“I’m thrilled to announce our dynamic and electrifying 42nd season at Victory Gardens Theater filled with the brightest and boldest voices in contemporary theater.”
Victory Gardens Artistic Director
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Longtime hair salon owners, Bell and Birdie grapple with the decision to remain in their beloved Southside neighborhood or relocate under the pressures of gentrification and crime. Told through music, poetry, and dance A Wonder in My Soul, looks at one neighborhood’s evolution through the eyes of two best friends and their lifetime of friendship. From the artistic team that brought you The House That Will Not Stand, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, and An Issue of Blood, director Chay Yew and playwright Marcus Gardley now explore Chicago history, beauty, and friendship.
PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error in their calculations, which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences? Queen by Madhuri Shekar and directed by Joanie Schultz (Cocked, The Whale) returns to Victory Gardens Theater after enthralling audiences last summer at the 2015 IGNITION Festival of New Plays.
Pablo, a high-powered lawyer, and his pregnant wife Tania, a doctoral candidate, think they have hit the jackpot with their new home. It seems to have everything they dreamed of: a nice neighborhood, plenty of bedrooms for their growing family, outdoor space, and friendly neighbors. When Pablo and Tania decide to upgrade the eyesore chain link fence in their backyard, neighbors Virginia and Frank couldn’t be happier. Happy until they think their new neighbors are taking more than they deserve. A disagreement over a property line quickly spirals into a war of taste, class and entitlement in Native Gardens, a hilarious comedy by Karen Zacarias and directed by Marti Lyons.
Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater Playwrights Ensemble member Luis Alfaro (Mojada, Oedipus el Rey) returns to Chicago to perform his emotionally charged solo work. St. Jude takes us on a personal and powerful journey with Luis as he learns of his father’s stroke and is summoned home to the California Central Valley of his childhood. As his family gathers, Alfaro conjures memories of his youth, from picking grapes to gospel-infused big tent revivals, from family celebrations to running away from home. In Alfaro’s words, St. Jude takes us from “who I am” to “who I was.”
The autobiographical solo performance A Little Bit Not Normal revolves around a family secret that was kept silent for over six decades. With her trademark humor, Arlene Malinowski confronts her personal demon – depression. She explores the shame and secrecy that comes from mental illness, and the stigma that is attached to it. A Little Bit Not Normal is a poignant life-affirming journey from mental illness to recovery, and the process of naming it, claiming it, and standing to be counted.
Where Did We Sit on the Bus? is an electric one-man show pulsing with Latin rhythms, rap, hip-hop, spoken word, and live looping. During a third grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask, “Where did we sit on the bus?” and his teacher can’t answer the question. This thrilling autobiographical production examines what it means to be Latino through the eyes of a child, turned teenager, turned adult.
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