CHICAGO: Following their first duel Jeff Recommended season (EVERYBODY and Little Women the Musical), Brown Paper Box Co. is excited to announce their 2019/2020 season.
The season begins in May with Holding On, a 2-night community-focused cabaret at Under the Gun Theater, coordinated by company Artistic Director Kristi Szczepanek and Artistic Associate Samm Gatwood. In summer 2019, BPBCo. presents the Midwest premiere of L M Feldman’s Grace, or the Art of Climbing directed by Artistic Associate Erin Shea Brady at Stage 773. With music direction by Kimi Arquines and co-hosted by BPB co-founder M. William Panek, Come Rain or Come Shine: A Judy Garland Cabaret comes to Andersonville this fall to celebrate 50 years of rainbows and classic melodies. 2019/2020 wraps up with a Winter musical to be announced soon!
“We’ve been reflecting on the power and support of community here at BPBCo., so we’re leaning into and celebrating community’s ins and outs this season,” says Artistic Director Kristi Szczepanek. “Whether it’s in Lakeview, Andersonville, or any neighborhood in between, our ninth season focuses on telling stories about the many ways one can lean on – and be lifted up by – individual communities.”
Additional information including performance on-sale dates can be found by visiting www.BrownPaperBox.org.
HOLDING ON: A COMMUNITY CABARET
Sunday, May 5 & Monday, May 6, 2019 at 7:30pm
Presented at Under the Gun Theater
Art, like life, is “a solo sport… with partners.” Inspired by the first play of the season, Grace, or the Art of Climbing by L M Feldman, Brown Paper Box Co. invites you to enjoy a night of songs, stories, and laughter performed by company members and friends. Join our community of artists side-by-side as they perform in duos and groups as we continue to hold on & support one another when times feel tough. Admission $15 presale / $20 door. Cash bar is available. Coordinated by Samm Gatwood* & Kristi Szczepanek* and Produced by Anna Schutz*.
The Midwest Premiere of
GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING
by L M Feldman
June 6-July 7, 2019 at Stage 773
Faced with a painful chapter in her life and fighting the inertia of depression, Emm decides to enter the world of competitive rock-climbing. Her quest through the rugged and humorous terrain of physical training and personal relationships charts the journey of a young woman suspended between love and loss, strength and fear, fathers and daughters, and the ardor and grace of being human. Brown Paper Box Co. is proud to present the Midwest premiere of this Barrymore Award Best New Play nominee and Kilroys List honorable mention. Directed by Artistic Associate Erin Shea Brady*.
COME RAIN OR COME SHINE: A JUDY GARLAND CABARET
Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 7:30pm
Presented at Mary’s Attic
It’s been 50 years since the world lost the one & only Judy Garland, and 50 years since the modern gay liberation movement began at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village. Come Rain or Come Shine is a celebration of an international icon, a queer movement, and exactly how far the LGBTQ+ community has come over the past 50 years. Join Brown Paper Box Co. as we travel down a yellow brick road of joy, heartbreak, drag queens, and song. Bring your best Judy and sing along to Ms. Garland’s biggest hits as performed by BPBCo. members, past participants, friends of the company, and a few surprise guests. Admission $15 presale / $20 door. Full service bar & dining options available throughout the evening. Coordinated by Kimi Arquines & M. William Panek*.
2019/2020 SEASON STAFF & CREATIVE BIOS
Kimi Arquines (Come Rain or Come Shine Coordinator & Music Director) is a freelance music director, sketch writer/performer, and singer-songwriter who is heavily involved in the Chicago comedy scene. She has been featured in the Chicago Musical Improv Festival, Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, Chicago Women’s Funny Fest, San Francisco’s Femprovisor Fest, and more! You can find Kimi on her Facebook @kimiarquinescomedy or Instagram @kimikimi_more.
Erin Shea Brady* (Grace Director) is thrilled and grateful to be directing Grace, or the Art of Climbing. Directing credits include: Everybody (Brown Paper Box Co.) and Cabaret, Annapurna (staged reading) and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (No Stakes Theater Project). Assistant Directing and Dramaturgy credits include productions at the Goodman, Jackalope, TimeLine, A Red Orchid, Northlight, and Remy Bumppo. Erin is a graduate of the directing program at Columbia College Chicago, and participated in the internship program at Steppenwolf, Jackalope’s Playwright’s Lab, and Goodman’s Criticism in a Changing America bootcamp. Erin is a company member with BPBCo. & is currently pursuing her MSW at Loyola. She is a contributing writer & critic at PerformInk & Newcity Stage.
