Lettie
Apr 6May 6, 2018
By Boo Killebrew

Synopsis

After her release from prison, Lettie is desperate to regain custody of her teenage children. Training to be an iron welder, Lettie will stop at nothing to reclaim her family and start life anew. Inspired by real Chicago stories, Lettie is a powerful, moving, and funny play by playwright Boo Killebrew (Longmire) and directed by artistic director Chay Yew.

Notes

The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Commissioning Program Award Recipient
Special support provided by The Edgerton Foundation

Video

Artists

Chay Yew, Director

Boo Killebrew, Playwright

Cast

Charin Alvarez (Minny)

Matt Farabee (River)

Kirsten Fitzgerald (Carla)

Ryan Kitley (Frank)

Caroline Neff (Lettie)

Krystal Ortiz (Layla)

Production

Andrew Boyce, Set Design
Melissa Ng, Costume Design
Lee Fiskness, Lighting Design
Mikhail Fiksail, Composition and Sound Design
Jesse Gafney, Props Design
Stephan Mazurek, Projection Design
Greg Poljacik, Fight Choreographer
Skyler Gray, Dramaturg
Majel Cuza, Production Manager
Tom Albright, Master Electrician
Cassie Calderone*, Production Stage Manager

Press

  • ★★★½ “A POWERFUL DRAMA of Heartbreak and Hope. Caroline Neff gives one of the MOST MOVING performances of what already has been a formidable career.” (LINK)
    —Chicago Tribune, 4/17/2018
  • “A Masterpiece. One of the Great Chicago Plays of our Generation.” (LINK)
    —Chicago Reader, 4/18/2018
  • ★★★★ “Extraordinary. Moving and Sharply Witty. Stellar cast… When [Caroline] Neff and [Kirsten] Fitzgerald share the stage, the impact is breathtaking.” (LINK)
    —Chicago Sun-Times, 4/15/2018
  • ★★★★★ “Gutsy, Emotional, and Very Real” (LINK)
    —Around the Town Chicago, 4/14/2018
  • “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Powerful storytelling, beautiful staging, and a strong ensemble makes Lettie a must-see, with a story that will stick with you for days.” (LINK)
    —Picture This Post, 4/14/2018
  • “Consistently Captivating, Profoundly Heartbreaking. Brilliantly Conceived. Caroline Neff in the title role, doing some of the best work of her career… in a commanding performance.” (LINK)
    —Broadway World, 4/14/2018
  • “Lettie is wonderful and Caroline Neff is superb. Loved her in Linda Vista, and You Got Older. Go see it!”
    —Yvette Marie on Goldstar
  • “I was drawn into the characters within the first 15 seconds of dialogue. The characters, set, and story line were all on point.”
    —Chrissy on Goldstar
  • “Cast of ‘Lettie’ visits the real Grace House for formerly incarcerated women on West Side” (LINK)
    —Chicago Tribune, 4/10/2018

Gallery

Public Programs

Post-Show Conversation
After every performance of Cambodian Rock Band (unless otherwise noted)

Join us for one of our intimate post-show conversations led by members from the Victory Gardens community, reflect on what you’ve seen, and share your response.

Tuesday, March 13, 7:00PM.

Next Tuesday, view an exclusive glimpse into the rehearsal process as the cast of Lettie shares a scene from the production during one of their very first rehearsals. Then, join us for a conversation with Judy Royal of the Center for Wrongful Convictions For Women and Kristine Bush of Justis4Justus as we discuss how we, as citizens, grapple with the U.S. prison system and what happens when it fails us. We’ll explore the answers to these questions in an evening of creativity, discussion, and theatre.

As always, following the program guests will enjoy complimentary wine, beer, and snacks.

Pre-Show Reception
April 7 | Saturday | 6PM

Join us in the rehearsal room for a night celebrating the women who hold jobs traditionally dominated by men. Enjoy complimentary refreshments and engage in a discussion about women’s equity in the workforce as we celebrate women workin’ hard and gettin’ paid.

Post-Show Conversation
April 12 | Thursday | 9PM

Lettie follows one mother’s incarceration and re-entry, but it wasn’t written by a formerly incarcerated mother. How do playwrights tell stories that aren’t their own? For playwright Boo Killebrew, it started with talking to people who lived the experiences she wanted to explore. From interviews to collaboration with these women, join Boo as she discusses her work and process with dramaturg Skyler Gray.

Post-Show Conversation
April 18 | Wednesday | 9PM

Since its opening in 1994, the Grace House residential program of St. Leonard’s Ministries has provided interim housing, emotional and spiritual support, and professional counseling to women who are exiting the Illinois prison system. Women who went through Grace House share their stories of re-entry and how theatre played a role in their healing. Join us for this night of sharing.

Post-Show Conversation
April 20 | Friday | 9PM

After the evening performance, join members of JustIS4JustUS, an organization working to rebuild the lives of exonerees, as we discuss how we, as citizens, grapple with the U.S. prison system and what happens when it fails us. Made possible by support from the David Rockefeller Fund.

Post-Show Conversation
April 21 | Saturday | 4:30PM

In the United States, Black women are incarcerated more than twice the rate of white women, while Latino women are incarcerated at 1.5 times the rate of white women. How does Minny’s story differ from Lettie’s? How might the lives and experiences of women of color differ from their white counterparts? Join us after the show for a discussion about race, gender, and the prison system with a panel of experts. Complimentary food and drinks will be served in the lobby.

Post-Show Performance
April 27 | Friday |9PM

Join us after the evening performance of Lettie for post-show performances about coming back from adversity written, directed, and performed by college artists from DePaul University, Loyola University, Northwestern University, and Columbia College.

Post-Show Presentation and Conversation
April 29 | Sunday | 4:30PM

It is important to remember the many hardships Lettie’s children faced during her years in prison. We have partnered with Storycatchers Theatre to share the stories and struggles of young people with current or formerly incarcerated parents. Join us for a short performance and panel discussion with adolescents who have lived this experience and the amazing staff of Storycatchers Theatre who help them share their stories, make sense of their world, and heal. Made possible by support from the David Rockefeller Fund.

Post-Show Conversation
May 5 | Saturday | 4:30PM

In Lettie, we follow the journey of two mothers trying to do their best as they begin mending relationships after incarceration. What is the mother’s journey in that process? How can we better support them? Join us for this riveting post-show conversation with the North Lawndale Employment Network as we unearth what it means to reclaim space and time. Made possible by support from the David Rockefeller Fund.

 

 

 

Production Team

Andrew Boyce, Set Design
Melissa Ng, Costume Design
Lee Fiskness, Lighting Design
Mikhail Fiksail, Composition and Sound Design
Jesse Gafney, Props Design
Stephan Mazurek, Projection Design
Greg Poljacik, Fight Choreographer
Skyler Gray, Dramaturg
Majel Cuza, Production Manager
Tom Albright, Master Electrician
Cassie Calderone*, Production Stage Manager

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