to speak to the lessons of the last year and rekindle the love and joy that will carry us safely into the future.
Our 55th Season begins July 30th with Miss You Like Hell by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown. Miss You Like Hell is storytelling at its finest: audiences will join Olivia and Beatriz, a spirited teen and her Latina mother, as they traverse the country on wheels, meet a medley of diverse strangers, face the complications of their relationship, contend with immigration challenges, and ultimately learn what it means to be a family in today’s America. Running through August 14, this rock musical features powerful original songs, the edginess of today’s political climate, and characters that reflect our friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
We follow that up with the return of one of our favorites from 2014, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts. Running August 27 through September 11th, this musical comedy presents a series of vignettes celebrating the mating game! This crowd-pleasing comedy takes on the truths and myths behind the contemporary conundrum known as ‘the relationship.’ Performed by fan-favorites (and actually married couples), David and Cassiopeia Guthrie and Brandon and Amy Throckmorton, this musical covers a range of relationship situations from dating and marriage to divorce and retirement.
In October, we will finally be able to present what was supposed to be the last show of our 2019-2020 season, When We Were Young and Unafraid by Sarah Treem. In the early 1970s, before Roe v. Wade, before the Violence Against Women Act, Agnes has turned her quiet bed and breakfast into one of the few spots where victims of domestic violence can seek refuge. But to Agnes’s dismay, her latest runaway, Mary Anne, is beginning to influence Agnes’s college-bound daughter Penny. As the drums of a feminist revolution grow louder outside of Agnes’s tiny world, Agnes is forced to confront her own presumptions about the women she’s spent her life trying to help. When We Were Young and Unafraid runs October 8 through October 31st.
Our holiday show this year is another fan favorite that we are bringing back for you, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some)! Instead of performing Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told — plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. The show is a madcap romp through the holiday season! All of the original cast from our 2018 production returns for this hilarious trip through holiday festivities! Runs November 19 through December 19 (no shows Thanksgiving weekend).
In January, we are excited to bring you Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask. Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, this genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. Time Magazine proclaims it is “the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever!” Hedwig and the Angry Inch runs January 14 through February 6.
In March, our youth theater returns to action with the melodrama The Villain Wore a Dirty Shirt by Tim Kelly. Laundries are big business in the mining town of Digalittledeeper. The ’Tub and Scrub’ is operated by Olympia Klenz and Sweet Sally. The young sheriff is in love with Sally, but every time he gets close he turns into a babbling fool. Meanwhile, our villain, Phineas Flatworm, discovers Olympia has been rinsing gold flecks from miners’ laundry for years, and she’s amassed a tidy sum. The villain figures if he had the only laundry in town, he’d make a million! How will the sheriff stop this dastardly villain and win the heart of Sweet Sally? The Villain Wore a Dirty Shirt runs March 4-20.
We follow that with the southern California premiere of acclaimed playwright Charly Evon Simpson’s Jump, running April 8 through May 1. A bridge that spans a deep gorge draws tourists, joggers, and more than a few wandering souls. Reeling from the death of her mother, twenty-something Fay comes to the bridge looking for solace and a good place to vape, but what she finds is a journey of self-discovery. In the whimsically theatrical world of Jump, lights flicker, hearts heal – and you never know what surprises will literally fall from the sky. The first recipient of the David Goldman Fund for New Plays, Jump is a story about coping with family and loss and finding a way through.
We close our 55th season with Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero. This dark comedy features the interactions of a building security guard and his supervisor with two NYPD officers over the course of a few weeks. Lonergan’s play shows how good intentions can be undermined by unconscious desires, and explores what happens when generally good people are unexpectedly challenged by ethical dilemmas. Even white lies tangle a sticky web for the characters to get caught in. Lobby Hero runs May 20 through June 12.
I am excited to share these works with you and I’m even more excited to share the talent of the directors, actors, and designers who will be bringing these stories to you. But, most of all, I’m excited to see you all again… to once again laugh, cry, and breathe as a group, sharing not only the space but empathy and emotion, creating a community through the art of theatre that has been so lacking in the past year. I hope this coming year brings you health and peace, and sincerely hope that Patio Playhouse can help make that a reality.
Matt FitzGeraldArtistic Manager
Dearest Members, Patrons, Volunteers, Artists, and Guests,