L M Feldman (Grace Playwright) is a queer, feminist playwright (and circus artist) who pens plays that are wildly theatrical but deeply intimate. Her plays include THRIVE, OR WHAT YOU WILL (Page 73 Residency, New Georges Audrey Residency); ANOTHER KIND OF SILENCE (Magic Theatre Virgin Play Festival, PlayPenn Conference, Playwrights Realm Fellowship, FEWW Prize Honorable Mention); AMANUENSIS (Georgetown University); A PEOPLE (Orbiter 3, Jewish Plays Project); THE EGG-LAYERS (Jane Chambers Honorable Mention, New Georges/Barnard College commission); GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING (Denver Center, Art House Productions, Nice People Theatre, ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award Nomination, Barrymore Nomination); ensemble-devised works, including GUMSHOE (New Paradise Labs + Free Library of Philadelphia + Rosenbach Museum), WAR OF THE WORLDS: PHILADELPHIA (Swim Pony + Drexel University), AND IF YOU LOSE YOUR WAY, OR A FOOD ODYSSEY (The Invisible Dog, New York Innovative Theatre Award Nomination), and others; and a baker’s dozen of short plays. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, L is also a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a devised-work collaborator, a teacher of playwriting (Bryn Mawr College, Lantern Theatre/Jefferson Medical School, PlayPenn), and a freelance dramaturg. L has lived in seven cities and is now based in Philly – where she is an InterAct Core Playwright and a proud member of Orbiter 3.
Samm Gatwood* (Holding On Coordinator) is a freelance actor, director and choreographer who can be found throughout the Chicagoland area with her beloved bulldog Elphaba. She graduated with her degree in Musical Theatre from Drake University where she developed a passion for teaching and choreography. She spends the vast majority time as a teaching artist, but also loves to spend time on and around stage; some of her favorite credits include The Wild Party (Queenie), Rock of Ages (Waitress #1/Assistant Choreographer/Fight Captain) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Choreographer). samanthagatwood.com
M. William Panek* (Come Rain or Come Shine Coordinator) is a proud BPBCo. founding member and graduate of the University of Illinois’ Theatre Department. Director: Little Women the Musical; Now. Here. This.; [title of show] (Jeff Award Nominated); A New Brain; Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls; Godspell; To Tree (world premiere); Reefer Madness! The Musical in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Casting Associate: EVERYBODY; The Baltimore Waltz; Julius Caesar; Spike Heels. Cabaret: “Positively Present,” “Mary’z With a Z,” “Proud at Mary’s” at Mary’s Attic; “Spring Forward Fail Back” at Uncommon Ground; “BPB Yearbook” “Character Breakdown” at Davenport’s. He recently collaborated with Zach Zimmerman (Luke Babylon: Christian Magician and Spell) at iO Chicago, iO New York, The Duplex New York, and the Annoyance Theatre. William served as an artistic associate with The Orchard Project in Hunter, NY, a production assistant for the 24-Hour Musicals at Joe’s Pub, and the business management assistant at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram @mwilliampanek.
Anna Schutz* (Holding On Producer) is a proud founding member of Brown Paper Box Co. She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently working towards her Masters in Nonprofit Management at DePaul University. She has worked in Chicago as an actor, singer, & arts administrator for the last decade. Backstage, she has work with Brown Paper Box Co. as a producer, production manager, and stage manager. Onstage, she has performed in their plays, musicals, and cabarets. As a playwright, Anna’s first script, Prodigy, was selected for the League of Chicago Theatres’ Bright Angel Creative Retreat in 2017 and then received a staged reading co-sponsored by DePaul University’s Women’s & Gender Studies Department. Prodigy was most recently selected for Dandelion Theater’s Reservoir Series in May 2019. More information can be found here: www.annaschutz.com
Charlie Sheets* (Graphic Designer) is currently residing in (suspiciously) always sunny California. He’s been designing for over a decade—and has the arthritis to prove it! Charlie’s worked in a variety of industries including transportation, retail, automotive, healthcare, and consumer technology/marketing—you might be using something he’s designed! His work with the Brown Paper Box Co. includes designs for productions and events since 2012, as well as website and social media graphics and consultation. To see Charlie’s portfolio, visit charliesheets.com.
Kristi Szczepanek* (Holding On Coordinator) joined Brown Paper Box Co. after performing as the understudy in Now. Here. This. She has since been seen with BPBCo. in “The Broad-Way: A Ladies Cabaret,” created and coordinated “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” and recently served as dramaturg for Little Women the Musical. She served as the Management and Development Assistant at Off-Off-Broadway’s Ensemble Studio Theatre, helping coordinate events like the Sloan Project and their annual Marathon of One Act Plays. Chicago companies she’s had the pleasure of working with both onstage and off include Quest Theatre Ensemble, Tympanic Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, and the Something Marvelous Festival. kristisz.com.
* denotes Brown Paper Box Co. members