Brainy & Entertaining.”
-The Chicago Sun-Times

World Premiere


April 14 – May 14, 2017

by Madhuri Shekar
directed by Joanie Schultz

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.

tcg16_edgerton_graphic (1)
Winner: Edgerton Foundation New Play Award

Support for QUEEN is generously provided by

all_cogh_grad_hor_rgb_pos (1) IndianAsApplePie_color

metropolitan_capital nea ream
Southwest_online_rgb-01  WBEZ91.5Chicago (3)

Madhuri Shekar is a playwright based in New York. Her plays include In Love and Warcraft, A Nice Indian Boy, Queen and Antigone, presented by the girls of St. Catherine’s. Her work has been produced, commissioned or developed at the Alliance Theatre, the Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Victory Gardens, the Kennedy Center, Hedgebrook Playwrights Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is currently a playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. She co-created the Shakespearean web series Titus and Dronicus (titusanddronicus.com). Thanks to Hema, Manisha, Megan and Sumithra for inspiring and informing this play.

Victory Gardens Theater: The Whale, Rest, Cocked. Regional: Sex with Strangers (Cleveland Play House); Lot’s Wife (Kansas City Repertory Theatre); Hand to God (Studio Theatre). Chicago: Venus in Fur (Goodman Theatre); A Small Fire, The Cheats, Martyr, Luther (Steep Theatre); The Kid Thing (About Face Theatre/Chicago Dramatists); The Girl in the Yellow Dress (Next Theatre); Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo Theatre); Bruise Easy (American Theater Company); Spinning (Irish Theatre Chicago); Yankee Tavern (American Blues Theatre); Neighborhood 3 (Strawdog); The Hundred Flowers Project (Silk Road Rising), fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); 2013 Co-Artistic Curator for Theater on the Lake. Opera: Bluebeard’s Castle, Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Acis and Galatea, Carmen. Artistic Director: WaterTower Theatre (Addison, TX); former Associate Artistic Producer at Victory Gardens Theater. Fellowships: Leadership U One-on-One Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by TCG, Drama League Fellowship, The Goodman Theatre’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship, SDCF Denham Fellowship, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Ensemble Member at Steep Theatre. Theater Faculty Member at Columbia College and the University of Chicago. MFA in Directing (Northwestern University).

Collaboraction: Gender Breakdown. Rasaka Theatre: A Widow of No Importance, A Nice Indian Boy, Vanya (That’s Life). Rasaka Theatre & Vitalist Theatre: Multitudes. Cuckoo’s Theatre Project: Anon(ymous)

Victory Gardens Debut. Chicago Theatre: A Life Extra Ordinary, Good for Otto, Othello, Thinner Than Water, Dirty (The Gift Theatre); Kill Floor (American Theater Company); Yankee Tavern (American Blues Theater); Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo); The Drunken City (Steppenwolf Theatre – Next Up); Flare Path, Company (Griffin Theatre); Love and Money (Steep Theatre). Film/TV: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, “Chicago Fire”, “Shameless”, “Patriot.”

Victory Gardens: Oedipus El Rey. Chicago credits: 2666, Teddy Ferrara, The Solid Sands Below, The Magic Play, A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), 1984, Animals Out of Paper (Steppenwolf Theatre), The Lake Effect, Scorched (Silk Road Rising), The Beats (16th St. Theatre). Regional: The North Pool, The Lake Effect (Theatreworks Palo Alto), Macbeth (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), Lot’s Wife (Kansas City Rep), The History Boys (Studio Theatre DC). Film & TV: The Middle Distance, The Drunk, King of URLS, Speed Dating, “Shameless”, “Chicago Med”, “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago PD”, “Crisis”, “The Mob Doctor”, “The Chicago Code”.

Chicago: Blizzard ’67 (16th Street); The Life of Galileo, Our Class, Night and Day (Remy Bumppo); Body+Blood (Gift Theatre); The Quality of Life (The Den & TOTL); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Wait Until Dark (Court); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Congo Square/Goodman); The Liquid Moon (Chicago Dramatists/Associate Artist); Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost (OPFT). Regional: Blackbird (Riverside Theatre); Romeo & Juliet, The Winter’s Tale (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); A Midsummer Nights Dream (Shakespeare Rep); Heroes (Nebraska Rep). Also: Utah Shakespeare, The Asolo. Overseas: Medeamaterial (Moscow’s Leninsky Komsomol Theatre); Battery (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Film/TV: “Empire,” Public Enemies, Mr. Lonely, Greg’s Leg, Morning Due (Cannes).

The Production Team:

Assistant Director

Set Design

Costume Design

Lighting Design

Stage Manager

Sound Design and Original Music

Projection Design


Public Programs is an event series designed to enhance your experience by exploring themes and issues within Victory Gardens’ productions. Connecting our theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between our audiences and our productions.

Public Programs are free and open to the public and do not require an RSVP. Come to one or come to all. We’d love to have you!

Public Programs:

AFTERWORDSAfter every performance of QUEEN
(unless otherwise noted)
HONEY HONEYPre-show celebration &
Post-show conversation
April 18, 2017
pp-images-website-YESQUEENPre-Show Celebration &
Post-Show Conversation
April 19, 2017
pp-images-website-ARTISTTALKPost-Show Conversation
April 20, 2017
pp-images-website-EARTHDAYPre-Show Celebration
April 22, 2017
pp-images-website-STEMPost-Show Performances
April 29, 2017
pp-images-website-COLLEGEPre-Show Celebration &
Post-Show Conversation
May 12, 2017
pp-images-website-BEEINTHEKNOWPost-Show Conversation
May 13, 2017


Brainy & Entertaining. This timely story about the interplay of science, conscience and the heart offers a most winning test case.”
-Chicago Sun-Times 

“Awesome! Two powerhouse women fighting convention. QUEEN lifts up women in a way that’s intellectual and passionate.”

“Intriguing, funny, and highly relevant. A cerebral version of the sexual cat-and-mouse games.”

“Engrossing. An excellent quartet of players… who give performances of conviction and realism. QUEEN should go forth into the regional theatre world as a popular selection.”/

Priya Mohanty is a scientist, and she plays one in QUEEN at Victory Gardens Theater
Chicago Tribune

Victory Gardens Theater Hosts Special Earth Day Celebration Surrounding the World Premiere of QUEEN

To Bee Or Not to Bee Friends? Scientists Question Their Working Relationship In ‘Queen’

‘Queen’ Premiere at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater (VIDEO)
Playwright Madhuri Shekar visits CBS 2 to discuss the world premiere of ‘Queen.’
CBS Chicago

Drama! Music! Dissident Art! Aerialists! The Best Events in Chicago (Week of 4/13)
Crain’s Chicago Business



_C6A7792Adam Poss and Priya Mohanty in QUEEN

_C6A8388-2Priya Mohanty and Darci Nalepa in QUEEN

Darci Nalepa, Priya Mohanty. Photo by Liz Lauren (1) Priya Mohanty and Darci Nalepa in QUEEN

Priya Mohanty, Adam Poss. Photo by Liz LaurenPriya Mohanty and Adam Poss in QUEEN

Stephen Spencer, Priya Mohanty, Darci Nalepa. Photo by Liz LaurenStephen Spencer, Priya Mohanty and Darci Nalepa in QUEEN