Nov 9Dec 30, 2018
By Ike Holter


Rightlynd is Chicago’s 51st Ward. The L doesn’t run here anymore and it is full of abandoned storefronts, crumbling apartment buildings, and its fair share of crime. A powerful real estate conglomerate is planning a massive redevelopment project that would gentrify the neighborhood and change Rightlynd forever. Only one woman stands in the way: Alderman Nina Esposito. In award-winning local playwright Ike Holter’s ambitious new work, one woman tries to use her street smarts and raw determination to save the Chicago neighborhood she loves. But will the political machine turn her into the very person she is trying to destroy? Lisa Portes (BREACH, A Little Bit Not Normal) directs the first play that sets in motion Holter’s ongoing seven play saga set in this fictional Windy City neighborhood; the story cycle that includes previous pieces Exit Strategy, Sender, Prowess, and The Wolf at the End of the Block.


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Ike Holter, Playwright

Lisa Portes, Director


Jerome Beck, Applewood / Denizen 1
Robert Cornelius, Robinson / Denizen 5
LaKecia Harris, Amena / Denizen 2
Anish Jethmalani, Platt / Denizen 4
Eddie Martinez, Pac
Monica Orozco, Nina
Sasha Smith, Manda / Denizen 3

Production Team

Collette Pollard, Scenic Design
Samantha C. Jones, Costume Design
Jared Gooding, Lighting Design
Mikhail Fiksel, Sound Design & Original Composition
Charlie Coffeen, Original Songs
Breon Arzell, Choreography
Jaq Seifert, Violence Director
Eleanor Kahn, Props Design
Skyler Gray, Dramaturgy
Mikael Burke, Asst. Director / Directors Inclusion Initiate
Laura Alcalá Baker, Casting Direction
Mara Sagal, Production Stage Management
Danny Fender, Floor Management
Majel Cuza, Production Management
Andrew Glasenhardt, Technical Director
Dean Gnadinger, Asst. Technical Director
Ben Zeman, Production Engineer
Elly Hunt, Wardrobe Supervisor
Scott Gerwitz, Charge Scenic Artist
Megan Erxleben, Scenic Artist
Slick Jorgenson, Associate Master Electrician


  • ★★★1/2“Disarmingly playful… a story that gets so much about the Chicago way all too right.
    Chicago Sun-Times
  • ★★★★★“Bold, profane and electrifying… triumphant new play.
    Time Out Chicago
  • “One of the not-to-be-missed theater events of the year.”
  • “A wild ride from an important voice.”
    Chicago Reader


Public Programs

Post-Show Conversation
After every performance of Rightlynd  (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.

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.

Post-Show Conversation
November 14 | Wednesday | 9:00 p.m.
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
On the surface, gentrification appears to be a positive change to the neighborhood. It is sold to people as a way to revitalize and beautify their communities. However, there is a dark underside to gentrification that can tear neighborhoods apart. In Chicago, gentrification has redefined neighborhoods from Pilsen to Uptown, causing families who have been there for generations to become strangers in their own city. But where can they go, and what neighborhoods can they afford? And even when it is offered, is affordable housing actually affordable? Join us for a conversation after the show to discuss the effects of gentrification in Chicago and ways people are taking a stand to save their neighborhoods.

Post-Show Conversation
November 15 | Thursday | 9:00 p.m.
In his work, Ike Holter dives deep into the issues and celebrates the diverse peoples that make up our great city of Chicago. Rightlynd is chronologically the first in Holter’s epic 7-play saga (which includes Exit Strategy and Wolf at the End of the Block) set in the fictional 51st Ward. How does one achieve such an ambitious undertaking? And what inspires Holter to focus his work on Chicago? Dive into the mind of Ike Holter as he discusses creating Rightlynd and his writing process with dramaturg Skyler Gray.

Post-Show Conversation
November 20 | Tuesday | 9:15 p.m.
Nina incites change by running for alderman of her ward in an attempt to save her neighborhood. While many aldermen strive to better their communities and fight for the people, how many of their campaign promises can they actually accomplish? And what happens when their proposals falter due to lack of support from those in higher offices? How do these broken promises make way for new ambitions, especially as elections loom? Join us for a post-show conversation with Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Luis Klein as they discuss the triumphs and challenges of being a representative of the people in 2018.

Post-Show Conversation
November 23 | Friday | 9:00 p.m.
Nina strives for change. Applewood will do whatever it takes to expand his industry. Pac, Amena and Robinson are just trying to stay afloat. Join us for this post-show conversation with the cast of Rightlynd as they discuss their process of bringing this genre-bending play to life.

This Public Program will be live captioned. 

Post-Show Celebration
November 29 | Thursday | 6:30pm–10:00 p.m.
In Rightlynd, we see Nina fight for the small businesses in her community. These small companies — particularly those run by people of color — are often overlooked in favor of large corporations. Join Victory Gardens as we highlight these small and mighty businesses from neighborhoods across the city. Before the show, meet us in the rehearsal room ready to see the amazing things these small businesses have to offer and enjoy a musical performance by Nikki MorganThen, join us after the show to hear from our vendors about their journey and the impact of small businesses on our communities.

Post-Show Conversation
December 4 | Tuesday | 9:15 p.m.
Nina runs for public office in order to make a difference. She has to campaign for herself in order to overthrow Ralph Stevenson–the current alderman of Rightlynd–who has no intention of backing down. How do first-time candidates build their campaigns and gain their footing? From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx to Andrew Janz in California, why is there a call to action for new voices in our political system? Stay for a post-show conversation with first-time candidates for the 2019 alderman race, Maria Hadden and Andre Vasquez, as they discuss what inspired them to run and the challenges of taking action.

Post-Show Panel Discussion and Toast
December 5 | Wednesday | 9:00pm

So far, the 2018 primaries have brought the largest number of House primary victories by women candidates in the nation’s history. We want to celebrate the amazing accomplishments women have made in their civil service from the city level to the federal level. Join us for a post-show panel featuring incredible women in government in a discussion about their triumphs, obstacles, and dedicated work.

Post-Show Conversation
December 12 | Wednesday | 9:00 p.m.
Made possible by the support of The David Rockefeller Fund
In Rightlynd, Pac finds himself having to cope with a world he hardly recognizes after being imprisoned and forgotten for over a decade, all because of petty theft and a flawed system. How is this possible in 2018, and how did we get here? We welcome Circles and Ciphers, a youth leadership and restorative justice organization, as they discuss how people slip through the cracks of the justice system and what we can do to stop it.